Father Joseph Walijewski’s heroic and priestly zeal impacted all those he encountered. As a missionary within the Diocese of La Crosse, Bolivia and Peru, he established parish churches, soup kitchens and the Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II Orphanage.
Countless stories recall Padre Jose entering the most difficult of situations as a beacon of hope. Through his work with the poorest of the poor, he instilled a genuine Faith and direction to bring people closer to Jesus Christ. Today, his spirit lives on in the children who call Casa Hogar home, inspires missionary acts near and far and calls us as a diocesan community to take action.
Father Joe’s concept of reverse mission is ever-present, connecting Casa Hogar and the Diocese of La Crosse through various mission trips, the Optical Mission and Project Milk.
Each year, schools and parish groups travel to Peru to learn about Father Joe’s legacy, serve the community and establish lifelong relationships. These relationships, in turn, often result in a sponsorship of a child at Casa Hogar or acting on the needs witnessed through their experiences. Upon returning home, they bring a new perspective, understanding and ability to take action in their own communities.
Every other year, a team of doctors, opticians and volunteers travel to Casa Hogar to conduct the Optical Mission. This past January, the team served close to 2,000 individuals, providing the gift of sight.
Each year, milk is purchased from local dairy farmers, processed into powder and shipped to Casa Hogar. This on-going ministry of the Diocese of La Crosse supplies close to 800 bags of powdered milk, feeding the children at the orphanage with enough remaining to be distributed to additional children’s homes in the surrounding communities.
At the direction of The Father Joseph Walijewski Legacy Guild, we continue to celebrate Father Joe’s legacy in the work connected to Casa Hogar and foster future missionary efforts as his Cause for Canonization progresses. Last year marked the closing of the investigation into his life and submission of official documents to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. Our journey is not yet over. It is only through devotion and awareness that we can further spread his missionary and entrepreneurial legacy among the faithful, both in the United States and around the world.
His spark calls us all to be apostles of hope and we ask for your continued prayers to seek his intercession.
“Keep the faith, and if you can’t keep it, share it.”
–Father Joseph Walijewski
For more information on The Father Joseph Walijewski Legacy Guild, upcoming events and supporting our efforts, please visit frjoesguild.org