OCONTO — Bishop David Ricken will join Fr. Joel Sember and members of Holy Trinity Parish for the dedication and blessing of a new church during Mass on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2 p.m.
According to Fr. Sember, who has been pastor of Holy Trinity, St. Anthony and St. Patrick parishes in Oconto, Oconto Falls and Stiles since 2010, preparation for a new church dates back to 1996, when Holy Trinity was created following the merger of St. Joseph and St. Peter parishes.
“The parish tried (and failed) to build new under Fr. Dave Ruby,” he said. “But the parish retained many of those funds from that fundraiser and they were put towards this building.” The rebuilding plan surfaced again in 2014, and on Dec. 10, 2016, a design was unveiled to the parish. A second fundraiser held in 2017 helped to get the project off the ground, and on May 11, 2018, groundbreaking on the new church took place.
“Our new church features many familiar treasures from both buildings including statues, Stations of the Cross, stained-glass windows and a large crucifix,” said Fr. Sember. “Inspired Artisans from Milwaukee helped to update some of the items. They also custom built a brand new altar as the centerpiece and focal point of the worship area.”
The new church is attached to the former parish hall/gymnasium/cafeteria, which will now serve as a gathering space. “Using existing items and renovating spaces that we already had enabled us to get a very nice church for the money spent,” said Fr. Sember. Total cost of the new church, which seats 325 people, was $2.8 million.
“We try to blend the best of new building designs and architecture with things we love about traditional churches. The result is something simple, beautiful, and timeless,” added Fr. Sember.