Wednesday, December 5, 2007

How Wisconsin Bishop Listecki and His Flock Observe Advent

What better way to prepare oneself worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God than to join those whose tradition viciously mocks the incarnate God:

Bishop Jerome Listecki, right, lights a Menorah along with Rabbi Saul Prombaum, left center, and David and Betty Hammes at the Congregation Sons of Abraham of the first night of Hanukkah. Erik Daily

Local Catholics, Jews unite at opening Hanukkah service

By JOE ORSO | La Crosse Tribune
Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Two days after Catholics began their Advent season, the local Jewish congregation began Hanukkah with an interfaith first for the Coulee Region.

Bishop Jerome Listecki, head of the Diocese of La Crosse, addressed about 50 people at Congregation Sons of Abraham, making him the first Catholic bishop to speak at the synagogue.

“I am here with you this evening as a friend,” Listecki said, wearing a violet zuchetto that resembled the yarmulkes worn on the heads of Rabbi Saul Prombaum and others gathered. “In that friendship, I share in the confidence that together we might walk in a rededication to our freedom and mutual respect directed by the light that guides our path.”

The event wasn’t the beginning of the relationship between local Jews and Catholics.

In 1998, members of the synagogue, a Catholic parish and United Church of Christ congregation traveled together to Israel ...

The joint celebration was coordinated by Monsignor Bernard McGarty, a visiting scholar of ecumenical studies at Viterbo University, who also attended.

Prombaum, head of the Jewish congregation, led the people in Hebrew, English and silent prayers during the first part of the service.

“Praised are you, Adonai our God, who rules the universe, your word bringing the evening dusk,” the congregation said as Listecki, sitting in the fourth pew, prayed along. “You create day and night, rolling light away from darkness and darkness away from light.”

At the climax of the event, as snow continued to fall outside, Prombaum invited Listecki to light the center candles of four Hanukkah menorahs.

Then Listecki, Prombaum and David and Betty Hammes, a Catholic couple who in January will have been neighbors of the synagogue for 50 years, used the central candles to light the first of the eight Hanukkah candles on the four menorahs.

Prombaum also recognized the Hammeses with a brass leaf on the synagogue’s Tree of Life, and said they live by Leviticus 19:18, which includes the command to love your neighbor as yourself.

“We love you as our neighbors,” Prombaum said to them.

After Listecki’s address, he took questions, including one on the Catholic church’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Listecki said the Vatican has tried to maintain itself as an arbiter and a broker of peace.

During his remarks to the congregation, Listecki said the Jewish-Catholic dialogue began in his life with a Jewish friend of his family, who read the Mourner’s Kaddish, a Jewish prayer, at his father’s wake.

And he referred to a Vatican II document he called a blueprint for inter-religious dialogue for the church in the world.

“Words on paper take time to develop and cut through the generations of inaccuracies and errors,” he said, referring to the document, Nostra Aetate. “But friendships are created in the shared experiences of life amid the struggles of our times.”


John Zebedee said...

“Praised are you, Adonai our God, who rules the universe, your word bringing the evening dusk,”

Excuse me, but the name of our God is Jesus Christ, who is Alpha & Omega...who is this Adonai? this an Israeli weightlifter or a 'security' agent?

Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky said...


Maurice Pinay said...

I've always told people to avoid Wikipedia, the bendable, fluid "encyclopedia" shaped by pilpul between cronies who shut out cowans that don't toe the line.

Now I can also say that it's rabbi approved, for goy use, of course.

Telemaque said...

You could also take the time to learn that some languages also have a word for "LORD," not just Latin, and that among them is Hebrew, the language of some writings in your religion's cannon.

But it seems so much more important to you to bash our faith and ourselves than it is to look at your own. Try not to let the plank in your eye wreck the furniture, bub.

Maurice Pinay said...

You could also take the time to learn that some languages also have a word for "LORD," ...

Oh, I am well aware of the many Judaic names for Yahweh, the silliest being "Hashem" a name which translates as "The Name."

I suspect that John Zebedee is also aware of this and that his question was a rhetorical one, a bit of sarcasm which was apparently lost on a few readers.

Anonymous said...

My question is, and always will, when confronted with an ecumenical Jewish/Christian touchy-feely kind of event like this: What does Bishop Jerome Listecki, or any other similar-minded bishop or priest, think he may have in common with rabbinical Ashkenazis? They deny our Christ totally. Their holy book makes fun of Him, heaps torrents of abuse upon His Divine Person, and calls His Mother a whore.

Anonymous said...

One of the earliest canons in the Rudder, the [Orthodox] compilation of the decisions of the Apostles and the Ecuemical Councils, states that for a Bishop to even ENTER a Jewish synagogue, was to strip him of Episcopal rank and reduce him to the status of a layman!

Canon 65 "If any clergyman or layman, enter a synagogue of the Jews or of heretics, to pray, let him be both depssed and excommunicated."

Caonon 70 " IF any Bishop, or presybter, or Deacon or anyone at all who is on the list of clergymen..celebrates a holiday togther with them...let him be deposed from office."

Anathema sit.
- Fr John. Orthodox Priest

John Zebedee said...

You could also take the time to learn that some languages also have a word for "LORD," not just Latin, and that among them is Hebrew, the language of some writings in your religion's cannon.

I would agree that there are different translations/transliterations of the word 'Lord', 'God', even 'Jesus
Christ'...but, since I have a good deal of irony in my worldview, let me point out something
is probably my ignorance of Hebrew
that informs my sense of irony in this case...I believe that the founding rabbi of the Chassidic movement in Russia was referred to as the 'Baal Shem Tov', which I understand is translated as 'master of the name of God', Baal meaning master and Ha'shem being the 'name of God'...ironically, in the Old Testament, Baal is identified with the devil (or specifically a Caananite fertility god)...can this be transliterated as meaning that the 'devil is the master of the name of God', opr 'the devil is God's master'?...just a thought.