Richard SageIs it the end of summer or the beginning of autumn? The tv weather people tell us that in meteorological terms, September 1 is the beginning of autumn. For me, since I tend to constantly be looking forward or planning something days, weeks, or even months in advance, I already recognized this as autumn and in fact have probably been in that “looking forward” mode for at least a month. “We’ve got to get prepared, it’s almost fall and soon to be winter!” Certainly for many of us here at Catholic Charities, much of that current “looking forward” is due to our renovation of a downtown building that will become a home for the La Crosse Warming Center, as well as offices for some of our community outreach services. Our project campaign, Building Hope…A New Space of Welcome, has been building forward steam toward our goal of having the building ready for occupancy by November 1. Thinking about this project/construction effort is a nice segue to our upcoming holiday, Labor Day!

Seeing all of the skilled workers transforming the downtown building from a warehouse-type function to a new home for the Warming Center has been an awesome experience Masonry workers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and HVAC crews are performing a near metamorphosis on an old, “used” building and creating a space that will look and function like “brand-new!” On Monday, September 1 we honor them and millions of other skilled workers by observing the Labor Day holiday – a day of rest, blessing, gratitude and recognition for all workers. A well deserved day off! The Crew Leader, Dave Lester (see picture below) from our general contractor, Fowler & Hammer, has been a real asset and a joy to work with. He has been doing a super job coordinating all of the on-site details and work that needs to be done. We are blessed to have so many high quality and dedicated workers on this project! This past Wednesday some concrete was poured to renew a section of flooring. We took a moment to do an imprint of a cross and to write in the date 8-27-14 (see picture below). We realize the concrete will soon be covered up, but we’ll know the image of the Cross of our Lord is permanently there and someday down the road maybe the flooring will need to be re-done and someone will discover the imprint. It is a permanent dedication that all the works to be done in that building are through His Cross, the sign of God’s immeasurable love for us, and a reminder that Our Lord is always faithful to us.

Labor Day brings to mind a portion of one of my favorite passages from Psalm 90:

Show forth your work to your servants;
let your glory shine on their children.
Let the favor of the Lord be upon us:
give success to the work of our hands,
give success to the work of our hands.

On this Labor Day, may the Lord bless all workers and keep them safe while they are working in offices, hospitality, retail, service, safety and protection, education, health care, industrial, or construction – and Lord, especially bless all the workers at 413 South 3rd Street!

Deacon Richard Sage
Executive Director