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November 6, 2003 Edition

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Faith in action: All Saints Retirement Center

We hear a lot these days about "faith-based initiatives." It seems that our society depends more and more on the help of church organizations to help the poor and needy.

Related articles ...
This week's issue:
All Saints: Groundbreaking for new senior neighborhood

Blessing of All Saints Retirement Center (sidebar)

October 30, 2003 issue:
Catholic Charities: To break ground for All Saints Retirement Center in Madison

Illustration of how completed project will look

Perhaps that's because churches have been helping the poor for many years - and doing it successfully. The Catholic Church especially has an excellent track record in providing education, health and social services to all people, regardless of their faith.

Affordable housing. One of the greatest challenges today is providing affordable housing. People are living longer, so housing for senior citizens is a special need. With millions of "baby boomers" reaching retirement age in the next 10 to 20 years, housing will continue to stretch our society's limits.

In the Diocese of Madison, we can be proud of the efforts of Catholic Charities to help with current needs for affordable housing and plan for the future. On Oct. 31, ground was broken for All Saints Retirement Center, part of a new senior neighborhood on Madison's west side.

This project has been under consideration for a long time. About seven years ago, Brian Cain, executive director of Catholic Charities, thought about building senior housing near the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center. He brought the idea to the Catholic Charities' board and they liked it.

Building partnerships. Catholic Charities had been involved with some affordable housing projects, but decided it couldn't build All Saints on its own. So the agency decided to affiliate with a company that could not only build the senior neighborhood but also manage the property. They selected the Horizon Development Group, a firm with nearly 20 years of experience in senior housing development and management.

To help fund the project, they obtained the help of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), a state agency that is committed to providing quality affordable housing for seniors. WHEDA provided $13.4 million for the project, enabling Catholic Charities and Horizon to proceed with their plans.

Wishes fulfilled. Ironically, Auxiliary Bishop George O. Wirz of Madison recalled that Alma Ganser donated land to the Diocese of Madison in 1960 with the thought of building a senior center. The late Bishop William P. O'Connor persuaded her to let the diocese build a seminary, which was needed at that time. Holy Name Seminary closed in 1995, but now Mrs. Ganser's wishes are being fulfilled.

The All Saints Retirement Center - along with proposed cottages and other assisted living services in the future - will provide a wonderful continuum of care. It shows the respect the church and the community have for our cherished senior citizens.

Faith into action. And it reveals how Catholic Charities and the Diocese of Madison put "faith into action" by Catholic Charities and all those involved in the All Saints project. It has been well worth the wait!

Mary C. Uhler, editor

For more information on All Saints Retirement Center, call 608-827-2222.

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Differences in conscience clause bills should be reported

To the editor:

Thank you for your article calling attention to the current debate raging in the Wisconsin Legislature regarding the Pharmacist Conscience Clause Bill.

Unfortunately, you have urged your readers to support AB 67 on the advice of Wisconsin Right to Life. AB 67 was modified after the public hearing because of pressure from Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.

The modification requires pharmacists to dispense contraceptives or birth control, which as defined in our state statutes includes the pill, which is sometimes an abortifacient, the I.U.D., and Deprovera, which work by aborting children. AB 67 actually lessens protections pharmacists and medical personnel now enjoy under Wisconsin law.

The above facts are not my own. They are facts put forth by the legislature's own legislative council regarding the effect of this new law.

On the other hand, AB 63 strengthens current law for people employed in the medical field. Please report the true differences in these two bills. And if you want real pro-life information without the compromises, go to www.prolifewisconsin.org

Thomas V. Zignego, Waukesha

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Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
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