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St. James School on 20/20
MADISON -- On Feb. 11, the first grade classroom at St. James School here was visited by a crew from the ABC TV News show 20/20.
While examining the topic of "forgiveness" for a 20/20 TV segment, the researchers sought information from University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Robert Enright, who is one of the leading experts in the world on the positive benefits of forgiveness.
Enright and some of his colleagues from the International Forgiveness Institute have been working with the first grade at St. James School for several years, using forgiveness education and seeking how it impacts student lives.
Patricia Stevens, first grade teacher at St. James School, agreed to pilot Enright's 18-week course on forgiveness for first graders. The program is based on Dr. Seuss books as the themes in those books are conducive to various values included in the curriculum: respect, kindness toward all, love, forgiveness, and generosity.
The 20/20 episode featuring St. James School is tentatively scheduled to air the evening of Friday, Feb. 18.
Men's Lenten retreat
MADISON -- A Men's Lenten Retreat, sponsored by the Diocese of Madison's Office of Religious Education, will be held Friday, March 18, through Saturday, March 19, at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center here.
The retreat master is Bishop Robert C. Morlino. In light of Pope John Paul II's proclamation that 2005 is the Year of the Eucharist, Catholic men of all ages are invited to gather with Bishop Morlino to pray and reflect on what it means not only to receive the Eucharist, but to live out the grace of Eucharist in their daily lives.
Cost is $80 for overnight with Friday dinner and Saturday meals, $65 for overnight with Saturday meals, or $40 for commuters with Saturday lunch.
Copies of the retreat brochure may be downloaded at www.madisondiocese.org Scroll down the list on the left and click on Religious Education. Then click on "What's New" or "Forms" and scroll down to "Men's Lenten Retreat." For more information, call 608-821-3160.
Registration deadline is March 4.
MADISON -- The Tribunal staff has been striving to inform the people of the Diocese of Madison about its work and specifically the annulment process.
Jay Conzemius, director of the Tribunal, invites anyone interested in learning more about "Divorce, Annulment, and Remarriage in the Catholic Church" to attend one of the informative evenings planned in parishes around the diocese.
An opportunity for discussion and interaction for group questions will follow the presentation. Conzemius will also be available to address personal situations.
The presentations are scheduled for: Tuesday, March 1 - St. Bernard Parish, Watertown; Thursday, March 10 - St. Albert the Great Parish, Sun Prairie; Tuesday, March 15 - St. John Vianney Parish, Janesville; Thursday, April 7 - Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Madison.
The presentations will begin each evening at 7 p.m. For more information, contact the Tribunal at 608-821-3060.
Grand opening of Catholic Ministry Center
CROSS PLAINS -- St. Francis Xavier Parish is celebrating the grand opening of its new Catholic Ministry Center on Friday, March 4, with an evening of Irish music and dance.
The grand opening begins at 5 p.m. with tours of the offices and hall along with a social. At 6 p.m. a fish dinner by Sheltons will be catered and served in the new hall for $10 per person, which also includes Esser's Best beer.
Reserved tables of eight are available for $100. Tickets may be purchased by calling the parish office at 608-798-0100. The concert of Irish music by the Kells featuring an Irish step dancing performance by Katie Regan from Riverdance is free to the public.
Everyone is invited to help celebrate the first of many events in the new parish hall located at 2947 Thinnes St., Cross Plains.
MADISON -- Whole Heart, a post-abortion ministry, will offer a 14-week Bible study and support group for women beginning Monday, Feb. 28. Facilitators will walk as companions with participants on the journey to healing. A compassionate, safe, and confidential setting is offered. The group uses a workbook with Scripture reflections and journal exercises.
Register by Feb. 21 for the support group by calling Cassie at 608-259-1605 or e-mail email@example.com
Whole Heart is a ministry of Care Net Pregnancy Center in Madison. Individual help for women and men struggling with past abortions is also offered. Facilitators have been trained by PACE (Post-Abortion Counseling Education) and Project Rachel. All services are free and confidential.
MOPS at Night
STOUGHTON -- Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) at Night will hold their first meeting of the year on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. in the gathering area of St. Ann Parish, 323 N. Van Buren St.
The topic of the meeting, "Good Nutrition: What's in Your Mulch," will be addressed by Ann Garvin, professor of health education at UW-Whitewater. The February meeting is also Spa Night. Bring your slippers and be prepared to be pampered.
Childcare is not provided; however babies birth through three months are welcome. There is a $2 fee per meeting and scholarships are available. For information, call Mona Beckham at 608-877-0017.
Shortages of priests,
JANESVILLE -- John Woodward, executive director of Serra International, will address the concerns of Catholics over the shortages of priests and religious in a talk at the Janesville Serra Club meeting at 12 noon on Friday, Feb. 18, in the St. William Parish Center on Arch St. Woodward will suggest ways Catholics can help solve these problems.
Jim Brennan, program vice president, invites all those interested to attend the meeting. A light lunch will be served. The meeting and talk will end about 1:30 p.m.
Novena to St. Jude
MADISON -- Blessed Sacrament Parish invites everyone to a novena to St. Jude beginning Feb. 19 at the parish.
The novena prayers will be offered during all of the eucharistic liturgies from Feb 19 to 27. There will be a special service of prayer and preaching Monday through Friday evening at 7 p.m. (Feb. 21 to 25). On Sunday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m., there will be a solemn closing of the novena with a healing service and the presence of a relic of St. Jude.
For more information, call the parish at 608-238-3471.
Day of Recollection
MADISON -- St. Martin House will hold a special Lenten Day of Recollection on Thursday, Feb. 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Catholic Multicultural Center, 1862 Beld St., Madison.
A day of prayer and spiritual reflection focused around the theme of the Year of the Eucharist will be led by Msgr. George Hastrich. The day will conclude with a Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration.
For more information go to: www.madison.com/communities/stmartin/ and click on Day of Recollection or call 608-255-1287. RSVP to 608-255-1287 or firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 22.
Mass for Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli
BENTON -- The annual Mass commemorating the death of Blessed Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli, the Dominican missionary priest who founded many parishes in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa as well as the Sinsinawa Dominican order, will be held at St. Patrick Church in Benton on Sunday, Feb. 20, at 3 p.m. The public is invited.
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To new Catholics: Bishop emphasizes priority of Sunday Eucharist
SUN PRAIRIE -- In this Year of the Eucharist, Bishop Robert C. Morlino emphasized the importance of "full and active participation in the Sunday Eucharist" in his homily during the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion on Sunday, Feb. 13, at St. Albert the Great Church here.
He addressed catechumens and candidates and their godparents, sponsors, family members, pastors, and friends who gathered from parishes in the Diocese of Madison.
Catechumens are those seeking sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Candidates have been baptized in other denominations and now seek to become members of the Catholic Church.
Sunday Mass a priority
In his homily, Bishop Morlino said to be a "Eucharisted" people is to be "someone for whom every Sunday Mass is a top priority."
He said, "the very sense of who we are depends on our presence, on our full and active participation at the Sunday Eucharist."
He told the catechumens and candidates, "I hope as you prepare in your parish, you won't take for granted the gift that is every Sunday, especially the Sunday Mass."
He said they can be "leaven for our brothers and sisters who don't go every Sunday. We want them to be with us on Sunday, because we love them," he emphasized.
Attending Mass every Sunday "expresses who we are and teaches us who we are," he said. "Otherwise we move to an identity crisis as 'sometimes' Catholics.
"We have to come onboard fully," he said. We can't be like the person who dips his toe in the water or wades in up to the waist only.
"The currents in our society are strong and deceptive," he said, continuing the water theme. "There are undertones that suck us in."
Instead, Bishop Morlino urged, "Dive in! Dive into this wonderful faith of ours, into the church. It is the body of Jesus Christ in the world."
Meeting Jesus Christ
A Eucharisted people, the bishop said, meet Jesus Christ. "You've met Jesus Christ risen from the dead and He wants to change your life by bringing you into the one, true church.
"That's why the church is fleshy, very visible. Jesus Christ is real. Jesus is not a symbol of something. He's not in my mind. He's not an idea. He's very real, and his presence in the Eucharist is a real presence."
Bishop Morlino emphasized that the Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine is "really the body and blood of Christ. The Eucharist is Jesus Christ, who changes your life. That's why the Sunday Eucharist is so important."
If someone had a weekly appointment with the president or pope, he would not forget it. Likewise, "we have a weekly appointment with Jesus Christ."
Catholics don't have to get "outside the body" to have a mystical experience, he noted. "Our mysticism requires a human body. We eat the Eucharistic bread and drink the Eucharistic wine. We're lifted out of ourselves and we're completely outside of time."
Bishop Morlino also said the Eucharist sends us forth to bring mercy to the world, a world filled with violence, hunger, injustice, and fear. "Mercy is our mission," he said.
The Madison Diocesan Choir directed by Patrick Gorman provided music for the liturgy, with Glenn Schuster as organist, Steve Johnson as cantor, and Mary Wilcosz as flutist.
Conference: Hundreds gather to address life issues
The following is part one of two in a series.
MADISON -- More than 300 people from throughout Wisconsin gathered at a legislative conference Feb. 10 at the Inn on the Park here. The bi-annual conference was sponsored by Wisconsin Right to Life (WRTL) and Christian Life Resources.
Workshops, lunch with legislators, and a talk on stem cells by a nationally known researcher were part of the day-long conference. The day ended with a visit to the State Capitol to speak with legislators and to deliver 13,000 signatures on petitions urging Governor Jim Doyle to support the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act.
Unborn child's pain
The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act would require that women who are pregnant 20 weeks or more and are considering an abortion receive information that their unborn children are capable of experiencing excruciating pain during abortion.
According to WRTL, "With the advent of sonograms and live-action ultrasound images, doctors and nurses have seen unborn babies at 20 weeks gestation react physically to outside stimuli such as sound, light, and touch. More recently, surgeons entering the womb to perform corrective procedures on tiny unborn children have found that those babies will flinch, jerk, and recoil from sharp objects and incisions."
In fact, according to National Right to Life, "Between weeks 20 and 30, an unborn child has more pain receptors per square inch than at any other time, before or after birth, with only a very thin layer of skin for protection. Mechanisms that inhibit or moderate the experience of pain do not begin to develop until weeks 30-32. Any pain the unborn child experiences before these mechanisms form is likely worse than the pain an older child or adult experiences."
The bill would amend Wisconsin's current Woman's Right to Know Act, which requires a woman to undergo a waiting period before having an abortion and be given information about her pregnancy, unborn child, the risks of abortion, and alternatives to abortion.
"It's important for women not to buy into the salesmanship (of abortionists)," said Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), author of the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, during one of the workshops at the conference. He said not only is the bill important, but the fact that it is introduced and receives publicity educates people.
"We have to reinforce this is a baby," said by Representative Jean Hundertmark (R-Clintonville). "If we can go from 'tissue' and 'fetus' to 'baby,' this raises awareness. It's a societal paradigm that has to be changed."
The same workshop included information on the Conscience Protection Act, co-authored by Hundertmark, a member of WRTL.
"A Conscience Protection Act passed both Houses last year, but the governor vetoed it, so we're back at it," said Hundertmark.
"This legislation protects health care professionals from doing acts that are planned acts of terminating a life," she said. "I don't believe any professional should decide between their job and conscience. They're there to protect life, not take it."
According to WRTL, Wisconsin's current conscience protection laws for hospitals, hospital employees, physicians, nurses, and students apply only to abortion and sterilization. One of the ways the new legislation would strengthen current law is by "adding conscience protection for the destruction of an in vitro human embryo or the use of cells or tissues derived from such destruction; unethical experimentation on an in vitro human embryo or a developing child in an artificial womb; the use of tissues or organs from an aborted baby; causing the death of an individual who is not in a terminal condition by starvation or dehydration; and assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing."
RU-486 could one day be dispensed by pharmacists, Hundertmark said, but this bill would create a conscience protection law for pharmacists and pharmacies.
"It's important we continue our efforts," she said.
For more information, visit www.wrtl.org or call 877-855-5007 or 414-778-5780.