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 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.


“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. 



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?”

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,

Project Milk

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.

Project Seed

A portion of the Lenten CRS Rice Bowls remains within the Diocese of La Crosse to fund Project Seed aiding local farmers with low cost, non-GMO seeds.  Visit the Project Seed website along with the 2020 Project Seed Flyer

Contact: Deacon Bob Zietlow 

Contact info: [email protected] or 608-786-0610 x5