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August 26, 2004 Edition

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Holy Spirit at work:
Many gifts in the Diocese of Madison

The Holy Spirit must be at work in the Diocese of Madison through members of the church! This summer our diocese has experienced some marvelous gifts of the Spirit.

Lay and Diaconate Formation program. Our diocese witnessed the certification of 14 lay persons for ministry in the diocese. We also saw our first class of 20 permanent deacons ordained for service in parishes, hospitals, prisons, and other areas in the church and our communities.

All of these people participated in the first Diocesan Institute for Lay and Diaconate Formation. Many of them spent over five years in discernment and study in this program. Coordinating this program were Kate Wiskus and Sr. Marcia Vinje of the diocesan staff, along with many others from the diocese and beyond who instructed the participants.

Seminarians give witness. We also had another sign of the Spirit's work in our diocese. Some of our seminarians - Greg Ihm, Ben Kessler, and Eric Sternberg - spent the summer in the diocese witnessing to their faith. They traveled throughout the diocese to talk about the importance of vocations. With the help of Fr. Jim Bartylla, our new full-time vocation director, they led Eucharistic Adoration for vocations four times a week at the Bishop O'Connor Center. And they organized a 24-hour Vigil for Life outside a Madison abortion clinic.

Michael Radowicz, another seminarian, spent the summer involved in clinical pastoral training in a health care facility in Naples, Fla. Being prepared to minister to the sick and bereaved is so important for our future priests.

On this Friday, Aug. 27, Michael and Eric will be ordained transitional deacons for the Diocese of Madison. They are on their way to ordination to the priesthood in 2005.

The enthusiasm of all of these young men for their faith is wonderful to observe. If they are any indication, we will have some remarkable priests to serve our diocese in the future.

Five new seminarians. And we come to another gift for our diocese. Thanks to the prayers and work of many people and the inspiration and leadership of Bishop Robert C. Morlino, five new seminarians will begin their studies this fall. They are David Carrano, John Gordon III, David Greenfield, Mitch Knutson, and Patrick Wendler.

Please pray for them as they begin their studies. They join our other seminarians not mentioned previously, Brian Dulli and Lance Schneider.

Help the Holy Spirit. In order for the church to thrive and fulfill its mission, we need priests, deacons, consecrated women and men, and lay ministers. The Holy Spirit is at work, but He needs our help. Let us all be committed to prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, and other actions to foster even more vocations. And don't forget to pray for and support those already serving as ministers in the church.

Mary C. Uhler, editor

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We reserve the right to edit or reject letters. Limit letters to 200 words or less. All letters must be signed. Please include your city or town of residence.

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Madison, WI 53744-4985

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Thanks for series on St. Coletta

To the editor:

Thank you for running a series of St. Coletta's articles in the Catholic Herald. My disabled daughter received the best education in the world there. People from many countries observed what methods the sisters at St. Coletta's used to achieve the potential of these disabled people.

We as parents attended the Mass celebrating 100 years of these Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. What an emotional time it was!

Gone are the days of the farm; the nutritious meals it provided; memories of the delicious desserts, the playground, the social events, the programs for the public, the celebration of First Communion and Confirmation. Evidence of these wonderful aged sisters was clear in every way at this Mass.

No "mainstream program" can achieve the potential these sisters provided our children. Under a protective environment these young people learned respect for each other, a faith in themselves, and academics. They learned how to live graciously in the outside world, but most importantly to trust in God. They incorporated our religion in every aspect of their simple lives.

I wish I could hear the homily Sr. Kathleen Hurley presented at this Mass just once more. The aged sisters have accomplished so much for so many in their lifetime. I give thanks for the privilege of knowing these ladies. The former students will always identify themselves with St. Coletta's.

Doris Krueger, Fort Atkinson

Homosexual marriage is wrong

To the editor:

World cultural and legal history has never thought of marriage as anything but one thing: the union of one man and one woman. But just as the abortion proponents want to skip the debate about when life begins and argue about "choice" instead, most homosexual activists want to skip the argument about what marriage is. Instead, they argue about rights or about discrimination.

But the law already severely restricts who can and can't marry. Marriage is restricted by age, by previous marriage status, and by kinship. Marriage performs a crucial function for society. Its purpose is the propagation and protection of children and to conform sexual relationships to morality. Homosexual "marriage" would do none of these things. Homosexual lifestyles are not healthy - physically, emotionally, or morally.

Children are bound to suffer if their parents are part of the homosexual scene. In The Gay Report, by homosexual researchers Karla Jay and Allen Young, the authors report that 73 percent of homosexuals surveyed had sex with boys 16-19 years of age or younger.

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that legalized homosexual marriage will mean only offering health benefits. In fact the changes will be dramatic: public schools will include texts and materials treating the two types of marriages identically. If you die, your children could be adopted by either a homosexual couple or a heterosexual couple - to prefer one over the other would be illegal prejudice.

Now that homosexual marriage is legal in Massachusetts, it will effectively be legal in Wisconsin, too. Federal precedent protects the status of people who move from state to state. Many argue that marriage laws ought to be a state matter. But a national situation requires a federal response - and it's easier to have one fight at the federal level than to wage 50 battles when losing any one would mean a loss.

What you can do: Call Senator Kohl (608-264-5338), Senator Feingold (608-828-1200), and Representative Baldwin (608-258-9800) and tell them that you are in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment (there will be another vote on the FMA in September) and that you are appalled that the U.S. Senate killed it. Ask what they plan to do to stop this assault on marriage. Pray!

Mary Fabian, Sauk City

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