Wednesday, November 2, 2016

All Saints Catholic Church, Milwaukee - VIP Milwaukee Preview

Note: This is one in a series of five posts previewing the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Very Important Parishes (VIP) event on Saturday, November 5th. To view the other preview posts and learn more about VIP, check out the first post in the series.

Diversity is a major theme at All Saints. Rising from merger of several ethnic north side Milwaukee parishes, All Saints is a wonderful “melting pot” of faith traditions and ethnic roots. This melting pot boils over and runs throughout the liturgy, artistic expressions, and community service of the parish. 

Resting near the center of the worship space, the altar brings together the congregation from all sides of the church.

Special VIP Offerings:
- Exclusive presentation by All Saints’ internationally-known gospel choir at 11:30 a.m.
- Multi-cultural displays featuring the parish's African-American, European, Caribbean, and African heritages.
- Learn about the Knights of Peter Claver and the Ladies Auxiliary, the parish’s food pantry, and other initiatives.
- Tours include the immersion baptismal font, prayer alcove, balcony, chapel, and more!

The baptismal font makes a remarkable impression upon entering the main church.

Location: 4051 N. 25th Street, Milwaukee, WI – All Saints calls Milwaukee’s north side home, just off Capitol Avenue. The church building that houses All Saints is the former St. Agnes Catholic Church, indicative of the former ethnic German population of this part of the city. Today, the African-American community anchors the area and provides enthusiastic leadership for much of the All Saints Parish community. Rufus King High School and an old industrial railroad corridor are among the larger landmarks in the area.

The former namesake of the All Saints Catholic Church building, St. Agnes, still holds watch from the balcony years after the closure of her original parish.

Fun All Saints’ Facts:
- The parish’s namesake, All Saints, helps tell the genesis of this community. Over the last couple decades, many of Milwaukee’s north side parishes have combined to help form All Saints, which Bobby Tanzilo’s article on All Saints describes in detail [1].
- The first Catholic Church near All Saints was built for the old St. Agnes Parish near 25th Street and Capitol Avenue in 1926 [2].
- Weekend Mass and All Saints Gospel Choir performances are recorded and available for sale and streaming [3]

Statue of the Holy Family from a prayer alcove.

Why is this Parish a VIP?
1. Social Activities: You likely have heard of the Knights of Columbus, but did you know that there is an active fraternal organization for African-American Catholics which is active in the heart of Milwaukee? The Knights of Peter Claver were founded in 1909 in Mobile, Alabama to originally offer a fraternal home for men of color. Membership has expanded to allow women and youth into this organization which is active in several social initiatives, including through its membership at All Saints. The Parish also hosts a hot meal program each Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for the surrounding community, complemented further by a food pantry that is open on Fridays. 

2. Gospel Choir: I don’t fancy myself a music critic, but I think anyone can recognize the talent and enthusiasm of the All Saints Gospel Choir! The choir will give a special presentation at 11:30 a.m. during the VIP event on November 5th, and will have CDs available for a good will offering. Give them a listen!

This nave fills weekly with the enthusiasm of both the amazing All Saints Gospel Choir and the parish family at All Saints.

3. Religious Devotions: Admittedly, I am underscoring the diversity of this parish which includes folks of many nationalities and economic backgrounds in part to keep this article concise and to encourage to you go and learn more at VIP! However, similar to many of Milwaukee’s old Polish and German neighborhood churches, All Saints does a terrific job of recognizing saints of African heritage. Our Lady of Africa is represented through a beautiful statue in a prayer alcove just to the side of the sanctuary.

 Detail, Our Lady of Africa Statue.

In a separate prayer alcove, near the Our Lady of Africa statue, statuary and information on more saints are available for education and prayerful reflection. Two saints featured in the alcove, Saints Charles Lwanga and Martin de Porres, each reflect the great sacrifices that come with serving God and the communities that they served with Catholic faith and practice. The All Saints VIP tour on Saturday will feature more detail on these statues and the artwork throughout the church.

Left: St. Charles Lwanga
Right: St. Martin de Porres

4. The Church Building: Like fellow VIP parish, St. Bernard’s in Wauwatosa, the church at All Saints is a modern building, erected in the 1960s. Its nave and worship space is well-designed for a more charismatic form of Catholic worship than what Catholics may often see. A few highlights that will be featured in the VIP tour include the immersion pool used for baptisms, the additional chapel used for worship, and the balcony.

Our Lady of Grace, featured on the south wall of the church.

All Saints Catholic Church

Weekend Mass Times
Sundays: 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

Special thanks for Cecilia Smith-Robertson, Roosevelt, All Saints Parish, and Amy Grau for setting up my visit to All Saints and for bringing this article to life!

Additional Sources:
The All Saints Parish website and my conversations with folks at the parish were great sources of information throughout the article-writing process.
[2] Gurda, John. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, 258.

1 comment:

  1. It is very rare to see a congregation that is diverse as your church is. My wife and I would probably love to attend one day. We appreciate the variety of people from different backgrounds in our lives and would love to see this reflected in our religious life. Keep doing what you are doing and welcoming parishoners of all backgrounds to your church.