October is a time of prayer Print
Bishop Morlino's Column
Thursday, Oct. 07, 2010 -- 12:00 AM
Under the Gospel Book by Bishop Robert C. Morlino
This column is the bishop’s communication with the faithful of the Diocese of Madison. Any wider circulation reaches beyond the intention of the bishop.

Dear Friends,

As we begin the month of October, we recall first of all that this is Our Lady’s month — specifically the month of the Most Holy Rosary. Both Pope John Paul the Great and Pope Benedict have indicated many, many times, that the Rosary prayed well is a most efficacious prayer and a wonderful way to promote the relationship of daughter or son to our Blessed Mother.

And, indeed, whenever we look to Mary, she directs us to her Son. Since her maternal cooperation, her freewill assent to the Incarnation of Our Lord, was necessary for God’s saving plan to be carried out in history, we all need her precious intercession, that we ourselves might have evermore the grace that she did when she said her, “yes,” to the Lord. The daily Rosary is surely in order, ideally in a family setting, during the month of October and, indeed, all year round.

October is also Respect Life Month. The fact that recently our religious liberty as Catholics has been curtailed in the State of Wisconsin in that we are forced by the state to provide contraceptive coverage in our health insurance plans as a diocese is most alarming. Respect for the dignity of all life includes respect for the procreative process, designed by God himself as a place of his special creative presence.

The act of artificial contraception regrettably says, “no,” to the presence of God in that space which he fashioned for his own creative work — it amounts to exiling God from somewhere that he absolutely wants to be. Such an action cannot be justified in the name of “following one’s own conscience,” for conscience is accountable to the Truth.

At the same time, realizing that many of our brothers and sisters do not really understand deeply what is involved in the contraceptive act, let us reach out to them in love, so that they might be blessed with this particular understanding. But, let us also stand up, as far as we can, politically and in the judicial sphere so that the curtailment of our religious liberty with regard to providing insurance might be overcome.

Chant as our prayer at Mass

I find myself almost forced to mention the workshop on Gregorian chant which the diocese sponsored last Friday night and Saturday morning. For me it was one of those benchmark events since I have been in the Diocese of Madison. Easily over 80 people were in attendance — we were almost too large a group for the venue to which we were assigned — and the presentations by Fr. Robert Skeris, of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, a master presenter and scholar in the area of Church music, were both profound and excellent. His enthusiasm stirred a great deal of enthusiasm among those present.

And after about two and a half hours of practice, those present were able beautifully to sing the whole Mass (Novus Ordo) in Latin, using Gregorian chant. The beauty of this kind of prayer impressed itself on all of us who were there and made the Church’s preference for Gregorian chant seem much more reasonable, and the chant itself seem much more “doable.”

When we think of Gregorian chant as our prayer at Mass, not something that somehow accompanies our prayer but which embodies in sound the prayer itself, we start to think very differently about Church music in general.

This is certainly part of the renewal of the liturgy that we are seeking to accomplish in preparation for the First Sunday of Advent 2011, when we will begin to use the new English Translations of the Roman Missal, but it is also to recover the kind of sacramental attitude with which all of us should approach our full, active, and fruitful participation in the liturgy. Much more needs to be said about this, and indeed, much more will be said about it in the days ahead.

Ordinations to the diaconate

Lastly, and very importantly, on Friday, Oct. 15, at St. Peter Church in Louvain, Belgium, our own Chad Droessler and John Putzer will be ordained to the Diaconate — I am honored to have the privilege to ordain our two men and some others on this particular occasion. The ordination to Diaconate for John and Chad reminds us that God will call them to the Sacred Priesthood on Friday, Dec. 10, right here in the Diocese of Madison.

Please keep Chad and John in your prayers throughout these days before their ordinations on October 15 and in December, and please be reminded to pray for all of our other seminarians, deacons, newly-ordained priests, and indeed all of our priests in general. A number of our priests will be going to Louvain for the ordination, to offer their prayerful and loving support for Chad and John, and I know that they will bring with them the loving and prayerful support of all in the Diocese of Madison.

These have been and will be great days for all of us as we move forward in our desire for liturgical renewal and see the addition of two more priests to our diocesan presbyterate. What blessings and joys these occasions bring! Thank you for reading this. God bless each one of you. Praised be Jesus Christ!