Sample Intercessions for Rural Life Day
For the rural areas of our Diocese, for farmers and their families, and for those who work in agriculture, that they be good stewards of the goods of the earth and themselves receive what they need for their spiritual and material wellbeing. Let us pray to the Lord.
For all farmers who are struggling to make ends meet, that they may be encouraged by the support of their neighbors, their parish, and all of God’s people. Let us pray to the Lord.
For a greater knowledge and love of rural life, that its values, traditions, and faith be nurtured in our communities. Let us pray to the Lord.
For a bountiful harvest and favorable weather, that the fruits of the earth, received from God’s bounty, may provide food enough for all people. Let us pray to the Lord.
You could also pray a prayer to St. Isidore, the patron saint of farmers and rural life.
Prevention and Management of COVID-19 on Dairy Farms
For an excellent article including guidance for the prevention and management of coronavirus on dairy farms, click here.
Prayer to St. Isidore
Good Saint, we are told that your devotion to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was so great
that you would rise before it was light in order to be able to attend Mass
before beginning your work in the fields.
Obtain for us, we pray you,
some of that loving devotion to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
There it is that the fruits of our farm labor,
bread and wine, are brought and offered to God by the priest.
Then, in the Consecration, Christ Himself, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity,
becomes present on our altars
under the appearances of this same bread and wine.
And in what was the altar bread,
He comes to us to be the very food of our souls.
If we deeply realize the value and beauty of Holy Mass,
we will be very happy to attend as often as we possibly can.
Help us to understand that in the Mass
we offer ourselves to God with Christ by the hands of the priest.
There we can bring to God all that we do,
and offer it to Him in union with His Holy Sacrifice.
The more often we do this now, the happier we shall be hereafter.
Good Saint Isidore, bless us and our labors,
that we may someday reap the reward of good works with you in heaven.
Farmer Hotline for Help & Hope
The La Crosse Diocese farmers now have another resource they can use when facing extreme stress and other challenges. They now have access to a free and confidential counseling resource, by contacting the Farm Center at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection. This is a 24/7 Farmer Wellness Hotline; it can be reached at 1-888-901-2558. Licensed mental health professionals contracted by the department will provide immediate, in-the-moment care. In addition, long-term options are available, along with advice from financial to succession planning for the future, etc..
Anyone who prefers an in-person session can request to meet with a local provider through the Wisconsin Farm Center’s longstanding Counseling Voucher Program by calling 1-800-942-2474. The hotline is available weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
How can you help the farmers?
Show that you care through prayer for our farmers. For more information on the rural crisis, check out the National Catholic Rural Life Conference website at www.ncrlc.com. For information on the Green Ribbon Campaign resource materials, call the Office of Ministries and Social Concerns at (608) 791-2667.
Recommended Prayers on or around the Feast of St. Isidore, Patron of Farmers
As we come to the time of planting and the May 15 Feast of St. Isidore, patron of farmers, the Diocese of La Crosse Rural Life Committee would like to share some prayers for personal and parish use. The Blessing of Seeds or Seedlings and the Blessing of Crosses to be Placed in Fields and Vineyards on May 3 or the following Sunday could be used by a priest, a deacon, or a lay person (a lay person would omit the bracketed text).
A Prayer in Planting Time
Dear Lord, You are wonderful in everything you do. In marvelous ways You take the full, rich life of the plant and carefully fold it into tiny seeds. You form the seeds according to many different shapes and sizes and colors, so that man can know what kind of growth will come of them. When they are placed the earth they may look dry and dead, but when they are watered by the life-giving rain and nourished by the warm sun, they lose all their lifeless look and grow in an almost miraculous manner. By the power You gave them, they take the dead minerals of the earth and build up the nourishing, tasty foods that men need to sustain life.
This week, dear Lord, we will plant these seeds of (wheat, corn, or whatever it may be) that You have given us. Bless them, and watch over them, and bring them to the full growth and rich harvest that You wish to bless us with.
But, should You not allow them to come to full harvest, we accept Your will humbly. We trust that You will nevertheless watch over us and make the seeds of grace that You have given us grow to flower and fruit in the full Christian life that You intend for us here and hereafter. Amen.
Prayer to Saint Isidore, Patron of Country People
Note: St. Isidore, patron saint of farmers, was himself a farm boy born in the city of Madrid, Spain, about the year 1110; His chief appeal is to those who, as he did, work the land. But his good qualities – his whole-hearted trust in God, his enthusiasm and vigor in doing his job, and his spirit of prayer and devotion to religious practice – these can profitably be admired and imitated by all laboring men, just as his wife Maria, can serve as a model for working men’s wives. His feast day is celebrated throughout the United States on May 15.
Good Saint, we are told that your devotion to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was so great that you would rise before it was light in order to be able to attend Mass before beginning your work in the fields. Obtain for us, we pray you, some of that loving devotion to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There it is that the fruits of our farm labor, bread and wine, are brought and offered to God by the priest. Then, in the Consecration, Christ Himself, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, becomes present on our altars under the appearances of this same bread and wine. And in what was the altar bread, He comes to us to be the very food of our souls. If we deeply realize the value and beauty of Holy Mass, we will be very happy to attend as often as we possibly can.
Help us to understand that in the Mass we offer ourselves to God with Christ by the hands of the priest. There we can bring to God all that we do, and offer it to Him in union with His Holy Sacrifice. The more often we do this now, the happier we shall be hereafter. Good Saint Isidore, bless us and our labors, that we may someday reap the reward of good works with you in heaven. Amen.
Blessing of Crosses to be Placed in Fields and Vineyards (On May 3 or the following Sunday)
V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R.Who made heaven and earth.
Bracketed text to be recited only if led by a priest or deacon.
[V. The Lord be with you.]
[R. And with your spirit.]
Let us pray. Almighty, everlasting God, Father of goodness and consolation, in virtue of the bitter suffering of thy Sole-Begotten Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, endured for us sinners on the wood of the Cross, bless these crosses which thy faithful will erect in their vineyards, fields, and gardens. Protect the land where they are placed from hail, tornado, storm, and every assault of the enemy, so that their fruits ripened to the harvest may be gathered to thy honor by those who place their hope in the holy Cross of thy Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth with thee eternally. Amen.
Sprinkle the crosses with holy water.
Blessing of the Sprouting Seed
V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.
Bracketed text to be recited only if led by a priest or deacon.
[V.The Lord be with you.]
[R. And with your spirit.]
Let us pray. To Thee, O Lord, we cry and pray: Bless this sprouting seed, strengthen it in the gentle movement of soft winds, refresh it with the dew of heaven, and let it grow to full maturity for the good of body and soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sprinkle the sprouting seed with holy water.
RURAL LIFE AND THE FAMILY FARM
“So much the more, then, must great care be taken to preserve for the nation the essential elements of what might be called genuine rural culture. We must preserve the qualities of industriousness, simple and honest living, respect for authority, especially for parental authority, love of country, and loyalty to traditions which have proved a source of good throughout the centuries. We must preserve readiness to aid one another within the family circle and amongst families, from home to home. All of these qualities we must have animated with a true religious spirit, for without such a spirit these very virtues tend to degenerate into unbridled greed for profit. May the fear of God and faith in God, a faith which finds daily expression in prayers recited together by the whole family, sustain and guide the life of the workers of the fields.” [Pius XII,Address to National Convention of Farm Owner-Operators, 1946].
Rural Life Day
Rural Life Day is an annual diocesan celebration observed on the fourth Wednesday of September. Part of this celebration is Mass on a farm with our Bishop. This is a day to highlight the uniqueness of rural life values and to rejoice in the way that rural life contributes to the Church at large. As part of this annual celebration, recognition is given to Century farms, an outstanding farm family, and individuals who’ve made significant contributions to rural life.
- Celebrate Rural Life on the Feast Day of St. Isidore, May 15th, Patron of Farmers
- Please consider reciting the Novena for St. Isidore, either in your parish or home with family.
- Click here to download a version for easy use. On the feast day itself, recite this Litany in Honor of St. Isidore.
RURAL LIFE DAY CELEBRATION
Each year one of the deaneries in our Diocese hosts this celebration of our connection to and dependence upon rural life. In the recent past, this celebration has been celebrated on a farm making this connection even more obvious.
At each Rural Life Day celebration, awards are given to recognize accomplishments by those living and serving the rural areas of the hosting deanery.
- The Diocese recognizes an outstanding farm family with the “Strangers and Guests” Award. The name of this award is taken from Leviticus, Chapter 25, where God says to the Jewish people, “The Land belongs to me, and to me you are only strangers and guests.” Criteria by which the family is chosen include both farm and faith.
- With fewer and fewer people involved in production agriculture (farming), we need to recognize the significant contributions to rural life of those people involved in agri-business but not actually farming. This Friend of Rural Life Award, allows us to recognize these key individuals who are so vitally important not just because of the agricultural service they provide, but because of the example they live of embracing the fullness of the truth in the Catholic church.
- Century Farm Recognition is given to those farms in the host deanery who have maintained active ownership in the same family for 100 or more years
Has Rural America Become the New “Inner City”?
An analysis by reporters of the Wall Street Journal shows that since the 1990s, “sparsely populated counties have replaced large cities as America’s most troubled areas by key measures of socioeconomic well-being—a decline that’s accelerating.”*….. READ MORE >>
“Herbicide Controversy: Care for our Common Home?”
- Herbicide Controversy: Care for our Common Home? Part I
- Herbicide Controversy: Care for our Common Home Part II
Catholic Life Stories
- Father Thelen: Going the Distance for His Parishioners
The COVID-19 virus pandemic and the measures being taken to protect our safety have changed the way we are doing things. Restaurants are limited to take out or delivery, gatherings are limited to less than 10 people and non-essential businesses are either closed or by appointment only. Folks are urged to keep social distancing when
- Evangelization One Radio Wave at a Time
Amid the rolling landscape along Wisconsin State Highway 29 lies the small town of Boyd. This rural farming community is home to a little more than 680 residents. One of the more historic buildings in the town is St. Joseph Catholic Church, built in 1928. St. Joseph Catholic Church is used by All Saints Parish
- ‘Till the Earth and Keep It’
“And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker’ — so God made a farmer.” This opening line from Paul Harvey’s famous speech to the Future Farmers of America (FFA) in 1978 is a sort of continuation of the Creation stories in Genesis 1 and 2.
- Celebrating Rural Life and Service in God’s Country
Father Nate Kuhn, Bishop William Patrick Callahan and Father William Dhein celebrate Rural Life Day with Dr. AnneMarie Elwing and family in Genoa. “The earth has yielded its fruit, the Lord our God has blessed us.” (Ps 67) This was not only the responsorial psalm for the Rural Life Day Mass on the farm but
- Maintain my Church
William (Bill) F. Crogan answers the call at St. Bridget Parish in Ettrick William (Bill) Crogan is the person one contacts when something needs to be fixed, maintained, modified or constructed at St. Bridget Parish in Ettrick. He would rather repair something than replace it with new. Bill adopted an attitude from his grandfather,
We wish to thank everyone who has given so generously during Lent and June Dairy Days for Project Milk! Your contributions are not only an act of charity for the orphans of Casa Hogar in Peru, but also a strong show of solidarity for our dairy farmers suffering under an unfair pricing system! Visit the Project Milk website.
Contact: Deacon Bob Zietlow
Deacon Bob Zietlow has been serving God’s family in many different ways through his life. Growing up in a good Catholic family of nine, he learned from an early age that working together and hard work is what is takes to be successful in life.
The Zietlow farm, in rural Holmen, consisted of 40 – 45 dairy cows, a few pigs, and a dozen or so chickens, all to provide either income or food on the table for the family. The crops that were grown were the typical crops on a mostly steep hill side farm: corn, alfalfa, oats, and in the later years’ tobacco was needed to help the family survive. Of course a large family garden was a big part of the family togetherness. He remembers as a six-year-old helping his dad milk the cows and pouring the milk from the milk bucket into the milk cans, and a few years later when they upgraded to a bulk tank and automatic milk line. He also remembers cleaning out the barn by hand, and later having an automatic barn cleaner installed. Working in and around the barn was where he and his siblings were able to help their dad in providing for the family; it was a job that they totally enjoyed. His mother made sure that the family always attended Mass at St. Leo the Great in West Salem, where he loved serving Mass with his three brothers.
While attending Holmen High School, he was very active in the Holmen FFA and served as an officer for three years. It gave him a start in learning how to lead and serve those who are in his life. After graduating high school, he continued his life learning by going to work for Skogen’s IGA grocery store, where he learned how to deal with many different types of individuals, both customers and employees, treating them as he would like to be treated.
After twenty years of working or on call 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, God gave him a new opportunity working at Gateway, and later Fleming Foods, which was the grocery supplier for Skogen’s. There he was soon promoted to the advertising department, where he headed up the ads for over one hundred stores. Working with many different size stores and individual operators, it was a challenge that he accepted and excelled at. After thirteen years, God had a different plan for him, He wanted him to be more involved in serving His people. So after Fleming closed and out of work for a month, he started attending daily Mass. On a Thursday morning before Mass, looking up at the crucifix, Bob said “Okay Lord, I’m ready to do your will.”
Thus began a new chapter which lead to a new job that provided time to attend daily Mass, and help with visiting and taking Holy Communion to the home bound. All of this lead to the call to become a deacon in the Catholic Church. On October 27, 2012, he was ordained a permanent deacon at the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman. That’s when God offered to him the call to serve the dying as he worked for St. Jude’s Hospice, where he was totally blessed to be able to journey with them to their final home. Health issues cut that short, but serving the parishes of St. Leo the Great in West Salem and St. Mary’s in Bangor provided many opportunities to serve those most in need. He presently also serves as the Chaplain for the Catholic Daughters of La Crosse chapter.
Now as life continues to go in circles, he is the Liaison to the Bishop for the Rural Life committee, bringing him back to his farm roots.
Please feel free to contact him regarding issues and concerns of the Rural Life.
Contact info: [email protected] or 608-786-0610 x5 or 608-780-4751