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March 13, 2003 Edition   •   Volume 133, No. 10   •   Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

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The Catholic Herald is the official newspaper of the Diocese of Madison. Its purpose is to inform and educate people of the Diocese through communications that proclaim Gospel values, report the news, and comment on issues as they pertain to the mission of the Catholic Church, which is to bring all in Jesus Christ to the Father.
map showing Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin in gold-orange

The Catholic Herald awards:

• Web edition: Award of Distinction, The Communicator Awards 2002 Print Media competition.

• Print edition: Award winner, Catholic Press Association 2002 awards competition.

photo of (from left) Sr. Noel Le Claire, Greg Layton and Malu Durkin

left arrow From left, Sr. Noel Le Claire and Greg Layton of St. Joseph Parish, Baraboo, listen to Malu Durkin of St. Mary Parish, Portage, during a discussion on pastoral care. (Catholic Herald photo by Julianne Nornberg)

Working together:
Parish leaders discuss collaboration

Statistics on number
of priests, parishes
Kate Wiskus shared statistics on the Diocese of Madison:

• Since 1990, the number of diocesan priests in active ministry in parishes has decreased from 142 to 97.

• The number of pastors serving multiple parishes has increased from 22 (20 percent) in 1990 to 36 (41 percent) in 2003.

• The number of people other than clergy listed as staff has increased from 128 in 1990 to 357 in 2003.

"While we see a decrease in active priests, we see an increase in lay people serving," said Wiskus.

Sr. Mary Montgomery shared statistics from the Archdiocese of Dubuque:

• The number of active priests decreased from 222 in 1990 to 128 in 2003.

• 107 parishes (53.2 percent) are linked; 46 (22.9 percent) are clustered; and 48 (23.9 percent) are single; 71.4 percent of clustered parishes are without a resident pastor and 63.55 percent of linked parishes are without a resident pastor.

MADISON -- "We are not working toward surviving parishes, but for thriving parishes," said Sr. Mary Montgomery, co-facilitator of a recent Parish Staff Day at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center.

Clergy, religious, and lay staff members of parishes from throughout the Diocese of Madison gathered for the day that focused on "Collaboration Across Parish Lines."

The day began with morning prayer led by Bishop William H. Bullock.

"Change is constant in our day. A call to conversion implies good changes occur all the time," he said, noting that we must pray in earnestness for peace. "We live in a time of change both radical and rapid and it affects us day after day."

Challenges, vision

Montgomery, a Sinsinawa Dominican and director of pastoral planning for the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, served many years in the Diocese of Madison's Office of Catholic Schools. The other co-facilitator of the day was Kate Wiskus, director of the Diocese of Madison's Office of Pastoral Services.

Together they addressed the challenges and vision of parish collaboration.

Wiskus explained that parish collaboration stems from the Strategic Plan for the Diocese of Madison, a guide for planning. Much has already been accomplished in the Strategic Plan and in many areas parishes are already beginning to share resources, she said.

Dealing with change

"We realize the essential role of parish collaboration is really necessary," said Wiskus. "That's what today is about: things change. We've seen an increase in the number of Catholics in the diocese but also a decrease in the number of priests."   Full Story ...

Only in the print edition ...
News & Features:

Special section:
On building and renovation

New Web site:
For mission societies

As prayers for peace offered:
Pope sends envoy to Bush

Fiddler: Irish-American Catholic calls her music a 'blessing'


• Parish Diary by Fr. Peter Daly --
Victory over death penalty

• The Human Side
by Fr. Eugene Hemrick --
Roots of terrorism: Works of evil

• Coming of Age
by Christopher Carstens --
Do best you can: With allotted time

• Question Corner
by Fr. John Dietzen --
Luminous mysteries:
Day of recitation is up to individual?

• The Pope Speaks
by Pope John Paul II -- Lent:
Conversion of heart, penance,
and solidarity will make
true peacemakers

• Spirituality for Today
by Fr. John Catoir -- One with God:
Trust Jesus, be at peace

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Priests' morale: Declining numbers are having an impact

MADISON -- The declining number of priests in the Diocese of Madison is having an impact on both parishes and priests.

Priests of the diocese discussed the effects on priests' morale at the Presbyteral Council meeting held Feb. 19-20 at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center.

Fr. Gary Krahenbuhl, Beloit, presented a variety of issues raised from input given by priests throughout the diocese to the council's Priestly Life Committee. Following are the issues brought to the council for discernment:

1. "The overall morale of priests. Circumstances within ministry and the larger Church community has led to a deficit of morale. Energies are low. The implications of the sex-abuse crisis are far reaching and affecting parishes. There are less priests for more work. Without a Vicar for Priests, where can priests turn for support and direction?

2. "Should we be exploring new ways of pastoring? Is the paradigm within which we minister now working or weighing us down? Are there more creative ways to approach our ministry as pastors?

3. "Increased difficulty in securing help-out for weekends. Could a list be developed to offer names, restrictions, availability of priests in the diocesan areas who are willing to help cover in parishes? Is there a way that the diocese could have a 'central clearinghouse' for scheduling priests?   Full Story ...

"Ambassadors for Christ" contest for students

MADISON -- The Catholic Herald is sponsoring a spring "Ambassadors for Christ" contest for students. Teachers are encouraged to use The Catholic Herald in the classroom and encourage students to read the paper, particularly articles pertaining to Lent.

The contest has two categories:

1. "Ambassadors for Christ" Drawing Contest for students in grades K-4.

2. "Ambassadors for Christ" Essay Contest for students in grades 5-12.

Deadline is April 4. For more information, interested students may contact their Catholic school teachers or principal, call The Catholic Herald at 608-821-3070, or e-mail

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