St. Agnes School Centennial Celebration
St. Agnes School Centennial Video
St. Agnes School is celebrating our Centennial. Come join us for Mass on Thursday March 23 at 8:15 am with Archbishop Listecki. Reception to follow. See flier.
Who’s New at St. Agnes?
While Father Joy is back home in India through much of January, two retired priests are subbing for him at Mass. From Christmas eve through January 6, Father Bill Key will celebrate Mass at St. Agnes. And for the following two weeks, Father Ralph Gross will take over.
Meet Father Ralph.
A senior priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, Father Ralph Gross is still busy helping out at parishes when needed. Whether hearing confessions, celebrating Mass or preparing a homily, Father enjoys staying active. He still plays golf regularly in good weather and hits the gym for basketball and pickleball. In fact, his recent hip replacement will keep him even better shape for these activities.
Father Ralph was baptized at St. Anthony’s church and then moved to St. Mary’s in Menomonee Falls. The family moved back to St. Anthony for seventh and eighth grade. Last week he filled in as the celebrant at Mass at St. Anthony’s. Walking back to his car after Mass last week, Father pointed out the graves of some of his relatives just outside St. Anthony’s Church. “My gravestone is further back near the golf course,” he said. “My name is already engraved on the marker.”
Father’s path to the priesthood began with the influence of his parents. “My dad was the most awesome individual,” he said. “A gentle Christian individual, he had such a wonderful attitude.
He was quiet and my mother was the opposite.” Each May the family prayed the rosary together. His dad would attend Mother of Perpetual Help devotions every Tuesday evening. On Sundays the family would attend Mass together, and then his dad would go back to a second Mass by himself. “He was a tremendous influence on my life,” Father said.
After his ordination, Father Ralph first served at St. Joseph’s in Fond du Lac. He also taught at St. Mary’s Springs High School there for seven years. His second assignment was here at St. Agnes while Father Joseph Cunningham was pastor. “I so enjoyed him,” Father Ralph said. His time here was cut short when Archbishop Weakland sent Father Ralph to Catholic University in Washington, D.C., to study canon law so that he could afterwards return to the diocese and work in the chancery office.
After graduation, he spent more than a dozen years working for the Milwaukee Archdiocese, first as vice-chancellor, then as chancellor and then as the chair of the committee for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the archdiocese. Preferring to return to pastoral work, Father Ralph then served at St. Margaret Mary in Milwaukee, St. Bruno in Dousman and St. Paul in Genesee Depot before retiring in 2016.
“I am happy to have the experience of serving in the substitute ministry now,” he said. “It’s great to have no administrative duties. I can focus on Mass, confessions and preaching — and I have time to prepare.”
We are blessed to have you, Father Ralph. Thank you for coming to St. Agnes to help out while Father Joy is away!
Meet Father Bill.
A retired priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, Father Bill “fills in” as the temporary replacement for priests when they need to be gone from the parish. He obviously enjoys music at Mass, even on weekdays when he leads the congregation in Christmas hymns.
No matter if there is no organist, he is happy to lead the singing a capella.
He says he enjoys saying Mass at a variety of parishes because each place is unique. Last summer, for example, he said the Spanish Mass on Sundays at Holy Hill. He also helps out at St. Adalbert regularly, where he also says the Mass in Spanish. (He also knows German, Greek and Latin!).
What is truly unusual is that Father Bill is fluent in sign language. As a seminarian, he volunteered to teach at St. John’s school for the Deaf and even went on to study a semester in Washington D.C., at what is now Gallaudet University, which serves deaf students from around the world.
Instead of continuing there to pursue a teaching career, he returned to the seminary to complete his preparation for the priesthood. Having learned to sign, Father Bill is able to serve the deaf community in the Milwaukee area and continues to offer Mass through signing for retreats.
Now that he has retired, he also helps out at parishes when the resident priest is out of town, just as he is doing here at St. Agnes. He is an avid reader and listens to audio books while driving. Recent books were three biographies: Teresa of Avila, St. Rose of Lima and Father Augustus Tolton: The Slave Who Became the First African-American Priest.
Raised in Kewaskum, Father Bill visits his sister there regularly; another sister lives in Appleton; and he visits with his brother (now in Eugene, Oregon) when he comes to Milwaukee for the Harley rallies. Father Bill enjoys downhill skiing. In fact, for 25 years he was a guide for blind skiers on Sunday nights. He was sponsored by the Lions’ Club BOLD program (Blind Outdoor Leisure Development).
Father Bill’s advice for Catholics today: “The Eucharistic Revival inspires us. The Real Presence is here: tell your friends,” he said. The Eucharistic Revival is taking place in the United States. We are now in Year One: The Year of the Parish, when small-group parish communities can deepen their understanding of the Real Presence and encounter the Lord together through true reverence and devotion to the Eucharist.
Christmas Environment preparation 2022
Archives of all that has been new:
11/30/2022 What are you Waiting For? An Advent Presentation
8/3/2022 Youth Summer Mission Work Camp
8/4/2022 Catholic ID at St. Agnes
7/21/2022 Out and About Adventure to the Catholic Ecology Center
7/8/2022 Kemp Hall's new look: flooring, painting, safety
6/21/22 New Paint job keeps St. Agnes Church Fresh
6/8/2022 Out and About group visits Marian Shine
5/31/2022 Matthew Ferch Ordination
3/24/2022 Men's Prayer Ministry
3/8/2022 Walking the Labyrinth in Prayer, March 11-17
1/24/22 Meet Father Adam Fernandez
1/18/22 Elizabeth Ministry at St. Agnes
1/4/2022 Church Environment - Christmas Decorating
11/15/2021 St. Agnes students to perform “FROZEN”
10/27 Check out What's going on with Christian Formation
10/16 EXEMPLARY RECOGNITION IN MISSION AND CATHOLIC IDENTITY
10/9/2021 New lighting brightens rooms, conserves energy, saves money
9/24/2021 Bringing the neighborhood together
9/10/2021 Come See Our Lady of Fatima Statue
9_6_2021 Fr. Joys trip to India
8_27_2021 Come join our Picnic
8_13_2021 Learn about Formation
7_16_21 Mission trip paint our school