Bishop Hying launches bold new Evangelization Initiative Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Jun. 25, 2020 -- 12:00 AM
Bishop in Verona
Bishop Donald J. Hying exposes the Blessed Sacrament at St. Christopher Church in Verona. Fr. William Van Wagner, parochial vicar, kneels during an Evening of Prayer held on the Feast of Pentecost.
Catholic Herald photo/Mary C. Uhler)

VERONA -- On Pentecost, Bishop Donald J. Hying launched "Go Make Disciples," a new Evangelization Initiative in the Diocese of Madison.

On that day, the bishop led an Evening of Prayer at St. Christopher Parish in Verona. The evening included Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, music, a talk by the bishop, praying of the Rosary, and Benediction. Confession was also available.

The theme for this "Encounter Night" was, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:17). Susan Swanke and James Carrano sang for the evening, with Carrano playing the piano and Emily Mansfield playing the violin. Ryan Zakrzewski provided video for the livestreaming of the service.

The birth of the Church

After he exposed the Blessed Sacrament, Bishop Hying talked about the first Pentecost, the birth of the Church. After Jesus ascended into heaven, he told the apostles he would send the Holy Spirit, said the bishop.

The apostles were huddled together with Mary in the upper room. "The apostles weren't sure what to do. They weren't united," said the bishop.

After the Holy Spirit came in wind and fire, the apostles went out to proclaim the Good News, noted Bishop Hying. "Once the apostles experience the Holy Spirit, they're not afraid. God is with them."

Launching Evangelization Initiative

The bishop observed, "Especially at this moment in our society, we have much to be afraid of. But we know that God doesn't abandon us. The Church is our Mother.

"Today we're launching a bold Evangelization Initiative. We want to help people to have confidence to speak boldly to the 70 percent of Catholics who aren't engaged and speak to the world."

Last summer, Bishop Hying visited Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan as part of the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. "I was blessed to meet an elderly woman in her 90s. When the Soviets took over, they burned the church and killed the priest in her village. She lived the faith underground and prayed the Rosary," said the bishop.

People under Soviet rule did that for decades. "The first time she saw a priest, she knelt down and kissed his feet," said Bishop Hying. "Nothing can destroy the Church. Despite our human failures, the Church will persist."

Bishop Hying encouraged people to pray for the Evangelization Initiative. "It's not just for one year or two years, but for the rest of our lives to give witness to our faith."

Susan Swanke, adult faith coordinator at St. Christopher Parish, said the parish plans to do more of these nights in the future for parishioners and others in the community. The nights will include Adoration, Confession, music, intercessory prayer, and fellowship.

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