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Bishop Speaks
November 15, 2007 Edition

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

Thursday, Nov. 8, through
Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007

Attend and take part in Fall Assembly of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and related meetings, Baltimore, Md.

Saturday, Nov. 17, to
Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007

Preside at Evening Prayer and speak at conference, Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, Winona, Minn.

Bishop William H. Bullock

Monday, Nov. 19, 2007
12:00 noon -- Preside and Preach at Celebration of the Eucharist, Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, Madison

Faithful departed: Remember in month of November

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

Under the
Gospel Book

+ Bishop Robert
C. Morlino

(printable version)
(en Español)

The following column is taken from Bishop Robert C. Morlino's homily at the All Souls Day Mass on Friday, Nov. 2, at St. Patrick Church, Madison. A full video of the homily is available on the diocesan Web site at www.madisondiocese.org

Dear Friends,

November, for us as Catholics, takes its theme from the celebration of its second day, being as it is, the month of the Holy Souls. We speak in November first about the "best-case scenario" after the Lord calls us, which is Sainthood, which would mean, for some, going directly to heaven.

But, for most people, and certainly for myself, we have to be realistic, that if we're lucky, we get the "second-best-case scenario" and that is we go to Purgatory. And it really is a terrible thing for us to forget the souls in Purgatory, to forget to pray for them, to have the idea that almost everybody goes right to heaven because of the excess of God's Mercy. God is not wanting in Mercy, but God is also Just and if we owe temporal punishment due to sin, we have to be purified.

The great thing about this mystery which is Purgatory, this mystery of purification - however it happens - is that it really binds us together as the Church. It binds us together as the Church because, by our prayers, we here on earth, we can help the souls in Purgatory. By their prayers, the Saints in Heaven help the souls in Purgatory.

When we gather at the Eucharist, we're all together, the Angels and Saints in Heaven, the living on earth, and the souls in Purgatory. And at the Mass, this is as close as we can get to our loved ones who have died. And not only can we get close to them, but we can help them - as they can help us.

'A treasury of holiness' of the Saints

It is a marvelous mystery of God's Providence that the great Saints, by the Grace of God, were so abundantly gifted that they accumulated a treasury of holiness, a treasury of merit which still grows through the utterly unselfish sacrifices that saintly people in the world make today. And that treasury of holiness, that treasury of merits of the Saints, is something from which we can draw, something from which we can profit.

That's what indulgences are all about - the merits, the treasury of Holiness of the Saints, the superabundance of their sacrifices, is available to us here so that we can access that holiness and those merits through indulgences. And we can gain those indulgences for ourselves, but also ask that the Lord apply them to our brothers and sisters who are in Purgatory. We can do for our loved ones in Purgatory a big favor, and we shouldn't feel helpless to assist them.

This is the sign of God's Mercy, not that it completely overlooks Justice and the need for purification, but that we have a treasury of holiness and merit that we can access through indulgences, for our own good and for the good of our own brothers and sisters in Purgatory. So we shouldn't forget about those brothers and sisters and we shouldn't forget about the benefit of indulgences.

Experience communion of the Church

It is permissible, on rare occasions, for the bishop to give the blessing of the Holy Father, the Papal Blessing, and today at Mass I will do so, and that means that those of you who are here could gain a plenary indulgence in so far as you are free from affection for sin, you say an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be for the intentions of the Holy Father, and within eight days you go to the Sacrament of Penance and receive Holy Communion. Today you can receive a plenary indulgence right here, either for your own sake or for the sake of some sister or brother in Purgatory. And when we do this we're experiencing the communion of the Church.

Helping one another grow in holiness

So, as we remember the faithful departed, we remember what a wonderful joy it is to be Church, where people in Heaven - the Angels and Saints - people here on earth, and the holy souls in Purgatory cannot only be together in the Eucharist, but we can actually do a lot to help each other out. So, let's do that as we remember our loved ones who have died, especially on All Souls Day and in this month of November.

Thank you for reading this and God bless you and yours. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Praised be Jesus Christ!

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Bishop's Letter

Sharing the Good News

Dear Friends in Christ,

Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to people of all walks of life, but especially to those in the most need, in a loving and personal way, is the primary mission of the Church given to the apostles at Pentecost.

The weekend of November 17 to 18, we have an opportunity to help meet the changing needs of our times, through just this type of loving and life-giving interaction and communication with others.

Tens of millions of Americans are struggling below the poverty line, including many here in our own diocese. Our faith calls us to work to end the injustices of poverty.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) stands with poor and low-income people, creating permanent solutions to poverty. Local grants have assisted farmers in their campaigns to save the family farm, provided funding for people with disabilities to advocate for better laws, and more grants are under consideration.

Similarly, by utilizing every medium at our disposal - the Catholic print media, television, internet, radio, advertising, the secular news, and through our own interconnectivity - we as the Church, not only can but must try to reach every person with the loving truth, who is the person of Jesus Christ.

Through low-tech and high-tech methods alike, the Second Vatican Council called every Catholic to use the modern media to evangelize the world, and also to reclaim these same mediums as wholesome, family-friendly, and life-giving human mediums, rather than sources of scandal. The Catholic Communication Campaign assists the Church in accomplishing these goals of the Council.

These two initiatives of the Church in the United States have both a national and local effect. We send 75 percent of these collections to support efforts throughout our country and 25 percent stays within the Diocese of Madison to fund our own initiatives to communicate the Good News of Christ better and to help our local communities fight poverty.

There are many ways to be good and holy stewards of the graces God has bestowed upon us. You, the diocesan family of Madison, are very generous people! As Thanksgiving approaches, please share some of your blessings to reach those who struggle just to hang on.

Some need our help because they struggle to hang on physically and financially, often through no fault of their own. There are also many who struggle to hang onto their faith and relationship with the Risen Christ, because we as His disciples fail to reach out and share His message with them.

Through these collections, we as Church have the opportunity to address important needs throughout our country and within the Diocese of Madison.

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino
Bishop of Madison

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