Leader of Prayer Commissioning Renewal 2020

The following email was sent to Leaders of Prayer of the
Diocese of La Crosse who were commissioned in 2015 or earlier.

Dear Leaders of Prayer,

This email is going to all Leaders of Prayer who were commissioned in 2015 or earlier.  It is time for your 4-year commission to be renewed.

Typically we have a day-long conference at the Diocesan Center in La Crosse which concludes with certification of that renewal.  But this year, due to the limitations placed on us by the COVID-19 pandemic, that is not possible.

Instead, we are asking you to participate in the virtual Witnesses for Christ Conference on Saturday, Aug. 29.  The topic is “Overcoming Spiritual Discouragement,” presented by Fr. Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V., back by popular demand.  This conference will be valuable not only for each person who participates, but also for those whose lives you touch as Leaders of Prayer. Discouragement — whether great or small — is perhaps the greatest challenge people face in their daily lives, and this conference will provide much practical wisdom in overcoming it.

The conference will consist of 4 presentations, beginning at 10 a.m. and concluding at 3 p.m., with an hour lunch break.  Please see the schedule at the end of this email.  The conference fee is $15, which includes a copy of Fr. Gallagher’s book, which will be mailed to your home.  You can register for the conference at www.diolc.org/witness

IMPORTANT: To receive a certificate confirming your 4-year commission renewal, I ask you to write a page of notes from each of Fr. Gallagher’s four sessions and send them to me by email or regular mail.  Please make sure the notes are legible (typewritten if possible) and that each page lists the session heading/title for that page of notes. Along with the main conference sessions, there are several pre-recorded additional sessions featuring a variety of speakers.  You are encouraged, but not required, to view these sessions as well.  If you do, you are not required to send me any notes for those additional sessions.

NOTE: If it is not possible for you to participate in this Aug. 29 virtual Witnesses for Christ Conference by live-stream Zoom, please explain your situation in reply to this email and I will work with you to make other arrangements for your renewal.  

Aug. 29 Witnesses for Christ Conference Schedule:

Live-Streamed Zoom Webinar with Fr. Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V.
If you have not used ZOOM, there is a very simple way to do a trial run by visiting www.zoom.us/test and following the instructions. 

9:30 am Log in to the conference on your computer.
9:45 am Opening Prayer/Introductions
10:00 am Living with Hope

  • That place in our hearts that is afraid—and allowing the Lord to love us there
  • How God sees our weaknesses and failures—and the love that meets us there
  • How to evade sadness, melancholy, and temptation Living the Spiritual Life
  • When we keep repeating the same failures—and God’s faithful love
  • How to pray in time of spiritual discouragement
  • How to leave the sins, weaknesses, and failures of your past to God’s mercy

10:50 am Break
11:00 am Living the Day with Jesus

  • What to do in time of spiritual discouragement
  • The difference the Eucharist makes in time of spiritual discouragement Living the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus
  • But my prayer seems so poor—and God’s encouraging response
  • Ways you can be joyful even when you do not feel happy

11:50 am Questions and Answers
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Living with Mary

  • Mary: Our Mother in the order of grace and a source of hope
  • What is holy presumption, why you want it, and how to get it
  • Proven techniques for waging warfare against negative moods

1:50 pm Break
2:00 pm Living with Courage

  • Drawing closer to God in life’s darkest moments
  • It is never too late!  Beginning again, today, now
  • Questions and Answers

3:00 pm • Closing Prayer

In closing, I repeat that  If it is not possible for you to participate in this Aug. 29 virtual Witnesses for Christ Conference by live-stream Zoom, please explain your situation in reply to this email and I will work with you to make other arrangements for your renewal.  Also, please contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.

God bless you and your ministry as a Leader of Prayer!
Christopher J. Ruff, S.T.L.
Director of the Office for Ministries and Social Concerns


New Leader of Prayer Class
Begins in June 2021

Dates TBD

Applications will be available spring of 2021 (see the links below) for a new class of men and women who wish to serve as Leaders of Prayer for the Diocese of La Crosse.  This is a three-part course of study (meeting Friday evening-Saturday evening each time) by which lay persons are prepared and commissioned to serve their parishes by bringing Holy Communion to the sick; conducting a Liturgy of the Word, possibly with distribution of Communion, on weekdays when a priest is unavailable (or on Sunday in an emergency); and by leading parishioners in prayer at times of illness or death.  In nursing homes or healthcare facilities, when no priest is available, they may also conduct a Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest.

Completion of the Lay Formation Institute is a prerequisite for acceptance into the Leader of Prayer program.  In addition, candidates must be sponsored by their pastors.  The fee is $500, which includes overnight accommodations, meals and books.  Since over $100 of that amount goes to purchase the ritual books, the cost will be discounted proportionately if these are otherwise available to the applicant (from the parish or another Leader of Prayer).  For more information, contact Christopher Ruff, S.T.L., Director of the Office for Ministries and Social Concerns at (608) 791-0161, or [email protected].

Information sheet

Application Form