Resurrection Parish marks ‘50 years of Faith in Action’

By Patricia Kasten | The Compass | September 12, 2013

Allouez parish has two unique ties to Green Bay Diocese

ALLOUEZ — Resurrection Parish has two unique ties to the Diocese of Green Bay.

Rose Marie (Pat) Kelly, a charter member of Resurrection Parish, is escorted into church during the parish’s 50th anniversary Mass held Sept. 8. (Scott Eastman | For The Compass)
Rose Marie (Pat) Kelly, a charter member of Resurrection Parish, is escorted into church during the parish’s 50th anniversary Mass held Sept. 8. (Scott Eastman | For The Compass)

First, when it was founded 50 years ago as a daughter parish of St. Matthew Parish in Allouez (Green Bay), the first Masses were held in what is now St. Joseph Chapel on the diocesan complex. In 1963, the chapel served the children’s home that was also on the site and Fr. William Spalding, founding pastor of Resurrection, was director of the Catholic Apostolate. (Fr. Spalding had been ordained in the old chapel of St. Joseph Orphanage on Sept. 29, 1945. That building was demolished in the 1980s.)

St. Joseph Chapel served the parish until its own church building — along with a school and a (now demolished) convent — was completed in 1965.

Second, the parish’s current pastor is the diocese’s auxiliary bishop. Bishop Robert Morneau was appointed to the parish Jan. 1, 2005. It was his first pastorate, although he had served as assistant pastor at St. Mary, Bear Creek, and St. Mary, Lakewood.

“I have been here eight years as pastor,” Bishop Morneau told The Compass. “I would have to say that ‘hospitality’ is a major hallmark. Our theme for the anniversary is ‘50 years of Faith in Action’ and that captures the essence of our parish: a faith community that is committed to try to live out fully the Gospel of Jesus.”

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To view more photos from the anniversary Mass, go to this link.

He noted that parish members — about 4,000 people — live out that Gospel through serving “a mission in Mississippi (St. Therese in Okolona) and helping with a school in Ethiopia. We are also involved in an ecumenical project, EPH (Ecumenical Partnership for Housing, which includes 16 local churches and the Salvation Army) and are also involved in Habitat for Humanity.”

He said that the parish has always been equally committed to faith formation as well as its parish school. Additionally, they are ecumenical and have a covenant parish relationship with Ascension Lutheran (also in Allouez) and St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in De Pere.

“It’s a welcoming community of people,” said Shelia De Luca, who has served as pastoral associate and family life director since 1992.

She remembers that, when she first arrived, she was struck from the start about how forward-thinking the parish was.

“The parish started right at the time of Vatican II and it has continued to promote the spirit of Vatican II,” she said. “It has continued to have a concern and outreach to the marginalized.”

She has also seen how the members of the parish recognize and call forth what each can offer for the strength of the community.

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Morneau, who serves as pastor of Resurrection Parish, delivers his homily during the parish’s anniversary Mass Sept. 8. (Scott Eastman | For The Compass)
Auxiliary Bishop Robert Morneau, who serves as pastor of Resurrection Parish, delivers his homily during the parish’s anniversary Mass Sept. 8. (Scott Eastman | For The Compass)

“We have been fortunate to have excellent leaders, not only our pastors but our council, trustees and staff over the years,” she added. “I think one of the things I picked up from the get-go was that the gifts and talents of parishioners were recognized and utilized — if somebody was good in business, they would do the business.”

The same has been true for artists, musicians and a variety of other talents, all of which were honored throughout the year and especially at the anniversary’s closing Mass Sept. 8.

Celebrated by Bishop Morneau, the Mass honored both charter members of the parish and the newer generations of members. Parish children and youth escorted charter members during the Mass’ opening procession. That procession symbolized, explained Michele Becker, parish liturgist and music director, “the passing of the torch of faith in action from the oldest to the youngest generation.”

Former choir members were invited to participate and the anniversary year song, “We Say Yes,” was sung. Even the parish’s sacramental records — remembering those who have been baptized, confirmed, married and sent to the Lord from the parish — were carried in the procession.

The anniversary year also closed with the parish’s annual Autumn Fest. With the construction project, there was no room for rehearsals for a parish musical, a long tradition in the parish, but Becker said one is planned for August 2014.

The parish is also in the midst of renovations which included a new church roof, new lighting and carpeting in the church and remodeling of the gathering area, which was built in 1995. These included expansion and updates of the kitchen and day chapel. A new office building/welcoming center is being built and the parking on the west side of the parish site was expanded. The Family Activity Center, built on the east side of the school in 1995, was used for Masses while the church was updated.

The welcoming center, which will include the parish office, conference rooms, a youth area and a bride’s room, will be dedicated in January.

Asked to explain the parish’s anniversary theme, Bishop Morneau said that “Faith in Action” means “taking our belief in God as our Creator (life), Jesus our Redeemer (love) and the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier, (light) and — as disciples of Jesus — attempting to be agents of life, love and life. We do that by giving life to others through affirmation and respect, being agents of love by being compassionate and merciful, being agents of light by proclaiming the truth, and doing works of justice.”

Looking toward the future, De Luca noted that, during this past year, she was “encouraged by the optimism toward the strength of and possibilities for the parish. The younger voices exuded enthusiasm and readiness to build for the future outreach to the needy in the community, finding new ways to excite and engage the youth and young adults, dedicating ourselves to stewardship of the earth, tending to health and wellness concerns, fostering the baptismal call in each one of us, inviting others to share in our Catholic faith.”

Bishop Morneau said much the same: “Our faith is grounded in the mystery of the Incarnation and Trinity. Our action is to emulate these mysteries by imaging God and incarnating (giving flesh to) a God of love and mercy revealed in Jesus.”

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