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

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