of Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral
Key historical dates:
- 1851 - Cathedral church was established
- 1868 - Diocese of Green Bay was established
- 1881 - Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral was consecrated
- 1904 - Twin tower belfry sections were added
- 1918 - Three story sacristy was added
- 1959 - Three enclosed entrances added and interior remodeled
- 2004 - Bishop Wycislo Center was completed - new home of Diocese Museum
Bishop Joseph Melchior was appointed the first bishop. When he arrived in Green Bay in the summer of 1868, he chose a modest, wooden frame church constructed by the German immigrants, located on Madison Street to be the "pro-Cathedral" which meant temporary until the present structure could be built. The church, formed in 1851, was named "The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary" and was commonly called "St. Mary's" or the "German Church".
Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral was consecrated on November 20, 1881 after five years of construction. The original Cost of $35,000 was contributed by the immigrant population of the area, the Bavarian Mission Society in Germany, including a donation from King Ludwig I and friends of Bishop Francis Xavier Krautbauer, the second Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay. The architecture is Romanesque in form and was modeled on the Ludwigkirche in Munich, Germany, where then Msgr. Krautbauer was pastor before immigrating to the United States.
Bishop Krautbauer is interred under a granite slab in the floor at the Bishop Wycislo entrance. A 40 by 25 foot mural entitled "The Crucifixion" is painted on the rear wall of the sanctuary. It was painted in 1883 by Johann Schmitt, a German Immigrant. Eight paintings by Josef Albrecht were installed in the Cathedral in the early 1900's representing the eight beatitudes. The figures of the four evangelists are painted on the ceiling of the sanctuary. A double circle joins them with the phrase "The Word of the Lord Endureth Forever" inscribed within the ring. The four evangelists and their symbols are also carved on the front of the wooden ambo to the right.
The most recent sanctuary renovation began in 2006. The present altar is carved white Carrara marble and the relics of Saint Boniface, Saint Timothy, Saint Tiburtius and Saint Francis Xavier repose in the altar stone. Between the pillars on the left side of the sanctuary is the cathedra or bishop's chair. The coat of arms of Bishop David Ricken is hung above it. An altar dedicated to Our Mother of Perpetual Help is located on the left side of the sanctuary and is the only original altar from 1881. The altar, known as the Peace altar since World War I, honors the men and women of the parish who served in the armed forces. Above the altar is a mosaic of the third version of this icon. A bronze plaque on the first pillar on the right, facing the sanctuary, lists the Bishops of the Green Bay Diocese.
Rose Window and Organ
The Liebmann Memorial Rose window was installed in the 1950's and is titled "The Mystical Body of Christ" It is made of over 4,000 pieces of glass by the Columbia Art Glass Company of Cleveland, Ohio. The Joseph Francis Memorial organ was installed by the Wickes Organ Company of Highland, Illinois in 1982 and is played during all liturgies. It has 56 ranks, 4 manuals and 3,282 pipes.
Looking to the Future
The Cathedral parish is rapidly growing with new families joining monthly. A crying room is in the planning phase. We offer a unique faith formation program called "CREDO" geared toward students in Pre-K/Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade.
Related Dates of Interest:
1848 - State of Wisconsin founded
We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, form a more perfect government, insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare, do establish this constitution.
- 1859 - Marian Apparition to Adele Brise
- 1871 - Peshtigo Fire - Robinsonville Convent, School & Chapel unharmed.