Bishop Robert C. Morlino
Sunday, Sept. 30, 2007
11:00 a.m. -- Preside and Preach, Stational Mass, St. Patrick Church, Madison
Monday, Oct 1,
to Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007
Concelebrate Mass of Installation for Bishop Robert Baker, Diocese of Birmingham, Ala.
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007
Attend reception for "Bless Our Priests" contributors, Bishop O'Connor Center, Madison
Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007
1:00 p.m. -- Preside and preach at Rural Life Mass, Holy Rosary Church, Darlington
Bishop William H. Bullock
Friday, Sept. 28, 2007
2:00 p.m. -- Mass of Installation of The Most Reverend David A. Zubik, 12th bishop of Pittsburgh, St. Paul Cathedral, Pittsburgh, Penn.
Monday, Oct. 1, 2007
2:00 p.m. -- Mass of Installation of The Most Reverend Edwin F. O'Brien, 15th Archbishop of Baltimore, Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Baltimore, Md.
Bishop: Reflects on recent trip to Poland and Rome
Thank you so much for your prayers for health, safety, and - above all - deeper faith for me as I journeyed to Poland and Italy. Please know that you and your families and loved ones were all remembered daily in prayer, especially at the various Holy places I visited.
Visited Cardinal in Krakow, Poland
Let me just talk a bit about the highlights of my trip. I began in Krakow, Poland, where I had accepted an invitation to visit Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, formerly the nearly 46 year secretary for John Paul the Great and now Archbishop of Krakow.
I had the wonderful opportunity of a fine visit with His Eminence and also had the opportunity to celebrate Mass in the private chapel at the cardinal's residence, where Pope John Paul the Great prayed and celebrated Mass so devoutly as the archbishop of Krakow for so many years.
There was no question that the spirit of John Paul the Great was lingering in that chapel, especially as I noticed the corner where he spent so much time praying, thinking, and even doing his ordinary office work in the chapel itself. It was a great privilege to have this experience as we all continue to pray for the canonization of Pope John Paul the Great at the earliest opportunity.
Diocese of Radom, Poland
From Krakow I journeyed to the Diocese of Radom, also in Poland, where a close friend of mine, Bishop Zygmunt Zimowski, serves as bishop. Bishop Zimowski and I were together in Rome in the late '80s and have continued our friendship over the years - in fact, he has a diocesan seminary which is full, to the tune of about 150 seminarians, and one of my motives in visiting him was to seek the availability of priests or seminarians who might assist us on some temporary basis here in the Diocese of Madison. Bishop Zimowski is very open in this matter and he and I will continue our conversations.
He had invited me specifically to participate in the crowning of an image of the Blessed Mother at one of the major shrines to Mary within his diocese. The tradition in Poland is that in such a sanctuary, five bishops participate in the crowning of the image of Mary. I was thrilled and privileged to be one of the five.
The principal celebrant of the Mass, during which the crowning occurred, was Cardinal Josef Glemp, the Primate of Poland, assisted by Bishop Zimowski, two other Polish bishops, and myself. The day was cold - about 37 degrees, very windy, and off-and-on rainy - the Mass was outdoors, and yet at least 40,000 of the faithful came from all parts of the diocese and elsewhere in Poland to participate. The warmth of the glow of faith was so strong that we were able to ignore the chill of the temperature and rain. It was truly a magnificent celebration.
Highlights of Rome visit
After the visits in Krakow and Radom, I proceeded to Rome where Fr. Jay Poster and I met with an official from the Congregation for the Clergy, to receive his observations about our diocesan planning process - observations which were very favorable. The right of groups or parishes to appeal is never curtailed but, with Father Jay, I wanted to make sure that I had done everything possible to assure that no one's rights had, in fact, been violated.
The high point of my Rome visit was, of course, the opportunity to greet our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, at the end of the his General Audience of September 19.
I was there, of course, in the first place bringing him your love and prayers and asking his blessing for all of us, which he gladly granted. I was also there as Chairman of the Board of the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) to present him with a copy of a newly-published edition of two lectures that the then-Cardinal Ratzinger had given over the years at the NCBC. He received the copies of this publication with great interest and support.
And, of course, it was great to see our seminarians, Greg Ihm and David Carrano, as they begin another academic year and to spend some good time with them.
The days of the visit were very full and the time passed very quickly - I found myself back on American soil before I could even realize it. It was a blessed trip in every way, for which I am very grateful to the Lord.
Catholicism growth in Poland
Lastly, I would like to recount a conversation I had with Bishop Zimowski in Radom, wherein I observed to him that after the fall of Communism, Polish Catholicism seemed on somewhat of a decline and headed toward the secularism that we often experience in the United States.
I asked Bishop Zimowski if that decline towards secularism had continued from his point of view. He responded very quickly that there had been, indeed, symptoms of such a decline but that now - about 20 years after the fall of Communism - the numbers of those attending Mass in Poland were greater than those attending Mass at the time of the collapse of Communism; the priests were all very busy in their ministry of hearing confessions - more so than before the fall of Communism; and that the seminaries were filled, evidenced in the case of his own seminary in Radom.
It was most interesting to me that he was very able to list his criteria for determining a decline towards secularism so quickly - attendance at Mass (in fact I had a three hour drive back to Krakow after celebrating Mass in Radom on Sunday morning - the highway was a local road going though many small towns and there were many Catholic churches along the way - the parking lots were all filled, and on a nice Sunday weather-wise the people were gathered even outside the doors of the church because of overflow crowds), the significant approach of the faithful to the Sacrament of Penance, and the number of seminarians.
These are indeed ways in which we can measure whether we are strong in our faith or whether we are slipping further into secularism. This is a wonderful way for us as God's beloved people in the Diocese of Madison to examine our consciences and to go forward.
Thank you for reading this, please pray for our priests as we gather in convocation together this week, and God bless you all in great abundance.
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Bishop Robert C. Morlino announces the following priests to serve as an Advocate and/or Procurator (cc. 1481-1490) for the Diocese of Madison with all the rights and duties prescribed by universal and particular law:
Reverend Michael R. Radowicz
Reverend Tait C. Schroeder
Reverend Eric G. Sternberg
Reverend Brian J. Wilk
This appointment is for five (5) years, with the possibility of renewal at that time.
Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino
Bishop of Madison