MaryangelaThis is Wisconsin in the middle of football season so I hope you’ll indulge me a Packer analogy.

Catholics in southeastern Wisconsin are about to begin a new chapter in their history with the Jan. 4 installation of Archbishop-designate Jerome E. Listecki as the 11th archbishop of the Milwaukee Archdiocese.

Much like Aaron Rogers with the Packers, Archbishop-designate Listecki is stepping into larger-than-life footsteps of his predecessor. Like quarterback Brett Favre, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan was much-revered, a much-loved figure and it’s difficult to see him from afar now boasting a different allegiance: for Archbishop Dolan, he now “belongs” to New York’s Catholics, while Favre, draped in purple each week, calls himself a Viking.

Yet, back on the football home front, life has gone on and, in fact, Rogers, the successor, has developed a strong following, slowly but surely winning over the hearts of many Packer fans. Sure, his 104.9 quarterback rating this season, and 70.8 percent pass completion in his last three games for 871 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions in victories over Dallas, San Francisco and Detroit have certainly helped his cause.

No doubt the same will be true for Archbishop-designate Listecki and Catholics in southeastern Wisconsin as he gets to know the people in his new archdiocese and as we get to know our new shepherd. Of course, Packer fans will have to somehow overcome the Archbishop-designate’s allegiance to the dreaded Chicago Bears!

At your Catholic Herald, we’re putting together a special section to welcome Archbishop-designate Listecki – watch for it in the Dec. 31 issue of your Catholic Herald – and as we compile the information, we’re learning lots of favorable things about the man who will head our archdiocese – with the exception of the fact that he’s a Bears fan!

No two people, or bishops, are identical, but as we learn more about Archbishop-designate Listecki, we’re hearing similar stories about his love of his Catholic faith and the priesthood, his genuine, warm, friendly personality, and his sense of humor.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I spoke with a woman who lives in La Crosse, his current diocese, and her first comment was, “We’re so sad to lose him.” She shared a couple “Dolanesque” stories illustrating his sense of humor and down-to-earth approach during his interaction with people at her parish and if I didn’t know it, I would have thought she was talking about Archbishop Dolan.

It certainly sounds like the Milwaukee Archdiocese is fortunate to have another faith-filled, charismatic man of integrity at its helm.

To help welcome Archbishop-designate Listecki and to help young people in our archdiocese take note of this moment in history for the Milwaukee Archdiocese, Catholic Herald Parenting is sponsoring a contest asking entrants to send him a welcome card. Along with their words of welcome, we’d like for them to suggest a “don’t miss” activity that Archbishop-designate Listecki will want to check out in his new home in southeastern Wisconsin. Complete contest information is on Page 8 and winners will receive a four-pack of tickets to a Milwaukee Wave game. Encourage your kids or students to be creative and help us welcome our new spiritual leader in style!

Also in this issue, don’t miss our interview with Martha Williamson, head writer and executive producer of “Touched by An Angel.” Just in time for Christmas giving, episodes of the faith-centered series are available on DVD in two specially themed collections. In an interview with Catholic Herald reporter, Tracy Rusch, Page, 3, Williamson, a Protestant, describes her work with the series, but also offers some insightful comments on why she and her husband have chosen a Catholic education for their two daughters.

Finally, we offer some practical advice for families during Advent. See Faith & Family with Jennifer Christ, on Page 9 and Annemarie Scobey-Polacheck’s tips on keeping the ho, ho, holy in Christmas this season.

A blessed Advent and Christmas to you and your families!