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Lenten Reflection by Bishop Bullock
Rite of Election celebrated March 9
SUN PRAIRIE -- The Rite of Election of Catechumens and Call to Continuing Conversion for Candidates for Full Communion in the Catholic Church will be celebrated by the parishes of the Diocese of Madison on Sunday, March 9, at 2:30 p.m. at St. Albert the Great Parish in Sun Prairie.
Over 50 parishes will send nearly 300 people who will celebrate the sacraments of initiation this Easter, as well as their sponsors, family, and friends. Bishop William H. Bullock will preside.
The celebration comes from an ancient Christian practice where those who were to celebrate the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist) come forward at the beginning of Lent to show their intent. The people of the church, in turn, promise their support, guidance, and prayers.
Benefit auction, raffle
on March 8
CLINTON -- A benefit auction and raffle will be held on Saturday, March 8, at St. Stephen Parish family center beginning at 3 p.m. to help Mark Beals, who is fighting esophageal cancer.
Activities include a silent auction, food, auction games, and music. The public is invited to the benefit. Raffle tickets will be sold the day of the benefit. They are also available at the Clinton Public Library and Gilbank Construction office in Clinton.
The silent auction will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Auction games take place from 3 to 5 p.m., then continue from 6 to 7 p.m.
A barbecue plate and homemade desserts will be served throughout the event. Dean Foods donated milk. The country-rock band "Mesquite" and DJ Robbie Crawford will entertain.
Rachel's Vineyard retreat March 28-30
MADISON -- A Rachel's Vineyard weekend retreat for spiritual and psychological healing after abortion, will be held at the Bishop O'Connor Pastoral Center, 702 S. High Point Rd,. from Friday, March 28, to Sunday, March 30. A fee of $110 includes lodging for two nights, all meals, and materials. Financial assistance is available.
For more information or for registration materials, contact Beverly Hartberg at the Office of Family Ministry at 608-821-3177 or Leslie Graves at 608-218-1264. Confidentiality will be respected.
Lenten programs scheduled
PLATTEVILLE -- St. Augustine University Parish is planning a parish mission March 8 to 13. Parishioners, students, neighbors, and friends are invited to attend. Theme is "Come, Soothe Your Spirit, Awaken Your Soul." Leaders will be Dominicans, Sr. Mary Margaret Pazdan and Fr. Cletus Wessels. Sunday morning liturgy will be followed by brunch. Services will take place March 9 to 13 at 7 p.m. with opportunity to socialize following. Wednesday begins at 6 p.m. with a soup supper.
EDGERTON -- Capuchin Franciscan Father Michael Zuelke will conduct a mission of renewal at St. Joseph Parish Sunday, March 9, through Thursday, March 13. He will preside at weekend Masses, March 8 and 9, where he will outline topics. Evening services will begin at 7 p.m. Refreshments each evening. Baby-sitting will be available.
WAUNAKEE -- St. John the Baptist Parish is having a mission on Sunday evenings during Lent, March 9 through April 6, from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Fr. Jason Hesseling, parochial vicar, will speak on "Salvation History: God's Covenant throughout Time." There will be evening prayer, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction, and an opportunity for Reconciliation, followed by a social.
MADISON -- St. Peter Parish will hold a mission with the theme "We are a Eucharistic People" March 9 to 13. Leaders will be Sr. Linda Greenwood and Louise Doyle, Lowell, Mass., and Fr. Tom Horan, San Antonio, Texas. They will speak at weekend Masses March 8 and 9. Evening sessions will be March 9 to 13 at 7 p.m. and morning sessions at 9 a.m. Other parishioners in the Madison area are invited to attend.
MADISON -- St. Martin House will hold a Lenten Day of Recollection Thursday, March 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Catholic Multicultural Center, 1862 Beld St. Coffee and rolls will be served at 8:30 a.m. followed by presentation by Msgr. George Hastrich, Mass, lunch, video and discussion, opportunity for Reconciliation, and Benediction. All are welcome. RSVP by March 11 (608-255-1287) for meal planning.
MADISON -- A weekend retreat will be held March 15 to 16 at Schoenstatt Heights, 5901 Cottage Grove Rd. Theme is "Mary, Queen of the Rosary, Queen of Families, Queen of Peace." Retreat master will be Fr. Gerold Langsch. There are a limited number of rooms for overnight guests. For reservations, call Irene at 608-222-4655.
Diocesan Services Appeal: Bishop writes
to Catholic households
MADISON -- This week, Catholics throughout the Diocese of Madison will be receiving a personal letter from Bishop William H. Bullock.
As he did last year, the bishop is communicating directly with over 66,000 households in the diocese about the annual Diocesan Services Appeal (DSA).
Along with the letter is a brochure describing diocesan ministries that the DSA helps to fund, along with the budget for the diocese. This year an envelope for contributions and pledges will also be enclosed.
"To further the mission of the Church, we join hands to do God's work," Bullock says in his letter. "The reality is that the Church needs your financial support. The Diocese provides ministries and services that no individual parish can do on its own.
"By acting and giving together as a Diocese, we can meet the needs in our eleven counties in South Central Wisconsin."
Promoting the DSA
Jay Conzemius, director of the diocesan Office for Stewardship and Development, noted that the Diocesan Services Appeal promotion materials are helping the parishes pay their diocesan assessment.
Checks are still made out to the parish. Envelopes may be returned in the Sunday collection basket at one's parish or may be mailed to the parish or diocese with the parish indicated on the envelope.
"If we collect more than the parish's assessment, it goes back to the parish for parish needs," said Conzemius.
He said the opportunity to pledge to the DSA is new. "It gives people the opportunity to 'lighten the load' of their gift by paying in installments and instead of having to pay all at once."
The mailing list for the letter comes from the diocesan central database. "This was compiled and is being maintained by the Office for Stewardship and Development with the help of parishes," noted Conzemius.
DSA goal raised
This year's overall DSA goal has been raised to $2.5 million. "Individual parish goals will be increased from last year," said Conzemius.
"Parishes determine the size of the average gift. A rule of thumb is about $100 per household," he said.
Conzemius said a committee of pastors continues to advise the bishop on how the diocese should help the parishes in conducting the appeal.
"This is another important step in the diocese as we work together with the parishes in promoting parish and diocesan needs and the idea of stewardship," said Conzemius.
"The Lord blesses His people in untold ways and urges us to share those blessings as we give generously for the sake of others," says the bishop in his letter. "I assure you the Diocese is a good steward in spending what you give. Please join hands to do God's work, remembering that Jesus is with us until the end of time."
For more information about the Diocesan Services Appeal campaign, contact the Office for Stewardship and Development at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, P.O. Box 44983, Madison, WI 53744. Jay Conzemius may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Linking parishes: Bishop announces plans
MADISON -- Plans to link four sets of parishes in the Diocese of Madison were announced this week by Bishop William H. Bullock (see Bishop Speaks page).
The linkages flow out of the diocese's Inter-Parish Strategic Plan released Nov. 28, 1999. That plan came about after two years of meetings held throughout the diocese to develop recommendations to accommodate anticipated reductions in the number of priests.
Now, in 2003, that decreased number of priests is here. This year there will be three priests retiring and three priests from Nigeria returning to their country. The unexpected death of Fr. John Dowd in 2002 also cut the number of priests available to serve.
Three men will be ordained to the priesthood in May, but that will not be enough to replace those who are leaving. So more parishes will be linked beginning June 11.
In the Diocese of Madison's strategic planning documents, Bullock said he was "committed to preserving our parishes as natural faith communities and to providing the priestly presence to our parishes necessary to sustain us as a people of Word and Sacrament. The Church of the Diocese of Madison will continue to meet the basic needs of our faithful. However, the manner in which we address these needs will of necessity be different."
Changes in parishes
Bullock notes that the Diocese of Madison is the last diocese in Wisconsin to turn to lay men and women to serve as directors of parish life. The directors will work in a parish without a resident pastor, with the priest coming to administer the sacraments.
The bishop also observes that the number and times of Masses may need to be changed due to fewer priests. "I do not wish to stretch our priests by offering too many Masses on Sunday," he says.
Link, merge, cluster
Besides the traditional parish with its own pastor, parishes may be linked, merged, or clustered.
Linking of two or more parishes means the appointment of one priest who serves as pastor for two or more parishes. The parishes remain separate with individual pastoral councils, finance councils, budgets, and records. The parishes are encouraged to collaborate with one another.
To merge usually means the appointment of one pastor for two parishes and the creation of one parish council with representation from both communities and merging of organizations and programs.
A cluster is the organization of three or more parishes that includes all parishes being served by a single pastor and staff. Usually there are pastoral and finance councils for each parish within the cluster with common coordinated programs where feasible.