Friday, November 22, 2013

Abp Listecki: Grown to Love Wisconsin

It’s hard to break into a group or a new community. For me, it was difficult trying to familiarize myself with the new parishes that I was called to serve as Archbishop of Milwaukee. Many staff members would take for granted that I would know landmarks or sites in the Archdiocese, familiar to everyone except me.

In the beginning, when I was scheduled to celebrate the anniversary of a parish, I would quickly pick the brain of Father James Lobacz, who would accompany me as my Master of Ceremonies. “Jim,” I would say, “tell me of the special events in the history of the parish or the personalities of the prior pastors who have served this community.” He would give me a living history of the parish and the “characters” (best sense of the word) that served as pastors. I never wanted to be unaware of the struggles, the challenges or the adversities that gave life to this community of faith.

When I celebrated the Mass, I wanted to feel that I had at least a little understanding of what made this community tick. I could never claim the level of experiential understanding that our priests and parishioners have, but I could at least understand a bit of their historical struggles.

Father Steve Avella’s book “In the Richness of the Earth” has been a very helpful history lesson, taking me from the very beginning of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, all the way to the year 1958. Father Steve, as an historian, has a style that blends the great Latin historians, Tacitus and Suetonius. Tacitus was a factual historian who laid out the chronological aspects of events. Suetonius was the historian that related an historical event but added the tidbits of historical gossip that made life interesting. Father Avella makes history interesting because of the presentation of facts woven within and through the personalities of history.
continue at ArchMil

Also gives a plug for a new mag called Our Wisconsin.

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