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Statue of St. Joseph Returns to St. Norbert College

From St. Norbert Abbey, August 31, 2015
by Katrina Marshall, katrina.marshall@norbertines.org, 920-337-4318

In the spirit of a rekindled interest in the figure and role of St. Joseph in the life of the Church, especially among a generation of young men and women who are excited about the rich heritage of Catholic culture and history, the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey is returning the crowned statue of St. Joseph to St. Norbert College Parish at Old St. Joseph Church on the St. Norbert College campus.

During the 1969 architectural renovation of Old St. Joseph Church, the statue of St. Joseph, which had been located upon the high altar, was placed at St. Norbert Abbey, where a sacred location in the abbey crypt was created. At this site, the weekly novenas first started in 1888 were continued.

Returning this devotion to the original site of the 127-year-old St. Joseph novena is not only a response to a renewed enthusiasm for deepening the spiritual life of the college and parish communities, but also a rich opportunity to collaborate with others in reimaging the figure of St. Joseph within 21st-century Catholicism.

Implicit in the return of this devotion to Old St. Joseph Church is the time-honored belief that the life of St. Joseph can inspire all people more actively to discern the dignity and value of manual labor, craftsmanship, rights of workers, adoptive and foster parenthood, fatherhood, gender and faith, and end-of-life expectations. St. Joseph is the traditional patron of these and many causes that continue to challenge and inspire the human condition.

By returning the statue to Old St. Joseph Church, the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey is hopeful that more people will have easier access to this historically significant practice of honoring St. Joseph's important role in Salvation history. Furthermore, the Norbertine Order is confident that by more generously sharing this beautiful work of art and ritual with others within an academic setting, a productive and challenging conversation about culture, faith and life will be better encouraged and facilitated.

The Shrine of St. Joseph is open to the public 6 a.m.-6 p.m. daily (123 Grant Street, De Pere, WI, 54115-2099). Beginning September 2, 2015, the weekly novena to St. Joseph will be held Wednesdays at 7 a.m., immediately following the daily 6:30 a.m. Mass. In 2016, the 128th consecutive Solemn Novena to St. Joseph begins on Thursday, March 10, at Old St. Joseph Church and concludes on Saturday, March 19, the Solemnity of St. Joseph.

To learn about the history of the shrine, visit http://www.norbertines.org.

For additional information, contact the St. Norbert College Parish Offices at (920) 403-3010.