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Official Publication of the Archdiocese of Dubuque Sunday, December 4, 2016 . Vol. 96, No. 44 Mailed 12/1

Remembering good deeds done on a ‘date of infamy’ On Pearl Harbor attack’s 75th anniversary, Mass planned for Chaplain Aloysius Schmitt Page 8

Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus Frank Kraus and Steve Hesprich by a stone in Dubuque’s Schmitt Memorial Park. Their assembly is organizing the Dec. 7 Mass. (Contributed photo)

Sister of Mercy ministers to the dying at Cedar Rapids hospice Page 9

Archdiocesan ‘Youth Jam’ draws about 200 middle schoolers and parents to Waterloo Page 3

How and why to create a ‘Jesse’ tree with your family during Advent Page 10

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Mission Priorities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque: 1) Strengthening programs for on-going education in the faith 2) Enhancing the Sunday assembly for Holy Mass 3) Teaching stewardship as a way of life 4) Promoting vocations in general, and priesthood in particular Learn more at

Mission Priority topics featured in this issue: Faith Formation The Church and Immigration Mark Schmidt, director of the archdiocesan Office of Respect Life and Social Justice, writes about the Catholic Church and immigration in the first of a series of columns on respect life/ social justice. - page 4

Stewardship Shoe Collection Drive Youth from the St. Isidore Cluster in Osage and Stacyville held a shoe collection drive to raise money for a mission trip. - page 9

Enhancing the Sunday Assembly Mass of Remembrance Knights of Columbus are organizing a Mass of remembrance for Chaplain Aloysius Schmitt to be held at Loras College Dec. 7 — the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. - page 8

Vocations Mercy Sisters Minister to the Dying The Mercy Sisters based in Cedar Rapids have a charism dedicated to the works of mercy. Sister Mary Lou Podzimek, RSM, the chaplain of the Hospice House of Mercy, is profiled in an article this week. She discusses her work comforting those at the end of their lives and their families. - page 9

Wisdom of the Saints: “If love, even human love, gives so much consolation here, what will love not be in Heaven.” — St. Josemaria Escriva

Archdiocese The church’s future: losing hope, gaining confidence By Kevin Feyen Special to The Witness I used to have hope in the future of the church. My hope was how I coped with my observations that things weren’t going so hot for us as a Catholic Church. I’ve spent 20 years working in the field of faith formation and there is not a lot of evi- Kevin dence that shows success. Feyen We have seen national studies demonstrate that we as Catholics rank lower than all other Christian denominations in raising faith-filled teenagers. We have seen decreasing Mass attendance, fewer baptisms, fewer financial contributors, fewer priests, and on and on. For the past few decades, things have not looked too good for us. So, we had hope. Our need to re-examine faith formation was clear. And, in response to our need, we delved into study. We learned that more often than not, parents, not programs, were more effective at forming children in the faith. We learned that faith formation is more than merely pushing theological knowledge, but also involves forming habits and values. We learned that the essential reason the church offers programming for children is so that we can form and support their parents (and not replace them) as the primary catechists of their children. We learned that the more active families are in the church, the greater likelihood that their children will practice their faith in the future. We learned that different people have different needs and “one size fits all” fails most. We worked hard to see the ways to move our church forward. We worked to revitalize the way we engage our families. We went through some serious “gut-checks”

boys and girls, I lost my hope in the Catholic Church.

“Our need to re-examine faith formation was clear. And, in response to our need, we delved into study.” What caught my eye, and hit me in the gut, was a group of eight boys sitting 20 feet from my family. Throughout the Mass, these boys prayed reverently and seriously, yet joyfully. They watched Father with great anticipation during the homily. They sang the songs. They said their responses. They looked engaged. They looked like strong Catholics! This is our future, the Catholics we are all called to be. These are not the statistics that I have been reading about for the past 20 years. These young people were not dis-interested in their faith. They were not ignorant. They were not bored. They were not absent. Here they were: faith-filled young people, and their parents not far away. No, the word “hope” doesn’t fit anymore. When I think of hope, I think of something we’re desperate for, something that is still beyond our reach. That’s not how I feel now. Like hoping for Santa to bring world peace, hope tends to be just a wish at times, without any real effort required on our part. If hope is dreaming for a possible, though distant future, than hope may no longer be the right word. I do not have hope in our church. Today, I have CONFIDENCE! Feyen is the director of adolescent faith formation for the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

Explore Merton’s writings and environmental consciousness SINSINAWA, Wis. — Thomas Merton’s (1915-1968) insights on nature and spirituality will be the focus of the Ecological Merton retreat 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. Merton was a Trappist monk, mystic, writer, interfaith pioneer, and voice for peace and social justice who also had a profound environmental vision. His deep spirituality connected him with

Scripture Readings

Index Archdiocese.................................... 2-5 Community..................................... 6-7 Archdiocese.................................... 8-9 Faith Alive.........................................10 Spirituality........................................11 Column/Media..................................12 Nation/World..............................13-15

and “ego-checks” to move from what we thought might be nice, to what we observed was actually needed. We re-imagined what success would look like. And, we took some small, baby steps, slowly, but surely modifying our methods in a new direction. We worked with hope. For the past few years, we’ve been tracking some success. We have seen parishes engage in the Strong Catholic Families process which builds a stronger partnership between parish staff and the parents of the parish with the single goal of working together to build a strong faith for the youth of the parish. We have seen new innovative methods being utilized when we gather young people. And, we have seen the Archdiocese of Dubuque develop the largest diocesan delegation to the National Catholic Youth Conference. Sure, good things are happening. But, to me, hope didn’t apply on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Youth Jam in Waterloo. Youth Jam gathered 160 middle school children and about 60 adults who accompanied them. I saw some amazing stuff! I saw families playing together and praying together. I saw our keynote speaker lean hard on the youth with a message of how important they are and how much God loves them. Even though he spoke for what would be like a 55-minute sermon, I didn’t see a single young person roll their eyes, look bored or behave with any disrespect. These young people were accompanied by their parents and other caring adults whose presence clearly stated, “There is nothing more important on a Saturday evening than our Catholic faith.” When I saw over 150 middle school youth gathered for a Mass late on a Saturday night, after a long day of games and listening and praying, sitting on folding chairs with their friends near by, with all the angst and hyperactive tendencies that one would expect in a group of 12-year-old

the life of the natural world around him, leading to insights about humanity’s place within God’s creation. Marking Merton’s unofficial “feast day,” this Advent retreat will contemplatively delve into Merton’s life, writings and environmental consciousness—and what they might mean for us today. This workshop is part of our ongoing environmental series, “Exploring

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT Is 11:1-10 Rom 15:4-9 Mt 3:1-12

MONDAY Is 35:1-10 Lk 5:17-26

TUESDAY Is 40:1-11 Mt 18:12-14

Week of Dec. 4-10

WEDNESDAY Is 40:25-31 Mt 11:28-30


Gn 3:9-15, 20 Eph 1:3-6, 11-12 Lk 1:26-38


Is 48:17-19 Mt 12:16-19


Sir 48:1-4, 9-11 Mt 17:9a, 10-13

a Contemplative Ecology.” Eric Anglada, facilitator, is the ecological programming coordinator at Sinsinawa Mound. The reg­istration deadline is Dec. 2, and the fee is $25. For more information, contact Anglada at To register, contact Guest Services at 608748-4411 or visit our website at

Stewardship A way of life We must be good stewards of God’s gifts to us, receiving them gratefully and cultivating them with care, lest we be the ones about whom John the Baptist speaks today, cautioning us, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”


PAGE 3 December 4, 2016

Catholic singer and songwriter holds workshop in Ames By Sue Stanton Witness Correspondent

Ben Walther speaks to a group of musicians in Ames at the recent workshop. (Photo by Sue Stanton)

AMES — Catholic singer and songwriter Ben Walther gave a song writing workshop recently to a group of St. Cecilia’s and greater Ames area musicians as part of the parish’s St. Cecilia feast day celebration and the Klingseis Celebration Series. The series is the result of a bequest of more than $1 million received from two longtime members of the parish, Paul and Irene Klingseis. After discernment with the parish, it was decided to embark on a series of events to be held as “a journey of faith to help invigorate our discipleship, discern our gifts, enrich our parish, and reach out to others who need to hear the message of Jesus.” Beginning on Friday evening Nov. 12, St. Cecilia Parish celebrated 20 years of

eucharistic adoration participation. On Saturday, Nov. 13, a talk on songwriting was given by Walther who related the experience of faith and music in his own life. Husband and father of six, Walther began in music at the age of 15 after picking up a guitar in his home that belonged to his sister. He began exploring music as a way to work through the trials of teenage life and with three other friends formed a group called the Sons of Santa playing for the Texas area parties and small gatherings where they grew up. Eventually, they played for a youth group after writing a song titled “Dear Father,” and it was during one concert where the response to this song convinced Walther that music was to be in his life in a fuller way since it could be one way of bringing God’s healing love to people.

(Please turn to Page 4)

‘Youth Jam’ in Waterloo invites middle school students to deepen faith

Greg Wasinski speaks to middle school students during Youth Jam Nov. 19 at Columbus Catholic High School in Waterloo. (Photo by Kevin Feyen)

prayer and learning activities. One station “Let Me Be Me” had the students make a collage with words that they felt described their giftedness. “Let Me Be Loved” had the students make prayer beads that they could use for regular prayer when they got home. “Let Me Be Together” had the participants work as a team of six to build a

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cup pyramid with only strings and a rubber band touching the cups. “Let Me Be Forgiven” offered participants the chance to write a letter asking God for forgiveness and nail it to a cross or write a letter asking someone else for forgiveness. (Please turn to Page 6)

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Chagrin Falls, Ohio. He is a Catholic radio contributor, national speaker and author. The day involved fun games for middle school youth, two sessions with Greg Wasinski, “Let Me Be” rotations and a closing Mass with Father Aaron Junge. The “Let Me Be” rotations had the participants in smaller groups do hands-on

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WATERLOO — Youth Jam was held Nov. 19 at Columbus High School in Waterloo. The event drew over 200 youth and adults and is the third time the Archdiocese of Dubuque has offered a middle school gathering at the archdiocesan level. The featured speaker was Greg Wasin­ski of “Let Me Be Ministries.” Wasinski is from


PAGE 4 December 4, 2016

Reflecting on the church’s teaching about immigration By Mark Schmidt Special to The Witness “We see, for example, how quickly those among us with the status of a stranger, an immigrant, or a refugee, become a threat, take on the status of an enemy. An enemy because they come from a distant country or have different customs … because of the color of their skin, their language or their social class … because they think differently or even have a different faith. ... And, without our realizing it, this way of thinking becomes part of the way we live and act … Little by little, our differences turn into symptoms of hostility, threats and violence. How many wounds grow deeper due to this epidemic of animosity and violence, which leaves its mark on the flesh of many of the defenseless, because their voice is weak and silenced by this pathology of indifference!” — Pope Francis to the Consistory of Cardinals Many of us have little to no personal experience of the experiences of marginalized groups mentioned by the Holy Father. Perhaps our only interaction comes through news, movies, music or social media. Over the course of three weeks I would like to share a few experiences of people whom I care about being margin-

alized whose “wounds grow deeper due to this epidemic of animosity and violence.” A friend of mine sent me a text recently after her encounter with a person exclaiming anti-immigrant sentiments. “I was spit on,” she said. “I am too stressed and slightly scared to be outside in public.” Sadly, this was just one of several encounters she had over the course of a few days in the past several weeks. She is a Latina and has Mark regularly been the target Schmidt of such hate in her hometown of Dubuque. However, as has been reported across the nation, these unprovoked attacks on immigrants have come with more regularity in recent years. Anti-immigrant sentiment is nothing new to America. Irish, German and Italian Catholics were depicted as violent, apish, uncivilized, dirty and generally undesirable. Many of the same things said about undocumented and legal immigrants today were said about immigrants of the past. According to family oral history, I am the descendant of an undocumented immigrant who boarded a cattle ship as a stowaway in Europe and entered the Unit-

ed States in the late 1800s. His name was Christian Schmidt. He rarely spoke about where he came from and how he got here because he was fearful until the day he died, even after becoming a naturalized citizen, that he would be sent back to an uncertain fate. He was here for decades, raised a family, farmed the land, passed on his Catholic faith and helped to build up his adopted nation. His descendants became school teachers, farmers, social workers, priests, deacons, nurses, soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, the very fabric of America. Even so, he and many like him were considered “enemies,” threats to Amer­ica, all because they came “from a distant country” with “different customs.” The situation Christian found himself in generations ago is the same millions of migrants find themselves in today. His fears were the same as the fears of immigrants today. His desires and dreams were the same as those of immigrants today. His intrinsic dignity as a child of God, made in the likeness and image of our creator, was the same as that of the immigrants today. How can we help change the narrative about immigrants, whether here with or without proper documentation? As the Psalmist says: “seek peace and pursue it” (PS 34:15). We ought to recognize that building peace does require action; we

must actively pursue peace by turning away from the “pathology of indifference” of which Pope Francis speaks. Pope Saint John Paul II spoke in particular about undocumented immigrants in 1996, stating we must consider the issue “from the standpoint of Christ, who died to gather together the dispersed children of God (cf. Jn 11:52), to rehabilitate the marginalized and to bring close those who are distant. ... The first way to help these people is to listen to them in order to become acquainted with their situation, and, whatever their legal status with regard to State law, to provide them with the necessary means of subsistence.” Christ calls us to seek compassion and understanding for our brothers and sisters who present themselves to us as Christ in our midst. Let us join our voices with those of Pope Francis and our bishops to promote a welcoming attitude towards all immigrants, including those without documentation and advocate on their behalf for comprehensive immigration reform that keeps families together, respects the human rights and needs of immigrants, reduces wait times for the immigration process, allows for earned legalization, restores due process for migrants and allows for the nation to maintain safety for all. (Please turn to Page 8)

Singer and songwriter gives workshop in Ames (Con’t. from p. 3) “There was a group of girls,” he remembered, “and they were crying, wiping tears from their eyes. They came over to us and said that one of their boyfriends had just died in a car accident two weeks before and that the song had reminded them of him.” As a student at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, Walther began writing songs to use in worship services there. Once his songwriting career began to take shape, he went on to collaborate with Robbie Seay, Matt Maher and Oregon Catholic Press producer Tom Booth. Today, Walther travels throughout the country leading worship services in Catholic churches almost every weekend. He and his wife have six children and live in

Ohio. “But all the people who write music are in Nashville,” he joked. “There are just not enough Catholic music producers and the Christian music pool is huge. It’s really difficult for young Catholic writers to break into that. So if any of you want to start a Catholic music company, I want to encourage you to do that!” Walther currently has music with Ore­ gon Catholic Press and his songs can be found in editions of the Breaking Bread hymnal. His latest album, “ABLAZE,” has a song called, “Jesus, Meek and Humble,” done in collaboration with Sarah Hart. The CD is available for purchase at the OCP website, ( For inspiration, he

used a quote of St. Catherine of Siena, “If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze.” For inspiring future Catholic songwriters, Walther gave sage advice. “First, know thyself,” he said. “Where does your inspiration come from? Also silence, spending time in nature, exercising like running or riding a bike and read as much as you can. The more we read, the better we write and improve our vocabulary and command of the language.” At the conclusion of the workshop, St. Cecilia parishioner Judy Brown felt enthused. “It’s always helpful to have personal life stories that are then shared in song,” she said.

While a few Presbyterians present enjoyed the music, they still stated they “liked the old stuff.” Finishing out the weekend of celebration, the parish held a dinner, tables of information of the many ministries in the parish and a musical extravaganza. Musicians of the parish shared a wide variety of instrumental and vocal talents; dulcimers from Appalachia, a harp, guitars, flute music and the St. Cecilia choir performed. The evening concluded with an XLT Adoration service given by Ben Walther.

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PAGE 5 December 4, 2016

Naming Grace in the Domestic Church

The kingdom of heaven is at hand!


alking into this classroom, one was struck immediately by its warmth, peacefulness and joy. This was not a class for “gifted and talented” students. Rather, this class of 11 extraordinary children included three special needs children. There was darkhaired Maggie, whose eyes twinkled while she talked up a storm. And Lauren, whose language skills were limited, but conveyed her joyous spirit through her infectious smile. And there was Timmy, whose hand was always the first raised to volunteer. The Spirit of the Lord seemed to rest upon this truly gifted classroom. The children were amazingly kind and considerate. Incredible teachers, parents and helpers embraced each child, each need and each lesson. They worked together, prayed together and laughed together. Truly, the kingdom of heaven was at hand! In this Sunday’s readings, Isaiah draws back the curtain to grant us a vision of the kingdom of heaven: a holy mountain where the “wolf will be a guest to the

MARY PEDERSEN Adult Faith Formation Director for the Archdiocese of Dubuque lamb.” John the Baptist announces the entrance into the kingdom with his fiery call: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Repentance, the key to the kingdom, is a letting go, which, according to theologian John Shea, clears our hearts “for the arrival of what is deeply desired.” When we yearn for God’s original plan, we begin to reimagine what our homes, churches, neighborhoods and cities could be. We can then let go, repent, of pre-conceived ideas and self-deceptions. Repentance turns us from self/sin and opens our hearts to God. With repentance, the Spirit begins to rearrange our homes into dwelling places of the Christ child. We soon envision our families gathered around the kitchen table, candles lit, heads bowed in prayer and

thanksgiving. We begin to act by turning off social media to be truly present to one another. We begin to live out God’s vision by caring tenderly for our young and old, by graciously inviting neighbors and foreigners into our homes and by humbly serving the poor in our midst. Families with a vision of the kingdom of heaven are inspiring. My daughter’s college roommate and husband have eight children, five of whom are adopted, some with special needs. A family from our parish serves together each month in a soup kitchen, participates in the annual adopt a family and regularly visits the elderly in a local nursing home. Any size or shape of family where God’s love reigns is a light to the nation. Truly, the kingdom of heaven is at hand! As parents/grandparents, we name grace—God’s presence—by praying for God’s vision and invoking the Spirit to work in our domestic churches. We name grace by modeling the kingdom of heaven through our inclusion of other races, abilities and incomes. We name grace through our outreach in charity and justice.

“Any size or shape of family where God’s love reigns is a light to the nation.” When preparing to return to the Twin Cities after Thanksgiving, our 9-year-old granddaughter, Ellie, asked her mom, “Why can’t we just live together?” Laura explained all our obligations in our current locations. Ellie listened, but didn’t buy; Ellie’s heart sees the bigger picture— where four generations could love and care for one another under one roof. Ellie envisions the kingdom of heaven: a holy mountain, a glorious dwelling, a home filled with all our loved ones. Now, that’s good news! Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding parents in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.

St. Stephen’s students deliver Thanksgiving baskets Food given to those immigrants in need at two parishes CEDAR FALLS — On Monday, Nov. 21 students and volunteers at St. Stephen the Witness on the University of Northern Iowa Campus in Cedar Falls delivered 240 food baskets to individuals and families in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area. These will serve approximately 800 individuals. The baskets included turkey, pie, stuffing mix or white rice, potatoes, cans of beans and corn, mushroom soup, fried onions, cranberries, gravy, rolls and butter. This year about 88 baskets were delivered to Sacred Heart Parish and 49 to Queen of Peace

parish to be shared with their immigrant population. This project was led by Student Peer Minister Grace Steil. Several student and member volunteers helped with assembly and delivery of the food. The process is: 1. In late September, letters are sent to organizations and churches seeking names of those needing food for the holiday. 2. The organizations send names, addresses and contact numbers. Sometimes individuals will call requesting a basket. 3. Donations of food and money are solicited through the St. Stephen and UNI community. The value of the baskets is approximately $40; this includes cash toward purchase of turkey and pie.

4. St. Stephen the Witness students, community members, student organizations, Cedar Valley individuals and businesses all contribute. On the Monday before Thanksgiving, volunteers gather to assemble the food baskets. 5. Turkeys and pies are preordered and are picked up that morning. 6. In the afternoon, volunteer drivers deliver the baskets. The routes have been mapped. Each route includes four to eight baskets and four to five stops. There are about 16 pairs of drivers and 32 volunteers involved in this effort. St. Stephen the Witness student leaders and staff are very grateful for the generosity of the St. Stephen community and the businesses and individual donors.

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The students gave 88 baskets to Sacred Heart Parish, helping with the delivery and assembly for handing them out. Pictured (l-r): a Sacred Heart community member, Trudy Connor (Sacred Heart staff), and volunteers: Holly Trenkamp, Elizabeth Kelly, Grace Opperman and Kate Banwarth. (Contributed photo)

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PAGE 6 December 4, 2016

Prayer service in Cascade begins Advent season

Coming events ANKENY Men and Women’s CEW A Christian Experience Weekend is a renewal weekend for adults, designed to enable them to more deeply experience themselves, their relationship to God and the Christian community. A women’s CEW will be held at Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Catholic Church in Ankeny Jan. 27-29. A men’s CEW is scheduled in the same place Feb. 17-19. For more information, contact Kris Gaspari (for women) via email at or call 515-306-7838. For men, contact Mike Tjarks via email at or call 515-

(Left) Students at Aquin Catholic School in Cascade, began the Advent season Monday morning, Nov. 28 with a prayer service for the student body, parents and staff. Seventh grade students and Mrs. Ostwinkle led the service by explaining the meaning of the Advent wreath. Each classroom’s wreath was then blessed and the first purple candle lit. Music was led by the eighth grade girls accompanied by Mrs. O’Brien. Pictured is Davis Manternach reading from the book of Isaiah. (Photo by Katie McGuire)

689-3433. You can also visit­ retreats/. DUBUQUE Sponsor Angels Program Each holiday season, St. Mark Youth Enrichment in Dubuque coor­ dinates their annual “Sponsor Angels” pro­­gram. This program provides warm winter clothing for children in our programs. St. Mark is inviting community friends and businesses to join the effort again this year. Individuals and businesses will be paired with St. Mark students and their siblings.

Then these individuals, or Sponsor Angels, purchase the requested clothing items and deliver them to St. Mark Youth Enrichment offices located at 1201 Locust Street. If you are interested in sponsoring one or more children, but do not have time to shop, we have shoppers available. The cost of one child is $75. Please feel free to make your financial contribution and our shoppers will select gifts for your child. Please contact Beth McGorry, outreach coordinator, at bmc­ or 563582-6211 ext 102. (Please turn to Page 9)

Youth Jam (Con’t. from p. 4)

Finally, “Let me Be Prayerful” gave the participants the chance to write or draw about people who needed prayers on paper bags. These bags were later used as luminaries that lit the way down a darkened corridor to our closing Mass. Wasinski inspired the participants to look closely at themselves as God sees them. He helped them realize that they are loved by God and needed by God. He

had the kids actively declare that “Faith is COOL” and that COOL stands for Christ Owns Our Lives. And that is cool! Father Junge’s homily focused on how we are all called and capable of being super heroes. We don’t have to pretend to be sent on a mission to save the world. In fact, in our real world, that is exactly what we are called to be a part of.

Obituaries Sr. Solano Breuer, OSF

Robert Zinkula

DUBUQUE — The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated for Sister Solano Breuer, OSF, 98, at 1 p.m. on Thursday Dec. 1, in Francis Chapel. The presider was Rev. Robert Beck. Sister died Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 at Clare House in the 75th year of her religious life. Coletta Magdelen, daughter of the late Arthur and Anna (Mumm) Breuer, was born Jan. 14, 1918 in Glen Haven, Wisconsin. She was baptized and confirmed at Holy Mary, Help of Christians Church in Glen Haven, Wisconsin. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque from Holy Mary, Help of Christians Church in Glen Haven, Wisconsin. She was received with the name Sister Mary Solano on Aug. 12, 1942, and made her final profession of vows on Aug. 10, 1947. Sister served as a homemaker and nurse aide in Dubuque at Mary of the Angels, St. Francis Home and Stonehill Franciscan Services. Sister is survived by her sister, Anne Wagner, her sisters-in-law, Agatha Breuer and Dorothy Breuer, her nieces and nephews, and her Franciscan sisters with whom she shared 74 years of her life. Sister was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Leo (Laura) Breuer, Roland (Agnes; Leotha) Breuer, Alphonse (Esther) Breuer, Fred Breuer, Leonard Breuer, a sister Pauline (Ray) Crubel and brother-in-law Anthony Wagner. Memorials may be given to the Sisters of St. Francis, 3390 Windsor Ave., Dubuque, IA 52001.

MOUNT VERNON — Robert “Bob” Zinkula, 86, of Mount Vernon, died peacefully Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, at Hospice of Mercy, Hiawatha. Mass of Christian Burial was at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Mount Vernon, with Rev. Msgr. Tom Zinkula presiding. Visita­tion was from 3-7 p.m. Tuesday, at the church, with a vigil service at 7 p.m. Visitation also was held one hour prior to the service at the church on Wednesday. Burial was in Mount Vernon Memorial Cemetery. Arrangements were by Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services, Mount Vernon. Survivors include his treasured wife of 64 years, Mary; sons, Rev. Msgr. Tom, Ken (Penni), Jerry (Connie), and Mark (Theresa) Zinkula; daughters, Diane Zin­kula, Donna (John) McKay, Sandy (Keith) Moore, Sharon Zinkula (Joseph Flowers), and JoAnn (Bob) Kintzel; grandchildren, Elizabeth (Ernie) Yoder, Mathew, and Jason Zinkula, Jacob, Ryan, and Anna Zin­kula, Sarah, Erin, Kyle, and Tyler Zinkula, Alexandra and Kaitlin Moore, Lauren Flowers, and Shelby and Courtney Kintzel; great-granddaughter, Haylie Zin­kula; brother, Raymond (Sheryl) Zinkula; and many extended family members, neighbors, and friends. Robert Francis Zinkula was born Dec. 3, 1929, in Cedar Rapids, to George and Bessie (Vislisel) Zinkula. A lifetime resident of Mount Vernon, he attended Mount Vernon High School, graduating in 1947. Bob met Mary Volz at Danceland, and they married on May 15, 1952, at St. Michael Catholic Church in Norway, Iowa. Bob was a long time dedicated member of and volunteer at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. He served on many boards, including the Mount Vernon Community School District, Linn Co-Op, and Farmland Industries, and he was an active volunteer in the community. Bob was a talented, hard-working, and innovative farmer who always put family first. He successfully balanced the three most important aspects of his life: faith, family, and farming. Bob had a great sense of humor, frequently sharing a good joke with a smile and a sparkle in his eye. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Joseph; and sisters, Marie Kuntz and Dorothy Robinson. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church or the Mount Vernon Community School District Foundation. Please share your support and memories with Bob’s family on his tribute wall at www. under obituaries.

Sr. Therese Miller, BVM DUBUQUE — Sister Therese ­Miller, BVM (Therese Emile), 87, of Marian Hall, 1050 Carmel Drive, Dubuque, Iowa, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, at Marian Hall. The Natural Burial Rite of Committal was held on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Burial was in the Mount Carmel cemetery. A memorial service and Mass was held on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, at 10:45 a.m. in the Marian Hall Chapel. Sister Therese served as congregational employee, ministering as nurse aide and laundry worker at Mount Carmel in Dubuque, and worked as con­vent cook in Davenport. She was an elementary school teacher in Chicago. She was born in Iowa City, Iowa, on May 15, 1929, to Paul Anson and Theresa Graef Miller. She entered the BVM congregation Feb. 2, 1950, from St. Mary Parish, Iowa City, Iowa. She professed first vows on Aug. 15, 1952, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1957. She is preceded in death by her parents; brothers Clifford, Peter, Louis, Carl and Joseph; and sisters Alta Miller Reber, Agnes Rocca, Maglene Parizek and Theresa Eckrich. She is survived by nieces, nephews and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 66 years. Memorials may be given to Sisters of Charity, BVM Support Fund, 1100 Car­mel Drive, Dubuque, IA 52003 or online at Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory, 2595 Rockdale Rd., Dubuque, IA 52003 was in charge of arrangements.

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PAGE 7 December 4, 2016

Obituaries Sr. Veronica Grennan, BVM DUBUQUE — Sister Veron­ica Grennan, BVM (Ita), 103, of Marian Hall, 1050 Carmel Drive, Dubuque, Iowa, passed away Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, at Marian Hall. Visitation was from 9-11 a.m., on Mon­day, Nov. 28, 2016, in the Marian Hall Chapel, followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy was held at 1:30 p.m. Burial was in Mount Carmel Cemetery. Sister Veronica was an elementery and secondary school teacher and ad­ministrator at St. Patrick ES/HS in Cedar Rapids, St. Martin HS in Cascade, and Regina HS in Iowa City, all in Iowa; at St. Thomas of Canterbury ES in Chicago, St. Odilo in Berwyn, and Mary Queen of Heaven ES in Cicero, Illinois; Immaculate Conception ES/HS in Clarksdale, Mississippi; Portland Central HS in Portland, Oregon; and Blanchet HS in Seattle, Washington. In Rock Island, Illinois,

she was a secondary school counselor and teacher at Alleman HS and served in pastoral ministry at Sacred Heart Parish. She was born in Sterling, Illinois, on Sept. 17, 1913, to John and Mary Loran Grennan. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1931, from St. Mary Parish, Sterling. She professed first vows on March 19, 1934, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1939. She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Francis and Edward; and sisters, Mary Manetta Grennan, BVM, Marie Brophy and Evelyn Barry. She is survived by a sister, Mary Alice Butler, Jacksonville, Florida; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for (85) years. Memorials may be given to Sisters of Charity, BVM Support Fund, 1100 Carmel Drive, Dubuque, IA, 52003, or online at The Miller Funeral Home, 1185 Rt. 35 N, East Dubuque, Illinois, was in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be left at

Death Notices AMES Donald P. Hadaway, age 85, died Nov. 18. Funeral from St. Cecilia Parish, Nov. 23, Rev. James Secora officiating. Interment in Ss. Peter & Paul Cemetery, Gilbert. BELLE PLAINE Marion Donovan, age 87, died Nov. 18. Funeral from St. Michael Parish, Nov. 22, Deacon Joseph Behounek officiating. Interment in Oak Hill Cemetery. BELLEVUE Larry A. Feller, age 64, died Nov. 21. Funeral from St. Joseph Parish, Nov. 27, Rev. Phillip Kruse officiating. Interment in St. Joseph Cemetery. Wilfred J. Merfeld, age 78, died Nov. 21. Funeral from St. Joseph Parish, Nov. 25, Rev. Phillip Kruse officiating. Interment in St. Patrick Cemetery, Garryowen. CALMAR

Frank J. Honigman, age 86, died Nov. 16. Funeral from Cathedral of St. Raphael Parish, Nov. 22, Rev. Msgr. Thomas Toale officiating. Interment in Mt. Calvary Cemetery. Jeanette M. Lynn, age 85, died Nov. 17. Funeral from St. Columbkille Parish, Nov. 21, Rev. Msgr. Thomas Toale officiating. Interment in Mt. Calvary Cemetery.



Helen M. Willis, age 100, died Nov. 15. Funeral from St. Joseph Parish, Nov. 21, Rev. Msgr. Christopher Walsh officiating. Interment in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Key West.

Catherine K. Curphy, age 99, died Oct. 25. Funeral from Sacred Heart Parish, Nov. 2, Rev. Paul Baldwin officiating. Interment at a later date.


Rosemary H. Goldsmith, age 91, died Oct. 24. Funeral from Sacred Heart Parish, Oct. 27, Rev. Paul Baldwin officiating. Interment in Holy Cross Cemetery, Anamosa.

DECEMBER 9: Rev. Msgr. John W. Howell, Loras College, Dubuque, 1950


DECEMBER 9: Rev. J. Duane Raftis, retired, Immaculate Conception, Wexford and St. AnnSt. Joseph, Harpers Ferry, 2000

Terence J. Tracey, age 50, died Nov. 16. Funeral from St. Matthias Parish, St. Martin Church, Nov. 23, Rev. Douglas Loecke officiating.

Norma L. Kuempel, age 87, died Nov. 16. Funeral from St. Mary Parish, Nov. 19, Rev. John Moser, Rev. Msgr. Edward Lechtenberg, Rev. Marvin Bries and Deacon James Pfaffly officiating. Interment in St. Mary Cemetery.

Guy Cagley, age 77, died Nov. 20. Private service, Nov. 23, Rev. Gary Mayer officiating. Interment in Calvary Cemetery. CHELSEA Sheryl Cibula, age 72, died Nov. 18. Funeral from St. Joseph Parish, Nov. 21, Very Rev. Michael Mescher officiating. Interment in Stayskal Cemetery, Vining. CRESCO Harlan L. Henry, age 86, died Nov. 19. Funeral from St. Bridget Oratory, Blufton, Nov. 22, Rev. Dennis Cain officiating. Interment in St. Bridget Cemetery, Blufton.

HARPERS FERRY Mary K. Mettille, age 96, died Nov. 12. Funeral from St. Pius Oratory, Cherry Mound, Nov. 19, Rev. Bernard Grady and Rev. Mark Osterhaus officiating. Interment in St. Pius Cemetery, Cherry Mound. HOPKINTON Harold J. Crowley, age 92, died Nov. 16. Funeral from St. Luke Parish, Nov. 19, Rev. Paul Baldwin officiating. Interment in Hopkinton Cemetery. INDEPENDENCE Shirley A. Bagby, age 87, died Nov. 17. Funeral from St. John the Evangelist Parish, Nov. 21, Rev. David Beckman officiating. Interment in St. Patrick Cemetery, Winthrop. Colleen O’Connell, age 75, died Oct. 13. Funeral from St. John the Evangelist Parish, Nov. 19, Deacon Edward Weber officiating. Interment in St. John Cemetery.

Clarence J. Schwamman, age 86, died Nov. 15. Funeral from St. Luke Parish, Nov. 19, Rev. Kyle Digmann officiating. Interment in St. Luke Cemetery. ANNIVERSARIES OF DEPARTED PRIESTS DECEMBER 4: Rev. Irwin H. Matt, Holy Rosary, La Motte, 1995 DECEMBER 5: Rev. Gerald Shekleton, Editor of The Witness & Chaplain, Mt. Loretto, Dubuque, 1979 DECEMBER 5: Rev. Reynold J. Sigwarth, retired, St. Patrick, Colesburg, 1998 DECEMBER 6: Rev. John J. Murtagh, St. Mary, Ackley, 1948 DECEMBER 6: Rev. Raymond F. Roseliep, Chaplain, Holy Family Hall, Dubuque, 1983 DECEMBER 6: Rev. John W. Stark, retired, Im­maculate Conception, Masonville, 1999 DECEMBER 7: Rev. Aloysius H. Schmitt, Chaplain, U.S. Navy, Pearl Harbor, 1941 DECEMBER 7: Rev. Henry A. Holthaus, re­ tired, Immaculate Conception, North Wash­ing­ ton, 1956 DECEMBER 7: Rev. Thomas L. Flood, St. Patrick, Buffalo Center & Sacred Heart, Woden, 1958

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Nadeyne S. Ganahl, age 90, died Nov. 15. Funeral from St. Patrick Parish, Nov. 18, Rev. Msgr. Thomas Toale officiating. Interment in Mt. Calvary Cemetery. Jan Glew, age 79, died Nov. 19. Funeral from Church of the Nativity Parish, Nov. 22, Rev. Msgr. James Miller officiating. Interment in Linwood Cemetery.

DECEMBER 7: Rev. Msgr. Luke B. Striegel, retired, St. Joseph, Elkader, 1989

Patricia A. Sheehy, age 89, died Nov. 14. Funeral from Epiphany Parish, St. Joseph Church, Nov. 19, Rev. Neil Manternach officiating. Interment in Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery.



DECEMBER 7: Rev. Msgr. Gerald V. Steiert, retired, St. Aloysius, Calmar, 1984

Louise Russell, age 86, died Nov. 18. Funeral from Sacred Heart Parish, Nov. 23, Rev. Jerry Blake officiating. Interment in Calvary Cemetery.


Maria S. Martinez, age 74, died Nov. 16. Funeral from St. Jude Parish, Nov. 19, Rev. Mark Reasoner officiating.

DECEMBER 7: Rev. Edmund W. Loosbrock, retired, Sacred Heart, Maquoketa, 1982


Paul J. Gerleman, age 84, died Nov. 16. Funeral from St. Aloysius Parish, Nov. 19, Rev. G. Robert Gross officiating. Interment in St. Aloysius Cemetery.

Donald L. Grant, age 75, died Nov. 13. Funeral from All Saints Parish, Nov. 18, Rev. John Flaherty officiating. Interment in Czech National Cemetery.

Teresa Bellmore, age 62, died Oct. 22. Private service, Nov. 12, Rev. Neil Manternach officiating. Interment in Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery. Karl F. Langhart, age 59, died Nov. 11. Funeral from Epiphany Parish, Holy Family Church, Nov. 19, Rev. Andrew A-Mensah officiating. Interment in Memorial Park Cemetery.

Nathan A. Springer, age 23, died Nov. 15. Funeral from Immaculate Conception Parish, Nov. 21, Rev. Henry Huber, Rev. Lloyd Reuter and Deacon Ralph Davis officiating. Interment in Sancta Maria Cemetery.



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DECEMBER 7: Rev. John N. Kessler, retired, Sacred Heart, Osage, 1993 DECEMBER 8: Rev. Edward J. Frost, Chaplain, Mental Health Institute, Independence, 1981 DECEMBER 8: Rev. Msgr. John J. Smith, retired, Sacred Heart, Grundy Center, 1985 DECEMBER 8: Rev. Msgr. Alvan P. Heuring, retired, St. Michael, Belle Plaine, 2010 DECEMBER 9: Rev. John J. Leen, V.F., St. Joseph, New Hampton, 1947

DECEMBER 9: Rev. Msgr. Alfred P. Meyer, V.F., St. Mary, Marshalltown, 1952

DECEMBER 10: Rev. John J. O’Meara, St. Mary, Ackley, 1937 DECEMBER 10: Rev. Franz J. Lohberg, re­­ tired, St. Mary, Colo, 1988 DECEMBER 10: Rev. Msgr. William P. Leonard, retired, Church of the Nativity, Dubuque, 2008

Please remember The Witness when you are writing or updating your will. A bequest made to The Witness will help keep the good news coming for future generations.

PAGE 8 December 4, 2016


First annual Mass of remembrance for chaplain is Dec. 7 Earlier this year, with the 75th anniversary of Chaplain Schmitt’s death soon approaching, the Knight’s assembly decided to work with officials at Loras to organize a special Mass in his honor.

“All good deeds must be remembered and honored, so as to serve as a model to be followed. This is the case of Chaplain Schmitt.” Loras College’s Knights of Columbus Council #9224 is pictured above. Some of their members will take part in the Mass of remembrance for Chaplain Schmitt, an alumnus of Loras, on the 75th anniversary of his death. Participants will also remember others who died in the Pearl Harbor attack. (Contributed photo)

To be held on 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack By Jill Kruse Witness Editorial Assistant DUBUQUE — On Dec. 7, members of a local assembly of fourth degree Knights of Columbus will put on their distinctive regalia attire – with capes and swords and plumed “chapeau” hats – and they will gather at Loras College’s Christ the King Chapel to remember their namesake on the 75th anniversary of his death. The Chaplain Aloysius H. Schmitt Knights of Columbus Assembly #3556 will provide the honor guard for a special Mass of remembrance for Father Al Schmitt, a native of St. Lucas and graduate of Loras, who was killed during the 1945 attack at Pearl Harbor. This is the first year the Knights have organized a memorial Mass, but they hope it will become an annual event. This year’s Mass carries extra significance since Chaplain Schmitt’s remains

were just recently identified and were interred in the Loras chapel this October. The Knights’ Chaplain Schmitt Assembly was established on May 1, 2015. It consists of three separate Knights of Columbus (KC) councils – one from St. Joseph the Worker Parish, one from nearby St. Columbkille Parish and one from Loras College, all in Dubuque. Steve Hesprich, who leads the assembly in a position titled the “faithful navigator,” said naming their assembly after Chaplain Schmitt seemed like a natural fit. “A member from the St. Joseph the Worker council, a former Naval guy, suggested it. The idea was well liked. It made sense with our emphasis on patriotism,” Hesprich said. There are four principles associated with the Knights of Columbus – charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. Each degree of the Knights is associated with one of those principles; the fourth degree is known as the patriotic degree. “Chaplain Schmitt exemplified the motto of his school, Loras College – for God and country,” said Hesprich. “And that fits well with the Knights.”

Father Hilary Aidoo, Friar for Chaplain Aloysius Schmitt Knights of Columbus Assembly #3556 Hesprich said he and other Knights became aware of the military’s efforts to identify Chaplain Schmitt’s remains after reading about it in an article in The Witness in January. “We were hoping they would identify him and bring him back before the event on Dec. 7, and our prayers were answered, and they did,” he said. Father Dennis Miller, Loras College’s chaplain and a member of the school’s fourth degree Knights of Columbus assembly, was one of the individuals instrumental in planning the Mass for Chaplain Schmitt. The priest said he had learned about the life and death of Chaplain Schmitt a decade ago, while visiting the cemetery in Hawaii where his unidentified remains and those of others killed at Pearl Harbor were buried. He was shown around the cemetery by Father Andrew Lawrence, a chaplain from the Archdiocese of Dubuque, who shared with him how Chaplain Schmitt had died saving the lives of 12 men when their ship was hit by Japanese torpedoes. “It was such an inspiring story,” reflected Father Miller. “And it’s very ex-

citing that even though it took awhile, through a labor of love, the government was able to identify his remains, and now, 10 years later, I have this assignment at Loras College, and I get to be part of this celebration to honor this incredible man. It’s an amazing, humbling moment.” Father Hilary Aidoo, the sacramental priest at St. Joseph the Worker and St. Columbkille Parishes, serves as the chaplain, or “friar,” for the Chaplain Aloysius Schmitt Assembly. Father Aidoo said he is looking forward to the Dec. 7 Mass and believes it is very appropriate for the KCs to recognize such a man as Chaplain Schmitt. “All good deeds must be remembered and honored, so as to serve as a model to be followed. This is the case of Chaplain Schmitt,” Father Aidoo said. “As a chaplain, he did not think of himself first, but offered his life to save the lives of other soldiers. … Chaplain Schmitt has become a role model to all and more especially to the Knights of Columbus who are called to protect and defend life.” The Mass at Loras will be held at 6 p.m. and is open to the public. Archbishop Michael Jackels will be the main celebrant. Fathers Miller and Aidoo will also be part of the Mass, as will Father Gabriel Anderson, the pastor of St. Joseph the Worker and St. Columbkille Parishes. Several past military chaplains from the archdiocese also hope to be present. The chalice that will be used during the Mass was one that had belonged to Chaplain Schmitt and was recovered from the wreckage of the USS Oklahoma following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Mass will be followed by a reception in the Loras College student center. In addition to the Mass on Dec. 7, Chaplain Schmitt will also be honored at a Knights of Columbus event this spring. The Iowa State Convention for the Knights of Columbus will be held at the Grand River Center in Dubuque April 7-9. Chaplain Schmitt will be the honoree at the exemplification ceremony at the gathering on April 7.

Reflecting on the church’s teaching (Con’t. from p. 4) The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also promotes: “increasing lawful means for migrants to enter, live, and work in the United States, law enforcement will be better able to focus upon those who truly threaten public safety: drug and human traffickers, smugglers, and would-be terrorists. Any enforcement measures must be targeted, proportional, and humane.” The recent recession, the largest refugee crisis since World War II, and some devastating acts of terror worldwide have shaped the discussion on immigration and security proposals in our nation. Though these are legitimate concerns on their own it is problematic to point to immigration as the source of

“Understanding the facts about immigration can help us to promote policies that are not based on fear, but on faith, hope, love and justice ...” these problems. Studies have shown that immigrants, whether here legally or undocumented, are far less likely to commit crimes than natural born citizens of the United States. Communities with higher

numbers of immigrants, again regardless of immigration status, are generally more economically stable and successful than areas with lower migrant populations. It is also important for us to recognize that the net immigration from places like Mexico is nearly zero, meaning that the people who come from Mexico each year are nearly equal in number as those returning to Mexico in the same year. Undocumented immigrants also pay tens of billions of dollars worth of taxes each year and billions more into the economy with their commercial purchases. Understanding the facts about immigration can help us to promote policies that are not based on fear but on faith, hope, love and justice; making our nation stronger

and building a greater culture of encounter and culture of life. Let us stand up in solidarity with the marginalized, opposing “animosity and violence” when we encounter it in speech or action, especially within our own spheres of influence. The immigrant is our brother, our sister, Christ in our midst. For more information on the church’s teaching and approach to immigration reform go to: www.justiceforimmigrants. org. Schmidt is the director of the Office of Respect Life and Social Justice for the Archdiocese of Dubuque. This article is the first in a series about Respect Life and Social Justice issues.

Archdiocese ­

PAGE 9 December 4, 2016

As hospice chaplain, sister is dedicated to end of life care

and with their family. When you hug the families goodbye, and most of them are tearful; then, one becomes tearful also.” Sister Mary Lou is most inspired by the dedication of her co-workers who

form the hospice team. The nurses, social workers, technicians, music therapists, and massage therapists all have the enthusiasm and compassion to serve the sick and the dying, she said When Sister Barbara Supanich, M.D., died this fall in hospice care at McAuley Life Center in Detroit, Michigan, she brought to a graceful close a lifetime of care for others. As an associate professor at the University of Michigan, she focused on the ethics of death and dying. For the last 11 years, she worked with patients at the end of life. When she was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, the path she was beginning was clear to her. Palliative care had become her specialty, and she became a patient fully knowledgeable about the hospice care she was receiving. Before her death, she looked back on her own ministry. “Caring for patients and their families within the setting of a hospice has deepened my understanding of God’s tenderness, love, and merciful presence in our lives,” she said.

All donated shoes will then be redistributed throughout the Funds2Orgs network of microenterprise partners in developing nations. Funds2Orgs helps impoverished people start, maintain and grow businesses in countries such as Haiti, Honduras and other nations in Central America and Africa. Proceeds from the shoe sales are used to help feed, clothe and house their families. These shoes will also be helping people in third world countries to fight lupus. “We are excited about our shoe drive,” said Beth Hoppel, coordinator of youth ministry, “We know that most people have extra shoes in their closets they would like donate to us and help those less fortunate become self-sufficient. Our goal is 5,000 pairs of shoes. It’s a win-win situation for everyone,” added Hoppel. By donating shoes to the St. Isidore Youth Group, the shoes will be given a second chance and make a difference in people’s lives.

A number of the shoes collected for the St. Isidore Cluster youth group’s shoe drive are pictured above. (Contributed photo)

By Liz Dossa Special to The Witness CEDAR RAPIDS — Hospice care has become a vital part of healthcare for the Sisters of Mercy. As a chaplain at the Hospice House of Mercy in Cedar Rapids. Sister Mary Lou Podzimek, RSM, comforts patients and their families at one of their most vulnerable times. These patients know they aren’t going to get better physically, but Sister Mary Lou hopes that they do get better spiritually as they prepare for their new “home.” Sister Mary Lou said, “I approach my ministry with enthusiasm and energy each day. It is truly a gift for me to be with the patients on their last journey, to help them with spiritual, emotional, and any other concerns they might have. It is also a blessing to be with the families and to offer support.” Working in a hospice house can be emotionally challenging. The longer Sister Mary Lou has spent with a patient, the more difficult it is when they die. “We do cry,” she said. “I cry with the patient

Sister Mary Lou Podzimek, RSM, is chaplain of the Hospice House of Mercy. (Contributed photo)

Similarly, Sister Mary Lou finds care and compassion in her co-workers. “Deaths take a toll on us,” she said. “We wonder if we could have done more, but know in our hearts we could not have done more. Each patient leaves an empty space in our hearts.” Co-worker, Lorie Bruns, RN, BSN, praised Sister Mary Lou’s work at Hospice House of Mercy, “She is truly a gift from heaven, providing spiritual guidance in a gentle manner. The patients religious preference does matter as she provides just what each and every patient and loved ones require without prejudice. I cannot say enough about her — a true gift to all who have had the privilege of meeting her.” Helping families with grief is also full of rich reward for Sister Mary Lou. When asked if she might consider retiring after 28 years of pastoral work, she says, “Why retire? I do love this work. I really do.” Dossa is the Communications Manager for the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest.

St. Isidore youth group launches shoe collection Will support 2017 mission trip and microenterprises

OSAGE — St. Isidore Catholic Community Youth Group—Sacred Heart Parish of Osage and Visitation Parish of Stacyville are conducting a shoe collection drive to raise funds for a summer of 2017 Mission trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado. St. Isidore youth will earn funds based on the number of pairs collected as Funds2Orgs will purchase all of the donated goods. Those dollars will benefit the costs of their mission trip. Anyone can help by donating gently worn, used or new shoes at the breezeway door between the old Sacred Heart School & Gym or by calling 641-732-3428 to setup an appointment for drop-off.

Coming events (Con’t. from p. 6) REINBECK Cookie Walk Holy Family Parish, St. Gabriel Church in Reinbeck will hold a Holiday Cookie Walk and Bazaar 9-11 a.m. Dec. 3. People may purchase a box for $12 and fill it with the cookies and candies of your choice. Breakfast cinnamon rolls will be served and holiday vendors will have craft items for sale. SCOTCH GROVE Live Nativity A Live Nativity will be held Dec. 3-4 at the Bean Family Farm in Scotch Grove. On Dec. 3, the Streets of Bethlehem will be open from 4-8:30 p.m. The Nativity Presentation will be from 5-7 p.m. On Dec. 4, the Streets will be open from 124:30 p.m., with the Live Nativity at 1 p.m and 3

p.m. Experience the narrated Christmas Story, enacted by characters in period costumes. The story begins with the angel Gabriel’s visit to the Virgin Mary, the Annunciation. The story is beautifully narrated, accompanied by a vocalist, bringing the historical account alive with song. Admission is free. Donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, find us at: WATERLOO Advent Online Retreat Registration is open for the Waterloo parishes’ “Busy Catholic’s Online Advent Retreat” Dec. 5-11. Register online at: forms/advent-online-retreat/.

Support for Married Couples First Tuesday, a support and enrichment opportunity for married couples, meets on Tuesday, Dec. 6 from 7-8:30 p.m. at COR at 220 E. 4th St., Waterloo. This opportunity, sponsored by the Catholic parishes in Waterloo, is open to married couples of any age or faith. Information at 319-233-0498 and online at waterloocatholics. org/first-tuesday-for-married-couples Confession Guide The Catholic Parishes in Waterloo will sponsor “The Busy Catholic’s Guide to Confession” on Thursday, Dec. 8. 7-8 p.m. Putz Hall, Blessed Sacrament Parish. Here is an opportunity to find out more about how and why Catholics celebrate the sacrament of penance. The session will address practical questions like when and how often

Catholics go to confession, what formats are available, how to prepare, and what to say. Information at 319-234-9912 and online at Singles Ministry An event for singles is scheduled for Dec. 10, 6:30-9 p.m. Putz Hall, Blessed Sacrament Parish. Friends in Faith, the singles ministry of the Catholic parishes in Waterloo, will sponsor a Singles Potluck and Christmas Party on Saturday, Dec. 10, 6:30-9 p.m, in Putz Hall at Blessed Sacrament Parish. Single Catholics, ages 35 and older are welcome. Bring a covered dish to share and your own table service. White elephant gift exchange is optional. Information at 319-2393001 or online at

Faith Alive

PAGE 10 December 4, 2016

How to craft a Jesse tree with your family By Kelly Bothum Catholic News Service This time of year most of us aren’t think­ ing about the weeds in our garden. But af­ ter spending much of the summer battling unwanted vines in our yard, I’ve learned something about the power of long roots. They ground us — pun intended — and connect us to something beyond ourselves. They were a nuisance in my garden, but in my faith, long roots are a gift from a lov­ ing God. They give us something to cling to as we push on through life’s challenges. They anchor us as we bloom. There’s great value in knowing your roots. And that’s exactly what the Jesse tree offers kids at Advent — the chance to learn about Jesus’ own family history as well as our connection to the familiar sto­ ries from the Old Testament. The Jesse tree is like a family tree of our faith. Its name comes from Isaiah 11:1: “A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blos­ som.” Jesse was the father of King David, from whom Jesus’ family descended. Kids can decorate a Jesse tree with or­ naments that tell stories of the people and events leading up to the birth of Jesus. These stories — about Abraham, Noah and the ark, Samuel and John the Baptist, among others — can help kids to see that God has always loved us. Children can start to see the bigger pic­ ture of their faith and Jesus’ own connec­ tion to this kingly lineage going back to the Old Testament. The Jesse tree is a simple project that’s ideal for the start of Advent. You need a Bible, some paper, colored pencils or markers, scissors and thread for hanging the finished ornament. Of course, you also need a tree, but let your imagination guide you. A small arti­ ficial tree works, but so does an evergreen branch or two that’s glued or tied to a wooden base. If space is an issue, consider making a paper tree and gluing the orna­ ments to the paper.

Food for Thought The blessing of an Advent wreath can be done at home in families. The text below is taken from “Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers.” One family member can lead the prayer while the others say the response: All make the sign of the cross as the leader says: Our help is in the name of the Lord. Response: Who made heaven and earth. Then the Scripture, Isaiah 9:1-2 and 5-6; or Isaiah 63:16-17 and 19; or Isaiah 64:2-7 is read. Leader: The word of the Lord.

Amanda Sidebottom, Elizabeth Merrill, Grace Bernardo and Clare Maloney, members of the Choir of the Church of Our Saviour in New York City, record music at the church in October, 2015, for “Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding,” a CD of sacred Advent and Christmas music released last year. Advent is a time for serious reflection on our lives as disciples of Jesus, whose return we are called not simply to expect but to prepare for — with great care as well as great joy. (CNS photo/Harold Levine, courtesy Church of Our Saviour)

Now, to the ornaments. When it comes to ideas, look to the Bible for inspiration. Read favorite Old Testament stories and think of symbols that illustrate those mo­ ments. Perhaps the story of Noah gets an ark, while an apple represents Adam and Eve. Moses can be symbolized by a burn­ ing bush or a baby in a basket. Here is where children can be as imagi­na­ tive as they want. Use old Christmas cards, pictures from a magazine, have kids make up their own symbol. On the back of each ornament, have kids copy a Bible verse or phrase that describes what they’ve drawn. I confess I don’t spend as much time as I should reading our Bible. But I made sure that wasn’t the case when working on our Jesse trees. Don’t just rely on your memo­ ry to share these stories. Let kids look them up and read them aloud — it’s a great exercise in helping them to become more familiar with the books of the Bible. Answer any questions

— after all, the stories can be confusing. Help kids find parallels in their own lives when reading about Joseph and Mary. Once kids have finished their orna­ ments, attach them to the tree with string. It’s a good idea to make an ornament for each day of Advent. Kids can put one or­ nament on their tree each day — like an Advent calendar — or fill the whole tree at once. Ideally, the Jesse tree should be its own space in your home. My kids have kept their Jesse trees in their bedrooms, dec­ orated with their own ornaments. It’s a great way for them to show pride in their handiwork and also express a bit of their faith. As we prepare for the birth of Jesus, let us take time to remember the history of our faith. If we are all flowers in God’s gar­ den, we can’t forget our roots. Bothum is a freelance writer and a mother of three.

Response: Thanks be to God. With hands joined, the leader says: Lord our God, we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ: he is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples, he is the wisdom that teaches and guides us, he is the Savior of every nation. Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we light the candles of this wreath. May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation. May he come quickly and not delay. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Response: Amen. The blessing may conclude with a verse from “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”: O come, desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of humankind; bid ev’ry sad division cease and be thyself our Prince of Peace. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O Root of Jesse’s Stem By Nancy de Flon Catholic News Service


n his recent book “The Hidden Life of Trees,” forester Peter Wohlleben com­ pellingly describes how the stump of a tree that had been felled several hundred years ago was still producing new life be­ cause of the activity taking place under­ ground. Unseen to human eyes, the an­ cient stump was being nourished by sugar pumped to its roots by the surrounding trees. The prophet Isaiah knew nothing of this, of course, but based on the reading from his book for the second Sunday of Advent, we might be tempted to think he did. In Advent we look forward to the incarnation of God’s Son, a cosmic event in which God blessed all of creation in a special way.

Not unexpectedly, the liturgies of the Advent and Christmas seasons are replete with imagery of the natural world that ex­ presses the anticipation and then the joy of Christ’s coming on earth. Trees will clap their hands, mountains will ring out their joy, for the Lord comes to rule the earth. Springs of water bless the Lord because the Son of God has hallowed water by being baptized in it. The reading from Isaiah — the Advent prophet par excellence — also uses imag­ ery from nature, but often in a unique way. Using a metaphor that comes amazingly close to Wohlleben’s seemingly dead tree, he foretells that “a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse” — that is, from the line of Jesse’s son, King David. But Isaiah goes on to present striking contrasts by pair­ ing elements normal­

ly opposed to each other in the natural world. The wolf and the lamb share hos­ pitality; the calf and the lion cub graze to­ gether because the lion has be­come a veg­ etarian! A human child plays safely near dan­ger­ous snakes. These images foretell the universal peace that will reign when the Messiah comes, for even the gentiles will seek out the root of Jesse. As Christians we interpret this, first and most obviously, as a prophecy of the coming of Christ on earth 2,000 years ago. “Root (or Rod) of Jesse” is one of the seven names given to the coming Messiah in the beauti­ ful O Antiphons prayed during the last days of Advent. (The hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is based on the O Antiphons.) Beyond that, however, Advent also looks forward to the second coming of Christ at

the end-time. Thus Christians read this passage from Isaiah as an eschatological vision of the rule of Christ, when all of cre­ ation will be subject to his reign of peace. But Christ’s rule of peace is not some­ thing that we passively wait for. It’s an ac­ tive force that we ourselves must live and work to bring about. St. Paul challeng­ es us now, as he did the Colossians long ago: “Let the peace of Christ control your hearts.” Who or what in our own lives are the wolves, the lions, the serpents with which we need to come to terms? Let us focus on that during this season of anticipation, that we might joyfully welcome the Prince of Peace. De Flon is an editor at Paulist Press and the author of “The Joy of Praying the Psalms.”

Spirituality Sunday’s Word


The Lord sets captives free

The end of the world

December 11, 2016 THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT Is 35:1-6a, 10 The parched land will bloom Ps 146:6-10 The Lord sets captives free Jas 5:7-10 As the patient farmer waits for rain Mt 11:2-11 Tell John what you hear and see 121116.cfm


PAGE 11 December 4, 2016

n Matthew’s Gospel, John the Baptist is introduced to us with his urgent message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (3:2). Later, Jesus begins his own mission with the same words exactly (4:17). We are to understand that at the beginning Jesus was in close step with John. But that would change. John stays in the desert, baptizing in the Jordan, evoking the early days of Israel, signaling the need for another beginning. But Jesus leaves the desert for the villages, where he devotes his efforts to renewal and healing, both individuals and their village life. This difference is indicated by the imagery of this Sunday and last. Last week we saw the tree of Jesse, the family tree of the royal family of David, reduced to a stump. We saw John with his axe, metaphorically de­foliating the land. The image of calling to account was that of turning forests into deserts. Today we see that imagery reversed. Time has passed since the events of last week. John has been arrested and is now in prison. His strident message caught the attention of the authorities. While the Gospels single out John’s criticism of Herod’s marriage as the reason for his imprisonment, historical records of the day also mention the threat that he represented to those in places of authority, and that this also was a reason for his arrest. John’s message was one of urgency. The change will happen now. Prepare. The winnowing fork is ready for the harvest. The axe is in hand. The judgment is at the door. As the Gospel proceeds, however, Matthew shows Jesus deferring the time of judgment. In the meantime comes a time of healing. So John, expecting changes to be immediate, sends a message to ask of Jesus. He had baptized him, and had identified him as the one to bring about the change he so longed for, and which he announced as imminent. But now he asks, “Are you the one who is to come?” We can imagine him wondering when the changes are to begin. Where is the axe? Jesus answers with passages from Isaiah. They speak of turning deserts into forests, just the opposite of that of John. The liturgy has selected the most prominent of

REV. ROBERT R. BECK, D.MIN. these for our first reading. It speaks of Judah’s return from exile in Babylon as a healing and a greening. In Isaiah’s imagery, God will provide a swift road back, straight across the desert, and it will be a green belt, an uninterrupted oasis to support the returning people. They will be restored and renewed. Images of healing accompany those of nature. The healing will be social as well as individual.

So Jesus answers John, image for image. Without denying John’s urgency, or his message, he defends his own program of renewal and healing throughout the villages of Galilee. In another of his nature metaphors, the Parable of the Weeds and Wheat, Jesus will speak to the matter of the coming judgment (13:36-43). We discover that he has adjusted John’s timeline. He speaks of the judgment in terms of harvest time. It is moved to the end of the season, to the end times. And its exact date is unknown. Furthermore, he makes it clear that they are not to uproot the weeds, since they may take the wheat with them. That is, they are not to be making the judgment, for that is God’s work. But they are to rest in the confidence that things are in God’s hands, and God knows what he is doing. They are to attend to the growth. For reflection: “Advent” means “coming.” What do the Scripture passages today say about that coming, and the One who Comes? Father Beck is professor emeritus of re­ li­­­­gious studies at Loras College, Dubuque.


eople are forever predicting the end of the world. In Christian circles this is generally connected with speculation around the promise Jesus made at his ascension, namely, that he would be coming back, and soon, to bring history to its culmination and establish God’s eternal kingdom. There have been speculations about the end of the world ever since. This was rampant among the first generation of Christians. They lived inside a matrix of intense expectation, fully expecting that Jesus would return before many of them died. Indeed, in John’s Gospel, Jesus assures his followers that some of them would not taste death until they had seen the kingdom of God. Initially this was interpreted to mean that some of them would not die before Jesus returned and the world ended. And so they lived with this expectation, believing that the world, at least as they knew it, would end before their deaths. Not surprisingly this led to all kinds of apocalyptic musings: What signs would signal the end? Would there be massive alterations in the sun and the moon? Would there be great earthquakes and wars across the world that would help precipitate the end? Generally though the early Christians took Jesus’ advice and believed that it was useless and counterproductive to speculate about the end of the world and about what signs would accompany the end. The lesson rather, they believed, was to live in vigilance, in high alert, ready, so that the end, whenever it would come, would not catch them asleep, unprepared, carousing and drunk. However, as the years moved on and Jesus did not return their understanding began to evolve so that by the time John’s Gospel is written, probably about 70 years after Jesus’ death, they had begun to understand things differently: They now understood Jesus’ promise that some of his contemporaries would not taste death until they had seen the kingdom of God as being fulfilled in the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was, in fact, already back and the world had not ended. And so they began to believe that the end of the world was not necessarily imminent. But that didn’t change their emphasis on vigilance, on staying awake and on being ready for the end. But now that invitation to stay awake and live in vigilance was related more to not knowing the hour of one’s own death. As well, more deeply, the invitation to live in vigilance began to be understood as code for God’s invitation to enter into the fullness of life right now and not be lulled asleep by the pressures of ordinary life, wherein we are consumed with eating and drinking, buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage. All of these ordinary things, while good in themselves, can lull us to sleep by keeping us from being truly attentive and grateful within our own lives.

FATHER RON ROLHEISER, OMI And that’s the challenge that comes down to us: Our real worry should not be that the world might suddenly end or that we might unexpectedly die, but that we might live and then die, asleep, that is, without really loving, without properly expressing our love and without tasting deeply the real joy of living, because we are so consumed by the busyness and busy pressures of living that we never quite get around to fully living. Hence being alert, awake and vigilant in the biblical sense is not a matter of living in fear of the world ending or of our lives ending. Rather it is a question of having love and reconciliation as our chief concerns, of thanking, appreciating, affirming, forgiving, apologizing, and being more mindful of the joys of living in human community and within the sure embrace of God. Buddha warned against something he called “slouching.” We slouch physically when we let our posture break down and become slothful. Any combination of tiredness, laziness, depression, anxiety, tension, over-extension or excessive pressure can bring down our guard and make our bodies slouch. But that can also happen to us psychologically and morally. We can let a combination of busyness, pressure, anxiety, laziness, depression, tension and weariness break down our spiritual posture so that, in biblical terms, we “fall asleep,” we cease being vigilant, we are no longer alert. We need to be awake spiritually, not slouching. But the end of the world shouldn’t concern us, nor should we worry excessively about when we will die. What we should worry about is in what state our dying will find us. As Kathleen Dowling Singh puts in her book, “The Grace in Aging”: “What a waste it would be to enter the time of dying with the same old petty and weary thoughts and reactions running through our mind.” But, still, what about the question of when the world will end? Perhaps, given the infinity of God, it will never end. Because when do infinite creativity and love reach their limit? When do they say: “Enough! That’s all! These are the limits of our creativity and love!” Oblate Father Ron Rolheiser, theo­ lo­ ­ gian, teacher and award-winning au­ thor, is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. Now on Facebook ronrolheiser.

PAGE 12 December 4, 2016

Column/Media Twenty Something


Prayer box taps into spiritual hunger

he box went up on a Monday evening in August, a plain white box nestled inside a little wooden tent, mounted atop a fence and beneath the outermost reach of a maple. “Prayer requests,” reads the side of the tent in black, all-caps lettering. The box has a slot, like one awaiting Valentines, and the message: “Please write down any prayer requests. We would love to be praying for you!” Keanu Krech didn’t know what to expect when he set up the prayer box, tucking in a pen and a rock to hold down scraps of paper. The college senior, 22, positioned the box at the edge of his childhood home, which is on a busy residential road between a highway and a gas station in South St. Paul, Minnesota. But Keanu knew he wanted to extend the power of prayer as broadly as he could, with a quiet anonymity. He was putting a twist on the Little Free Library concept that began just 20 miles east, in Hudson, Wisconsin, and now exceeds 50,000 locations worldwide, knitting together neighborhoods with a warm and fuzzy literary fiber. He planned to share the prayer requests, if they came, with his Monday night Bible

“I’m here in town with the show Cabaret. I just ran my first half marathon and have lost 270 pounds. Continue to pray for me on my health journey,” a passerby wrote last month.

CHRISTINA CAPECCHI study, a small group of college-aged students. The next day Keanu peeked inside the box and discovered a handwritten note: “For those who are walking not knowing God, heal those with addictions, and for the men and women overseas fighting for our freedom.” It was a heavy start, covering so much in such little space. The prayer box was off and running. Keanu and his friends began to pray. In three months, the box has amassed about 100 prayer requests. Never a week has passed without someone slipping a note inside. “Please pray for my marriage,” someone wrote. “Please pray for us that we get a roof over our family’s heads before winter comes,” a note stated in round, puffy lettering.

“He didn’t attend church, but he’d stay up late, laptop in bed, pouring over YouTube videos from Christians and responses from atheists in an endless loop.”

“Pray for me,” someone wrote with a left-handed slope. “I picked up a bad drug problem and I’ve lost my family and everyone I love and I don’t know what to do. ... Please pray that God will help me with my troubles.” Others are shorter. “Arleen’s foot to heal.” “Amber’s eye surgery.” “For God to place good people in Kelly’s life.” Now Keanu and his friends are praying for Arleen and Amber and Kelly, for the faces they will never see whose hearts have been revealed.

“I’m surprised how deep the prayer requests are, how vulnerable they are,” he told me. “I’ve read some and just cried.” As a teen Keanu felt the weight of depression and the tug of life’s big questions. He didn’t attend church, but he’d stay up late, laptop in bed, pouring over YouTube videos from Christians and re­ sponses from atheists in an endless loop. His head was spinning and his heart was aching. Finally, his mom called a youth minister at her parents’ Methodist church to field Keanu’s questions. They met at a coffee shop and struck up a friendship over hot chocolate. Soon Keanu was attending Sunday night worship services. Something changed in his heart: For the first time in a long time, he felt hope. As Keanu completes his bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry, he’s letting his faith guide the next chapter. The goal, he says, plain and simple: to love God and love others. And as long as people keep submitting prayer requests, he’ll keep praying for them. Christina Capecchi is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, Minn., and the editor of


‘Bad Santa 2,’ other new movies reviewed “Bad Santa 2” (Broad Green) As soul-deadening as its squalid urban setting, this follow-up to the 2003 original attempts to mine laughs out of human degradation. While planning a robbery at a corrupt Chicago charity, an alcoholic safe-cracker (Billy Bob Thornton) somehow manages to desecrate more Christmastime traditions than might seem possible. Director Mark Waters’ film goes far beyond the tropes of dark comedy to give a sour portrayal of hell on earth. Some gun violence, strong sexual content, including aberrant acts, full nudity and low-minded banter, pervasive profane, rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R. “Moana” (Disney) The eponymous heroine of Disney’s 56th animated film is a spunky Polynesian princess (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) who seeks not a boyfriend but a grand adventure on the high seas. Racing against time, she must join forces with a demigod (voice of Dwayne Johnson) to vanquish evil and restore the natural order. As directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the film is an entertaining romp, gloriously ren-

dered in 3-D, with a delightful array of characters and toe-tapping songs co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” fame. There are also good lessons about family, friendship and the need to be responsible. But Christian parents may be concerned upon finding the story line steeped in indigenous mythology, and presenting a view of creation at odds with the biblical account. While well-catechized teens will likely slough these elements off as mere fantasy, their impressionable juniors could be confused. Nonscriptural religious ideas, mildly scary action sequences, occasional bathroom humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG. “Allied” (Paramount) In this World War II romantic drama from director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter Steven Knight, a Canadian wing commander (Brad Pitt) and a French resistance fighter (Marion Cotillard) with a murky past pretend to be husband and wife as part of an espionage operation before falling in love for real and making a hasty marriage. Their union flourishes until the officer is suddenly informed by British intelligence that his spouse may not be

the person she appears to be. In fact, she may be passing secrets to the enemy. At that point, the story gains traction as stiffupper-lip style military duty competes with lush romantic pathos. Apparently in an effort to demonstrate that they are lustily in love, Zemeckis takes repeated peeks into his protagonists’ bedroom, thereby considerably restricting the appropriate audience for his film. Strong sexual content, including brief but graphic premarital sex, an aberrant act, upper female and rear nudity, some combat violence, occasional profanity, frequent rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R. “Bleed for This” (Open Road) Fact-based boxing drama about Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza (Miles Teller), a lightweight champ from Cranston, Rhode Island, who mounted an incredible comeback after breaking his neck outside the ring in the late 1980s. Using a spare script and unadorned visual style, writer-director Ben Younger boils the story down to its essentials, and Teller delivers a phenomenal performance alongside

Aaron Eckhart in the role of his trainer. While the film’s depiction of the physical suffering inherent in the so-called “sweet science” stays within the bounds of taste, the dialogue is another matter. The preponderance of foul talk is such that it dis­qualifies this aesthetically impressive movie from receiving approbation. Considerable nonlethal violence, upper female and partial nudity, a few harrowing medical procedures, excessive rough language, much profanity, some crude banter. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R.

Cartoon of the Week


PAGE 13 December 4, 2016

Pope, others react to Fidel Castro’s death WASHINGTON (CNS) — In a video message, Cuban President Raul Castro announced the Nov. 25 death of his 90-yearold brother and longtime Cuban leader and Communist icon whom many in Latin America know by just one name: Fidel. “It is with great sorrow that I come before you to inform our people, friends of our America and the world, that today, Nov. 25, 2016, at 10:29 p.m., the commander in chief of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz passed away,” said his brother Raul, who took over control of the island in 2006, after Fidel Castro became too sick to govern. Until that year, Fidel Castro had ruled Cuba in some form since 1959, the year he led a revolution that toppled the government of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Over the years, he survived attempts to be toppled by others, including the United States. He gained fame throughout Latin America, where many saw him as a David-against-Goliath figure each time he denounced the commercial, “imperialist” interests of the U.S. as attempts to rob the region of its riches. But for others Castro was a menace and a dictator, particularly those whose properties were seized when his regime nationalized homes and businesses on the island nation without compensation. Over the decades, he was accused of a range of wrongdoings, from unjust imprisonment to executions to religious persecution. Others lauded him and pointed to Cuba as a model for other Latin American countries to emulate in the areas of education, medicine, and gender and racial equality. Many also blamed the U.S. embargo

against Cuba, not Castro’s governance, for the island’s financial woes. Recognizing the complexity of the different feelings the Cuban leader evoked in life — and now in death — Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, where many Cuban exiles live, released a brief statement Nov. 26. “His death provokes many emotions — both in and outside the island. Nevertheless, beyond all possible emotions, the passing of this figure should lead us to invoke the patroness of Cuba, the Virgin of Charity, asking for peace for Cuba and its people,” Archbishop Wenski said. He repeated the words later that day during a Mass “for peace in Cuba” at the Ermita de la Caridad in Miami, a shrine devoted to the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, the patron saint of Cuba, and a place, he said, built by the sacrifices of Cubans in exile. “On the eve of this first Sunday of Advent … we have learned that Fidel Castro has died,” Archbishop Wenski said during the homily. “Each human being, each one of us, will die and we will all be judged one day. And now it’s his turn.” U.S. President Barack Obama, whose administration restored diplomatic relations with the island in 2015, expressed “a hand of friendship to the Cuban people” in a statement but also recognized the range of feelings surrounding the leader’s death. “We know that this moment fills Cubans — in Cuba and in the United States — with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families and of the Cuban nation. History will record and

judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him,” he said. The Catholic bishops of Cuba, in a Nov. 28 statement, expressed condolences to Castro’s family and to government officials and said that as bishops “we entrust Dr. Fidel Castro to Jesus Christ, the face of the Father’s mercy, Lord of life and history. We also ask the Lord Jesus that nothing disturb the coexistence among us Cubans.” In an interview with Spanish radio COPE, the president of the Cuban bishops’ conference, Archbishop Dionisio Garcia Ibanez of Santiago, said that each time there’s a change of government,  there’s a change for a country, but in this case, there hasn’t been a change in the presidency. “The figure of Fidel has been so significant, so influential, that it will always have an impact on society,” he said. In a telegram in Spanish, Pope Francis extended his condolences to Raul Castro on the “sad news” of “the death of your dear brother.” The pope, credited with the rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba, also expressed condolences to the government and to the Cuban people, and said he was offering prayers. Though Raul Castro has publicly expressed admiration for Pope Francis, the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Cuban government can be described as a work in progress. Catholics, like other religious groups in the country, witnessed the seizing of church properties, including schools, church­es and other centers used for religious gatherings, following the 1959 rev-

olution. Some locales were closed; others were put to nonreligious uses. Priests and religious suspected of being against the revolution were jailed or expelled and practice of the Catholic faith dwindled on the island, particularly when the nation, under Soviet influence, was for a period an officially atheist country. In recent years, however, the government allowed physical reconstruction of church buildings and some properties were returned to the care of the church. In 2015, the government granted permission for the construction of a new Catholic church on the island, something it hadn’t allowed in more than five decades. In 1998, then Pope John Paul II paid a visit to the island that many credit with loosening religious limitations in Cuba. Since then, each pope who has visited the island also met with Fidel Castro, even after he ceded power. Fidel Castro was last seen in public Nov. 16 when he met with the president of Vietnam. In the video announcing his death, his brother said Fidel Castro’s body was to be cremated, as he had wished. Granma, the official newspaper of Cuba’s Communist party, announced nine days of national mourning from Nov. 26 until Dec. 4. His ashes, the newspaper said in an online article, will travel through some parts of Cuba, and mourners are ex­ pect­ed to pay their respects during rallies that have been organized in his honor. His ashes will ultimately be interred at St. Ifigenia Cemetery in Santiago de Cuba, where Cuban national leader and Latin American icon Jose Marti is buried.

Year of eating cactus fruit: drought causes extreme hunger in Madagascar By Bronwen Dachs Catholic News Service CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) — Hunger levels are so severe in drought-­ ridden southern Madagascar that many people in remote villages have eaten almost nothing but cactus fruit for up to four years, said a Catholic Relief Services official. Eating this fruit leaves crimson stains on people’s faces and hands, and there is a “shame of poverty associated with these stains in Madagascar,” an island nation 250 miles off the coast of mainland Africa, said Nancy McNally, CRS information officer for East and Southern Africa. The cactus plant “is the only thing that grows” in southern Madagascar, and the plants “are growing everywhere” in earth “that looks like white silt,” she said in a Nov. 23 telephone interview from Nairobi, Kenya. A father of three, sitting with his wife and children outside the town of Beloha in southeastern Madagascar, “told me that his family had been living on cactus fruit for a year,” McNally said. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization warned in late November that 330,000 people in southern Madagascar

are “on the verge of a food security catastrophe, next step being famine.” In Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital, “begging is very aggressive,” McNally said, noting that “poverty is very deep, and it seems that people’s survival instinct has kicked in.” El Nino, a warming of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, has aggravated dry conditions in Madagascar and the entire southern African region, where an estimated 39 million people are affected by food shortages. “I saw a baby so thin who had already spent a month being fed” by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in the town of Tsihombe, Madagascar, McNally said. Tsapasoa Fedraza’s 20-year-old mother had taken him to the nuns, who run an emergency shelter in the town, after neighbors in her nearby village put her in an oxcart and told her to get him help before he died of malnutrition, she said. His mother “didn’t have the resources to get there on her own, which is the situation of so many people” in southern Madagascar, she said. More than 90 percent of Madagascar’s population lives below the $2 a day poverty line, McNally said.

The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul have “a pervasive network in the communities” of southern Madagascar and are helping CRS provide food aid to the worst-hit villages, she said. Madagascar needs a much stronger international response to this crisis, she

said, noting that some areas of the island have had no rain at all for four years. “A 70-year-old man I talked to said he had farmed with his father when he was young, and every year (they) had a rainy season that could be counted on, but those times are gone and are not coming back,” McNally said.

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PAGE 14 December 4, 2016

Briefs Sulpicians mark 225 years of training men to be priests

BALTIMORE (CNS) — In October 1791, five men began studies for the priesthood at the first seminary in the United States, just a couple years after the Diocese of Baltimore was established as the first in the country in 1789. At the time of that humble beginning — when Bishop John Carroll, Baltimore’s first bishop, welcomed four priests from the Society of St. Sulpice and the five seminarians — the Diocese of Baltimore encompassed the whole fledgling nation. Sulpician Father Phillip J. Brown, president rector of today’s St. Mary’s Seminary and University, noted in his welcome to commemorate that occasion that the seminarians began their studies at St. Mary’s downtown on Paca Street a month before Georgetown University in Washington opened, making the Baltimore seminary the oldest American institution of higher learning. The remark brought a chuckle of pride from the congregation gathered Nov. 15 in the seminary’s chapel to mark the 225th anniversary of the arrival of the Sulpician fathers in America and the founding of St. Mary’s Seminary and University. The prayer service included the conferral of an honorary doctorate of divinity degree on Cardinal Marc Ouellet, former archbishop of Quebec and now prefect of the Congregation for Bishops at the Vatican.

HHS contraceptive mandate in limbo awaiting action by new administration

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious employers that challenged the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act have been cautiously breathing a sigh of relief since the presidential election. “Everyone is still protected by the Supreme Court’s order,” but they know with a new administration it could change in minutes,” said Mark Rienzi, lead attorney for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the Little Sisters of the Poor in the case before the court earlier this year. And even though nothing has been announced yet, Rienzi seems confident Donald Trump’s campaign promises to repeal some or all of the Affordable Care Act would very likely put the contraceptive issue off the table. “We feel optimistic,” he told Catholic News Service Nov. 22, stressing that a major part of Trump’s victory stemmed from religious voters convinced he would best represent them with pro-life policies and Supreme Court nominee picks. The court heard oral arguments in the case March 23. In a unanimous decision May 16, the justices sent the matter back to the lower courts for the parties to work out a compromise. The court also has ordered the government not to impose on the plaintiffs hefty fines it has set up for noncompliance with the mandate.

Catholic leaders lobby congress on budget concerns Call for more money for humanitarian aid, recovery operations By Catholic News Service BALTIMORE (CNS) — The head of Cath­ olic Relief Services and the chairmen of two U.S. bishops’ committees have urged congressional leaders to approve additional funding for humanitarian relief and recovery operations as part of a comprehensive budget measure for fiscal 2017. The Catholic leaders wrote a letter Nov. 28 in support of a request by the Obama administration for Overseas Contingency Operations funds to address the growing needs of those forced to flee their homes because of natural disasters around the world or as a result of the ongoing fight against Islamic State militants. They urged action before the Dec. 9 deadline that Congress faces on the federal budget. The government is funded through that date because of a continuing resolution the House passed — and President Barack Obama signed — at the end of September to avoid a government shutdown. “More than 50,000 people have already fled Mosul, joining the approximately 3.3 million Iraqis who have been internally displaced since ISIS began occupying parts of Iraq in 2014,” stated the letter, released by Baltimore-based CRS Nov. 29. “(We) believe that as the world’s wealthiest nation, we have an obligation to help the innocent who fall victim to war, to pro-

tect the marginalized and to lift people out of poverty.” It was signed by Carolyn Woo, outgoing president and CEO of CRS, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency; Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration; and Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace. Addressing the House and Senate Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, the Catholic leaders also pointed to increased suffering in other places besides Iraq, such as Southern Africa, which is suffering a severe drought. They also named South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Lake Chad Basin, a region that comprises parts of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Ongoing violence and military conflicts in those places have displaced whole populations and exacerbated food insecurity, resulting in acute malnourishment for many. According to a recent report from the U.S. Agency for International Development, an estimated 9.2 million people, primarily in northeastern Nigeria, require humanitarian assistance. Additional funding from Congress, the Catholic leaders said, will help ensure CRS can continue to respond “to crises like these that don’t make the headlines.” They acknowledged Congress’ “steadfast commitments to humanitarian and development needs around the globe” and urged lawmakers to incorporate the ad-

ministration’s amendment request for humanitarian relief and recovery activities” in their final appropriations bill. September’s short-term measure included full funding for military construction and Veterans Affairs for the new fiscal year, but left undecided were 11 remaining annual appropriations bills for various federal agencies. Woo and Bishops Vasquez and Cantu praised the current proposals before Congress for funding “key humanitarian accounts” — $3.2 billion for Migration and Refugee Assistance; $2.8 billion for International Disaster Assistance; $1.6 billion for Food for Peace; and $60 million for Emergency Refugee and Migrant Assistance. But they urged Congress also appropriate new Overseas Contingency Operations funds. The Obama administration has requested $14.9 billion. “We urge you to respond generously to the administration’s request of Nov. 11 for additional humanitarian and recovery assistance,” they wrote. “As we have already learned in Iraq, individuals, communities, and countries divided by war face significant challenges amidst their suffering,” Woo and the bishops continued. “They must rebuild their communities, and establish inclusive governance that protects majorities and minorities. “We must provide them with humanitarian help and durable solutions to their plight because it’s the right thing to do, and because their security and prosperity is critical to the stability of the entire region,” they added.

For late actress Florence Henderson, Maronite bishop to lead CRS Catholic faith was her foundation ‘Brady Bunch’ star died at age 82

CINCINNATI (CNS) — In what came to be her final interview, actress Florence Henderson told St. Anthony Messenger magazine that throughout her life, through good times and bad, her Catholic faith was her foundation. “I don’t ever remember not praying. Bedtime prayers, the rosary, praying for friends, relatives, for the sick and for those who had died. It was a natural part of our lives,” she told writer Rita E. Piro, who interviewed the popular actress in August. The story appears in the January 2017 issue of the magazine, published by Cincinnati-based Franciscan Media. Henderson, who died unexpectedly Nov. 24 at age 82, was best known for her role as Carol Brady in the 1970s sitcom “The Brady Bunch.” Originally broadcast from 1969 to 1974, the program has never been off the air and has been syndicated in over

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122 countries. It remains one of the most beloved and most watched family shows of all time. “I frequently am contacted by people who want to thank me for ‘The Brady Bunch,’” she told Piro. “Whether they grew up during the show’s original television run or are brand-new fans of the present generation, they tell me how important ‘The Brady Bunch’ has been in their lives. I wanted to portray Carol as a loving, fun, affectionate mother, and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people who maybe had the same situation I did growing up. To think that something I was involved in had such a positive effect on the lives of so many people is satisfying beyond words.”

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops appointed Maronite Bishop Gregory J. Mansour to be chairman of the board of directors of Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency. Bishop Mansour heads the Eparchy of St. Maron in Brooklyn, and will serve at CRS for a three-year term. “Bishop Mansour’s long-standing service in every area of the work of CRS is completed by his pastoral concern for the humanitarian efforts of CRS in the Middle East and on behalf of persecuted Christians,” Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston Houston, USCCB president, said in a Nov. 22 statement.


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World Chaldean priest visits Iraqi refugees in Turkey By Oscar Durand Catholic News Service ISTANBUL (CNS) — Holding a golden chalice and paten with a single hand, Father Remzi Diril slowly moved from one person to another, distributing the Eucharist. He reached for a consecrated host, dipped it in the chalice, and gave it to a woman in her 40s, whose head was covered with a veil. With chants in the background and incense filling the air, the moment inspired reverence. Yet the Mass was not in a church; it was in an apartment in Kirsehir, a small, conservative city in the heart of Turkey, a Muslim-majority country. Being the only Chaldean Catholic priest in charge of pastoral work in Turkey, Father Adday, as he is known, has become a true itinerant priest, a road warrior who, each year, logs thousands of miles tending his flock, the community of Iraqi Christian refugees in Turkey. Their exact number is unknown, but it is estimated to be 40,000. Since he was ordained two years ago, Father Adday, 34, has baptized more than 200 children, married more than 20 couples and administered the last rites to more than 30 people. He also is on his fifth suitcase. “So far this year we have celebrated first Communion for more than 100 children. And last year it was more than 150,” he said. On a recent hourlong flight from his base in Istanbul to Nevsehir, a city in central Turkey, Father Adday sat comfortably in the emergency exit row of a plane from a low-cost airline. “There is more legroom here,” Father Adday said; his eyes locked on the airline’s magazine crossword. The trip’s cost is an important factor considering that the church is not able to reimburse his expenses. That only happens when there is an official function or religious festival. More often it is the priest, or the families he visits, who pay for the trip. “It is easier for them to help me with my travel expenses than to pay, for a family of 10, for a trip to Istanbul,” Father Adday explained.

Once he arrives at his destination, the priest relies on a support network who connects him to the local community of Iraqi Christians. From Nevsehir Father Adday took a 60mile bus ride to Kirsehir, where he met Adnan Barbar and his wife, Faten Somo. This was the priest’s eighth time in the city. “This is my family in Kirsehir. In every city, I have a family. Sometimes more than one,” he said. The couple acts as Father Adday’s local liaison. After welcoming the priest to their apartment with the customary tea and sweets, Barbar and Somo got on their cellphones. They were familiar with the city’s 225 Iraqi Christian families, and they were assembling the priest’s itinerary. This area of Turkey is a pivotal place in the history of Christianity. Early Christians came here escaping persecution in the Roman Empire. Remains of the churches they built can still be visited today. However, no Catholic churches function in this part of the country. And when Father Adday visits, Mass is celebrated in homes, as the early Christians also did. Celebrating Mass in a public hall would allow more people to attend, but renting a hall costs about $900, which can be better spent traveling to visit more families. On average, 10 families are invited to each Mass, and 30 people attend. The smaller Mass allows for an experience different from the one felt in a church. “A Mass in a house is more like a family. Father and children sharing the glory of God,” Father Adday said. “I would say it is like watching a film in a movie theater versus watching it at home with your family.” After this Mass, the priest visited Marta Kiryakos, a woman from Bartella, Iraq, suffering from cancer. Her daughter, Nadira, opened the door of the bedroom, crying, worried about her mother’s health. Kiryakos’ condition is delicate, and the priest prayed for several minutes as he anointed her temples and forehead with oils. Many of the people Father Adday visits have spent several years in Turkey, waiting for an answer to their asylum applications to countries such as Australia, Canada and

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Pope critical of illegal drug trade

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis called for protecting the dignity of substance abusers and condemned the corruption and incompetence that trap so many innocent people in the snares of addiction. The “vast, powerful networks” behind the drug trade kill not only those who become slaves to drugs, he said, they also kill those “who want to destroy this slavery” — such as judges or others who seek to stamp out criminal organizations. The pope spoke Nov. 24 to dozens of experts in medicine, science, the judicial system, government and social policy and pastoral care, who attended a special study session at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Those gathered Nov. 23-24 discussed solutions to drug use and abuse, and the most effective forms of prevention. The pope underlined the inherent dignity of all people who struggle with substance abuse, and asked that they be listened to and treated appropriately, not looked at as if they were some kind of “object or broken device.”

PAGE 15 December 4, 2016

Briefs Pope indicates he will travel to Ireland in 2018

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After meet­­ing Pope Francis at the Vatican, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the pope confirmed he will visit Ireland in 2018 and that trip organizers would look at the possibility of a stop in Northern Ireland. The pope and prime minister met Nov. 28. A Vatican statement said the two discussed the Catholic Church’s contributions to Ireland, particularly “in the social and educational fields,” and about how important it is for Christians to take an active role in public life, “especially in the promotion of respect for the dignity of every person, starting with the weakest and defenseless.” Migration, high levels of unemployment among youths and the political and institutional challenges faced by Europe also were on the agenda, the Vatican said. After the meeting, Kenny told reporters that Pope Francis confirmed his intention to attend the next World Meeting of Families, which is scheduled for Dublin in 2018. According to the Irish Independent newspaper, Kenny said he spoke to the pope about “a number of issues that would, in my view, help greatly his visit when it comes in 2018,” including the need to strongly condemn clerical sexual abuse as he did during his visit to the United States in 2015.

Lithuanian archbishop says citizens tense over Russian military buildup

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — Lithu­ anian Archbishop Gintaras Grusas said citizens are anxious about military threats from neighboring Russia but said support from Europe and the United States helps calm those fears. The U.S.-born archbishop, president of the Lithuanian bishops’ conference, told Catholic News Service, “The old Soviet empire mentality is still alive, and there are many in Russia who consider the three Baltic states part of that empire. “But Lithuanians have fought hard to re-establish their independence and are committed to maintaining it. They’ve shown they’re willing to pay a price for freedom — and they’re showing it again today in the turnout of volunteers for military service,” said the Vilnius archbishop. In early 2017, NATO plans to send 3,000 troops to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland, to counter Russia’s military buildup in the Baltic region. In a Nov. 29 interview with Catholic News Service, Archbishop Grusas said the projected U.S.-led deployments had provided “some reassurance,” but cautioned that concern remained high because of repeated airspace violations and the stationing of heavy weaponry in Russia’s military enclave of Kaliningrad, on Lithuania’s western border.

PAGE 16 December 4, 2016

December 10-11, 2016 Please give generously to this appeal which benefits the many religious who served our archdiocese and who now need help meeting the overwhelming costs of elder care. In 2015, the parishes in the Archdiocese of Dubuque contributed $199,194.73 to this collection.

Following early years as a teacher, Mercy Sister Martha Larsen spent time as a missioner in Peru, a peace teamer in Palestine and a justice advocate in the United States.

Fly the W! Sisters of Charity, BVMs (l to r) Nicholas Catrambone, Katherine Keating (St. Wilma), Catherina Walsh and Dorothy Gaffney are lifelong Cubs fans whose prayers undoubtedly played a role in the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory!

Trappistine Sisters Joan Garrity and Mary Ann Sullivan “have wheels” to get around the handicapped accessible Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey south of Dubuque. Both were among the foundresses who came to Dubuque in 1964.

Fr. Neil, Br. Paul, Fr. Kenneth, Fr. James and Fr. Thaddeus, monks of New Melleray, chant the Liturgy of the Hours seven times a day in the monastery church.

Dubuque Franciscan Sister Lucy Kurt, OSF, (left) rides a side-by-side tricycle with volunteer Marilyn Dansart at an event with All Ability Cycles at Mount St. Francis in Dubuque.

With the recent acts of violence against law enforcement, the Sisters of the Presentation made cookies and delivered them to the Dubuque Police Department as an expression of their support and gratitude. Left to right: Sisters Cecelia Marie Auterman, Anne McCormick and Annette Skyles.

Please give at your parish or send your donation to: Retirement Fund for Re­ligious PO Box 479 Dubuque, IA 52004-0479

Sister Mary Supple, OP (Marie Jarlath), glazes clay pieces she created during an activity at St. Dominic Villa, Sinsinawa, Wis. She ministered at St. Dominic Villa, Dubuque, 1975-1976; taught at St. Joseph School, Rockwell, 1972-1973; and served at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Dubuque, 1985-1987.

We profit today from the sacrifices made in the past and present by women and men in Religious Orders. Without them our country and our Archdiocese of Dubuque would be less than it is, poorer in its services and in its human culture. But many of these Religious Orders now need our help to take care of their aging members. Out of gratitude to these women and men, and drawing on the example and lessons they have given us, please make a sacrificial gift to support them. Michael O. Jackels, Archbishop of Dubuque

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