See also past columns and past letters by Bishop Donald J. Hying.

From the Bishop
Freedom of religion is at risk worldwide Print
Bishop Hying's Column
Thursday, Sep. 12, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
Bishop Donald J. Hying's column

Worldwide, Christians are being killed explicitly for their faith in alarmingly large numbers these past years. North Korea, the Middle East, and Africa are some of the top hotspots for Christian persecution.

Believers in Christ are being systematically driven out of the Holy Land through intimidation, prejudice, and lack of opportunity. Soon, there will be almost zero Christians in the country where Jesus lived. More martyrs are being born through a bloody death than any time since the early Church!

Religious freedom at risk

Here at home, we do not face such overt violence because of our religious beliefs, but some significant shifts in political praxis have put our religious freedom at risk.

The First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees religious liberty in our country. This right is not some beneficent gift from the government; it is inscribed in our human nature as an inherent right to exercise freedom of conscience. No one can either compel or restrict religious belief or practice. Faith is a sacred gift nurtured in the heart and soul.

Bishop Donald J. Hying Schedule Print
Bishop's schedule
Thursday, Sep. 12, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019: Attend Legatus of Madison event, Hartland

Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, 9 a.m.: Celebrate Mass for Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross, St. Michael the Archangel Church, Dane; 9:45 a.m.: Lead prayer service for the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children, St. Michael the Archangel, Dane

Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, 4 p.m.: Celebrate Mass for Harvest Fest, St. William Parish, Janesville

Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, 8 a.m.: Celebrate Mass, St. Bernard Parish, Madison; 10 a.m.: Celebrate Mass, St. Bernard Parish, Madison

Sunday, Sept. 15-Wednesday, Sept. 18: Attend Diocese of Madison Presbyteral Assembly, Wisconsin Dells

Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019: Depart for St. Paul Evangelization Summit, Steubenville, Ohio

Jesus urges us to cast away fear Print
Bishop Hying's Column
Thursday, Sep. 05, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
Bishop Donald J. Hying's column

The Storm at Sea occurs in each of the Gospels, that perilous moment when the apostles are terrified by the wind and the waves on the Sea of Galilee until Jesus calms the tempest and encourages them to not be afraid.

In the Gospels, the apostles' boat always symbolizes the Church. And so we think of all the times in the history of the Church that there have been storms, difficulties, and challenges, including persecutions, betrayals from within, epic struggles with political powers, global wars, theological divisions, and terrible instances of clergy sexual abuse.

We think of our own lives, the suffering we have gone through, the challenges we have faced, the changes that perhaps have intruded into our lives in an unwelcome way -- all the things that frighten, overwhelm, or disturb us.

'Do not be afraid'

The constant message of the Storm at Sea is Jesus' refrain, "Do not be afraid. It is I. I am with you." Throughout the Scriptures, this urging to cast away fear is God's constant message to us.

Somebody went through all the hard work of counting how many times in the Bible God says, "Do not be afraid!" and it's 366 -- one for every day of the year plus Leap Year.