I am glad God thought up rainbows
The theme of my article for the Catholic Herald draws its title from a cartoon in the Catholic Herald issue of July 3, 2003. It pictures three young children looking to the sky after thunder and rain. One is saying, “I’m glad God thought up rainbows.”
Upon my completion of 10 years here as your Bishop, 23 as bishop of the Church, 51 as a priest, and 76 as a man, I write to express my sincere thanks to the many members of our Diocesan staff and say that I, too, am glad God thought up rainbows.
Ten years moving forward
In my 10 years as Bishop of Madison, I was privileged to have the faithful, loyal, and competent assistance of clergy, laity, and religious. At our Chancery at 15 East Wilson Street, we had very dedicated persons in place to further the mission and work of the Diocese. I inherited a fine staff of people who were willing to move forward to meet the demands of the times.
In 1993, Bishop Wirz was Auxiliary Bishop, Monsignor Klaas was Vicar General, Monsignor Joseph P. Higgins was Chancellor, Donald Klink was Finance Officer, Anne Bradley was secretary to the Bishop, Milada Prine was secretary to Bishop George Wirz and Monsignor Raymond Klaas, and Edwina Wacek was the in-house printer-publisher and mail handler.
Monsignor Michael Hippee was in his 16th year as Priest-Secretary and Master of Ceremonies to Bishop O’Donnell, as well as directing the Tribunal Office. His happiness quadrupled when I named him pastor of St. Bernard Parish in Madison. The Office of Communications was re-established with the presence of Bill Brophy, a former student of mine at St. Thomas Military Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Related and networking with this skeleton central office staff was the Catholic Herald offices on Blackhawk Avenue, members of the Catholic Schools Office and Religious Education and Family Ministry Offices located at the former Holy Redeemer grade school building, and Catholic Charities which was located at Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent in Monona. Gradually we became acquainted with one another and began good working relationships.
In 1998, all diocesan offices were finally brought together in the renovated Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center and have since grown closer in collaboration and knowing one another. These offices or agencies, each in its own way, contribute to the vitality and mission of the Church.
Thus, I write in order to express my deep gratitude to all personnel for their magnificent work and collaboration. We’ve made many good strides toward consolidating and establishing new offices to serve the needs of our ever-growing and changing Catholic population in the 11 counties that make up our Diocese.
The hard work of many competent people made me look good and I would be terribly remiss if I did not express my special gratitude to all members of the staff as I retire officially on August 1, 2003, after Bishop Morlino’s installation as the Fourth Bishop of Madison:
The Office of Worship, the Vicar General’s Office, Moderator of the Curia, my administrative assistants Pat Born and Vicky Skilondz, the Office of Pastoral Services, the Office of Communication, the Tribunal Office, the Catholic Herald, Office of Finance, Office of Stewardship and Development, Bishop George Wirz, Auxiliary Bishop, the Office for the Continuing Education For Priests, and the Rector of St. Raphael Cathedral.
The special ministry to the Apostolate to the Handicapped with Monsignor Thomas Campion had my abiding interest and support. Working with Monsignor Campion in his Apostolate to the Handicapped was truly an inspiration. These are the people with whom I was privileged to work closely and regularly.
It is difficult to single out any persons without running the risk of offending those who were not mentioned and so I shall abide by the caution and write these individuals personally and privately.
As I express my prayerful thanks I include my critics who help us all grow and become more sensitive to the feelings of others. I do hope and pray that all the loyal, loving, and competent staff collaborators who made good things happen in my time will now give to Bishop Morlino their complete and undivided attention, the full benefit of their wonderful work habits and faith.
Upon retirement I will take up residence at the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center with our retired priests. My new title is “Bishop Emeritus.” I will have an office at the O’Connor Center and a part-time secretary. I have pledged myself to assist Bishop Morlino when and where he so wishes and I am able to help.
Rainbows wed heaven to earth
As I close, may I say once more, I am truly pleased with all that has happened in God and yes, “I am glad God thought up rainbows” wedding heaven to earth. The full reference to God’s Rainbows is found in Gen 9:13-17.
“I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring the clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal creatures that are on earth . . . This is the sign of the covenant I have established . . . ”
Thank you God for all the wonderful people who are part of the rainbow joining heaven to earth — all of us to a loving, forgiving God.
I conclude with the prayer I composed on the occasion of my golden jubilee in September of 2002.
“As morning breaks, I look to you, O God, to be my strength this day, Alleluia! As evening comes and the earthly shades of night descend, I gaze upon your mercy, Lord, and rest in your love. For my heart is restless until it rests in you, O God. Amen.”
Most Reverend William H. Bullock, Diocesan Administrator, wishes to announce the following:
Upon the recommendation of Reverend David F. Wright, O.P., Vice Provincial of the Order of Preachers, Province of St. Albert the Great, faculties of the Diocese of Madison are granted, effective July 1, 2003, to:
Reverend Patrick F. Norris, O.P. while serving as Pastor, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Madison
Reverend Ronald G. Kreul, O.P., while serving as Parochial Vicar, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Madison