Two Parishes - One Faith

Relics at St. Mary

St. Mary possesses a collection of relics unique to the Diocese of Green Bay. Msgr. John Hummel would frequently travel to Europe in search of decorative art for the church, each time acquiring a relic as well. Parishioners, knowing his devotion to saints, would present him with relics as gifts as well. His collection was augmented by his successor, Msgr. Joseph Becker. Over forty years, the collection grew to the present fifty-nine relics, which were originally kept in the sacristy. In 1959, Msgr. Becker asked Mr. Rufin J. Suess, a electrician by training, head of maintenance for the George Banta Corporation, and later a utilities commissioner in Menasha, to build reliquaries on both sides of the high altar to house the collection. Msgr. Becker placed the relics’ documentation in the back of the cases, where they remain today.

The collection contains First, Second and Third Class relics of 38 male and 16 female saints.  First class relics are actual parts of the saint’s body.  Second class relics are parts of clothing or possessions used by the saint during their lifetime.  Third class relics are objects that have been touched by the saint or dead body or tomb of the saint.

The Church allows veneration of the relics if they have been authenticated; the holy lives led by saints and their closeness to God could lead others to strive for that same holiness.

Parishioners continue to venerate the relics which stand in place of honor at both sides of the back altar. On the occassions of their Feast Days some of the relics are brought out and placed in a reliquary to allow for veneration for the faithful a the Mary Altar.