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July 27, 2006 Edition

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This week:
Planning for the future: Chancellor updates council
Grant Emmel: Named Vice-Chancellor for diocese
Brent King: New Communications Director and Assistant to the Bishop
Holy Hill: Named Minor Basilica
• Front page: Catholic Herald summer publication schedule
News Briefs
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Articles on St. Raphael Cathedral

News Briefs:
Dells outing for disabled and elderly

WISCONSIN DELLS -- The Apostolate to the Handicapped announces the annual summer outing to the Wisconsin Dells on Friday, Aug. 25, at the Tommy Bartlett Water Show site in Lake Delton.

Tom Diehl, chief executive officer of the Tommy Bartlett Water Show, has again invited the apostolate as guests to attend the show.

The day's events will begin with a concelebrated Mass at 11 a.m. at the water show site followed by a lunch and then the show. This day is held rain or shine and guests can be in the open or under cover.

Every handicapped and elderly person is invited to attend. To make a reservation, write Msgr. Tom Campion at P.O. Box 443, Monroe, WI 53566. Transportation will be furnished whenever possible for those who need a ride.

The usual staff of volunteers - drivers, nurses, EMS people, lunch providers, helpers, and benefactors - will attend to every person's need. There is no cost as expenses are paid by friends of the Apostolate to the Handicapped.

"This is a great day in God's beautiful creation, made more beautiful by the loving and caring people of real compassion and the powerful example of the disabled community who show such tremendous faith and courage," said Monsignor Campion.

Pro-life vigil, procession held August 10, 11

MADISON -- The Diocese of Madison Office of Vocations will hold a pro-life vigil Thursday, Aug. 10, to Friday, Aug. 11, with prayer at an abortion clinic, Mass, and Eucharistic Adoration.

The event will begin August 10 with 9 a.m. Mass at St. Peter Church, 5001 N. Sherman Ave. Adoration follows and concludes with Mass at 7 a.m. on Friday. Prayer at the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic on Stoughton Rd. (3706 Orin Rd.) will begin at 10 a.m. on August 10 and continue until the concluding Mass at St. Peter.

All are welcome to participate in any events. To commit to a time of adoration or prayer, call the Office of Vocations at 608-821-3048 or contact

A Divino Nino procession organized by a pro-life group at Holy Redeemer Parish is also scheduled August 10 beginning with Mass at Holy Redeemer Church, 120 W. Johnson, at 5:15 p.m., followed by a Holy Hour in the chapel. The group will then process to Planned Parenthood starting at 7 p.m. The walk is about five miles. All are invited. For information, contact Jeanne Breunig at 608-831-3139.

Support groups

MADISON -- Two parishes offer peer support groups that provide support to those hurting from separation, divorce, or loss of a significant relationship. "Friends on a Journey" meets from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursdays, Aug. 3 and 17, at Our Lady Queen of Peace, 401 S. Owen Dr. "New Directions" meets from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursdays, Aug. 10 and 24, at St. Dennis Parish Center, 413 Dempsey Rd. For information, call 608-824-0014.

Catholic women:
Hold national assembly
in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- "Yes Lord, Your Servant Is Listening" is the theme of the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) General Assembly to be held Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 21 through 23, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel here.

The opening liturgy will be offered at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21, at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral with Archbishop Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee as celebrant. There will be liturgies in the hotel on Friday and Saturday.

The event includes regional meetings, leadership training, and commission workshops. Attendees will be bused to the Milwaukee Art Museum for reception and tours Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Province dinners will be held Friday evening. New province directors will be installed Saturday morning; the assembly banquet will be served that evening.

Keynote speaker is Sr. Amy Hoey, a Sister of Mercy and former staff member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Department of Family, Laity, Women, and Youth.

Registration is on Wednesday, Sept. 20. Reservation fee postmarked by August 1 is $250. Late reservation fee is $285. It is to be sent to NCCW General Assembly, 200 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington, VA 22203.

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Planning for the future:
Chancellor updates council

MADISON -- Planning for the future of the Diocese of Madison and the cathedral were the two main topics of discussion at the July 8 meeting of the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) held at the Bishop O'Connor Center.

Bishop Robert C. Morlino urged members to share their comments and ask questions. "We're here to listen to you."

Kevin Kelly, DPC chairman from Sun Prairie, added, "I would encourage you to ask questions and share your thoughts and insights."

The bishop introduced Fr. Jay Poster, Madison, who will be working on strategic planning, especially with priests, and Grant Emmel, who also will work on planning [see article below].

Unique opportunity

Chancellor Kevin Phelan updated the DPC with a Power Point presentation, "The Church in Transition: Planning for the Future." He said, "We've got a unique opportunity and a unique challenge."

The Diocese of Madison has obtained demographic information from CARA and ideas from priests and parishioners gathered in a priest survey and an in-pew survey.

"I will make the argument that we need to look at some significant changes," said Phelan.


The challenges facing the diocese include these problems:

• 134 parishes, many with declining populations

• 47 Catholic schools, many with declining enrollments, some with serious financial concerns

• We need a cathedral and at least two new parishes (probably in Dane County)

• The diocese could use one or more Catholic high schools

• The vast majority of the priests in the diocese have two parishes, some have three or four.

CARA's demographic study went back to the beginning of the diocese in 1946 and projected trends to 2025. "The trends don't change dramatically," Phelan said.

The in-pew survey completed last November included questions on merging and closing of parishes.

Planning process

Recently the diocese hired The Reid Group, which has expertise in restructuring dioceses. The diocese will also form a Planning Commission of priests and lay people in August of 2006.

This group will meet twice a month from August to May of 2007 and will hold regional meetings. It is expected that final recommendations on restructuring parishes will go to the bishop for approval in spring of 2007.

Goals in planning

The goal in the planning process is to insure access to the sacraments for all people; orthodox evangelization and catechesis; and opportunities to live the faith through social justice and works of mercy.

For parishes, the goal is to insure faith communities are led by priests both in sacrament and in the spirit of Christ; parishes are financially secure and can provide for the needs of their parishioners and those in need; and resources to evangelize, catechize, and sanctify.

For the diocese, the goals are to provide needed resources for growth and development; provide a vibrant faith experience for all Catholics; and provide for the needs of the growing Catholic population and works of charity.

Statistics tell story

Current statistics in the 11 counties of the diocese include: 134 parishes; 182,033 registered Catholics; and 87 priests in active ministry - 86 in parishes and one in non-parish ministry (vocation director). Of the 134 parishes, 90 - or 67 percent - share a pastor.

Current projections show that the number of active priests will decline to under 60 by the year 2015. Phelan pointed out that there is good news because vocation promotion efforts are paying off: there are more men preparing for the priesthood, with 23 seminarians expected by the fall of 2006. "It's a better picture than it looks," said Phelan.

The average number of households per parish in the Diocese of Madison is well below the national average. The average nationally is 935, while it is 532 in the diocese. There are 47 parishes with fewer than 200 households. "Not all of these are rural," said Phelan.

Shifting population

How did this happen? Phelan explained that there has been a shift in the Catholic population; an increase in the number of urban Catholics; a decrease in the number of rural Catholics; and ethnic parishes erected in the diocese.

"The Diocese of Madison is the only diocese in the province (Wisconsin) not to have closed parishes to date," said Phelan. Instead, the diocese has tried to maintain the faith communities through multiple parish associations sharing a pastor.

"As we go forward, this approach can no longer be our only option," said Phelan.


He said alternatives to consider include:

• Consider the viability of parishes

• Analyze the vitality of parishes.

• Put all options on the table, including: reducing services to parishes; realigning neighboring parishes into associations with a shared pastor; and closing parishes.

Criteria determining viability of parishes will include: proximity to other parishes; number of households; Mass attendance trends; sacramental vitality; demographic and economic projects; trends of growth or decline; parish's ability to provide for the sacramental, catechetical, and pastoral needs of parishioners; parish's financial health; and condition of facilities.

Criteria to determine the vitality of parishes include: vibrant liturgies and full sacramental life for members; staff to assist pastor with administration and pastoral care; and catechetical opportunities for members of all ages.

New reality

Phelan said the new reality is that "many of our existing parishes were built to support a Catholic population that is no longer there - one that has moved from the rural to the urban setting. Our resources are going to the upkeep of buildings rather than the building up of the Body of Christ.

"Reconfiguring parishes according to need and assigning our resources appropriately can help us move from 'survival' to 'thriving,'" he said. "We must remember throughout this process that the issue is bigger than any one building. The issue is the continued mission of Christ and his Church, which is the salvation of souls."

The DPC received the diocesan results from the in-pew survey and discussed them with Phelan. The importance of communication in the planning process was emphasized, including using the Catholic Herald, Relevant Radio, and the diocesan Web site.

Phelan also distributed a draft of a parish viability model. It was suggested that the number of vocations from a parish be added.

DPC members emphasized the importance of educating and preparing people for change. "There are new opportunities. We have to be clear. We can build trust with the people by talking about the positive aspects and how to be good stewards," commented DPC member Matt Sande, Cambridge.

Future of cathedral

More articles on
St. Raphael Cathedral

Bishop Morlino discussed the future of the Cathedral, noting that he has written several columns in the Catholic Herald focusing on the role of the cathedral and his thoughts on why the cathedral ought to be located downtown. "I've had considerable feedback," said the bishop, saying he is still open to suggestions about the cathedral's future.

He said there will be townhall meetings on the cathedral this fall. "My mind is not made up," he said. "I want to give people an opportunity for input. I want to take time and make the right decision."

The bishop said he has even received support for a downtown cathedral from non-Catholics.

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Grant Emmel:
Named Vice-Chancellor for diocese

MADISON -- Bishop Robert C. Morlino has named Grant Emmel Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese of Madison effective September 5.

Emmel has been serving as Executive Assistant to the Bishop since June of 2005. In his new position, he will be working with Chancellor Kevin R. Phelan, primarily in the diocesan strategic planning process [see article above].

"Grant has a process and analytical background that will be invaluable to our strategic planning process," said Phelan. "Grant's proven track record with information technology will also help us to evaluate and streamline our infrastructure and insure we invest in cost efficient technologies in the future.

"Having worked closely with Bishop Morlino, Grant is in a unique position to help us move forward with both the Pastoral Center reorganization and the diocesan strategic planning process," said Phelan.

Emmel is married to Nancy with five children. He is a professional electronics engineer by training and profession, having worked both in the private and public sectors for over 20 years.

He is on the board as vice-president of St. Ambrose Academy, a Catholic high school in Madison formed to assist parents in the formation of their junior high and high school children by providing a solid education illuminated by the Catholic faith where students can work out their own salvation. Three of his children attend St. Ambrose Academy.

He is a founder and past board member of Safe Place for Newborns-Wisconsin and has been an involved member of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish for the last 15 years. He is a member of the Madison Serra Club and is Vice President of Vocations for the Madison Chapter. He is also a licensed private pilot and enjoys refereeing basketball.

Emmel commented on his new position, "The reality is that I am trained to solve problems. I'll bring an analytical bent in solving problems to the strategic planning process. Given the direction from the bishop, looking at all of the issues, getting input from everyone, and bringing all of this to prayer will put us in a great position as we move forward in the diocesan planning process.

"As part of the positive changes occurring in the chancery, the bishop has asked me to fulfill this role. I consider it quite an honor and I am happy to help him in his ministry in whatever way I can," he said.

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Brent King: New Communications Director and Assistant to the Bishop

MADISON -- Bishop Robert C. Morlino has announced that Brent M. King will be the new Director of Communications and Executive Assistant to the Bishop for the Diocese of Madison effective September 5.

"I am very excited about having Brent King serve in the diocese," said Bishop Morlino. "I have worked with him professionally and I know him personally. I think he will bring many gifts and talents to our diocese."

King has served as Director of Communications for the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Mich., since 2002. He has also been editor of the diocesan newspaper and chief computer technician for the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

In Kalamazoo, he has planned, organized, and executed all internal and external diocesan communications. He has been the principal contact person for all diocesan interaction with media outlets and has edited and written for the monthly diocesan newspaper, the Good News for the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

In addition, he has produced various fund-raising and public relations projects with the bishop and other diocesan offices. He has edited and managed the diocesan Web site; purchased and installed new diocesan computer hardware and software; and has been in charge of day-to-day maintenance and running of the diocesan computer network.

King obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and religion from Kalamazoo College with a minor in history. He attended Catholic schools in Kalamazoo from kindergarten through high school. He has been an altar server since the fifth grade.

In the spring of 1997, King participated in full immersion study of the German language in Bonn, Germany. He is an avid traveler both in the United States and abroad.

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Holy Hill: Named Minor Basilica

MILWAUKEE -- Pope Benedict XVI has granted Minor Basilica status to Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians.

The announcement was made by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan during a special Mass on Sunday, July 16, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Discalced Carmelite Friars to Holy Hill.

The status means the nationally acclaimed church will be referred to as The Basilica of Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians. Currently they are 56 minor basilicas in the United States, including The Basilica of Saint Josaphat, 2333 S. 6th St., Milwaukee, named a Minor Basilica by Pope Pius XI in 1929.

"This is a blessing and Holy Hill is a national treasure of the Church, richly deserving of this status," Archbishop Dolan said.

Attentive care

Under the care of the Discalced Carmelites, Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians, remains a confluence of natural beauty, peaceful prayer, spiritual nourishment, evangelical mission, and the focal point of a vibrant local, regional, and national church.

The process, initiated by the Discalced Carmelite Friars and supported by Archbishop Dolan last April, required dossier materials documenting Holy Hill as a place of pilgrimage and special devotion, and a center of historic significance, characterized by architecture and artistry.

Annually more than 150,000 people visit Holy Hill. Ethnic groups from around the world make yearly pilgrimages to the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians with many that can be traced to Holy Hill's early history.

History of Holy Hill

The history of Holy Hill is believed to extend back to the evangelization of this region by the French explorer Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette, who is said to have surveyed the expansive beauty of the region from atop the hill. Since that time the hill has became a special place of prayer and faith.

The early settlers to the Holy Hill area came in 1842 from the counties of Kerry, Cork, and Waterford in Ireland. In approximately 1863 a French layman, Francois Soubrio, established for himself a small hermitage on the side of the hill. The locals, at first skeptical, eventually befriended him, having come to depend upon his wise and prayerful counsel.

Local farmers are said to have joined with him to build a cabin for the hermit and at the same time they made plans to build the first log chapel, the first permanent structure on the hill. At the first Mass held there, Fr. George Strickner dedicated the simple new chapel as a shrine of Mary, Help of Christians.

In the mid-1800s, German immigrants began to settle and farm in the area. In June of 1906 the Discalced Carmelite Friars arrived at Holy Hill from Bavaria at the invitation of Archbishop Sebastian Messmer. Best recognized by their brown hooded habits, the Friars are responsible for the ministry, as well as the stewardship and care of the church and shrine.

Continued importance

Following the French, the Irish, and the Germans whose communities continue to be drawn to Holy Hill, Hispanics now come to make Corpus Christi Processions and Vietnamese come to walk the Way of the Cross.

A registered Wisconsin and United States landmark, Holy Hill and its accompanying shrine and monastery, sit atop one of the highest points in the southeastern part of the state. Located 1,350 feet above sea level, visitors are offered a commanding view and ambiance that has gained international acclaim. Holy Hill remains a revered pilgrimage site for its religious significance, beauty, and period architectural style.

For further information on the history of Holy Hill, visit or call Fr. Cyril Guise, shrine director, at 262-628-1838.

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