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June 14, 2007 Edition

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Praise God: St. Raphael Cathedral will rise again!

Bishop Robert C. Morlino announced on Sunday, June 10: "The Cathedral of St. Raphael will be right here, where we stand." His decision to rebuild St. Raphael Cathedral at its present location was greeted with hearty applause and shouts of joy. Some yelled, "Amen" or "Praise God."

Related items:

June 14, 2007 edition:
Cathedral to be rebuilt downtown
Cathedral arsonist sentenced to 15 years in prison
• Bishop's column -- Plans for St. Raphael Cathedral

Breaking news posted June 10, 2007:
• Includes photos of the Corpus Christi Procession on Main St. and leaving the state Capitol

Articles on St. Raphael Cathedral

I join with them in thanking God for Bishop Morlino's wisdom in rebuilding our historic cathedral in downtown Madison. He said the new steeple - erected in 2004 - will be a "given" in the design of the new cathedral. As much as possible of the existing church remaining from the 2005 arson fire will be salvaged.

The new cathedral will be enlarged to seat 1,000 people. A different "footprint" will have the cathedral entrance on Fairchild St. The existing rectory and church will be used, as well as the current church parking lot, to allow for an enlarged facility.

The downtown location makes sense. The state Capitol and the University of Wisconsin are nearby. This is the seat of politics and learning in our city and in our state. Recalling architect Duncan Stroik's theory that buildings speak to each other, the cathedral should indeed be within "talking distance" of these key state buildings.

It was indeed a unique experience on Sunday to process with the Blessed Sacrament to the state Capitol and pray on its steps. Someone in the crowd remarked, "We won't ever see this again in our lifetime!" But maybe we will.

That's because Bishop Morlino wants to continue his dialogue with our community on key moral issues of our time. An expanded downtown cathedral will provide opportunities for that kind of dialogue. It can also be an opportunity to offer services to the city, county, and state in helping the poor - and it could serve as an educational, artistic, and cultural center.

Interestingly enough, I have visited three cathedrals in recent weeks, most notably St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City as well as the cathedrals in Brooklyn, N.Y, and La Crosse, Wis. I was privileged to attend a Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral at our recent Catholic Press Convention with Cardinal Edward Egan. Worshipping in the magnificent St. Patrick's Cathedral was wonderful, but it also made me feel like an "orphan," since we have no mother church in our diocese.

Now, at least, we know we will be orphans no longer. Our beloved St. Raphael Cathedral will rise again in a new form. I encourage all people in the Diocese of Madison to pray for the success of this project and to support Bishop Morlino's efforts in the future.

We have an opportunity to build a great church to be enjoyed for centuries to come!

Mary C. Uhler

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Why it's important to pray
at abortion clinic

To the editor:

The 40 days of prayer at the abortion center in Madison is almost completed. During this time many people have walked or stood in front of the clinic praying to bring an end to abortion.

I have been asked "why is it important to pray at the abortion center?" Wouldn't praying at home or at church be just as effective? While no one except God can read our hearts, so, too, only He can measure how efficacious our prayers may be.

However, there is certainly precedent in the Bible and in Catholic tradition to help make an argument for being present in our prayer at the abortion center. Scripturally we all know the stories of Mary "visiting" her cousin Elizabeth, or of Jesus "visiting" the sick when he healed them.

Within Catholic tradition, all of us pray for the sick, the imprisoned, and the poor. However, when we "visit" the sick, the imprisoned, and feed the poor, those actions become corporal works of mercy. The action of visiting elevates the merits of that work.

I believe that same argument can be made for being present (visiting) the abortion center. Since our presence is physical, it elicits a physical response. A woman going in for an abortion "sees" that someone, a complete stranger, cares enough about her and her child to stand outside and pray for them. Hopefully, this will cause her to "reflect," even if only for a minute. Given the opportunity to "reflect," perhaps that will be the opening that the Holy Spirit will use to change that woman's mind and heart.

Practically, we know from success stories of abortion mills closing down, the most effective ingredient is the continual presence of people praying in front of an abortion mill. It is the ministry of our presence that causes abortion clinic staff to feel uncomfortable, or for the abortionist to pause to reflect on the so-called "service" he is providing, or for the pregnant Mom to pause to reconsider her decision.

Please consider implementing the "Ministry of your Presence" into a weekly visit to the abortion center. Take your Rosary and quietly walk and pray, calling on God's mercy to bring an end to abortion in the Madison Diocese.

Greg Wagner, Middleton

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