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June 12, 2008 Edition

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Demolition of St. Raphael Cathedral begins
Wisconsin residents hit hard by damaging storms

Bishop Morlino to celebrate Mass, pray with flood victims
Fr. Albert Schubiger, pastor emeritus, dies

Agricultural damage from floods, storms, significant

Fr. Albert Schubiger, pastor emeritus, dies

-- Posted 6/12/2008, 3:42 p.m. Central Time

-- Updated 6/18/2008 4:40 p.m. Central Time with Mass info

MADISON -- Fr. Albert Schubiger,Fr. Albert Schubiger pastor emeritus, died Wednesday, June 11, at the age of 84. He had been living in Ventura, Calif.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, June 28, at 12 noon at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 822 E. Grand St. in Beloit, for Fr. Albert B. Schubiger, pastor emeritus.

Fr. Donald Lange will be homilist for the Memorial Mass. Immediately following the Mass a luncheon will be served in the church hall. A private burial will take place at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Janesville.

Father Schubiger died on June 11 in Ventura, Calif. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on June 17 in California.

Father Schubiger, 84, was born March 9, 1924 in Beaver Dam to Gottlieb and Anna Rosa Schubiger. He attended St. Mary Grade School in Janesville and St. Lawrence Seminary High School in Mt. Calvary. He attended St. Francis Minor and Major Seminary in Milwaukee, where he studied philosophy and received his Bachelor’s Degree in theology.

He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Madison on May 28, 1949 by Bishop William P. O’Connor.

He served as curate at Sacred Heart Parish, Reedsburg, and St. Jude Parish, Beloit. He served as pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish, Seymour, with the Mission of St. Peter Parish, Elk Grove; St. Andrew Parish, Tennyson; and St. Joseph Parish, Dodgeville. He also served as pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Beloit, for 26 years until his retirement in 1994.

Cross taken down from steeple

Workers remove the cross from the steeple at St. Raphael Cathedral on June 12 . (Catholic Herald photo by Kat Wagner)

Demolition of St. Raphael Cathedral begins

-- Posted 6/12/2008, 3:42 p.m. Central Time

-- Updated 6/13/2008, 3:30 p.m., Central Time

MADISON -- Three years after the fire that gutted St. Raphael Cathedral, the downtown landmark is coming down.

Preparation for the removal of the steeple, installed only a few months before the destructive fire on March 14, 2005, began earlier last week. The cross and ball, as well as half of the steeple, were removed from the structure on June 12. The rest of the steeple was removed on June 13.

More articles on
St. Raphael Cathedral

Robert C. Morlino made a visit to the cathedral June 9, before his trip to the meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He spoke with reporters and briefly toured the inside of the building; he had not been inside since shortly after the fire.

The demolition of the building has begun with the removal of the steeple, though weather and permits for street closings have imposed some delays. The 90-foot structure, including its bells, will be removed in parts, beginning with the cross and ball, and brought to secure storage nearby.

Tom Reynolds of Reynolds Transfer, which both installed and is removing the steeple and is expected to re-install it on the new cathedral, donated the rental location for a year, and at a minimal rate thereafter.

After the demolition of the building, with large sections of stone being taken down in parts, the area will be filled and turned into green space until construction on a new cathedral begins. A fence will surround the lot, on which the rectory will yet stand, to protect it from desecration.

Parts of the old structure, including the marble baptismal font and several marble pedestals, as well as the St. Raphael mosaic behind the front altar, several sided mosaics, the damaged crucifix, and a stained-glass window left mainly untouched by the fire, were saved and are expected to be incorporated into the design for the new cathedral, said Msgr. Kevin Holmes, rector of the cathedral and pastor of the downtown parishes. However, most likely they will no longer be a focal point for the new cathedral's design.

Monsignor Holmes added that they hope to take some of the pieces of the cathedral, such as glass from some of the damaged stained-glass windows, to make into mementos.

"It's always hard to see a church destroyed," Monsignor Holmes said during a tour of the inside of the ruined cathedral.

He said that the feelings on seeing the cathedral taken down will be unique for each person based on their connection.

"I really feel that loss myself," he said. "But if we had to lose the cathedral, I think at this moment, when we're faced with the merger of three parishes, it's the best time that could have been given us. It allows the new parish community to begin with a new home that's equally shared by all."

A timeline for construction of the new cathedral has not been created. Bishop Morlino, in an April column in the Catholic Herald, stated that it would be at least a year before a capital campaign is officially started.

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Farm in Waunakee lies under water

Storms have hit Wisconsin residents hard this year, especially for farmers such as this one

in Waunakee, damaging crops and homes. The effects, particularly in agriculture, will

resonate further into the year ahead with rising prices. (Photo by Chris Payne)


Wisconsin residents hit hard
by damaging storms

-- Posted 6/12/2008, 3:42 p.m. Central Time

Bishop Morlino
to celebrate Mass,
pray with flood victims

-- Posted 6/13/2008, 3:30 p.m. Central Time

WISCONSIN DELLS -- Bishop Robert C. Morlino will celebrate Mass this Sunday, June 15, at 10 a.m. at St. Cecilia Church, 604 Oak St., to pray with and for the victims of the past week's devestating storms, heavy rains, and ensuing floods.

The Diocesan offices have kept Bishop Morlino well informed of the significant damage caused by flooding in the area, as the bishop has been attending the semi-annual U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' meeting this week. He has contacted the pastors of the communities most affected by this disaster, and after speaking to Msgr. Felix Oehrlein, pastor of St. Cicilia Parish, the bishop asked that his schedule be changed to accomodate a Mass with the people of the parish and surrounding communities near the Dells.

Currently, as the state and federal authorities continue to assess the damage and make plans for relief, the Diocese of Madison is likewise determining all the actions it will take to reach out to those individuals and communities most affected by this disaster. The diocese will determine what the needs of individuals are -- spiritually, psychologically, and physically -- and address those needs as quickly as possible.


MADISON -- A series of powerful storms struck the Midwest recently, with punishing winds, rain, and tornados affecting much of southern Wisconsin and many in the Diocese of Madison.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all the individuals, families, and communities affected by the devastating storms, heavy rains, and ensuing floods of this past week," said Bishop Robert C. Morlino in a statement released June 11. Bishop Morlino was attending the U.S. bishops' meeting in Orlando, Fla.

"As the state and federal authorities continue to assess the damage and make plans for relief, the Diocese of Madison and her officers are likewise determining the specific plan of action it will take, to reach out to those individuals and communities most affected by this disaster.

"Over the coarse of this week, my representatives and I have contacted, and we will continue to contact, all those parish communities affected by these storms and the damage they have caused, determining what the needs of individuals are, spiritually, psychologically, and physically, and we will address those needs as quickly as possible," the bishop stated.

Everyone is asked to pray for, and to assist, those in need, he said.

"To every person affected by this disaster, please know you are in our prayers and we will work to assist you," Bishop Morlino said. "I am assured by my brother bishops from around the country that you are in the thoughts and prayers of Catholic communities around the entire country. May God bless you and comfort you in your suffering and loss."

In the Madison Diocese, Wisconsin Dells, a city located 50 miles north of Madison, was the hardest hit of several communities.

Rising floodwaters in the popular tourist destination Lake Delton washed away a portion of an adjoining highway, draining the lake completely into the nearby Wisconsin River. The rush of water caused by the breach washed away three homes completely, and destroyed another two.

Despite the power of the storms, Catholic churches in the area were left relatively unharmed. Msgr. Felix Oehrlein, pastor of St. Cecilia Parish in Wisconsin Dells, said that apart from a few downed trees, the church was left unharmed.

"The storm seemed to go on endlessly," Monsignor remarked. "But everyone is optimistic, and we have a great tradition of going on."

Lake Delton had been a sought-out spot for vacationers in the area, with waterskiing shows and boating activities drawing thousands each year to the many resorts lining the lake. Only a mud bed remains in its place.

Two families of St. Cecilia's were among those who lost their homes in the Lake Delton flood, while several more had trees damage their houses, leaving them temporarily homeless, Monsignor Oehrlein reported.

In Janesville, a Catholic school reported water damage in a classroom due to the storms. Matt Beisser, principal of St. Patrick School, said that the high winds had caused the roof to peel back, exposing the building to the elements.

"We were planning on other school improvements, but not on the roof: now we have to get a new roof," he said. Fortunately, classes had finished for the summer, so the damage was only a financial inconvenience.

"Classes finished on Thursday and this happened on Sunday," noted Beisser. "No one was affected and that's the best part," he said.

Monsignor Oehrlein sounded a similarly optimistic note. "We're 98 percent up and running despite the devastation," he said. "People should just come up and visit as normal."

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Agricultural damage from floods, storms significant

-- Posted 6/16/2008, 4:30 p.m. Central Time

MADISON -- Farms, parishes, and communities around the Diocese of Madison sustained varying levels of damage recently due to the massive flooding afflicting Southern Wisconsin.

Lenny Schaub of St. Patrick, Loretto, reports major flooding on roadways and farm fields, with huge debris accumulation (whole hillsides of trees) in the bottom of farm fields. Schaub was unable to get out of Richland Center Monday morning or get back that evening with Hwy 80 under water. Schaub tried to cross his garden last evening to straighten the tomato plants that had blown over and sunk a foot deep into his topsoil.

Driveways have been completely washed away, and farm equipment cannot move from the machine sheds to the roadways -- this infrastructure will have to be repaired or replaced before farmers can get into their fields, once the fields have dried out. Many fields that have standing water sustained total crop damage, and cannot be replaced due to the planting seasons.

Fr. Rob Butz reports that Grant County has not faired as badly as across the river in Richland County (Diocese of La Crosse) where the village of Steuben was completely underwater. Fr. Rob has a number of parishioners from the La Crosse side of the diocesan boundary who are active members of his parish. Avoca in Iowa County suffered major flooding also.

Barbara Kramer of St. Lawrence, Sullivan, in Jefferson County reports the Crawfish and the Rock River are spilling over and covering entire valleys of farm fields. Easily 20 percent of all fields have been drowned or carried off by the rivers of topsoil, carrying the tiny corn plants right into the river.

The planting on the hills are affected with major erosion which will prevent the farmers from getting into the fields once they dry out. This poses a significant safety issue with tractors and gullies in fields.

Fr. David Wanish of St. Joseph in Argyle reports the Pectonia River is up to a flood stage equal to the devastating levels of last August. Two parishioners have suffered wind related destruction, including the loss of a silo and a barn.

Flooding resulting from the next 24 hours of rain may cover many additional acres and the loss is significant in both soybeans and corn. Fr. Dave is very concerned for the consequences of these major losses on the third world food programs, especially directed to our Mexican neighbors.

Msgr. Felix Oerhlein is dealing with the loss of two parish families’ homes along Lake Delton. Fr. Felix is also chaplain for the local fire department and was even busier than he usually is trying to assist the municipal first-responders.

He shared a story of a parish member who had just put $20,000 worth of fertilizer out on their fields and that all washed off into the torrent. Baraboo River is also at flood stage and has forced the Circus World to evacuate their circus wagons, just below the parking lot of St. Joseph of Baraboo.

Tom Nelson is the coordinator for the Rural Life Office of the Diocese of Madison.

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