“I liked it a lot because it was really fun,” said second grader Gianna Reisweber.
Students stood in a sun puddle on the blacktop as the clock struck 10 a.m. and the mighty toll of the church bell kicked off the celebration.
Bundled in winter coats and knit hats the students clenched bells on a string.
“Bell ringing was really fun because we got to do it with whole school,” said 7-year-old Addison Schrauth.
Principal Mike Sternig took a moment to explain the history of the start of the Milwaukee Archdiocese and how Bishop John Martin Henni and four priests help serve the areas known as the Midwest territory.
Seconds after Sternig’s 101 primer on the Archdiocese anniversary the bells of Holy Angels tolled and students energetically joined in.
Below is the homily from Archbishop Jerome Listecki regarding the establishment of the Diocese of Milwaukee 175 years ago…
In my homily, I mentioned the appointment of Bishop John Martin Henni. He was given the task of leading a diocese that covered the entire territory of the state of Wisconsin, plus additional Midwest areas. He was assigned only four priests to cover this vast responsibility. He had no financial resources. Is it any wonder that Bishop Henni was reported to have gone down to the shores of Lake Michigan to cry?
Bishop Robert William Muench, a native son who preached the 100th anniversary celebration, claimed that Bishop Henni’s valiant apostolic soul broke for a moment in grief, and gushed forth its flood of tears. At that moment, he turned to the Lord for help. The community of his brothers and sisters of the faith all placed their trust in God, and they began the work given to them.
175 years later, we stand on the shoulders of the men and women who have used their tears, the sweat of their brows and their personal sacrifices to carry out the mission. They plowed the fields, planted the seeds and harvested the bounty of God’s graces to produce parishes, hospitals, schools, orphanages, and the charitable and devotional organizations that define us.
Photo courtesy Kristin Bayer from St. Frances Cabrini