Editor’s note: Part four of our seven-part Lenten series on the Stations of the Cross features the stations inside St. John the Evangelist Church in Antigo. Philip Beck, a member of the parish and author of “A Walking Tour of St. John the Evangelist Church,” nominated the stations and provided the following information.
Ground breaking for the present St. John the Evangelist Church was held in the fall of 1955, the cornerstone was laid on Sept. 30, 1956, and first services were held in this facility on May 26, 1957. The church was dedicated on Sept. 1, 1957, by Bishop Stanislaus V. Bona, seventh bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay.
Conrad Schmitt Studios Inc. received the contract for the windows, stations and some marble work. The stations are the original work of Peter Recker, an independent artist who worked with Conrad Schmitt Studios. Recker completed the entire project — from the drawing of the designs, preparing the plywood, painting and installation.
In a letter to Fr. Leo Binder, Recker assured him that “not one of the images is a copy of other work.” In another letter from Bernard Gruenke of Conrad Schmitt Studios to Fr. Binder, Gruenke states, “It is possible that these stations could become nationally known, if they could be published in a … Station Booklet.”
Our church can be toured via a self-guided tour booklet available in the church. It will provide an opportunity to see all the Stations of the Cross, plus other areas of interest in our church.