MADISON -- The inaugural St. Paul's University Catholic Center Wine Tasting was an opportunity to gather together current and former students, as well as others interested in aiding and expanding Catholic campus ministry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Held at the Edgewater Hotel at the end of the spring semester, the event offered attendees an opportunity to learn more about St. Paul's while sampling various wines and hors d'oeuvres from around the world. Catholic Knights and St. John Vianney Parish in Janesville, where former St. Paul's pastor Fr. Randy Timmerman is currently pastor, sponsored wine tables.
The evening included a talk by Bishop Robert C. Morlino, testimonies from an undergraduate and a graduate student, and a brief concert by the St. Paul's choir Evangelicum.
The evening also provided a chance to chat with wine-pouring students of the UW who described not only the vintage in question, but also how they got involved with the campus ministry.
Each of their stories was different and highlighted the importance of the staff, volunteers, and variety of activities in drawing students to involvement in the Catholic faith. As the main Catholic organization on campus, St. Paul's provides a center for formation and moral guidance in an often-confusing world.
During his talk, Bishop Morlino related an experience he had earlier that day, as he had been waiting at a stoplight during his walk. He had been standing there, dressed in casual clothes, when four young men had come to wait beside him, heading in the direction of the riotous annual "Mifflin Street Block Party."
He said he asked them, "Are you wandering around hoping for something?" When they replied that they were, he said, "I can guess what," and they laughed.
"But I said, 'You know, I've got to go on my walk now and you have to wander,'" he continued, "'but I want you to know, when I get home I'll stop and say a prayer that you certainly don't get what you're hoping for.'"
The young men roared with laughter and one of them gave him a high five and said, "I wish sometimes my dad tried to talk to me like that," the bishop said.
"There are so many students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who are wandering about who have no hope or are wandering about hoping for things that won't bring them happiness," the bishop said. "They want for someone to talk to them like their dad does . . . or they want someone to talk to them the way they wish their dad did.
"That's what St. Paul's is all about," he said. "Now and in the future it is the great young men and women who go to the University of Wisconsin-Madison who are the hope for the future -- as long as they're not left wandering around . . . looking for shortcuts to happiness that lead nowhere."