Advent prayer services
at Sinsinawa Mound
SINSINAWA -- People are invited to come to Sinsinawa Mound to prepare their hearts for the gift of Christ's birth in the simple, meditative prayer chants of Taize music.
During Sinsinawa's "Advent Taize Prayer Service: Come, Gather around the Light," the communal singing of this ecumenical worship will draw participants into a deeper prayer experience at this most holy of seasons.
Join the Sisters at the Mound at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, 10, and 17, in the Queen of the Rosary Chapel. There is no fee or registration.
Contact Sr. Mary Ellen Winston at 608-748-4411, ext. 843, or visit www.sinsinawa.org for more information. Sinsinawa Mound, the Motherhouse for the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters, is located in southwest Wisconsin on Cty. Rd. Z, off Hwy. 11, about five miles northeast of Dubuque.
Honor loved ones:
At Monroe Clinic Celebration of Lights
MONROE -- Monroe Clinic Hospice is taking ornament reservations for the 13th annual Celebration of Lights, a way to honor a loved one during the holiday season.
For a minimum donation of $7, an ornament will be created for each loved one and each name will be recognized at the Celebration of Lights service, that honors people who have passed away as well as people who are still living.
The Celebration of Lights service will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, at the United Methodist Church of Monroe at 2227 Fourth St. Attendees may pick up their ornaments before or after the service. Proceeds fund community bereavement programs.
Ornaments can be reserved through December 4. Order forms are available at St. Camillus Center, Clare's Closet (first floor of hospital), the clinic and hospital information desks, or by calling 608-324-1230 or 800-367-8406.
MADISON -- Those interested in adopting are invited to attend an adoption orientation to learn about Catholic Charities' domestic and international adoption services. The orientation will be held Monday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Catholic Charities, 426 S. Yellowstone Dr., Ste. 100, in Madison.
To register, call 608-833-4800. For more information, contact Jerilyn Robinson at 608-833-4800, ext. 104, or e-mail email@example.com
Blood drive Dec. 14
MONONA -- There will be a blood drive on Friday, Dec. 14, from 1 to 6 p.m., at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 5101 Schofield St., Monona, in the school gym. Remember that the number of donors needed remains high during the Christmas season.
To make a reservation to donate blood or to find out more information, call 1-800-448-3543 or visit www.givebloodgivelife.org
Knights of Columbus Memorial Mass
MIDDLETON -- Knights of Columbus Council 4549 and Fourth Degree Assembly 1948 are having a joint annual Memorial Mass with men's choir on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 6 p.m. for their deceased members at St. Bernard Parish, Middleton.
Dinner will follow in the parish center. Widows and their families are encouraged to attend. Request finger foods, salads, and deserts. Individuals should bring their own plates or trays and silverware.
For more information, call Grand Knight Pat Camus at 608-836-6627 or Dave Fisher at 608-831-5794.
Nominate someone for "Profiles from the pew"
To nominate someone to be featured in "Profiles from the pew," download a nomination form
(PDF file, 269 KB).
"Profiles from the pew" runs in the Catholic Herald print edition
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Trusting in the Spirit: Begin implementation
After many months of hard work on the part of hundreds of the faithful throughout the Diocese, Bishop Robert C. Morlino issued his Directives for all of the parishes in the Diocese of Madison on October 24, 2007.
Implementation committee training parishes
The following are parishes to be present at the November 28, 6:30 p.m. implementation committee training at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, Madison
CLUSTER (20) PARISHES: St. Bridget, Ridgeway; Immaculate Conception, Barneveld
CLUSTER (60) PARISHES: St. Mary Help of Christians, Glen Haven; St. John, Patch Grove; St. Mary, Bloomington
CLUSTER (100) PARISHES: Immaculate Conception, Boscobel; St. John the Baptist, Muscoda; St. Joseph, Avoca; St. Malachy, Clyde
CLUSTER (150) PARISHES: St. Raphael Cathedral, Madison; St. Patrick, Madison; Holy Redeemer, Madison
CLUSTER (170) PARISHES: St. William, Paoli; St. Andrew, Verona
CLUSTER (240) PARISHES: St. John the Baptist, Jefferson; St. Lawrence, Jefferson
CLUSTER (300) PARISHES: St. Aloysius, Sauk City; St. Mary, Merrimac
CLUSTER (390) PARISHES: St. Joseph, Markesan; St. Mary, Kingston; St. Mary of the Most Holy Rosary, Pardeeville; St. Andrew, Buffalo
CLUSTER (410) PARISHES: St. James, Madison; St. Joseph, 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.
The Diocese followed this announcement with the Diocesan / Parish Leadership Conference at the Bishop O'Connor Pastoral Center. The theme of the conference was "Trusting in the Spirit: Our Comforter, Our Counselor, Our Advocate." The Conference had many different talks, presentations, and panels (nearly 50) having to do with both common and not-so-common topics related to parish management and change as part of Trusting in the Spirit Implementation.
There were almost 400 attendees in all sessions and overall we received a very good rating as part of the conference evaluations.
Now begins the next phase - Implementation of the Directives. The Implementation Commission has already met to go over some of the materials put together by many in the Diocesan offices for the Implementation Committees to use when they come together for their training.
Many, though not all, of the parishes have formed their Implementation Committees to address the Directives for their cluster and parish. These committees are important both
for those parishes who have been given direction to merge but even for those parishes that are continuing their current linkages or beginning partnerships with one another. These committees are a crucial part, along with training, to ensure the Bishop's Directives are followed.
When is the training? For those parishes that have Directives that have to do with merging in the near future (see box) there will be a training session November 28 at 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Madison at the Bishop O'Connor Pastoral Center.
For all other parishes, the Implementation Committee training will be January 16 and 17 with the locations and times for these meetings to be announced in the next week.
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.
There is a lot going on in the Diocese, yet time marches forward. The Bishop has given us a direction with respect to parish reorganization and is providing the resources to help us make it a success. Let us all continue to pray for each other as we begin this next chapter in our Diocese's history, each of us . . . Trusting in the Spirit.
If you have any questions at all, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail us at Trusting in the Spirit, 702 S. High Point Road, Madison, WI 53719.
Pro Labore Dei:
Committed to caring for the poor
MADISON -- "Go out into the streets and slum areas where people are suffering and look after the poor."
In 1990, that was God's call to Sr. Stella-Maris Okonkwo, who was a nurse educator in Nigeria. She began her work with a few destitute people in the city of Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state in Nigeria.
Called the "Mother Teresa" of Nigeria, she ministered to the people personally, feeding them, cleaning and airing their rooms, bathing them, washing their clothes, and supplying them with clothes, water, and other necessities of life.
Six weeks later, she received the blessing and approval of Bishop Felix Alaba Job, who is now the archbishop of the Diocese of Ibadan.
Committed to the poor
Sister Stella-Maris founded Pro Labore Dei (PLD) as a charitable organization that is committed to working with the very poor and destitute in our society to help improve their condition.
Rather than just give a handout, PLD makes an effort to encourage and train people and their offspring to earn their own living so they can take their place side by side with their fellow citizens. The aged and incapacitated, of course, are taken care of without any obligation.
Sister Stella-Maris' work has spread throughout Nigeria and to other countries, including the United States. There is a PLD branch in Madison.
Sister Stella-Maris visited Madison recently to lead a retreat for the local branch members.
Ministry in Madison
During an interview she was joined by Jim Flad, a local PLD member. They noted that PLD continues to expand its ministry in Madison.
PLD began feeding homeless people at Peace Park on State St. in downtown Madison in 2003. They started by handing out sack lunches.
Since December 22, 2006, PLD has been feeding people inside Holy Redeemer School in downtown Madison, thanks to the support of Msgr. Kevin Holmes, pastor.
"It is wonderful to be able to sit down and eat properly," said Flad. "We are very grateful to Monsignor Holmes."
Flad said that the Madison branch has given out over 21,000 meals since its beginning in 2003.
"We thank God that we have been able to continue feeding the poor every Friday and Saturday for four years," said Flad.
"We have continued to cook or serve food at St. Martin's House (in the Catholic Multicultural Center on Madison's south side) twice each month for four years, thanks to God and faithful members and helpers."
Sometimes homeless people themselves help the PLD members. In addition, PLD distributes clothing and toiletries. Members also visit nursing home residents.
Pro Labore Dei has opened an office and chapel on Keating Ter. off Midvale Blvd. in Madison. Members gather to pray each first Friday of the month.
Sister Stella-Maris emphasizes the importance of prayer with her Sisters and lay volunteers. There are currently 13 Sisters in the PLD covenant community.
The Sisters get up at 3 a.m. every day to pray the Stations of the Cross. "It's an act of love," she said.
The Sisters wear a Rosary with 20 decades, which they pray every day. "We sing 21 praises to the Lord each day," she said. "We must go to the poor with praises on our lips."
She said lay members and Sisters must be dedicated to a life of holiness. "It's not just giving food to the poor," she said. "It's leading people to holiness."
In Nigeria, Sister Stella-Maris has established feeding centers as well as a school and orphanages to care for abandoned children.
More recently, Pro Labore Dei has been working with lepers with the Damien Foundation. "A priest led us to a colony of over 350 lepers," she said.
"We help take them to the hospital to get treatment." PLD also helps the lepers get blood transfusions and drugs.
In the Midwest, PLD has branches in Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago. There are branches in other parts of the United States and in the United Kingdom.
For more information go to www.pro-labore-dei.org or call Jim Flad at 608-833-5472 or Steve Banaszak at 608-231-2915.
Produces films with Jesus' fingerprints
MADISON -- Modern media - especially movies - play a big role in people's lives. No one recognized that more than the late Pope John Paul II.
The pope said, "The film industry has become a universal medium exercising a profound influence on the development of people's attitudes and choices, and possessing a remarkable ability to influence public opinion and culture across all social and political frontiers."
Inspired by faith
Unfortunately, very few motion picture companies produce films with solid religious values. One exception is Grassroots Films based in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Grassroots Films makes movies that aren't specifically Catholic, "but a lot of our work is about evangelization," says producer Joseph Campo. "You'll always see Jesus' fingerprints in all we do."
"Through our faith and prayer life, we produce films," said Campo.
Campo and his son, Michael Campo, visited Madison recently for a screening of their new film, The Human Experience. A sold-out audience saw the film at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.
"The reaction from the audience was what we hoped for," said Joseph. There was a standing ovation after the film.
Joseph produced the film and Michael plays one of the characters in the film.
In an interview, they explained that the idea for The Human Experience came from a group of seven guys who live at St. Francis House, a Christian community in Brooklyn with the Campos. Joseph is director of the home, which actually includes two houses.
The film is a docu-drama, the story of two brothers who travel the world searching for answers to such questions as: Who am I? What am I doing here? Where am I going? How do I love? Why is there suffering?
The film focuses on faith, hope, charity, and forgiveness, said Joseph - a universal message. The brothers live among the homeless on the streets of New York, visit the lost children of Peru, and meet lepers in Ghana, Africa.
There were no actors in the film. "It's a true story," explained Michael. "Everyone bares their soul. What you see is what you get."
Michael said the visit to a hidden leper colony in Ghana was especially moving. "I had no idea they still existed," he said. "To meet the lepers was a life-changing experience. They are beautiful people filled with faith. They taught us to really look inside of people."
Joseph added, "In the West, most people will judge a person by their success in life. Yet ultimately we'll all stand naked before God. We need to look deeper on the inside: of the lepers, the people dying of AIDS. I will never be the same after these experiences."
The Human Experience also includes home movie footage from Joseph Campo's family. His work with the homeless in Brooklyn has underscored the importance of family relationships, especially the love of both a mother and a father.
"You need both parents," he said. "Your view of the world comes from your family."
Catholics may be aware of two other projects from Grassroots Films. One is Fishers of Men, a film about the priesthood produced for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (this film may be viewed on the Diocese of Madison's Vocations Web site at www.madisondiocese.org/Vocations/tabid/66/Default.aspx). Fishers of Men won a 2007 Gabriel Award from the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals.
Grassroots Films also produced God in the Streets of NY, about a 40-hour procession with the vocation monstrance from Pope John Paul II. "We turned 50 hours of film into a three-minute film," said Joseph Campo. This film won the 2006 International Inigo Award.
There will be screenings of The Human Experience on November 30 and December 1 at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Centre in Washington, D.C.
After some "tweaking," Joseph said that Grassroots Films hopes to release The Human Experience on DVD in the next few months. "Some theaters are also interested in distributing it," he said.
What's next for Grassroots Films? Joseph said, "It took us nine months to film The Human Experience. We're ready for a break."
Hopefully it will not be a long break. The world needs more films from Grassroots Films, which "aims to inspire and change the way people see reality" - and bring Gospel values to movies that will have a positive impact on society.
For more on Grassroots Films, including a preview of The Human Experience, go to www.grassrootsfilms.com