The weeklong celebration included Mass, Vespers, historical exhibits, concerts by the St. Raphael Cathedral Choir and the Chamber Choir of the Academy of Music Franz Liszt from Germany, and the semi-annual Rosary March.
"I'm delighted to be here and present in spirit is Bishop Morlino" who is recovering after heart surgery, said Bishop Bullock.
Reflect God's love
In his homily, Bishop Bullock asked, "What is the message Jesus wants you to receive in this, the 150th anniversary of the cathedral?"
He noted the thousands of people who have been baptized, made their First Communion, went to school, and were confirmed at the cathedral, as well as all the priests who were ordained at the cathedral.
The center of all of this is that Jesus is the sign of the unconditional love of the Father for all of us, he said.
"The message I want to deliver is a simple one: God expects of us a love in return for the lavish love He's given to us," said Bishop Bullock.
What's our message?
Now, indulge me in this presidential year, he said, standing off to one side and saying, "My name is George W. Bush and I approve this message."
Then he stood to the other side and said, "My name is John Kerry and I approve this message."
Standing in the center, he said, "I renounce Satan and all his works and promises. I admit there is evil, but it is conquered by God's love. I believe in God, the creator of heaven and earth. I believe in life from conception to natural death. I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary. I believe that he is a loving sign of the Father in His love for all of us. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. I believe in the resurrection of the dead, in the forgiveness of sins, in the Catholic Church, in everlasting life."
Those words are the message of the renewal of our baptismal promise, said Bishop Bullock. But it is the message in our hearts that must reach out to others in truth and beauty, he said. "If we ever realized the enormity and depth of God's love for us, how willingly we'd share it with each other."
Bishop Bullock shared the story of when he made his first visit to Pope John Paul II, who reminded him that Christ wanted to use both of them.
"As the Holy Father said to me - and you - Christ wants to use us. The question is will we get the message and give it in compassionate love?" said Bishop Bullock.
Bishop Bullock paid tribute to Monsignor Swain, whose leadership and words have touched the hearts of many people, he said.
He also noted the presence of Reverend Mr. Eric Sternberg, deacon of the Mass, and Reverend Mr. Michael Radowicz, master of ceremonies.
After Communion, Monsignor Swain thanked Bishop Bullock, the deacons, Pat Gorman and the Madison Diocesan Choir, and the members of the 150th anniversary committee and everyone who had taken part in planning the week's events.
Charles Scott, chair of the 150th anniversary committee, then offered a few words.
"On May 28, 1854 the cornerstone was blessed and laid," he said. Newspapers, coins, and official records were placed in the cornerstone, but what we thought was the cornerstone - the one that is dated 1854 - does not contain these items, so the original cornerstone has not actually been found, he explained.
"We thought in turn we would create a small time capsule," said Scott. "This time the mason will mark the stone and leave instructions on which stone it is."
The time capsule contains newspaper articles from the Wisconsin State Journal and the Catholic Herald; a set of 2004 coins; official records such as the Sunday missal, programs, and order of worship leaflets from this year; the church history, including CD versions; the homily of Monsignor Swain from Sept. 26; and the business cards of Mary Wrzesinski, who donated the coins; Jacob Arndt, the mason who restored stones in the cathedral facade; and Jerry Hansen, furniture maker who created the time capsule box out of aromatic red eastern cedar.
Bishop Bullock blessed the time capsule with holy water before it was sealed. The mason will immure the box in the cathedral later this week.
"We give thanks to those who have gone before us and we are also mindful of the generations to come who will worship in the cathedral," said Bishop Bullock. "Today we place pieces of history into the capsule, which will not be opened until 2154."
Eventually she was led to Rachel's Vineyard, a weekend retreat offering healing after abortion. She attended such a retreat in Madison in the spring of 2004. That is where her healing process began.
"I cannot take back what happened so many years ago, but Rachel's Vineyard has given me coping skills to go on with my life and move forward," said Susan.
Susan is not alone.
According to Leslie Graves, a retreat facilitator for Rachel's Vineyard, 43 percent of American women have had one or more abortions by the time they reach age 45.
"This is an experience that has had a painful impact on many," she said. Graves herself is among those statistics.
Abortion is kept a secret because often women leave the abortion clinic and vow they will never tell another soul what happened, Graves explained. "Not talking about it helps it become a deep secret, so the feelings stay there and fester."
Keeping the traumatic secret can cause emotional problems such as lack of trust, bitterness, and self-contempt, said Graves. It is very difficult to talk about an abortion experience because you are afraid people will judge you as being morally defective, she said.
That's why a Rachel's Vineyard retreat is a huge relief for post-abortive people: it offers an emotionally safe environment for expressing the pain, anger, and guilt associated with abortion. For many, the retreat is the first time they are able to talk openly about it - and mourn the child they lost.
"Rachel's Vineyard is so important because it gave me the opportunity to let my story out in a non-judgmental environment," said Susan. "It gave me the chance to finally go to confession and ask for forgiveness from God, something I didn't feel I had the right to ask for."
During the first part of the retreat, participants are led through Scripture exercises that help them process their burdens of guilt, pain, and anger. On Saturday the participants begin to focus on talking about the child they have lost.
The retreat team includes a priest and team members who have also experienced abortion.
"The people at the retreat were so supportive, so giving of their time," said Susan. "They had all been affected by an abortion in their lives so they understood.
"You feel so alone, and really there is no one to talk to who understands firsthand about such a sensitive subject. When I let my story out, I didn't feel so alone anymore. I finally got the chance to acknowledge my child's existence, and I know now that my child is with Jesus. I now go to church on a regular basis, something I did not feel was appropriate for so many years because of my situation."
Retreats are held in an environment of privacy, respect, and emotional safety. "I was relieved to see that my privacy and confidentiality were and still are protected," said Susan.
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