Wisconsin Rapids Deanery

of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin

Bishop Listecki at WR Youth Rally, Nov. 2009

November 2009 Deanery Youth Rally

By Sister Catherine Kaiser, FSPA

The Assumption High School gym held a packed house of youth and adults from all over the 12 deanery parishes for the annual Deanery Youth Rally on November 11, 2009.

There were over 500 in attendance. Where could young people hear “off-the-cuff” answers from a bishop who kept the crowd under a spell for over an hour with his stories, humor, teaching and witnessing his faith?

Bishop Jerome Listecki answered spontaneous questions put before him, which the youth had prepared beforehand in their religious formation classes.

A panel of five students posed questions such as “Did you ever doubt becoming a priest or a bishop?”

“No, not as a priest, but, yes, as a Bishop,” was his response.

He spoke of the shock he had when he was notified of the call to serve as bishop in Chicago. He had been just recently appointed as pastor of a large Chicago parish for only several months. He loved ministering as their pastor. It was a shock when he was called to serve as bishop, but in obedience he joyfully accepted the call.

Now, he said, he is happy serving as bishop as he knows he is doing what God is asking of him and he now ministers to many people the Church.

In fact, he said  “it’s fun and I enjoy it!”

“What do you enjoy most about being a bishop?” to which he said it is a joy to witness people loving their parishes and their faith, to confirm young people and adults of the diocese, celebrate ordinations, inspire God’s people to know their Catholic identity, to be true evangelizers spreading the good news of God’s kingdom and to be good stewards of time, talent and treasure.

It truly is a joy to be ministering to people who are caught up with the mission of Christ.

Bishop Listecki at WR Youth Rally, Nov. 2009

The Bishop was asked, “What is your daily schedule like?” to which he responded that he works out each morning, eats oatmeal for breakfast to which the many youth couldn’t imagine themselves eating, praying his daily Breviary, making his meditation and saying his rosary.

He has a morning briefing with Msgr. Richard Gilles about the things that have happened, upcoming events and plans for the day.

Each day has great variety with many challenges that can be very stressful.  But with God’s grace he enjoys each day because he know he’s serving God and God’s people.

“What do you like to do on your day off and do during your free time?”

The bishop said he does not have many days off because of his heavy schedule at the chancery office, the amount of time he needs to travel to attend meetings within and outside the diocese, problems to solve, events to plan for and the challenges he needs to attend to daily.

But he told them he likes to golf and enjoys sports. In the seminary, he enjoyed playing basketball. They didn’t have football, because the seminary officials thought there was too much danger for injury.

He likes to read and often listens to books on tape as he drives.

The bishop challenged the youth to pray for wisdom to know their vocation.

He told them that they will be only happy if they do what God is calling them to do. He reminded them that their faith has to be central in their lives if they are to find meaning in life.

They need to develop a habit of prayer, and Sunday Mass is of upmost importance if they identify themselves as Catholics.

The evening was too short to answer all the questions that youth had ready to ask, but everyone, plus the adults who were present, recognized it was an informative and enjoyable night with the bishop getting to know him in a very personal way.

The evening concluded with pizza, soda and opportunity for the youth and the adults to visit with the bishop  getting to know him as their shepherd and pastor.

WR Youth Rally, Nov. 2009