Category Archives: News

Celebrating the Feast day of St. Joseph and Father Joseph Walijewski’s legacy

Category : News

A religious education class in Chester, IN decorated an Altar with a crucifix from the holy land, a photo of Fr. Joe and an icon painted by a priest from the Diocese of LaCrosse. With handmade rosaries in Peru, they offered prayers to Fr. Joe and learned more about his mission.

On March 19th, friends and family from the Diocese of La Crosse gathered around the world to celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph and Father Joseph Walijewski’s legacy. Twelve public St. Joseph’s Table’s events were held as various others came together in their homes to pay tribute to St. Joseph and honor Padre Jose’s life with inspirational stories and prayer.

Blessed Sacrament Parish celebrated the legacy and mission of Fr. Joe Walijewski with a feast given in thanksgiving for the many blessings that God has bestowed. It was a joyful occasion in which parishioners from Blessed Sacrament as well as other parishes gathered together reminiscing about different encounters with Father Joe and shared stories of his incredibly life.

St. Joseph’s Table is a long-standing Italian tradition ritual meal held on or close to March 19th during the Feast of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. During this celebration, families and friends come together for hospitality and nurturing in the making of fulfilling promise.

The day has a special significance to Fr. Joe and his family. Father Joe’s Mother once had a dream where she spoke with God that led to a special devotion for St. Joseph. In that dream she hoped for four things: 1. To have a son, 2. That he would be named Joseph, 3. That he would become a priest and 4. That he would open a Parish in honor of St. Joseph. She passed away on March 19th, the Feast of St. Joseph, fulfilling the prophecy.

Thank you to all those who participated this year, we look forward to establishing this tradition for many years to come in Fr. Joe’s honor!

Please help us spread the word and mission of Father Joe Walijewski through your prayers.

To view more photos or receive updates about Father Joe’s Legacy Guild, please visit: or check out our Facebook Page:

St Joseph Table Feast Day
The children of Casa Hogar and friends whose lives were directly impacted by Padre Jose celebrated this special meal with a community dinner in Lurin, Peru. The evening commenced with a visit to Padre Jose’s tomb.
The children of Casa Hogar and friends whose lives were directly impacted by Padre Jose celebrated this special meal with a community dinner in Lurin, Peru. The evening commenced with a visit to Padre Jose’s tomb.
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Father Joseph Walijewski’s 6th Anniversary Mass

Category : News

Join us for Mass marking the 6th anniversary of the opening of the Cause for Beatification and Canonization of Father Joseph Walijewski. Mass will be celebrated from 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m on Sunday, March 17 at St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral. If you are unable to attend the Mass, it will be available to watch LIVE at

Father Joseph Walijewski’s 5th Anniversary Mass

Category : News

Join us for Mass marking the 5th anniversary of the opening of the Cause for Beatification and Canonization of Father Joseph Walijewski. Mass will be celebrated from 10:30a.m.-12p.m on Sunday, March 18 at St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral. If you are unable to attend the Mass, it will be available to watch LIVE at

What Father Joe would want me to do

Category : News

In 1955, Father Joe was the assistant pastor at St. Peter Parish in Stevens Point. He would soon return to his mission work in South America, but not before first touching a few lives here in the Diocese of La Crosse.

Wilma Reis was in high school when she decided to become Catholic and it just so happened that Father Joe gave her instructions in the Catholic faith. Wilma credits Father Joe as the reason she became a strong Catholic, having grown up in the Lutheran faith.

Wilma recently passed away from a long-term illness, but her daughter, Lois Slattery, said her mom shared her story often and spoke fondly of Father Joe and knew that he should be a named saint.

About five years ago Wilma decided that she wanted to sponsor an entire family at Casa Hogar, the orphanage in Peru that Father Joe founded. Lois said Wilma really enjoyed being a family sponsor and actually displayed her Casa Hogar family photo on her refrigerator and did not even have her own biological family photo displayed.

Due to her illness, she was homebound toward the end of her life and Lois said it always gave her mom such joy to receive the Christmas card and family portrait from Casa Hogar. Her family displayed her most recent Casa Hogar card and family photo at her wake service.
She had always followed Father Joe’s journey over the years and often said she wanted to become a sponsor because she thought that is what Father Joe would want her to do.


By Monica Organ

Clearing the Path to First Communion

Category : News

La Crosse parishioners made First Communion outfits for children in Bolivia

May 3, 1958 was a big event for Father Joe and his parishioners in Bolivia. They were planning the dedication Mass for the church in Santa Cruz, built using the $20,000 Lenten donation from the Catholic Students in the Diocese of La Crosse. Father Joe was also preparing 50 boys and girls for their first Holy Communion.

However, Father Joe soon realized there was something holding these children back from receiving their first Communion … clothes. Father knew that many would fail to appear for their First Communion out of shame and embarrassment if they did not have the proper clothing for the occasion. The families in Bolivia were so poor they couldn’t afford to give their children new clothes for such a special event. Father Joe was not going to let that obstacle stand in their way of receiving the Eucharist, so he reached out to his home diocese for help. He asked the people of the Diocese of La Crosse to help him “to bring closer to the altar the people who have been without the altar for so many years.”

Members of the La Crosse Council of Catholic Women made and shipped nearly 150 sets of First Communion dresses and suits and other articles of clothing, plus rosaries and medals to be used for this historic occasion.


Assembling a Case for Father Joe’s Heroic Virtue

Category : News

As the investigation of the Cause for Father Joseph Walijewski’s Beatification and Canonization comes to a close in May, the Tribunal will be presenting their report of the life and times of Father Joe. This report, called the Acta, will be taken to Rome to be part of the case.

Monsignor Michael Gorman, the Episcopal Delegate for the Tribunal, says that he and the fellow members have a responsibility to investigate Fr. Joe’s life for the purpose of providing information to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome, with the hopes that eventually they and the Holy Father will find him worthy to be declared venerable.

The Tribunal was appointed by Bishop Callahan on May 1, 2013. During that Mass, the members took their oaths. The Tribunal is composed of an Episcopal Delegate, Monsignor Gorman, who is in charge of seeing that the investigation is completed. The Promoter of Justice, Monsignor Joseph Hirsch, is the one who presides over the deposition of the people who have been called as witnesses. Several notaries are included to verify the authenticity of the documentation and numerous typists are involved in the transcription of the witness stories, in the language the testimony was given.

Monsignor Hirsch says he is honored to be a part of sharing Father Joe’s story and to hear accounts from all the witnesses, which include many stories he’s never heard before.

“When we do the interviews, I am hearing, first-hand, stories that no one has ever heard before,” he says. “I always think, we just listened to another chapter. As part of the Tribunal, we get to hear the whole book and that’s the privilege we have. We get to hear all the chapters and we can begin to piece together the inspirational life of Father Joe.”

The witnesses are people who knew Father Joe, including family members or friends he had growing up in Michigan and people that worked and interacted with him in La Crosse and in South America.

As part of the Tribunal, two commissions were formed, broken into historical and theological focuses. The Historical Commission is responsible for composing a report on the life and times of Father Joe and the Theological Commission looks at his writings and homilies, assessing them to make sure they don’t contradict Catholic doctrine.

All the testimonies have now been gathered, so the next step is to send the Acta, assembled by the commissions and the Tribunal, to the postulator of the cause, Dr. Andrea Ambrosi. It is his responsibility to take all the information and create what’s called a Positio. This book will advocate to the Congregation why Father Joe should be declared venerable.

Now that the investigation is almost over, Monsignor Gorman reflects on all he’s learned about Father Joe over the last five years. While he was acquainted with Fr. Joe in the 1980s, it was through this process that he learned about the many remarkable things he accomplished through his faith in God.

“I learned a lot about the hardships he experienced, of basically hacking a parish out the jungle of Bolivia and everything going awry. It’s amazing that he was able to accomplish so much with so little material resources, but out of poverty people came together and shared things and things happened,” he says.

“It shows the power of faith and the grace of God and really his own determination. He was a ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of person. He was very simple and very humble and just didn’t get flustered when things didn’t go well. He was patient and allowed the grace of God to do his work.”

By Monica Organ

A Season of Holiness

Category : News

We, in the Diocese of La Crosse, are very fortunate as we enter into a tremendous time of Grace and special blessings for our Sesquicentennial Anniversary celebration. In one hundred and fifty years our Diocese has seen an amazing growth of holiness and spiritual depth throughout western and north central Wisconsin. Among the more prominent in our minds and hearts at this time is the excitement concerning the ongoing activity regarding the progress of the Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God, Father Joe Walijewski.

Father Joe’s Cause continues to move forward. We will, of course, mark the
fifth anniversary of the initiation of the Cause on Sunday 18 March 2018 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman at 10:30 AM. We hope that many of you will attend. In addition, we are preparing to close the investigation of Fr. Joe’s life required by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. A Mass celebrating that historic and significant action will take place on Sunday 27 May 2018 at 10:30 AM also at our Cathedral.

Please keep the Cause in your prayers. Many people are becoming more interested and excited—especially the sick and those in need who experience consolation from Fr. Joe’s intercession. We sure do need your prayers. God be with you. Fr. Joe, pray for us.

By Bishop William Patrick Callahan

Father Joseph Walijewski’s 4th Anniversary Mass

Category : News

Join us for Mass marking the 4th anniversary of the opening of the Cause for Beatification and Canonization of Father Joseph Walijewski. Mass will be celebrated from 10:30a.m.-12p.m on Sunday, March 18 at St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral. If you are unable to attend the Mass, it will be available to watch LIVE at

Here are other Masses being offered, marking this celebration:

March 12, 2017

Msgr. Scheckel, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Richland Center

Msgr. Diermeier, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Marathon

Msgr. Machalski, SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary, Diocese of Detroit

Msgr. Burrill

March 15, 2017

Bishop Powers, Diocese of Superior

March 20, 2017

Fr. Mark Inglot will be having Mass on March 20 at St. John Church and Student Center in East Lansing, MI

A Pencil in Our Lords Hand – 6th grade letters

Category : News

Kathleen Caruso and her 6th grade class at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish School in Lansing, MI, keep the legacy of Father Joe alive every year by watching “A Pencil in Our Lords Hand” and using rosaries from Casa Hogar. Then, after watching the documentary about Father Joe’s life,   her 6th graders write letters to their pastor, Father Mark Inglot, Father Joe’s nephew, about what they learned and how they feel about his  life and work.

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Casa Hogar Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Category : News

By Jordan Zoroufy
Father Joseph Walijewski found his inspiration after seeing how so many of Lima’s children lived, and still live, in desperate poverty. One day, while walking through the slums of Lima, he noticed what appeared to be a pile of old newspapers begin to move. Then, the heads of a little girl and boy popped out. These children, like so many street kids of Lima, had spent the night with only the newspapers to protect them from the cold. He thought to himself, “How can I go home to a warm bed, when so many children are living in these conditions?” It was Pope John Paul II’s donation that started the orphanage, which now bears his name.

In the beginning, the orphanage was two children, a foreign volunteer, and one tutor. One year later the orphanage was home to 32 children and six tutors. Now, thirty years later, the mission of Father Joe continues to provide a place to call home for 64 children between the ages of 4 to 17 and 24 family teachers.

This anniversary year was very special and brought together so many who knew Father Joe. Casa Hogar held its 30th Anniversary celebration in April 2016. Hundreds of kids who lived at Casa, many friends of Father Joe, and members of the community came to celebrate the mission of Padre José.

2016 also saw many changes to Casa Hogar. These changes included improvements such as repainting the house, as well as many structural upgrades. All of these changes are an effort to continuously advance the house and provide a safe living environment for the children for the next 30 years and beyond. However, there is still work to be done and always room to grow to better serve the children.

As you can imagine, after 30 years, infrastructure upgrades such as electrical rewiring, new water lines, and a new septic system are needing to be addressed soon. Security needs for the children of Casa Hogar include repairing the perimeter walls, updating cameras, and adding security lights.

As Casa Hogar takes the next steps forward and in the spirit of Father Walijewski, we are expanding the work outside of our institution and taking our mission and the generous support of benefactors and visitors and turning it outward. Three years ago, we formed an association of orphanages along with other institutions such as rehab centers, nursing homes, and soup kitchens in our local Diocese of Lurin. Dozens of institutions are reaching thousands of people in need, with Casa Hogar as the driving force. The association is designed to share ideas and resources while providing support in tougher times. This is just one of the many examples of how, after 30 years, the mission spirit inspired by Father Walijewski continues to grow and bear fruit for the people of Peru.

Thank you for your help over the years. We will continue to dedicate ourselves to bringing hope to the children placed in our care.


Friday, October 25, 2019Father Joseph Walijewski Legacy Guild Dinner Benefiting Casa Hogar – La Crosse, WI

"Then I will not have lived in vain, and I'll not care how long I'll live, if I can give and give and give."

— Fr. Walijewski