I have to say, St. Mary’s in Pine Bluff is the Catholic Disneyland of the Diocese of Madison. It is an absolutely amazing parish. They are starting an amazing new program for their families, but first, just a small selection of the good things they have going for them:
- They’re the national HQ of the Dead Theologian Society, an international Catholic youth apostolate that is now in many countries, and most of the states in the union (pic).
- They are the national HQ (and only chapter, for the time being, but that will likely change in the near future) for the Knights of Divine Mercy, a catholic men’s apostolate with a focus on regaining a masculine spirituality, including beauty in the liturgy.
- KDM has a top notch schola cantorum that sings at many of their events, as well as the annual men’s retreat, Masses with Card. Burke, Masses with Bishop Morlino, and other Masses.
- They are home of the Squires of Divine Mercy, a version of KDM for boys 5-18 where they can play sports, learn about the church and the saints, go to adoration and even do things like fire safety and car repair.
- The pastor, almost single-handedly, organized a prayer campaign that took down a second trimester abortion project at a local hospital.
- They veil their statues during passiontide
- They are one of the few diocesan parishes in the state of Wisconsin that uses the ad orientem posture exclusively, for both the EF and OF, full time. And before that, the benedictine arrangement.
- They veil the tabernacle. Always.
- They have a kneeler for those who wish to receive communion kneeling. And most do.
- Home of the Miracle of Life Rosary Garden
- They have a music director that believes what the church teaches on music, studied at solesmes, uses chanted propers and ordinary at all weekend Masses and some daily Masses as well, in addition to polyphonic motets on the weekends.
- The pastor organized weekly rosary rallies on the steps of the state capital for the entire summer before the 2012 election.
- The pastor’s got a freakin awesome sword.
- They have two seminarians, and counting (keep in mind, it’s a small country parish).
- They are having weekly lectures on how to pray with the saints for the holy souls, and other topics of catholic interest.
- Their church is gorgeous.
- They don’t use EMHCs.
- The pastor uses the biretta.
- The pastor sings his parts of the Mass, at most Masses (and ALL Sunday Masses), because he understands that singing is the language of prayer (at least liturgically).
- THE Fr. Z is often found there speaking, filling in on Sundays, etc. Yep. That’s right. Fr. Z.
- And this (all projects completed by the pastor).
- The pastor has completed renovations so that he can hear confessions ALL day straight from his office. Yeah, that’s right. And he has a website for it. And an app. (I updated this entry when he finished)
- More things that I have forgotten about.
- Edit: how could I forget: Sung Liturgy of the Hours three times a week!
What now? They are offering scholarships for families who are members of the parish, and homeschool their kids.
That’s right. Parish based scholarships for homeschoolers.
Hear it straight from the Father Heilman:
I am happy to announce that the Parish Council at St. Mary’s of Pine Bluff has decided to offer the registered and practicing members of our parish a $250 per child (age 6 to Senior High) annual scholarship for families choosing to homeschool their children. We appreciate the sacrifices these families are making, and we want to offer our support and encouragement for this courageous choice you have made to do what you feel is best for your children.
Fr. Rick is da man.
And don’t forget, you read it here first.