Thursday, May 22, 2008

Michael Lightner Going to Newman Center


Fr. Michael Lightner, a priest of only three years for the Archdiocese, is being put in charge of the Newman Center at UW-Milwaukee. It's very rare that a priest would be given his own placement only after three years. Under normal circumstances, a priest would be given another three year term as an associate pastor.

Right now Lightner is finishing up his first three year term as an associate pastor at St. Francis Borgia in Cedarburg. It's been a rough three years full of rumors of odd conduct on his behalf. I do not want to perpetuate rumors that may be partially false, so I will not list them here. Suffice it to say that many parishioners at St. Francis Borgia did not like him. In his own farewell letter, Lightner states: "Some of you may be dancing because of this news." Really? That's an odd thing to write. He goes on to write: "I have to say the tough things you don't want to hear."

Its obvious enough that Lightner did not get along with a significant portion of parishioners, not just a picky few. And now the Archdiocese is sending him to the Newman Center where he will be in charge without any direct oversight. At this point there is nothing to indicate that he will not create a significant amount of inimical relationships there. This seems like a huge mistake. Lightner at the very least needs another parish placement. It will be very interesting to see what transpires at the Newman Center this year.

24 comments:

Dad29 said...

Well, it would be very nice if the UW-M Newman Center priest actually preached and practiced CATHOLICISM--which was not the case 5 years ago.

Terrence Berres said...

The parish has this familiar combination. The latest Archdiocesan statistics show parish mass attendance down slightly to 38%. Father Tom Eichenberger's May 18, 2008 bulletin column reminds parishioners of upcoming meetings on adding a new parish building.

Anonymous said...

You must be a liberal Dem. Fr. Mike speaks the truth,

Anonymous said...

Fr. Mike will be Great with the Kids

Anonymous said...

Father Mike is a Priest that will change the hearts of many young college kids. God bless

Jack said...

To the first 'anonymous.' I guess I agree with you. The church is the political arm of the Republican party, and its wonderful family values proponents. Jack

James said...

Hopefully we will present an Orthodox Catholic voice for the student body in aim in the proper formation of their conscience and of the living of their Catholic Faith.

Anonymous said...

it troubles me how, someone can tarnish a reputation of a priest, or a bishop (the Lightner & Callahan stories) and call himself a faithful Catholic. i hope some day God gives you the gift of Fear of the Lord. these men were chosen by him, not by you, i have heard Fr. Lightner preach during many masses, he is a breath of fresh air for the Church. As far as the negative things said about him, those are said by people who don't want to grow spiritually. we as catholics must pray for our priests put them down. who are you to judge a priest?

Anonymous said...

As I see the Catholic Church, Father Mike is a new Breath of fresh air, A young Priest who is on a mission to save souls. What else could we want in a priest? God Bless you Fr. Mike & your work.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the prevailing wisdom for a long time was that the diocese ought to send the "hip" "young" "liberal" priest to these college postings.

Of course the 70's did not last forever and those hip, young, priests, became bitter and rather full of clericalism (even if they didn't like wearing their collars)surpessing grass-roots initiatives from the laity, for as much as this sort talked the talk on full and active participation and was more than willing to have half the congregation serve as a euchrastic minister was pretty quick to surpsess any requests for adoration, the rosary etc.

Result, college parishes with every liturgical abuse imaginable, no crucifix, no kneeling, and awful music became graveyards of religion as even kids who were raised in church-going Catholic familes did not see a priest in tye-dyed vessments, using glass bowls for the consecration, and giving smart aleky homilies mocking traditional piety and trying to keep some 1960's dialouge on the great society (and being in all but name an arm of the democrat party)as even remotley relevent. Kids who had the basics of a Catholic upbrining, by virtue of a good family, but simply did not have the exposure to Augustine, Aquinas, Bennedict, Chesterton, etc to deal with the mixed messages and the fact that the parish they grew up in in some rural town and the one they went to at college seemed like complelty different religions.

College is a time when students are being hit with a great many ideas and are open to new ones. I would argue that the college years are among the most vital in a person's faith formation. College is the time for kids to hear the homilies that apply to their moral lives on a practical level such as homilies about being chaste, refusing contraception, drugs, etc and also time to deleve into the more mystical stuff, the Eucharist, the Trinity, etc.

Thankfully, from the little I hear about this priest you attack in your blog post, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is catching on. I know in KS and Nebraska, the bishops there send young, dynamic, and completly orthodox priests to the campuses and the results are beautiful, eucharastic processions and everything!

Also in our own state, consider Madison, nothing against the priest who was heading up St. Paul's before, but I recall an article in the paper about how under the new priest confession is offered daily, and the lines are long. It is the classic, if you build it, they will come.

Students get exposed to enough moral realativism in class, but even going to a public college, a good priest in the neighborhod can be the most valuable part of a student's college years.

I should also point out that I have seen that many students who come from Catholic families who have strong morals (but a dim grasp on the catechism) often reject the moral realativism and get sucked into far-right Evangelcial fundementalist groups. I have seen this happen plenty. They do this in ignorance and I can't say I blame them, though to think what great vocations and what loyal future laypeople and families we must lose on the campuses because the Evangelicals are talking about Jesus, Heaven, Hell, right and wrong, while too many campus parishes are talking about why we should blame George Bush for Hurricane Katrina or why we shouldn't take communion on the tounge.

brother lem said...

oh my Jesus forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of hell especially the author of Not really a catholic in any season in Milwaukee.
brother lem

trying2Bfaithful said...

Once a UWM student who was lost spiritually I wish there was a Priest like Fr. Mike when I was attending that school. He ingites the flame of the Lukewarm who are willing to deepen their intimacy with Chirsit, and he maddens the lukewarm who are all about status quo. As a Priest he is accountable to God for flock he is in charge of...and he takes that seriously, and wants them to become faithful followers of Christ. he will not sit on the Sidelines(no Punt..I mean pun intended)

Anonymous said...

Fr. Mike is what *I* am seeking - an orthodox Catholic priest who brings a burning love of our Lord to Holy Mother Church! He will be remembered in my prayers with love and gratitude.

I am excited about showing his DVD to my children and grandchildren who rarely attend church - I believe he has the gift to awaken our young adults. GOD BLESS HIM!!

divinely said...

The person that wrote this article must not know that the Cathechism of the Catholic Church exist. Father Michael Lightner is the type of priest that was hand picked by God to bring the youth back to the church. If people did not like him at Cedarburg...they did not follow the teachings of the Church. They practiced their own type of Catholism...

Anonymous said...

As a UWM student that is very active at the Newman Center- I can say that Fr. Mike has been a blessing to our community. He is very charismatic and has many great ideas to continue improving our campus ministry programs. It was expected that the Newman Center would change some with the arrival of a new priest, but I can speak on behalf of all of the students at UWM that we're confident that Fr. Mike will do a great job. Although Fr. Mike may be "newer" or "not as experienced" as other priests, and he is the director at the Newman Center, he is not by any means running the ministry alone. There are two great campus ministers on staff at the NC, and together the three have made the STUDENTS in charge of every major decision in terms of programming, etc. From getting to know Fr. Mike over this summer, it's clear to me that very action and decision he has made has been for the students' best interests.

Anonymous said...

I had an awful experience tonight at the Newman Center UW-Milwaukee attending the Liturgy with presider Lightner. I asked him a question after the Mass and he was so unkind to me--in front of my son even--told me, "good" when I said that I did not feel welcomed at his Liturgy and that it would be unlikely that I would return--instead of explaining himself when I asked him a question about his announcement, he kept telling me "have a nice day" and here it was approximately 9 pm! As we walked away my son said, "Wow, he has some anger issues"--to which I could say nothing--I was literally scared by his unkind remarks, leering eyes and overall anti-Christlike demeanor!! Sad to learn that this is what the young students attending UW-M can expect should anyone of them ask him a question.

Anonymous said...

To the last blogger.
i was right behind you when you had your conversation with Fr. Mike. You have no truth in you whatsoever. You asked the Question ( how dare you, tell people how to pray?) he said "i am not, this is how the Church teaches us how to pray. your voice was loud and sounded angry and you said" I will never come here again." he responded "thats ok if you feel this way." and when you continued to badger him and pick a fight, he said to you three times, have a great day! and you left. you where in a rage not him. how can you call yourself a Christian. you tried to provoke father and when he did not respond, you slander his name and you lie.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I cannot believe that this comment form is still going on. I stumbled upon it months ago and thought to my self, self only the true get persecuted as in Our lord the most persecuted in history. The Rev. Lightner is one of whose who speak the truth about the catholic faith. May god bless you Fr. mike, I wish we hade more like you out there.

Anonymous said...

I know Fr. Lightner to be a Holy Catholic priest. The Newman Center is lucky to have such a presence on campus.

Anonymous said...

Shame on you for posting such outright lies. This is nothing but anti-Catholic tripe. What coward you are!

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of lies being published by another anti-Catholic coward!

Carol said...

Carol said...
My daughter is going to UWM. I wanted to see if there was anything about the N C and I found this blog. Thanks to the last blogger, I feel much more comfortable than I would have if he would not have responded to the previous one.

It is amazing how many different responses can be stimulated from the same person. Sounds like he is following his heart and isn't afraid to say what he feels needs to be said. I think that is a good thing. Whether we agree or disagree with him, he is making us look deeper at what is important.

Anonymous said...

I'm at the Newman Center right now. Shall we bring this conversation to life?

Kathy H. said...

I was trying to find an email address for Fr. Mike to thank him for giving me the Eucharist on Saturday the 10th at a wonderful conference on Mercy at St. Jerome in Oconomowoc and opened this blog just out of curiosity. I use a walker because of my knee problems and was ready to walk up to the altar to receive the Host. Fr. Mike was headed down to the back of church, noticed me, stopped and gave me Communion. I've known him for 3 years and he was our spiritual director for our Padre Pio Prayer Group. Being assigned to the Newman Center was a brilliant move. He was caught up in the secularism in his own college days and who better to inspire and motivate our students.
He has been instrumental in the establishment of the Men and Women of Christ conferences and is a true witness to the power of God's conversion. Thank you blog site for letting those who know how truly hard he works for Christ to let us tell our stories.