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Bishop Speaks
September 6, 2007 Edition

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Under the Gospel Book (en Español)
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Bishops' Schedules:
Bishop Robert C. Morlino

Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007
4:00 p.m. -- Preside and preach at Mass Marking 150th anniversary, St. Mary Help of Christians Parish, Briggsville

Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007
11:00 a.m. -- Preside and preach at Red Mass, St. Patrick Church, Madison

4:30 p.m. -- Celebrate Mass and Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Aloysius Parish, Sauk City

Bishop William H. Bullock

Thursday, September 13 -
Friday, September 14, 2007

Co-Ordaining Bishop for the Episcopal Ordination of the Most Rev. Peter F. Christensen, Saint Paul, Minnesota

'School year' report: What I learned this summer

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

Under the
Gospel Book

+ Bishop Robert
C. Morlino

(printable version)
(en Español)

Dear Friends,

It seems appropriate as the school year begins to reflect, not surprisingly, on three particular points from my summer experience.

In the first place, I had the great privilege to minister in several different dioceses this summer to various groups of priests. The diocesan bishop is called in the first place to exercise oversight in his own diocese, but then to minister also to the wider Church insofar as is possible, and we bishops are all expected to do so.

Holy Spirit is present continuously

In addressing my brother priests in convocation or retreat settings, two things were very clear. Priests are doing their best to offer unselfish service and to grow in holiness - such as in the case in our own Diocese of Madison.

Secondly, because of differing interpretations of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, there are differing levels of division among priests, expressed in an oversimplified way as a division between the younger priests and priests in roughly my own age grouping (i.e. 50-70).

This division is something that we must accept as a fact, but refrain from affirming as we seek to move beyond it. Moving beyond it means that all of us approach the correct interpretation of the Second Vatican Council which Pope John Paul the Great and Pope Benedict are offering to us. We especially must realize that there can be no discontinuity in our faith as Catholics through the inappropriate use of the terms "pre-Vatican II," "post-Vatican II," etc.

As I have said before, the Holy Spirit is present to the Church in every stage of our history, in a way that is continuous. With Pope Benedict, I hope that all of us will strive to grow in our understanding of this mysterious truth of the Holy Spirit's presence in our Church.

College students, seminarians are source of hope

Secondly, I had the opportunity to visit several authentically Catholic colleges over the summer.

I must say that the students at these colleges are being instructed in the correct interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, which they welcome with great enthusiasm. They love the Church, they have a deep respect for the priesthood of Jesus Christ, and the number of them who choose to follow Christ as candidates for the priesthood is substantial.

This is very significant and a source of great hope for all of us. At the moment in the Diocese of Madison we are blessed to have 30 seminarians and we must pray daily for their perseverance and that our number of seminarians will continue substantially to increase.

Cathedral and parish realignment

More articles on
St. Raphael Cathedral

Lastly, the summer has been a time for discernment on the part of many with regard to the future of the Cathedral Church of St. Raphael and with regard to parish realignments, possible mergers, etc., for the future. So many people have prayerfully contributed to our important discussion about these matters and I could not be more grateful to them.

Within the next few days we will begin the process of our feasibility study to see what kind of funds can be raised to initiate the cathedral construction project as well as other pressing diocesan needs.

We will also complete our conversations as I seek to move toward final decisions about our diocesan plan. The recommendations of our Diocesan Planning Commission are and have been a matter of public record. And I am most grateful for their generous work. I am particularly grateful for the leadership on my behalf which Grant Emmel, the vice-chancellor of the diocese, has taken in this planning effort.

Before too long, I will ask officials at the Holy See to assure that everyone's rights in this planning process have been preserved and before the middle of October, when priestly assignments will take effect, I will have made my decision regarding the recommendation of the planning commission.

The strength of the recommendations lies in their fluidity, that is, there are no "sudden, massive, and decisive" measures which need to be taken immediately and which could bring a collective shock to the system. Our people have generously involved themselves in a process which leads to another process, which will include - very importantly - the local cluster implementation committees so that we can move forward in a way which truly is together.

In the days ahead, let us pray for one another that in accord with our diocesan planning process, rightly entitled "Guided by the Spirit," the Holy Spirit will lead us into a strong and joyful future for the entire diocesan community and for the Cathedral Church of St. Raphael.

Thank you very much for reading this and God Bless each one of you!

Praised be Jesus Christ.

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