From the Desk of the Pastor
From the desk of the Pastor……
Catholic Herald Article dated November 3, 2022
Featuring Father Robert Kacalo
You will enjoy the read!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am always grateful when someone approaches me and tells me that they read this “Love One Another” (LOA). Some will indicate a favorite reflection, and even say that they forwarded the LOA to one of their children or to a friend. Others may take issue with how I characterized a person or topic, offering advice. I am always grateful for the engagement – both positive and negative.
I do try and hit a “home run” with every writing. However, I take great consolation in the fact that Babe Ruth, the “Sultan of Swat,” and one of the greatest home run hitters of all time, did not hit a home run every time he came to bat. In fact, he struck out more times than he “homered.” Ruth hit a lifetime 714 home runs, while also striking out 1,330 times.
I am always mystified that, when I think I hit a home run, it turns out to be a single, and when I think I hit a single, for someone else, it was a home run. I can only attribute it to the Holy Spirit, as words meet us where we live. In any case, I am grateful that the readers of this LOA took their precious time to read my “strike outs,” “singles” and a few home runs over the last 13 years.
Occasionally, a person will ask, “How do you come up with the topics for the LOA?” Sometimes, it’s a societal issue that needs attention. Sometimes, it’s a happening in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and others, it’s a reminiscence of boyhood experiences. I hope you realize that it’s geared to you, my LOA community, as if we were sitting at my mother’s kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee and sharing in my mother’s homemade cake – just friends sharing with friends.
Today’s LOA must acknowledge the Feast Day of St. Francis de Sales. We all know that the patron of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is St. John the Evangelist. From the very first moments of my arrival in the archdiocese, I became aware of the influence of St. Francis de Sales. Every time I entered the seminary grounds through the beautiful driveway lined with trees, I encountered the Statue of St. Francis de Sales. As I travel the Hoan Bridge, in the distance I can view the tower of Saint Francis de Sales Seminary and, of course, the majority of our priests studied at St. Francis de Sales and share stories of their life during their seminary days.
St. Francis de Sales was a man of his times and integrated the faith into daily living. He was a prolific writer, and as such, his writings earned him the title “Doctor of the Faith.” His great work was “An Introduction to the Devout Life.” He wrote, “Holiness is perfectly possible in every state and condition of secular life.” No one is denied the possibility of full communion with God be they poor or rich, learned or not, religious or lay. Our very own Fr. John Burns authored a book called “Lift Up Your Heart: a 10-day Personal Retreat with St. Francis de Sales.” It is worth the spiritual journey.
I was introduced to a book entitled, “Thy Will Be Done,” a collection of letters written by St. Francis de Sales to persons in the world. He wrote spiritual letters in response to questions posed by various persons. There was no technology, no email, no internet; he wrote longhand, but it was obvious he treated each person with a care for their souls. When I sit at the computer crafting a homily or a response, it is hard for me to imagine the thousands he responded to in longhand with gentleness and love.
On this feast day of St. Francis de Sales, I will celebrate with the seminarians and priest alumni at the seminary. With all the challenges and questions they face in their pursuit of holiness, I will offer them the sentiments of St. Francis de Sales: “The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.”
St. Francis de Sales, the Doctor of Love, would remind us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee