On Tuesday, January 26, Archbishop Listecki celebrated a Mass of welcome at St. Alphonsus parish in Greendale, Wis.
The fourth in a series of "regional celebrations" scheduled throughout the southeast Wisconsin area, they give Milwaukee area Catholics an opportunity to meet the new face of the local Catholic Church and gives Listecki an opportunity to get a feel for the parishes he will be shepherding. Each of the liturgies will be celebrated at 7 pm and are followed by a reception.
Highly anticipated and heavily attended, parishoners at St. Alphonsus in Greendale seemed eager to meet the new archbishop, and Listecki took the opportunity to emphasize the familial nature of the Catholic faith.
In his homily, based on the Gospel of Mark (3:31-35), Listecki reminded the congregation of the importance of family, both biological and spiritual. Calling us the "family of God created through Jesus Christ", Listecki described the family as a place where we belong, are welcomed, fed and loved. "[It is] no great secret why we should love God," Listecki said, adding, "the mystery is God loves us."
Listecki finished his homily by expressing his gratitude for the warm welcome he recieved, said he looked forward to earning the trust and respect of the Catholic community, and that he looked forward to being family with us.
After the Mass, Listecki met parishioners in St. Alphonsus church hall, taking time to shake hands, talk, and be photographed with every person who waited in an extremely long line to meet him (photos of the event will appear on the St. Alphonsus website). Warm and approachable, Listecki said that his message to Catholics differs at each celebration, but that his focus at Tuesday's mass was stressing the "importance of the relationship with the church."
Two more regional celebrations are scheduled for the southeast Wisconsin area. The next mass is scheduled for Thursday, January 28 at 7 pm at St. Francis Cabrini in West Bend and the last is scheduled for Monday, February 1 at 7 pm at St. Paul Parish in Racine. A reception will follow both masses.