JANESVILLE -- Janesville Serra Club will host a Celebration of Vocations on Wednesday, Dec. 13. Social is at 11:30 a.m. and luncheon at 12:15 p.m.
Priests and religious of the diocese will be special guests at the luncheon at the Janesville Country Club. Bishop Robert C. Morlino will speak at the celebration. Janesville Serrans invite men and women of the area's Catholic parishes to join in appreciation of all who have answered God's call to a life of service to his people.
Reservations are $25 per person. RSVP by Friday, Dec. 6, to: Janesville Serra Club, P.O. Box 494, Janesville, WI 53547, or contact Dave Wagner, 1-800-884-9448 or email@example.com
MADISON -- The lecture on Darfur at the Catholic Multicultural Center has been canceled. "We hope to reschedule this lecture sometime during the first quarter of the new year," said Andy Russell, administrator. For information, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-661-3512 x106.
Stem cell panel
MADISON -- Bishop Robert C. Morlino will participate in a discussion panel to follow professor William Hurlbut's lecture on the ethics of human embryonic stem cell research on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at Union South, UW-Madison, 227 N. Randall Ave. This event is sponsored by the Isthmus Society. For details see www.isthmussociety.org
Advent Taize Prayer
at Sinsinawa Mound
SINSINAWA -- Advent Taize Evening Prayer will be offered at 7 p.m. on Mondays, Dec. 4, 11, and 18, at the Sinsinawa Mound. This is a sung prayer, in repetitive mantra form.
Marriage Seminar comes to Madison
MADISON -- The Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, in cooperation with Madison Marriage Ministries (of the Greater Madison Community Marriage Policy Task Force), will offer the fourth annual marriage enrichment seminar.
On Saturday, Jan. 27, Mark Gungor will present "Laugh Your Way to A Happy Marriage" from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Lake City Church, 4909 Buckeye Rd.
For information on the seminar and to order tickets online, visit the Web site at www.laughyourway.com Choose "Buy Tickets" from the "Tour" drop-down menu and scroll to Madison WI. Tickets ordered online will be available at the seminar.
To order tickets for early pick up (to give as Christmas gifts or to avoid pick up at the seminar), contact the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis by calling 608-821-3175.
Ticket cost is $35 per person in advance, $25 per person for groups of four or more, and $40 per person on the day of the seminar. For an additional $5, limited tickets for on-site lunch will be available to purchase the morning of the seminar at check-in. For lunch off-site, nearby restaurant locations will also be available.
Monroe Clinic's Celebration of Lights
MONROE -- Monroe Clinic Hospice is now taking ornament reservations for the 12th Annual Celebration of Lights. Celebration of Lights is a way to honor a loved one during the holiday season.
For a minimum donation of $7, an ornament will be created for each loved one and each name will be recognized at the Celebration of Lights service, which is a service that honors people who have died as well as people who are still living.
The Celebration of Lights service will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7, at the United Methodist Church of Monroe at 2227 Fourth St., Monroe. Attendees may pick up their ornaments at the church before or after the service. Proceeds will fund community bereavement programs, which give support and help to those who are grieving.
Ornaments can be reserved now through December 4. Order forms are available at the St. Camillus Center, Clare's Closet (first floor of hospital), the clinic and hospital information desks, or by calling 608-324-1230 or 800-367-8406.
from the pew"
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Guided by the Spirit: Cluster assignments sent
MADISON -- The Guided by the Spirit planning process is well underway in the Diocese of Madison.
The proposed cluster assignments were sent this week to each parish's Core Committee for review, reflection, and response.
The Reid Group, who did the assignments, found that nearly 95 percent of them were requested by at least one parish, with many of them being a mutual selection.
In the remaining cases, combinations of suggestions were put together to form a cluster so as to keep clusters geographically coherent.
Each parish Core Committee is requested to make comment on the proposed cluster assignment by December 8, so that cluster assignments may be finalized by the January cluster training meetings.
All of the information with regard to surveys, parishes, and clusters, along with all forms necessary, are available on the Web at http://www.madisondiocese.org under "Strategic Planning."
If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail us at GuidedbytheSpirit@straphael.org
St. Vincent de Paul: Society honors its volunteers
MADISON -- The Society of St. Vincent de Paul recognized dedicated service on behalf of neighbors in need by four generous Dane County volunteers recently.
Eunice and Ray Devine, Phyliss Gibson, and Msgr. John H. Hebl were honored with Volunteer Service Awards by the society's District Council of Madison.
The awards were announced before a group of about 225 St. Vincent de Paul volunteers and guests gathered at Turner Hall on Madison's east side for the society's annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner.
District Council of Madison - Society of St. Vincent de Paul President Ed Emmenegger, Executive Director Ralph Middlecamp, and Business Manager Ruth Lalley made the awards presentation.
Eunice and Ray Devine
Eunice and Ray Devine were honored for decades of support for the St. Vincent de Paul Service Center in Madison - particularly for the center's prescription-assistance program - and for support on behalf of Port St. Vincent de Paul, Madison's longest-serving men's shelter.
Eunice Devine helped prepare and serve meals at "The Port" at least one day per week for many years.
Ray Devine, who resides in Middleton, accepted the award made both to him and to Eunice, who died in 2001.
Phyliss Gibson, a Madison resident and immediate past president of the St. Vincent de Paul
Conference at St. Dennis Parish, was recognized for her leadership among society members, known as "Vincentians."
She was honored, too, for bringing St. Vincent de Paul's resources to bear on needy families by visiting them in their homes and for dedicated service as a volunteer at the expanded, interim St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Madison since it opened its doors in August 2005.
Msgr. John Hebl
Msgr. John H. Hebl was recognized for his current service as spiritual director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Diocesan Council of Madison and for his many years of support for the society while he served as a pastor in the Madison area and elsewhere around the diocese.
Although he retired from active service as a pastor in 2005, Monsignor Hebl served recently as temporary administrator of St. John the Baptist Parish in Montello and Good Shepherd Parish in Westfield. Monsignor Hebl was unable to attend the dinner, and his award will be presented to him separately.
Those interested in volunteering to help Dane County neighbors in need through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul may call Margie Welsh, volunteer coordinator for the society in Madison, at 608-442-9878, ext. 2.
Volunteers are especially needed to serve as hosts at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, Dane County's largest and busiest pantry facility.
More information about the society and the volunteer opportunities it offers for growth in charitable service is available at www.svdpmadison.org
Art of perseverance: Young adults learn from the saints
MADISON -- The saints are there to teach us what it means to persevere, Barbara Sella, associate director of education and social concerns for the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, said to a group of young adults.
Sella was the speaker for the most recent Theology On Tap (TOT), a program for young adults in their 20s and 30s that blends a social atmosphere with a teaching one. The next Theology on Tap will be held Thursday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. The place is still to be determined.
This particular TOT was held at St. Dennis Parish rather than a noisy bar, but the quiet, candles, and wine (or soda) were perhaps a more fitting atmosphere to talk about extraordinary men and women who made loving God their lifelong ambition.
"'Saints Are the Sinners Who Keep on Going': The Art of Christian Perseverance" was the topic of the night. Sella, who has a doctorate in medieval history, delved into the lives of five different saints who, to her, model perseverance through trials.
When growing up, Sella didn't have a strong devotion to the saints. She said she had seen it as something childish, or as an affectation.
But in graduate school she came across letters written between St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantal. In those letters, she found a vitality and greater insight into who they were - and in that way, she was brought back to the Catholic Church.
"We have a tendency to make those in the past more remote," she said. In reading the letters, you can get closer to them as people.
Young Adult Highlights
Make a difference in young adult programs in the diocese by filling out a survey produced for and by young adults. Visit the diocesan Web page young adult section or go to: www.madisoncatholic.org/oec/YoungAdult/survey.asp
The next Theology on Tap is Thursday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m., titled "Faith, Medicine & Missionaries." Three young doctors will share their ministry of healing. Location to be announced.
Join a Young Adult Small Group. Groups meet in Madison Thursdays at Blessed Sacrament at 7:30 p.m. and St. Dennis at 7 p.m. Both groups meet weekly.
Join other young adults for laser tag on Friday, Dec. 10. Go to www.st-dennis.org/young/events.asp for more information.
Basics of the Faith meets 9:30 to 11 a.m. Thursdays at St. Thomas Aquinas in Madison. Childcare is available. Church Fathers series begins soon. Call 608-833-2600 for details.
Theology for young adults on Sundays at the UW-Madison Memorial Union, 7:15 to 8:45 p.m. For more information, call 608-258-3140.
Parishes are encouraged to send a delegate for the diocesan young adult leadership core team. Contact Brad Klingele, email@example.com for details.
Sella held up three women as examples: Teresa of Avila, Thérèse of Lisieux, and Teresa of Calcutta. She went through their lives, highlighting their trials and how, through everything, they persevered.
St. Teresa of Avila, for instance, was suffering from poor health and yet still continued traveling by mule carts throughout Europe to spread the Word of God.
Or how St. Thérèse of Lisieux battled tuberculosis and went through her "dark night of the soul," doubting in the truth of God. She finally died at the age of 24, saying that she would rain roses from heaven. She was one of only three woman to become a doctor of the church.
And Teresa of Calcutta, or Mother Teresa, had faced obstacles when she was told by God to found an order of nuns. Her letters to the archbishop requesting permission, Sella said, are very moving.
Teresa of Calcutta also suffered under the "dark night of the soul," Sella said, but she "persevered to the end, even in the face of these doubts. And . . . she even found Christ through those doubts."
SS. Francis and Jane
The next pair of saints Sella looked at were St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantal, who together at the beginning of the 17th century founded the Institute of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin, for women who felt called to the religious life but didn't have the strength for the rigors of other orders.
They had met when St. Jane was the widowed Baroness de Chantal with four children. St. Francis, the archbishop of Bourgos, became her spiritual director. They carried on a correspondence for many years, until his death.
"In their letters, at least for me, I feel like they're speaking to me about my problems," Sella said.
In reading the correspondence of saints, she said she has come to see them almost as family members. "They understand, only as an older, wiser person can, the joys and sorrows of being human," she said.