“You know what they told us? We’re going to get a treat that nobody out there got,” Alvin said in an interview with your Catholic Herald. “You know what that treat was? He (Archbishop Listecki) came here and he distributed the Eucharist.”
“The three bishops (came): (New York Archbishop Timothy M.) Dolan, (Bishop William P.) Callahan and Archbishop Listecki,” Bonnie added.
Alvin, who said he wasn’t going to count his chickens before they hatched when the archdiocese told him that the new archbishop would come into the atrium during Communion, was surprised.
“I was like (doubting) Thomas, but it was true,” said Alvin, who planned to call them back and thank them the next day. “…because that, to me, was the highlight of this entire thing because it showed one thing – like Archbishop Dolan, this was a bishop and an archbishop who’s going to reach out to the people.”
Sharon Grill, who traveled from Illinois with her husband, Keith, for the installation, called Archbishop Listecki “a good friend” who they’ve known since he was a deacon in 1974.
The way he reached out to the people was evident even as a deacon, as Sharon recalled the first time they met him when their daughter was born with spina bifida.
“He came to the hospital with our pastor and he was a deacon, but he was very pastoral, very comforting at the time,” she said in an interview with your Catholic Herald.
“I think La Crosse is so sorry to lose him, because he’s done so much there, and I’m sure he’ll make a great impact here as well,” Sharon said. “Milwaukee is very blessed to have him as your archbishop.”
Debbie Otto, 52, had no ticket to attend, but stopped at the cathedral during her lunch break to see if there was a seat available for her.
“I just think this is fabulous for the city of Milwaukee,” she said in an interview with your Catholic Herald, adding that she was sad to see Archbishop Dolan leave but finds comfort in knowing Archbishop Listecki is a friend of Archbishop Dolan’s.
“Last night I saw that he (Archbishop Listecki) said he hopes that we forgive his mistakes and absolutely we will,” said Otto, who attended St. John Kanty Parish in Milwaukee growing up, though she’s currently not an active member. “I think that’s a wonderful thing for – he’s such a common man that I think people can really relate to him and I think that’s what the Catholic Church needs right now.”
Joanne Rupar, 68, who became one of the five Consecrated Virgins in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in 1992, said she knew Archbishop Dolan through regular meetings twice a year for liturgy and breakfast with the bishops. Describing Archbishop Dolan as warm, cordial, down-to-earth and as someone with a sense of humor, Rupar said she senses that the new archbishop will be similar.
“The media presents him as having strong views on certain outstanding issues that confront Catholics in modern, secular society. We need a strong personality to convey, with conviction, the message that maintains the will to carry out the meaning of human integrity with great love and compassion,” Rupar said in a follow-up e-mail to your Catholic Herald.
Rupar also said that Archbishop Listecki will give southeastern Wisconsin “a spiritual leadership that will satisfy the needs of the faithful, Catholic and non-Catholics alike. … His strength of character in upholding traditional church teaching is the greatest asset, I think, that we will experience in his very unique leadership style,” Rupar said.
Mary Ann Wigchers, 69, parishioner of St. Joseph Parish in Wauwatosa, was excited to attend the installation and experience the Mass and the celebration of a new archbishop. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about him,” she said, explaining that she and her husband were in New York for Archbishop Dolan’s installation.
“I think it’ll be a very good continuation of Archbishop Dolan’s policies and his good humor,” Wigchers said. “And I think Archbishop Listecki is going to be a great people person and just be great for Milwaukee.”
Mary Reinders, 69, came from La Crosse with her husband, David; she had worked with the former bishop of La Crosse in the diocesan mission office. Her favorite story from tht time involved the occasional dinners she used to help serve at the house.
“You’re supposed to always serve the bishop first, so you go to try to serve him, you can’t find him – he’s in the kitchen helping or doing dishes or clearing or something,” Mary said.
“The greatest thing about him,” David said. “Is he always found the good in people and that’s what he concentrated on and he made himself a lot of friends and a lot of people, a lot of us, have cried when we found out he was leaving. He’s much loved.”
“They’re darn lucky,” Mary added. “But we’re going to have to pray for him real hard because this is a huge diocese and he’s going to have a lot of work cut out for him already apparently.”
Kathy Ginder, a member of St. Catherine Parish, Ripon, represented her parish while her husband, David, was a member of the Knights of Columbus honor guard, at the installation. In an interview with your Catholic Herald, Ginder said she was positively impressed by what she’s learned of the new archbishop and hopes that through his easy-going personality, he can help bring unity among people within the archdiocese. She added that she also hopes he can reach out to younger people to welcome them into the church.
Many people attending Archbishop Listecki’s installation Mass came with knowledge of his past and background they gained from reading newspapers and watching TV, but Debra Zins, 54, parish council chairwoman at Old St. Mary Parish in Milwaukee, said she chose to stay away from media accounts so she could choose for herself.
“What I’ve just learned, he has a great grasp for where people are living spiritually and physically like with his references to his sister, Penny, and he also has, obviously, great knowledge of the church and respect for the universality and the diversity that the church exemplifies,” Zins said in an interview with your Catholic Herald.
In the weeks leading up to the announcement of the new archbishop of Milwaukee and then the installation, people have said that former Archbishop Dolan will be hard to replace.
“This is true,” Zins said, when asked for her opinion of that statement. “That is absolutely true, however, it’s also because of Archbishop Dolan’s shoes that Archbishop Listecki is going to be able to make his own tracks.”
As Archbishop Listecki begins to make those tracks, Sister of the Divine Savior Jenada Fanetti, said his ability to relate to people and the compassion he shows will help. “I think our archdiocese, at this time, needs a leader who is filled with wisdom and who is a man deeply rooted in God, and, as a result, I think he will be able to handle any situation that seems to be facing him at this time,” Sr. Jenada said in an interview with your Catholic Herald. “…I have great hope and I feel God will continue to guide him and empower him to lead this diocese in a life-giving way.”