Along with Archbishop Jerome Listecki, I would like to extend an invitation to you to attend “Celebrate the Cathedral” on Sunday, Aug. 12. This event is the annual gala which joyfully honors the important role of the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in the spiritual life of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and helps raise funds essential to the support of its mission and ministries.

The festivities will begin with the celebration of the 9 a.m. Mass in the Cathedral Church, featuring Archbishop Listecki as the presider and homilist.

At 10:30 a.m., the gala proceedings will then move to the elegant Pfister Hotel for a reception, an auction and a delectable brunch.

The Cathedral plays a pivotal role in the life of the Catholic Church in southeastern Wisconsin. Because it is the “seat” or center of the ministry of the Archbishop (the throne or chair of a bishop is called a “cathedra”), the Cathedral symbolizes his Apostolic duties of teaching, sanctifying and governing. As such, Cathedrals often are given the title of the “Mother Church.” The most significant liturgies of the archdiocese take place in the Cathedral. For example, the Mass of Chrism takes place during Holy Week, when the sacred oils used throughout the archdiocese for baptisms, confirmations and the anointing of the sick are blessed and consecrated. Ordinations of priests and deacons are held in the Cathedral as well. And, significant occasions often are marked with commemorations in the Cathedral, like the recent commencement and conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy and the naming of the American Saints Kateri Tekakwitha and Marianne Cope O.S.F.

Archbishop Listecki is fond of stating that each and every Catholic in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee really belongs to two parishes. There is, of course, the local parish, usually situated near your residence and the site of your everyday pastoral experience. However, all Catholics in the archdiocese also can claim membership in Saint John the Evangelist, because, as members of his flock of the faithful, they have a special bond with its Shepherd. The archbishop compares this situation to the “two homes” which characterize the life of most families. Most people consider the dwelling of their natural family (parent and children) to be their “first” home. Yet, there usually is a “second” site, a homestead of sorts, which regularly houses the patriarch and matriarch of the family. Family members traditionally return to this “second” home at special times, like the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. This similar familial connection with St. John the Evangelist adds extra incentive to my hope that Catholics from throughout the 10 counties of the archdiocese will feel encouragement and welcome to attend “Celebrate the Cathedral.”

Another reason for attending “Celebrate the Cathedral” is to support the vital outreach which the Cathedral contributes to address the social concerns of the community and needs of the poor in downtown. The Open Door Café provides a warm, nutritious and tasty lunch six days a week and free-of-charge to those who struggle with limited financial resources or with needs of companionship. Through the Café, a number of other links connect our “street friends” with medical or psychological services. St. John the Evangelist is a long-time partner with The Cathedral Center, a shelter for families and women which offers a safe place and helpful training which assists in rescuing people from the condition of homelessness.

Tickets for “Celebrate the Cathedral” cost $99 per person. In addition to the meal and reception, this charge includes the entertainment of a cabaret-style show, a beverage of choice and free parking in the Pfister garage. To receive an invitation or register for the event, please send an email message to with your name and mailing address. Moreover, kindly add “please send me an invitation” to the subject line of your e-mail. You also can call Cathy at 414-276-9814, ext. 307.

Adding to the fun and excitement of this annual gala is a new and improved menu of items for auction, with an emphasis on an opportunity to participate in “exclusive experiences for your enjoyment.” Among the diverse offerings are a chance to dine with Archbishop Listecki and I at “The Chef’s Table” – Milwaukee’s only personalized private dining restaurant; an opportunity to join me and friends for amazing craft beers and boutique wines at the classy and casual “Three Cellars”; an invitation to enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour and delectable lunch at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary with the Rector, Father John Hemsing; the possibility of savoring the sunset and a delicious dinner on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan with Cathedral Deacon Tom Hunt; and the exciting option of gathering with me and friends in a Miller Park club level luxury suite for the Milwaukee Brewers game Sept. 19. In addition to pursuing these items at the Pfister, online bidding will be available starting Aug. 1 on the Cathedral website, or at

I look forward to seeing you and your friends Aug. 12 for “Celebrate the Cathedral.”