Praised be Jesus Christ! “There are no atheists in foxholes.” I was reminded of this quote when reading the latest copy of the Knights of Columbus magazine “Columbia.” Among the many riveting stories of wartime valor was one about Captain Gary Rose. He was recently awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery during the Vietnam War. At one point during the interview, the exchange went like this: Columbia: “You have said that God’s hand was clearly evident in your survival and that of your brother Green Berets. How aware were you of God’s presence during those harrowing days, and what role has your faith played since? Capt. Rose: “It’s your right in this country not to believe in God, to be agnostic or atheist, but I don’t see how anybody couldn’t believe in God if you were with us on that day. When I think about those four days, I don’t see how you could survive something like that without Somebody deciding it was not your time to go.” A powerful testimony, one that demonstrates how faith is basically the opposite of Karl Marx’s “opiate of the masses.” This weekend we remember the men and women who served a cause they thought greater than themselves, namely the right to be free. For my money I don’t think it’s ever been put more eloquently than in the fourth verse of The Battle Hymn of the Republic: “In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me; As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free! While God is marching on.” Thank you, veterans! By the way, if you don’t receive the aforementioned Columbia magazine, that must mean that you have not yet joined the Knights of Columbus. We need more men in our communities who are passionately Catholic and joining the Knights is a very effective way to achieve that. Moving right along, this weekend is the traditional gateway to summer and we naturally look forward to some time to relax and recreate. Next weekend Marshfield hosts its annual Dairy Fest. The following weekend features Spencerama. Both of these are opportunities to support our communities as they provide fun for the whole family. One of the biggest local events this summer will be Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, hosted by the Sternweis and Heiman families on July 10-12. As you know, it’s very difficult for farming families to make ends meet for a variety of reasons. I will always be grateful to God for the many sacrifices my parents made so that we could grow up on a farm. Supporting our farmers is supporting all of the things that are best about living in central Wisconsin: family life, faith in God, and an honest day’s work. We’re praying for favorable weather so that big crowds will make this year’s Farm Technology Days a tremendous success. Of course, later that same week on Friday, July 13th we’ll be hosting our 6th Annual Parish Pull at the Marshfield Fairgrounds. This year the word on the street is that Bishop Callahan will be leading the opening prayer. The Bishop will be in town as a part of the Diocese of La Crosse’s sesquicentennial celebration (and a public schedule will be coming soon). We’ll be rolling out the red carpet for the Bishop and you’ll really want to be present for the beginning of the Pull for something that you just don’t see every day. By the way, the proceeds of this year’s Parish Pull will be given to Columbus Catholic Schools, Sacred Heart parish to help them replace their school with a new building, and to Mary’s Place (a non-profit housing facility focused on helping the homeless get back on their feet through personal responsibility and regular work). As we remember the sacrifices that made our life in this great nation possible, we praise God for the sacrifice of the Mass that opened the way to eternal life for those who believe.
May God bless our veterans with an experience of love that validates the sacrifices they made!
Your friend in Christ, Father Martin