Holy Family, La Valle, celebrates centennial Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Sep. 21, 2017 -- 12:00 AM
holy family la valle
Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison delivers the homily during the 100th anniversary Mass at Holy Family Church in La Valle on September 17. Bishop Morlino concelebrated the Mass with Pastor Fr. Sanctus Ibe and former parochial administrator Fr. Scott Emerson. To view or purchase photos, go to (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

LA VALLE -- Prior to exclaiming, “Wow!” Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison said, “What a joy and a privilege and an honor it is for me to be able to be with you this morning to celebrate 100 years,” at the start of Mass on September 17 at Holy Family Church in La Valle.

While the parish was formed in 1915, its first church building was completed in 1917 and still exists on the parish site, now serving as the parish hall, with a newer church building attached.

Bishop Morlino celebrated the anniversary Mass, along with Pastor Fr. Sanctus Ibe and Fr. Scott Emerson, who had recently served as parochial administrator following the death of longtime Pastor Fr. Lorin Bowens, who died in 2015.

“We remember Father Bowens today with affection,” said the bishop. “May he rest in peace.”

The bishop thanked Father Ibe and Father Emerson both for their service and work with the parish.

“We think of all the faith of our forefathers and our foremothers on whose shoulders we stand today,” said Bishop Morlino. “We think of the history of this parish community, the history of faith . . . what a wonderful gift. One hundred years of faith lived out -- 100 years of the power of the resurrection at work right here.”

The bishop also gave thanks for the priest son of the parish -- Fr. Bernie Rott -- who is pastor at Holy Ghost Parish in Dickeyville and Immaculate Conception Parish in Kieler.

Music at the Mass was led by a combined choir from Holy Family Parish, along with members of St. Boniface in Lime Ridge and St. Patrick in Loreto, which are linked with Holy Family.

Readers for the Mass included Benedict Rott, Bill Courtney, and Kathy Rott.

The servers were Chase Connors, Myles Connors, Luke Check, and Henry Suttie.

Members of the local Knights of Columbus council, including Jim Alt, Rick Semrow, and Paul Quigley, brought up the Offertory gifts.

Faith and forgiveness

Later during his homily, Bishop Morlino reflected on the 100th anniversary and connected it with the Gospel reading -- the parable of the wicked servant who asked for forgiveness from a debt, but would not forgive a fellow servant.

“One hundred years of faith lived out as forgiveness according to the message in today’s Gospel,” Bishop Morlino said.

“The opportunity for forgiveness is everywhere,” the bishop added. “But especially it’s at home and [with] family, where you work, where you recreate . . . Forgiveness is a constant invitation from the Lord to each one of us, and he wants us to forgive one another from the heart. When we forgive from the heart, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is present.”

“For 100 years,” Bishop Morlino said, “a huge mountain of forgiveness has been being carved out here . . . People have grown in holiness for 100 years through forgiveness. And, today, the Lord Jesus challenges you [asking] ‘are you withholding forgiveness from someone?’”

“We thank God for all the gifts, the hidden gifts and the very visible gifts which the Lord has offered to this parish family for over 100 years, and we thank God in advance for all the beautiful blessings that will continue to flow right here . . . as long as we never forget to forgive from the heart,” Bishop Morlino said.

Gratitude and celebration

Near the end of Mass, Father Ibe thanked Bishop Morlino “from the bottom of our hearts” for celebrating the anniversary with the community and marking “this glorious occasion”.

Father Ibe told the parishioners the “challenge” is to be like all who came before them in the past 100 years and start to create a new celebration 100 years from now for their “children’s children”.

“Our own journey of faith will also continue to strengthen each other in the next 100 years,” Father Ibe said.

He also remembered Father Bowens -- “he gave all that he had in service of the faith here.”

Following the Mass, a reception was held in the parish hall housed in the old church building.

Parishioners who had attended the La Valle church for decades enjoyed lunch in the atmosphere of the old stained-glass windows and pictures of former pastors going back 100 years.

For more information on the parish and the Tri-Parish Catholic Community with the Lime Ridge and Loreto parishes, go to

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