A Note from our Pastor
A NOTE FROM OUR PASTOR
My dear family of St. Matthew!
On the feast of Our Lady of Knock, Saturday, August 21, 2021, 17 of us made our Consecration to St. Joseph after the 33-day time of preparation, praise the Lord!!! It was a beautiful adventure of discovery into the quiet and somewhat hidden life of St. Joseph, whom God called to serve as Husband of Mary and Foster Father to Jesus, Her Son. What a marvelous gift St. Joseph is to the Church and to each one of us! After the 8am Mass, we concluded the prayers for Day 33 of the consecration and together, with our Eucharistic Lord Jesus in our hearts, asked and pledged ourselves to St. Joseph as our spiritual father, as he served, protected, and cared for Jesus and His Mother Mary. The picture to the right of the 17 of us is also the beginning of a spiritual union we dubbed “St. Matthew’s Sons and Daughters of St. Joseph.” We pledged to remember St. Joseph, especially on Wednesdays, and to depend on his intercession and seek his help not only for ourselves but for family, friends, neighbors, and everyone whom God places in our paths.
Part of our 33-day preparation involved a day-pilgrimage up to De Pere, Wisconsin, to pray and celebrate the Eucharist at the National Shrine of St. Joseph, which has been established since 1888 as a shrine, and was designated by Pope Leo XIII as the National Shrine in 1892. The Shrine’s historic Statue of St. Joseph (see below) was solemnly crowned by the Most Rev. Sebastian Messmer, 4th Bishop of Green Bay, in 1892. Since 1888, a weekly Perpetual Novena in honor of St. Joseph has been prayed every Wednesday at the Shrine as well as an annual Solemn Novena leading to the Solemnity of St. Joseph (March 19) from March 10-19.
Only half an hour away from St. Joseph’s national shrine is also the first and only Catholic Shrine in the United States with a Church-approved Marian Apparition Site, called Our Lady of Good Help in beautiful, rural, farmland of Champion, Wisconsin. This shrine of Our Lady of Good Help covers the peace-filled holy ground deemed ‘worthy of belief’ by authority of the Catholic Church, that Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared. Identifying herself as ‘The Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners,’ Mary appeared in October, 1859, to a Belgian immigrant woman, Adele Brise, on the grounds of Champion Shrine, when the town was known as Robinsonville. Adele was instructed, in a series of locutions by Our Lady, to “make a general confession, pray and offer communion for the conversion of sinners and to gather the children in the wild country to teach them what they needed to know for their salvation.” She further instructed Adele, to “teach the children their catechism,” how to “make the sign of the cross” and how to “approach the sacraments.” Mary ended by saying: “That is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing, I will help you.” These locutions by Our Lady of Good Help became the foundation of a life-long legacy of catechetical mission work by Adele with local families. She traveled on foot in a 50-mile radius around
the present-day Shrine to teach and instruct as she was told by Mary. Adele’s father later built a chapel on the apparition site where she also began her teaching work. To the right is a beautiful statue depicting the way Adele described seeing Mother Mary appear to her when She spoke with her.
The authenticity of this apparition was further strengthened when in the Midwestern drought year of 1871, which saw the terrible Chicago fire and in Wisconsin, the horrible Peshtigo fire, those who sought help at the shrine and prayed for Mary’s help received it! Local families who had been involved with Adele Brise as part of her mission work in catechesis traveled during the fire to the chapel on the Shrine’s grounds, many with babies, small children and farm animals, to pray the rosary. On their knees and in procession all night long, as the areas near the Shrine were reduced to ashes, those who gathered at the Shrine prayed the rosary, asking Our Lady of Good Help for her intercession with her Son, Jesus, to save them from the fire. Their prayers were answered when the rains came and extinguished the fire, preserving the chapel and Shrine grounds.
Today, the Mission at Champion Shrine follows Mary’s initial call to Adele Brise, that is, to continue the gospel mission of Jesus Christ by fostering conversion, teaching the children and ministering to the sick and old. What a beautiful call and summary of our call to be like Jesus through Mary and Joseph!
St. Joseph, most strong, Chaste Guardian of the Virgin and Diligent Protector of Christ, of your Spouse Mary and of the whole Church, pray for us!!!
Shalom and joy and good health in the living, loving, giving, caring and beautiful Hearts of Jesus and Mary and Joseph,