Thursday, August 14, 2014

Amazing Things Happening in Madison, Wisconsin

I try not to be focused too much on my own diocese and parish when I post on NLM, but this post, I’m going to depart from that. I firmly believe that my bishop, Bishop Robert Morlino, is one of the best in the country. As “exhibit A” of this statement, I want to tell you about the recent seminarian gathering that took place.

This year's solemn Mass
Once a year, the 35 or so seminarians of the diocese gather for over a week to spend time together socializing with each other and with the bishop, learning, and praying together, before heading their separate ways for school. One of the things that is always included is a celebration (or more) in the Extraordinary Form (EF), thanks to Bishop Morlino’s love of the old form, and desire to see it spread. Last year, the low Mass was followed by a talk by our Bishop to the seminarians, where he told them they would all learn the EF before being ordained,which is absolutely fantastic.

While I am not a seminarian myself, I am often around assisting in various capacities (last year, I was MC for this Mass, this year, I sang for the Mass). Yesterday, there was a Solemn Mass celebrated for them, and all the seminarians either served or sat in choir, which allowed them to experience this different, less common form of celebration. It was an absolutely beautiful experience seeing all of them worshiping God, and also being exposed to some of the rich liturgical traditions of our Catholic faith.

Last year’s low Mass
The liturgical (and I dare say, pastoral) outlook of these wonderful men makes me thrilled for the future of the church and particularly the Diocese of Madison. I think I can safely say they are receiving some of the best formation in the country. I know in my diocese, knowing most of these awesome men personally, the Diocese of Madison will be a truly amazing place in 20 years when the are pastors, working for the salvation of souls and restoration of sanity and beauty in the liturgy. I hope and pray that more dioceses follow in our footsteps and help future priests learn an appreciation for both forms of the Roman Rite. In addition to that, he has frequently celebrated his public feast day Masses in the EF (for example, and another one), in an effort to expose more people to it as well. And currently, he has been celebrating a pontifical Mass at the throne multiple times a year, with hopes to continue the pattern.

And while I'm sure many of you who read NLM are people who love the EF, he has not neglected to being sanity and beauty to the ordinary form as well. The diocese has sponsored workshops on gregorian chant for musicians, strong homilies on the truths of the faith, beautiful examples of vestments even in the ordinary form both on special occasions and typical Sundays, and as someone who sees musicam saram as important, he very frequently chants his prayers and dialogs.
A recent ordination (OF)

Another amazing point about Bishop Morlino: he has brought with him a huge boom in vocations. When he came to the diocese in 2003, there was just a handful of seminarians (two or thee maybe!). The previous bishop ordained about that number during his whole ten year tenure as bishop of the diocese. But since then, we are now up to 33 seminarians, and steadily growing. A close friend of mine just finished his first year as a class of two, and is heading to school this year as part of a class of six. Men have been flocking to join thanks to the excellent leadership he has shown.

There's a reason he's now affectionately called "The Extraordinary Ordinary" by many.

There are truly some amazing things happening here. Good people, pray for your seminarians, that they be prepared well to serve the church. Pray for your priests, that they may labor well for the salvation of souls now and in the future. And pray for your bishops, who help and lead the priests in this mission, and guide and form the future priests of the diocese.

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