||Diocesan priests served meals at the reopening of the Catholic Multicultural Center August 3 and throughout the opening week. (Catholic Herald photo/Pam Payne)
MADISON -- Monday, Aug. 3, was a jubilant day for the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC), 1862 Beld St., in Madison. After being closed by the Diocese of Madison since May 27, the center reopened its doors to serve the basic needs of people in Madison and the surrounding 11 counties of the Madison Diocese.
With the permission of Bishop Robert C. Morlino, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison spearheaded the effort to reopen the center.
The spirits of the people were upbeat and those attending the opening were very grateful and happy that the CMC was reopening. An occasional “thank you” rose from the crowd as speakers marked the importance of the CMC.
Bishop presents check
A highlight of the reopening events was Bishop Morlino presenting a check for $100,000 to Msgr. Ken Fiedler, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish. The funds were part of the Madison Diocesan Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) held in the diocese. “On behalf of the Diocese of Madison,” the bishop said, “ I want to present this check to Monsignor Fiedler at the time of reopening.”
The bishop said the Madison Diocese was forced to tighten its belt because of the economic downturn. Part of the tightening included laying off a number of diocesan staff and the closure of the CMC.
“But, I always said, if the Holy Spirit wants this to continue, the Holy Spirit will make this continue,” Bishop Morlino commented. “We (the diocese) can’t do it by ourselves anymore. So, the Holy Spirit gave us this special gift of Monsignor Fiedler’s intervention, for which I am very grateful, and I am grateful to all the parishioners of Queen of Peace and all others who have collaborated in this.”
The bishop greeted and talked with those attending the event, both recipients and volunteers alike, and thanked them for being there.
Work of many hands
Monsignor Fiedler with the help of Michelle Horton, director of social action and community enrichment at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, an advisory committee, area parishes, and many volunteers secured significant contributions which enabled the center to reopen. The Madison Diocese will continue to provide some funding of the center through its ACA. It is estimated the CMC will require approximately $350,000 annually to operate under the current plan.
Monsignor Fiedler said, “The check that we received today from Bishop Morlino for $100,000 will go a long way to keep the Catholic Multicultural Center open. It is a great example of how the Annual Catholic Appeal helps so many agencies, not just our center, but of the diocese. I hope people continue to be supportive of the Annual Catholic Appeal.”
Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz was also at the reopening of the CMC. He commented that Catholics as well as other faith congregations have come forward and the reopening was a community effort. In July, the Madison City Council voted to give the CMC $13,500 to help the center reopen as soon as possible, thus saving the costs the city would incur helping those people displaced by the closing of the CMC.
Area priests were also on hand to help serve the first free supper at the reopening. Throughout the opening week, the priests also helped serve the free meals.
The CMC was established in 1946 and continues to help meet people’s basic needs, provide educational opportunities, and fill spiritual needs for those interested. A free meal program, food pantry, health program, and shower and laundry facilities are a few of the services that are available.
Persons interested in donating to the CMC can make a check payable to the Catholic Multicultural Center and send it to: Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, 401 S. Owen Dr., Madison, WI 53711.
Those wishing to give of their time can contact Michelle Horton at 608-231-4615, e-mail:
or Andy Russell, center director, at 608-661-3249, e-mail: