TV Mass chalice offers local history

By Patricia Kasten | The Compass | February 5, 2021


“I noticed that Bishop David Ricken uses the same chalice each Sunday on the TV Mass on WFRV-TV, Channel 5. Does it have a story?” — Appleton


The chalice Bishop David Ricken uses chalice Bishop David Ricken uses for TV Masses is selected by Dan Vanden Avond, sacristan for St. Francis Xavier Cathedral. (There is also a paten — plate for the consecrated host — that goes with it. The chalice comes from the Green Bay Diocese Museum, housed in the lower level of the cathedral.

This particular gold chalice first belonged to Bishop Joseph John Fox, the fifth bishop of Green Bay. He is the only bishop of the diocese who was born in the Green Bay Diocese. Bishop Fox was born in Green Bay on Aug. 2, 1855. He served as vicar general of the diocese under Bishop Sebastian Messmer. In that post, he supervised the construction of the “St. Joseph Orphan Asylum” (now the grounds of the diocesan offices).

When he was pope, St. Pius X named Bishop Fox as ordinary of the diocese in May 1904 and he was ordained a bishop at the cathedral on July 25, 1904. He also built a new bishop’s residence in 1911 after the original was destroyed by fire. This 1911 building served as the diocesan chancery until 2009 and was razed in 2011.

Bishop Fox also built “the bungalow” on the diocesan grounds in 1909. Bishop Fox served as ordinary until November 1914, when he retired for health reasons. He died on March 15, 1915, and is buried in the Fox family’s mausoleum at Allouez Catholic Cemetery.

The chalice, according to Sherry Steffel of the Green Bay Diocese Museum, was made in Trier, Germany, and includes four green stones in the knob — which serves to make a chalice easier to hold. The stones are jade.

The base of the chalice is engraved with the names: St. Joseph (the bishop’s patron saint), St. Maria, St. Jacobus Major (St. James the Greater) and Christus Rex (Christ the King). It is also engraved with the sentence: “Qui Bibit Meum Sanguinem Habet Vitam Aeternam.” Translated from Latin, this means: “Whoever drinks my blood will have eternal life” (from the Gospel of John).


Kasten is an associate editor for The Compass. She holds a master’s degree in theological studies from St. Norbert College, De Pere.


Have you ever wondered something about the church or the Catholic faith? If you have a question about the Catholic Church or faith, send it to FAQs, c/o The Compass, P.O Box 23825, Green Bay WI 54305, or via email to [email protected]

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