Let's pray for and welcome Bishop Hying Print
Thursday, May. 02, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

As Madison’s new bishop, Bishop Donald J. Hying says he feels “very much at home here.”

In fact, he noted that about half of his relatives live in the Diocese of Madison, most of them in the southwestern Counties of Grant and Iowa.

“It’s great to come home to the state,” he repeated in a press conference, at a meeting with diocesan staff, at a 12 noon Mass, and in an interview with this writer and Tim Hein of Relevant Radio.

Bishop Donald J. Hying
Teaching the truth with love

Throughout his busy first day as the bishop-designate, Bishop Hying showed us his enthusiasm and deep faith, which he wants to share with everyone he meets.

“Proclaiming Jesus crucified and risen” is his mission, he said. He emphasized that all people share a “common humanity” and “every person is welcome. I join hands and hearts with all leaders, religious and political. We serve the common good,” Bishop Hying said.

When asked by a member of the secular press whether he was “traditional or progressive,” Bishop Hying responded, “I’m just Catholic. I’m Catholic in the fullest sense.”

He wants to “teach truth with love.” “Truth without love becomes harsh, rigid, judgmental,” he said. “Love without truth becomes sentimental and kind of just devoid of content.”

He added, “When you fuse love and truth together, you have the firepower of the Gospel . . . The Church’s mission is always to speak the truth that God has revealed to us, but do so with love and compassion.”

Ambitious goal

He has an ambitious goal of meeting with every priest and deacon in the Diocese of Madison and visiting every parish and school in his first year as bishop. “My goal is learning, listening, and loving the people,” he said. “I expect to put a lot of miles on my car!”

Admitting he likes Wisconsin’s beer and cheese, he also enjoys fish fries. “I’ve even washed dishes afterwards.”

When asked about how he feels about Pope Francis, Bishop Hying said, “I love his desire that we go to the world, to the people, to be the presence of God’s love and mercy. I share in that evangelizing zeal.”

His vocation story

When asked about why he became a priest, Bishop Hying said there were four main factors:

• His parents’ faith. His father world come home from work, take a 15-minute nap, and pray for 30 minutes. The family prayed the Rosary every day (and the bishop still does).

• His brother Patrick died of liver cancer at age 10. He asked questions about why this happened and discussed faith aspects with his parents.

• His brother John went to the seminary and left, but he introduced him to the seminary.

• When St. John Paul II visited the U.S. in 1979, he was 16 years old. He heard the Holy Father on the radio calling young people to the priesthood and Religious Life. He said, “Christ wants you. I listened. I knew with absolute conviction that God was calling me.”

He went to Marquette University in Milwaukee but lived at the seminary. Next month, he will be celebrating his 30th anniversary as a priest.

There’s much more to learn about Bishop Hying. We encourage people to read the Catholic Herald as we share more about this remarkable bishop. He also plans to write a weekly column in our paper after his installation.

Please pray for him as we prepare to  welcome him to our diocese.