Request from Reader: Advice on best Catholic spot to relocate to in Wisconsin


From a reader:
I came across your blog online and was wondering if you could give me some feedback on Catholic parishes in Wisconsin.

I am considering moving to Wisconsin. I have some flexibility in location choice. It looks like north/west of Madison may be a good choice in terms of TLM and/or ad orientem Novus Ordo.  Ideally, the parish community is local and not transient. Thoughts/suggestions?
It's been a while since I posted one of these emails.  I get them a lot and I'm happy to help.  For Wisconsin I generally recommend the Madison area.  Bishop Morlino is setting up a stable and vibrant Catholic area for years to come.  The curia there seems on board with permitting(dare I say encouraging) parishes to establish and maintain a solid Catholic identity and liturgy and not allowing Father Hatchet to come in and tear down the house after Father EnFuego has moved on.

There is the Cathedral parish herself in Madison which features both forms, and also parishes like Fr. Rick's in nearby Pine Bluff that have ad orientem liturgy and very strong music programs.  St Ambrose Academy is a fantastic school in the classical model.  Also there is the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest (different from ICKSP) who serve right in the area mentioned north/west of Madison.  I would likely be at the Cathedral parish were I in that area(please don't throw things at me Pine Bluff) but there's lots of good options. *The previous statement is now in dubium, certainly St. Mary's Pine Bluff in that case.

But always keep in mind that no area is perfect.  I've talked to many people who move to an area and are expecting heaven on earth.  It exists only in our tabernacles.  With that said, look for a place that is in line with what you hold dear and be ready to contribute as well.  The grass is only greener here nine months out of the year.

I would also say that any of the Institute of Christ the King oratories would obviously be solid.  I find that most Latin Mass apostolates generally have large homeschooling groups.  Although we personally do not homeschool that option is much more doable with a solid support group.  In Milwaukee and Green Bay there are also solid schools in the area as well.

Things to like about Milwaukee - St. Stanislaus, The most beautiful church in the state, St. Anthony's parish and school, Trinity Academy in Pewaukee, Holy Hill, Men of Christ, Brewers

Things to like about Green Bay/Fox Valley - The school system has begun to take a very pro-classical  approach, the Cathedral, ICKSP (and to my knowledge not a whole lot liturgically outside of those two), Holy Resurrection Monestary, Esto Vir, OLO Good Help Shrine, not to mention the other Mecca.

On this side of the state there's not a whole lot to mention.  North of the Duffy line even less.  Guadalupe Shrine in La Crosse worth a visit.

Obviously I have to give a very general take here but I hope that sums it up a bit.  Readers feel free to chime in with constructive feedback.

Comments

  1. I'm almost sure that you promised me heaven on earth!

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    1. I'm pretty sure I promised you that you would be gone in 18 months. I made pretty good money on that bet btw....

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    2. I think you owe me a cut of the cash.

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  2. Cathedral Parish in Madison does NOT have Mass in both forms. Their TLM was discontinued around three years ago when Fr Heilman started having a TLM in Pine Bluff, unfortunately (though Fr H had made it clear it was never his intent to compete with the Cathedral Parish's TLM).

    For the Madison-area, I'd recommend either Pine Bluff or Roxbury. Fr H is of course an excellent priest, and the Society priests are wonderful as well. You'll find devotion to reverent liturgy and frequent confessions at both. Both parishes have significant numbers of large, young families -- especially at the TLMs.

    Pine Bluff is exclusively ad Orientem, solid music (lots of Gregorian chant!), and both forms of the Roman Rite on Sundays and most major feast days -- and the TLM is almost always a Sung Mass. It's also very close to Middleton / West Side of Madison (only about a 10min drive).

    Roxbury is a little bit further away from the city, but they have a TLM every day except Saturday (there's one in nearby Mazomanie on Saturday mornings), and a very reverent OF Mass daily. I heard they were experimenting with shifting to exclusively ad Orientem, but am not sure at what stage they are as far as that goes.

    The Madison area is also a good choice if you enjoy TLMs of the Pontifical variety. Bp Morlino tends to celebrate a Pontifical Mass at the Throne about 6-10 times per year. Our next vestment sets will include multiple copes to hopefully start celebrating Solemn Vespers. And Bp Morlino offers the Sacrament of Confirmation in the EF every 1-2 years.

    Outside of Madison, the majority of my Sconnie Catholic experience is with the ICKSP, who are of course always great.

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    1. Thanks Michael! Look what happens when I'm not posting on this more often. I had no idea it was discontinued.

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    2. Father Osvaldo Briones, Mazomanie, has a go fund me for his Holy Cross Parish (St. Barnabas in Mazomanie) for a beautiful traditional altar crucifix and matching candlesticks for his brand new back wall altar. He has ad orientem using the new altar on Tues., Thurs., Friday. He uses that altar for TLM Sat. a.m. He also has monthly ad orientem on Sat. p.m. and Sun. a.m. He could use funds from anybody who is interested in helping out with these beautiful altar pieces. Thank you. God bless you.

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    3. If you need an excuse, Father Heilman asked for more choir members for 9:00 a.m. NO. Aristotle doing an excellent job directing. I saw Father ask on facebook. Help Father. Move and join the choir.

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  3. Fr. Paul Paider at St. Mary in Menasha offers Mass ad orientem on Saturday evenings at 6 pm. (Hopefully he'll expand that to some of the Sunday Masses sometime soon!)

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  4. Milwaukee area also offers Aquinas Academy (K-8) on the northwest.

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  5. Ok to clarify again, I was just giving the quick overview. Here's a message I got from a reader at St. Mary's near Cashton WI(D. LaX)

    Matt, I couldn't get a message through on BadgerCatholic. I was wondering why you'd say that there isn't much going in the La Crosse Diocese? In addition to the Shrine there is the oratory in Wausau; and of course, there is St. Mary's Ridge which offers Mass in both forms - in the Extraordinary Form every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation SUNG! We also have weekly Masses as well as observing the Ember Days. The diocese reaffirmed just this last week their commitment to maintaining the apostolate for the Extraordinary Form here at St. Mary's. Finally, the EF is also offered weekly at Necedah (St. Francis of Assisi Parish).

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    1. So just to comment, I really wasn't intending to be hard on La Crosse. I really was just giving a quick rundown. I did mention and recommend all the ICKSP in the state, Wausau included. .... It looks like it's time to finally write the La Crosse Post. Although there are a few rural Latin Mass apostolates, I was just generalizing. In fact, oddly enough most of the really solid priests in this diocese are put in rather remote areas(granted, that's most of the diocese).

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  6. There is also the Institute of St. Joseph, just south of Boyd.

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  7. I'll need to do a follow up post. I was being brief and was focusing on the larger population areas.

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