Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Anniversaries are important moments in the passage of time. Families gather around their parents for their 25th, or their grandparents for their 50th year of marriage. Anniversaries are a statement of the importance of what has transpired over the years of living a commitment – and for many, trusting in God’s direction.
A business or corporation celebrates the passage of time by noting the successes and challenges encountered throughout the years. In 2019, I will be celebrating my 44th year as a priest. I still remember my ordination day and my first Mass, but I now reflect upon the years of blessings that my commitment to Christ and His Church has produced.
Often, a bond is created through family relationship, a shared vision or the founding of an organization that transcends the superficiality of day-to-day experiences.
Those who represent the family or organization experience both sacrifices and successes. Births and deaths of significant contributors are remembered, and moves and transition signal growth. Anniversaries often mean that we are different now from when we first began, but now we pause and remember the reason we made the commitment or started the organization.
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee was established 175 years ago on November 28, 1843. It is important that we pause to celebrate the commitment made by so many who helped to establish the Catholic Church here in Wisconsin. The Pope (and Rome in her wisdom) chose our community to move the mission of Jesus Christ forward.
Parishes, schools, hospitals, orphanages and charitable outreach institutions were created through the loving, faith-filled devotion of the priests, religious sisters and brothers, deacons and lay faithful who took Jesus’ statement: “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve … ” (Mt 20:28) – and put it into practice.
Think of how far we have come over the past 175 years. It is not an exaggeration to say that our community would not, nor could be, the community it is today without the works of the Church.
We have planned a number of events throughout the 2018-2019 anniversary year to celebrate the achievements of the Church. For further information on celebrating throughout the year, check out 175.archmil.org.
However, as great as the achievements are, they were all motivated by faith. One of the elements that I immediately recognized in the Catholic Church of southeastern Wisconsin was the deep level of faith in the Archdiocese. Therefore, it is only fitting that we begin our 175th anniversary year with a Mass. Please join us in our Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on Sunday, Nov. 25 at 2 p.m. followed by a reception at the Pfister Hotel.
The actual date of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s 175th anniversary is Wednesday, Nov. 28, so at 10 a.m. that day we will be ringing our bells throughout the ten counties of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. We are here through the grace of God, and we will continue to be here through God’s grace until He returns.
Checking our passage through time is a great way to appreciate the many historic moments and details of our history, which can be found by clicking here.
There is often a question that kids will ask their parents when a significant event occurred in their history. “Where were you during that, Mom or Dad?” they will ask. In 25 years from now, we’ll celebrate our 200th anniversary. Chances are I won’t be around, but many of you may be parents or grandparents. If your children or grandchildren ask what you did during the 175th anniversary, what will you tell them? I hope one thing you will tell them is that, together with the Church, you did then as you do now to follow Jesus’ command to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the November 13, 2018 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.