Local/State News National/World News
The Catholic Herald: Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Madison Front page Most recent issue Past issues
Bishop Speaks
March 31, 2005 Edition

 Search this site:

You are here: Bishop Speaks
About Us

How to submit photos/ads to the Catholic Herald
Catholic Herald Youth page

Jump to:
• Bishop Morlino's reflection -- Pope John Paul the Great: Will not be forgotten
Bishop calls parishioners to worship
Under the Gospel Book
Bishops' Schedules
About Bishop Morlino
About Bishop Emeritus Bullock
en Español:

"Bajo el Libro del Evangelio"

Bishops' Schedules:
Bishop Robert C. Morlino

Thursday, March 31, 2005
5:00 p.m. -- Preside and Preach at Celebration of the Eucharist, Annual Bishop's Dinner with the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, St. Patrick Parish, Madison

Saturday, April 2, 2005
5:00 p.m. -- Preside and Preach at the Celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, St. Clement Parish, Lancaster

Sunday, April 3, 2005
2:00 p.m. -- Preside and Preach at Celebration of the Eucharist, Divine Mercy Sunday, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Madison

Monday, April 4, 2005
Participate in "Catholics at the Capitol," Monona Terrace, Madison

Wednesday, April 6, 2005
7:00 p.m. -- Preside and Preach at the Celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, St. Joseph Parish, Gratiot, with St. John Parish, South Wayne, at St. Joseph Parish, Gratiot

Thursday, April 7, 2005
4:00 p.m. -- Preside and Preach at Celebration of the Eucharist, St. Ambrose Academy located at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Madison

Bishop William H. Bullock

Sunday, April 3, 2005
10:15 a.m. -- Preside and Preach at Celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Monona

Thursday, April 7, 2005
6:00 p.m. -- Preside and Preach at the Celebration of the Eucharist, East Dane Deanery of Council of Catholic Women, Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, Sun Prairie

Bishop George O. Wirz

Monday, April 4, 2005
Participate in "Catholics at the Capitol," Monona Terrace, Madison

Bishop Morlino's reflection

Pope John Paul the Great:
Will not be forgotten

-- Posted: 4/05/05, 7:38 p.m. Central Time

Dear Friends,

During the last few days, 24/7 as they say, the flow of history has almost seemed to stop as we turned our attention to the dying and the death of Pope John Paul II whom I firmly believe will one day be officially proclaimed both a saint and John Paul the Great.

First meeting

I first met our Holy Father in 1981. Through an unpredictable series of what seemed to be coincidences I had the opportunity to be present for his private Mass during the early days of his inviting people in for that Mass. There were present only five other priests and the Sisters who staffed the household of our Holy Father.

The Holy Father was unbelievably generous with his time greeting us after that Mass. He somehow knew that I had lost my mother rather recently and that I had no immediate family members left. And he commented to me that now both of us were alone in that sense, but of course not really alone because of the presence of Jesus Christ especially through the gift of priesthood.

Since that time and especially during the days when I lived in Rome, I was privileged to have had many further contacts with him. As the little Catholic kid who grew up in the Scranton area I never expected that such a grace would ever be mine. And it indeed has been a great grace.

In the days ahead and in different settings, I suppose that I will have many observations to offer as memories are stirred and brought into sharper focus. For the moment let me make my customary three points.

Changed the world

It is clear that Pope John Paul II changed the world. His constant defense of the inestimable worth of every human person has enabled the growth of freedom and democracy in so many different parts of the world.

The recent historical evidence that the assassin who attempted to kill Pope John Paul II was in fact under orders from the Soviet Union through the Bulgarian secret service more than confirms the fact that the Pope was pivotal in the nonviolent collapse of communism in Poland and then the rest of Eastern Europe. Pope John Paul II changed the world through his tireless efforts for justice and peace. And he did it in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Changed the Church

And secondly Pope John Paul II changed the Church. From the end of the Second Vatican Council until the beginning and early years of his Pontificate, the proper interpretation and vision of Vatican II had not really become clear - fine tuning was necessary.

It often takes 50 years after an Ecumenical Council for the Council teachings clearly to be understood. As one of the most prominent Council Fathers who had authored a number of the passages in the Council documents, John Paul the Great has changed the Church by being a faithful interpreter of the Second Vatican Council.

His concerns for religious liberty, for peace, and for the dignity of the family are all embedded in the documents of Vatican II. The pastoral governance of the Church, the proper role of the ordained in ministry, and of the laity in apostolic service needed to be further clarified, and the Holy Father has given all that is needed in these areas by way of the correct interpretation of Vatican II.

Vocations to the priesthood had been down and the number of priests leaving the active ministry had increased dramatically. Both of those unfortunate trends have now been reversed worldwide. The number of priests leaving active ministry has dwindled and the number of priestly vocations arising worldwide has increased almost every year in recent times.

The Holy Father has helped us to see that priestly identity is not ambiguous but very clear, and that clarity depends precisely on an equally clear perception of the role of the laity, that is to purify the culture and improve the structures of justice in the world by promoting systems of civil law that are accountable to the natural moral law.

Bishop calls parishioners to worship

-- Posted: 4/05/05, 7:38 p.m. Central Time

MADISON -- Bishop Robert C. Morlino invited members of the Diocese of Madison to join him in worship this week during the mourning period after the death of Pope John Paul II.

Bishop Morlino said he was particularly grateful for those that joined him in participation at diocesan liturgies last weekend - at a special Mass for the Holy Father last Friday on the eve of his death, for those who took part in the Mass at Confirmation at St. Clement Parish in Lancaster Saturday, and to the large crowd which joined him, Bishop Emeritus William Bullock, and retired Auxiliary Bishop George Wirz in a celebration of the pontiff's life on Divine Mercy Sunday at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Madison.

"During the days of mourning, all our pastors have received instructions to lead you in prayer and in a variety of ways to remember the pope in your parish," said Bishop Morlino to the people of the diocese.

On Friday, April 8, the day of Pope John Paul II's funeral, the bishop asked people to keep the pope in their prayers, make an effort to attend Mass at their parish, or make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.

Bishop Morlino said he will maintain his schedule during the mourning period. He asked that the Holy Father be remembered in each liturgy celebrated throughout the diocese.

All in the diocese are invited to any or all the liturgies celebrated by Bishop Morlino and listed below:

• Wednesday, April 6, 7 p.m. - Bishop will preside and preach at Confirmation at St. Joseph Parish, Gratiot.

• Thursday, April 7, 4 p.m. - Bishop will preside and preach at Mass at St. Ambrose Academy, St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Madison.

• Saturday, April 9, 5:15 p.m. - Bishop will preside and preach at Confirmation at St. Maria Goretti Parish, Madison.

• Sunday, April 10, 6 p.m. - Bishop will preside and preach at Confirmation at St. Augustine Parish, Platteville.

Bishop Morlino also invites people to join him this Sunday, April 10, at a special diocesan liturgy at 12:30 p.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Monona.

The Mass will remember Pope John Paul II and have a special intention for the College of Cardinals who will elect the next Bishop of Rome. The bishop said he hoped representatives of each parish in the diocese plus members of the Knights of Columbus could join him in this liturgy.

So many have returned to regular reception of the Sacrament of Penance and to the practice of Eucharistic Adoration. So many youth are enthusiastic and have found a real home in our Church. There can be no question that Jesus Christ at work in John Paul II has changed the Church for the better.

Changed the bishop

And lastly the contacts I was privileged to have with our Holy Father, and every bit as much his inspiration from afar, have changed me.

His presence really embodied the strength of Christ. Once I thanked him for giving me strength. He smiled and then immediately corrected what he called my "bad theology," reminding me that Christ gives us both the strength.

Nothing could be more true. The Lord surely used him as a pillar of strength, courage, and vision for myself, and I have to admit that I feel off balance without that pillar to lean on. And yet I hope that the inspiration that comes to me through the life and ministry of Pope John Paul II will remain alive and well, and with God's grace cause me to be a better priest and a better bishop. As I ask your prayers for John Paul the Great, I ask your prayers for myself as well.

Lastly we are at the present moment without a pope. In the coming weeks the Holy Spirit will raise up one who will receive the wonderful gifts of the spirit of St. Peter.

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will give their Church the gift of the next direct successor of St. Peter, the next Bishop of Rome, the next Chief Shepherd of the Universal Church, the next Pope.

Life, ministry not forgotten

The life and ministry of Pope John Paul the Great will never be forgotten, that is for sure. His own preoccupation in the most recent years was with the service that the Church was called to render as we enter into the third millennium.

He was well aware that his own time of service was coming to a close, but his sights were clearly set on the future for which the Church should be the light of Christ and the source of hope. He told us to put out into the deep as we address the many issues that we will face in this third millennium.

He told us, "Do not be afraid." John Paul the Great is alive with and in the Lord. Let his deepest hopes be alive for and within us. And let us pray for him daily and with great love, begging the mercy of Jesus, a mystery which he so deeply experienced, and rejoicing that he has crossed, in his own words, "the threshold of hope," to its complete fulfillment. Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! Praised be Jesus Christ!

Jump to:   Top of page

illustration of Gospel Book being held open over bishop's head
Under the
Gospel Book

+ Bishop Robert
C. Morlino

There is no column by Bishop Robert C. Morlino this week.

Jump to:   Top of page

Front page           Most recent issue           Past issues

Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
Offices: Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, 702 S. High Point Road, Madison
Mailing address: P.O. Box 44985, Madison, WI 53744-4985
Phone: 608-821-3070     Fax: 608-821-3071     E-Mail: info@madisoncatholicherald.org