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The Catholic Herald: Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Madison

November 4, 2004 Edition   •   Volume 134, No. 41   •   Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

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The Catholic Herald is the official newspaper of the Diocese of Madison. Its purpose is to inform and educate people of the Diocese through communications that proclaim Gospel values, report the news, and comment on issues as they pertain to the mission of the Catholic Church, which is to bring all in Jesus Christ to the Father.
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Autumn Conversion

By Fr. Don Lange

Artist God, You brush scarlet and gold,
On autumn's receptive canvas of leaves!
Your feast of beauty thrills my senior eyes,
And breathless, I pray with child-like awe!

"Holy, holy, divine painter of fall's glory,
The Heavens, Earth and changing leaves,
Reveal the beauty of your creation story,
Hosanna! Hosanna! in the highest trees!"

Your masterpiece of brilliant emerging colors,
Inspires gratitude in my sleepy autumn heart,
And awakened, my inner child cries, "Ah! God!
Thanks for creating the sacrament of Autumn!"

Yet loving Creator, you already hid fall's colors,
In the green of young spring and summer leaves,
Hiding like a secret love to be revealed someday
At the harvest, when the finest is always shared!

You offer us the gift of passing autumn beauty
To invite us to reflect prayerfully with wonder,
Upon the delicate leaves of our changing lives,
Deep questions that we often ask, "Who are we,
Where are we going and the mysterious 'why?'"

You paint fall's colors to invite us to conversion,
While finite time and human choice still are ours.
The leaves of life change slowly to earth's brown.
Our kaleidoscope of time turns quickly to winter,
Grace us with colors of conversion today, please!

Fr. Don Lange is pastor of St. Bridget Parish, Ridgeway, linked with Immaculate Conception Parish, Barneveld.

photo of autumn leaves and St. Joseph Church bell tower in Madison
BLESSINGS OF AUTUMN -- Autumn leaves frame the bell tower at St. Joseph Church in Madison. (Catholic Herald photo by Julianne Nornberg)

'Mother Teresa of Nigeria':
Inspires Madison volunteers to feed the hungry

Pro Labore Dei

Sr. Stella-Maris Okonkwo founded Pro Labore Dei in 1990 as a response to God's call to "go out into the streets and slum areas where people are suffering and look after the poor."

In Nigeria her organization feeds the hungry, distributes clothing, provides health services, visits prisoners, cares for orphans, and provides education and religious services.

MADISON -- Are there hungry people in Madison?

Most Madison residents probably don't think so. They believe that the government or private agencies are taking care of feeding the hungry.

It took a Sister from Nigeria to open the eyes of a group of Madison volunteers to the plight of the hungry and homeless.

Known as the "Mother Teresa of Nigeria," Sr. Stella-Maris Okonkwo says God told her several years ago to come to Madison. "He said to me, 'I am preparing the people. When it is ready, I will let you know.'"

God finally told her in September of 2003 to travel to Madison. "I didn't even have a visa," said Sister Stella-Maris in an interview during her recent visit to Madison. "In a most miraculous manner, I went to the embassy and explained my mission. Immediately I got my visa."   Full story and photo ...

Only in the print edition ...
News & Features:

Social justice:
More must be done worldwide

Diocesan Education Institute:
Report on speakers

Eucharistic Adoration:
In Diocese of Madison

Catholic pharmacist: Refuses
to dispense contraceptives


• Making a Difference
by Tony Magliano --
Catholics and politics:
We can't sit on the sidelines

• Your Family
by Monica and Bill Dodds --
Helping children: In the 'out crowd'

• Question Corner
by Fr. John Dietzen --
Morality of circumcision:
What is Catholic Church's view?

• The Pope Speaks
by Pope John Paul II -- Psalm:
God will not abandon man in the time of death

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Seton House:
Helping women, children

MADISON -- It's been a year of note for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House, a transitional housing program for women and children.

In 2004 the program, which is run by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, celebrated its 15th year, opened a third location - a two-bedroom, fully furnished house - and has plans to purchase an additional two-unit apartment house.

The program provides furnished homes for women and children who are moving from unstable situations to permanent housing in the community.

For women like Mary (not her real name), it's made a huge difference.

"Seton House gave me the chance to start all over again," she said.

Mary sought help from Seton House in April. Even though she had a job, a poor credit history kept her from getting a regular apartment for herself, her school-age son, and the baby she was expecting.

She and her son moved into a two-bedroom unit in Seton House in April.   Full story ...

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