Parishioners fill St. Wenceslaus church for a decommissioning Mass.
Parishioners fill St. Wenceslaus church for a decommissioning Mass.

   When the Rev. Wenceslaus Kruskza was sent to Ripon in 1896 to begin a new church in the Polish immigrants’ native language, he always wanted a Polish archbishop.

   So the Rev. Bob Fictum noted it was only fitting that when the church, which is located on the corner of East Fond du Lac and St. Wenceslaus streets, was decommissioned Sunday morning, that Archbishop Jerome Listecki presided.

   The Milwaukee archbishop, who is of Polish descent, led the Mass, along with concelebrants Fictum, Rev. Michael Ignaszak, Rev. William Whalen and Rev. Jack Pfeifer.

   It was announced at the end of July that the church, which combined with St. Patrick Catholic Church in 2005 to form St. Catherine of Siena, was going to be put up for sale and decommissioned due to its aging structure and mounting repair costs.

   While no buyer has yet been identified for the church, the parish decided to do the decommissioning now before the weather gets inclement.

   But it wasn’t meant to be. A steady, cold rain altered the ceremony, which was supposed to end with a procession by foot to the now permanent location on Blossom Street.

Read the full story — and see plenty of photos from the Mass — in the Nov. 8, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.