Diocesan Choir spring concert on May 3
MADISON -- The Madison Diocesan Choir will host their annual spring concert Saturday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Bishop O'Connor Center in Madison.
Under the direction of Patrick Gorman and assistant director and organist Glenn Schuster, the choir will present Gabriel Fauré's Requiem, Opus 48, considered one of the most famous of the French composer's large works.
The opus, divided into seven movements, contains the well-known solo "Pie Jesu," which will be performed by soprano Pat Paska. Soloists will also include basses Michael Flottmeyer and Tom Eichman.
The Madison Diocesan Choir is a 60-member chorus of men and women from parishes throughout the diocese. In addition to its annual spring concert and Lessons and Carols during Advent, the choir has performed on tours in Europe and the western United States. In 2001 they toured Italy and sang for Pope John Paul II.
The spring concert is wheelchair accessible. Large-print programs will be available. A freewill offering to support the choir will be taken at the concert.
Iowa Deanery women
to meet in Barneveld
BARNEVELD -- "This Spring, Sow Seeds of Faith, Hope, Love, and Vocations" is the theme for the Iowa Deanery spring meeting at Immaculate Conception Parish here Thursday, May 1.
Registration is at 4:30 p.m. followed by business meeting at 5. A concelebrated Mass will be offered at 5:30 with Fr. Lorin Bowens, Lime Ridge, diocesan moderator, as homilist. Dinner will follow. The evening program will feature Fr. Tait Schroeder, host pastor, speaking on "Pilgrim Spirit."
Reservations are due April 25 to Nicole Carmody, 302 Jones St., Barneveld, WI 53507. Cost is $6.
Sr. Raffaela Cavallin
at Theology on Tap
MADISON -- The next Theology on Tap will be held at The Brink, 701 E. Washington Ave., on Thursday, April 24, at 7 p.m.
Sr. Raffaela Cavallin from the Apostles of the Interior Life will present a talk entitled "Spiritual Amnesia of a Culture: Thoughts on Christianity in Contemporary Europe" - A Native Italian Reflects on the Role of Faith in Her Generation.
Theology on Tap is a free event hosted by the Isthmus Parishes in downtown Madison and is open to everyone in their 20s and 30s. For more information about Isthmus Catholic, a bio of the speaker, and directions/parking visit www.isthmuscatholic.org
topic of Thomas More Society session
MADISON -- Michael Lancaster, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Madison, will discuss "Busing: Equity, Choice, and Freedom" on Friday, May 2, at 7:30 a.m. at St. Patrick Parish, 404 E. Main St., for the May St. Thomas More Society First Friday session.
The session will begin with morning prayer, followed by a continental breakfast and presentation. RSVP by Wednesday, April 30, to Cheryl.Neddersen@straphael.org or 608-821-3086 for food planning.
Lancaster has been at the forefront of the effort to maintain busing for Catholic schools in the Madison School District. The discussion will cover First Amendment rights and freedoms and contrast the Wisconsin system with those of other states.
The St. Thomas More Society was formed to foster high standards of ethics and professional responsibility among lawyers, judges, government officials, and others concerned with the common good. Individuals do not need to be a member to attend the First Friday sessions and there is no cost, other than a free will offering for the breakfast.
St. Jude continues centennial celebration
BELOIT -- As St. Jude Parish members continue to celebrate their centennial year, features at the Sunday, April 27, Mass, held at 9 a.m., will honor the first pastor, Msgr. Joseph Hanz, and Brother Joseph Dutton, who is namesake of the parish school.
Young people will participate, vintage vehicles will be on display, and refreshments will be served in the church hall. Former parish members and friends are invited.
Before the Eucharistic liturgy begins, descendents of founding members of the parish will add a bit of drama when they participate in a petition signing ceremony. It commemorates the petition from west side residents of 1908 Beloit that resulted in the appointment of Fr. Joseph Hanz as pastor of the newly designated parish.
April 27 is the birth date of Ira Joseph Dutton, who was born in 1843 in Stowe, Vt. He lived in Rock County, was a Civil War veteran, and later, as a layperson, assumed the name, Brother Joseph Dutton, when he heroically served the lepers of Molokai, Hawaiian Islands, until his death in March 1931.
Following the liturgy, young people will celebrate Dutton's birthday with a short skit directed by parish religious education director Anne Henning. The skit emphasizes Brother Dutton's respect for education.
St. Ambrose Academy names Scott Schmiesing as new principal
MADISON -- St. Ambrose Academy welcomes Scott Schmiesing as its new principal, effective July 1, 2008. He succeeds current principal John Gillett.
Schmiesing currently serves as principal of St. Francis Xavier School in Cross Plains. Prior to that he was assistant principal and athletic director at Parkview School District in Orfordville.
Schmiesing, 41, resides in Fitchburg with his wife, Barb, and five children. He is a member of the Knights of Divine Mercy and Knights of Columbus.
For more about St. Ambrose Academy, call 608-827-5863 or visit www.ambroseacademy.org
Golf outing benefits Sacred Hearts School
SUN PRAIRIE -- Thursday, May 15, is the date for the eighth annual golf outing to benefit Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary School. The 2008 outing is returning to the Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove and includes two opportunities to golf.
The morning event begins with an 8:30 a.m. nine-hole shotgun scramble, which includes continental breakfast, golf, and cart as well as a buffet lunch, awards presentation, and raffle for $50 per person.
The afternoon event begins at 12 noon with an 18-hole shotgun scramble including boxed lunch, golf, and cart for $100 per person. The afternoon event concludes with a burger and brat dinner, awards presentation, raffle, and silent auction following golf.
Registration is due by Thursday, May 1. The golf outing is open to the public and will be held rain or shine.
Other activities at this year's event include special games and hole events and a silent auction and raffle.
To register as an individual or foursome, become an event sponsor, or for more information, contact Jill Conaway at Sacred Hearts School at 608-837-8508 or visit www.sacredhearts.k12.wi.us and select "Golf Outing 2008." Registration deadline is May 1.
Camp Gray clean-up day, Fun Run/Walk
REEDSBURG -- Camp Gray's annual clean-up day will be held Saturday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Snacks and lunch will be provided. Volunteers can come all day or for part of the day. RSVP to Tricia at 800-711-4729 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The second annual Happy Camper Fun Run/Walk will be held Saturday, May 10, starting at 10 a.m. on Camp Gray's trails. Cost is $15 by May 1 and $20 afterward and includes a T-shirt. For more information and to register, visit www.campgray.com/happycamper
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By Ben Emmel
Catholic Herald Intern
YONKERS, N.Y. -- Standing in a field crowded with thousands of people hardly sounds like the experience of a lifetime. Add sunburn, thirst, and exhaustion, and you have a situation most people would try to avoid.
But for a group of young men studying for the priesthood, these circumstances were happily endured for a chance to see Pope Benedict XVI in person.
Wait was worth it
"It's definitely something special," said Renato Esposito, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Newark. "There's something very invigorating about being in the presence of the Vicar of Christ."
Esposito was one of 25,000 young people and seminarians who gathered on the grounds of St. Joseph's Seminary for a rally in honor of the pope. His group, from Seton Hall University, had arrived almost 10 hours before Pope Benedict was scheduled to arrive, but to Esposito, the wait was worth it. "When the Holy Father appears, all the pain goes away."
Youth excited to see pope
Judging from the shouts and cheers rising from the crowd at the arrival of Pope Benedict, the trials were indeed forgotten. The Holy Father was greeted with applause for several minutes after taking the stage, while the introduction by Cardinal Edward Egan of New York was frequently interrupted by cries of "Benedetto!" and "Long live the Pope!"
The rambunctious atmosphere simply proved that the pope remains relevant and even exciting in the modern world. David Johannes, seminarian for the Diocese of Madison, remarked how the words of the Holy Father reached him in a supernatural sense. "Benedict's words struck me in a spiritual way," he noted after the rally.
Neil Spencer, studying for the Diocese of Camden, N.J., agreed, noting that it was completely necessary to attend the event. "He's the Vicar of Christ, obviously, but he represents the Church," Spencer said. "It has carried on through 2,000 years, and we've become part of that, with the millions of people who have lived and died for the Catholic Church."
Benedict brought a special message for the thousands of seminarians and religious, a majority dressed in cassocks and religious habits despite the heat. He charged them with developing a relationship with Jesus Christ, while asking the men studying for the priesthood to "strive for a pattern of life truly marked by charity, chastity, and humility in the imitation of Christ, the eternal High Priest."
The challenge did not fall on deaf ears. As the pope spoke these words, the seminarians shouted out a simple cheer, one which rang true throughout the day, and summed up the entire spirit of the rally: "Benedict, we love you!"
Ben Emmel is a seminarian studying for the Diocese of Madison at St. Andrew College Seminary at Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J.
Bishop honors post-abortion ministry
By Mary C. Uhler
Catholic Herald Staff
MADISON -- Bishop Robert C. Morlino urged those attending the second annual diocesan Respect Life Dinner to join him in "standing up for life."
Those filling the ballroom at the Edgewater Hotel indicated with their applause that they would join him. "I will stand up with you and I count on you to stand up with me," Bishop Morlino told the crowd.
He especially mentioned that protecting the dignity of all human life requires freedom of religion. "That means freedom of conscience, and that's in danger," warned the bishop.
When standing up for life from conception to natural death, he advised people to avoid seeming to promote politics but instead appeal to the natural law. "There are certain moral ground rules which come with being human. We can press these without being political," said Bishop Morlino.
Award to Project Rachel
The bishop presented the diocesan Respect Life Award to Mary Meade and Leslie Graves for their work with Project Rachel and Rachel's Vineyard Retreats. He noted that many diocesan priests are involved in this outreach to women and men who have experienced abortions.
Noting the recent observance of Divine Mercy Sunday, the bishop said, "There couldn't be a greater ministry of mercy in the Church."
Meade thanked the many team members and other volunteers involved in Project Rachel, as well as the priests who assist in this work. "Our volunteers are the hands and feet of Christ," she said.
Graves also thanked Beverly Hartberg and Susanna Herro of the diocesan staff for their advice and support. "We appreciate all the work you've done to make post-abortion ministry possible," she said.
Supporting diocesan initiatives
Herro, director for the diocesan Office of Justice and Pastoral Outreach, said proceeds and contributions from last year's Respect Life Dinner helped support a variety of diocesan initiatives, including:
- Training of 25 priests in post-abortion healing through Project Rachel
- Advanced training of six priests in healing post-abortive men
- Updating more than 20 volunteers of crisis pregnancy centers on post-abortion healing
- Sponsoring the Truth Booth at West Towne Mall, showing the scientific facts of ultrasound technology
- Training of more than 30 volunteers in Elizabeth Ministry, a parish-based outreach to families dealing with difficult situations
Herro said there are plans for other pro-life initiatives in the works, including the development of a curriculum for children in Catholic schools and grants to crisis pregnancy centers.
"We ask for your prayers, your time, your monetary gifts, and your ideas," said Herro.
Contributions may be sent to the Office of Justice and Pastoral Outreach, P.O. Box 44983, Madison, WI 53744.
What is really at stake
in stem cell debate
MADISON -- Featured speaker at the diocesan Respect Life Dinner was Richard M. Doerflinger, associate director of the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. His topic was "What Is the Stem Cell Debate Really About?"
The National Journal called Doerflinger one of 12 experts whose ideas are shaping the national debate on the use and abuse of biotechnology. He has given testimony many times before Congress, state legislatures, and other bodies on human embryonic stem-cell research and cloning.
Embryo is a human being
In a comprehensive Power Point presentation, Doerflinger began at the beginning by asserting that "the human embryo is a human being." He said it is a biological fact found in the textbooks used in many medical schools. "In short, we were all an embryo once," he emphasized.
He noted that in 1988, the American Academy of Pediatrics said the commitment to a patient begins prior to birth when conception is apparent and continues through infancy.
Doerflinger said the more recent use of the term "pre-embryo" is misleading. He compared it to pre-boarding an airplane. "A pre-embryo is still an embryo," he said. The term pre-embryo is being embraced for "political reasons," not biological ones.
New utilitarian ethic
He also emphasized the traditional western ethic of medical research: the well- being of the human subject should take precedence over scientific research. Unfortunately, said Doerflinger, this traditional ethic has been replaced in many circles by a "new, more utilitarian ethic."
This trend does not apply only to the embryo. This new ethic "relativizes the value of any human life whose inviolability may stand in the way of progress."
Doerflinger pointed out that it is not just the Nazis who experimented on human beings. African-American sharecroppers, children with mental retardation, inner city children, and others have been used in medical research.
Even a utilitarian ethic recognizes that "taking human life is a last resort," said Doerflinger, especially if there are less morally problematic alternatives available for advancing research.
This is especially true in the case of stem-cell research, he observed. And in fact, stem cells other than those taken by destroying embryos have proven to be more beneficial. Pluripotent adult stem cells and cells taken from umbilical cord blood, the placenta, and fat tissue have all been producing results and successfully treating patients with diseases such as diabetes, lupus and other auto-immune diseases, heart disease, and spinal cord injuries.
One of the examples Doerflinger cited was the story of Jacki Rabon of Waverly, Ill. After suffering a spinal cord injury, which left her in a wheelchair, she can now walk with braces after treatment with morally acceptable stem cell therapy in Portugal.
Doerflinger said more information on ethical stem-cell research and therapies is available at the Web site of the Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics at www.stemcellresearch.org or at the site of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, www.clinicaltrials.gov (search term: "stemcell").
Embryonic cell problems
He said efforts to solve medical problems with embryonic stem cells will not be as successful because there are not enough stem-cell lines available and they are not diverse enough. "Embryonic cells develop fast and are uncontrolled," he said. "You end up with tumor formation."
Many researchers are looking to cloning, but that involves many ethical problems, Doerflinger warned. "The new ethical issue in cloning research is the need to enlist women for their eggs, despite the risks to them. The next victim is the vulnerable woman in need of money for her eggs." Women have already died as a result of this research.
Doerflinger concluded that the debate over stem-cell research boils down to "whether society is willing to destroy developing human lives" and to "mass-produce embryos to be destroyed for research."
It is ultimately whether society will take a "utilitarian view of more and more classes of human beings," with the idea that the end justifies the means.