Holiday bazaar: To benefit St. Mary's Hospital
MADISON -- Raffle tickets are on sale for the St. Mary's Hospital holiday bazaar to be held on Friday, Nov. 2, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Mary's Hospital Assembly Hall, Bay 1-6, 707 S. Mills St.
A barbeque pork luncheon will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The bazaar includes outside crafters; bake sale; coffee corner; $6 table, which include shawls and scarves; bargain books; used jewelry; silent auction; Racine Kringles; and Sinsinawa breads (to order four or more loaves call the Volunteers Office at 608-258-6640).
Two raffles will be held. One is for an autographed Brett Favre football. Tickets are $5 each or six for $25. The other raffle has prizes including a $1,000 cash prize, University of Wisconsin football signed by Coach Bret Bielema, 15" LCD Haier TV donated by American TV, treats for your palate, merchandise from Victor Allen's Coffee, a pie a month for nine months by Scotts Pastry, a two night stay at the Concourse Hotel, and a car detail package from Smart Motors.
Tickets are $1 each or six for $5. Tickets are available at the Volunteers Office, gift shop, and day of the bazaar. Need not be present to win. Proceeds will be used for nursing scholarships, roof top garden, and other St. Mary's greatest needs.
MADISON -- Fr. Gerold Langsch will give a retreat, "Mary, Heart of the Church," at the Schoenstatt Shrine, 5901 Cottage Grove Rd., Saturday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., through Sunday, Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost is $30 including meals. Limited rooms are available overnight for $15/night. Make reservations with Irene at 608-222-4655 by October 30. Public is invited.
focus on diabetes
and mental health
MONROE/LENA, Ill. -- Diabetes is a chronic disease that takes a toll on the mind and spirit, as well as the body.
Monroe Clinic will present "Diabetes and Your Mental Health" featuring Monroe Clinic Psychologist Dr. Kevin Allemagne. The events will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m. at Rafters Restaurant in Lena, Ill., and on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 6 p.m. at Ludlow Mansion in Monroe.
The public is invited to participate. Dr. Allemagne will help attendees discover: ways to cope with a chronic disease; how to improve quality of life when living with diabetes; and options for mental health treatment.
Registration is required for this free event. Call 1-877-865-1462 or go to www.monroeclinic.org and click on "Classes & Events."
for separated, divorced
MADISON -- Two local parishes offer peer support groups that provide support to those hurting from separation, divorce, or loss of a significant relationship.
The groups are open to all ages and faiths. People interested in attending do not need to be a member of the parishes. For information, call 608-663-5011.
Friends on a Journey meets from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursdays, Nov. 1 and 15, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, 401 S. Owen Dr. New Directions meets from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 8, at St. Dennis Parish Center, 413 Dempsey Rd.
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Bishop Morlino: We've arrived at a plan of action
As you well know, many members of our diocese have put some considerable time, thought, and prayer into creating for us a workable plan for moving the Diocese of Madison forward into the future, taking into account the shortage of priests we are clearly experiencing, in addition to some recent shifts in population in our diocese.
This work was challenging and, at times, seemingly impossible. But, as a result, we have arrived at a plan of action, guided, we pray, by the Spirit. This plan will call for a sacrificial attitude on the part of everyone in the diocese.
Over the past few weeks I have visited with some of the parishes who may face additional hardship with this new plan. I've listened, and spoken with the people of these parishes, and taken seriously their deep and valid concerns.
All that being done, it is now time to enact a good portion of the plan. In fact, some changes have already begun to be made, triggered by the priest retirements this fall. Thus, it is time to renew our focus on implementing the Guided by the Spirit Plan and preparing our parishes and our diocese for as smooth a transition as possible.
I cannot stress strongly enough the need for continued prayer as we move forward. Whether directly or not, as a unified Church of Madison, everyone in the diocese is impacted by this plan and all need to be working to improve their parish, their cluster, and our diocese as a whole - no one is exempt.
The lion's share of the planning for this project rests upon "priest reduction triggers," that is looking ahead into the future, and attempting to forecast the number of priests we may lose to retirement, etc. and the number of men we might have ready for priestly ordination in a given year.
Thanks in part to the work of Monsignor Jim Bartylla and so many others, and thanks, of course, to the many prayers for vocations which have been offered, the Lord of the Harvest has blessed us with an increase in men who are truly discerning the Will of the God and being formed for the priesthood, yet the diocese will still be in a pinch to replace retiring priests at the same rate as we are ordaining new ones.
This Guided by the Spirit Plan takes all these issues into account, and attempts to create a workable solution so that the people continue to have access to the Sacraments, as frequently and reasonably as possible.
Our diocesan team has attempted to create the annual Diocesan Leadership Days with the implementation of our plan in mind. These leadership days will feature an excellent opportunity for fellowship, an overview of the plan as a whole, and workshops focusing on how to make the implementation of the plan successful at the parish level.
I would also remind parishes to appoint/elect an "Implementation Committee" if you have not already done so and to make these names known to the Chancellor's office as soon as possible. This core team of parishioners will interact with our diocesan staff and potentially with the Implementation Committees of clustering parishes to lead your parishes in implementing the plan.
These teams will also work together to create implementation plans particular to each parish/cluster. Our diocesan departments and staff will be fully available to them to assist with this program and the Implementation Committees themselves will also be involved in training.
Once they have received additional training and assistance, these implementation committees will work with their pastors and clustering pastors to offer their initial implementation plans and first progress reports to the diocese by May of 2008. Subsequent progress reports will be due annually thereafter.
Again, I cannot fail to recognize the tremendous work and sacrifice many parts of this plan will require on the part of parish priests and on the part of parish leadership and
people. However, I cannot stress strongly enough the need our Church has for this plan to succeed.
Working together we can ensure the faith in the Diocese of Madison becomes evermore strong and continue to move forward the Kingdom of God one inch at a time.
Here we go!
After many months of hard work on the part of hundreds of the faithful throughout the Diocese, Bishop Morlino has issued his Directives for all of the parishes in the Diocese of Madison.
These Directives set the "direction" for each cluster of parishes as the number of priests decline and the distribution of priests change in the Diocese. The Directives come from a "bottom-up" approach to addressing this problem in a comprehensive manner. It is inevitable that there are changes; the key is that we acknowledge change and that we are pro-active instead of reactive in coming up with solutions.
So we start off this time of renewal with the Diocesan - Parish Leadership Conference that is going on this week at the Bishop O'Connor Pastoral Center. The theme of the conference is "Trusting in the Spirit: Our Comforter, Our Counselor, Our Advocate." The Conference has many different talks, presentations, and panels (nearly 50 all told) having to do with both common and not-so-common topics related to parish management and change as part of Guided by the Spirit.
A natural question is "what next?" The Implementation Commission (similar to the Planning Commission) has been formed, parishes are forming their Implementation Committees to address the Directives for their cluster and parish, and many in the Diocesan Offices are working diligently to put together helpful materials for the Implementation Committees to use when they come together for their training.
When is training? For those parishes that have Directives that have to do with merging in the near future (see sidebar) there will be a training session November 28 in Madison at the Bishop O'Connor Center. For all other parishes, the Implementation Committee training will be in January.
There is so much going on in the Diocese at this time that it was deemed prudent to give pastors and parishes a break during the holiday season from some meetings where possible and begin 2008 with Regional Implementation Committee training.
I would like to personally thank all of the people who have worked so hard to date on everything from the first Guided by the Spirit Planning meetings leading up to today's Diocesan - Parish Leadership Conference. Let us all continue to pray for each other.
If you have any questions at all, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail us at Guided by the Spirit, 702 S. High Point Road, Madison, WI 53719.
Applying stewardship to parish giving
MADISON -- Catholic parishes in recent years have been strongly emphasizing the concept of stewardship and developing "time, talent, and treasure." But for most parishes, the latter of that trio - treasure - remains a challenge.
Parishes around the Diocese of Madison are addressing the topic on the spiritual level, starting a new parish offertory program designed to move parishioners away from the idea of "giving to need" and instill in its stead the philosophy of "needing to give."
The In Pew Parish Offertory program brings the issue, as its name suggests, into the sacred space. It combines homilies from the pastor examining the spirituality of financial stewardship, a step-by-step walk through of the process, and materials to help parishioners
reflect on whether they are giving not enough, just the right amount, or even, in some cases, too much of their treasure.
"My view of it is that we are saying to people, we will trust you will make the right choices,'' said William J. Bannon, founder of the program. "The key in the middle of this is stewardship and the way Catholics tend to define it."
Part of stewardship
The program, designed by Bannon Associates Inc. and tested for more than 20 years and implemented in more than 1,200 parishes nationwide, has an underlying philosophy that everything is a gift from God - including one's financial state. What one gives back, therefore, is a sign of gratitude, Bannon said.
This view of stewardship is an echo of the same philosophy of "time, talent, and treasure" offered by the Diocese of Madison Office of Stewardship and Development in their programs over the past several years. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the office encouraged all parishes to take on the program (though some have opted out due to programs already in place) and the diocese will be fully underwriting the cost of it.
It's built upon the last several years of cultivating the theology of stewardship in the diocese, Daun Maier, associate director of the Office of Stewardship and Development, said of the reasoning behind the implementation of the new program. With that in mind, it's hoped that parishes will continue to build on those ideas long after the first year.
"We do not view it as a 'one-time shot in the arm,'" she said. "This is how we'd like life to be lived in the parish."
There will be some who may hesitate at the idea that this program is begun at Mass, but Bannon said there is no place better.
"We say all the time our power is in the gathered community," Bannon said. "If we say that, why would money not be something we do in the gathered community?"
"A parish and the life within it - the programs that support the community - must have financial support in both the short and long terms, never mind eventual replacement of buildings and equipment.
"Money is a ministry - just like everything else," he said.
The distinction is made early on that the program is not an offertory increase program. While it typically produces an average increase in middle- and upper-income parishes of 25 percent (and significantly higher percentage increases in less affluent communities) after the first year and a more modest though steady increase in subsequent years, the program focuses on returning parishioners to a well-reflected, consistent method of giving that refrains from attaching itself to a particular "need" in the parish.
Studies on parish giving have shown that, far from the traditional "tithing" 10 percent or even the more modest five percent used by many parishes, the average Catholic parishioner donating to the church gives in offertory less than two percent of income yearly.
The Offertory Program doesn't offer a standard giving approach, Bannon said, and the parish brochure, which arrives by mail several days before the weekend when in-pew commitment cards will be completed, only breaks down what different percentages of average income amounts would look like.
"We expect - again, because people are intelligent and know their situation - that they will do whatever their reflections indicate they should be doing," he said. "And, actually, some will go four, five percent right away . . . others will say, 'I'll try this a little; I'm going to get in the shallow end of the pool and see how it feels.'"
As well, a person's economic status may change and "commitments" can be altered to reflect the reality of life on a budget. If income goes down, people can lower their commitments. On the flip side of that, though, Bannon also said that upturns in a financial situation - a promotion at work or winning the lottery, say - should inspire reflections on whether to increase one's giving to the parish.
'A positive thing'
The In Pew program is designed not only to refigure parishioners' thinking on what it means to be stewards of their God given resources, but also to refigure parishes' thinking on how to approach parish finance questions.
"You're giving them a toolbox of the tools they can use in their own parishes, and they can then tailor it to their parish," said Ernest Pappa, director of development for the Diocese of Scranton, Penn. His diocese implemented the program not only to address parish Offertory income but also as a part of the annual appeal and has used it in the appeal since.
He said one advantage in implementing the program would be to do it all at one time, with the support of the diocese. Parishes in his diocese improved their offertory an average of 20 percent - 45 percent in parishes in which the program was well coordinated.
"We had a very positive experience with it," he said. "It helped energize the parishes, priests, and parishioners. . . . Anything you add to energize parishioners in any way, supporting God's work in any way, is a positive thing."
For more information on the parish offertory program, contact individual parishes or the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development at 608-821-3000.