Rite of Election:
To be held February 25
Note: Rite of Election cancelled (posted 2/25/2007)
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 on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 3 p.m. at St. Albert the Great Parish in Sun Prairie. Parishes from the diocese will send people who will celebrate the sacraments of initiation this Easter, as well as their sponsors, families, and friends. Bishop Robert C. Morlino will preside.
The celebration is part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), which encompasses many facets of initiation.
The service includes three distinct parts. First, all listen to the reading of Scripture which recalls that Christ has called each person by name. Following the readings and a homily, the catechumens - all those who are seeking Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist - are called by name to come forward. The bishop offers a brief instruction and asks them a few
questions. He asks their sponsors and family and friends if they will continue to support the catechumens with their prayers. Then the catechumens sign their name in the Book of the Elect as a sign of their commitment and as a reminder to pray for the elect.
The candidates - those baptized in another Christian denomination wishing to be welcomed into the Catholic Church - are each called by name. The bishop speaks to the candidates and asks their sponsors and the assembly to support them with their prayers.
St. Albert is wheelchair accessible. There will be a sign-language interpreter and assistive listening devices. Large-print worship aids are available upon request. For information, visit www.madisondiocese.org/worship or call the Office of Worship at 608-821-3080.
Annual Mardi Gras Gala: To benefit Sacred
SUN PRAIRIE -- Saturday, March 10, is the date for the eighth annual Mardi Gras Gala to benefit Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary School. The benefit auction is open to the public.
The Mardi Gras Gala begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Madison and includes four rooms of silent auction items, including items hand-made by the students themselves, a live auction, and an elegant dinner buffet, dessert table, and cocktails.
Hand-made items by the students include a memory book from the 2007 graduating class, hand-painted snack buckets and window boxes, First Communion table runners, and hand-printed pillowcases and blankets from the first grade class. Live auction items include a three-month lease on a Toyota convertible from SMART motors, a Brett Favre-signed Packers football helmet, a handmade deck buffet bar, a wine-tasting party, his-and-her gift baskets, restaurant gift certificates, and more.
The Mardi Gras Gala benefit auction is the school's leading fundraiser, last year returning more than $70,000.
Tickets are $60 per person. To purchase individual tickets or sponsor a table, contact Jill Conaway at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary School, 608-837-8508. If you are unable to attend, but would still like to support Sacred Hearts and Catholic education, live auction raffle tickets are available for $50 each until March 8. Contact Conaway for details.
Grief support group
MONROE -- Monroe Clinic Hospice announces the next six-week HEAL (Hope Eternal After Loss) grief education and support group, which provides support for people who are grieving the death of a loved one.
This six-week HEAL group will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 28, and will continue every Wednesday evening through April 4. The weekly meetings will be held at the St. Camillus Center, 2101 6th St. in Monroe, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. There is no cost to attend these meetings. For more information or to register, call 608-324-1230.
at St. Martin House
MADISON -- St. Martin House will hold a special Lenten Day of Recollection on Thursday, March 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Catholic Multicultural Center, 1862 Beld St., Madison.
This day of prayer and spiritual reflection will be led by Msgr. George Hastrich. There will be Mass and an opportunity for private Reconciliation during the day.
Coffee and rolls will be available at 8:45 a.m. and lunch will be served at noon. There is no charge for participating, but free will offerings will be accepted. RSVP to 608-255-1287, ext. 200, or firstname.lastname@example.org by February 27.
Marshall/Waterloo parishes host mission
MARSHALL/WATERLOO -- St. Joseph Parish, Waterloo, and St. Mary of the Nativity Parish, Marshall, are hosting a "Renewing Our Faith in Christ" Parish Mission.
It will be held the last four evenings in February: Sunday, Feb. 25, and Tuesday, Feb. 27, will be at St. Joseph Parish, 205 W. Milwaukee Ave., Waterloo. Monday, Feb. 26, and Wednesday, Feb. 28, the mission will be held at St. Mary of the Nativity Parish, 112 S. Beebe St, Marshall.
Preaching by Redemptorist Father Stephen Benden will begin each evening at 7 p.m. Food and fellowship will follow each service. The symbols and topics are as follows: Sunday evening - the Bible, salvation; Monday - the Crucifix, Jesus as Savior; Tuesday - the Easter Candle, Sin/Reconciliation; Wednesday - Bread and the Altar, nourishment and our baptismal vocation. Call the rectory at 920-478-2032 with any questions or to prearrange a ride.
Cartoonist presents program in Cambridge
CAMBRIDGE -- National speaker and cartoonist Jason Kotecki will present a Lenten program, "Living and Loving with a Childlike Faith," on Sunday, Feb. 25, from 1:30 to 3 p.m., at St. Pius X Parish, 701 W. Water St., Cambridge, to share key strategies for de-stressing life by renewing and embracing a childlike faith.
Kotecki will encourage attendees, ages five to 105, to uncover strategies from childhood to help them grasp a deeper understanding of faith, family, and fellowship by following Jesus' command to become more like little children. Kotecki is the author of Escape Adulthood: 8 Secrets from Childhood for the Stressed-Out Grown-Up. Hilarious anecdotes, artwork, and cartooning will be featured in Kotecki's presentation. For questions about the event, call 608-423-3015.
Mission all Sundays
of Lent in Waunakee
WAUNAKEE -- St. John the Baptist Parish mission will begin on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. The mission will take place on all Sundays of Lent from 7 to 8 p.m. in the church, 209 South St., featuring prayer, a talk, and Eucharistic Benediction.
The theme of this year's parish mission is "Eucharistic Spirituality." The talks will be given by Fr. Eric Sternberg, parochial vicar of St. John Parish. The first presentation on February 25 will be by the Sisters Servants of the Incarnate Word, a new order of religious.
For more information call the parish office at 608-849-5121.
Prayer, reflection series at Sinsinawa Mound
SINSINAWA -- Sinsinawa Mound Center will offer a Lenten prayer and reflection series Mondays at 7 p.m. during Lent from Feb. 26 to March 19. Theme for this year's Sharing Lenten Graces will be "Lord, teach us to pray."
The chanting of Taize music will lead participants into this reflective time of Lent at the first gathering February 26. Dominican Sister Mary Ellen Winston will lead the prayer, accompanied by musicians from the tri-state area.
On March 5, Fr. John Gerlach will discuss the "Lord's Prayer" through reflections on Jesus' words to his disciples. Sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary Dolores Kramer will present "Mary: Woman of Faith, Model of Prayer" on March 12.
The final evening, March 19, Jane Starr from Sacred Heart Parish, Maquoketa, Iowa, will look more deeply into Christ's message in Matthew 6:6 on personal prayer with the Father.
People of all faiths are invited to attend this free series. No prior registration is required. For more information, contact Bobbi Gillott at 608-748-4411, ext. 857, or visit www.sinsinawa.org
to speak in Lodi
LODI -- St. Patrick, Lodi, and St. Michael, Dane, Parishes present Redemptorist Father Jim White speaking on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 7 to 8 p.m. at St. Patrick Parish, 515 Fair St., Lodi.
Father White will speak about prayer and how it affects people's daily conversion to Christ. A fellowship will follow.
For more information, call the Faith Formation Office at 608-592-2078.
Young adult activities
More Theology on Tap is happening at Essen Haus, 514 E. Wilson St., Madison, Thursdays, March 15 and April 26, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Join young adults for new and established small groups:
St. Dennis, Madison: Tuesdays, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Contact Kim, email@example.com or 608-209-3513.
Great Dane, 123 E. Doty Street, Madison: Drop in Wednesday evenings, 8:30 p.m., Great Dane basement. Contact Brad Klingele, 608-274-5691 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Middleton: Mondays, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Contact Anna Lisa and George Schmitz, email@example.com or 608-824-0572.
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Charting the future: Bishop meets with catechetical leaders
MADISON -- You know you're in a room of catechetical leaders and priests when everyone knows the "Angelus" by heart.
The Office of Evangelization and Catechesis (OEC) is sponsoring a six-week Lenten Lectio Divina series specifically for catechetical leaders offered at three different locations: Madison: Thursdays, March 1 to April 5, 10 to 11:30 a.m., Bishop O'Connor Center, 702 S. High Point Rd.; Montello: Thursdays, March 1 to April 5, 10 to 11:30 a.m., St. John the Baptist Parish, 277 E. Montello St.; Janesville: Tuesdays, Feb. 27 to April 3, 10 to 11:30 a.m., St. John Vianney Parish, 1245 Clark St. To register, go to www.madisoncatholic.org/oec/ or call 608-821-3160 or e-mail: OEC@straphael.org
Regional catechetical leader gatherings
The meeting of catechetical leaders with Bishop Robert C. Morlino was just the beginning of the process to pursue a vision for catechesis in the diocese. The next step will involve a series of regional gatherings of catechetical leaders, organized by the Diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.
The first set of meetings is planned for May, to be followed by regular ongoing gatherings. The gatherings will pursue identifying goals, obstacles, best practices for overcoming those obstacles, texts, program formats, and ways in which the diocesan office can be most helpful in this work. The gatherings will be held 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
St. Mary Parish, Platteville, Tuesday, May 8
St. John the Baptist Parish, Montello, Wednesday, May 9
St. John the Baptist Parish, Jefferson, Tuesday, May 15
Bishop O'Connor Center, Madison, Wednesday, May 16
St. John Vianney Parish, Janesville, Thursday, May 17
For information or to register online, go to www.madisoncatholic.org/oec/ or call the OEC at 608-821-3160 or e-mail OEC@straphael.org so that arrangements can be made.
But with the process begun February 16 at the Bishop O'Connor Center, the hope is that knowledge - and the rest of the tenets and prayers of the Catholic faith - as well as the joy of finding Jesus Christ may be more easily and fully brought to Catholics young and old throughout the Diocese of Madison.
During a two-hour talk and question-and-answer session, Bishop Robert C. Morlino and catechetical leaders from around the diocese began a discussion on the process by which catechesis can be improved. Attending the event were priests, school principals, parish directors and coordinators of religious education, and youth ministers.
"It is not easy these days to promote the faith," Bishop Morlino admitted. "The greatest obstacle is probably the culture, and for me the second greatest obstacle is my own sinfulness and my own weakness. And so we share that together and we're in this together.
"What we're interested in is what's the best course we can chart for the future," he said.
Beginning a process
Eric Schiedermayer, executive secretary for the Diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, which sponsored the event, reiterated that this meeting was just the beginning of the process of discussion.
"We have heard from a lot of you the struggles, frustrations," Schiedermayer said: too little time to try to counteract the culture, parents who don't have the training to help, finding catechists, even getting catechists to go to Mass. This is the beginning of the process to tackle those problems, he said.
"One of my hopes for today is that by hearing Bishop Morlino articulate the vision . . . maybe articulate it in more concrete terms . . . will set us on a path where we focus on specifics," he said.
During his talk, the audio of which can be heard on the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis Web site found at, www.madisondiocese.org/oec/, Bishop Morlino said that we are co-workers in the ministry, central to the faith, of handing on the faith we've received.
"We don't have a product that's such a hard sell," he said. "We're trying to let people meet Jesus Christ and he will sell himself to them."
Start with ourselves
As we begin this process of how to get people to be examples of those who have met Jesus
Christ, risen from the dead, in a life-changing way, he said, the first thing we have to say is, "Am I an example?"
"Do the people that I work with need to talk about the pope or Mother Teresa . . . or could they just talk about me?" Bishop Morlino said. "That's where it starts. And then we move on to the absolute bond between Christ and his Church.
"We need to see this as a foundation for our conversation," he said. "We all need to examine ourselves about holiness and then we need to go forward into the future."
There is a lot of competence, holiness, self-sacrifice, and human goodness among those present, he said. "And there's a tremendous care that people know Jesus. And that care we share together . . . will move us through the process to the place where the Holy Spirit wants us to be."
A variety of topics were covered during the question-and-answer session after Bishop
Morlino's talk, including the viability of RENEW, the connection the diocese has with the Evangelical Catholic, the possibility of FOREM and continuing education for catechists, and school textbooks for the coming year.
Nothing, especially for textbooks, was going to be decided before the coming school year, both the bishop and Schiedermayer said. This is just the beginning of the process, which will continue in May with regional meetings of catechetical leaders.
Other topics that were mentioned in the question and answer session were the importance of liturgy in catechesis and prayer, especially Eucharistic Adoration, in this process.
Diocesan Services Appeal: Uniting our efforts
During recent months, the overall unity of our diocese has taken on new meaning. Each parish within our 11 counties has become consciously involved in the planning process and is experiencing a greater awareness of the full diocesan church.
Our Diocesan Services Appeal (DSA) is an example of the impact an organized and cohesive effort can provide. The DSA provides the funding for many of the ministries that unite our parishes through Church teaching and supports services no individual parish could offer solely on their own. The Diocese also provides for direct assistance to those in need through various outreach ministries.
Each year parishioners are called to prayerfully consider what help they can offer in supporting their parishes through the diocese. "God is Love," taken from the encyclical letter of Pope Benedict XVI, highlights the appeal's aim of asking each of us to consider our role as disciples.
This year the diocese will support the many efforts of our parishes as they progress in the Guided by the Spirit planning process. This process continues to bring long-term vision and planning direction for all the parishes, helping to secure our primary mission of inviting individuals each day to meet Jesus Christ "Risen from the Dead."
Looking to qualified outside consultants as necessary to support this diocesan mission draws our parishes into stronger communities of faith. "We will continue to invest in our parishes and the ministry necessary to unify our diocese," states Daun Maier with the diocesan Stewardship and Development Office.
Complimentary to the planning process, many offices are being reconfigured to provide a focused effort in serving parish needs. "Evangelization and Catechesis, for example, has united several ministries to function as a life-long educating arm of the diocese," adds Greg Keller, director of finance for the diocese.
Goals and information
The Diocesan Services Appeal for 2007 begins with the official announcement beginning on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 21. As in the past, each parish is called to support diocesan ministry through their parish contribution to the DSA. Each parish is responsible for a portion of the total assessment based upon the individual parish financial report. A full listing of individual parish assessments can be found on the diocesan Web site at www.madisondiocese.org In addition to the assessment amounts, the Web site provides a complete list of ministries supported by the DSA as well as the audited financial statements of the diocese.
The goal for the 2007 DSA is $3,075,000. This is a 2.5 percent increase over last year, in line with the current rate of inflation. "The diocese strives to keep assessment amounts at a
reasonable level," adds Keller. "Conscious efforts to control expenses, efficient use of the Bishop O'Connor Center, and strong investment returns all help keep our increases to a minimum."
The annual Diocesan Services Appeal runs from February 21, Ash Wednesday, through April 1, Palm Sunday. If you have questions regarding the DSA, please contact the Office of Stewardship and Development at 608-821-3046.
Guided by the Spirit:
Planning process questions/answers
February 15, 2007 edition:
Guided by the Spirit: Cultural questions and answers
February 8, 2007 edition:
Guided by the Spirit: Questions and answers
February 1, 2007 edition:
Guided by the Spirit: Cluster planning and parish models
January 25, 2007 edition:
Guided by the Spirit: Cluster core committee structure and roles
December 7, 2006 edition:
Guided by the Spirit: Information on cluster responses
November 30, 2006 edition:
Guided by the Spirit: Cluster assignments sent
October 26, 2006 edition:
Guided by the Spirit: Parish Core Committee structure, roles
October 19, 2006 edition:
Guided by the Spirit: Criteria used in parish self-evaluation
October 12, 2006 edition:
Planning: Understanding the 'assumptions and goals'
October 5, 2006 edition:
Planning: How did we get to where we are today?
We will bring our Guided by the Spirit Q & A columns to a close this week with answers to those questions that relate to or seem to depend upon the planning process.
It is not uncommon for the solution to interweave with the problem, especially problems that are complex like Guided by the Spirit. This can cause people to focus on one or more secondary issues, distracting them from the end goals. Let's keep in mind Bishop Morlino's goals for Guided by the Spirit. As usual, I will give my usual disclaimer about the answers to the following questions being my best thinking, but it is my hope that the Q & A gives you some planning process "food for thought."
Would this problem be solved with more deacons or more involvement by lay people?
Generally speaking, yes. The key point is: the right kind of involvement. Each of us is called to fulfill the vocation or role that God has asked of us. As a lay person, I am called to change the world, not rule or change the church. Many people struggle with this idea in our democratic and increasingly secular society.
On the flip side, a priest or deacon is called to bring Christ to those who are in the midst of the world trying to change it, bringing about the Kingdom of God. Also the pastor has all of the responsibility of running the parish, school, or cemetery, being ultimately
responsible to the Bishop for the decisions that are made.
However, being responsible does not mean that he has to do all of the work, especially work that is properly that of the lay faithful. So Father doesn't have to be a bookkeeper but he needs to know what is in the books. Another good example of this in action is the school principal who does nearly all of the heavy lifting when it comes to the school administration, but still keeps Father "in the loop."
The ability of each cluster to eventually implement their final plan, itself a long process that will begin after the Bishop makes his decision this summer, is directly related to how well they plan now, taking into account the needed capabilities for the cluster.
So what kind or area of ministry should we then concentrate on?
The unique aspect of this planning process, even though it is being driven by fewer priests, is that the Bishop is "raising the bar" for each cluster's ability to minister to their communities. It is very common for a parish having to choose between ministries, be it RCIA, outreach to the needy, or even worship, because of their limited resources of time, talent, and treasure. This puts parishes in the awkward position of asking people to give to the need, since there are many needs that are not being met.
Instead, parishes must foster the idea of people needing to give, really developing each person as a disciple of Jesus - part of His family, just like our earthly family, so that they will naturally want to be involved and do whatever needs to get done. This can be done when you combine communities, automatically increasing that amount of available resources with the tradeoff that there will need to be a change in how many things, if not all, are done.
So, really, there is not any one ministry but actually all of them, including the administrative, maintenance, school, and cemetery aspects of the cluster, that need to be addressed and improved. As has been mentioned before, this is going to take the best thinking of all of us to come up with the best plan for our cluster community, so that everyone and everything is being addressed.
Is every cluster going to get just one priest?
The hard fact is that, with a high degree of certainty, in 2015 the Diocese of Madison will have approximately 53 active priests serving the 41 clusters. So it seems that every cluster should have at least one priest, with roughly 12 priests being spread around to those clusters that need them.
Who needs them? Well, those clusters with large numbers of people or that are geographically spread out. It really will depend upon their situation, their plan, and the arguments supporting their plan.
This is why every cluster should be realistic about the organizational structure of their cluster, that is, "What if we have three communities; what if we have two communities; what if we have one community?" along with balancing that structure with the work load of the priest.
Canonically each priest is allowed to say three Masses per day. The fact that he can say four or more Masses is a good thing but only if it is for extraordinary reasons, not on a regular basis. A priest has many, many duties and responsibilities, all of which require his presence and full attention. At some point, without limits, he will have to make choices about what he does. This is going to happen regardless but we should not make his life more difficult by insisting that he does more than three Masses per day.
I hope the answers to these questions have been helpful and insightful. Next week we will discuss the work of the Planning Commission with a reminder about some of the upcoming deadlines. If you have any questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail us at Guided by the Spirit, 702 S. High Point Rd., Madison, WI 53719.
Next article: The Planning Commission's work ahead