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March 23, 2006 Edition

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This week:
End of life: Bishops release letter on health care decisions
Prayer service at cathedral: Held on anniversary of the fire March 14
News Briefs
Nominate someone for "Profiles from the pew"

Articles on St. Raphael Cathedral

L e n t
Lenten regulations (from 2/23 edition)

Parish plans contemporary Way of Cross

Dane and Lodi parishes schedule mission

Parish mission in Belmont

Passion Play planned in Potosi

• Bishop's column -- Fighting a battle: To protect marriage, family life (en Español)

• Bishop's Letter: Catholic Relief Services

• Editorial -- Jesus in disguise: Find him by helping the poor

• Notes from The Gambia by Tom Brodd --
    Catholic Relief Services: A little of what we do

Living the Scriptures

Faith Alive!

This week's readings

Lent articles from previous issues:
March 16, 2006 edition
March 9, 2006 edition
March 2, 2006 edition
Feb. 23, 2006 edition
Operation Rice Bowl (from 2/23 edition)

News Briefs:
'Women's Work and Spinning Tales' presentation
at St. Marys Center

MADISON -- St. Marys Adult Day Health Center will host Robin Mello for her presentation entitled "Women's Work and Spinning Tales" on Monday, March 27, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at St. Marys Adult Day Health Center, 2440 Atwood Ave.

Mello provides an interactive lecture demonstration that focuses on women's work - housework and spinning in particular. Demonstrations of spinning with spindle and wheel give participants a hands-on experience of what it takes to produce a garment from sheep to shawl. Interwoven with historical and technological information are folktales and narratives that depict spinning and other household tasks that were part of women's farm employment. Mello currently teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is director of the K-12 Theatre Education Program.

Entrance is through the rear door of St. Bernard Parish Center. Call 608-249-4450 for more information. This presentation, sponsored by the Wisconsin Humanities Council, is free and open to the public.

Cistercian monastery campaign: Reaches over one-third of $7 million goal

PRAIRIE DU SAC -- The "Fulfilling the Vision; Meeting the Need" capital campaign for the Cistercian nuns at Valley of Our Lady Monastery in Prairie du Sac has achieved to-date $2,352,284.88 or, 33.60 percent of the $7 million campaign goal in cash, pledges, and gifts-in-kind.

The current monastery is located on Hwy. 12 just north of Prairie du Sac. The proposed monastery will be built on 210 acres of farmland near Highland in Iowa County. Harvey and Marcie Yero donated the property to the nuns in memory of Harvey's deceased wife Dorothy (nee Johanning).

Parish plans contemporary Way of Cross

JANESVILLE -- The Stations of Life, a contemporary Way of the Cross, will take place at a "Lenten Evening of Reflection" at Nativity of Mary Church, 313 E. Wall St., Janesville, on Sunday, March 26, at 7 p.m. and again on Monday, March 27, at 7 p.m.

Crafted by John Shea in his collection, Stopping Along the Way, this contemporary Way of the Cross brings Christ's journey to the cross into the present time. Each of the 14 stations offers a glimpse into the personal story of people who could be our friend or neighbor, a family member, our self.

A woman confronts her own death, a teacher is haunted by a student he shamed, a mother defends her daughter, a hospice worker comes to a new understanding of dying. Catholics who come to the Stations of the Cross every Lent haul their own personal crosses along with them. Through reflecting on the stories and relating them to their own lives, they come to see more clearly that Christ's Way is their own way, too.

Author Shea is a theologian and storyteller who lectures nationally and internationally on storytelling in world religions, faith-based health care, and contemporary spirituality. He has published 15 books of theology and two books of poetry. Stopping Along the Way, a contemporary Way of the Cross, was published by World Library Publications in 2005.

For further information or details on this event, contact Ann Allen, Nativity of Mary Parish, 313 E. Wall St., Janesville, or phone the rectory, 608-752-7861.

Dane and Lodi parishes schedule mission

LODI -- St. Patrick Parish, Lodi, and St. Michael Parish, Dane, will hold a parish mission with the theme, "A Closer Walk with Christ," from Sunday, March 26, through Thursday, March 30, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., with fellowship following, at St. Patrick Church, 515 Fair St., Lodi.

Contact Jerry Mabis for more information at 608-592-5712.

The mission is led by Fr. David Polek and Fr. Chuck Beierwaltes, Redemptorist Fathers of the Redemptorist Retreat Center, Oconomowoc.

Each evening has a different theme and spiritual talk:

• Sunday, March 26 - "Salvation: God's dream for our happiness and our response." The goal: To deepen our acceptance of God's love for us. Symbol: Bible.

• Monday, March 27 - "Jesus as Savior: Who is Jesus for us?" The goal: To renew personal faith in Jesus as Savior. Symbol: Crucifix.

• Tuesday, March 28 - "Sin, Reconciliation, and Healing: Living the life of conversion." The goal: To be freed of the burden of our sinfulness and past grudges and pain. Symbol: Easter candle. A communal penance service will be held this evening.

• Wednesday, March 29 - "The Eucharist: Nourishment for the journey to the Eucharist." The goal: How we are called to be Eucharist to the world. Symbol: Bread.

• Thursday, March 30 - "Your Mission: To share in the work of Jesus Christ." The goal: To go forth and proclaim the Good News. Symbol: Altar. Mass will be held this evening.

Parish mission in Belmont

BELMONT -- St. Philomena Parish, Belmont; Immaculate Conception Parish, Truman; and St. Michael Parish, Calamine, welcome all parishioners and friends to a parish mission, "Prepare Your Heart for Easter," to be given April 1 through 5 at St. Philomena Church, Belmont.

The parishes invite all people who long for the real message that Christ brings to take time for this period of spiritual renewal. Fr. Everett Hiller, from the Diocese of Rockford, will be the spiritual director. He has a message for all people who discern a call to live as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Refreshments will be served each evening and the parish youth will be offering sacramentals and religious items for purchase. Dates and themes include:

• April 3, 7 p.m. Mass: "Each person is called to be a disciple of Christ."

• April 4, 7 p.m. Mass: "Discipleship calls for volunteers to serve the Kingdom."

• April 5, 7 p.m. homily, Penance Service, Mass: "To be a disciple means our lifestyle must change often."

For more information call Fr. Monte Robinson at 608-762-5446.

Passion Play planned in Potosi

POTOSI -- The Knights of Columbus is sponsoring a meal followed by a Passion Play on Saturday, April 1, at SS. Andrew-Thomas School gym. Mass at 4 p.m. will be followed by a meal until 6:30 p.m. Cost of the meal is $5 and $2.50 for children under 10. The play will begin at 7 p.m. and a free-will offering will be taken.

Grief series
at St. Dennis Parish

MADISON -- A four week "Moving through Grief" series will be held at St. Dennis Parish, 505 Dempsey Rd., on April 5, 12, 19, and 26.

A group reunion will be held on May 24. The series is held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the St. Dennis Chapel.

These sessions will be facilitated by members of the St. Dennis Bereavement Ministry Team (Kathy Saunders, Darlene Woldt, and Duane Woldt). They will include team presentations, prayer, small group discussion, handouts, and refreshments.

There is no fee but attendance is limited. To register, contact the St. Dennis office at 608-246-5124 by April 3.

For more information, contact Kathy Saunders at 608-222-9558 or Darlene or Duane Woldt at 608-222-2125.

End of life:
Bishops release letter
on health care decisions

MADISON -- Wisconsin's Catholic bishops have released the second edition of their pastoral letter on end-of-life healthcare decision-making and advance-care planning, Now and at the Hour of Our Death. The statement voices the bishops' concern and compassion for those facing critical health care decisions and shares a moral and ethical framework for making such decisions.

"The conference issued the first edition of this pastoral statement in 2002 and it has proven to be our most frequently requested document," explained Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC) Executive Director John Huebscher. "In the four years since, there is even more interest in the moral questions surrounding death and dying. The bishops want to engage that interest and reissuing the document is an effective way to do that."

The release on March 20 marked the solemnity of St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, husband of the Virgin Mary, and patron of a happy death.

"We believe that St. Joseph died in the loving embrace of Mary and Jesus. As followers of Christ, we seek the same embrace, the same comfort, and the same peace in our final hours here on earth," stated Archbishop Timothy Dolan, archbishop of Milwaukee and president of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference. "Death is not to be feared. We are to rejoice in our destiny, the gift of everlasting life, promised us by Jesus, achieved, not by our efforts, but by his dying and rising."

Moral challenges

The pastoral letter opens by acknowledging that advances in medical technology create both opportunities and moral challenges. As medicine continues to strive to preserve human life, scientific progress poses new ethical questions regarding the meaning of life and death.

The letter offers guidance to those who face a serious illness and those who are seeking to prepare in advance for their medical care. It addresses the challenges faced by society today, noting the increasing threat of assisted suicide and euthanasia. The document also provides guidance in the church's teaching on various life support measures, pain medication, and overly aggressive medical treatment. Attention is given in the document to the teachings of the late John Paul II on these questions.

"While modern medicine continues to present us with new technologies, the unwavering moral imperative remains - life is sacred from the moment of conception to natural death. We cannot seek to bring about our own death or the death of another. However, in seeking to preserve life, we are not obligated to pursue a medical treatment that poses a disproportionate burden relative to the anticipated benefit for those terminally ill and close to death," emphasized Bishop Robert Morlino, bishop of the Diocese of Madison and vice-president of the WCC Board.

"This revised edition of the original pastoral letter reaffirms our commitment to faithfully and accurately proclaim the church's teaching in these matters," he said.

Advanced planning

The bishops stress the importance of contemplating these ethical questions before a crisis occurs and the importance of ongoing moral guidance regarding critical health care decisions. The letter encourages family members to discuss the reality of death with each other.

"You may find it difficult to bring up the subject with your loved ones," the bishops acknowledge in the pastoral. "Yet these conversations are vitally important for you and those you love." The bishops encourage Catholics to engage in advance care planning and recommend the preparation of a durable power of attorney for health care.

Care, comfort of sick

In addition, the bishops focus on the critical role that the faith community can and should play in the care and comfort of the sick and their loved ones. They encourage parishes to work collaboratively with hospitals and hospice programs to provide spiritual and emotional support to the dying. "Often when the issue of end of life decision-making is addressed, a great deal of focus is placed on the questions and concerns regarding health care or medical decisions. However, these issues should not overshadow the importance of providing spiritual support to the dying person."

The bishops emphasize that the medical decisions we face have moral dimensions. Choices regarding medical treatments must be viewed through a moral lens that guides us away from choices that deny human dignity and toward choices that affirm our respect for all life and our belief in eternal life.

"Our time on this earth is finite. We are called to live every day humbled by our human frailty while joyfully seeking our ultimate goal, the infinite promise of eternal life," stated Bishop Morlino.

Copies available

Thanks to the financial support of the Wisconsin State Council Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Health Association of Wisconsin, a limited number of free copies of Now and at the Hour of Our Death are available. To obtain a copy, contact the Diocese of Madison's Office of Justice and Pastoral Outreach at 608-821-3086 or the WCC office at 608-257-0004. The pastoral is also available on the WCC Web site

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Prayer service
at cathedral:
Held on anniversary
of the fire March 14

MADISON -- Sirens wailed nearby as the petitions were read during a prayer service held in the parking lot of burned-out St. Raphael Cathedral, a reminder of the day one year ago when the sirens had been for the cathedral itself.

More articles on
St. Raphael Cathedral

Around 50 people, some cathedral parishioners, gathered to pray with Bishop Robert C. Morlino and Msgr. Paul J. Swain March 14, the anniversary of the fire that caused the roof to collapse and the cathedral to be rendered unusable.

The fire had allegedly been set by William J. Connell, who was recently deemed competent and is scheduled to stand trial in May. For most of last year, he had been at Mendota Mental Health Institute for treatment.

Those gathered prayed for Connell, as well as for the firefighters and others who have helped during and after the fire, sang hymns, and read the story from Genesis of Jacob's dream of the staircase to heaven.

"The cathedral is only as good in so much that it serves as a staircase to heaven," Bishop Morlino said during his homily. "And no humble material can do that."

He thanked everyone for their patience in the process of deciding what to do with the cathedral, especially the parishioners, "for being uprooted."

But, he said, "There will be a cathedral - it is God's will."

Many of the people who attended said that they came to the service to support the community of St. Raphael.

"It was an emotional thing," said Martha Doody, a parishioner at St. Patrick Parish, Madison, who used to attend daily Mass at the cathedral. "And it was such a wonderful thing to try and keep the parish together."

"This was a place that made me feel welcome and made me feel at home," said Jacob Gill, a parishioner at St. Raphael who had been married there only six months before the fire.

A lot of his decision to come to the service had been hope for the future, he said, and to thank a community that had welcomed him and his wife. "Coming today celebrated it," he said.

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Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
Offices: Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, 702 S. High Point Road, Madison
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