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August 30, 2007 Edition

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This week:
Pro-life vigil: Shows importance of praying in spirit of peace
CONNECTIONS: Small group initiative off to great start
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News Briefs

Articles on St. Raphael Cathedral

News Briefs:
Adult faith formation evenings in Madison

MADISON -- St. Thomas Aquinas parish is hosting a series of faith formation evenings for adults titled "Working Catholic - Evenings for men and women who are working at being Catholic on the job." Evenings include a dynamic presentation, interesting conversation, and special blessing, with each evening focused on a specific career area.

The first of these evenings, "Working Catholic in the Arts," will be Monday, Sept. 10, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at St. Thomas Aquinas Church. The presenter, Aaron Thompson, is a nationally known musician/songwriter/performer, and joyfully working Catholic.

A special invitation is extended to all whose career or passion involves music, art, dance, computer graphics or animation, theatre, or drama, to join others with similar professions in listening, learning, and discussing the role of faith in our work. The evening ends with a special blessing and an opportunity for continuing the conversation.

For more information, contact Jennifer Ludtke at 608-833-2606 or

Intergenerational event kicks off school year

BELOIT -- Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Beloit kicks off the new school year with an evening of fun and faith for everyone, not just the students. National speaker, author, and cartoonist Jason Kotecki has been invited for a program where he'll share key strategies for de-stressing life by renewing and embracing a childlike (not childish) faith.

The event is on Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. It is an intergenerational event and will be appropriate for ages five to 105. Childcare will be available for those under age five. The parish is inviting all other stressed out adults and families to come be inspired and renewed.

Hilarious anecdotes, colorful artwork, and a bit of live cartooning will be featured in Kotecki's presentation as he encourages attendees of all ages to embrace and uncover strategies from childhood to help them grasp a deeper understanding of faith, family, and fellowship by following Jesus' command to become more like the little children.

For questions about the event call 608-362-1231.

Women's Awareness Day
at Sinsinawa

SINSINAWA -- The 24th annual Women's Awareness Day at Sinsinawa Mound is scheduled from 12 noon to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20. It will feature a variety of display tables, a pampering parlor, and over 30 break-out sessions. Meal options include lunch or dinner or both.

The event is cosponsored by NICC, Women Connect DB&T, and Sinsinawa Mound Center. To register or learn more, call Krista Weitz at 563-557-8271, ext. 247; Donna Gotto at 563-589-1942; or Sheila Heim at 608-748-4411, ext. 869.

The fee is $25 for the sessions and one meal or $39 for both meals. The registration deadline is Wednesday, Sept. 12.

Red Mass for those involved in law

MADISON -- The St. Thomas More Society is hosting the Fourth Annual Red Mass on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick Church, Madison.

This Mass has been celebrated over the centuries to ask for blessings for judges, government personnel, and attorneys in their work to create a just society. The Mass is followed by a lunch at the Edgewater Hotel at a cost of $20 for members or $25 for non-members.

All are welcome to the Mass, however reservations are required for lunch. For further information, contact the Office of Justice and Pastoral Outreach at or 608-821-3087. Reservations may be sent by August 31 to St. Thomas More Society, P.O. Box 44983, Madison, WI 53744-4983.

Retreat for women: Focuses on making life transitions

SINSINAWA -- A retreat for women, "Walking the Path of Life: Women Exploring Life Transitions," will be offered at Sinsinawa Mound from 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, through 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16.

The Gospel story of Mary Magdala will be key to drawing participants deeper into the mystery of life. Dominican Sister Mary Therese Johnson will lead the retreat.

Fee with meals is $174 for an overnight guest and $109 for a commuter. The registration deadline is September 7. Call 608-748-4411 or visit

Birth Parent Support Group

MADISON -- A Birth Parent Support Group will meet Tuesday, Sept. 11, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at 5 Odana Ct. Sponsors are Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services.

This ongoing support group, held the second Tuesday of every month, is for people who have placed their child/ren for adoption and is free, safe, and confidential.

For registration, contact Alice at 608-270-6635 or or Trish at 608-833-4800, ext. 109, or

Workshop on earth-friendly living

SINSINAWA -- "Simple Living 101," followed by "What is YOUR Carbon Footprint?" will be offered on Thursday, Sept. 6, at 6:30 p.m. at Sinsinawa Mound.

Participants will focus on the personal and global benefits of a simpler lifestyle through this interactive evening of conversation with Gerald Iverson, national coordinator of Alternatives for Simple Living, Sioux City, Iowa.

Paul Schultz, local environmental/ sustainability activist and Dubuque Green Team member, will explore individual consumerism and consumption with the Carbon Footprint presentation. Individual worksheets will be provided that detail how one's choices at home, driving, and buying affect the ecological process.

No registration is necessary. A freewill offering may be made. Contact Bobbi Gillott at 608-748-4411, ext. 857, for more information.

Catholic Daughters plan bus trip to Fr. Mazzuchelli sites

MADISON -- The Catholic Daughters of the Americas, Court Madison, invites those who are interested to join them on a bus trip to show support for the beatification of Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli, founder of 30 churches in southwest Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois.

The bus trip is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 9, and will be departing at 9 a.m. from Our Lady Queen of Peace Church parking lot, 401 S. Owen Dr., at which those going on the trip have been given permission to leave their cars. There is an 8:15 a.m. Mass at the church for anyone wishing to attend.

The trip will begin with a stop in Benton to visit the church where Father Mazzuchelli served and his gravesite. The bus will arrive in Sinsinawa by 11:30 a.m. where there will be an opportunity to order bread; enjoy a dinner at 12 noon; have a tour of the Father Mazzuchelli Museum, the Heritage Room, and art gallery; and visit the gift shop.

The group will depart at 3 p.m., stopping for a visit at the Dickeyville Grotto and gift shop, leaving there at 4 p.m., and arriving back in Madison around 5 p.m.

Cost is $30, payable to Court Madison, C.D.A., and sent to Ruth Tormey by September 17 at 8202 Highview Dr., #421, Madison, WI 53719. For more information, call Ruth Tormey, 608-827-8507.

Foresters host golf outing
to support seminarian fund

COTTAGE GROVE -- The Catholic Order of Foresters will be hosting a golf outing on Saturday, Sept. 15, at The Oaks Golf Course, Cottage Grove.

Participants will enjoy playing 18 holes of golf while raising funds to support the Seminarian Education Grant (S.E.G.) Fund, a scholarship fund for seminarians. This event is also in memory of Greg Blaska, a longtime member of the Foresters and supporter of the S.E.G. Sign up for golf, golf and dinner, or dinner only. Non-members are welcome. Don't forget to join in the golf ball throw after dinner.

Prizes for this year include a trip to the Bahamas, a 40GB iPod, a Plasma TV, or $5,000 cash. Funds raised will be matched by the Catholic Order of Foresters. Sponsorships to support the seminarians are available.

Contact Greg Cass, tournament director, at 608-846-7119 or at or Jeff Blaska at 608-846-4932 or by September 1.

Pro-life vigil: Shows importance of praying
in spirit of peace

MADISON -- The vigil outside the eastside clinic where abortions are performed was as peaceful a witness to the desire to end abortion as the silent reminder on the billboard opposite the clinic that reads "Defend Life."

People entering the Planned Parenthood Clinic either stared at those gathered for the vigil, especially during the talk by Bishop Robert C. Morlino and the rosary that followed, or they avoided eye contact. Occasionally passing drivers would heckle, beep their horns, or offer crude gestures.

But those at the vigil, some sitting in lawn chairs and others standing or kneeling, simply held their beads or pro-life signs and continued in the spirit of prayer.

"We're not here in a spirit of human combat," Bishop Morlino said. "We're here in a spirit of spiritual combat, which from our point of view is always a spirit of peace."

The vigil was organized by intern Scott Emerson with the Diocese of Madison Office of Vocations and associate director Tom Nelson of the Office of Justice and Pastoral Outreach.

The prayer outside the clinic off of Stoughton Rd. was held simultaneous with Eucharistic Adoration at nearby St. Peter Parish and a prayer walk from Holy Redeemer Parish downtown, which was organized by pro-life members of that parish.

Still solidly pro-life

This year is the fourth year the vigil was held, but, unlike previous years when the vigil would span the course of the night, it was planned for the daylight hours over two days.

The crowd was at least 40 thick for more than an hour during the second day and included not only 12 priests and several seminarians but also laypeople of all ages from around the diocese. They squeezed onto the public space of the sidewalk and the grass beside the road in order to hear the bishop's talk and pray the rosary with him.

At other times the vigil crowd was sparser, though there were always at least two seminarians present to carry on the prayer.

The vigil, said Msgr. Jim Bartylla, director of the Office of Vocations, was an opportunity not only to be faithful, but also to bring the crime against the unborn at Planned Parenthood and the Catholic belief in the dignity of life to the forefront of people's thoughts.

Especially with the bishop present, it provided a symbol to strengthen people to continue the fight, he said: "I think it helps people to know the church is still solidly pro-life, and we're going to remain visibly committed to that."

The vigil also served as an opportunity to train the seminarians, he said. "The concrete nature of watching people go in and come out of the clinic . . . it's a very pastoral moment for seminarians to see the pain and death that goes on daily in society."

Society of violence

"More and more people are tending to solve their anger or their disappointment of the failure in their life by killing somebody," Bishop Morlino said in his talk. "When we do that, we create a society of incredible violence."

"I really believe that it all started with abortion," he said. "Because death was invisible, because the massacre was invisible and we didn't see it, we took it for granted and that's the start of the slippery slope."

Abortion, the bishop said, hurts women because it turns the womb into a tomb.

"It's death-dealing to the baby, but it's also death-dealing to the mother, insofar as she is a woman, because it deprives her of her womanhood and creates a mind-body split," he said.

"So let's pray for the women who are tempted to abortion and who have abortions today in a special way," the bishop said, "not seeking to condemn, but hoping that they would be invited to grow in truth of their own womanhood and hoping that, if they have had an abortion, they would never hesitate to turn to the loving mercy of God."

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CONNECTIONS: Small group initiative off to great start

MADISON -- The new small group initiative in the Diocese of Madison called CONNECTIONS seems to be off to a great start.

Participants who have already attended training sessions for the program are enthusiastic about it.

Wonderful experience

Tina Schoebel, director of religious education at St. John the Baptist Parish, Montello, attended the Montello initial training session and three weeks of ongoing leadership training regarding CONNECTIONS.

Schoebel said, "CONNECTIONS training was like going to a retreat and getting fed on the message of Jesus Christ. It supported my belief that small faith communities are very important for a parish that wants to reach out to others. Wonderful experience! I feel spiritually nourished and ready to go!"

Small communities

CONNECTIONS was started in response to a need for Catholics to experience more effective evangelization. The late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin said that the anonymity prevalent in U.S. parishes makes effective evangelization difficult. He suggested restructuring the parish as a community of communities in which Catholics gather to pray, read Scripture, share, and experience authentic community.

Cardinal Bernardin said, "Authentic community is vital to effective evangelization. It nurtures believers. If Catholics experience community on a smaller scale, they may form and experience more of a community when they gather for parish liturgies on the weekends."

Launching healthy small groups that become authentic communities takes time and effort. Preparing facilitators, choosing materials, and providing ongoing support for the leaders is essential for a healthy small group program.

New program

The Diocese of Madison's Office of Evangelization and Catechesis is sponsoring a small group initiative called CONNECTIONS and has contracted with the Evangelical Catholic to carry out this ministry.

CONNECTIONS provides support to parishes wanting to form these authentic communities. CONNECTIONS small groups are led by adults (parishioners or parish staff) of all ages. Groups will meet weekly beginning mid October and ending before Thanksgiving.

Solid small group materials designed to help people make this connection to Christ will be provided. Small group facilitators have multiple opportunities to receive initial and ongoing training before the small groups begin in October and throughout this fall.

Materials and training sessions for facilitators are geared towards renewing Catholics' connection to Christ and the Church and reaching out to those who have not yet had that personal encounter with Christ.

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from the pew"

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