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October 26, 2006 Edition

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This week:
New Since the Print Edition (front page):
    Watch Bishop Swain installation on Internet (posted 10/24/2006)
• Front-page photo: Prized Pumpkin
Death penalty: Panelists discuss views on referendum
Young adults: Have opportunity to question bishop
Guided by the Spirit: Parish Core Committee structure, roles
News Briefs
Nominate someone for "Profiles from the pew"

Articles on St. Raphael Cathedral

News Briefs:
Fr. Mazzuchelli celebration: Anniversary culminates Nov. 4 and 5

SINSINAWA -- The yearlong celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Dominican Father Samuel Mazzuchelli will culminate Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 4 and 5. The public is invited to join the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters at Sinsinawa Mound.

On his birthday, Saturday, Nov. 4, the public is invited to attend a free showing of the award-winning video, Tracing a Journey, which celebrates the life and legacy of Father Mazzuchelli, at 2:30 p.m. at Sinsinawa Mound. The viewing will be followed by a panel discussion with the creators of the film, writer Paul Kohl and executive producer Craig Schaefer.

Solemn Vespers will be held at 4:30 p.m. with preaching by Sr. Mary Paynter, vice-postulator for the Cause of Beatification of Father Mazzuchelli. Refreshments follow.

On Sunday, Nov. 5, at the 10:30 a.m. Eucharist, Fr. David Wright will preside and preach. He is also a vice-postulator for the Cause.

The exhibit, Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP, Tracing a Journey, will be open both Saturday and Sunday. This self-guided exhibit traces Father Mazzuchelli's journey from Italy to the U.S. His writing desk, chalice, chasuble, and penance chain are on display.

Father Mazzuchelli, born in 1806, established at least 35 parish communities, designed and built at least 24 churches, and founded the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. He was declared "Venerable" by Pope John Paul II, the first step to sainthood.

Marriage matters:
Forum Oct. 29

MADISON -- St. Paul's University Catholic Center will host a forum on how the Catholic Church views marriage on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 7:15 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St.

The Forum on Marriage features speakers who will offer their expertise on the topics of traditional marriage and same-sex marriages, followed by a question-and-answer session. Speakers include: Christopher Wolfe, professor of political science at Marquette University, covering the legal and civic basis of traditional marriage; Fr. Dan Farley from Stevens Point sharing his pastoral experience with men and women with homosexual orientation; and Barbara Sella from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference discussing the church's position.

For information, call St. Paul's, 608-258-3140. Room location can be found on TITU at the Union or at

Immigration: Program
on Oct. 26

BELOIT -- The three Beloit parishes are sponsoring the third part of an education series on immigration. "Politics and the Immigration Debate" will be held Thursday, Oct. 26, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Thomas Church, 822 E. Grand Ave. It is free and open to the public.

The speaker will be David Liners, statewide director of WISDOM, an organization of eight local congregation-based organizations working for justice in Wisconsin. His presentation will include: an explanation of terms; what was done in Washington in the past year; and what might happen next.

Bring friend:
To Portage blood drive

PORTAGE -- BloodCenter of Wisconsin has extended its Bring a Friend Promotion to include Divine Savior Healthcare's blood drive on Friday, Oct. 27. If individuals bring a new donor to the blood drive, the individual and the new donor will receive a gift: a Marcus Movie Pass or a Target, Starbucks, or Barnes and Noble gift card.

The blood drive will take place on Friday, Oct. 27, from 12 noon to 5 p.m. at Divine Savior Healthcare, Suite 100, 2817 New Pinery Rd. Call 608-745-5165 to schedule an appointment; walk-ins are also welcome.

information sessions

MADISON/PLATTEVILLE -- RENEW International will be holding information sessions in the Diocese of Madison at two locations: St. Mary Parish in Platteville on Monday, Oct. 30, 7 to 9 p.m., and the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Center in Madison on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2 to 4 p.m.

The Why Catholic? program covers the basic teachings of the Catholic Church in terms of what people believe, celebrate, live, and pray. The materials draw upon the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Sacred Scripture, and are designed for use by small faith-sharing groups.

The program involves a four- year effort on the part of participating parishes, plus preparatory staff training. As the training aspects are handled directly by RENEW International, all participating parishes in a diocese follow a single schedule. In the Diocese of Madison, this will begin with preparatory training in the Spring of 2007 and end in the Spring of 2011.

There is a four-year contractual commitment to the program at a suggested annual cost of $1,800 per participating pastor (which can be spread across multiple parishes served by that pastor).

For more information go to or call the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, 608-821-3160.

Taize prayer evening

SINSINAWA -- Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters and Associates invite everyone to an evening of Taize prayer. This sung prayer, both simple and sophisticated in its repetitive form, can be a deepening spiritual experience. The prayer hour will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, in Queen of the Rosary Chapel, Sinsinawa Mound.

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for "Profiles
from the pew"

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Death penalty: Panelists discuss views on referendum

MADISON -- Should the death penalty be enacted in the State of Wisconsin for cases involving a person who is convicted of a first-degree intentional homicide, if the conviction is supported by DNA evidence?

That is one of the questions coming before voters in a referendum in the November 7 election.

Six panelists - three speaking for the referendum and three against - participated in a forum on the death penalty held October 19 at Edgewood College. The forum was sponsored by the college's Campus Ministry, Department of Social Science, and Department of Theatre Arts. (From November 10 to 18, Edgewood College will present performances of Dead Man Walking, a drama looking at the human consequences of the death penalty.)

Panel members

Gil Halsted of Wisconsin Public Radio moderated the panel discussion. Those speaking against the death penalty were Bishop Robert C. Morlino of the Diocese of Madison, Barbara Sella of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, and Keith Findley, a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School's Frank J. Remington Center, where he co-directs the Wisconsin Innocence Project.

Speaking for the death penalty were John McAdams, on the faculty of Marquette University; Pastor Mike Mayhak of Faith Baptist Church in Madison; and Daniel Suhr, a student at Marquette University Law School.

Halsted gave some background on capital punishment in Wisconsin, noting that there were at least four deaths before the practice was abolished in 1853. There have been previous attempts to reinstate the death penalty but so far none has been successful. The November 7th referendum is advisory only.

'Proud history'

Findley said Wisconsin has a "proud history" without the death penalty - "a history we shouldn't veer from." He emphasized that "killing is simply wrong." Capital punishment is also expensive and diverts money from better ways to control crime.

Bishop Morlino said capital punishment is not intrinsically evil, but "it is never good to kill someone when it's not necessary." A life sentence will protect people today, he insisted.

"If we kill people, we add to the spiral of violence" in the world, said the bishop.

Debt to society

Pastor Mayhak quoted Scripture passages showing that God seems to approve the execution of murderers. Suhr said the primary argument for the death penalty is retribution for the taking of a life, thus paying a debt to society by taking another life. He noted that 38 other states have the death penalty.

Suhr admitted that some victims' families don't want the death penalty, but others do. "For some it brings vindication and closure."

However, Sella observed that the rest of the world has moved away from using the death penalty. "Polls indicate support is going down in our state. Why introduce it now?" she asked.

Panelists discussed the use and misuse of DNA evidence. Pastor Mayhak said DNA could be used along with other corroborating evidence, but Findley challenged the use of DNA in criminal cases.

He said many people sentenced to death have later been found innocent. "We run the risk of executing innocent people," he said."We have alternatives that don't run the risk of executing the innocent."

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Young adults: Have opportunity to question bishop

MADISON -- It was a packed room of young adults who came to hear Bishop Robert C. Morlino speak on October 17 as part of Theology On Tap. And he gave them what they wanted.

For over an hour and a half at Babe's Bar and Grill in Madison, as young adults sipped sodas, wine, and other drinks - and even ordered curly fries- the bishop answered questions on any topic of interest, from the marriage amendment and his right to speak out about it to his devotion to Mary.

The topic of primary interest was the state marriage referendum: Bishop Morlino answered several questions about the issue and reiterated his statement that it is the responsibility of Catholic laity to purify the culture by voting. But his main concern was his right to discuss the issue in the first place.

Freedom of religion

First, the bishop said, the federal Constitution says that the state will not establish a religion, and the state will never prevent the free exercise of religion. He was referring to the first amendment, which reads, "congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ."

Vatican II also says that the state should favor authentic religious practice, Bishop Morlino said, "because when the state favors religious practice, religion brings along with it a practice of morality," he said. "And what morality is all about is that people freely restrain themselves from doing evil. If people freely restrain from doing evil, then the state does not have to restrain them."

That maximizes the possibility of democracy, he said, because the state does not have to intervene.

No separation

Secondly, he said, "there are facts in the world, and from these facts I can conclude what I should do. Based on fact, I draw conclusions about what ought to be."

For instance, a fertilized egg is a unique, human individual by scientific fact, and therefore I should treat it as a unique human individual, he said.

"There's no separation of church and state - the unbridgable wall is a theory of the kind of Supreme Court justices who also decided that it's okay to kill unborn babies," he said. "There's no separation of church and state in the constitution; that's wishful thinking by people who have an agenda."

So we can't say the bishop, the priests cannot talk about the Catholic conscience and voting because of the separation of church and state, he said. That would mean that the Catholic Church would obey bad Supreme Court decisions.

"As I've said many times: baloney," Bishop Morlino said. "Better to obey God than man. Especially when men are wrong."

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Guided by the Spirit:
Parish Core Committee structure, roles

MADISON -- This series of articles has been discussing the various aspects of the Guided by the Spirit planning process.

This process is being used to assist the Bishop in ensuring that each member of the diocese is being given the opportunity to meet the Risen Christ, every day. This occurs primarily through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Penance, but also through the various interactions each of us have with one another, having faith in Christ, and doing the best we can with all that He has given us.

A large part of the emphasis on this planning process has to do with ensuring that the sacraments, catechesis, education, and outreach are all widely available throughout the diocese through each parish's recognition of what it is doing well and what it could do better.

Previous articles:

This recognition is accomplished through the leadership of the parish's Core Committee, which serves as the focal point of the parish's planning for the future in the Guided by the Spirit process.

Core Committee

The Core Committee is made up of the pastor of the parish and four parish leaders whom he selects to help lead and guide the Guided by the Spirit planning in the parish and to contribute to the work of the cluster group at the appropriate time.

Ordinarily, the four parish leaders will include two members from the Parish Council and/or Finance Council, one staff person, and one at-large leader. It is suggested that the number of staff members be limited to one to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

In any case, it is important that there are at least four members working with the pastor because of the amount of work that is necessary to be accomplished in a relatively short time frame. Also there should be a large enough "core" of people to discuss the various aspects of the parish ministries so that there can be some objectivity and breadth of knowledge contained within the Core Committee, something that is often difficult to accomplish in a smaller group.

As suggested by the name, the Core Committee is the "core" of the parish evaluation, with all members of the parish community weighing in on the evaluation of the parish ministries. To have this cooperative effort of all of the parishioners is to do a great service to the parish faith community because the likelihood of some part of the parish being forgotten, marginalized, or misrepresented becomes very small with increased involvement.

Primary roles

In addition to the role of leading the parish community through the planning process, the Core Committee has five other primary roles.

The Core Committee is responsible for the parish's evaluation of itself according to the Planning Commission Criteria as was discussed in my last article. Associated with this evaluation is the parish summary and verification of data. This confirms the information that the diocese has with regard to the parish and ensures that everyone is working from the same data.

Once all the data is collected and evaluated the Core Committee will need to participate in cluster planning and in suggesting a model for the most effective way that they can work together in the future. This cluster planning will be occurring in the spring with a Planning Commission recommendation following submission of the cluster plan.

Once the discussions with the Planning Commission are completed and the Bishop makes his decision about the plan submitted to him from the Planning Commission, the Core Committee will need to follow up and ensure that the implementation proceeds as was planned for their parish and cluster.

Committee leaders

The Core Committee should select a chair and a secretary to ensure timely completion of tasks and good communication with the parish community and other committees as needed.

While it may make the most sense for the chair to be the pastor, it is not necessary and in fact may be desirable, in order to lessen the overall work load on the pastor, to select another member of the committee to act as chair.

In any case, the chair should schedule meetings, ensure that there is a working agenda, and convene the group with prayer.

Focus on prayer

It must be emphasized that this entire process must be rooted in prayer to our Lord, whose work we are doing, along with prayer to our Mother Mary, Seat of Wisdom, for her intercession on our behalf in this important work for her Son.

This focus on prayer and God's will keeps what can seem to be an overwhelmingly human task, a spiritual one, a task that can only be completed with Jesus' help.

The chair also works with other Core and Cluster Committee chairs to accomplish the tasks needed for communication with the Planning Commission and for implementation of the plan after the Bishop's approval.

Along with the secretary, who keeps notes or minutes from each meeting, the chair must ensure that the parish community is kept informed of all developments and that there is involvement by the entire parish in accomplishing the Core Committee's tasks.

We have covered information on the Guided by the Spirit planning process. This work is well underway in many parishes but there may be questions about what has been written, the process, people involved, or the possible outcomes.

If you have any questions, please contact us at or mail us at Guided by the Spirit, 702 S. High Point Rd., Madison, WI 53719. We will publish a question and answer column in the future to help everyone be . . . Guided by the Spirit.

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