After not hearing from me in nearly a month, I send greetings from Baltimore and the annual Fall Meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It seems as though we were just here, but now return with what seems like the same amount of material still requiring our attention and action for the good of the Church and for the protection of our religious liberty in our beloved country. The issues regarding the HHS mandate still loom over our heads and we are hopeful to be updated with some positive news. Your prayers are most welcome and certainly appreciated as we move through this week.

In early October I enjoyed the fellowship of our priests and deacons at the Annual Fall Clergy Conference, held at the Holy Cross Diocesan Center. We concentrated our efforts on parochial issues, the distribution of talent among our current band of clergy, and some new ideas for the future. This time of fellowship and study was well spent with many blessings received. Themes surfaced that may have a broader range of interest including our continued positive efforts in maintaining Catholic identity in healthcare, End of Life Issues, Durable Powers of Attorney for healthcare, and the like. These topics will provide us with future parish seminars and study groups. Another topic presented was our updated marriage preparation program. It is important that we ourselves become more clearly focused on the beauty and the gift of marriage given to us by God as the whole Church prepares for the Synod of Bishops convening next June to study and discuss Marriage and Family Life. I also took some time to share our work in this area with the Diocesan Pastoral Council at our meeting earlier this month. As you might think, there is great interest surrounding marriage these days.

The Diocesan Pastoral Council was also given an update on my meeting with the Wisconsin Catholic Conference held in Milwaukee at the end of October. Items discussed there included healthcare mandates and the preservation of conscience rights for medical professionals, the immigration reform efforts currently being considered in Congress, and some discussion of the Common Core in education curricula that may have some effect on Catholic schools.

This past month for me has been quite a whirlwind with meetings all over the country and Confirmations all over the Diocese!  All in all, I steadfastly maintain without a doubt, this is certainly an exciting time to be Catholic!

We’d certainly enjoy sharing the excitement with you at Sunday Mass.

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