Local priests confronted with major changes to Mass

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Thursday, October 13, 2011
— People often have a hard time coping with change, and the Catholic Church has a couple big ones in the works.

In November, prayers used during Mass will rely on a new English translation of the church's missal, the official manual for the Roman Catholic Mass.

Perhaps a bigger change is being recommended by the bishop in Madison—that wine be served with communion only during special services.

Local priests contacted by the Gazette are not eager to quickly make the change.

"I would prefer not to have too many changes at once," said the Rev. John Auby of St. William Parish in Janesville. "As long as we have the option, I think at this point anyway, I would not discontinue the precious blood for our people."

The local priest said he doesn't plan to stop serving wine at communion after Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino sent a letter to priests in the diocese Monday asking them to move in that direction for regular services, reserving wine for special services.

Auby's grateful the bishop is giving priests the option because such a change should be slowly introduced, he said.

The move would be a big change for area churches, which usually serve bread and wine at the Eucharist.

Morlino discussed the issue with priests in a meeting late last month, but Auby said he could not attend.

In his letter, Morlino wrote, "so many of our people do not understand the kinds of reverence due at all times to the sacrament."

The bishop wrote that he is concerned that reverence for the wine "is not being met," something he said he's personally experienced.

Auby said he doesn't deny that might happen in other parishes, but he doesn't see that at St. William.

"We work very hard at reinforcing the significance of what people are receiving," he said.

His members are comfortable and faithful making some sign of reverence such as a small bow.

The Rev. Stephen Umhoefer of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Janesville said while the bishop is "clearly showing his preference," Umhoefer will make no changes now.

"We wait until we have a clear directive," he said. "We don't have a clear directive."

"The bishop constantly says we should be patient, prudent and pastoral, so I am being patient, prudent and pastoral," he said. "We're clearly following the directives we have been given and have accepted the spirit in which those directives were written."

St. Joseph Catholic Church in Edgerton will stop serving wine with communion as of Jan. 1, a staff member said, but no further details were available because the priest could not be reached.

Last updated: 6:44 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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