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After serving generously and effectively as the director of the Office of Worship for our diocese for 26 years, Dr. Patrick Gorman has recently retired, due to health concerns.
His work with the diocesan choir, formation of liturgical ministers, preparation for diocesan Masses and events, and expertise on church building projects are all examples of Dr. Gorman’s leadership and impact on the liturgical and prayer life of our diocese all these years.
On behalf of our priests, deacons, staff, and laity, I offer profound gratitude to Dr. Gorman for his many years of faithful service to the Lord and the Church. We will miss you very much Pat and offer you our prayers.
On September 1, I appointed Fr. Greg Ihm as the director of the Office of Worship. This new role is in addition to his service as the diocesan vocations director.
Father Ihm is my master of ceremonies for diocesan Masses and events, holds a degree in liturgy from Rome, and is knowledgeable and adept in the many aspects of the liturgical life of the Church.
I am grateful for Father Ihm’s generous service in this new capacity and have great confidence in his expertise and knowledge.
Amy Yanzer, who has served as the associate director of the Office of Worship, will continue in that role with expanded responsibilities.
Having served at Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish in Madison, Amy has both knowledge and experience in Catholic liturgy and music.
Her steady commitment and joyful service in her role are a blessing for the diocese and for our liturgical life.
I am grateful for her willingness to go the extra mile in these challenging times.
Primacy of the Eucharist
In a recent meeting with Father Ihm, Amy Yanzer, and Vicar General Msgr. James Bartylla, we discussed the primacy of the Eucharist in the life of the Church.
The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops has prioritized a Eucharistic revival as a central need in every diocese.
Even before COVID, most Catholics did not participate in Mass, and while watching Masses online has been helpful for people’s faith and devotion, it can never replace the actuality of the Eucharist and its efficacious effects in our lives and souls.
The theology, spirituality, and beauty of the Eucharist will be the inspiring principle and organizing focus for the Office of Worship.
We will offer catechesis and formation on the Mass via every medium; we want to bolster the vibrancy of the RCIA process for converts entering the Church; we talked about having a Eucharistic Congress to express our love for Christ and offer liturgical formation to our leaders and people; reclaiming Sunday as Sabbath will remain a priority of the Go Make Disciples initiative; we want to encourage people who have fallen away from the sacraments to return, especially through the power of the Eucharist and reconciliation.
Mass is not simply a prayer service, a gathering of the community, or a dispensable ritual.
When we even remotely grasp the enormity of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, this total oblation of self, offered to the Father for our eternal forgiveness and salvation, and then, come to understand that every Mass sacramentally continues this offering of the Son to the Father and that we share in that divine mystery by offering our own love, work, prayers, sacrifices, and sufferings, indeed our very life, in union with Jesus, then we will realize that our participation in Mass is the most important action of our earthly existence.
The Eucharist is the sacred intersection of the divine and the human, where we receive the truth of God’s Word proclaimed, share in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection and receive the Living Bread, the Sacred Body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If every Catholic both understood and believed the glorious truth of the Eucharist, our churches would be overflowing, not only on Sundays but indeed, every single day of the year.
Grow closer to the Eucharist
When we feel in our mind, heart, and soul the remarkable rescue that has occurred — God Himself has reached down to us in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ and has drawn us into an eternal relationship with Himself, the Mass becomes the way for us to give our thanksgiving, love, and worship back to the One who has created, saved, and sanctified us.
I encourage all of us, starting with myself, to grow in our love, devotion, practice, and understanding of the Eucharist.
Invite people to Mass. Reclaim Sunday as Sabbath. Take friends to Eucharistic Adoration. Study the Catechism sections on the Eucharist. Prepare for Sunday Mass by reading the Scripture readings ahead of time and thinking about what particular offering of love, suffering, work, and devotion, you want to spiritually place on the altar in tandem with the sacrifice of Christ.
Ponder and live the spiritual linkage between the life of the liturgy and our actions of charity and justice in the world.
In all of this, we will come to know, love, and serve God with greater joy and generosity.
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