All alone, the Watch Tower

Today's mail was a magazine, a few catalogs, and other items that could be recycled unopened. But one item was different.

It had a printed address label that included "Or Current Resident" but a hand-written return address.

Inside was a letter, that is, a form letter except for a partly hand-written greeting using just my last name, the sender's signature, and a handwritten postscript that the writer could be reached at the return address.

Also enclosed was the tract "How do you view the future?"

Jehovah's Witnesses might evaluate the current pandemic as the wrong time to come to the front door, but they remain persistent. (see Luke 18:1-8)

Celebrating Our Baptism ... Again and Again and Again

Retired Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba's collection of memorial cards from funerals inspired this recent Herald of Hope column for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Catholic Herald weekly.

"The cards invariably record dates of birth and death, sometimes ordination or marriage, and occasionally include a picture, biblical citation or a favorite prayer.

"Almost never do we find the date of a baptism noted..."
This strikes him as strange.
"...initial membership in God’s eternal family marks us forever, and consequently its anniversary should really be celebrated every year."
He's been practicing what he preaches.
"On the anniversary of my baptism, I always pray for the priest (Fr. Henry Novotny) who baptized me at old Holy Trinity Parish in Racine and for my long-deceased godparents (Mary and Joe)."

A small Catholic college closes, and some fear it won’t be the only one

 
As she neared the end of high school, Clare Kelnhofer's future had its share of uncertainties. But where she'd go to college wasn't one — at least at first.

Kelnhofer, of Brandon, had decided she'd go to Holy Family College — the only college she'd applied to. The fit was perfect: the right size, the right values, passionate professors, close proximity to family in Manitowoc.

The school recruited her to play basketball. She won a prestigious, full tuition scholarship to pursue a degree in actuarial science.

Then, without warning, Holy Family announced May 7 that the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity had decided to close the college at the end of the summer term.
 

The village of Pewaukee has filed a lawsuit against Queen of Apostles to block the razing of a historic Catholic church


The village of Pewaukee filed a lawsuit and temporary restraining order May 8 to block Queen of Apostles Congregation from demolishing St. Mary's Church. 

St. Mary's Church, 449 W. Wisconsin Ave., is owned by Queen of Apostles and was built in 1858. In late April, the church was designated a historic landmark by the village of Pewaukee Historic Preservation Commission.

Under the village's municipal code, Queen of Apostles cannot be granted a permit to demolish the church without the written approval of the village board. The complaint also noted that Queen of Apostles had not filed a petition under the historic preservation ordinance for demolition.

continue at JS

I'll try to find some time to follow this closer.  

From a reader:
Everything is quickly coming to a tipping point with the legal dispute between the parish and the local government, the court date tomorrow and the demolition equipment already in position around Saint Mary's.

It is frustrating in the sense that we are so rapidly seeing parishes close these beautiful historic buildings because they are too small or "obsolete" or whatever when it looks like the newer megachurch style parishes which came in with urban sprawl to replace the old parishes only see a handful of baptisms and weddings a year and their massive seating capacities wont really be needed in year 2030 or 2040 and we will probably wish that we had kept more of those picture perfect 19th century gothic type parishes.
Update: 
Update on the court hearing, there is a temporary reprieve, another hearing will be held on June 8.
Feast of the Sacred Heart

The Catholic Comeback

Under that heading, the Archdiocse of Milwaukee has issued Return to Mass Directives, Guidelines and Considerations, beginning Sunday, May 31, 2020. It's three single-spaced pages of bullet points, made up of 47 "Directives" and 6 "Considerations". Among them,
 
    • The use of facemasks should be encouraged. ...
    • The obligation to attend Sunday Mass is dispensed through Sunday, July 5. ...
    • Mass attendance should be organized in some way.
      o Designate Mass time by household name (A to H, Mass 1; I to O, Mass 2; P to Z, Mass 3);
      o Provide a sign-up system either on the parish website or by calling the parish office;
      o Assign a Mass time per registered family; ...
    • Attendance at each individual Mass is limited to no more than 25 percent of your Church’s Occupancy Permit.
Last I checked, no counterpart had yet been posted at the Diocese of Green Bay, Diocese of La Crosse, Diocese of Superior, or Diocese of Madison.

State plans to drop charges against a Pewaukee priest accused of sexually assaulting a teenager

Eddie Morales and Steven Martinez reported at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"The Rev. Charles Hanel, 62, was charged with second-degree sexual assault of a then-13-year-old girl at Queen of Apostles Church in Pewaukee.

"But Assistant District Attorney Mike Thurston filed a letter on Wednesday, stating his intent to drop the charges at the next hearing on June 29."
The case has been pending since Fall 2018.

Book on Muslim-Christian Dialogues Reveals Milwaukee's Central Role

Review by RT Both of Interfaith Engagement in Milwaukee: A Brief History of Christian-Muslim Dialogue, by Irfan A. Omar and Kaitlyn C. Daly, at Wisconsin Muslim Journal.
"Dr. Abbas Hamdani, who passed away last year; Sr. Jessine Reiss, OSF (Order of St. Francis); and Sr. Lucille Walsh, OSF, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 101; were the three original founders of the Islamic Christian Dialogue. ...

"Sr. Lucille Walsh’s 1985 letter to His Holiness John Paul II is included as Figure I in the book. At the time, Sr. Lucille was chairperson of the Interfaith Group, which, according to the letter, had the full support of Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time, Rembert Weakland. ...

"After a follow-up letter and a detailed report from Sister Jessine Reiss came the second letter from the Vatican, this time from the President of the Secretariat for Non-Christians (now called the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue), Cardinal Francis Arinze, who thanked Sister Jessine for facilitating this “important activity for today’s world” and for keeping “us informed of the fine work of dialogue” taking place between Muslims and Christians in Milwaukee. 'Our Secretariat gives its full support and encouragement to this important activity for today’s world,' wrote Cardinal Arinze in his letter to Sr. Jessine."

...holding hands during the Our Father. Is this okay?

"Q: I continue to see people holding hands during the Our Father. Is this okay? I’ve heard various arguments, but none of them seem to get beyond rules or preferences."

Editors' answer in the Questions of Faith section atAdoremus Bulletin includes references to the Roman Missal and the 1975 answer of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments to an inquiry.

Locally then-Archbishop Weakland’s confidential letter to priests of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee (January 7, 2000) included discussion of this issue in the section on Liturgical practices.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918

Fr. Steven M. Avella used internet resources and the archive of the Milwaukee Catholic Citizen newspaper to prepare this account, published in this week's issue of the Milwaukee Catholic Herald.

"On Oct. 10, 1918, State Health Officer Dr. Cornelius Harper ordered the closure of schools, taverns, public entertainments, and churches in Wisconsin. Factories, offices and workplaces were exempted."
Perhaps taverns came to be regarded as "essential" after Prohibition and Repeal.
"Archbishop Sebastian G. Messmer sent a message to the priests of the archdiocese closing all churches and schools. 'There will no public services in our churches, Sundays or weekdays. The main doors of the church will be locked.' He forbade the ringing of church bells, except the Angelus. Funerals and marriages could be performed 'with a low Mass provided only near relatives of the party are present.' He also canceled Confirmations. All public and parochial schools were closed."
My parish church has no bells, but it is open 8am to 1pm for private prayer. A neighboring parish has continued perpetual adoration.
"In churches, the sad strains of the 'Dies Irae' were heard frequently as priests, sisters, and beloved parish members met the end of their days."
The most common Catholic experience of the Dies Irae in recent decades is probably the Amadeus soundtrack.

Restrictions were loosened somewhat in late November, tightened after a flare-up in infections, and removed January 4, 1919.

“Taking Church Home“ with Nan and Clarke Ross

We wanted to alert our readers to a little peptalk that has been made available online by Saint Dominic Parish in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

As part of a parish mission, Saint Dominic‘s formation team asked Nan and Clarke Ross to come and speak about family life: how to raise a Catholic family and keep kids in the faith even after they leave home.

They asked the right people!

Nan and Clarke have been married for over 47 years. They have eight children, and are expecting their 27th and 28th grandchildren in just a few months, God willing.
continue at Cream City Catholic

The Descent from the Cross

Rogier van der Weyden

Remember me, O Lord

Crux Fidelis

Crux Fidelis is part of a larger work by Saint Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus (c530-c609) beginning Pange lingua ('Sing, my tongue'). He wrote it for a procession that brought a part of the true Cross to Queen Radegunda in 570.


Faithful cross, above all other,
One and only noble tree:
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peer may be.
Sweetest wood and sweetest iron,
Sweetest weight is hung on thee!