A tour of the Diocesan Museum

By Sam Lucero | The Compass | May 5, 2016

A chalice with a story

Members of the Diocese of Green Bay’s Communications Department, which includes The Compass, visited the Diocesan Museum on May 5. The field trip was in lieu of the department’s monthly staff meeting.

Our visit gave the staff an opportunity to learn about how the museum, located in the lower level of the Bishop Wycislow Center, next to St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, came about. Our tour guides, affectionately known as The Two Carols (Jones and Joppe),  who are local church history experts, provided interesting nuggets of information.

I have visited the museum on several occasions and was familiar with many of the stories behind the artifacts. I did learn one new anecdote on recent church history, thanks to Carol Joppe.

Carol Joppe explained that these particular sacred vessels were used by Bishop David Ricken at his installation Mass on Aug. 28, 2008. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)
Carol Joppe explained that these particular sacred vessels were used by Bishop David Ricken at his installation Mass on Aug. 28, 2008. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

Pointing to a chalice and paten on display in a glass case, Joppe explained that these particular sacred vessels were used by Bishop David Ricken at his installation Mass on Aug. 28, 2008.

How he chose to use this chalice at his first Mass as bishop of Green Bay was enlightening. After he arrived in Green Bay July 9, one month before his installation, Bishop Ricken visited the cathedral and made a stop at the Diocesan Museum, where Joppe showed him some of the artifacts on display. When she showed him the chalice gifted to the cathedral in 1959, Bishop Ricken said he wanted to use it for his installation Mass. Why this particular chalice when there were so many others from which to choose?

Joppe said Bishop Ricken knew instantly this was the chalice he wanted by the names on a display next to it. The card reads: A gift to St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in memory of William and Bertha Holland from their children. …”

Bishop Ricken’s parents were named William and Bertha. In the words of Paul Harvey, now you know the rest of the story.

If you’d like to see this chalice and the hundreds of other artifacts on display at the Diocesan Museum, many which date back centuries, tours are held every Sunday after the 9 a.m. Mass to noon. The Two Carols are also willing to lead group tours. Just call (920) 432-4348.

You can also read about the museum’s newest display, an interactive kiosk that brings diocesan history to life.

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