Holy Family Catholic Parish in Woodruff is located on County Highway. J, just east of Woodruff. In November, the church’s mortgage was burned; the parish paid off the loan in about half of the anticipated time. Related videos are at ‘Superior Catholic Herald’s’ new YouTube channel. (Submitted photo)

Jenny Snarski
Catholic Herald staff

On Aug. 13, Bishop James P. Powers celebrated Mass for the 10th anniversary of the dedication of Holy Family Church, Woodruff. The parish was established in 2004 by Bishop Fliss and merged three former parishes into one over a three-year period.

The readings for the day were about the persecuted prophet Elijah and Peter walking on water amidst the storm. Bishop Powers began his homily speaking of the overwhelming circumstances “we have found ourselves in, whether it was by our own doing or not.” He acknowledged the “myriad of reasons” these times come from, and their numbing and paralyzing effect.
The bishop, commenting on Elijah, said, “In an earlier verse he has asked God to let him die. He has been through so much turmoil that he finds continuing his work as God’s prophet impossible.”

He contemplated how overwhelmed and gripped with fear the disciples felt, and their panic, thinking a ghost was approaching them. Peter’s sinking, after responding to Jesus’ invitation to walk to him on the water, shows “when he feels the fierceness of the storm, he hesitates … he becomes frightened and rather than focusing on Jesus, he allows his faith and trust in Jesus to be paralyzed by his fear of the stormy waters.”

The bishop related the impossible things contained in the Gospel passage with the monumental, at times seeming impossible, task of planning and overseeing the establishment of a new parish as well as building a new church. He challenged, “I wonder, how many times we have prevented the Lord from helping us do something impossible. I wonder how many of us need practice in believing the impossible.”

Before rededicating the church, Bishop Powers invited those present to rededicate themselves as living temples. “Through it all, in a tiny voice in our conscience, our Lord will be whispering to us, ‘Can you believe in the impossible?’ If we can respond yes, I do believe, it will be not only in the good times of life that we can see the hand of God at work, but perhaps more importantly in the storms of our lives.”