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March 1, 2007 Edition

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This week:
Future saint? Diocesan Tribunal explores miracle attributed to Fr. Mazzuchelli
First 'White Mass': Brings together health care workers
Guided by the Spirit: Living into parish mergers
    Sidebar: What is The Reid Group?
News Briefs
Nominate someone for "Profiles from the pew"

Articles on St. Raphael Cathedral

Lenten regulations
    (from 2/15/2007 edition)

News Briefs:
On divorce, annulment, and remarriage

MADISON -- Jay Conzemius, J.C.L., director of the Tribunal for the Diocese of Madison, will discuss the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding annulment issues and will provide specific information about the annulment process in the diocese at upcoming presentations at several parishes.

There will be an opportunity for discussion and interaction, as well as the opportunity for group questions. After the presentation, Conzemius will make himself available on a one-to-one basis to address personal situations.

Upcoming presentations will be held on:

• March 5 at St. Joseph Parish in Dodgeville

• March 13 at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish in Sun Prairie

• March 19 at Nativity of Mary Parish in Janesville

All of the presentations will begin at 7 p.m.

Pre-registration is preferred but walk-ins are welcome. To register or for additional information, contact the Tribunal at 608-821-3060 or send an e-mail to

St. Thomas More Society to meet March 2

MADISON -- The St. Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Madison, an organization for lawyers and those in government, will host its first Friday meeting on Friday, March 2, at 7:30 a.m., at St. Patrick Church, 404 E. Main St.

The meeting will feature Ben Gonring, juvenile public defender, speaking on "Law as Vocation," as well as Morning Prayer, breakfast, and discussion until 8:30 a.m.

The St. Thomas More Society was formed to give people in the legal system a forum to discuss ethics and philosophies, said Susanna Herro, director of the Office of Justice and Pastoral Outreach and secretary of the recently formed organization.

The hope for the organization is to have monthly gatherings to discuss issues. It also will sponsor the annual Red Mass and other Masses throughout the year to ask for God's blessing on the legal profession and government offices. At the society's inaugural meeting, held October 11, Dean Strang, a criminal defense attorney, and Bishop Robert C. Morlino discussed capital punishment.

For information on the society or being involved, contact Susanna Herro at or 608-821-3087.

Vicki Thorn to speak
at Monona parish

MONONA -- Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) presents two speaking engagements by Vicki Thorn.

Thorn is the foundress of Project Rachel and the executive director of the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing located in Milwaukee. She has a degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota.

IHM St. Anne's Women's group is hosting the first talk by Thorn, "The Biochemistry of Sex," on Tuesday, March 6, at 7 p.m. in Marian Hall at Immaculate Heart of Mary School, 4913 Schofield St.

This talk is for anyone who lives in a body - young or old. It will explain why women cycle together, how God equipped us to find the man with whom fertility would be optimal, how the pill might interfere with that, how our bodies are changed by every male we have sex with, how mothers are permanently changed by every child they conceive, and how men respond to pregnancy with hormonal changes.

The business meeting for St. Anne's follows the talk. Contact Mary Mead at 608-221-9593 or for information.

Thorn's second talk, "What They Didn't Tell You in Sex Ed," is a presentation for high school students and their parents on Wednesday, March 7, from 7 to 8 p.m., at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, 5101 Schofield St.

Understanding how our bodies really work when it comes to sexual intimacy and bonding provides young adults with the means to make real decisions about their sexuality based on scientific information, she says. The truth equips us to make healthy choices.

Contact Eileen Hribar at or 608-221-1777 to make reservations for high school groups and parents.

World Day of Prayer

LAKE MILLS/MONONA -- Women and men in more than 170 countries and regions will celebrate World Day of Prayer on Friday, March 2. "United under God's Tent" is the theme.

A service will be held on Friday, March 2, at 1 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 602 College St., Lake Mills. The church is handicapped accessible. Refreshments will be served after the service in the church lower level. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Church Women United in Madison also invites women and men to a World Day of Prayer service on Friday, March 2, at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, 5700 Pheasant Hill Rd., Monona, with gathering and coffee at 9:30 a.m. and the service at 10 a.m.

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Future saint?
Diocesan Tribunal explores miracle attributed to Fr. Mazzuchelli

MADISON -- Will we eventually have a saint who lived and worked in the Diocese of Madison?

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That could happen depending on the outcome of a process set in motion on February 20. Bishop Robert C. Morlino issued a decree constituting a diocesan Board of Inquiry to examine a "presumed miraculous cure" attributed to Venerable Samuel Mazzuchelli, O.P.

Bishop Morlino named Fr. Kevin D. Holmes as judge delegate in charge of the proceedings. He also appointed five other persons as members of the tribunal: Msgr. Michael E. Hippee, promoter of justice; Dr. Richard M. Carr, a medical doctor for the inquiry; Grant R. Emmel, notary; Carolyn J. Fangmeier, first vice-notary; and David R. J. Stiennon, second vice-notary.

Tribunal convened

The tribunal was convened on February 20 at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center in Madison. Each member took an oath to fulfill their duties and maintain secrecy.

Bishop Morlino told the tribunal members, "This is a very serious moment, because the truth of what we're about to investigate matters for the whole Church. If all goes well, it will lead to an infallible proclamation of the pope."

If Father Mazzuchelli is eventually declared a saint, this could bear fruit for our diocese, said the bishop. It would especially inspire vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.

"I have the greatest enthusiasm," said Bishop Morlino. "I feel confident that the Lord will bring our efforts here to a good conclusion."

Life of Fr. Mazzuchelli

After thanking the tribunal for their willingness to serve, Bishop Morlino gave a synopsis of the life of Samuel Mazzuchelli.

In 1828, the young Mazzuchelli - just 21 years old, a Dominican friar not yet a priest - left his native Italy to labor as a missionary in the United States. Not even knowing how to speak English, he came in response to an appeal that he heard from Bishop Fenwick of Cincinnati.

After further studies and ordination, Father Mazzuchelli was sent to Mackinac Island on the northwestern frontier of the Diocese of Cincinnati as the only priest to serve an area larger than Italy.

Father Mazzuchelli spent most of his remaining years working tirelessly to build up the Church in southwestern Wisconsin and the adjacent parts of Iowa and Illinois. He established more than 30 parishes and designed and built more than 20 church buildings, along with a number of civic buildings for his pioneer territory. He also founded the congregation of Dominican Sisters, whose motherhouse remains at Sinsinawa.

The outstanding virtues and heroic labors of Father Mazzuchelli were never forgotten by the people of this area nor by the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters.

Cause for canonization

His cause for canonization was formally opened in 1964. After an exhaustive investigation of the facts of his life and his surviving writings, Father Mazzuchelli was declared a Servant of God - honored with the title "Venerable" - on July 6, 1993.

Before he can become "Blessed," the Church waits for his sanctity to be proven by testimony in the form of miraculous favors granted through his intercession.

Fr. Vito Gomez, a Dominican who is postulator of the Cause of Venerable Samuel Mazzuchelli, has named Sr. Mary Paynter, a Sinsinawa Dominican, as vice-postulator for the cause. Sister Mary asked that a diocesan inquiry be convened to examine whether a miraculous cure was granted to a Madison man through the intercession of Father Mazzuchelli.

She presented the summary of the case to Bishop Morlino, who granted her request to establish the tribunal. A list of people to give testimony was presented, including family members and doctors.

The tribunal will meet March 9 to begin hearing testimony. The testimony will be collected and reported to the bishop to ensure that the norms for the process are observed. The results of the inquiry will then be sent to Rome.

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First 'White Mass': Brings together health care workers

MADISON -- Dr. Bill Evans and Dr. Joseph Bellissimo are partners in more than their medical practice. The two doctors are also active in the Catholic Medical Association (CMA).

They are spearheading the first "White Mass" to be held in the Diocese of Madison on Sunday, March 18, at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick Church, 404 E. Main St. in Madison.

Bishop Robert C. Morlino will celebrate the Mass, which is customarily celebrated for health care workers. The "white" refers to the traditional color of the attire of health care personnel, as well as the symbol in the church of hope and comfort to the ill and hospitalized.

All medical professionals are welcome and encouraged to attend, along with priests and religious in the health care ministry. After the Mass, Bishop Morlino will speak at a reception for all attendees. A light meal will be served.

Evans and Bellissimo have been attending national CMA meetings as well as activities in Milwaukee. "We hope to establish a guild of the CMA in Madison," said Evans.

The White Mass is usually celebrated on the feast of St. Luke, the physician. But since there is a Mass in Milwaukee on that date in fall, the Madison Mass was planned for what is traditionally "Rose" or Laetare Sunday, which it still is, noted Evans.

Evans said it is difficult to identify Catholic physicians and other health care workers, so he hopes people in the health care field will see this article and come to the Mass. This includes physicians, nurses, dentists, physical therapists, pharmacists, home health workers, paramedics, EMTs, and medical and nursing students - anyone involved in the health field.

Evans said people in the health profession face many challenges. "I think one of the biggest challenges for professionals is that there is a disconnect between one's professional life and one's faith life," he said. "That gap makes us think we have two consciences. But as Bishop Morlino has clearly articulated, we are only given one conscience. It isn't easy to integrate your professional life with your faith life. Some people are caught in the void and need help to bridge the gap."

Evans said the CMA is an "extremely effective tool" for Catholic physicians and others in the health field, offering many resources.

The lunch on March 18 is free but people are asked to register online at For more information, contact the Office of Justice and Pastoral Outreach at 608-821-3087 or Dr. Bill Evans at 608-824-9281 (home) or 608-219-3842 (mobile).

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Guided by the Spirit: Living into parish mergers

What is The Reid Group?

The Reid Group has been hired by the Diocese of Madison to serve as consultants for Guided by the Spirit, the diocesan strategic planning process. The Reid group is a national church consulting and mediation firm based in the state of Washington with offices in Wisconsin and New York.

The Reid Group has worked with or is now working with a variety of dioceses throughout the country, including Newark, N.J., Rochester, N.Y., Manchester, N.H., Green Bay, Wis., Peoria, Ill., Reno, Nev., Orange, Calif., and Anchorage, Alaska. Members of The Reid Group working with the diocese are John Reid, Maureen Gallagher, and Karen McCarthy Casey.

John Reid says the company calls its approach "prophetic planning." This approach has four main elements:

1. Planning for the future is based on knowledge and appreciation for the story of the organization that has evolved from the past.

2. This approach to planning in faith-based and non-profit organizations is primarily about faith, conversion, and healing, and secondarily about organizational development.

3. While appreciating what has been, this approach to planning invites leaders to be bold, and ask questions like, "What would we do if we were 10 times bolder?" and "What would we do if we REALLY considered ourselves a FOR PROPHET organization?"

4. Prophetic planning seeks to discern the movement of the Spirit and the will of God for an organization at this moment in time.

The Reid Group has been communicating with people involved in the diocesan planning process through an e-mail "Guided by the Spirit" Newsletter. Information on the planning process can also be found on the diocesan Web site at under the "Strategic Plan" button on the left-hand side.

For more information on The Reid Group itself, go to the company's Web site:

Given the current diminishing number of priests, the capital needs of some parishes, inadequate funding, close proximity to other parishes, and a desire to maximize human and financial resources, some parish clusters will be suggesting mergers and the Planning Commission may be recommending parish mergers to other clusters.

While acknowledging the need to consolidate parishes one must also recognize the pain and loss that is being experienced by the merging communities.

As Catholic Christians we know that the "life-death-resurrection" of Christ is at the heart of our beliefs. Through baptism we are incorporated into that mystery. It is when we actually experience loss in its many forms that we are challenged to believe that some "new life" can come from it. When parishes merge, loss is experienced on three levels.

Personal loss

First on a personal level we realize that life will be different. I may need to leave behind participating in liturgy at a church which my great-great-grandparents worked and sacrificed to build.

The windows that I have looked at since I was a child will not be what I see every week. The holy water font that I diligently cleaned each Saturday before Easter will not be where I dip my hand and make the sign of the cross in the future.

The sacred space where I was baptized, made my First Communion, and was married no longer will be my regular worship site. I will not sit in my same pew. Everything will be different.

Relationships change

Secondly, my interpersonal relationships will change. My friends with whom I have worked on funeral dinners, festivals, church picnics, religious education classes may go to different parishes or may not want to get involved in the new parish. We may not be asked to help in the future.

There will be people there that I don't know. I will feel like a stranger. I won't know where anything is in the sacristy or the ushers' room or the kitchen. My children will not know others and may be in catechetical classes with those they do not know.

Organizational change

Thirdly on an organizational level things will not be the same. The music may not be what I know and love singing.

The pastor won't know me. I won't know how they do things at the new site. The church is so different. It is so big. I may just feel lost. They do things differently there.

I won't feel at home in my new church. Will I be able to really pray there? I know we can use our church occasionally, but I wish we did not have to change. It is so hard.

Grieving process

Change is a difficult process on many levels. Many people experience great emotional loss when their home parishes are merged with other parishes. They will truly go through a grieving process and need the sensitive tender care of the larger Church community.

While parish mergers call for at least two communities to change and experience new life, the parish that is losing its regular worship site will feel the loss more poignantly than the parish that is not.

Previous articles:
Alleviating pain

There are certain pastoral practices that can alleviate some of the pain of mergers. They include:

1. Making sure correct information about the assets and liabilities of the merging parishes is available. (The assets and liabilities of the merging parishes stay with the newly formed parish.)

2. Ensuring that parishioners know that the church which will not be used for regular worship may be used for weddings, funerals, and other liturgies occasionally, as long as feasible.

3. Helping all parishes in the merger to realize that a new entity, a new community, will be formed. A small parish will not just be absorbed into a larger one. The parish, whose worship site is being used, will also change. It will have the gifts and talents of other parishes upon which to build a new community.

4. Considering the new name for the merged parish will help signal a new community. Involving all in the selection process of three names to suggest to the bishop will generate a sense that something new is happening. It will help in forming a new identity.

5. Using closing and welcoming rituals which are authentic and touch the hearts and minds of the parishioners from all the merging parishes will empower them to begin to experience the new life of the body of Christ.

6. Helping parishioners to reflect on what is staying the same, what is not changing can be very beneficial. Our sacramental celebrations are not changing; they are celebrations of the life-death-resurrection of Jesus Christ and are there to nurture us through the changing times. The Scriptures which are proclaimed are unchanging. The source of our spiritual lives - sacraments, Scripture, and tradition - are not changing.


Merging parishes is not easy. There is no way to eliminate pain. However, mergers provide real opportunities to encounter the risen Christ and be transformed by him both as individuals and as new communities. Such an experience strengthens the faith of individuals and the newly formed parish.

The prayers, sensitivities, and support of the whole diocese are needed to sustain those going through mergers. For merging parishes to know they are not alone, to know that their struggles are understood, helps lessen the sense of loss and some of the suffering involved in merging. It also gives some energy to the newly merged parishes to move forward with new life and new identities.

All this takes time and patience and lots of prayers for guidance by the Spirit.

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