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May 19, 2005 Edition

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Cathedral parish: Maintaining connectedness
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St. Albert to offer
JustFaith program

SUN PRAIRIE -- What is the responsibility of Catholics toward the poor? How do we become people who really care for and act on behalf of the poor and the vulnerable?

This fall, a new program called JustFaith will be offered at St. Albert the Great Parish in Sun Prairie. The program is designed to empower and transform participants so that they can become voices for the voiceless and agents of change in an unjust world. It is an intensive 30-week program that involves reflection, study, prayer, and community.

The introductory session will be held Wednesday, May 25, from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. Albert Parish, 2420 St. Albert Dr. For information, call Patti Sensenbrenner at 608-837-3798.

Retirement living facility hosts open house

BARABOO -- The Greenbriar - an independent retirement living facility located at 1350 Jefferson St. in Baraboo - will host a community open house on Saturday, May 21, from 9 to 11 a.m.

Those who attend the open house will get a personal tour of the facility by new manager Heidi Anderson and her staff. There will be a drawing for door prizes, refreshments, and everyone will receive a gift from the Greenbriar staff.

Managed by St. Clare Meadows Care Center since the beginning of the year, Greenbriar is now more closely aligned with the Meadows and Meadow Lane. According to Ron Schaetzl, administrator of St. Clare Meadows, this arrangement is providing better continuity in independent living services for seniors.

Heartsaver First Aid
Course scheduled

MADISON -- Heartsaver: First Aid Course will be offered Thursday, May 26, from 6 until 10 p.m. at the Dean West Clinic, lower level Health Works, 752 N. High Point Rd.

This is a new American Heart Association course intended for individuals who respond to emergencies at home, in the community, or at their worksite. No prior first aid experience is required.

The program is being conducted by Dean/St. Marys Health Works, a training center of the American Heart Association. Course fee is $39. Pre-registration is required; call 608-824-4400 or 1-800-368-5596.

Mothers of Preschoolers meets in Stoughton

STOUGHTON -- Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) at Night will meet on Thursday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the gathering area of St. Ann Parish, 323 N. Van Buren St.

The meeting will include a potluck dinner and a chance to say farewell to graduates and get a sneak peak at next year's MOPS.

Each meeting includes an inspirational speaker, a small discussion group, and an activity. Childcare is not provided; however, babies birth through three months are welcome. There is a $2 fee per meeting and scholarships are available. For more information, call Mona Beckham at 608-877-0017.

LAMP workshop
for summer volunteers

MADISON -- A Latin American Mission Program (LAMP) workshop for summer volunteers will be held at the Catholic Multicultural Center, 1862 Beld St., on Saturday, May 21. The workshop will include a Spanish Mass, travel information, teaching ideas, arts and crafts ideas, experiences of former volunteers, slides, and an opportunity to meet the volunteers for this year. For more information call 608-845-7028, 608-255-5284, or 608-868-7816.

Support group for divorced and separated

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, May 26, at St. Dennis Parish Center, 413 Dempsey Rd., top floor. For information, call 608-821-3170.

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Cathedral parish: Maintaining connectedness

MADISON -- Approximately 130 members of St. Raphael Cathedral Parish here gathered for meetings held May 3 and 4 at Meriter Hospital.

Prayer on loss of St. Raphael Cathedral

Links to articles on Cathedral fire

The meetings were a chance for parishioners to pray together and discuss what they can do to preserve parish identity since the March 14 fire that damaged the cathedral. A question-and-answer session with Msgr. Paul Swain, cathedral rector, was also included in the meetings.

The parishioner meetings were brought together by pastoral council members and members involved in Dane County United efforts, explained Mary Lestina, pastoral associate, who helped facilitate the meetings. Those on the committee facilitating the meetings include: Lestina, Charles and Ann Scott, Margaret Bomber, Robin Day Laporte, Julia Johnson, Dan Gibbons, and Mary Wrzesinski.

The committee met twice together and once with Monsignor Swain to discuss efforts in helping St. Raphael Cathedral parishioners stay connected.

What we're doing in these meetings is getting together and saying how can we deal with this difficult situation - how can we stay together as family, Monsignor Swain told Relevant Radio.

Positive experience

At the May 3 and 4 parishioner meetings, to see that people wanted to reconnect as a parish was a deeply moving experience, said Lestina.

People have suffered, but the meetings were a positive experience, said Lestina. It showed people coming together, wishing to be connected, bringing positive out of a negative situation.

One parishioner mentioned that even though they no longer have a building, God has given them a chance to form community, Lestina said.

The first night we expected 30 people and had over 100, she said. About 25 people came to the morning meeting the next day.

Feelings, ideas

First parishioners shared their feelings after the fire. There was a feeling of huge loss, especially for families with a long history with the cathedral. Some feel lost and others feel disconnected, Lestina said. For some, the fire is still a shock.

In examining ways the parish can maintain its identity, parishioners brainstormed various ideas for maintaining connection with each other.

Some of the ideas included: a monthly meeting as an opportunity for people to share fellowship; a summer picnic in a local park with Holy Redeemer Parish and St. Patrick Parish; a Cathedral Choir concert in October; and trips to Holy Hill or St. John Cathedral in Milwaukee. One idea already in the works is a mystery bus tour Sept. 11.

Another way in which parishioners are staying informed is with a parish newsletter by parishioner Charles Scott that includes information and upcoming events. Parishioners can also remain connected by visiting Another idea is a combined bulletin, with one page for each of the three parishes in the downtown area.

"A big thing was communication," said Lestina. "They also brought up the desire to come together and pray together."

Someone else brought up the need for forgiveness of William Connell, who allegedly set the March 14 fire.

Helping out

At the meetings parishioners also received Time and Talent sheets that would allow them to volunteer as greeters, gift bearers, lectors, etc., at Holy Redeemer and St. Patrick.

Lestina pointed out that anger and hurt can be transferred to positive energy in the community. "I've invited them to be part of the team that goes to St. Martin House or Habitat for Humanity. They want to find a way to stay connected and want to know what they can do for the church," she said.

Follow-up meetings will most likely occur in a few weeks, she said.

Articles on Cathedral fire:

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