Sunday, December 23, 2007

Latest Kenosha News Story Deacon Tony Martino


A Test of Faith and Hope
Deacon Tony Martino Ministers despite disability


Riding aboard a military ambulance, Navy Corpsman Tony Martino expected a safe transport while on a routine trip to his Virginia naval base; what he did not expect was a head on collision by the driver who was under the influence of drugs. In that kind of split second that turns time into eternity, he knew his life would be forever changed.

The force threw Martino against an oxygen tank, bending the nozzle, leaving him unable to move, and writhing on the floor of the ambulance. Medics tried ice packs and heating lamps to reduce the swelling and pain. But, the full effect of the injury came days later aboard a naval ship as Martino prepared for an incoming hurricane.

“I was bent over and putting stuff in a cabinet when my back just snapped,” he said, “I lost everything in my lower extremities---pieces of my vertebra was pressing against my spinal column.”

After an airlift ride to Great Lakes Naval hospital, he endured the first of numerous surgeries, resulting in ten fusions, nine laminectomies, a spinal plate, and two spinal implants. Despite the September 18, 1968 accident that was just 11 days following his wedding, and an accumulation of hospital visits amounting to more than 11 years, and blindness due to complications from diabetes and surgery, Martino considers himself a blessed man.

“I had gotten orders to ‘Nam, but couldn’t go because of the accident,” he said. “We had 67 other corpsman who went to field medical school and 54 of them were either killed or wounded-so I was really one of the lucky ones.”

In the grit of his life, in the pain of despair and loss, Martino was compelled to put into effect the life point of view he exhibited since he was a young boy. It was time for the disabled soldier to show everyone that he is truly an optimist and in his way, sharing in the suffering of Christ.

“I remember when I was eight, I went to the dentist and after I was done getting my teeth worked on, he gave me a balloon because I was a good boy,” he explained. “Back then, they had nothing for pain, so all kids acted up at the dentist—but when I didn’t, he asked me, ‘Antonio, why were you such a good boy?’ I held the chair for a minute and thought of how they crucified Christ and thought, if he could do it, then I could do this—and really, that keeps me going today.”

Inspired by Christ and comforted by His love, the father of three began instructions to become a Catholic Deacon. He was ordained June 9, 1984 in the Milwaukee Archdiocese with his beloved wife Carol by his side.

Accompanied by his best friend, Joy, a ten-year-old Golden Retriever Service Dog, Martino, of Salem has served as Chaplain of the Veterans Hospital in North Chicago for the past 11 years. Prior to that, he served for ten years at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Twin Lakes and St. Mary in Pell Lake.

Martino’s responsibilities include spiritual consultation, prayer services, distributing religious articles, leading the rosary, the sacraments and just being available to listen to the lonely and often remorseful veterans.

“Some of the guys want me to hear their confessions,” he joked, “I tell them I can hear them but I can’t do a thing about it!”

Although primarily in a wheelchair and in constant pain, Martino believes that he does not know what it is like to truly suffer and regards his vocation as a Catholic Deacon to be his saving grace.

“He is so good to me and I barely notice any pain when I minister—I have certainly not suffered like so many others have,” he said. “It’s only when my wife picks me up and we leave that I realize how much pain I am in. Sometimes I have to take my leg braces off on the side of the road because I hurt so badly—it’s like that steady toothache. But the grace of ministering to other veterans overcomes the pain.”

Martino admitted that he occasionally experiences dark times of doubt and frustration, especially during the darkest times of night when the pain and leg spasms keep him awake, but it is his faith in God’s promise that keeps him focused on the blessings of his life and Carol’s steadfast love for him.

“I am pretty lucky that Carol has stuck it out with me all these years, she is an amazing blessing to me,” he said. “You know, I am in pain, and I wish I was more mobile than I am—but I really never complained about the pain until about a year ago. I know I am getting worse but I just turn to God. I don’t know how people live with out him to be perfectly honest with you.”

Friday, December 21, 2007

Latest Standard Press Article on Pearl Harbor

Remembering the Day that Lives in Infamy

Sundays were often lazy days of leisure for many of the United States servicemen stationed at Pearl Harbor.

Some ran errands or attended church services. Others played baseball or went swimming. Servicemen wrote letters, slept in, read the paper, listened to music or recovered from a night on the town at one of Honolulu’s popular clubs.

Since it was Sunday, it was Supply Chief William Bader’s “job” to do his morning “church run.” Around 7:45, he began piling men in his jeep to take them to their desired congregations.

He never made it.

The noise. What the hell was that noise? Fireworks? Bombs? Damn if it didn’t sound like bombs.

At 7:55 a.m. on December 7, 1941, the Sunday-morning serenity was broken when Japanese submarines and carrier-based planes launched the first of two attacks on Pearl Harbor, then the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet.

Bader’s jeep screeched to a halt; he opened the door, gazed towards the morning sky into the rising sun. A Japanese torpedo plane.

“The bombers came right over my head,” Bader, of Kenosha, exclaimed, “The pilots were so close that I could recognize them even today. My first thought, when I heard the planes was, ‘How come our pilots are flying on a Sunday?’—it didn’t take me long to figure it out.’

Stop and start, creeping ahead a few hundred yards, then stopping, waiting, then starting again. Seconds seemed like hours-hours like days.

The strikes, which lasted nearly two hours, killed or injured 3000 military personnel. Sixty civilians were killed. Eight battleships and 13 other naval vessels were sunk or damaged and almost 200 American planes were destroyed.

Sixty-six years later, the action that plunged the United States into World War II still evokes emotions for the people who lived through the “day that will live in infamy.”

On December 8, 2007, a cold and dreary Friday morning, in honor of Pearl Harbor Day, veterans, citizens and officials gathered at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in Union Grove to remember and listen as two Pearl Harbor survivors recalled their feelings during the attack.

“The shrapnel and flaming debris fell all around us,” Bader said. “I was shattered and terrified at the same time. The planes came in so close—I had never seen anything like it.”

What sounded like firecrackers distracted Racine’s Jim Schliesmann of the United States Air Force. The soldier looked toward the planes lined up wing to wing along the airfield and watched as each one of them burned to the ground.

“It was very sickening,” he said, choking back tears. “They made a big mistake lining them up like that on the field. The hardest part is that we had a fighter group and most of the guys lived in tents near the planes—not in barracks. The shrapnel fell on the tent like hail and many of our guys were killed or maimed.”

Schliesmann had recently moved to the barracks, and considered himself fortunate to be alive.

“I was shocked to have survived,” he said, adding. “I was very afraid—here we had a clear blue, quiet morning sky, and out of it came an attack that I will never forget. And that attack is a reminder to all of us that we should always be prepared for something happening like this and we need to stay alert.”

Following the attack, both Schliesmann and Bader finished their tours and went on to retire with the United States Armed Forces.

Although not stationed in Pearl Harbor, Phil Klinkhamer, U.S. Navy, now of Racine served in Japan on Shore Patrol duty for the signing of the Peace Treaty.

“We weren’t there to watch them, but we were there to watch our guys,” he said. “Our government was afraid that a lot of the guys might get carried away because a lot of their buddies were gone—it was hard, I lost three of mine too.

World War II veteran, Walter Stenavich emotionally transported the crowd to the morning of the attack, where even today, the USS Utah still holds the bodies of 58 soldiers and sits half-submerged on the other side of Pear Harbor from the USS Arizona.

“The Arizona was devastated,” he said. “Over 1000 casualties were on that ship and out of those were 24 sets of brothers and a father and son who are all entombed in the hull.”

Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veteran Affairs, John Scocos stressed the importance of “never forgetting the greatest generation of soldiers” and vowed to continue to fight for what is right for all veterans of all ages.

“We need to provide what is right for our future and it is important to provide jobs, a home and education to all of our veterans,” he said. “It is an honor to be here among such great soldiers.”

In remembrance of a fallen service member, Scocos, Bader and Schliesmann presented the Gold Medal of Remembrance to Caitlin and Jake Cornell, children of SSG Todd R Cornell, US Army, who was killed in action as part of Iraqi Freedom.

The heart of the ceremony was the roll call and tolling of the bell for each submarine lost during the war.

Presented by Owen Williams and Paul Shockley, quiet weeping could be heard by veterans, service members, and audience members, as each of the 52 submarines were called. They seemed to shed tears for those soldiers lost so long ago and for the young men and women thousands of miles away, trying to live up to their fathers’ legacy.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Miracle Prayer

Lord Jesus, I come before you, just as I am. I am sorry for my sins, I repent of my sins, please forgive me. In Your name, I forgive all others for what they have done against me. I renounce satan, the evil spirits and all their works. I give you my entire self, Lord Jesus, now and forever. I invite you into my life Jesus, I accept you as my Lord, God and Saviour. Heal me, change me, strengthen me in body, soul and spirit.

Come Lord Jesus, cover me with your precious blood and fill me with your Holy Spirit. I love you Lord Jesus. I praise you Jesus. I thank you Jesus. I shall follow you every day of my life. Amen

Mary my mother, Queen of Peace, St. Peregrine the cancer saint, all you Angels and Saints, please help me.

--Fr. Peter Mary Rookey

Say this prayer faithfully, no matter how you feel, when you come to the point where you sincerely mean each word, with all your heart, something good spiritually will happen to you. You will experience Jesus, and He will change your whole life in a very special way. You will see. FPMR 1993 Servite Fathers O.S.M

Parishioners Have Fond Memory of Former Pastor

Parishioners have fond memories of former pastor

‘Fr. Bill’ described as leader with ‘remarkable pastoral ability’

By Karen Mahoney

Special to Your Catholic Herald

Brushing back tears, Al Dompke remembers shaking Conventual Franciscan Fr. William Callahan's hand as he prepared to assume his new position as spiritual director to seminarians at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. "I shook his hand, wiped my eyes, smiled and said, 'You are going to be back.' He seemed surprised and looked at me - but I continued, 'Someday you are going to be a bishop and someday you are going to come back to us,'" recalled Dompke, a former parishioner of Bishop Callahan's from the Basilica of St. Josaphat, adding, "I can't believe it has only been two years since I told him this. But when I prayed about it, God said that he needed him fast - so, what can I say?"Meeting Bishop Callahan was fortuitous, according to Dompke and his wife, Bonnie. The two were searching for a new parish home when they attended Mass with Al's parents, who had ties to the basilica. "After sitting and listening to Fr. Bill's homily, I turned to my wife and said, 'We don't have to search anymore; this is where we are going,'" said Dompke. "He is a true Franciscan and has a certain gift, and that gift is shared with the entire congregation."Considered a "hands-on" priest, Bishop Callahan was instrumental in refurbishing the basilica to the way it looked in its early years. Dompke recalls the excitement when the project was unfolding, and watched in amazement as the agile priest scaled the scaffolding to view the sanctuary below. "He was at the extreme top, looked down and said, 'Now I know what God wants,'" Dompke said. "A regular priest would not want to do what he did. I wouldn't either, but he got up and looked around and could see the wonderful work that was done many years ago."Ann and Ed Komm consider Bishop Callahan a friend that you "cannot see or talk to for six months and pick up where you left off when you meet again." Friends since he arrived at Holy Family Parish in Peoria, Ill., in 1984, Ann's fondest memories surround working alongside him in the music ministry. "We have a very strong personal friendship," she said. "He is such a gift in my life and I feel fortunate to call him a friend, and so does my husband. Ed is not even Catholic; he is a Protestant and Father always helped him feel real comfortable in church."Ann said that Bishop Callahan was a wise choice to serve Milwaukee's Catholics. She said that while she knows he will enjoy the pageantry that will accompany his role as auxiliary bishop, he will recognize the significance of his position. "He is a man of God and a man of the people, and that will be at the forefront of all that he does," she said. "All of the decisions he makes will be because it is the right thing for the people and the right thing for God, and he will do well."When Bishop Callahan received his appointment to the Pontifical North American College, Komm believed he was the perfect man for the job, just as she does with his latest appointment."He was a direct influence and an early influence on our young men, and that is the kind of man we want training our priests," she said, adding, "and that is the type of man we want as a leader in the church."Holy Family parishioner, Rosemary Wiltz is grateful for Bishop Callahan's love and support for her when she and her husband suffered the loss of two of their children. Later, he was her rock when her husband died. "He is the type of person who is a lasting friend, and he is a wonderful, multi-talented priest," she said. "He is definitely a leader."Gifted with remembering names, giving meaningful homilies, music and decorating, Wiltz laughed when she recalled the mornings after the decorating committee finished preparing for upcoming liturgical celebrations."We would come in the next morning and everything would be all different," she said, laughing. "He would stay after and redecorate after we all left."With 14 children of their own, Wiltz and her husband felt so strongly about Fr. Callahan that they lovingly referred to him as their number 16. "My husband loved that man; he had him to breakfast quite a few times, and he even went on a mission with him in Mexico," she said. "You are so blessed to have him, really blessed and it will take you time to realize just how blessed you are."While the bishop is known among people at Holy Family and St. Josaphat as a tremendous fundraiser, Wiltz said that she hopes Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan sees him for much more."He is so good with the youth and seems to draw people who want to help him. His pastoral ability is absolutely remarkable," she said. "I envy the people of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee very much."- By Karen Mahoney

Seminarians Celebrate Bishop Callahan's Ordination

Seminarians celebrate Bishop-elect Callahan's appointment

Describe him as personable, good natured, man of deep faith
By Karen MahoneySpecial to Your Catholic Herald

Seminarian Johnny Burns was running a bit late for lunch from his classes at the North American Pontifical College in Rome one day last October, so he stopped at the computer lab to check his e-mails. While reading the daily Vatican Information Services bulletin, something at the bottom caught his eye. "As I read it, my reaction was so funny. My eyes went wide and I just stared at the screen for a few seconds," recalled Burns of his initial reaction to Conventual Franciscan Fr. William Callahan's appointment as auxiliary bishop of the Milwaukee Archdiocese. "I threw both my hands into the air and yelled, 'Yes!' I sprinted to the dining room and found the other Milwaukee guys. Everybody was celebrating and the room was electric."Enthusiasm among the seminarians grew once Bishop Callahan returned from a meeting with Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops."Most of the guys didn't even know he had returned yet, and then he processed in for Mass," Burns said. "When the procession was finished, the men welcomed him back with a long, intense applause. After Mass, he and I converged just as he entered the dining room. Once again, and now perhaps even louder, applause broke out."Emotional, and joy-filled, every eye was focused on the bishop-elect and, according to Burns, the applause continued for many minutes. "It was so powerful," he said. "He took in the room in a quick survey and spread his arms in a clear gesture of humble thanks. I have never seen so many of my brothers so visibly moved, and Fr. Callahan walked through the room smiling and shaking his head in disbelief. All attention was focused on him. It was the most exciting afternoon that I can recall here at the seminary - especially for the Milwaukeeans who had no need to say goodbye to the seminary's beloved spiritual director."The night of the announcement, seminarians gathered to toast the occasion in the room of Fr. Joe Shimek, a Milwaukee archdiocesan priest studying at the NAC. "We were joined by the NAC's rector, as well as Archbishop James Harvey, who works in Rome and is a native of Milwaukee," he said. "The atmosphere was more than celebratory, I believe in large part because the bishop-elect is known to be personable and good-natured, as well as firmly committed to evangelization and to a strong sense of Catholic identity."While most people were familiar with Bishop Callahan from the renovations of St. Josaphat Basilica, Fr. Shimek said the seminarians quickly found him to be balanced, insightful and a trusted member of the internal forum. Love of priesthood is evident"To me, it is clear that the bishop-elect loves being a priest and that he has found a deep sense of joy and personal fulfillment in priestly ministry," he said. "He loves the church, her patrimony and her tradition, and he is also dedicated to serving God's people without reserve."When Burns walked through the doors of the NAC almost two years ago, his first assignment was to look for then-Fr. Callahan, at the request of a parishioner from St. Josaphat Basilica. "She made me promise to meet him right away and guaranteed that I would be impressed by him," he said. "He came with us to Assisi during our orientation and I still remember how joyful he was as he walked through the same streets that St. Francis had walked. The whole time he was filled with excitement, with energy and joy. He preached an amazing homily there on living the Gospel courageously; he was on fire. I remember thinking to myself how great it was that he had spent such a considerable part of his time in Milwaukee. I was proud that we had that in common, though it certainly didn't occur to me then that he might return there."Noted for honesty, humilityBurns believes that Bishop Callahan will bring the richness of his love for St. Francis to Milwaukee. "He brings an incredible understanding of both the diocesan priesthood and the priesthood of his religious order, blending his natural pastoral ability with the noble Franciscan pursuits of simplicity and poverty," said Burns, adding, "His honesty and humility in the weeks since he was named auxiliary bishop have been nothing short of inspirational. Rather than becoming distracted with the details or concerned over the life changes to come, he has shown us all how to humbly and prayerfully embrace God's will, and how to do so with a smile."Positive role modelWhen Aaron Esch of Milwaukee met then-Fr. Callahan for the first time, it was when both were new to the North American College in the fall of 2005. As a first-year theology student, Esch was grateful to have this positive role model. "It was easy to tell that he is a man happy to be a priest," Esch said. "His joy, kindness, good humor, and deep spirituality witness to this fact. I am very thankful to have spent these past years in seminary with the bishop-elect. Most of all I am thankful for his good example of what it means to be a pastor."Fr. John McDonald, a recently ordained priest in the Diocese of Birmingham, Ala., met then-Fr. Callahan in 2004. Fr. McDonald remembers thinking that the priest would make a remarkable addition to the faculty."His openness, ease of conversations and, above all, his kind manner made him a welcome guest in our house," said Fr. McDonald. "His many years of practical experience as a pastor, as well as his faithfulness to the church and his personal love for the Savior were evident to me simply by the wonderful way he dealt with people."Fr. McDonald recalled being overjoyed with the news that Fr. Callahan would become a member of the faculty. He said he rose early each day to pray in the chapel prior to morning prayers and Mass, but no matter how early he would arrive, he'd never get there before the devoted and prayerful priest. "He would be offering his prayers for our benefit, and for the benefit of the whole church," said Fr. McDonald. "For someone studying for the priesthood, it is important to see someone who has put into practice about what we believe about the efficacy of prayer."- By Karen Mahoney

Monday, December 17, 2007

more thoughts from St. Therese

Jesus for me, your love is more than maternal;
at each moment you follow me,
you watch over me.

from a pure heart proceeds the fruit of a good life

from St Therese

My One Thought,
is to love you

Parenting Questions

Wow, why didn't anyone prepare me for parenthood?

Stupid me, I thought the hard years were when the kids were young.

I had no idea what happens as they get older and how much pain can be inflicted on one mother.

You know, you raise your kids to be honorable, moral, chaste, loving and Christlike and for some unknown reason, some of them go from wide-eyed loving kids to hateful adults.

At what point to parents go from nurturers to the enemy?

Do our kids forget about the times we helped them walk? defended them from the bullies at school? helped them through a father who showed no interest in their lives? helped them through illness? made sure to get the best doctors to make them well? cooked special foods for them to bring them back to health? supported them through career changes? spent untold amounts of money to give them a car, computer, phones, clothing, art supplies, school trips, airplane flights, shopping trips, made costumes, clothes, etc for them? helped them with their homework? Believed them?

When do parents go from wonderful to an unneccesary burden?

When did it become okay to be disrespectful?
When did it become okay to be rude?
When did it become okay to become immoral?
When did it become okay to lie?
When did it become okay to throw every value away that the parents have given?

As a mother, seeing one of my own rebel, wander away, make poor choices, and go back to the very dad who rejected them and treated them badly has fractured my heart.

What became of my beautiful child?

I miss that person.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

First Place for Catholic Herald

Faith Based Weight Loss
By Karen Mahoney Special to the Milwaukee Catholic Herald

Almost two-thirds of adults in Wisconsin are overweight, and more than one in five has 30-plus unneeded pounds. In fact, the rate of obesity in Wisconsin is ranked at 20.9 percent and listed as the 34th fattest state in America among adults, according to a study by Trust for America’s Health and the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Who better to ask for help with this epidemic, than God?

Scan the shelves at Christian bookstores these days and you’ll find titles such as “Moses Wasn’t Fat,” “Fit for God,” and “Slim for Him.” In the Milwaukee area, and elsewhere groups are springing up around Christian weigh-loss programs such as Weigh Down Workshop, the Maker’s Diet, Thin Within, and a host of others.

Two Catholic Churches from Sullivan and Palmyra in collaboration with St. Therese Parish in Eagle, are meeting not only the spiritual needs but also the physical needs of members with First Place, a religious-based weight loss program.

As a true believer in the power of the Holy Spirit, member of St. Mary Help of Christians, Pat Mattiacci knew not to ignore the inner voice that was propelling her to step out of her comfort zone and join the Christian weight loss program offered through her church.

“When I first heard of First Place, I wasn’t sure of it because I had tried many other weight loss programs and just didn’t stick with them,” she admitted. “But I am so glad I joined because I feel so much better inside.”

Mattiacci joined seven other participants from area churches in the program that focuses on Bible Study, a healthy regimen of food and group support. The program, which meets in the former rectory dining room at St. Mary Help of Christians, requires participants to agree to certain categories of fitness. They include attending Thursday morning meetings, a weekly weigh-in, and participating in prayer and Bible Study that focus on one theme for every 13-week session.

The Thursday evening session in the parish hall at St Mary Church in Palmyra offers an identical program to approximately 14 regular participants, including several from St. Therese parish.

Part of the program, facilitated by Lee Clay R.N. St. Therese member and parish nurse for St. Mary in Palmyra and St. Mary Help of Christians in Sullivan includes weekly blood pressure monitoring.

“I tweaked the program quite a bit to accommodate our Catholic teachings and broaden the health components, such as the blood pressure screening,” she said. “I encourage people to come as a healthy living component and we discuss a different health topic each time. The people participating seem to be very pleased and happy.”

The program’s healthy lifestyle has not only helped Mattiacci shed 13 pounds, but has helped her cope with her arthritis, and given her a whole new outlook.”

“I think that spiritually it really helps and just gives you and uplift and that to sit and talk to somebody else about spiritual aspects is good—face it, everybody has a problem of some kind and Lee encourages and gives phone calls or drops a card of encouragement when we need it. I have also made quite a few new friends and that is really nice.”

The goal of the program, which began in Houston’s First Baptist Church in 1981, is to choose an equalized life in the areas of mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health.

But putting Christ in First Place, participants learn that through the Lord, they have the strength to battle their weight, and balance their lives.

According to member Christine Martin, of St. Mary Help of Christians, the program is much different from any other weight loss group.

“This is not an anonymous group where you weigh in and leave,” she said. “We have bonded as a group, share our successes, and exchange information and ideas. WE really use the buddy system and care about others—we are an extended family. We check up with each other and don’t forget about the other members when we go home.”

The program, which is open to all faiths, is based on nine commitments. They include a commitment to attend the weekly meeting, a promise to call or email a class member each week, daily prayer, regular reading of scriptures, Bible study and memorization, diet, exercise and accountability by keeping a food diary.

To bring variety to the sessions, Clay brings in guests to speak on nutrition, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis, cooking tips or to teach exercise routines; but like a continuous thread running through fabric, the focus of Christ within the program remains strong.

“I think talks more about health lifestyle changes, rather than a weight loss up and down program connected to the spiritual component plays a major role in weight loss and healthy living,” she said. “The connection between wellness of mind, body and spirit—this program answers all of that, it is about the whole person.”

For Martin, it is the knowledge that someone cares about what happens to her that makes all the difference.

“Lee works one on one with us and being a nurse she asks about our medical history and about the problems we are having and the medication we are on,” she said. “She knows me and knows that I have diabetes and gives me pointers on my health, medication and diet. In fact, she noticed that I was having a certain medical problem and convinced me to get a second opinion and I am so glad that I did because it made all the difference in my health.”

More than just the weight loss, the members say that they are enjoying a deeper and stronger relationship with God, as well as a wider circle of friends—even beyond the diocesan boundaries.

“The group is such a great support system, and they have encouraged me all along the way,” said Mattiacci. “I have made some wonderful friends.”

Clay admitted that the program is a great way to build fellowship between the two dioceses, which leads to some lively discussion.

“We have fun especially during the Bible Study portion,” she said. “We talk a lot about what our different churches do and what each homily included. In Sullivan we not only have two separate Catholic Churches but we also have someone who comes from the Lutheran faith.”

Living each day with the knowledge that God is walking alongside each day helps to live a calmer and more authentic life, and key to the overall spiritual and physical fitness of the program.

“I think anyone who gives this program a try will enjoy it,” said Mattiacci, “And it gives you the added benefit of making a lot of new and wonderful friends who really care about you.”

According to Clay the program is free, but a few supplies need to be purchased to participate.

“There is a Bible Study book, which is $20 and new members need to purchase a $70 member kit,” she said. “Once you have the member kit, one only needs to purchase new Bible study books as we go through the program. Each session is designed to be 13 weeks long with the Bible study portion ten weeks and the other three are orientation, food plan explanation and a celebration at the end.”

For more information on the program or to join
Contact Lee Clay, Parish nurse
St. Mary in Palmyra 262-495-2395 (Tuesdays)
St. Mary Help of Christians in Sullivan 262-593-2250 (Wednesdays and Thursday AM)

Bells to Toll - Catholic Herald

Bells to toll in Eden

Shepherd of the Hills will be new site

By Karen MahoneySpecial to Your Catholic Herald

During a pre-capital campaign gathering, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan overheard Fr. Joseph Juknialias, talking about his parish's plan to build a bell tower on the grounds of Shepherd of the Hills Parish. The tower was to house bells from three parishes that were merged to form Shepherd of the Hills: St. Mary, Eden; St. Michael, Dotyville; and Our Lady of Angels, Armstrong. St. Michael, Mitchell was also part of the merger, but it retains its bell. The archbishop had a suggestion: Take the bells and bell tower from the Cousins Center. Members of the parish gathered equipment to dismantle and transport the tower, while looking forward to the reminiscent peal of the four bells cast at the Paccard Foundry in Annecy, France. The new home for the tower and bells would be on the south side of the church facing the highway. Known as the St. Francis de Sales bells, because the saint was born and buried a few miles from the town, each bell is inscribed with an image of St. Francis de Sales. The largest bell named Caritas (Latin for "charity") is tuned to the musical note E, and weighs 2,325 pounds. The second bell, Humilitas ("humility"), is tuned to the note A, and weighs 1,015 pounds. Zelus ("zeal") is tuned to tone B and weighs 715 pounds. And Urbanitas "(gentlemanliness") is 495 pounds and tuned to C sharp.Once volunteers started to dismantle the tower, its walls began to crumble from unseen deterioration. According to Fr. Juknialis, water had worked its way into the structure."The water began deteriorating the steel rods inside, so the tower was not in solid shape when they began to take it down," he said. "It really couldn't be securely rebuilt, especially since they had to cut up the tower in order to transport it here."With only remnants of the tower remaining, Fr. Juknialis consulted with parishioners and decided to refurbish the bells and build a replica of the Cousins Center bell tower for their church property. Once the footings are poured the tower will be cast in Spancrete, the material used in the paving of bridges. "The bells are fine and are being refurbished by John Witkowiak, whose father took care of the St. Francis De Sales bells back in the '60s when they were installed at the Cousins Center," he said. "We are told that the bells and the tower might be ready by Christmas, so, of course, we are hoping for that."The three parish bells originally destined for the tower will be installed in each of the parish's cemeteries.- By Karen Mahoney

Art on the Move Catholic Herald

Art on the move

Cousins Center artifacts, statues given homes in parishes

By Karen MahoneySpecial to Your Catholic Herald

ST. FRANCIS - While the Archbishop Cousins Catholic Center remains on the market, parishes and schools throughout the Milwaukee Archdiocese have already welcomed artifacts from the center to their new homes. Dean Daniels, archdiocesan director of prayer and worship, has the task of gifting the myriad of art, sculptures, and sacramentals before the center is sold. When the decision to sell the center was finalized, a catalog containing descriptions and photographs of items went to each parish. Pastors interested in receiving items from the center were invited to request them in writing. "They were told the items would be available on a first come, first served basis," Daniels explained. "And this is how we gifted everything, except for certain items that would appeal to the patrons of the various churches. For example, a statue of St. John Vianney went to St. John Vianney in Brookfield."Those who have attended Mass and prayer services in Mater Christi (Mother of Christ) Chapel might notice candlesticks that used to adorn the altars on a number of parish altars. Additionally, more than 50 crucifixes from the retreat rooms and classrooms in the center went to pastors during the annual Fall Priests' Day. "They came in and took a number of those to bring home to their parishes," said Daniels. "We also had two monstrances used for exposition and adoration, and one was given to the cathedral and one to Cristo Rey Parish in Racine."St. Louis Parish, Caledonia, received the Blessed Mother statue that watched over visitors in the courtyard of the center. A crest of Pope John XXIII, formerly located outside the chapel, will reside at St. John Neumann, Waukesha.Parishes were not billed for any of the artifacts, but they were required to move larger items at their own expense. If they wished, they could offer a donation, said Daniels, but if parishes were not in a position to donate, they did not need to. The school courtyard at Holy Apostles Parish, New Berlin, is home to a statue of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom. The statue, which depicts Mary with the Child Jesus in her arms and a scroll in her hand, previously stood near the main entrance of the Cousins Center. Fr. David Filut, pastor of Holy Apostles, requested the statue as he considers her to be an inspiration to students. "The statue is near the hallway window so it will be clearly visible to the students who pass by on their way to class," he said in a recent parish bulletin. "Hopefully, the statue will be a source of inspiration as we ask Mary to intercede for us to become people not only of learning, but also of wisdom."St. Thomas Aquinas, Waterford, received a bronze statue of St. Thomas Aquinas for the parish; a statue of Mary and the teenage Jesus from the chapel has a home at Holy Family, Fond du Lac, Daniels said. "The large statue of St. Francis de Sales, which is the patron of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, now resides at St. John Cathedral downtown," he said. "And we had outdoor Stations of the Cross in the St. Joseph Courtyard outside of the cafeteria that also went to the Cathedral. Interestingly enough, they had the perfect number of trees for each of the stations."According to Scott Fischer, maintenance director of the Cathedral, the statue will get a new base, and will be installed inside the cathedral."We also have received another statue of Mary, and she will be placed outside in our prayer garden," he said. Other accoutrements that have moved are a portable baptismal font that was relocated to St. Luke, Brookfield, and a set of patron saint mosaics created in Calamara, Ireland."Each of the patron saint mosaics went to the patron saints for that particular parish," said Daniels. "For example, St. William in Waukesha received St. William the Abbot, and the church placed this mosaic in a very prominent location. Each of these went to parishes, except for St. Pius, which went to Pius High School."Enthusiasm for the gifts has been high among parishes, Daniels said, adding that each item is in a good home and appreciated. "This has been interesting for me," he said. "I have sat across tables of parishes that have consolidated or were going through renovations to create a new parish and I have seen what a painful experience it has been for them. Until this process, I have had no experience for doing this. But now, with having to give away artwork and the thought of moving to a new location and closing a building with my other colleagues, I have a new perspective on how difficult it is for parishes to move forward. But this is our faith - there is death and there is resurrection. And the resurrection is better than we can ever imagine." - By Karen Mahoney

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Nativity Dramas latest Kenosha News Story


Modern Christmas Play
By KMahoney

Wise men came from the east and shepherds came from the fields to see the baby Jesus.

But local pilgrims don’t have to traverse afar to see re-enactments of the first Christmas.
Each year at area churches many hours are invested to remind participants and their audiences of the essence of Christmas, the biblical telling of the birth of Jesus Christ.

After years of participating in and watching the traditional Christmas programs, Keith Hewitt, member of Wilmot United Methodist Church wanted to do something a bit different for his youth group.

Adapting characters and settings from four popular television series, Blue’s Clues, CSI, Cops, and Trading Spaces Hewitt created NaTiVity Dramas, a collection of Christmas plays with a modern slant. “Ewe’s Clues” is intended primarily for younger children and runs approximately 30 minutes. At 45 minutes, Cops: Bethlehem, CSI Bethlehem, and Trading Spaces: Bethlehem appeals to an older audience, but, according to Hewitt, younger children will get something out of them as well.

“After growing up and going to Sunday school, we would see the same play year after year and it got to be repetitive for the parents and for us. While there is a charm to the traditional story, it seemed to lose its meaning after the same words were repeated in the same way, year after year,” he said. “I just kind of hit on the idea of combining modern TV with the Nativity story.”

Each of the four plays are distinctively designed to be produced in churches and are adaptable to churches of varying sizes. Roles are suitable for a range of ages from kindergarten through adult and allow the entire congregation to become involved in the production.

“By putting the plays in a modern setting by overlaying them with a modern format that people have seen make them more accessible,” Hewitt said. “Everybody essentially knows the story, so I take the family from the old story and put a different twist on it to hook people in. The plays in my book are meant to be the antithesis of the traditional Nativity story. By transferring the modern format to the Nativity setting, we can tell a story about how common people are affected by incredible events, and by twisting the lens just a bit to change the focus, we can have some anachronistic fun at the expense of those characters as they learn a lesson.”

After the dramas proved to be popular among church members, Hewitt took a chance with CSS Publications in Lima, Ohio and to his astonishment, the collection was published.

“It was really neat to see that CSS thought that these were something that might be fun for a wider audience,” he said. “These were written initially to work for our church, and I was as surprised as anyone when they said they wanted to publish it. It was almost a two year process, but it has been fun.”

By publishing the plays, Hewitt hopes to reach a wider audience who might be craving an alternative to the traditional Christmas pageant, including those who infrequently attend religious productions.

“Typically Christmas plays are attended by the congregation and possibly members of the students’ extended families,” he said. “By setting the Christmas story against a familiar TV backdrop, and having some fun with it, others who might not normally attend church might be enticed to come by, and thus extend the reach into the community.”

By creating and performing the NaTiVity Dramas, Hewitt has found a personal way to evangelize and nurture others in his faith, something that he believes is the primary foundation of church.

“I think successful churches must perform a balancing act between spreading the good news of Jesus Christ and providing an environment in which the people who make up the church can support and nurture one another in their faith, and in their lives,” he said. “A church that is great at evangelizing, but has no way of supporting those it has reached out to is like a gardener who plants seeds in fertile soil, but then turns his back and refuses to tend the garden, not watering or fertilizing, and allowing the good plants to fight it out with the weeds.”

Rather than focusing on the number of plays sold, Hewitt instead focuses on the number of people he will be able to reach and hopes for a good turnout for his latest production, “Dirty Jobs: Bethlehem” on December 16, during the 9 a.m. service at Wilmot United Methodist.

“This play is open to everyone, the more the merrier,” he said. “This is part of a whole new collection that I hope to have published this year.”

If you go:

Wilmot United Methodist Church
Dirty Jobs: Bethlehem
Sunday, December 16
9 a.m.
11432 Fox River Rd
Wilmot, WI

To purchase Hewitt’s NaTiVity Dramas
CSS Publishing
517 South Main Street
Lima, Ohio 45804
800-241-4056 ext 138

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Kenosha Homeless Shelter for Catholic Herald

Kenosha homeless shelter plans take shape

Churches, Shalom Center hope to begin construction next year

For information on
how to help:

Dan Melyon
Shalom Center of the
Interfaith Network
1713 62nd Street
Kenosha, WI 53413
(262) 658-1713

By Karen Mahoney
Special to Your Catholic Herald

KENOSHA - With temperatures dipping toward freezing, Congregations United to Serve Humanity (CUSH) hopes to create a permanent emergency shelter that will be a warm place for Kenosha's growing population of homeless.

Bitter winters force the homeless to travel from church to church for the night as part of the Interfaith Network Nightly Shelter (INNS) Program. Three area churches alternate evenings and open their doors for temporary emergency nightly shelter. St. Mary Catholic Church, Immanuel Baptist Church and Grace Lutheran Church provide a respite for up to 30 individuals per night. Participants are provided with breakfast in the morning and a sack lunch. The year-round program is open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and volunteers are beginning to see an increase in children not having a sense of "permanence" in their surroundings.

Recognizing a severe and escalating problem in the Kenosha area, members of CUSH are searching for a permanent solution. Several meetings between members of CUSH, the city and county government have succeeded in a county pledge of $250,000 toward the $2.5 million-dollar facility.

According to Fr. Ken Metz, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church, a CUSH member and INNS participant, on a scale of one to 10, the need is 10.5 for a permanent homeless shelter.

"The way it is now, there is no place for people to stay during the day; we have people walking around or just wandering up to the door," he said. "There is a real need for this shelter - we were originally looking to put something more permanent here at St. Mary but there was just no place to do it. We don't have the space, and it would have been too difficult to adapt the bathrooms to include showers, or other things we would need to have."

Following assurances by the county and city of Kenosha, the next hurdle surrounded its location and who would run the daily operations.

"It was a long process, and after it was offered out to service groups, it was determined that the Shalom Center was the best group to run it," Fr. Metz said. "They already take care of families and provide hot meals each day. So, it seemed to be the natural solution to have them run things with the support of CUSH."

Dan Melyon, executive director of the Shalom Center, an interfaith network of area churches and volunteers, said upon receiving final approval, the 16,000 square foot shelter would be located on a 2.5-acre parcel next to the Kenosha Achievement Center on 79th Street, and would be used by many more than the 30 homeless persons per night they currently serve.

"Our need is significant here in Kenosha," he said. "We have an emergency family shelter which is capable of hosting seven families at a time and annually, we can expect somewhere around 75-80 families into our program. We turn away over 200 families each year. Our INNS program is on overflow right now and we are seeing a large increase in the single population this year. We are running at nearly capacity the entire year depending on the site; I don't even know what this winter will bring."

The official application for the new building plans is in the hands of the City of Kenosha officials. Melyon is encouraged, after hosting extensive neighborhood meetings in October, that there were few negative comments.

"Most of the questions were just general in nature, such as how it would be run, and the layout," he said. "We will be conducting a capital campaign for construction of the building and officially kick things off in January."

Melyon anticipates strong local support through businesses and individuals for the shelter. In addition to the building fund, an endowment will be created to assist with ongoing operational costs.

The shelter construction will likely begin in the fall of 2008, if significant funds are available to assure the board of directors that payments will be available for the construction loan.

"Really, getting the funding is what is setting our time frames for this project," Melyon said. "How soon the money comes in and how quickly will dictate how quickly we can begin. In addition to the money from the county, we are hoping for some funds from the city as well."

Upon completion, the shelter will be a fully staffed 24-hour-per-day single INNS program. The program will no longer travel from church to church, but will continue to be staffed by church volunteers.

"We will also have a full fledged training program and emergency family shelter with the same kinds of programs and operations we have now," Melyon said. "We do link people with social service agencies, the Job Center, and other organizations such as educational institutions in town."

Services included within the shelter operations will be classes on landlord tenant training, parenting, budget management classes, nutrition classes and assistance in finding housing and employment. Melyon anticipates some cooperation between the new Shalom Center and the Kenosha Achievement Center once they become fully operational.

"We hope to do quite a few partnering programs with the center, such as parenting classes, and other things," he said. "We will also be moving our food pantry which provides food to 650 families per month and our soup kitchen which provides a meal to 110 people per day, seven days a week, under the same roof as the shelter. It will be wonderful to be able to better service the needs of the Kenosha area homeless in a single facility."

- By Karen Mahoney

Happy St. Nick's Day or oh crap,I forgot to fill the stockings

I knew it would happen one of these years and I believe it is the earmark of senility.
While my children (well one child, one grown child, and one husband) were all snuggled asleep in their beds, dreaming of sugar plums. I was asleep too!

The spirit of St. Nick must have jolted me awake because I am sitting in the living room, in the dark waiting for a good time to get the back of candy from the bedroom closet and fill the stockings. I need to wait because my husband has had insomnia for a few days and I don't want to wake him up while rummaging through the closet pulling out crackling wrappers.

So, hopefully by 5 a.m. or so, I can do this without totally disrupting his night and get these stockings filled before Erin, my 12 year old son wakes up. Why don't I go back to bed you ask? Because I might actually sleep and then everyone will be up when I get up, thus spoiling the surprise.

See, and that's another thing...what surprise? He is 12! He doesn't believe in St. Nick anymore than he believes in the tooth fairy--but I still do this year after year and will even fill my 23 year old's stocking and my husband's, because that is just we are supposed to do.

Thanks Mom for passing on this legacy--who fills our stockings? Maybe I should buy a few diamonds this year and stick them in my flat and empty stocking and see the surprise on Blaise's face when he sees what St. Nick left for me! Now that might get the day rolling.

I have about 15 minutes before I can safely fill the stockings with fruit and nuts and healthy snacks.........yeah right, are you insane to believe that? It will all be chocolate because that is all they like--if I gave them fruits and nuts, they would think I am more senile than I am already. Well, Happy St. Nick's Day to all of you.......maybe I can get a nap in here somewhere.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Central Plans phone based messaging service

Central plans phone-based system to contact parents
Dec. 5, 2007


Read & React

PADDOCK LAKE - For Central High students who like to hide their report cards from mom and dad, this won't be good news.

Notices about report cards, school activities, snow days and emergencies would go to parents via phone messages with the notification system considered by the Central High School Board Tuesday night.

These are things parents want to know, interim Superintendent Ken Moe told the board. And with the system, the school would be able to get the word out faster and more efficiently than ever.

Moe is looking at AlertNow, a rapid communication service that allows schools to notify approximately 4,000 parents, faculty, staff or other emergency contacts in just three minutes, while school administrators and emergency personnel focus on managing the crisis or emergency situation.

"With one call to an 800 number, everyone in the district can be notified by phone, cell phone or fax machine, and with our weather now, we could notify parents and staff if school was going to close," he said.

"This service would be helpful if we had to cancel school during the day because of weather or some other emergency. This way parents and emergency contacts would know where and when to pick up their children."

Improving communication and a sense of goodwill between parents, the community and the school is primary, Moe emphasized.

"It is important that parents receive information about their students, their education and their safety, and this system will be another way we can keep them informed," he said. "We can even send them a message telling them about purchasing tickets for the WIAA state volleyball championships or the Madrigal and choir concerts."

Central parent Susan Quinlan said she sees the rapid communication system as a positive way to get information out quickly.

"I really like this idea because when the weather is bad, I will often call the bus company to see if they are running, and I am unable to get through because everyone else is calling them too," she said. "This will make it much easier for parents."

Another benefit of the program is the detailed accounting system, which provides a printout to the school as to how many calls were completed. This discourages parents from saying they were not notified.

According to Moe, AlertNow has been used by schools throughout southeastern Wisconsin the past couple of years with much success.

"We used the system in Lake County when I was there, and actually there was so much support for this program, especially in light of terrible tragedies such as Columbine, that the PTA purchased the service for the school," he said. "This is such a good system because it doesn't tie up the satellites like all the cell phones do. The service runs through a land line."

Moe hopes to have the system up and running early next year.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Hunger to Help Others Kenosha News

KENOSHA NEWS PHOTOs BY BILL SIEL Sister Lucille Ann Puntillo visits with Our Lady of the Holy Rosary youth group member Tim Platt.

A hunger to help others
Dec. 1, 2007
Holy Rosary youth give up a day's food to raise funds
By Karen Mahoney

Read & React

About a dozen Kenosha youth spent part of Thanksgiving weekend without food.

For the 10th year, the youth group from Our Lady of the Holy Rosary held a 24-hour fund-raising food fast, giving up food from 9 a.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Sunday.

"By participating in this fast and being hungry, it helps me to know how others feel every single day," said Holy Rosary eighth grader Tim Platt. "It really makes you think about what we have and how fortunate we are. Some live like this their whole life."

The fast benefited International Catholic Relief Services, a mission in India, and to the Aid to African Children organization. Speaking on a recent mission experience, nurses Deborah Gilliam and Rebecca Schwuchow shared with students the facts about poverty, waterborne illness, and children orphaned due to HIV/Aids and how their donations will benefit the community of Pretoria, South Africa.

"This is a place you go that is hard to see, but you will never be able to forget," said Gilliam. "We have poverty here, but in the U.S. we have resources to help people. In Africa, there are no resources."

Students age 12 to 18 typically raise about $1,000 in pledges that will provide education, food and medical needs, said Char Lois, youth adviser.

"We also tied this in with the school and parish non-perishable food drive," she said. "The food collected goes to local food pantries, so our students are helping both local and international hunger."

The students could not eat during the event, but they were able to have water and fruit juice, Lois said.

To keep their minds off their stomachs, Lois planned several activities, including education on world hunger, participating in hunger activities, listening to speakers, participating in recreation time and making craft gifts for parish and nursing home shut-ins.

"They also spend quiet hours feeling just a little hungry, and hopefully that drives home the message and feeling about local and world hunger and how very fortunate they are right here at Holy Rosary and Kenosha," Lois said. "At the end of the 24-hour period, the kids do feel they made a difference, and they walk away very anxious to eat, but they seem just a little more focused on others and not just themselves and their needs and wants."

The fasting experience was an eye-opener for Holy Rosary eighth grader Elizabeth D'Amore. She had the toughest time understanding how school children can go without food from Friday until they return to school and their school meal program the following Monday.

"These kids have no school on Fridays and their families have no food for them over the weekend, so they have to go three days before they get to eat again," she said. "It is so scary to think about this. I would like to become a missionary someday so I can help these kids to keep them from going hungry."