Local stories, events, and Catholic inspiration in northeast Wisconsin

Bishop Ricken’s May Travel Log

By Bishop David Ricken | On Mission

 5.4.2024 — Champion, WI:

For the past 11 years, on the first Saturday of the month of May, the Walk to Mary pilgrimage from the National Shrine of St. Joseph on the campus of St. Norbert College, De Pere, to The National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion is held in our diocese. I am happy to participate in this beautiful event and to have watched it grow exponentially. Six thousand people from 45 states participated this year. 

At the 5:15 p.m. Mass, which I was privileged to celebrate, many people stood up when I asked them if they received an answered prayer that day. Almost the whole house stood when I asked them if they sensed that an answered prayer would be on the way to them in the next few days. WOW! Our Lady answers prayers! 

I want to express gratitude to Fr. Rocky Hoffman and Relevant Radio for promoting this event so consistently and for Pat Deprey, Walk to Mary director, for his tireless work.

Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, who appeared in the wilderness here in the Diocese of Green Bay to a young adult immigrant, Adele Brise, is still calling children to herself so she can introduce them to Jesus. Thank you, Blessed Mother! 

And, my friends, I want to invite you to The National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion on Sunday, June 16, for an event with the perpetual pilgrims. 

These pilgrims are a small, dedicated group who are traveling full-time from May until July 2024, accompanying Jesus as the National Eucharist Pilgrimage-Marion Route, makes its way from the headwaters of the Mississippi River, across Wisconsin, through the Diocese of Green Bay and south to the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, IN. 

Visit our website home page at www.gbdioc.org for a complete itinerary while Jesus travels through our area.


5.5.2024 — Tigerton, Marion and Wittenberg pastoral visit:

After much prayer and discernment over the last months, I am in the process of shifting my time and energies to devote more time to priests and pastoral leaders in the field. My recent visit to the parishes in Tigerton, Wittenberg and Marion is a good example of this shift.

Since I cannot visit every parish every year, or even every couple years, I am choosing to spend time in parishes that I have not been to in a long time or, in the case, of St. Anthony Parish, Tigerton, where I’ve never been.

The pastor, Fr. Matt Settle, very courteously, without my prompting, brought together the communities of Holy Family-St. William Parish, Wittenberg, and St. Mary Parish, Marion, with the St. Anthony community for Mass at the Tigerton site. 

It was a beautiful Sunday morning Mass and such a joy to see them all gathered and praying together so devoutly. The music for Mass was a combination of chant done in English and the more familiar hymns and songs, and all seemed to blend beautifully. This was a beautiful example of how parishes in rural environments/contexts are doing so much and really love the church. 

There was a beautiful representation of the three parishes: the beloved seniors, so faithful and so generous, and a few very young families with great love and zeal for Christ, Our Blessed Mother and the church. Hope is on the way! 

Afterward, Deacon Peter Gard, parish operations director and associate to the vicar for priests and pastoral leaders for the Diocese of Green Bay, and I met with the three parish and finance councils together to have a conversation. I shared my priorities for the diocese and they each shared how their parishes are doing. I enjoy these open meetings of sharing so that I can know the people and the parishes more intimately. 

One thing they made clear to me is that they love their pastor, Fr. Matt Settle. Since the pastor is not present in these meetings, when I saw Fr. Matt afterward, I teased him by saying, “Hey, Fr. Matt, you passed.” We both laughed uproariously. 

What a gift, to be the pastor, as Bishop, of such good priests, deacons and people of this diocese. I am a blessed man! 

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