The Catholic Multicultural Center Celebrates One Year of Rebirth
A Lazarus-Like Resurrection
       A little over a year ago, the Madison Diocese suddenly closed the Catholic
Multicultural Center on Beld Street as part of a larger effort to cut expenses to financial
shortfalls. Members of the South Madison community and others were shocked and
concerned about the vacuum in service that the closing of the center would cause.
Within a week, Our Lady Queen of Peace parish, which had been supportive of the
center through donations and volunteerism, stepped up to the plate.
       It was Pentecost Sunday when I woke up with the Holy Spirit, which said ‘Stop
getting upset and try it,’” Monsignor Ken Fiedler said. “And we did. So I blame the Holy
Spirit on this one.” Queen of Peace took over responsibility for the center and the
center was reopened through an outpouring of support from the greater Madison
community.
       On October 24, the Catholic Multicultural Center held a one-year celebration with
plenty of music, dance and good food. And the center has rebounded to provide more
service than ever before. “We’re the only organization in all of Dane County now doing
a free community meal seven days per week,” said Andrew Russell, the center’s
director. “The food pantry has expanded a bit. Our English as a Second Language
classes are going strong. During the semester, we have 20-30 classes held each and
every week. And then we received a grant where we will be doing a job training
program utilizing our kitchen.”
       It has been a Lazarus-like resurrection brought about by the faith and commitment
of those who care.
—Jonathan Gramling