||Msgr. Daniel T. Ganshert speaks at a press conference announcing that a parish in Madison will assume primary responsibility for the operation of the CMC in Madison. Also pictured from left are: Barb Glaeser and Michelle Horton, from Our Lady Queen of Peace, and Andy Russell, former administrator of the CMC. (Catholic Herald photo by Pam Payne)
MADISON -- Due to a downturn in investment income and a new Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) which has not reached its goal, the Diocese of Madison announced on May 27 that it was cutting 19 full-time and four part-time diocesan employees and closing the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) in Madison.
However, on June 5 the diocese announced that Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison had offered to assume primary responsibility for the operation of the CMC. The offer, made through pastor, Msgr. Kenneth Fiedler, with the support and collaboration of neighboring pastors and parishes, was "weighed and gratefully accepted" by Bishop Robert C. Morlino.
Bishop Morlino, who was in Rome to teach at a program for seminarians, assured his "ongoing help and prayers, as well as those of the entire Diocese of Madison, for the work of the CMC.
"This is great news for everyone who is, and will be, assisted through the great ministry of the Catholic Multicultural Center, said Msgr. Daniel T. Ganshert, vicar general of the diocese.
"Bishop Morlino and the Diocese of Madison wish to thank Msgr. Ken Fiedler and the parishioners of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish for this generous offer. They can be assured of our support. Above all, we thank God who has made this possible."
At a press conference on June 5, Michelle Horton, social action director at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, said, "Our number one mission is to work with the poor. We're looking to be in collaboration and partnership with many people. There is no way we can do this alone. "
Barb Glaeser, parish business manager, said a restricted fund has been set up at the parish for the CMC. People can send donations to the parish at 401 S. Owen Dr., Madison 53711, and also call Horton at 608-231-4600 to help with this effort.
Others stepping up
Andy Russell, former administrator of the CMC, also attended the press conference. He said many other organizations are stepping up to help the center.
Among those attending a meeting about the center's future were representatives from the City of Madison and Dane County government, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Edgewood College, St. Mary's Hospital, Madison Area Technical College, the University of Wisconsin, Centro Hispano, Madison Urban Ministry, Jewish Social Services, the Literacy Network, and Joining Forces for Families. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Madison has also expressed interest in helping.
Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, one of the largest parishes in the diocese with about 2,700 families, has already been helping the CMC. The parish holds monthly food collections for the center and has been involved in projects such as the English as a Second Language classes.
Monsignor Ganshert said that the diocese had earmarked 9.4 percent of the Annual Catholic Appeal to be given to the CMC. "That amount will continue to go to assist the CMC," he said, as well as any funds specifically designated for the CMC.
Monsignor Fiedler, who was out of town for the press conference, spoke at weekend Masses to parishioners at Our Lady Queen of Peace. He emphasized the importance of the mission of the CMC in helping the poor. He said the parish would lead the effort to raise funds to operate the center but would rely on the support and cooperation of other churches and organizations.
No decision has been made on when the CMC will reopen.
Diocesan staff cuts
In announcing the staff cuts, Bishop Morlino said in a letter to employees on May 27, "I cannot do or say anything which makes this decision any easier, and you know that layoffs were the very last option I would have chosen.
"Let us keep one another in our prayers and be a support to one another as we work through this. Let us especially pray for those whose positions we will need to cut. Let us pray for the families of all of our co-workers and for all those who suffer in these times."
The CMC, located at 1862 Beld St. off Park St. on Madison's south side, had provided meals, religious services, adult education, and employment assistance since it opened its doors in 2002. It replaced St. Martin House, built in 1946 soon after the Diocese of Madison was established.
After a downturn in investment income in the past fiscal year, all diocesan employees agreed to a total salary freeze and some positions were eliminated. All employees will now have to pay more for the benefits they currently receive and some staff members were asked to take pay reductions.
The positions cut include the directors of justice and pastoral outreach and rural life, as well as the administrator of the Bishop O'Connor Center. The media relations specialist position for the diocese was eliminated, as were a computer support specialist, an assistant director in stewardship and development, and six administrative assistants in various departments.
Every department in the diocese was affected by these cuts, said William Yallaly, associate director of communications for the diocese. But hopefully these changes will not greatly affect most Catholics around the diocese.
"Thankfully, we have so many great parish staffs at the parishes," Yallaly said. "For the most part, the work they do will make sure the people 'in the pews' don't notice a difference. It's the parish staff members who will see a difference in the support" from the diocesan offices.
For more on the staff cuts and closing of the Catholic Multicultural Center, see the Q & A.
MADISON -- Due to a downturn in investment income and a new Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) which has not reached its goal, the Diocese of Madison announced on May 27 that it was cutting 19 full-time and four part-time diocesan employees and closing the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) in Madison. However, on June 5 the diocese announced that Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison had offered to assume primary responsibility for the operation of the CMC. The offer, made through pastor, Msgr. Kenneth Fiedler, with the support and collaboration of neighboring pastors and parishes, was "weighed and gratefully accepted" by Bishop Robert C. Morlino.