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Day of Prayer in Princeton
PRINCETON -- St. John Parish here will hold a Day of Prayer on Monday, March 14.
Opening prayers and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will take place at 7 a.m. followed by continued Adoration, a children's Mass at 8:30 a.m., Lenten Mass at 12:10 p.m., Stations of the Cross at 2:15 p.m., and Communal Penance at 7 p.m., followed by the closing of Adoration.
"Each day," said Fr. Dale Grubba, pastor, "I receive requests for prayers from parishioners and friends across the nation. It has become a Lenten tradition at St. John Parish to have a day of prayer for the specific intentions of those within the parish and surrounding areas.
"Parishioners will be present before the Blessed Sacrament praying for these intentions throughout the day. It will help us to realize we are all one community," said Father Grubba.
Send prayers requests to: Prayer, St. John Church, 1211 W. Main St., Princeton, WI 54968. If the request is confidential, a name on a slip of paper will suffice. Prayers requests may also be dropped in a box in the back of the church.
Pro-life rosary scheduled March 18
MADISON -- Bishop Robert C. Morlino has scheduled a pro-life rosary outside the offices of Planned Parenthood, 3706 Orin Rd., Madison, on Friday, March 18, at 2 p.m.
Planned Parenthood is located one block east of MATC and two blocks north of E. Washington Ave. on Hwy. 51. People participating may park in the nearby former Roller Drome parking lot.
Those attending may bring their rosary. No signs are allowed, because this is a prayer vigil; religious art is okay. All ages are welcome.
LAMP training class
MADISON -- The third Latin American Mission Program (LAMP) training class for volunteers serving in Mexico this summer will be held Sunday, March 13, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Multicultural Center, 1862 Beld St.
The topic will be the religion and history of Mexico by Fr. George Fox, LAMP executive vice-president. For more information write LAMP, P.O. Box 85, Madison, WI 53701-0085 or call 608-845-7028, 608-255-5284, or 608-868-7816.
Singles Club plans reunion
MADISON -- All former Diocesan Singles Club members are invited to a reunion social and dinner at CJ's East Dining and Cocktails, 801 Atlas Ave. (Hwy. 51 and Cottage Grove Rd.).
It will be held Saturday, April 2, with the social at 6:30 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. RSVP to Barb at 608-238-7749 by Friday, March 25, at 10 p.m.
MADISON -- A peer support group for those hurting from separation, divorce, or loss of a significant relationship is open to all ages/faiths at a Madison parish. New Directions will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 10, at St. Dennis Parish Center, 413 Dempsey Rd., top floor. For information, call 608-821-3170.
Retreat on Eucharist
MADISON -- A retreat will be held Sunday, March 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Schoenstatt Heights, 5901 Cottage Grove Rd., Madison.
Presented by Schoenstatt Father Gerold Langsch, the retreat will focus on the Eucharist. The cost is $4 per person or $5 per couple. Childcare is available for $2 per family.
To register, call Sr. Elizabeth at 608-222-7208.
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Eucharist: 'Jewel in crown of Catholicism,' speaker tells parish leaders
MADISON -- The Eucharist is the jewel in the crown of Catholicism and we should look at the different facets of it. "We are a Eucharistic folk and without it we have no life or breath."
That's what keynote speaker Msgr. Kevin Irwin told parish staff members and volunteers at a March 3 Parish Leadership Day at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center here. The day included a two-part keynote address, workshops, and Mass.
Before Monsignor Irwin was introduced, Bishop Robert C. Morlino thanked all in attendance for their sacrifice of time. Our gathering today is an experience in our being church, he said.
Bishop Morlino said that the leadership day should help those participating grow in awareness of Christ's Eucharistic presence. His presence is found in the Eucharist at Mass, in the Word of God, in the Holy Orders of priests, and in the assembly, the "Holy Communion of the church."
Monsignor Irwin is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York who is on the faculty of the theology department of the Catholic University of America. He authored 13 books on liturgy and the sacraments, the newest of which is entitled Models of the Eucharist and will be published by Paulist Press in May.
He began his address by examining Catholics' belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
"My real concern is 'lex orandi, lex credendi' - 'what we pray is what we believe,'" he said, explaining that means we look at what the rites say and mean theologically. "The purpose of liturgy is not to get the rite right, but to get life right."
We also need to talk about the spirituality of the Eucharist, he said, noting the spirituality of Catholics is about self-transcendence - "going beyond me" - which we do together and that's a challenge in our culture.
"The Eucharist is our nourishment so we can live a self-transcendent life," he said.
Using real-life examples from his work at the university and in a Virginia parish where he serves, Monsignor Irwin presented 10 points of view that underscore what the Eucharist is about.
In the first point, he explained that we use things in the cosmos in order to celebrate Mass. "We link and rely on the world for materials to celebrate the liturgy," he said, noting how the Easter Vigil especially shows this in the use of darkness, light, and water, for example. "Water is the only element without which you can't live," he said. "If we need water to live, then what better element to use than water for Baptism, which is new life in Christ."
Bread and wine illustrate the process of dying and rising, he said, because someone has to plant the grain, mill the flour, bake the bread, plant the grapes, harvest them, make the wine.
In the second point, Monsignor Irwin stressed that the act of liturgy is always about relationship, the wider church, rather than about "me and my devotion."
"That's a challenge in America, which forged individual freedoms," he said. Yet, even though we prize individualism, we also look for support, he said. Support for Catholics happens in church.
"The Eucharist goes beyond ourselves," he said. "It's always about going to God together. Liturgy is about doing things together to build up the church to serve the world."
It's a communal self-transcendence, he said.
Listen to Word of God
His third point illustrated the importance of the Word of God.
"Words do something, accomplish something among us," said Monsignor Irwin, pointing out the readings of Genesis in which God said, "Let there be light" and it happened.
"The challenge of the Word of God is to listen to it," he said. "Listening is a crucial factor."
At the Catholic University of America, Monsignor Irwin mentioned how students have always constantly put things in their ears: walkmen, CD players, cell phones. "We're not a listening
culture," he said.
"Are we willing to let the Word of God be a measure of our lives?" he said. "It will make no difference unless the listeners are willing to be converted."
The memorial of the paschal mystery is the heart of our faith and is crucial to what the liturgy does, Monsignor Irwin said in his next point.
"The liturgy is always about the past, present, and future," he said. "It's not repeating, but perpetuating. We must remember what Christ accomplished. In remembering, we experience those saving events still. Remembering is in the doing, not just the thinking."
The memorial of the paschal mystery is not just remembering, but the experience of redemption, being drawn into redemption in the act of worship, he said.
"The act of liturgy is a unique moment when our limitations are healed in the dying and rising of Christ," he said. "The liturgy is not a tableau of watching what Jesus did: it's our experience here and now of what Jesus did."
The fifth point stressed the importance of covenant, which links the Eucharist to Baptism.
"God always invites us into relationship," said Monsignor Irwin. "He never abandons us. Every time we assemble in liturgy, it's at God's invitation. Liturgy is not 'Isn't God lucky to have us here.' We gather in this as a privilege."
He said he is amazed when people after Mass say, "That went well."
"Liturgy is not about flawless ritual," he said. "We gather in order to disperse. The covenant is a reminder that we do this at God's invitation."
In Monsignor Irwin's sixth point, he said sharing the Lord's supper is "dining with the Lord."
In the Gospel of Luke, each major moment of revelation has to do with food, he said. For example, "they found him lying in a manger," a place where animals are fed. On the road to Emmaus, the disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread.
"Revelation happens at the act of dining," said Monsignor Irwin.
His seventh point explained that the Eucharist is "heaven on earth" and Christ will come again.
Sacramental sacrifice was his eighth point, in which Monsignor Irwin said "sacrifice" and "presence" are building blocks in the Eucharist.
"Yes, it's the sacrifice of Christ, but it's a sacramental sacrifice, brought to us by way of sacrament," he said. "We never repeat his sacrifice. It's perpetuated but never redone. The Eucharist is our sacramental participation in that sacrifice." We must understand that we're offering that back to the Father, he said.
Presence, Holy Spirit
The Council of Trent affirmed that Christ is "truly, really, and substantially" present in the Eucharist, Monsignor Irwin said.
An active presence means God is working in our lives, he said.
In his final point, Monsignor Irwin said Eucharistic prayers after Vatican II included the invocation of the Holy Spirit over the gifts and over the church. It helps us understand that it's up to the Holy Spirit to transform the gifts, he said.
In closing, Monsignor Irwin said as he got older, he needed glasses to see more clearly. "The Eucharist is like putting on a pair of lenses which are the paschal mystery of Christ," he said. "Suffering leads to glory. Humility leads to triumph.
"Liturgy is not to get the rite right, but to get life right," he said. "Or at least to get life less wrong."
'Can you hear me now?':
Youth learn of power of prayer at rally
MADISON -- Having a real relationship with God. Paying attention to how you show God's love to yourself and other people. Understanding that the power of prayer is real.
These are some of the lessons youth learned from Brad Farmer and Gene Monterastelli of APeX Ministries during the recent Diocese of Madison's Middle School Youth Rally held at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison.
"Can you hear me now?" was the theme of the day.
Gift of ourselves
With juggling and humor, personal testimony and stories, Farmer and Monterastelli held the students' attention and shared their faith in a captivating way.
They began by telling a humorous story of a peasant who repaid his king simply by helping the people of his kingdom.
"We make a gift of ourselves, our lives," said Farmer. "It doesn't have to be huge things. It can be simple moments you show love to yourself and other people."
Sometimes we are amazed by the lives of the saints and think we have no special skills ourselves, he said. But we each are created in special ways that can touch others' lives in ways you never imagined.
Farmer then shared the story of his younger sister, Brittany, who was born with cerebral palsy and other handicaps.
At a glance she did not seem to have much to offer the world because her body was broken, he said. "But she took what she was given and did something amazing: she taught me more than anyone else. She taught me about unconditional love."
Anyone who came through the door, no matter who it was, she always gave that person a big hug, Farmer said. And even if that person didn't like hugs, that love was still returned to Brittany with the same intensity she had displayed.
"I wish I had that in my life - that kind of courage," he said. "That's the way each of us is called to live our lives."
The day Brittany died was the day Farmer learned that prayer is real. At the moment she died, he was steeped in prayer and saw a vision of his sister running happily - and he was full of peace.
"The power of prayer is real," said Farmer. "God can hear us. Prayer is not just motions we go through. It's real to have a relationship with our Creator. That's what we're made for. That's more real than anything."
God has a plan for you
Bishop George O. Wirz presided at Mass with the youth.
"Each one of you, for the long life ahead of you, you've got a special place in God's plan," he told them in his homily. "Our loving God planned that you should live now and you would be you - special. Whoever you are, however small you think you are, God loves you and has a plan for you."