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A temporary statue of the Christ Child in the arms of his earthly father, St. Joseph, has been placed in the shrine while the original statue has been undergoing restoration. As in the original, St. Joesph holds a lily that represents the Blessed Virgin Mary, thus completing the Holy Family.

EWTN to Broadcast Mass From National Shrine on Campus

Viewers from around the world will get a look at Old St. Joe’s on Friday, March 19, the feast of St. Joseph. EWTN (the Eternal Word Television Network) will broadcast the Solemn Novena Mass live at 5:30 p.m. Additional affiliates will connect with EWTN to broadcast the Mass. The liturgy will also be available for online viewing at ewtn.com/tv/watch-live.

Deacon Kevin DeCleene ’12 M.T.S., pastoral leader at St. Norbert College Parish, attributes EWTN’s interest to the work of the Rev. Michael Brennan ’99, vocation director for St. Norbert Abbey and director of the Shrine of St. Joseph, located at Old St. Joe’s.

“[Father Brennan] has a real deep devotion to St. Joseph. His interest and devotion have been creating more and more spiritual and worship experiences related to Joseph,” says DeCleene. “He’s looking for those opportunities to ‘go to Joseph,’ to pray together.”

Regular worship opportunities include 6:30 a.m. Masses on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays that include a novena to St. Joseph and prayers for vocations.

“As Father Brennan is doing these things, there is a group forming,” says Deacon DeCleene. “He’s bouncing ideas off others. He’s at Relevant Radio talking to Father Rocky and Drew Mariani. He then connects to EWTN.”

The Shrine of St. Joseph and the perpetual novena were established in 1888, so this year marks the 134th novena. Masses and novenas, held at noon and 7 p.m. each day from Wednesday, March 10, through Thursday, March 18, are livestreamed at facebook.com/OldStJoes and on YouTube leading up to the feast day Mass with Bishop David Ricken as the celebrant. The Rev. Donald H. Calloway, M.I.C., author of the book “Consecration to St. Joseph,” will serve as the homilist.

“The production [of the live Mass] will be handled by [EWTN’s] studio and a third party remote production team,” explains Tom Tengowski ’92, who has done extensive volunteer camera and sound work at Old St. Joe’s. “For this Mass, our camera system will be used to augment their production. I will be providing camera feeds from our existing system to use in their production.”

The daily novena Masses are open to the public, but the final Mass is closed due to COVID-19 capacity limitations. Deacon DeCleene says that accommodations will be made for viewing.

“We will have some TVs in the shrine, in the Pennings Room upstairs, in the atrium,” he explains. “We had a group of 25 students who were trying to figure out how to attend. We are a closed campus [during the pandemic only], so students can go to other buildings, the public cannot. We are asking this group of students to view the Mass through a feed. GMS [the Gehl-Mulva Science Center] has a huge auditorium.”

EWTN staff sought some changes in church seating for camera angles, but the requests were refused, says DeCleene.

“I want the world to see this church as it is, the Norbertine monastic setup with the presider sitting at the same level,” he says.

“Once we do this, I think more and more people are going to want to connect to the Shrine of St. Joseph,” adds DeCleene. “It’s a very different experience than the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help [in Champion, Wis.]. People will come in and say, ‘Where is the shrine?’ ‘Here is the statue.’ There are some good stories that go with it. This prayer saved this church. I don’t see it becoming anything like Our Lady of Good Help (the only approved Marian Apparition site in the U.S.), but I do see it drawing more people. This is the beginning. The world gets to see this opportunity.”

March 19, 2021