Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Invitation to Worship and Beauty: OremusMKE Held During Riverwest 24

                          (OremusMKE Benediction at St Hedwig Church on the East Side. Photo: Sam Vosters/Tom Klind)
Nearly two weeks ago, the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist opened up its doors, offered candles and invited Bastille Day goers to enter into the sacred worship space to spend some in quiet prayer for peace and to garner interest in the church and the Catholic faith. This coming Friday Oremus MKE will be held at Our Lady of Divine Providence- St Mary Czestochowa site during the Riverwest 24 Bike Race from 7pm until 10pm. Confession will be available during Eucharistic Adoration. Please see below for more details and how to get involved in bring others closer to the Lord.

Via: OremusMke

"A Church which 'goes forth' is a Church whose doors are open...Often it is better simply to slow down, to put aside our eagerness in order to see and listen to others, to stop rushing from one thing to another and to remain with someone who has faltered along the way." Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium

OremusMKE is an outreach ministry that seeks to literally open the doors of our churches to welcome people in. The life of our churches does not always coincide with the life of our neighborhoods. By opening our churches for prayer, adoration, music and reflection during a busy weekend night, we hope to bring people into our churches so that they can experience the power of God and the hospitality of our parishcommunity.

The doors of Our Lady of Divine Providence-St. Mary Czestochowa (3055 N Fratney St) will be open on Friday, July 24 from 7-10 pm. Pairs of people will invite our neighbors from the Riverwest 24 bike race in to see the beautiful church and to light a candle for peace. There will be Eucharistic adoration throughout the evening.

All in our four-parish family are invited to come pray in the church. If you are interested in helping or have questions please contact Samantha Vosters at or Chad Griesel, Director of Adult Faith Formation, at 414-271-6180 or

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Learning To Love

                                                         (Photograph copyright of John Paul Bender)

One of the hardest things in life is learning and coming to accept that the way you think is not always the way someone else thinks. In high school I gave a persuasive speech about my stance on gay marriage thinking that I could shift my classmate's opinions to be more aligned with mine.  I was met with both agreement and disagreement on my viewpoint.  And now, once again, I stepped into the waters of this heated issue by sharing my opinion about the same-sex marriage decision that was recently made by SCOTUS in Facebook comments.

The world and its sports, music, emotions and politics are all channeled through social media. Nothing is private anymore. Everyone has to tell everyone else where they stand on everything under the sun even if what they post becomes offensive to others. Seeing my Catholic faith being criticized in Facebook posts for the Church's defense against SCOTUS's decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all fifty states, brought out a desire for me to try to give some of my friends and family members a better understanding of why we as a church believe what we believe. I would comment on a status with an attempt to show a person why the Church is so upset over the ruling, only to be ridiculed and told that I am posting radical and passive aggressive thoughts. It saddened me as I found myself "unfriending" a large amount of my friends who were celebrating the outcome.

In trying to make my opposition clear, I heard the phrase, "This is the reason why people fall away from the Catholic Church, because you can't tolerate opinions that are different than your own." As a result, I feel the need to revisit humility. Instead of chastising, I think we need to take a step back and reassess the need for kindness, humility and love. Our reasoning behind our defense is legitimate, but words get in the way. In our efforts to lead someone to the truth, we can end up damaging feelings and lose a number of potential disciples. A great friend of mine once said, " Real love is not being able to have all the answers, but rather crawling down into the hole that someone has dug themselves into and being present with them."  A loving embrace, a heartfelt prayer and great courage and patience can go a long way in bringing someone out of the darkness and into the light of truth. 

Intent on improving the way I bring about truth in the world, I'm going to try a new approach to evangelizing. I am still going to promote my love for the Catholic faith and Catholic teachings, but rather than try and engage with others about differences in opinion, I am going to take a step back and allow them to discover God's will on their own. Instead of trying to teach with my words, I'm going to focus more on living out my faith to the best of my ability. I feel I can make the most impact on someone who is searching for truth in this way. The old saying "actions speak louder than words" still holds very true.

Yes, I think the same-sex marriage decision is terrible and I do not stand for or agree with it, but I think that the most important thing we can do is to love one another regardless of differing beliefs and opinions. We need to learn to love again and forgive again even when it hurts to do so.  How will you continue to show your love for those around you who disagree with you?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Chosen By God: National Director of Apostleship of Prayer Fr. James Kubicki's Homily at Roses for Our Lady

Every now and then we need to be reminded of our God's deep, incomprehensible love for us and His well thought our plan for our lives. We are His chosen people whom He had thought of long before we ever existed. This past Sunday, Fr. James Kubicki, the National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer presided at Roses for our Lady's Holy Hour for Vocations at St. Francis de Sales Seminary. Fr. Kubicki spoke of our relationship with God and how we can continue to develop our lives as His beloved children according to His will. Below is an audio recording of Fr. Kubicki's homily at the Roses for Our Lady Holy Hour.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Interior Stillness: OremusMKE Inviting Bastille Days Attendees To Enter Into Milwaukee's Cathedral

Tonight from 7pm to 10:30pm, OremusMKE is inviting people of all faith's to enter inside the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist to spend some time in prayer and stillness during Bastille Days. Please come if you are able. The Milwaukee Catholic Herald provided more information on the event in this weeks publication.
Historically, the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist has shied away from planning major events during the weekend of Bastille Days.
A replica of the Eifel Tower dominates Cathedral Square in this photo from a previous Bastille Days celebration. This year, the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, is using the July 9-12 festival as a “prime evangelization opportunity,” according to the cathedral’s rector, Fr. Jeff Haines. (Submitted photo by Joe Gadbois)“With the noise and the hustle and the bustle and concerns about space, in the old days, we used to shut down,” said Fr. Jeff Haines, the cathedral rector.
Other than celebrating regularly scheduled Sunday Mass, the mother church of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee would be shut up and empty during the weekend’s festivities — a beautiful but non-participatory witness to the divertissement in Cathedral Square.
Last year, things began to change. The parish set up tables and chairs and invited the crowds into the prayer garden, offering coffee and water for a free will donation to the cathedral’s Open Door Cafe ministry.
It was such a success that this year the cathedral is increasing its efforts dramatically, planning a weekend of events that will make the city’s most sacred space more accessible than ever to people of all faiths who are downtown July 9-12.
Fr. Haines called Bastille Days “a prime evangelization opportunity” and said that the weekend’s rigorous schedule is reflective of the cathedral’s mission as a whole, which is to be a home away from home for Milwaukee’s Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
During that weekend, festival-goers will find the cathedral’s doors will almost always be physically open.
“We want to take every opportunity we get to have someone come through our door and make possible in whatever way we can a chance for them to encounter Christ, the prince of peace, and to find that peace in their life,” Fr. Haines said.
Perhaps one of the more distinctive experiences offered will be Oremus MKE, held from 7 to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, July 10 (Benediction will take place at 10 p.m.). During this time, the cathedral will be open to the public for quiet prayer and contemplation. Young ministers of hospitality will be stationed on the sidewalk outside the cathedral, inviting people into the church to light a candle and offer a prayer for peace.
Priests will also be on hand to talk with visitors and even hear confessions, and there will be an opportunity for


Thursday, July 9
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cathedral
open for visits, tours
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Cathedral garden open
Friday, July 10
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cathedral
open for visits, tours
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Cathedral garden open
7 to 10:30 p.m. Oremus MKE, quiet prayer in the Cathedral
Saturday, July 11
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Coffee in the Garden
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cathedral open
for visits, tours
5:15 p.m. French Mass
6 p.m. An Evening in Parish French dinner
Sunday, July 12
8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. Sunday Masses
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Coffee in the Garden
Noon to 4 p.m. Cathedral open
for visits, tours
adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the cathedral’s day chapel.
Past Oremus events in Milwaukee have been held at St. Hedwig and St. Mary of Czestochowa; like this one, they are organized with the help of youth from Three Holy Women Parish, Milwaukee Young Adult Ministry and seminarians from Saint Francis de Sales Seminary.
Deacon Andrew Linn, who is helping organize Oremus, said the tranquility of the cathedral ­– in the midst of a festival – is a beautiful juxtaposition, one that is a perfect metaphor for the mission of the church itself.
“It’s a beautiful experience, because a lot of people who are not religious, and certainly a lot who are not Catholic, will come in, and they’ll experience, maybe, a little, a tiny aspect of what we do in the church,” he said.
“You get all shapes and sizes and different flavors of belief or unbelief, but everyone’s welcome,” said Fr. Haines. “We’re just excited about inviting people to have a chance to come to know Christ — and, through the warmth and the hospitality of the people, no matter where we are in our faith journey, everyone knows the yearning and the need for peace.”
The Coffee in the Garden experience will also provide Bastille Day attendees with a chance for a break from the festival, which draws about 250,000 visitors a year.
Coffee in the Garden will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12, and like last year, guests will be invited to enjoy special seating in the cathedral’s prayer garden, but this year the menu has gotten a makeover. Specialty iced and hot flavored coffee drinks will be offered, and guests will be able to order drinks inspired by the java preferences of Fr. Haines, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki and Bishop Richard J. Slkba.
All proceeds from the Coffee in the Garden will benefit the cathedral’s Open Door Cafe.
Those who plan to register for the annual Storm the Bastille 5K Run will also have an opportunity to ensure that their efforts benefit the Open Door Cafe. All runners registering online will be invited to make a contribution to the ministry, which was founded 20 years ago by Fr. Louis Koran, a retired priest living at the cathedral. In 2002, the Open Door Cafe was given a permanent indoor home at the Weakland Center, where hot meals are served Monday through Friday to the city’s poor and homeless. It is estimated that the ministry served 57,000 meals last year.
Milwaukeeans have ample opportunity to experience the Divine Liturgy in languages such as Latin, Polish and Spanish, but this weekend the cathedral will hold the area’s only Mass celebrated in French, Saturday at 5:15 p.m.
The tradition of the French Mass during Bastille Days, said Helen Gadbois, time and talent coordinator for the cathedral, is one that goes back decades in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The Mass used to be celebrated at Old St. Mary’s, but the attendance was so great that a larger venue was needed.
“It’s always a big crowd,” she said.
Fr. Steve Lampe will celebrate the Mass for the third year a in a row. Fr. Lampe, who is fluent in five languages, including French, said that what makes this liturgy unique is the fact that French is not a language Americans commonly encounter, especially when it comes to the Mass.
“Unless you live in New England, French is not easily experienced in our country, even though we have roots from the French explorers, as the names of many places give witness,” he said. “The Mass in French, joined with Milwaukee’s festival tradition, celebrates the universality of the church.”
Fr. Lampe urged those who have no familiarity with the French language to attend.
“The same text and the same structure is used, but now in a different language,” he said of the liturgy. “Thus, there is something familiar and comforting about it, while also being new and intriguing.”
The liturgy will also feature classic French hymns selected by the cathedral’s director of music, Michael J. Batcho. Regular Sunday Masses will be celebrated in the cathedral at 8, 9:30, and 11 a.m., July 12.
Also on Saturday evening, the cathedral will hold its sixth annual French Dinner. This year’s theme is “An Evening in Paris,” whose wine and food has been carefully selected and prepared by Pfister Hotel chef Brian Frakes and his staff. Ticket sales are closed for this year, but parish leadership urges anyone interested to consider attending next year’s event.
Gadbois described the dinner as “an opportunity to bring new friends to the cathedral” and said that the evening is designed especially with non-parishioners in mind.
The cathedral will also be open for tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
All told, the cathedral will be open close to 40 hours during Bastille Days. It’s an unprecedented effort mounted by ministers of hospitality, tour guides and over 75 volunteers.
“We would hope that this would be an opportunity for parishioners who are here all the time ... but also people who are here infrequently, people who just come here for major celebrations, and people who are here for the first time,” said Gadbois. “The archbishop always makes a point of calling the cathedral your second home, and that’s the point that I think we’re trying to get across. The cathedral belongs to everybody.”
Fr. Haines put it simply: “Come home!”