The Courier - December 2020

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Christmas Day December 25

December 2020

Official Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona-Rochester, MN |

Pope: This Advent, Ask God




Year of St. Joseph Announced

“Receiving baptism was an outward and visible sign of the conversion of those who listened to his preaching and decided to do penance. That baptism occurred with immersion in the Jordan, in water, but it proved worthless; it was a only a sign and it was worthless if there was no willingness to repent and change one’s life.” The pope explained that true conversion is marked, first of all, by detachment from sin and worldiness. He said that John the Baptist embodied this through his “austere” life in the desert. “Conversion involves suffering for the sins committed,

VATICAN CITY, Dec. 8, 2020 (CNA) - Pope Francis announced a Year of St. Joseph Tuesday in honor of the 150th anniversary of the saint’s proclamation as patron of the Universal Church. The year begins Dec. 8, 2020, and concludes on Dec. 8, 2021, according to a decree authorized by the pope. The decree said that Francis had established a Year of St. Joseph so that “every member of the faithful, following his example, may strengthen their life of faith daily in the complete fulfillment of God’s will.” It added that the pope had granted special indulgences to mark the year. The Dec. 8 decree was issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary, the dicastery of the Roman Curia that oversees indulgences, and signed by the Major Penitentiary, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, and the Regent, Msgr. Krzysztof Nykiel. In addition to the decree, Francis issued an apostolic letter Tuesday dedicated to the foster father of Jesus. The pope explained in the letter, entitled Patris corde (“With a father’s heart”) and dated Dec. 8, that he wanted to share some “personal reflections” on the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “My desire to do so increased during these months of pandemic,” he said, noting

VATICAN CITY, Dec. 6, 2020 (CNA) - We should ask God for the gift of conversion this Advent, Pope Francis said in his Angelus address Sunday. Speaking from a window overlooking a rainswept St. Peter’s Square Dec. 6, the pope described Advent as an “itinerary of conversion.” But he acknowledged that true conversion is difficult and we are tempted to believe it is impossible to leave our sins behind. He said: “What can we do in these cases, when one would like to go but feels he or she cannot do it? First of all, remind ourselves that conversion is a grace: no one can convert by his or own strength.” “It is a grace that the Lord gives you, and thus we need to forcefully ask God for it. To ask God to convert us to the degree in which we open ourselves up to the beauty, the goodness, the tenderness of God.” In his address, the pope meditated on Sunday’s Gospel reading, Mark 1:1-8, which describes John the Baptist’s mission in the wilderness. “He reveals to his contemporaries an itinerary of faith similar to the one that Advent proposes to us: that we prepare ourselves to receive the Lord at Christmas. This itinerary of faith is an itinerary of conversion,” he said. He explained that in biblical terms conversion means a change of direction. “In the moral and spiritual life, to convert means to turn oneself from evil to good, from sin to love of God. It is what the Baptist was teaching, who in the desert of Judea was ‘preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins’” he said.

for the

Conversion, cont'd on pg. 5

St. Joseph, cont'd on pg. 12

INSIDE this issue

'Look to the Example of the Good Samaritan' (pt. II) page 4

Seminarian Education Fund page 6

The History of the Nativity Scene page 9

The Courier Insider


Pope: God Is Patient, Never Stops Waiting for a Sinner's Conversion By COURTNEY MARES

VATICAN CITY, Dec. 2, 2020 (CNA) - Pope Francis said Wednesday that God does not wait for us to stop sinning to start loving us, but always holds out hope for the conversion of even the most hardened sinner. “There is no sin that can completely erase the image of Christ present in each one of us,” the pope said at his general audience Dec. 2. “Sin can disfigure it, but not remove it from God’s mercy. A sinner can remain in error for a long time, but God is patient till the end, hoping that the sinner’s heart will eventually open and change,” he

said. Speaking via livestream from the library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis said that reading the Bible with prisoners or a rehabilitation group can be a powerful experience. “To allow these people to hear that they are still blessed, notwithstanding their grave errors, that the heavenly Father continues to desire their good and to hope that they will open themselves in the end to the good. Even if their closest relatives have abandoned them … they are always children to God,” he said. “At times miracles happen: men and women are reborn. … For God’s grace changes lives: He takes us as we are, but He never leaves us as we are. … God did not wait for us to convert ourselves before beginning to love us, but He loved us a long time before, when we were still in sin.” Pope Francis said that God’s love is like that of a mother who goes to visit her son in prison, adding “like this, we are more important to God than all the sins we can commit, because He is father, He is mother, He is pure love, He has blessed us forever. And he will never stop blessing us.” Continuing his cycle of catechesis on prayer, Pope Francis focused his reflections this week on blessing. A blessing can accompany a person who receives it throughout his or her entire life and disposes the person’s heart to allow God to change it, the pope explained.

“The hope of the world lies entirely in God’s blessing: He continues to desire our good, He is the first, as the poet Péguy said, to continue to hope for our good,” he said, referencing the 19th-century French poet Charles Péguy. “God’s greatest blessing is Jesus Christ. This is the great gift of God, His Son. It is a blessing for all humanity; it is a blessing that has saved us all. He is the Eternal Word with which the Father blessed us ‘while we were yet sinners’: the Word made flesh and offered for us on the cross,” Pope Francis said. He then quoted St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.” The pope said that we too can respond to “the God who blesses” by blessing through prayers of praise, adoration and thanksgiving. He said: “The Catechism states: ‘The prayer of blessing is man’s response to God’s gifts: because God blesses, the human heart can in return bless the One who is the source of every blessing.’” “We cannot only bless this God who blesses us, we must bless everything in Him -- all the people -- bless God and bless our brothers and sisters, bless the world,” Pope Francis said. “If we all did this, surely there would be no wars.” “This world needs blessing and we can give blessing and receive the blessing. The Father loves us. And we have the joy of blessing him and the joy of thanking him, and of learning from him not to curse, but to bless.” At the end of his general audience, Pope Francis marked the 40th anniversary of the death of four missionary women, including two Maryknoll sisters and one Ursuline nun, who were raped and killed in El Salvador by paramilitaries during the civil war. “They brought food and medicine to the displaced and helped the poorest families with evangelical commitment and taking great risks. These women lived their faith with great generosity. They are an example for everyone to become faithful missionary disciples,” he said.

The Courier is the official publication of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester 55 West Sanborn, P.O. Box 588, Winona, MN 55987 Vol 111 - 12

Most Reverend John M. Quinn, Publisher Matt Willkom, Editor Nick Reller, Associate Editor Telephone: 507-858-1257 Fax:507-454-8106 E-mail: Publishing Schedule: Monthly - Deadline for advertising & articles is the 10th of the month prior. (ISSN 0744-5490) December 2020 w The Courier w

Articles of Interest

'Good Samaritan' (Part II)__________________4 Catholics with Disabilities_________________5 Seminarian Education Fund________________6 Catholic



History of the Nativity Scene______________9 Teen Martyr Beatified in Spain_____________10 Diocesan Headlines______________________11

The Holy Father's Intention for

December 2020 For a Life of Prayer We pray that our personal relationship with Jesus Christ be nourished by the Word of God and a life of prayer.

Officials The Most Rev. John M. Quinn, Bishop of the Diocese of WinonaRochester, announces the following appointments:

Where to Find the Courier

Parochial Vicar

Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hard copies of the Courier are currently not available in our churches.

Rev. Gregory Parrott: appointed Parochial Vicar of St. John Vianney Parish in Fairmont, Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Blue Earth, Holy Family Parish in East Chain, and St. Mary Parish in Winnebago, effective October 12, 2020.

• Hard copies of the Courier are available in the churches of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester at the first weekend Masses of each month.

Presbyteral Council Very Rev. Raúl Silva: reappointed to a three-year term as a member of the Presbyteral Council, effective January 1, 2021.

Child Abuse Policy Information

The Diocese of Winona-Rochester will provide a prompt, appropriate and compassionate response to reporters of sexual abuse of a child by any diocesan agent (employees, volunteers, vendors, religious or clergy). Anyone wishing to make a report of an allegation of sexual abuse should call the Victim Assistance Coordinator at 507454-2270, Extension 255. A caller will be asked to provide his or her name and telephone number. Individuals are also encouraged to take their reports directly to civil authorities. The Diocese of Winona-Rochester is committed to protecting children, young people and other vulnerable people in our schools, parishes and ministries. The diocesan policy is available on the diocesan web site at www.dow. org under the Safe Environment Program. If you have any questions about the Diocese of Winona-Rochester’s implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, please contact Mary Hamann at 507-858-1244, or

• An online version may be viewed at courier/index.html • To be added to the home delivery list, readers should send their names and addresses to: Diocese of Winona-Rochester The Courier 55 W Sanborn St. Winona, MN 55987 or

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room Elections

The 2020 election has come and gone, and we are left with the results of what was a very tumultuous and divisive election season. Election years are often contentious, but this year we saw an ever-increasing display of antagonism. With the added complexity of ongoing social unrest and complications related to the coronavirus, we have all seen and experienced much darkness in our world this year. In confronting people’s strong reactions to the election, it is important to not allow ourselves to be carried away by despair or triumph, as if our lives and feelings are dictated by political victories and defeats. Instead, we Christians are called to be witnesses of hope and light. No political party or candidate can deliver the perfect solution for our very broken world, nor

Rejoice in Hope Bishop John M. Quinn Bishop's Calendar

McCarrick Report

On November 10, the Holy See published a much-anticipated report on the former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. This came after his sudden downfall two years ago, when he was suspended from ministry after having been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor. As a result, he resigned from the College of Cardinals, and, after having been found to have engaged in years of sexual predation, was laicized. It is a gaping wound in the Church, and particularly in the U.S., to have failed so many people who were abused and violated by Theodore McCarrick. Such behavior has no excuse, and the fact that it was done by a man who was ordained to serve as a shepherd to God’s people

is even more egregious and painful. This report seeks to understand what went wrong in the case of McCarrick: what did the Vatican and other U.S. bishops know about McCarrick’s actions, and why was he allowed to become bishop, archbishop, and cardinal? The 450+ page McCarrick Report is a raw and difficult read, providing a stark look at the circumstances involved in McCarrick’s rise to power. In compiling the report, extensive review was made of documentation from the Vatican and U.S., and over 90 witnesses were interviewed, including Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, survivors of abuse, clergy, former seminarians and priests, McCarrick’s former secretaries, and Vatican officials. The report also includes much correspondence between and about McCarrick, with descriptions and reports of McCarrick’s predatory and abusive behaviors. The information compiled gives us a picture of a man who was talented and charismatic, who used his position of authority and many personal connections to manipulate people and situations to his liking. Sadly, over the years there were rumors of his sexual misconduct but they were dismissed due to anonymity or lack of evidence. It was not until the Archdiocese of New York received and investigated an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, which was found credible and made public in 2018, that many other reports of McCarrick’s serial predatory behaviors came to light. As the Church in the U.S. has grappled with the sex abuse crisis for the last 20 years, the U.S. bishops and

December 1, Tuesday 11 a.m. - Holy Hour and Presbyteral Council - Winona/Zoom

December 5, Saturday 5:15 p.m. - Mass of Installation of Pastor - Fr. John Sauer - Pax Christi Church, Rochester

December 2, Wednesday 1-4 p.m. - Minnesota Catholic Conference Virtual Board Meeting - Zoom 8:15 p.m. - Bless Winona Warming Center

December 6, Sunday 10 a.m. - Confirmation - St. Mary of the Lake Church, Lake City

December 3, Thursday 1 p.m. - Holy Hour and Bishop’s Cabinet Meeting December 4, Friday 11 a.m. - Diocesan COVID-19 Task Force Meeting 7 p.m. - Cor Jesu - Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Winona

December 8, Tuesday 12:30 p.m. - Mass at Lourdes High School - Rochester December 9, Wednesday 2 p.m. - Priest Mentor/New Pastor Check-in - Virtual/Zoom 7 p.m. - Confirmation and Installation of New Pastor - Fr. Will Thompson - St. Rose of Lima Church, Lewiston

the Vatican have continued to work to provide safeguards and accountability for all those working in the Church, both clergy and lay. Most recently, Pope Francis issued Vos Estis Lux Mundi in May 2019, and the Vademecum in July 2020. The former document implemented new universal structures and procedures to handle reports of abuse against bishops, as well as their failure to properly handle accusations of misconduct. The Vademecum is a handbook for bishops and all those involved with receiving and / or investigating reports of abuse or misconduct against a priest or bishop. In the Diocese of WinonaRochester, we continue to stay vigilant in following our Safe Environment procedures and training, so that all those in our parishes and schools can be assured of a safe place to worship and learn. I have asked the Ministerial Standards Board to study the McCarrick Report and to make recommendations to me about our safe environment training programs and the formation of priests and seminarians. I ask myself, “after all this suffering, what did we learn?” In the end, what is most needed is a conversion of heart, so that all of us may live lives of integrity and holiness. Advent

Advent is a time to focus on anticipating our Lord’s coming, both His first coming in the manger, and also His second coming at the end of time. Will we be ready to welcome the Triune God into our hearts this Christmas, and be ready to meet Him when He comes in glory? Advent provides us with an opportunity to prepare

December 10, Thursday 10:31 a.m. - Guest Speaker on Real Presence Catholic Radio 6:30 p.m. - Real Presence Catholic Radio Fundraising Social and Banquet - Virtual Event December 11, Friday 1 p.m. - IHM Bishop’s Advisory Meeting - Virtual/Zoom December 13, Sunday 10 a.m. - Installation of Pastor - Msgr. Thomas Melvin - St. Joseph Church, Rushford


ourselves to welcome Christ, by growing in our love for God and neighbor. This year, due to COVID-19, many of our Advent and Christmas traditions will look very different. However, there are many traditions that can be cultivated in the home, within the family. Family prayer, including the rosary, visiting a church to pray and celebrate the Sacrament of Penance, and singing of Advent or Christmas carols at home, can help us not only grow closer to the Lord, but to others as well. There are also many other traditions through which parents can pass on the faith to their children, such as Advent calendars, lighting the Advent wreath each night, and putting straw in Baby Jesus’ manger for good deeds done to family members, in order to make a soft bed for Our Savior by Christmas. This Advent, consider what traditions you can start or practice with your family. Without as many distractions in the days leading up to Christmas this year, allow yourself to have a more simple and quiet Advent, cultivating prayerful traditions that will open your hearts to Christ. Blessed are you!

From the Bishop

�ear Friends in Christ,

do they offer us salvation. It is only Jesus Christ who offers the promise of eternal life, which is better than any campaign promise. Earthly kingdoms will fade, but our citizenship is in heaven. Archbishop Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has appointed a special committee of bishops to initiate a dialogue with Presidentelect Biden. The archbishop has identified topics of great concern which include the Right to Life movement, opposition to abortion, and the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion. Other issues, such as parental choice in education, religious liberty, conscience rights, and immigration reform, will be discussed. These are important topics that are at the heart of the mission of the Church and the proclamation of the Gospel.

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Rev. John M. Quinn Bishop of Winona-Rochester

December 15, Tuesday 11 a.m. - Holy Hour and Deans Meeting - Winona/Zoom 3 p.m. - Clergy Personnel Committee Meeting - Virtual/Zoom December 24, Thursday 9 p.m. - Christmas Eve Mass - Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Winona December 25, Friday 10:30 a.m. - Christmas Day Mass Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Winona

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Lay Formation & RCIA


'Look to the Example of the

Good Samaritan'

Part II

“But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight…. Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?" [The lawyer] answered, "The one who treated him with mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise.” -Luke 10:33, 36-37

�reetings of Peace, Friends in Christ! Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, issued

an encyclical letter, Fratelli Tutti (“On Fraternity and Social Friendship”), on the feast day of his papal namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi (October 4th). He describes the purpose of the letter in the following words: I offer this social Encyclical as a modest contribution to continued reflection, in the hope that in the face of present-day attempts to eliminate or ignore others, we may prove capable of responding with a new vision of fraternity and social friendship that will not remain at the level of words. Although I have written it from the Christian convictions that inspire and sustain me, I have sought to make this reflection an invitation to dialogue among all people of good will (#6).

[The full text of the encyclical can be found at the Vatican web site, You can find an overview and summary of the encyclical at the web site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,] Last month, I began my reflections on Chapter 2 of the encyclical, “A Stranger on the Road,” which is Pope Francis’ reflections on the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). I related, then, how he invites us to consider the characters in the parable – the robbers,

the victim, the passers-by, and the Samaritan – and to imagine ourselves in the story. And, he asks us to ponder, “Which of these persons [in the parable] do you identify with? Which of these characters do you resemble?” (#64) While we may at times relate to the other figures in the story, out of human weakness and sin, our Holy Father states that the “only course” for Christ’s followers “is to imitate the Good Samaritan” – i.e., to “identify with the vulnerability of others,” to “reject exclusion … and act instead as neighbors,” and to “lift up the fallen” (#67). As I write this article in mid-November, our country has gone through a tumultuous time of division and discord leading up to the elections. And, the post-election trauma continues. How can the Church, in these difficult days, be a force for healing and hope in our country, and in our world? This leads me to the second part of the chapter… Starting Anew

Pope Francis reminds us that, even in challenging times such as these, “Each day offers us a new opportunity, a new possibility.” We have the possibility with each new day to choose again the path of the Good Samaritan, and to “bear the pain of other people’s troubles rather than fomenting greater hatred and resentment.” Faced with “the mentality of the violent, the blindly ambitious, those who spread mistrust and lies,” we will be “constant and tireless in the effort to include, integrate and lift up the fallen” (#77). While some may “view politics or the economy as an arena for their own power plays,” we as imitators of the Good Samaritan will, rather, “foster what is good and place ourselves at its service.” We can choose to “renounce the pettiness and resentment of useless in-fighting and constant confrontation.” Starting “from below … at the most concrete and local levels,” our efforts to embody “the same fraternal spirit of care and closeness that marked the Good Samaritan” will move outward and “expand to the farthest reaches of our countries and our world” (#78). This work to bind up the wounds of the suffering and to renew “our troubled societies” can begin in each of our individual lives, as disciples, and be strengthened and broadened through the shared witness and united efforts of our communities of faith. And, this is a witness that we, as modern-day “good Samaritans,” have a “new opportunity” and a “new possibility” to offer to our world “each day.” Neighbors Without Borders

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One of the underlying dynamics of the Parable of the Good Samaritan is the relationship between the wounded man on the side of the road, a Jew, and the one who stops to care for him, a Samaritan. In the time of Jesus, Jews and Samaritans were on hostile terms, and Samaritans were looked down upon by the

Todd Graff

Director of Lay Formation & RCIA

Jews who considered them “impure” and to be avoided. But, the Samaritan refuses to be locked into this perspective of exclusion and difference. He breaks down the barrier of only offering assistance to the “neighbor” of one’s own social group, and by his actions shows himself to be a “neighbor” to “the wounded Judean.” So, likewise, we are called to be “neighbor” to anyone who needs our attention and our care. As the Pope writes, “[Jesus] challenges us to put aside all differences and, in the face of suffering, to draw near to others with no questions asked. I should no longer say that I have neighbors to help, but that I must myself be a neighbor to others.” (#81) “[T]his encounter of mercy between a Samaritan and a Jew … gives a universal dimension to our call to love, one that transcends all prejudices, all historical and cultural barriers, all petty interests.” (#83) The Plea of the Stranger

In this final section of the chapter, Pope Francis begins by noting Jesus’ words in a different gospel passage. In Matthew 25:35, Jesus says: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” In opening our hearts to the difficulties and suffering of others, “we come to experience [them] as our ‘own flesh’ (Isaiah 58:7).” And, for Christians, this experience has an even deeper and more profound meaning as we are compelled “to recognize Christ himself in each of our abandoned or excluded brothers and sisters (cf. Matthew 25:40, 45).” The wounded stranger on the side of the road, in the parable, becomes in the words of Saint Teresa of Calcutta, “Christ in His most distressing disguise.” And, we who encounter this stranger – the one who is “hungry,” “thirsty,” “naked,” “ill,” or “in prison” – are to recognize him as Christ, and to be His “good Samaritan.” I am convinced that this brief parable of one person’s love and care for another who is wounded and vulnerable, so beautifully reflected upon by Pope Francis in this encyclical, carries the truth that our world desperately needs to see and to hear from us who recognize it as sacred. The Samaritan was simply, “the one who showed him mercy.” And, so, let us “go, and do likewise.” Deo Gratias!

Still, there are those who appear to feel encouraged or at least permitted by their faith to support varieties of narrow and violent nationalism, xenophobia and contempt, and even the mistreatment of those who are different. Faith, and the humanism it inspires must maintain a critical sense in the face of these tendencies, and prompt an immediate response whenever they rear their head. For this reason it is important that catechesis and preaching speak more directly and clearly about the social meaning of existence, the fraternal dimension of spirituality, our conviction of the inalienable dignity of each person, and our reasons for loving and accepting all our brothers and sisters. -Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, #86

Pope: Catholics with Disabilities Must Have Access to Sacraments, Parish Life Director of Missionary Discipleship


VATICAN CITY, Dec. 3, 2020 (CNA) - People with disabilities must have access to the sacraments and, as missionary disciples, the ability to be full and active participants in the life of their Catholic parish, Pope Francis said Thursday. “Before all else, I strongly reaffirm the right of persons with disabilities to receive the sacraments, like all other members of the Church,” he said in a message for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities Dec. 3. “All liturgical celebrations in the parish should be accessible” to the disabled, he continued, “so that, together with their brothers and sisters, each of them can deepen, celebrate, and live their faith.” “I reiterate the need to make available suitable and accessible means for handing on the faith,” he

30 Days of Prayer

Do you want to join many across the diocese in a new year's resolution that will make 2021 better than 2020? The 30 Days of Prayer Challenge begins January 1! Together we will be practicing 15 minutes of Lectio Divina (sacred reading) through the Gospel of Luke, every day for one month. It's cold, it's been a hard year, and it has to get better--and will if we commit to daily prayer. Come join us! The booklet is available for download at: missionary-discipleship/resources.html Print copies may be available; contact Susan Windley-Daoust (

Conversion, cont'd from pg. 1

the desire to free yourself from them, the intention to exclude them from your life forever. To exclude sin it is also necessary to reject everything that is linked to it, the things that are linked to sin, that is, one must reject the worldly mentality, excessive esteem for comforts, excessive esteem for pleasure, wellbeing, wealth,” he said. The second hallmark of conversion, the pope said, is the search for God and his Kingdom. Detachment from comforts and worldliness is not an end in itself, he explained, “but is aimed at obtaining something greater, namely, the Kingdom of God, communion with God, friendship with God.” He observed that it is hard to break the bonds of

said. “No one should be excluded from the grace of these sacraments.” Francis emphasized that, by virtue of their baptism, disabled people are called to missionary discipleship just as much as every other baptized person. He encouraged parishes to include them not only as “recipients” of pastoral ministry, but also as “active subjects.” “All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization,” he said, quoting his 2013 apostolic exhortation “Evangelii gaudium.” He also urged that special attention be paid to those who have not yet received the sacraments of Christian initiation, saying “they should be welcomed and included in programmes of catechesis in preparation for these sacraments.” Though it takes effort to fully include everyone, according to their own gifts and talents, he said “the active participation of people with disabilities in the work of catechesis can greatly enrich the life of the whole parish.” “Precisely because they have been grafted onto Christ in baptism,” Francis wrote, “they share with him, in their own particular way, the priestly, prophetic, and royal mission of evangelizing through, with and in the Church.” sin. He cited “inconstancy, discouragement, malice, unwholesome environments,” and “bad examples” as obstacles to our freedom. “At times the yearning we feel toward the Lord is too weak and it almost seems that God is silent; his promises of consolation seem far away and unreal to us,” he noted. He continued: “And so one is tempted to say that it is impossible to truly convert. How often we have heard this discouragement! ‘No, I can’t do it. I barely start and then I turn back.’ And this is bad. But it is possible. It is possible.” He concluded: “May Mary Most Holy, whom we will celebrate the day after tomorrow as the Immaculate, help us to separate ourselves more and more from sin and worldliness, in order to open ourselves to God, to His Word, to his love which restores and saves.” After reciting the Angelus, the pope praised pilgrims for joining him in St. Peter’s Square despite the

He added that he hoped that resources for catechesis would be made available cost-free to those who need them, also by utilizing technology, which has become even more important during the pandemic. Pope Francis said that he also wanted priests, seminarians, religious, catechists, and pastoral workers to receive regular training about disability and inclusion. “I trust that, in parish communities, more and more people with disabilities can become catechists, in order to pass on the faith effectively, also by their own witness, he said. “Parish communities should be concerned to encourage among the faithful a welcoming attitude towards people with disabilities,” he explained. “Creating a fully accessible parish requires not only the removal of architectural barriers, but above all, helping parishioners to develop attitudes and acts of solidarity and service towards persons with disabilities and their families. Our aim should be to speak no longer about ‘them,’ but rather about ‘us.’” The theme of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “Building Back Better: Toward a Disability-inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable post-COVID-19 World.” Pope Francis said “it is important on this Day, to promote a culture of life that constantly affirms the dignity of every person and works especially to defend men and women with disabilities, of all ages and social conditions.” Referring to the parable of the houses built on rock and sand, he said “inclusion should be the first ‘rock’ on which to build our house.” In society, “inclusion should be the ‘rock’ on which to build programmes and initiatives of civil institutions meant to ensure that no one, especially those in greatest difficulty, is left behind,” he said.

Missionary Discipleship

Susan Windley-Daoust


driving rain. “As you can see, the Christmas tree has been erected in the square and the nativity scene is being set up,” he said, referring to a tree donated to the Vatican by the city of Koevje in southeast Slovenia. The tree, a Norway spruce that is almost 92 feet tall, will be lit up on Dec. 11. The pope said: “These days even in many homes these two Christmas signs are prepared, for the joy of children … and even adults! They are signs of hope, especially in this difficult time.” He added: “Let us not stop at the sign, but go to the meaning, that is, to Jesus, to the love of God that he has revealed to us, to go to the infinite goodness that he has made shine on the world.” “There is no pandemic, there is no crisis, that can extinguish this light. Let us allow it to enter our heart, and let us lend a hand to those who need it most. In this way God will be born anew in us and among us.”

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Catholic Foundation


Seminarian Education Fund

Benefits Diocese of Winona-Rochester Seminarians Please read the following letter by BISHOP JOHN M. QUINN regarding the Seminarian Education Fund, which serves our diocese by covering costs associated with the education of our future priests. Please send any donations for this important fund to: Catholic Foundation of Southern Minnesota PO Box 30098 Winona, MN 55987 Make checks payable to Seminarian Education Fund. To donate online, visit www. and click "donate." To discuss recurring payments, or for more information on the Seminarian Education Fund, please call 507-8581275. Thank you!

�ear Courier Reader,

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Due to your prayers and sacrifices, I am happy to share with you that the Diocese of Winona-Rochester has nineteen young men studying in various stages of priestly education and formation. Eight of them are currently enrolled at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, six attend Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, two are on a Pastoral Year at parishes in our diocese, and three are participating in programs sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, called Journey or Regency Years. The Diocese of Winona-Rochester Seminarian Education Fund was created to assist covering the expenses of the men attending seminary and discerning a life of priestly service to the parishes and faithful across southern Minnesota. As the cost of all education has risen dramatically in recent years, so too has the cost of seminarian education and forma-

Monica Herman

Executive Director Catholic Foundation of Southern Minnesota

tion. Higher education costs covered by the diocese have reached more than $300,000 every year. The Seminarian Education Fund covers a portion of the cost of room and board for Juniors, Seniors and PreTheology seminarians attending Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary and all the educational expenses of those who go on to attend Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. The Diocese of Winona-Rochester is committed to providing for the pastoral and sacramental needs of parish communities by encouraging and supporting men interested in serving the Church as priests. Would you be willing to make an investment in the future of the diocese by helping support the men who will bring the sacraments, priestly presence and spiritual guidance to you, your children and your grandchildren? Thank you for your prayers and support for our seminarians, and for your generosity in contributing financially to their education and formation. More than ever we need faithful priests with a dedication to their vocation and to the people in their care. Please pray for them as they continue their formation and education. Blessed are you! Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend John M. Quinn Bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester

The 2020 Appeal ends on December 31!

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The Doors Are Open

Catholic Schools


at St. Felix School, Wabasha


Marsha Stenzel

Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Sacred Heart School, Adams, Enjoys Outdoor Learning Space

s we wrap up our first half of the school year, I recently walked through the halls and past the classrooms at St. Felix Catholic School. It was a great joy to see the different interactions taking place. One of the best parts of my day is being able to see the kids interact with each other, laugh together and learn side-by-side. When we returned to school this fall, we were faced with a lot of uncertainty and thoughts of what the school year would look like. Overall, I would have to say that our little school in Wabasha is handling the ups and downs of COVID-19 the best we can. We are making sure that the health and safety of our staff and students remain a priority in our school. With teamwork and communication from our parents and staff, it has been possible to keep our doors open. During these challenging times, God has blessed us at St. Felix Catholic School. Our enrollment jumped from 80 students last year to 94 students this year. We have a waiting list for our pre-school

Cotter Schools'

and pre-kindergarten class. Funding from various grants has helped us install a key fob system to our school and gym. With this system, faculty and staff are only accessing one surface. And, in the instance of a potential positive COVID case, we can easily track all those who’ve entered the building. We’ve also purchased a large outdoor shed, more playground equipment, and extra computers to aid in online learning. Carpet has been replaced with vinyl in several classrooms to ensure easier and more comprehensive cleaning. Lastly, our school library is moving to an electronic card catalog to eliminate use of shared surfaces and materials. Even though these times are tough and challenging, our God is always there looking out for us and guiding us in the right direction. We have faith in him as we pray for strength and energy to face the struggles and challenges ahead. We are so grateful for the wonderful support from our parishioners and people like you, May God bless you! Eric Sonnek is the principal of St. Felix School in Wabasha.

Ramblers of the Month

Submitted by DARLENE BOE

hroughout the fall, Sacred Heart School used outdoor space with social distancing for classrooms due to COVID-19. “Outdoor education and play support emotional, behavioral and intellectual development. Studies have shown that students who learn outdoors develop: a sense of self, independence, confidence, creativity, decision-making and problem-solving skills, and empathy towards others, motor skills, selfdiscipline and initiative.” Students used camp chairs, homemade sitting pads, the school parking lot, playground area, sacred space, sat under a tent and the trees for shade. Learning outside encourages the holistic development of children. Teachers and students adapted well to this outdoor learning environment, the one that God created for all of us to use. Sacred Heart School believes in the sanctity of human life and is working to best protect the mind, body and souls of our school community. Sacred Heart School will do all that we can to provide a safe, healthy and spiritual learning environment for everyone. Darlene Boe is the principal of Sacred Heart School in Adams.

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The History of the Peter Martin

Director of Faith Formation and Life, Marriage & Family


The following article previously appeared online at

�t. Francis of Assisi established the first Nativity

scene in 1223 in Grecio, a small town in Italy. As he was preparing for Christmas Eve Mass, St. Francis was trying to think of a way to remind people that Jesus came not as a wealthy king but as a poor child born among animals. So he wrote to Pope Honorius III and obtained permission to create a living Nativity scene. In a cave near town, Francis set up an altar. He brought in a manger filled with hay as well as a live ox and a donkey. He invited the townspeople to come, and he preached about the humble beginnings of the Christ Child. The idea of re-creating Jesus’ birth was very popular. Churches in Italy created displays made out of terra cotta. In the middle of the 1500s, families began to put up Nativity scenes in their homes. And living Nativity scenes like the one that St. Francis started centuries ago remain popular to this day. Who Was There?

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke describe Jesus’ birth. Mary, Jesus’ mother, and Joseph came to Bethlehem together with their donkey right before Jesus was born. When there was no room at any of the inns for them to stay, they ended up in a stable where animals were kept. So the Nativity scene includes Mary, Joseph, Jesus and the animals in a stable, as well as a manger, or trough, where Baby Jesus slept.

Life, Marriage & Family

Nativity Scene


In Luke, we learn about the angel who brought the shepherds “good news of great joy” (Lk 2:10, NRSV) when Jesus was born, so we include the shepherds and the angel in our Nativity scene. And in Matthew, Chapter 2, we read about the Wise Men, or Magi, who came to visit Jesus, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. So we add the Wise Men to our Nativity scene as well.

In Latin countries such as Mexico and Guatemala, families remember the Nativity story with a celebration called Las Posadas. It takes place over the nine nights before Christmas, representing the nine months when Mary was expecting Baby Jesus. The festivities include prayer, Christmas carols and reenactments of Mary and Joseph’s search for a posada — a hotel or inn. Before the 1600s in England, families baked a mince pie in the shape of a manger, and Baby Jesus was placed on the pie until dinnertime. This is why mincemeat pies are often a part of Christmas celebrations today. After the French Revolution ended in 1799, the creators of Nativity sets in France began to add ordinary people to the scenes, including bakers, farmers and carpenters. They wanted to help everyone picture themselves receiving the Christ Child.

• You can set up the shepherds a bit away from the crèche, since they were taking care of their sheep until the angel came and told them the good news. Allow your children to move the shepherds around each day, just as the shepherds would have moved in the fields. You can even put the three Wise Men further still and allow your children to move them a bit closer to the Nativity scene every day until Christmas. Ask your children to describe what the shepherds and Magi are doing each day.

Celebrating the Nativity Around the World

Manger Moments

Advent begins on Sunday, Nov. 29. This is a great day to set up your family’s Nativity scene. As you place each piece in the crèche, talk about what that person or animal might have been thinking or experiencing on that holy night when Jesus was born.

You could follow the German tradition of waiting to put Baby Jesus in the manger until Christmas Eve. Until that time, kids can help create a soft bed for Jesus by putting a piece of hay or golden yarn in the manger each time they do a good deed. Talk about those good deeds each night at dinner.

• With your children, write a greeting to Baby Jesus from each person in the Nativity scene. Share them aloud on Christmas Eve.

• Let your children become the Wise Men. Help them choose simple new baby items at the store and, amid the gift-opening frenzy of Christmas Day, have your kids place the items at the manger. Afterward, donate the items to a women’s shelter or children’s shelter in your area.

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Youth & Young Adults


Teen Martyr Beatified in Spain Aaron Lofy

Director of Youth & Young Adults,

Credit: CNA


ROME, Nov. 8, 2020 (CNA).- A 19-year-old Spanish martyr who gave his life while protecting the Eucharist was beatified Saturday at a Mass in the Sagrada Família Basilica in Barcelona. “Yesterday in Barcelona Joan Roig Diggle, a lay man and martyr killed at the age of 19 during the Spanish Civil War, was proclaimed Blessed,” Pope Francis said in his Angelus address Nov. 8. “May his example arouse in everyone, especially the young, the desire to live the Christian vocation to the full,” the pope said. Blessed Joan Roig Diggle was killed “in hatred of the faith” in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. The young man was known for his devotion to the Eucharist at a time when churches in Barcelona were being closed, burned, or destroyed, so a priest entrusted Joan Roig with a ciborium containing the Blessed Sacrament to distribute Holy Communion to those most in need in their homes as it was not possible to attend Mass. During one of these visits, Joan Roig told a family that he knew that red militiamen were trying to kill him. “I fear nothing, I take the Master with me,” he said. When those seeking his life knocked on his door, the young man consumed the hosts he had been guarding to protect them from potential desecration. The Libertarian Youth patrol then took him to the Santa Coloma cemetery where he was killed on Sept.

Vatican Dicastery Urges Youngsters to Share Wisdom of Elderly People Facing Christmas Alone

VATICAN CITY, Nov. 27, 2020 (CNA) - A Vatican dicastery launched a new campaign Friday urging young people to share wisdom gleaned from the elderly facing Christmas alone because of the pandemic. December 2020 w The Courier w

11, 1936 with five shots to the heart and one to the head. Blessed Joan Roig’s last words were: “May God forgive you as I forgive you.” At Joan Roig’s beatification on Nov. 7, Cardinal Juan José Omella, archbishop of Barcelona, said in his homily that the young man was an “ardent defender of the Social Doctrine of the Church” and provides youth today with a “testimony of love for Christ and for his brothers.” The apostolic nuncio in Spain, Bishop Bernardito Auza, and the archbishop emeritus of Barcelona, Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach, concelebrated the Mass, which took place with a limited attendance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Joan was born in Barcelona on May 12, 1917. His father was Ramón Roig Fuente and his mother, Maud Diggle Puckering, was from England. He studied in schools run by De La Salle Brothers and the Piarist Fathers. His family experienced economic difficulties, so Joan worked to help cover expenses while he was pursuing his studies. Among his teachers were Fr. Ignacio Casanovas and Blessed Francisco Carceller, who would also go on to become martyrs. His family moved to Masnou and the young man joined the Federation of Young Christians of Catalonia (FJCC), created in 1932 by Albert Bonet and which had 8,000 members before the Spanish Civil War. He wrote about social issues in the FJCC newsletter

In a press statement released Nov. 27, the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life said that Christmas presented youngsters with the chance to “receive a special gift” from elderly people. “Today, in the difficult circumstances of a Christmas still overshadowed by the pandemic, we are proposing that young people post on social media a memory, a piece of advice, or a ‘gift of wisdom’ they have received from one of the elderly people with whom they have formed a bond in recent months,” the dicastery said. The Vatican department, which was formed in 2016 from a merger of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family, said it had decided to launch the new campaign following the success of a similar initiative in July. The dicastery invited young people all over the world “to do something that shows kindness and affection for older people who may feel lonely,” after Pope Francis urged Catholics to “send a hug” to the

and was appointed to lead the catechesis of children between 10 and 14 years old. “When he came to Masnou no one knew him, but his piety and ardent love for the Eucharist soon became evident. He spent hours before the Blessed Sacrament without realizing it. His example converted more than his words,” the president of the FJCC youth branch wrote in 1936. Fr. José Gili Doria, the vicar of Masnou, wrote in 1936: “One day Joan said to me: 'I normally dedicate at least two hours a day to spiritual life: Mass, communion, meditation and visit to the Blessed Sacrament; it is little, but my work and the apostolate do not give me more.” In July 1936, Joan told some of his fellow members of the FJCC they should all be preparing to receive martyrdom with grace and courage, as did the first Christians. In the intense persecution that followed, it is estimated that some 300 young people from this organization were killed in Catalonia, including some 40 priests. The headquarters of the FJCC was burned. Joan's mother said that in those days her son "was relieving sorrows, encouraging the timid, visiting the wounded, searching hospitals daily among the dead to find out which of his own had been killed." "Every night, at the foot of the bed, with the crucifix clasped in his hands, he implored for some clemency, for others forgiveness, and for all mercy and strength,” she said. Cardinal Omella said: “Joan teaches us that all Christians are called to live our faith in community. No one builds his own faith alone, the Christian faith is essentially communal.” Blessed Joan Roig Diggle is currently buried in a side chapel at the parish of St. Peter in El Masnou in Barcelona. “He can be a model of Christian life for young people and adults in our society, his testimony can arouse the desire to follow Christ with joy and generosity. The deep friendship with God, prayer, the Eucharistic life and the apostolic ardor of the young blessed unites us to Christ and his Gospel,” the cardinal said.

elderly who had not seen their loved ones for months. It said: “Following the success of our campaign, ‘The elderly are your grandparents,’ in which we collected virtual hugs sent by many young people to both their own grandparents and to ‘adopted grandparents,’ the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life now invites boys and girls from all over the world to send a message to the elderly and to receive in return the gift of their wisdom.” The dicastery encouraged participants in the new campaign to use the social media hashtag #aGiftOfWisdom and said it would promote the best posts on its Twitter account, @laityfamilylife. “Unfortunately, in many cases, because of the health regulations in force, visiting can only take place remotely, via telephone, video calls, and messaging. But it is possible to participate in this campaign by posting the wise words of grandparents and the elderly on social media using the hashtag #aGiftOfWisdom,” the dicastery said.

Isn't It a Wonder... ...what a diaper can do! The women of Christ the King Parish in Byron got together and cut out 1,000 cotton diapers for use in the Haiti missions. A zip-lock bag contains ten diapers and sewing instructions. If you sew, we could use your talent. ...what a razor blade can do! Imagine a baby brought into the world without sanitary supplies or conditions. Caroline Goergen, Austin Area International Commissioner presented a “Birthing Kit” to those in attendance at the October Area meeting in Johnsburg.

...what a box can do! Not just any box, but a Box of Joy, supplied by Cross Catholic Outreach. St. Patrick Parish in LeRoy filled 80 boxes. Over 250 were sent from our diocese alone. You can put 24 items in a Box of Joy plus a photograph and a message if you so choose. Imagine the joy on a child’s face when they open their box for Christmas.

...what a gift card can do! The USCCB asked the National Council of Catholic Women to support their “Walking With Moms” initiative to help mothers in crisis. By giving gift cards to Crisis Pregnancy Centers and Women Shelters we offer a helping hand to mothers seeking the best for their children. ...what a doctor can do! Not just any doctor - the four women Doctors of the Church: St. Hildegard of Bingen, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Therese of Lisieux. Do you know them? You will find wonderful reflections by these women in the NCCW’S Centennial Prayer Service.

...what a “Yes” can do! The Blessed Virgin Mary changed the world with her response to Gabriel. Each day, Catholic women enrich the world with their prayerfilled and active response to conditions in their family, parish, community, and world. By the time you read this issue of the Courier, we hope to have our website up and running. How is that possible? Because Bridget said “yes” to our call for help. The Diocesan Council of Catholic Women extends to you its best wishes for a holy Advent and a Christmas of joy. Isn’t it a wonder… what love can do!

Jeanette Fortier is the president of the Winona-Rochester Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. For more information on anything you've read here, please contact Jeanette at 507-289-6204 or

Obituaries Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota Celebrates

Submitted by LORI BRENNAN

�beenaintrecognized Elizabeth of Hungary has long as the patron

of Catholic Charities, as we are modeled after Elizabeth’s life, which embodied the principles of Catholic social teachings. Almost 187 years ago, Saint Elizabeth was canonized by Pope Gregory IX for her unending efforts to embrace the impoverished and help them any way she could. Catholics now celebrate Saint Elizabeth on November 17. Although Elizabeth was born into a life of nobility, she is known for her loving desire to feed the poor, pay their debts, and share her royal clothes and provisions to those in need despite the wishes of her royal family and husband, King Ludwig of Thuringia (Germany). Due to a widespread famine in Germany in 1225, Elizabeth used grain and food of Wartburg Castle along with donations she collected from selling her personal jewels and royal garments

in order to help feed the local people who were starving. We at Catholic Charities are proud our mission is built upon that same desire to help those in need and are grateful to all of you who help us meet our mission through your generous support. Your contributions are continuously at work in an effort to help those in need throughout southern Minnesota. You can still take advantage of tax implications for 2020 through your generous donation through December 31, 2020. Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota P.O. Box 379 Winona, MN 55987 Blessings to all for a healthy and hopeful 2021!

Lori Brennan is the development director for Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota.


In the Diocese


How amazing that the items we take for granted are so needed by women of other countries.

Sister Josetta Marie Spencer, SSND, 81, professed in 1959, died November 6, 2020, in Notre Dame Health Care, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Mankato. Originally a member of the St. Louis, MO, SSND Province, she professed first vows in 1959, and ministered in various locations in Missouri, New Mexico, California and Iowa. In 1993 she was appointed the coordinator of catechesis for the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, and then, in 1999, she became a pastoral minister at St. Luke’s Parish (now St. Thomas More) in St. Paul, as well as an adjunct faculty member at the St. Paul Seminary, School of Divinity. She transferred membership to the Mankato SSND Province in 2004. Beginning in 2009, she served on the tutorial staff of the East Side Learning Center in St. Paul, until health issues caused her to stop in 2011. Her final years were spent as a resident of Notre Dame Health Care in Mankato. She is survived by her sister, Barbara Sheeran, and her brother, Robert, and their families; her good friend and community member Sister Lynette Friesen; her colleagues and former students; and her sisters in community, the School Sisters of Notre Dame and SSND Associates. She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Ruth (Burch) Spencer. Her November 12 Funeral Liturgy was postponed indefinitely because of an upsurge in virus cases in the Mankato area. A private burial was held instead on November 12.

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St. Joseph, cont'd from pg. 1

that many people had made hidden sacrifices during the crisis in order to protect others. “Each of us can discover in Joseph -- the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence -- an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble,” he wrote. “St. Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.” Pope Pius IX proclaimed St. Joseph patron of the Universal Church on Dec. 8, 1870, in the decree Quemadmodum Deus. In its decree Tuesday, the Apostolic Penitentiary said that, “to reaffirm the universality of St. Joseph's patronage in the Church,” it would grant a plenary indulgence to Catholics who recite any approved prayer or act of piety in honor of St. Joseph, especially on March 19, the saint’s solemnity, and May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Other notable days for the plenary indulgence are the Feast of the Holy Family on Dec. 29 and St. Joseph’s Sunday in the Byzantine tradition, as well as the 19th of each month and every Wednesday, a day dedicated to the saint in the Latin tradition. The decree said: “In the current context of health emergency, the gift of the plenary indulgence is particularly extended to the elderly, the sick, the dying and all those who for legitimate reasons are unable to leave the house, who, with a soul detached from any sin and with the intention of fulfilling, as soon as possible, the three usual conditions, in their own home or where the impediment keeps them, recite an act of piety in honor of St. Joseph, comfort of the sick and patron of a happy death, offering with trust in God the pains and discomforts of their life.” The three conditions for receiving a plenary indulgence are sacramental confession, the reception of Holy Communion and prayer for the pope's intentions. In his apostolic letter, Pope Francis reflected on the fatherly qualities of St. Joseph, describing him as beloved, tender and loving, obedient, accepting, and “creatively courageous.” He also underlined that he was a working father. The pope referred to the saint as “a father in the shadows,” citing the novel “The Shadow of the Father,” published by the Polish author Jan Dobraczyski in 1977. He said that Dobraczyski, who was declared Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1993 for protecting Jewish children in Warsaw in World War II, “uses the evocative image of a shadow to define Joseph.” “In his relationship to Jesus, Joseph was the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father: he watched over him and protected him, never leaving him to go his own way,” the pope wrote. Francis said that the contemporary world required examples of true fatherhood. “Our world today needs fathers. It has no use for tyrants who would domineer others as a means of compensating for their own needs,” he wrote. “It rejects those who confuse authority with authoritarianism, service with servility, discussion with oppression, charity with a welfare mentality, power with destruction.” “Every true vocation is born of the gift of oneself, which is the fruit of mature sacrifice. The priesthood and consecrated life likewise require this kind of maturity. Whatever our vocation, whether to marriage, celibacy or virginity, our

December 2020 gift of self will not come to fulfillment if it stops at sacrifice; were that the case, instead of becoming a sign of the beauty and joy of love, the gift of self would risk being an expression of unhappiness, sadness and frustration.” He continued: “When fathers refuse to live the lives of their children for them, new and unexpected vistas open up. Every child is the bearer of a unique mystery that can only be brought to light with the help of a father who respects that child’s freedom. A father who realizes that he is most a father and educator at the point when he becomes ‘useless,’ when he sees that his child has become independent and can walk the paths of life unaccompanied. When he becomes like Joseph, who always knew that his child was not his own but had merely been entrusted to his care.” The pope added: “In every exercise of our fatherhood, we should always keep in mind that it has nothing to do with possession, but is rather a ‘sign’ pointing to a greater fatherhood. In a way, we are all like Joseph: a shadow of the heavenly Father, who ‘makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust’ (Matthew 5:45). And a shadow that follows his Son.” Pope Francis has promoted devotion to St. Joseph throughout his pontificate. He began his petrine ministry on March 19, 2013, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, and dedicated the homily at his inauguration Mass to the saint. “In the Gospels, St. Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love,” he said. His coat of arms features a spikenard, which is associated with St. Joseph in Hispanic iconographic tradition. On May 1, 2013, the pope authorized a decree instructing that St. Joseph’s name be inserted into Eucharistic Prayers II, III, and IV. During an apostolic visit to the Philippines in 2015, the pope explained why he kept an image of the saint on his desk. “I would also like to tell you something very personal,” he said. “I have great love for St. Joseph, because he is a man of silence and strength.” “On my table I have an image of St. Joseph sleeping. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the Church! Yes! We know that he can do that. So when I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note and I put it underneath St. Joseph, so that he can dream about it! In other words I tell him: pray for this problem!” At his general audience on March 18 this year, he urged Catholics to turn to St. Joseph in times of adversity. “In life, at work and within the family, through joys and sorrows, he always sought and loved the Lord, deserving the Scriptures’ eulogy that described him as a just and wise man,” he said. “Always invoke him, especially in difficult times and entrust your life to this great saint.” The pope concluded his new apostolic letter by urging Catholics to pray to St. Joseph for “the grace of graces: our conversion.” He ended the text with a prayer: “Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To you God entrusted his only Son; in you Mary placed her trust; with you Christ became man. Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life. Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage, and defend us from every evil. Amen.”

• The Courier

The Televised Mass Is Offered Every Sunday Sioux Falls - KTTW Channel 7 at 7 a.m. Sioux City - KPTH Channel 44 at 8:30 a.m. Mankato - KEYC Channel 12 at 7:30 a.m. Digital Channel 12.2 or Charter Channel 19 NEYC at 9:30 a.m. Digital Channel 7 (DirecTV) or Channel 11 (DISH) KMNF at 9 a.m. Rochester/Austin/Mason City KIMT Channel 3 at 7:30 a.m. MyTV 3.2 at 9 a.m. NEW Twin Cities - WFTC Digital Channel 29 or Channel 9.2 at 11:30 a.m. Southeastern MN - HBC Channel 20 at 3 p.m. (repeated Wed. at 3:30 p.m.) Winona/La Crosse/Eau Claire - WLAX/WEUX Channel 25/48 at 7:30 a.m. and on our website, (click "Weekly Mass")

Rochester's Lumen Christi Prayer Group Presents Life in the Spirit Would you like to deepen your relationship with the Holy Spirit?

Would you like to learn about and identify the Gifts of the Holy Spirit that you have been given?

Join us for a (free) Life In The Spirit seminar, using The Wild Goose series by Father Dave Pivonka, starting Wednesday, January 6, and ending Wednesday, February 17. We will meet online via Zoom at 7:00 p.m. Zoom login information will be sent upon registration. Contact Joshua for more information and to register: (218) 349-9660 or

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