The two biggest stories of 2011 for the Milwaukee Archdiocese were poles apart emotionally. The year began with the somber news on Jan. 4 that the Milwaukee Archdiocese would file for Chapter 11 reorganization of its financial affairsunder the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In an interview with your Catholic Herald the day before the filing, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki acknowledged the reorganization would likely be distressing to Catholics.
On May 26, however, the archbishop had celebratory news that Pope Benedict XVI had appointed Fr. Donald J. Hying, rector of Saint Francis de Sales Seminary, an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Following is a month by month look at some of the other top stories that appeared in your Catholic Herald in 2011.
- The Archdiocese of Milwaukee files for Chapter 11 reorganization. Milwaukee is the largest archdiocese to file for reorganization. The archdiocese acknowledged the sexual abuse lawsuits had serious financial ramifications.
- St. Sebastian, Milwaukee, celebrates 100 years of service. The parish has grown to more than 1,500 families since 1911. In 1913 the school opened and by the mid-‘60s enrollment grew to more than 1,000.
- Messmer Catholic Schools expand by purchasing St. Mary Czestochowa buildings. The high school has more than 600 students and kindergarten through eighth grade serves more than 800 students.
- An anonymous donation to St. Thomas More High School, Milwaukee, of $100,000 sparks a $900,000 fundraising campaign. The school chose June as the deadline to raise the additional funds.
- Fr. Bryan Massingale publishes “Racial Justice and the Catholic Church,” in which he addresses racism in the church.
- Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki responds to Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill by acknowledging these are hard times and sacrifices need to be made, but that does not “nullify the moral obligation” to respect the right of workers.
- Dr. Peter Kleponis, a nationally recognized authority on pornography addiction, addresses priests about the “porn epidemic” during a meeting at the Cousins Center. The event was sponsored by the Nazareth Project and John Paul II Center. The presentation included pastoral solutions and ways to help those struggling with an addiction to pornography.
- Ephpheta Solidity celebrates 100 years of service to deaf people. The group was formed to help those who are deaf and hard of hearing by providing support to one another. More than 100 members, family and friends helped celebrate the achievement.
- The Catholic Stewardship Appeal sets a $7.65 million goal for the 2011 campaign. Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki calls 2011 a pivotal year for the appeal in light of the church’s Chapter 11 reoganization. The appeal kicks off in parishes the weekend of Feb. 26-27.
- St. John the Evangelist, Kohler, completes a $2.6 million project. The church expanded to 8,445 square-feet with meeting rooms, a gathering space, narthex and an elevator.
- New Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital is expected to save $19 million annually. The design of the hospital was a collaboration of architects, physicians, nurses, staff, patients and area residents. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee bought the old campus for $20.2 million.
- The Archdiocese of Milwaukee files two motions in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to protect the interests of victims/survivors of clergy sex abuse. The motions, in part, asked to allow the archdiocese to continue paying for therapy and psychological counseling to those who have requested it.
- Some of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s offices and programs, including 24 employees, move back to the Cousins Center from St. Joseph Convent, Milwaukee, where they had been for four years. Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki said it would bring energy back to the Cousins Center.
- The Sisters of St. Rita, Racine, celebrate the 100-year anniversary of their founding. The order was founded by a group of German women who were invited to Racine to help the priests of St. Rita Parish.
- Your Catholic Herald ran a five-part series on newly ordained priests, including a profile on the archdiocese’s first deaf priest, Fr. Christopher Klusman.
- Aquinas Academy, Menomonee Falls, welcomes two Japanese students after a terrible earthquake and tsunami rocks Japan. The students spent three weeks at the school, before returning to their home near Tokyo.
- A meeting of parish music directors takes place to address the revised translation of the Roman Missal as a way to evaluate selection and specific needs of congregants.
- St. Bernard and St. Pius X schools join to create Wauwatosa Catholic. Each school was running into financial trouble but decided to combine into one school for the future of the students. Julia D’Amato, a former Milwaukee Public Schools teacher and administrator, is hired as principal of the new school.
- Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki and 1,100 others celebrate the beatification of Pope John Paul II. The celebration was at the Basilica of St. Josaphat and was standing room only. “He was one with us,” Archbishop Listecki said.
- St. George Melkite Parish celebrates its 100-year anniversary. It was founded to serve the Syrian community and has since expanded to serve the needs of the Arabic Catholic community in Milwaukee.
- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett calls for more Catholics to be involved with ending violence. In an op-ed piece to your Catholic Herald, Barrett called on all pastors, deacons, and other religious leaders to demand a change and take to the streets.
- Pope Benedict XVI appoints Fr. Donald Hying as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Archbishop Listecki called Bishop Hying a servant leader. Bishop Hying said his greatest desire is to serve Christ and the church.
- Dominican High School athlete Nicholas Burns is honored as Hometown Hero Athlete of the Year for Wisconsin by Sports Faith International. Burns was also co-valedictorian of his class. He plays baseball and football.
- St. Mary Parish School, Burlington, celebrates its 150-year anniversary. The school was started in 1860 by three Notre Dame sisters and today has more than 350 students.
- The Society of St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Waukesha relocated to a bigger location with 50,000 square-feet of space. The society helps the community by supporting those in need and creating employment and volunteer opportunities.
- Blessed Trinity merges with St. Catherine to continue outreach in the Milwaukee community.
- All Saints Catholic School is formed in Kenosha by a collaboration of all 10 Kenosha and Pleasant Prairie Catholic parishes. There are two campuses with students grade kindergarten through 8th.
- Bishop Donald J. Hying is ordained on a record-setting 100-degree day.
- Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki says the revised translation of the Roman missal will be an opportunity to reflect on “Holy Sacrifice” of Mass.
- The T.H. Stemper Co.,a Catholic religious goods company, celebrates 100 years of business. Thomas H. Stemper bought a bankrupt art business in 1911 and three generations later, five of his grandchildren still keep it going.
- St. Alexander, St. Helen and St. John Kanty parishes on Milwaukee’s South Side merge to become Blessed John Paul II Parish. It’s the first parish in Wisconsin named for the Polish pontiff.
- Gov. Scott Walker visits Messmer Preparatory Catholic School amid protests. Walker was there reading to students and promoting his education agenda. The school was vandalized during the hours before the governor’s visit.
- St. John the Baptist, Plymouth, celebrates its 150-year anniversary. The parish started with 22 families and has grown to more than 1,550 families with about 3,000 parishioners. The school started with 43 children and now has more than 240.
- St. Mary’s Springs Academy and Marian University form a partnership to make Catholic education more accessible to others in the Fond du Lac area. The partnership allows for students of St. Mary to attend Marian for 50 percent tuition and employees of Marian to send their children to St. Mary at the same discount.
- Vicki Thorn is appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life as a corresponding member. Thorn and other members from around the world will study ethical and moral issues surrounding the sanctity of human life from an interdisciplinary perspective and informing the church, the scientific and health care communities, the media and society at large of its findings and conclusions.
- New Marquette University president, Jesuit Fr. Scott R. Pilarz focuses on keeping old ideals alive in today’s changing world.
- A celebration honoring marriage turns 100 as couples renew vows they said from 25, 50 and even 71 years ago. Bishop Donald J. Hying said it was a celebration of beauty, power and the sacramentality of marriage. More than 140 couples participated in the event.
- Camp Vista celebrates its 50-year anniversary. The property was purchased by Fr. Joseph A. Fischer in 1961 on Crooked Lake. Over the years several dorms, chapels and homes were built on the property.
- Emilio Estevez talks to your Catholic Herald about his film “The Way,” and his life with religion and Hollywood.
- Fr. Victor Seidel, a priest of the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, is featured in the Oct. 27 issue of the Catholic Herald. Fr. Seidel, a Milwaukee native, celebrated his “golden jubilee” of 50 years as a missionary priest earlier in the year. He’s served as a parish priest, school chaplain, vocations director and communications specialist.
- Thirteen Vatican II awards were given out to those in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee who support God and their community in the most generous ways.
- New conceal and carry gun law goes into effect, bishops urge reverence for sacred spaces and offer guidance on legislation. The bishops acknowledge the right to self-defense but promote respect for others in their homes, businesses and other public areas.
- St. Florian Parish, West Milwaukee, celebrates its 100-year anniversary. Founded in 1911 with more than 80 families, the parish has survived three fires. In 1968 it lost a third of its parishioners when many surrounding homes were razed to build a freeway.
- The revised translation of the Roman Missal goes into effect in parishes of the English-speaking countries throughout the world.
- A $2 million renovation of St. Joseph Chapel at the School Sisters of St. Francis motherhouse is completed. The renovations include maintenance on 115 stained glass windows and replacing the slate rock roof.
- Marsha and Arthur Grochowski donate $1 million to Marquette University for the new engineering building. The donation was a tribute to Arthur’s brother, Fr. Edwin Grochowski, who served the archdiocese as a priest for 53 years.
- Ken and Patricia Tushaus celebrate an early Christmas with students from St. Rose and St. Leo Catholic School and Messmer Preparatory Catholic School to bring holiday joy to the 940 students from low-income homes. The students received gifts, cookies and milk.