Bishop Hying to lead 2019 Respect Life Retreat Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Cathy Lins, Catholic Herald Correspondent   
Thursday, Aug. 08, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

BARABOO --“I’ll be focusing on building a culture of life through the beauty of the human person. We often talk about human dignity, but it goes beyond human dignity. It’s the beauty of the human person that needs our focus,” Bishop Donald J. Hying said.

He is preparing to lead the Respect Life Retreat Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6 to 7, at Durward’s Glen Retreat Center in rural Baraboo.

The Respect Life Retreat is an annual gathering of individuals working to protect life from conception to natural death. The retreat will be held in preparation for the 40 Days for Life campaign in September.

Growing excitement

The weekend is sponsored by the Madison Vigil for Life organization. There is growing excitement among the Vigil for Life Board members for the upcoming event.

“We are so excited about Bishops Hying leading us this year,” said Bette Weisshaar. “He has a very busy schedule to say the least. Fitting in this retreat for life will add an exclamation point to the ongoing battle for respect for all stages of human life, from beginning to natural end.

“We believe bishop’s presence and leadership will lead to more participation in prayer by lay people and our priests outside of Planned Parenthood.”

Amy Lang added, “When Marie Lins, a member of the Vigil For Life Board, mentioned she had asked Bishop Donald Hying to be the spiritual director at our next annual Respect Life Retreat, we were very hopeful because we know of his great LOVE for all people from the womb to the tomb. He is truly our dear shepherd and defender of life! We are very grateful that he did indeed accept the invitation!”

“More than once I’ve heard a grouchy person passing by and hollering, ‘Prayer doesn't work’ while I have been in front of Planned Parenthood praying to end abortion,” said Mary Markielewski. “It simply isn’t true. Bishop Don Hying is a direct answer to prayer. . . . The retreat will be a special event indeed.”

Bishop reflects on pro-life work

Bishop Hying reflected on how he started working with the pro-life community and the thoughts that will guide his meditations during the weekend.

“When I was a young priest, I was talking to women, and some men, wounded by abortion. Often it was through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Sometime it was other conversations.

“I came to realize that abortion takes a human life, but it also destroys the life of the people around them (the babies): the parents, grandparents, and friends.”

He described the hardest experiences as the times he used to pray outside of abortion clinics in Milwaukee.

“I had difficult encounters with the staff. I experienced their anger. I was trying to be there as a peaceful presence. They were acting out the violence they are perpetuating.”

When asked about the challenges and the opportunities ahead, Bishop Hying indicated that, “We are seeing greater extremism. Look at the bills being passed and signed into law. The Left has become more radical, even now being open to infanticide.

“We stand in the chasm of polarized conflict. As things get more extreme, people are questioning the direction we are going in. It is causing a counter reaction. Causing people to say — wait — we need to look at the sanctity of life here. This has gone too far.”

As the retreat master, Bishop Hying will provide three meditations for participants to reflect on. He asked each of us to consider taking the time for this weekend. “Any time one can get away for a bit of retreat or silence — take it,” he urged. Discern God’s call. “If the Lord is calling you to take the time, know that [the experience] will be customized by God. It is an invitation to take the time to fall a little more deeply in love with Him.”

Retreat information

Prior to the start of the retreat, interested individuals are invited to gather at 3 p.m. to pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet at Planned Parenthood, located at 3706 Orin Rd. in Madison.

Registration begins at 5 p.m. on September 6. The Friday night program will include a simple meal and opening remarks, prayer, time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, two meditations, Eucharist Exposition, and all night Eucharist Adoration.

The Saturday program will include prayer, 8 a.m. Mass, a meditation, time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and silent time for reflection. The retreat ends at 3:15 p.m.

Fees include:

• $85 for overnight room with shared bath (includes room fee, three meals, and retreat costs)

• $30 for commuter (includes three meals and retreat costs)

• $25 for Saturday only (includes two meals and retreat costs)

To register, submit your contact information (name, email, and phone number) and check payable to “Vigil for Life” to P.O. Box 499, Baraboo, WI 53713. Registrations are due by September 1.

Questions may be directed to Marie Lins at 608-469-3982 or marielins@hot or Bette Weisshaaar at 608-358-5963 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or go to for more information and a brochure on the Respect Life Retreat.

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