‘I feel like I have died and gone to heaven!’ Print
Bishop Hying's Column
Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
Bishop Donald J. Hying's column

In my short time here in the Diocese, people have asked me how things are going, how I like it so far. I always say that I feel like I have died and gone to heaven!

Everyone has been so welcoming, kind, warm, generous, and faith-filled. I immediately felt at home here because of your remarkable goodness. Thank you for such a precious gift!

I truly feel grateful and blessed to be here with all of you. Our priests, deacons, Religious, laity, and seminarians are truly servants of the Lord, with fire and zeal for spreading the Gospel.

Parish visits

I am determined to visit every parish in the Diocese in my first year to celebrate Mass and talk with the people. The parish visits so far have been wonderful, filled with prayer, joy, and eager faith.

I want to learn the history, culture, blessings, and challenges of each parish, supporting the good work of the priests, deacons, and lay leadership. The parish is the local community of faith, the particular manifestation of the Diocese in this specific place with these people.

Experiencing a parish in real life and time is far different than looking at a map or a website. I want to know our leaders and people. These visits are a good start.

Visiting our youth

I have visited our youth at Camp Gray and at a Love Begins Here site. We have so many wonderful youth who love the Lord, want to serve the Church, and make the world a better place. Their prayerfulness, reverence, joy, enthusiasm, and questions inspire me and give hope, not only for the future but for the present moment as young people lead, love, and serve now. I praise and thank God for all of them.

I was blessed to spend time with our seminarians, both in La Crosse at a state-wide seminarian encounter and here locally. They deeply impress me. Young men, sincerely discerning their vocation, seeking to be holy, zealous and effective for the salvation of souls and the growth of the Church, serious in intention, yet joyful in outlook, wanting to serve the Lord — these are the Madison seminarians, and we are blessed to have them.

I thank their parents and families, Fr. Greg Ihm, and all those who promote vocations, their formators, and all who support them in their journey to the priesthood.

Catholic Charities

Recently, I toured The Beacon, a day shelter in Madison, run by our Catholic Charities, which provides a plethora of services, including food, counseling, job training, life skills, medical services, and ultimately housing to people who are homeless in the city.

Those who lead and serve in our Diocesan Catholic Charities organization are effective, inspiring, and mission-driven. We are all rightfully proud and supportive of the transformative work of our local organization.

Catholic education

I met with our Catholic school principals recently, offering some reflections on the evangelizing and catechizing mission of our schools and celebrating Mass. I am deeply impressed with their commitment, love for our children, and dedication to the mission of forming disciples.

I greatly anticipate visiting all of our schools and religious education programs as I make my way around the Diocese. Solid and effective catechesis is key, if we hope to form Catholic disciples who have both the confidence and competence to live, understand, and pass the Faith on to others.

The ‘domestic Church’

I was blessed to celebrate the Marriage Anniversary Mass at St. Francis Xavier in Cross Plains two Sundays ago. To pray with and celebrate all of these beautiful couples, most of whom have heroically and generously lived the Sacrament of Marriage for many decades, was truly beautiful and inspiring.

As the domestic Church, the family is the first and primary place where children come to know, love, and serve God. I applaud everyone who helps to form, prepare, and support engaged and married couples in our Diocese. We pray that more and more young people will heed the call of the Lord to establish and build holy and spiritual marriages and families.

Grateful for our priests

I have been meeting with many of our priests, which has been a joy and inspiration! Our priests are zealous, committed, and prayerful, loving their people and sincerely wanting to bring everyone closer to the Lord.

The unity, fellowship, service, and joy of our presbyterate is truly a joy to behold. I am deeply grateful for all of our priests and want to support them in any way that I can. Thank you, Brothers, for your priestly and Christ-like witness!

Diocesan staff

I am getting to know and already deeply appreciate the diocesan staff here at the Pastoral Center. Everyone who works for the Diocese is grounded in faith, driven by the mission to proclaim the Gospel, and wants to truly serve our leaders, people, and institutions. Knowing and working with them fires me up to be more generous and creative in my vocation and leadership.

As September looms, school is about to begin and the intense round of activities, meetings, and commitments replace the more leisurely pace of summer. Please know of my prayers, gratitude, and praise for your goodness, faith, zeal, and love.

Every single person I have met in the Diocese has left a spiritual fingerprint on my soul. I give the praise and glory to God for what He has wrought here in the Diocese of Madison!