Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them: 'Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger'.
And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men'."
That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Linus - A Charlie Brown Christmas, using Luke 2: 8-14.

From old St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Wisconsin Dells.

St. Cecilia Catholic Church

Monday, November 23, 2015

Windows to the Past and Future of St. Cecilia's, Wisconsin Dells (Pt. 3 of 3)

St. Cecilia, patroness of sacred music, overlooked the choir loft for decades in Wisconsin Dells. On either side of the main window you can see icons associated with her. On the left, a harp for her musical significance, and to the right, palms, as she was also an early martyr for Christianity.

Arguably the highlight of my last visit to old St. Cecilia's was seeing the stained glass window display. Being very old and perhaps original components of the church building, they have been a visual highlight for parishioners and visitors for decades.

Of these windows, the most notable are the pair of large windows in the transepts of the old church, each depicting scenes that aren't commonly seen in church artwork. Located where rose windows are commonly found at the sides of the church, these windows area a larger alternative.

Detail of an angel proclaiming the Nativity of Christ to the shepherds.

Left: Depiction of The Guardian Angel, originally a Bernhard Plockhorst painting.[1]
Right: St. Michael the Archangel defeating Satan.

The second of the two large windows, showing the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

These side windows, from near the sacristy depict a pair of the sacraments, baptism and communion respectively.

St. Patrick


These windows were underneath the choir loft.

With the new church well into construction, it is wonderful to say that practically all of these windows will be installed in the new church. Due to open in late 2016, you can follow along in the construction process through both St Cecilia's parish social media and the Diocese of Madison's Catholic Herald. If I am in still in the area when it opens, you can bet I will be back with my camera!

Links on St. Cecilia's:
"New St. Cecilia Church in Wisconsin Dells", Catholic Herald, written by a good friend of mine, Kevin Wondrash.
Facebook page: "St. Cecilia Catholic Church"

St. Cecilia Catholic Church

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Coming Soon!: Part 3 of old St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Wisconsin Dells

While today is St. Cecilia's feast day, I think it's worth sharing the news that the last part of my three-part series on the recently-demolished St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Wisconsin Dells will be published tomorrow! For now, enjoy this close-up of St. Patrick from the church.

St. Cecilia Catholic Church

Friday, November 13, 2015

They Say it's Your Birthday...St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine has earned a lot of notoriety through history. Known in his early days as a bit of a womanizer, he eventually grew into his faith, became a bishop, an author who commands respect of literature scholars even today, and of course, a Saint of the Catholic Church.

Heck, he is even the subject of a Bob Dylan song. Anyone recall I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine?

Today marks the 1661th anniversary of his birth (that's 354 AD for you non-mathematicians out there)[1].

St. Cecilia Catholic Church

Additional Sources:
*Also thanks to the Beatles for inspiration for the title of this post.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Upcoming Event!: Doors Open to 13 Catholic Milwaukee Sites on September 19 and 20

For the fifth year running, Doors Open Milwaukee will be opening doors all over the great City (and County) of Milwaukee this weekend, September 19th and 20th. By my count, 13 Catholic sites will be open for special guided or self-guided tours this weekend along with 164 other awesome sites. While you can get a short preview here on the blog, I highly suggest checking out Doors Open Milwaukee for more details.

Doors Open Milwaukee 2015 - Catholic Sites

1. Basilica of St. Josaphat, open Saturday for limited hours and Sunday 1 - 5 pm.

2. Calvary Cemetery Chapel, open Saturday and Sunday 10 am - 5 pm.

3. Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, open Sunday 12 noon - 5 pm.

4. Christ King Catholic Parish, open Sunday 12 noon - 5 pm.

5. Marian Center for Nonprofits (formerly St. Mary’s Academy), open Saturday 10 am - 4 pm and Sunday 12 noon - 5 pm.

6. Marquette University / St. Joan of Arc Chapel, open Saturday and Sunday 10 am - 5 pm.

7. Marquette University Law School / Ray and Kay Eckstein Hall, open Saturday 11 am - 4 pm and Sunday 11 am - 3 pm.

8. Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, open Saturday 10 am - 4 pm and Sunday 12 noon - 3 pm.

9. St. Benedict the Moor Church, open Saturday 10 am - 4 pm.

10. St. Casimir Church / Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish, open Sunday 11:30 am - 4 pm (concert at 4 pm).

11. St. Joseph Academy, open Saturday and Sunday 10 am - 5 pm.

12. St. Joseph Chapel, open Saturday 10 am - 4 pm.

13. St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church, open Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm.

Now go visit Milwaukee this weekend!

Out-and-Around Old St. Cecilia's

A little walk around the old St. Cecilia's church building used to lead visitors to a few landmarks of note for the local Catholic scene in the Wisconsin Dells. Perhaps most notable is this elegant shrine the the Virgin Mary, under the title of Our Lady of the Dells.

A church bell dating from 1904. It reads: "Purchased from the McShane Bell Foundry Balto. MD. by St. Cecilia's Congregation during the pastorate of Rev. O. Kolbe, A.D. 1904."

The parish hall and former school building, which has hosted summer masses for years now to handle the overflow from the old church building. It is being used as the regular worship space until the new St. Cecilia's is complete.

St. Cecilia Catholic Church

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Old St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Wisconsin Dells, A Last Inside Look

St. Cecilia's Catholic Church, the Wisconsin Dells lone parish, closed its 1902 church building with a final Mass and "Roots in Faith" party on Sunday, May 17th. I wasn't able to catch the final Mass which filled the church and forced overflow seating space outside the building. However, I did get to spend a few hours the weekend before walking about the church and capturing the soon-departed scenery.

I had visited the church on one other occasion, and what stuck me the most on that visit was the high altar. Modest in its proportions, the altar is sharp in its detail and, common throughout the church that day, remarkably clean for a building that was soon to be emptied. The scene of the Last Supper is more prominent here than on many altars I've seen, situated at eye-level.

Detail from the high altar.

At the foot of the Cross, high altar detail.

With distinguishing features like this high altar, it is worthy to note that the general plans for the new church building call for many of the old decorative elements to either be included in the new church or for their replacements to be largely inspired by these originals.

The more modern altar is no slouch in appearance either. It was still the Easter season when I visited, so the seasonal flower display quickly caught the visitor's eye.

Lamb of God, detail from the altar.

Detail from the communion rail.

Left: Side altar devoted to St. Joseph with the tabernacle.
Right: Side altar featuring St. Mary fronted by the baptismal font.

"Jesus I trust in you"

Depiction of the Image of the Divine Mercy, the original of which came into being through the appearance of Jesus Christ to St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun [1]. St. Cecilia Catholic Church, and the Dells in general represent a small, but significant center for Polish heritage. Polka festivals are an annual occurrence in town to this day.

Sacred Heart of Jesus statue.

Tabernacle lamp.

St. Cecilia, patron of the church. An early martyr for Christianity, she is also considered a patron saint of religious music. Many St. Cecilia statues feature her carrying a small organ or other instrument.

"Domum dei Decet Sacntitudo." (Latin for"The House of God Holiness.")
"St. Caecilia's Church 1902" (Caecilia is Latin for Cecilia)

While suffering from structural problems over a century after being built, the old St. Cecilia Church building still looked admirable as its closing approached.

St. Cecilia Catholic Church

Additional Sources:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Wish You Were Old St. Mary's, Milwaukee

A new series for the blog while I'm getting larger posts ready. Have a church that you want featured on the blog? Email me suggestions at Attach a postcard-worthy photo that I can include in the post too please!

A reader of the blog, Melissa Behrens, sent the images below to me on my phone while she was out in Milwaukee attending a friend's wedding. I have been in Old St. Mary's a few times, but haven't given it the true Roamin' Catholic Churches treatment yet. Hopefully soon!

Thanks Melissa!

ps. If you want to see a slick-looking lifestyle blog, check out Melissa and her husband Max's lifestyle blog Lumber Loves Lace. Their dog, Henry, is actually the preeminent blogger in the family, and you can catch him at Sir Henry the Dog.

Photos by Melissa Behrens.
"Postcard" by Colter Sikora, derived from one of Melissa's photos.

Old St. Mary Catholic Church