Fr. Joel’s Homily for June 7

Fr. Joel Homilies

Trinity – The Community of God (8:21)
Trinity Sunday. We believe in One God. We believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Which of those three is God? The ancient Athanasian Creed proclaims that the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, yet there are not three gods, but one God. This is the mystery of the Trinity, a God who is in his nature a community of persons. We are called to be like him. (7 Jun. 2009)

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Fr. Joel’s Homily for May 31

Fr. Joel Homilies

Pentecost – Our Friend the Spirit (3:13)
Easter, the Feast of Pentecost. We have all experienced the power of good friends to help and encourage us. The Holy Spirit is like a good friend: he accompanies us, encourage us, and talks to us about the Son as we walk and sing on our pilgrimage to Heaven. (31 May 2009)

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The parish had lots of extra things going on to highlight Pentecost. We had candles process in as symbols of the gifts of the Spirit and some intercessions in Spanish. So it was important that my homily be short. No one ever complains about a short homily.

Fr. Joel’s Homily for May 24

Fr. Joel Homilies

Easter7 – God never Abandons his People
Easter, Ascension of Our Lord. Jesus appears to abandon his disciples when he leaves them to return to heaven. But God never abandons his people; Jesus continues to be present and active through the power of the Spirit. In the same way, some might say that God has abandoned his Church today. But God continues to be powerfully present in his Church to those who desire to see him. Come Holy Spirit! (24 May 2009)

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Holy Pilgrimage!

Fr. Joel Being Catholic

I’m out of the office this week, I tell people.
“On vacation?”, they ask.
“No, I’ll be on pilgrimage.”
“All week?”
“Yes. I’m walking from Oshkosh to Holy Hill. It’s a distance of 65 miles.”
“What?????? You’re walking???”
Yes, I am. The tradition of the pilgrimage is one of the oldest in our faith. Here is some explanation:

The Israelites were fond of pilgrimages. Their annual religious feasts often required a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Jesus, Mary and Joseph obediently and religiously participated in the yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Passover (Lk 2:41-42). In much the same way, Christians would journeyed from all corners of the glove to the sacred site of the Holy Land to grow in love for God’s Son. By the Middles Ages, the pilgrimages to holy places and shrines were a central part of popular religion. Setting out on a pilgrimage has become a metaphor for life itself. We are all on a journey towards Heaven and we have to continue faithfully on that journey. A pilgrimage always points us back to the miracle of Christ, who by his Incarnation hallowed time and space. To go on pilgrimage is to enter deeply into this mystery and to experience Christ not only as Lord, but also as our companion on the journey.

Holy Hill
Holy Hill sits on the highest peak of the Kettle Moraine (which is a chain of hills and pot-shaped valleys that begins in the Whitewater area and extends northeast to Door County). Early Irish and German settlers revered the hill. There is even a legend that a French hermit used to live there. The settlers erected a white oak cross at its peak. This was later replaced with a small wooden shrine. Today the shrine is a minor basilica and visited annually by half a million people. It is under the care of the Discalced Carmelite Friars, a religious order noted for its prayer and simplicity. You can find more about this beautiful shrine by visiting

Our Plan
On Tuesday, May 26th., twenty people will set out to walk to Holy Hill. We have broken the journey into five days of walking. You can see our route on the Google maps. We are carrying with us as little as possible, just sleeping bags and a change of clothes. In true pilgrim spirit we depend on the hospitality of others for lodging. We will be sleeping in church basements or rec halls along the way. God willing, we will arrive at Holy Hill on Saturday, May 30th. We have a Mass scheduled for 3:00pm in the Shrine Chapel. Please pray for our pilgrimage, and especially for good weather!

Fr. Joel’s Homily for May 17

Fr. Joel Homilies

Easter, 6th Sunday. Jesus asks the impossible: Love your enemies… Do good to those who hate you… How could we be expected to do that? With the gift of love that comes from God. The Father loves the Son, the Son loves his Disciples, and so the disciples are called to love one another. We can love because we have been loved by God. This love has motivated missionaries to die for Jesus just as He died for them.

(17 May 2009)Read More

Fr. Joel’s Homily for May 10

Fr. Joel Homilies

Easter5 – The Vine, the branches and Motherhood (6:20)
Easter, 5th Sunday. Some explorers searched the New World for the Tree of Life which was supposed to give immortality to those who drank its sap. We have this tree among us — Jesus. He is the vine, we are the branches. Jesus gives his own divine life to his disciples. In the same way, mothers give of themselves to that their children might live. Thank you to all mothers. (10 May 2009)

This is my first recorded homily in two weeks. Apparently, taking a little time off seems to improve the content.

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Fr. Joel’s Homily for April 19

Fr. Joel Homilies

East2 – The tender Mercy of our God
Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus appears to his scared, guilty Apostles and says, “Peace be with you.” He has mercy on them. And furthermore, he wants them to pass his mercy on to others: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,” he says. The Apostles exercise this mercy by welcoming Thomas back into the community, and we see this mercy in the generosity of the first Christians. Where do you have guilt, anger or resentment? Bring it into the warmth of God’s mercy so that you can experience his Peace. (19 Apr. 2009)

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Fr. Joel’s Homily for Easter Sunday

Fr. Joel Homilies

Easter Day – Christ is Alive!
Easter Sunday. The Gospels do not record the scene of Jesus’ Resurrection. But Jesus appears again and again to his disciples; the ‘Tada moment’ happens in the life of every Christian. Christ is alive and active in this world. Pray, seek him, run to the tomb! Christ becomes visible to those chosen as his witnesses. Easter is a day to renew your baptismal commitment to bear his light in the world. (12 Apr. 2009)

Fr. Joel’s Homily for Easter Vigil

Fr. Joel Homilies

Easter Vigil – The Night of Nights
Easter Vigil. Tonight is the night that Christ broke the gates of death and led Adam and Eve into heaven. Tonight the Paschal Lamb’s blood saves the Israelites from the Angel of Death. By his wounds and blows, Christ re-shapes our human nature into the Image and Likeness of God. Tonight the Church emerges from the side of Christ, clean and fresh and new. Christ has been raised; he is not here. He has gone to prepare an Eternal Paradise for us. Take his wounded hand and rise with him. (12 Apr. 2009)