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July 31, 2008 Edition

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This week:
Bishop Morlino reflects on five years in Madison
Msgr. Ganshert settling in as vicar general
Sharing the faith: Connections program resumes, facilitator training offered
• Front page: Diocesan-wide assistance to flood victims
• Front page: Catholic Herald summer publication schedule
News Briefs
Nominate someone for a profile

Articles on St. Raphael Cathedral

News Briefs:
F.O.R.E.M. courses
being offered

MADISON -- The Office of Evangelization and Catechesis is sponsoring F.O.R.E.M. courses for Catholic educators and any adult interested in Basic Level F.O.R.E.M. certification. Courses will be available the week of August 11 to 14 and during the school year.

Go to for more information.

Support groups
for separated, divorced

MADISON -- Two parishes offer peer support groups for those hurting from separation, divorce, or loss of a significant relationship. The groups are open to all ages and faiths. For information, call 608-663-5011.

Friends on a Journey meets from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, Aug. 7 and 21, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, 401 S. Owen Dr.

New Directions meets from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, Aug. 14 and 28, at St. Dennis Parish Center, 413 Dempsey Rd.

Birth parent group

MADISON -- A birth parent support group will meet Tuesday, Aug. 12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at 5 Odana Ct. Sponsors are Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services. This ongoing support group for people who have placed their child/ren for adoption, is free, safe, and confidential.

For registration, contact Alice at 608-270-6635 or or Trish at 608-833-4800, ext. 109, or

Loving as God Loves:
A women's retreat

MADISON -- Bishop Robert C. Morlino will offer reflections on the message of Humanae Vitae at a diocesan women's retreat with the theme, "Loving as God Loves," on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 22 and 23, at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center.

The retreat is sponsored by the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis. All women are welcome. For more information or to register, go to or contact Marie Lins at 608-821-3160.

Nominate someone
for a profile

Do you know a person to nominate for a profile? This could be someone in a paid or volunteer position in the Catholic Church. It could be someone working outside the Church who lives his or her faith in ordinary or extraordinary ways in daily life.

Send nominations with information about the nominee to: Catholic Herald, 702 S. High Point Rd., Madison, WI 53719, or e-mail

Bishop Morlino reflects on five years in Madison

photo of Bishop Robert C. Morlino

For complete audio of the interview with Bishop Robert C. Morlino, go to the diocesan Web site at and click on the appropriate link under Audio and Video section on the home page.

MADISON -- In a recent interview, Bishop Robert C. Morlino reflected on his five years in the Diocese of Madison.

He was installed as the fourth Bishop of Madison on August 1, 2003. While he is known for emphasizing three points in his preaching and teaching, in this interview he talked about eight points.

Gratitude to predecessors

"I'm so grateful for what I've found here," said Bishop Morlino of the Diocese of Madison.

He pointed to Bishop William H. Bullock, bishop emeritus, and Bishop George O. Wirz, retired auxiliary bishop. "Bishop Bullock I've called many times a dream predecessor, in that he accomplished so many things in so many spheres, especially in the administrative sphere.

"He left a house that was very much in order. He's always been a good friend and a strong support, as has Bishop Wirz. I am very grateful to them."

Joy in vocations

"My greatest joy is in terms of the number of seminarians that we have and vocations," said Bishop Morlino. "We just were blessed to ordain four priests this year. And I'm hoping we'll have close to 28 more seminarians and that the Lord will continue to bless us."

Bishop Morlino noted that the Holy Father said recently that the necessary sign of a "healthy diocese" is priestly vocations. Added Bishop Morlino, "The first responsibility of the bishop to his people is to provide priests. I'm so grateful for what has been and what will be."

Growth of Eucharistic devotion

The growth of Eucharistic devotion and reverence during Mass and devotion to Our Lord outside Mass throughout the diocese has impressed Bishop Morlino.

He observed that the number of parishes and institutions with regular Eucharistic Adoration has grown in the past five years. This has been documented in the Catholic Herald with periodic listings of Eucharistic Adoration.

Eucharistic Adoration 24 hours a day has been added at Holy Redeemer Parish in Madison, in addition to the perpetual Adoration existing for many years at St. Mary Parish in Fennimore.

Bishop Morlino has also been pleased that the number of Corpus Christi processions has increased in the diocese. A Corpus Christi procession has been held for the past two years in downtown Madison, with the monstrance carried to the state Capitol grounds and even down State St. this year.

"I think that's the most powerful tool of evangelization where Christ gives us the blessing to have Him lead us through the streets and have people react," he said.

"We are reaching out, and I think more and more outreach will be possible" in the future," he predicted.

Pro-life movement

In looking at society in the state of Wisconsin Bishop Morlino said he's "very happy at the energy that the Lord has given to the pro-life, right-to-life movement in the state through our participation. In terms of the moral life in Christ, nothing really can be a higher priority," he emphasized.

He pointed out that our U.S. Constitution says the first of the unalienable rights is the right to life. "So we have to join with brothers and sisters in helping them to see that this is not a distinctively Catholic issue, this is a distinctively human issue," he said. "And we want to join with them and participate and add our voice for the defense of all life from conception until natural death."

During his five years in the diocese, Bishop Morlino has been present many times outside local abortion clinics, praying the Rosary and witnessing to the sanctity of life. He has spoken at legislative hearings, written letters to public officials, has spoken and written columns in the Catholic Herald on a variety of life issues, including abortion, conscience protection for health care workers and institutions, embryonic stem-cell research, and care for the sick and dying.

Protecting marriage

Bishop Morlino was a strong supporter of the amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. The amendment passed in November of 2006. "I am so pleased that we were able to rise to the occasion to protect the definition of marriage when it was threatened," he said.

"I don't like this to ever become a contentious issue that sets us as Catholics against any individual or group. But we have to absolutely protect the definition of marriage," he stressed.

"In those societies where it has changed, we see profound difficulties, especially difficulties for children. Many people find it hard to admit that, but I think that the research confirms it.

"When we defend the definition of marriage, we're trying to defend the traditional notion of family. When we defend the traditional notion of family, we're defending the future of our society. We want our society to remain strong, and the basic unit of society is the traditional family. That is the plan of God the creator.

"So I am happy we were able to bond together to defend marriage," he said, alluding to the fact that people of many denominations worked together in the state.

"It's not a distinctively Catholic conviction - it's a human conviction," he said. "St. John the Baptist, who was the precursor of Christ, laid down his life for the marriage bond. We really as disciples of Christ can't do any less than that."

Goodness of people

"What I've enjoyed most here is the goodness of people," said Bishop Morlino. "I see in them joy and peace with all of the sufferings that sometimes people have to live with."

He said he has been impressed with the "tremendous faith" he's observed in families. For example, in the recent flooding in the state, "I've seen people lose their homes and their property but not lose hope. The grace of Jesus Christ sustains them.

"That is absolutely inspirational. It's universal in this diocese and it's universal in my whole experience of Church in Michigan and Montana and here in Wisconsin. It strengthens and inspires me every day."

Beauty of the state

"I've absolutely come to love the natural beauty in the state," said Bishop Morlino. "From Berlin and Green Lake to Boscobel and Cassville to Janesville and Beloit area to Wisconsin Dells, the natural beauty of the state is spectacular, both in summer and in winter," he said.

He has enjoyed everything from the lovely rolling farmlands in the rural areas to the isthmus of Madison. He said of Wisconsin, "It's truly a beautiful place much blessed by the Lord," he said. "It's really quite something."

Living downtown

Bishop Morlino decided to move from the former bishop's residence on the grounds of the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center to the St. Patrick's rectory in downtown Madison.

"Living in downtown Madison is an absolute joy," he said. "I love walking in downtown Madison. I love very much the culture of downtown Madison, communication with legislators and the UW."

The bishop said, "I feel very much at home here. It's no secret that I don't agree with every idea that is proposed in downtown Madison, but I find the people reasonable and lovable. After five years, I have to say I couldn't be more grateful to be here."

Challenges as a bishop

After discussing his eight points, Bishop Morlino responded to questions. He talked about how he has grown as a bishop and as a person with the challenges he has faced.

"You grow as a human being and as a bishop. You can always grow more in how you handle it when you're misunderstood. And you can understand how it is you were misunderstood. You didn't intend to be misunderstood, but you were misunderstood.

"You say to yourself, 'How can I speak or handle myself better.' You do grow as you reflect on those things, how better to present the truth. The whole life of a bishop is a school in learning how to do that."

Destruction of cathedral

Perhaps his greatest challenge was the destruction of St. Raphael Cathedral by arson fire in March of 2005. Bishop Morlino noted, "I was trained and formed as Jesuit and as an educator. As a pastor I had to oversee the repair of property but I never was trained to build something nor have I overseen the building of something.

"There are some who think I've waited all my life to build a cathedral. No one wants to oversee a major building project less than I do. But I also talk a lot about obedience. We are presented with a scenario from the Lord every day. One morning I woke up and I was presented with the scenario that the cathedral burned.

"Now follows a moral and an ecclesial obligation. I have to oversee building a cathedral. I accept it joyfully."

He admits there are many complications in building a new cathedral, starting with the dismantling of the existing remains of the cathedral. But "at the same time the destruction of that sacred building creates an opportunity for us to have the cathedral that we need. St. Raphael was a venerable place, but it was never built as a cathedral. Now the Lord is creating an opportunity. I have to take that as an invitation from the Lord, a challenge."

As to the cathedral's future, said Bishop Morlino, "We'll do it joyfully. The only thing I'm certain of is we won't do it quickly."

Experience of universal Church

Bishop Morlino said he has been trying to give people in the Diocese of Madison an experience of the universal Church. Speakers such as Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes (president of the Vatican agency Cor Unum) in 2006 and Archbishop Celestino Migliore (apostolic nuncio to the United Nations) this year help give all people in the area - not just Catholics - a "very concrete experience of the universal Church, somebody who works with the Vatican and works with the Holy Father day by day."

He tries to bring the liturgical practice into line with what the Holy Father does. "The main place where Catholics learn anything about the Church is in the liturgy. That's why our continued efforts to bring our liturgy into line with the guidelines of the universal church is to important," he noted. "We move along and we'll continue to do it."


When he came to Madison in 2003, he said he hoped to practice BLT: "Badger them lovingly with the truth."

Has he lived up to his goal? "That's what I'm doing every blessed day," he said. "I know that some will feel more badgered than others, but I hope to help them experience being both badgered and loved."

Travel outside diocese

One of Bishop Morlino's regrets is that he travels too often outside the diocese. "A bishop has responsibilities for his own diocese and the universal Church. I never go looking for opportunities for various engagements outside the diocese. I never seek them. Certain things come and it's very hard to decline. And so I try to do what I can.

"I take consolation from the fact that Pope John Paul the Great was criticized for traveling too much. He said, 'Yes, it is true. I sometimes travel too much. It is sometimes necessary to do what is too much.'"

Bishop Morlino chairs the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Bioethics Center headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa. He also chairs the Board of Visitors of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly School of the Americas).

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Msgr. Ganshert settling in
as vicar general

MADISON -- Msgr. Daniel T. Ganshert is settling into his new role as vicar general of the Diocese of Madison.

photo of Msgr. Daniel T. Ganshert

Msgr. Daniel T. Ganshert

Bishop Robert C. Morlino appointed him to the Office of Vicar General on June 25. In doing so, the bishop extended thanks to Msgr. Donn Heiar for his service as vicar general. Monsignor Heiar continues as pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Madison.

Bishop Morlino said he is "deeply grateful" to Monsignor Ganshert "for his willingness to take up this challenging ministry at a challenging time."

Monsignor Ganshert is transitioning from his work as pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Lodi, and St. Michael, Dane, and in the future will be available for liturgical assistance in parishes in the diocese. Fr. Francisco Higuera will take up duties as administrator of the Lodi and Dane parishes.

Monsignor Ganshert commented on his new role, "Serving our bishop, our priests, and our diocesan family as vicar general is certainly a privilege for me. Being part of the Church of Madison has allowed me to do the work of the Lord with my brothers and sisters in Christ in various assignments. I am looking forward to this new experience with joyful hope."

A native of Gratiot, he attended Gratiot Grade School, Gratiot High School, De Sales Preparatory Seminary in Milwaukee, and Holy Name Seminary in Madison. He completed his seminary studies at St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee and did graduate studies there. He was ordained a priest on May 24, 1974, at St. Raphael Cathedral in Madison.

He served as associate pastor at St. James, Madison; St. Clement, Lancaster; St. Francis Xavier, Cross Plains; and St. Mary, Janesville. He has been pastor at St. Barnabas, Mazomanie, with the mission of St. John the Baptist, Mill Creek; St. Patrick, Madison; St. Raphael Cathedral, Madison; Holy Redeemer, Madison; St. Clement, Lancaster; and St. Patrick, Lodi, linked with St. Michael, Dane.

During his priesthood he also served as associate director of the diocesan Religious Education Office in Madison, and was on the faculty of Holy Name Seminary.

He has also been a member of the Personnel Board, Presbyteral Council (former chair), and St. Raphael Board, and as vicar general will serve ex-officio on those three boards as well as on the Diocesan Finance Council. He is currently a member of the Diocesan Building Commission, the Diocesan Corporate Board, the Holy Name Catholic Center Board, the Financial Aid Committee and Seminarian Review Board, and is a Diocesan Consultor.

He previously served as Vicar for Religious, Special Assistant to the Bishop for Planning, and Chancellor. He has been a Knights of Columbus chaplain.

He became a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 1998 and was named a Prelate of Honor with the title of Monsignor in 1999.

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Sharing the faith
Connections program resumes, facilitator training offered

image of Diocese of Madison CONNECTIONS logo

Facilitator training will be held for new Connections facilitators from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in four locations on four separate dates:

• Thursday, Aug. 21 - St. John the Baptist Parish, Montello

• Wednesday, Aug. 27 - St. Maria Goretti Parish, Madison

• Thursday, Aug. 28 - Blessed Sacrament Parish, Madison

• Tuesday, Sept. 2 - St. John the Baptist Parish, Jefferson

MADISON -- Over 1,000 people from the Diocese of Madison met weekly as part of the diocesan-sponsored Connections program during the past year.

These men and women did not rent out the Kohl Center, but rather met in small groups in their local communities with their friends, family, co-workers, and fellow parishioners. Over nine out of 10 participants said that the Connections group they attended brought them significantly closer to Jesus and to the Church.

Opportunity for parishes

The Diocese of Madison, in partnership with the Evangelical Catholic, is again offering Connections this fall. This is a great opportunity for parishes to offer small groups to their parish, led by their parishioners, with the training and support needed to ensure positive faith-filled experiences.

Many times these groups are a very welcoming place for parishioners to invite their friends and co-workers to check out the Catholic faith. The first step is to find potential facilitators and ask them to attend the following brief training sessions.

How to find out more

Almost 30 parishes offered Connections groups last year. If you would like to find out more about this year's groups and how to take part, call Jason Simon at 608-213-7324. Also check out comments from last year, sample brochures, and training materials by going to and clicking the CONNECTIONS link in the upper right corner of the page.

The diocese offered two series of Connections last year: one in the fall and another during Lent. After the Lenten Connections Series one small group facilitator remarked, "The sacrament of Reconciliation was a 'high' during our Lenten journey. Our whole group participated and shared how the sacrament had touched them and changed them like never before. The celebration of the Eucharist has become more meaningful, helping us to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread each week!"

Jason Simon and his wife Grace are co-executive directors of the Evangelical Catholic, an apostolate committed to fostering and promoting an evangelical Catholic spirituality and ministry.

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Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
Offices and mailing address: Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, 702 S. High Point Rd., Madison, WI 53719
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