Oconto church invites pilgrims
St. Joseph Church in Oconto serves as pilgrimage site
By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor
During this Jubilee year, we are asked to turn our hearts back to God, to be reconciled with God and
with one another. One way to set our hearts and minds upon this reconciliation is through a pilgrimage.
Bp. Robert Banks has designated 10 pilgrimage sites for the Jubilee Year. Pilgrims may receive a
special Jubilee Year indulgence granted by Pope John Paul. Conditions for the indulgence, besides the
pilgrimage itself, include: Sacramental confession, at any time and place, during the Jubilee Year;
Eucharistic Communion; and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father.
Once at a pilgrimage site, the pilgrim is asked to recite the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles or Nicene Creed
and a prayer for the Holy Father. Below is one of the 10 pilgrimage sites:
Holy Trinity (St. Joseph site), 716 Madison St. (Park and Madison Sts.), Oconto
Weekend Masses: Saturday: 4:30 p.m.; Sunday: 7:30 and 10 a.m. April to July at 516 Brazeau (St. Peter
site). After July, at the St. Joseph site.
Daily Mass: 8 a.m., except on Mondays.
Confessions: 3:45 p.m. on Saturday and by appointment.
Special Jubilee events: an ecumenical service will be held at noon on Good Friday at the St. Joseph site.
Parish founding: in 1870, Fr. Mathias Schwebach and 100 families of German and Irish descent formed
St. Joseph Parish from St. Peter Parish. Fr. Schwebach used his own funds to purchase "an impressively
large mud puddle" for the parish grounds.
Present church dates back to an 1870 building -- which was completely rebuilt and rededicated on Jan.
1, 1896. The 1870 church was built with the help and contributions of the nearby lumber camps. The
1896 renovation was done with stone brought by local farmers during the winter months. The church
has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983 and was extensively renovated in 1985.
The 1,700-pound bell in the tower was purchased in 1872.
In 1958, a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe was built by parish volunteers so that migrant workers at
the pickle plant could have a nearby place of worship. The chapel was built on the west side of town on
land donated to the diocese by the Holt Hardwood Company.
Pastor: Fr. David Ruby.
Parish membership: 2,071.
The city of Oconto exists near the site of the first Mass said in what is now the Green Bay Diocese on Dec. 3, 1669, by Fr. Claude Allouez, SJ.