A Message from Father William

Jesus invites us to follow Him once again in the Gospel this Sunday (Matthew 10:37-42), to take up our cross each day and follow Him, in our love for God and our love for neighbor (the two Great Commandments) – to suffer with Him and for Him as, by His grace, we witness to the Truth with Love (Ephesians 4), so as to be glorified in Him. Jesus calls us to proclaim His Kingdom of life, love and goodness to a world where people seem more and more anti-life, hateful, divisive, and bent on destruction and evil-doing. Let us keep praying for the grace we need each day to be witnesses and disciples of Christ, imitating His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the first and perfect disciple, and all the saints in bearing Christ to others by living the virtues of faith, hope and love. We need God’s grace, His strength, to pick up our cross and witness to the Gospel, to tell the Truth with love – knowing this, God gives us His Holy Spirit (in a special way in the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation), enabling us to pray for an increase in the gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, counsel, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord; Isaiah 11:1-2) and strive to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity; Galatians 5:22-23).

Together, each day, let us thank God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the grace to be His witnesses in the world, to live more fervently and courageously the virtues of Faith, Hope and Love, in word and deed. As Bishop Donald Hying has instructed us in “Go Make Disciples,” his evangelization initiative for the Diocese of Madison, let us be mindful and heartful of: 1. keeping holy the Lord’s Day (the center of which is going to Mass; praying a little more, especially with our family, resting, spending meaningful time with family and friends, avoiding any unnecessary labor); 2. incorporating prayer into our daily lives if we’re not doing so already (with a morning offering, praying such devotions as the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet); 3. getting to Confession on a regular basis, possibly monthly; and 4. doing works of mercy and selfless love (with such mortifications as fasting, almsgiving, donating our time, talents for the good of others).

My brothers and sisters in Christ, we have the best news to proclaim to the world, the Good News of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead, that He has come into the world to redeem us, to save us from our sins, to conquer sin, death and evil, and to bring us to eternal life in Heaven! Proclaiming such Good News, proclaiming the Kingdom of God, will not be easy at times, as Jesus tells us in the Gospel today to pick up our cross and follow Him, so let’s tap into the graces He gives us through His Holy Spirit, Church, Word, Sacraments and daily prayer. Beginning in our own families, may we be more attentive to the privilege God gives us to be cooperators in proclaiming His love and mercy to a world that so desperately needs to hear the Good News. Let us never despair, but look to the example and seek the assistance of His saints (Colossians 1; John 19; Revelation 7), especially the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus and our mother, Saint Joseph, Saint Clement, Saint Raphael and all the saints, evermore aware that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is with us always (Matthew 28:20).

With peace and prayers in Christ,
Fr. William Vernon