Welcome to the Office of Sacred Worship
Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin
for the Church year.
THE JOY OF
THE GOSPEL…AND THE JOY OF LIFE IN CHRIST
conclude the Year of Faith, Pope Francis has given the world
a message of joy, Evangelii Gaudium, “On the
Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World.” He opens:
“The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who
encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are
set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness.
With Christ joy is constantly born anew.”
you have this joy of encountering Jesus? Have you told
others about it? Ever wonder how this joy could increase?
Please join us for a profound experience of Christian
joy on May 16-17 at St. Mary Church in Marathon. This event
will feature a number of our fellow Catholics whose joy in
Christ is radiant. Featuring Real Life Catholic’s
Chris Stefanick, we will hear of the joy of knowing Christ in his Church,
consider our own relationship with Christ, and become
inspired to tell of this encounter to others. Please save
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RITE OF ELECTION RETREAT
In preparation for the Rite of Election and of the Call to
Continuing Conversion (March 9), many parishes (or groups of
parishes) offer retreats for their catechumens and
candidates. For those parishes that do not offer a retreat
in the parish, there will be five retreats open to
catechumens and candidates on the morning of Saturday, March
1: at St. John the Baptist in Marshfield, St. Peter Parish
in Stevens Point, St. Matthew Parish in Wausau, Notre Dame
Parish in Chippewa Falls, and the Shrine of Our Lady of
Guadalupe in La Crosse. Each will be led by a Deacon from
While the morning’s schedule will vary slightly from place
to place, each will begin around 8:00 and conclude with
lunch at noon. Contents will include:
Three spiritual talks on 1) the meaning of Lent as a time of
preparation for participating in the Paschal Mystery, 2) the
meaning of the Apostolic Church and the Church today (in
light of their meeting Bishop Callahan, a successor to the
apostles), and 3) participating in the Rite of Election,
focusing on the questions and prayers it contains.
Time for private prayer and reflection.
Mass and group prayer.
A registration form is found
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RITE OF ELECTION
The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion
will take place at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph the Workman
on Sunday, March 9, at three o’clock in the afternoon. It
will be celebrated both for the catechumens who are to
receive the Sacraments of Initiation this Easter and for the
candidates who are to be received into the full communion of
the Roman Catholic Church.
All catechumens and candidates for reception into full
communion—together with their families, sponsors, godparents
and catechists—are welcome and encouraged to attend the
celebration at the Cathedral on March 9.
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TEACHING TO THE RITES: THE RITE OF ELECTION AND OF THE
CALL TO CONTINUING CONVERSION
At the Rite of Election, Bishop Callahan will ask
catechumens if they “wish to enter fully into the life of
the Church through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation,
and the eucharist,” to which they respond “We do.” To
candidates for full communion, he recognizes their desire
“to have a place at Christ’s eucharist table” and asks them
to “hear the Lord’s call to conversion and be faithful to
[their] baptismal covenant,” and they respond, “Thanks be to
Too often, a participant’s response to the
celebrant’s question is rather underwhelming. Why?
Not, it should be presumed, because of any lack of internal
fervor or seriousness. It may be simply that the
participant has not thought about the question, or knew it
would be asked, or meditated on his response.
Helping catechumens and candidates make these
responses with intelligence, with confidence, and with faith
is called “teaching to the rites.”
Here is a handout designed both for leaders and
participants as they prepare to celebrate the Rite of
Election and of the Call to Continuing Conversion on March
9. Developed by the Office of Catechesis and
Evangelization, the resource draws principally from the
questions and prayers of the Rite itself, and then helps
guide participants to reflect upon them in the days leading
up to the Rite.
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RITES OF THE PERIOD OF PURIFICATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT
catechumens and candidates enter into the final period of
preparation into the full communion of the Catholic Church,
the RCIA provides a number of rites to assist them. “This
is a period of more intense spiritual preparation,
consisting more in interior reflection than in catechetical
instruction, and is intended to purify the minds and hearts
of the elect as they search their own consciences and do
penance. This period is intended as well to enlighten the
minds and hearts of the elect with a deeper knowledge of
Christ the Savior. The celebration of certain rites,
particularly the scrutinies and the presentations, brings
about this process of purification and enlightenment and
extends it over the course of the entire Lenten season” (RCIA,
A list and description of the various rites that belong to
the Period of
Purification and Enlightenment is available
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LITURGICAL CALENDAR FOR 2014
here for the 2014 Diocesan Liturgical Calendar
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TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, AND TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AHEAD...
On 1 July 1988 the Rite of
Christian Initiation of Adults may be published and used
in the liturgy. From 1 September 1988 the use of the
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is mandatory in
the dioceses of the United States of America. From that day
forward no other English version may be used.
With these words, our present Rite for
the Christian Initiation of Adults was promulgated in
the United States 25 years ago.
Evaluations of the RCIA—its
successes and failures in forming adults, its usefulness and
complexity to coordinators—are commonplace. Still, it’s
worth asking ourselves how well (or not so well) we
have been able to implement it in our local parishes.
What are the strengths of
our own particular programs? What needs improvement? What
has yet to be implemented? What might we add or change in
the year upon us?
Here are three
suggestions that might help each of us to evaluate and
improve our programs.
re-reading the introductions to each section in the RCIA
book (e.g., for the “Period of the Catechumenate,” nos.
75-80, or the “Sending of the Catechumens for Election,”
nos. 106-110). These sections contain not only instructions
for each period, but also the Church’s theological
presuppositions for each. Know
Second, have a look at
the ACM’s “Sample
questions that could be used to evaluate the parish RCIA
process.” A good, practical, and annual tool for
Third, Monsignor M.
Francis Mannion considers three approaches of the
catechumenate—Doctrinal-Apologetic, Personal-Subjective, and
the Sacramental—as well as the strengths and weakness of
each (see a summary
here). Which approach best characterizes your
RCIA process? Do you recognize the suggested strengths and
weakness? How, in light of this examination, might you make
Thank you for your work
in the RCIA—may the next year be filled with God’s
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GOD WAS HIS CLIENT-THE CATHEDRAL WAS HIS CHURCH
Learn more about the Cathedral of St.
Joseph the Workman and the man who created it.
Cincinnati architect Edward Schulte
designed the La Crosse Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman
at the peak of his career as a church architect of national
prominence. The designer of four cathedrals and over 80
churches across the nation, Schulte was recognized as the
leading American architect for Catholic churches in the
years from World War II to the early 1960s. With his
unreserved commitment to both modern inventiveness and a
deep sense of churchliness, he used traditional imagery,
texts, materials and allied arts integrated into buildings
recognizably of his age, making him a uniquely inventive and
successful figure in ecclesiastical circles.
On Saturday, October 6,
2012, Dr. Denis McNamara, Assistant Director of the
Liturgical Institute and today’s foremost expert on Edward
Schulte, discussed Schulte’s life and work, highlighting in
a special way the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman. Our
Cathedral—now celebrating its 50th
anniversary—stands as one of the most significant designs of
an architect of national prominence and plays a part in an
important, but little-known movement, in liturgical
presentation can be viewed
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RITE FOR DISTRIBUTING HOLY
here for the "Rite of Distributing Holy Communion
Outside Mass", updated in light of the translation of the
third edition of the
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THE MAKING OF A SAINT
All of Christian formation—including
and especially the RCIA—is designed to remake fallen men
and women into an image of Jesus Christ: to become a
saint, in other words. For this to happen, parents,
pastors, godparents, catechists, and RCIA directors must
know first of all who and what Jesus is, he who is the
model according to which those on the journey are remade.
What characterizes Jesus? What are those things
which identify and mark him? The tradition has come
to see three principal ways in which Jesus Christ—the one
divine Person in two complete natures—carried out his
saving work: his prophetic office, his priestly
office, and his kingly office. As prophet,
Jesus taught of divine things, showing in his very self
the “plan of the Mystery,” which is God’s design for men,
women, and all creation. As priest, Jesus
showed perfect love, not only on behalf of God to man, but
by reciprocating that love from man to God on Calvary’s
cross. As king, Jesus was at the service of
his own subjects, healing, feeding, and comforting those
in his care.
The characteristics of Jesus become ours through the
sacraments of initiation. In fact, when our faith
speaks of “sacramental character” (especially in the
sacrament of Baptism), it is the character of Jesus, in
this three-fold office, which is meant.
Christian formation—that is, forming people in the image
of Christ—is therefore remaking them (like ourselves!)
according to the character of Christ the prophet, the
character of Christ the priest, and the character of
Christ the king. To one of the Baltimore
Catechism’s most famous questions, “Why did God make
me?”, the response is returned based upon this three-fold
ministry: “To know him [a prophet’s work], to love
him [the action of the priest], and to serve him [the role
of the king] in this life and to be happy with him forever
in the next.”
Accordingly, the Rite for the Christian Initiation of
Adults proscribes a formation model based upon these
three characteristics of Jesus our model. RCIA has
first of all a catechetical or prophetic element.
Here, the Church (through her pastors and catechists)
teaches the truths of the faith to those in formation.
But becoming (or being) a Christian is not simply about
how much one knows, however necessary knowledge is.
For this reason, a second element, the priestly
dimension, is a part of RCIA’s formation process.
Prayer—and lots of it—is found throughout the time of
formation, both liturgical prayer—the Rite of Acceptance,
Blessings, Rite of Election—and devotional prayer—becoming
acquainted with Eucharistic Adoration or the Rosary.
Yet, while “two out of thee ain’t bad” for some, it’s
still not sufficient for one seeking the full stature of
Christ. The kingly dimension, where
candidates become increasingly aware of their obligations
to others, both in the Church and outside of it, is an
An RCIA program needs each of these elements—catechetical,
liturgical, and pastoral—if it is to do justice to Jesus
and those seeking his likeness.
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