Archbishop Listecki marks Ash Wednesday with Mass at Pius H.S.

MILWAUKEE -- Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, and Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki - who just recently returned from Rome, began the day with hundreds of students at Pius XI High School.

Archbishop Listecki led the Ash Wednesday Mass at Pius XI High School, in the gymnasium, instead of a cathedral. Listecki had a message for the captive audience. "The liturgical season of Lent helps us focus on the great, unconditional love of Jesus Christ," Listecki said.

Listecki told the young people this is a time to strengthen their relationship with God, by praying and fasting. "You can't have a relationship with God unless you talk to God, and all of those who want to achieve, to go from one level to the next, have to deny themselves something," Listecki said.

Listecki reflected on the achievements of former Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who was elevated to cardinal during a ceremony in Rome this past weekend. "It was a joyous and happy time, because as I said before, you, I, we own a piece of him," Listecki said.

Listecki said God's journey for Dolan in this world has brought him to this point, without changing his personality. "Tim was great. After he received, he came out and he was smiling. (He was) his jovial self, just like we know him to be. The man has never met a stranger, which is a really wonderful aspect and a wonderful gift," Listecki said.

This is the third year Listecki has conducted Ash Wednesday Mass at Pius.