New Monthly Manna
food pantry opening
DARLINGTON -- Holy Rosary Parish is opening a year-round monthly food pantry beginning Friday, May 16, as part of the "Monthly Manna" mobile food pantry effort of Catholic Charities and Second Harvest.
The food pantry will be held regularly on the third Friday of each month from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Holy Rosary Church parking lot at the corner of Harriet and Wells St. in Darlington.
The Monthly Manna program is part of a Catholic Charities/Second Harvest effort currently offered in Fort Atkinson, Monroe, Palmyra, Patch Grove, Portage, and Reedsburg. The free mobile food pantry provides clients with fresh produce, canned goods, breads, and meat. There are no qualifications and all are welcome.
Clients are requested to bring their own bags to take their food home. There will be quotas per item for each family. Leftover food will be given to the local food pantries.
For more information or to volunteer to help with the Darlington food pantry, contact Marge Carr, 608-776-4059.
Mass on Feast
of St. Isidore May 15
at Immaculate Conception, Kieler
KIELER -- A Mass on the Feast of St. Isidore, patron saint of farmers, will be celebrated at 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, May 15, at Immaculate Conception Church in Kieler.
Fr. Bernard Rott, pastor of Immaculate Conception and Holy Ghost Parish in Dickeyville as well as diocesan rural life director, will preside at the Mass. Father Rott will bless gathered soil from each student's home property and will give a blessing from the National Catholic Rural Life Conference and thanks for the gifts of the earth.
Vigil of Pentecost
Mass and prayers
for priests, deacons,
MADISON -- The Diocesan Service Committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal invites all to celebrate the Vigil of Pentecost on Saturday, May 10, at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center in Madison.
There will be Eucharistic Adoration; intercessory prayers for priests, deacons, and seminarians; and Benediction starting at 5:45 p.m. Prayer and praise will begin at 7 p.m. followed by Mass at 7:30 p.m. with Fr. Rick Heilman, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Pine Bluff and St. Ignatius Parish in Mt. Horeb, as celebrant. After Mass there will be fellowship and refreshments.
Each person attending will be given the opportunity to take the name of a priest and will be asked to make a faithful commitment to pray daily for that priest during the next year. With the shortage of priests and the many demands placed on them, prayers are needed for their health, spirituality, and strength. This is a way of saying thank you to our priests, deacons, and seminarians.
For more information, call 608-833-6560.
Need for adorers
at Perpetual Adoration
at Holy Redeemer
MADISON -- The Madison area has been greatly blessed to have had perpetual Eucharistic Adoration at Holy Redeemer Church for more than two years.
People have been able to come at any hour of the day or night to adore Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Many of those coming have reported special blessing that have been received by themselves and their loved ones.
Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration requires two people who will commit themselves to be present for each hour of each day of the week - a total of 336 scheduled adorers to cover all the hours of the week. Due to attrition (people moving away, changing work schedules, etc.), there is currently a great need of scheduled adorers.
Individuals are asked to help Perpetual Adoration to continue by taking a scheduled hour of adoration weekly. Good substitutes would be available to cover when needed.
For further information or to schedule an hour, contact Richard Blaney at 608-271-6539 or send your contact number and best time to call to email@example.com
Summer Bible study
at Blessed Sacrament
MADISON -- This summer Blessed Sacrament Parish will be offering a six-week Bible study exploring Old Testament texts anticipating the Eucharist and Gospel accounts of Jesus' bread of life discourse, the Last Supper, Jesus' crucifixion and death, and the breaking of the bread with the two wayfarers in Emmaus.
Each session includes a short commentary, questions for reflection and discussion, and a video. Sessions will run from June 2 until July 7 on Monday evenings from 7 to 8:45 p.m. in the school Friary. If enough people are interested a morning session will also be held.
Individuals can register by contacting Tom Claridge at 608-238-3979 or firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, May 18.
Classic vehicles sought for car show
HIGHLAND -- SS. Anthony and Philip Parish, Highland, is sponsoring its third annual Car Show on Saturday, June 14, from 12 noon to 5 p.m. at the Village Park. The parish is looking for classics, trucks, antiques, street machines, and custom vehicles for the show. If interested or to register, call Mark Hennessey at 608-929-7844 or 608-574-3045.
Grow a Row in your garden for St. Vincent
de Paul's pantry
MADISON -- The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is asking those whose thumbs are any shade of green to grow a row or two of produce this year for the Dane County neighbors who turn to the society's food pantry for help.
The customer-choice pantry operated by St. Vincent de Paul at 1309 Culmen St. in Madison is the county's busiest food pantry, serving 60 to 120 families per day five days a week.
St. Vincent de Paul asks gardeners to consider designating one, two, or a few rows of green beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, or other favorite vegetables for sharing with neighbors in need. The society reminds sowers that this is a great way to grow faith as well as gardens.
When the time comes for harvest, gardeners may drop off their gifts of fresh produce at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., and Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 12 noon. Call 608-257-0919, ext. 301, for more information.
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Send nominations with information about the nominee to: Catholic Herald, 702 S. High Point Rd., Madison, WI 53719, or e-mail email@example.com
Celebrating an 'endless love'
By Kat Wagner
Catholic Herald Staff
WAUNAKEE -- The call asking if they would adopt triplets came as a bit of a surprise to Tracy and Brian Johnson.
The couple already had adopted three children, more than the two they had originally "planned" to have. But the call was about a young woman in Oklahoma, the friend of their eldest's birth mother, who was considering aborting her three babies.
"Right away, my heart was just 'yes,'" Tracy said.
Brian was more practical, but no less willing: "The problem I had was we really had to consider it. It's a real life change."
Three, especially, and all at once, is a whole life change, he said, financially, socially, and for planning both now and in the future.
"It was easy to make the decision to sacrifice for ourselves," Brian said, as he sat among the children playing on the living room floor. "But we really had to decide for these guys."
The decision, in the end, was "yes." Tracy and Brian, parishioners at St. John the Baptist Parish in Waunakee, now have six children: Breanna, 5, who was adopted from Oklahoma; Devin, 3, from Madison; Connor, 11 months, from Wausau; and the three triplets, Allison, Hailey, and Kayla, who are all six months old.
A 'rocky road' to a family
Tracy, who is originally from Waunakee, and Brian, who is from Minnesota, met in college at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and were married nearly 12 years ago.
They discovered that they couldn't have children and tried infertility treatments, but when these failed they decided to adopt.
"We never said how many kids we wanted," Tracy said. "Initially two, a third would be great."
But after a "rocky road" with the adoption process, Brian said, "I was fine with one, but Tracy wasn't."
And then, when they thought the family complete with three children, they got the phone call.
"It was very unplanned, very unexpected," Tracy said.
The 28-year-old woman, they discovered, was very committed to having an abortion. Because of how late she was in her pregnancy, and the little effort she wanted to go through, especially with another child to care for, she was going to choose to terminate her pregnancy.
But after developing a rapport with the couple, "she said, 'if you would raise all three of them together, we could do this,'" Tracy said. "If it wasn't for (Breanna's) birth mom, these three wouldn't be here."
Tracy and Brian quickly found the young mother medical care and offered her practical support. Shortly after, they both went to view her ultrasound with her, where they first saw their three new children. They even took care of her daughter Abree for two months near the end of the pregnancy.
Tracy missed the birth of the triplets by two hours, but stayed with them while they were in incubators, having been born early (though healthy) at 32 weeks. She stayed four weeks in Oklahoma at the Hospitality House of Tulsa, a non-profit organization that offers a "home away from home" for families needing to visit the nearby hospital. She flew home only once, with visits from Brian and her mother.
On the way back, their insurance company paid for them to fly on a Leer jet home, to avoid having the infants on a commercial flight or on a nearly 12-hour drive. After only a couple-day stay at Meriter, the new members of the family were back in time to spend their first Thanksgiving with their parents and siblings.
Support of family, friends
Over the past six months, the young couple and their children have found the support of family and friends. Tracy's mother, Jean Hensen, and family friend Sheila Acker, have been especially helpful, and their network of friends has pitched in to help care for the family as it grew quite rapidly in size.
Having the support, Tracy said, "helps us not to neglect anybody. Just making sure everyone gets enough mom and dad time."
It's been a long and sometimes rocky road, building up this family, but they say that they have never felt luckier or more blessed.
"I feel an extreme sense of gratitude to the birth moms that we got to know, and for them to have chosen us," Tracy said. "You develop such a neat bond; the love and gratitude are boundless, the gratitude you have for her choosing to give them life.
"A lot of times, people say to us, 'how wonderful you are, to have taken them in,'" Tracy said. "I say, no, how lucky and how blessed we are that these birth moms brought them into the world."
By Kat Wagner
It starts with hospitality, conversation
Catholic Herald Staff
MADISON -- In a recent talk at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Madison on the subject of the evangelization of the faith, Curtis Martin, founder of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), drew laughs with his parallel between evangelization and a common household appliance:
"You could buy a really nice television set," he said, "but if you never plug it in, it's just not going to work very well.
"When we put people in touch with God, it's like plugging them in," he explained. "It's the power source we were made for; they come alive."
Martin spoke on evangelization at the parish on a Friday morning recently to a group of nearly 100 people. He also spoke to students at St. Paul's University Catholic Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus the evening before.
Martin has a tie to the university, where currently four FOCUS missionaries are stationed to help bring college students to the faith. Jenny Ludtke, coordinator of Adult Faith Formation and Outreach at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, and Bridget Gill, St Thomas Aquinas Parish coordinator of Evangelization, Stewardship, and Young Adult Outreach, worked in tandem with one of the missionaries at St. Paul's University Catholic Center to have Martin speak at both venues.
Cultivating the hunger
Martin explained in his talk that one of the primary missions of the Church is to evangelize, to bring people into a deeper understanding and love of Christ.
But where to begin?
"I think it's always important to start where you are," Martin said in an interview with the Catholic Herald after the talk. "There's always some wonderful people in every
parish, and if you can get a core group of people who believe in the core mission and vision of evangelization, that's all you're going to need to launch - and most parishes have that already."
The first step to evangelization is hospitality, he said. It can be free - a simple conversation with a neighbor, perhaps - but sometimes it takes dedicating both time and resources.
"I'm going to have a more meaningful conversation with somebody if it's over a cup of coffee that I was willing to purchase than if I just talk with them," Martin said.
He and his wife, for instance, set aside a percentage of their budget for evangelization - even things as simple as birthday parties for their children to make their house more warm, open, and friendly.
"There's always an opportunity to be welcoming to others," he said. "Many, many people have joined the Church because they were invited to an event which would then welcome them into the rest of the Church."
Evangelizing a parish
On a parish level, it's important to set aside those resources, too. In order to invite someone to an event at the church - a speaker, a Bible study, a small group - there has to be an event at the church.
There's no better place to invest than evangelization because, as people come alive in their faith, they will become partners in the work, Martin said.
"Many laborers make the work light and easy," he said. "Oftentimes priests find themselves overworked and overburdened, and if there was an evangelized group sharing in that burden, it would not be as demanding on Father."
How that is done from parish to parish differs, he said. "But the key is to have an overarching vision that we want to be an evangelizing community."
Reaching beyond church walls
Gill, who was a FOCUS missionary for three years, agreed that it is very important to talk about evangelization in a parish. "We can get very 'church-centered' in that we only think about what happens in our parish," she said.
"But, as Curtis mentioned in his talk, the Church's deepest identity is that of an evangelist," Gill said. "A lot of times I think we sit there in the pews and think about what we can do for one another within our walls, but really the Church is always meant to be looking outward.
"As Curtis mentioned, evangelization is one thing here on this earth that the Church is the best at doing - and that is what we should be doing," she said. "A lot of the times we pass the buck onto the priests or religious. But as a layperson, it's important for us to know that it's even more so our role."
Monroe Clinic increases scope of facility expansion project
MONROE -- Over the past several months, Monroe Clinic's Board of Directors, management, staff, architects, and construction managers have worked to finalize details of the organization's master facility expansion project.
Recently, a decision was made to increase the scope of that project. The organization's Board of Directors and its sponsor, the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, approved a budget of $85 million for a revised master facility plan. The budget represents a project cap and will not be exceeded.
The original plan for expansion arose from a need to accommodate current and future growth and a need to update aging facilities.
According to Monroe Clinic President and CEO Mike Sanders, "While planning this project, it became clear that meeting the current and future medical needs of the community requires a different facility than originally envisioned. The original plan was determined to be riskier and more expensive in the long run as it required renovation of existing, older structures as well as adding a new structure.
"The renovated buildings would then need to be replaced in another 15 to 20 years due to their age. The new building we are now planning will allow us to build more effectively for the future, rather than trying to renovate old space for tomorrow's needs."
Sanders added, "To keep costs in line, Monroe Clinic is committed to continuously improving operational efficiency. The new building provides an efficient option for growth, while reducing our operational costs. This will allow us to keep our rates competitive."
Board Chairperson Jim Lee said, "This plan also represents less disruption to Monroe Clinic's patients. The new project will allow a smoother transition with less interruption in care."
The new building will house both inpatient and outpatient services and will provide expanded and more convenient access to care, including a planned helipad located near a new ER department. As with the previous plan, 5th St. will become part of the Monroe Clinic campus. More project details, including architectural drawings, will be released in fall.
For more information, go to www.monroeclinic.org