Agar


Why Fr. Bartholomew Agar, O. Praem., Chose Norbertine Life

By Fr. Bartholomew Agar, O. Praem.

Fr. Agar celebrated the 60th anniversary of his priesthood ordination on June 6, 2018.

While I was living in Philadelphia, I received a postcard inviting me to audition for the band at Southeast Catholic High School (a Norbertine school). Prior to my audition I was introduced to a tall man in a white habit wearing a biretta and descending the stairs. It was Fr. Harry Koeppen, O. Praem., director of the high school music department with whom I felt an immediate bond. From that moment, I knew that I was going to be a priest forever; meeting this remarkable man was a sign. There were many Norbertines teaching in my high school at that time and I knew I wanted to be just like them—a teacher and a priest. And I am.

For most of my Norbertine life I was able to make music for our liturgies. When people told me that my music deepened their prayer life, it opened up a whole new apostolate for me. My musical prayer life began as a second-year novice in 1951 until I retired in 2000.

Incidentally, my teaching career began in St. Norbert High School in 1955 and concluded in 1995 at St. Norbert College. I am forever grateful for those years.


Sounds of the St. Norbert Abbey Organ: Fr. Bartholomew Agar, O. Praem.

from St. Norbert Abbey on Vimeo

An introduction to the St. Norbert Abbey Casavant organ with Fr. Bartholomew Agar, O. Praem., St. Norbert Abbey’s Organist Emeritus.

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  • 3000 Pipes (page 8)
    The Story of St. Norbert Abbey’s Casavant Organ: An Interview with Fr. Batholomew Agar, O. Praem.
    By Gina Sanders Larsen
    Fall/Winter 2015
    Abbey Magazine

June 2018 Norbertine Celebrations at St. Norbert Abbey

May 23, 2018

Great West Window in the Church of St. Norbert Abbey

Great West Window in the Church of St. Norbert Abbey

On Wednesday, June 6, 2018, the Solemnity of St. Norbert, Rt. Rev. Dane Radecki, O. Praem., abbot of St. Norbert Abbey, will preside at Mass at 4 p.m. in the abbey church.

This sacred celebration also honors:


In the News

The Oshkosh Northwestern
May 24, 2018



Rev. Bartholomew A. Agar, O. Praem.

60th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood

Fr. Bartholomew Agar, O. Praem.

Fr. Bartholomew Agar, O. Praem.

Fr. Agar, native of Philadelphia, graduated in 1955 from St. Norbert College (SNC) with a B.A. degree in philosophy. His studies continued at Columbia University, New York, from where he earned an M.A. degree in music and music education. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 31, 1958.

Fr. Agar served on the faculty at St. Norbert High School, De Pere, from 1955-1959, and St. John Neumann High School, Philadelphia, from 1959-1972. In 1972 he continued his music career at SNC as a professor of music and eventually was appointed chair of the music department. Upon his retirement in 1995 he was named professor emeritus of music. Fr. Agar served as the St. Norbert Abbey organist from 1951-2000. He was instrumental in acquiring the abbey’s Casavant organ.

Fr. Agar currently resides at St. Norbert Abbey where he serves in internal ministry.


Rt. Rev. E. Thomas De Wane, O. Praem.

60th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood

If anyone wishes to realize God’s blessings, simply look back at the story of one’s life … and yes, include the mistakes and failures. ‘All is grace!’

—Nouwen
Abbot Emeritus E. Thomas De Wane, O. Praem.

Abbot Emeritus E. Thomas De Wane, O. Praem.

A native of Green Bay, Wis., Abbot De Wane graduated in 1955 from SNC with a B.A. degree in philosophy, Latin, and history. He continued his studies at Marquette University, receiving an M.Ed. degree in 1964 and a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Chicago in 1970. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 6, 1958.

Abbot De Wane taught at Prémontré High School, Green Bay, from 1958-1964. From 1968-1972 he served as dean of students at SNC, returning in 1973 to Prémontré High School as principal. In 1984 he was named director of teacher education at SNC and in 1994 was elected the fifth abbot of St. Norbert Abbey. In 2005 Abbot De Wane was named prior of St. Moses the Black Priory in Raymond, Mississippi, where he currently serves.

Abbot De Wane has served on the board of trustees of SNC and on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity, Green Bay.


Very Rev. Eugene E. Gries, O. Praem.

50th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood

He must increase and I must decrease.

—John the Baptist
Fr. Eugene Gries, O. Praem.

Fr. Eugene Gries, O. Praem.

A native of Neenah, Wisconsin, Fr. Gries, prior of Santa María de la Vid Abbey, Albuquerque, received his B.S. degree in business administration from SNC in 1962, and an M.S.I.R. degree from Loyola University Chicago. He was ordained to the priesthood on March 19, 1968.

In 1970 he was named dean of men at SNC, where he eventually served as the vice president for student life, pastor of the college parish, and director of campus ministry. Fr. Gries was appointed vocation director during this time. He eventually served for 15 years on the board of trustees.

Fr. Gries has served as prior of St. Norbert Abbey, St. Moses the Black Priory, Jackson, Mississippi, and Santa María de la Vid Abbey. He also served on the pastoral team of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Community, Albuquerque.

In 2009 the board of trustees of SNC announced that a new residence hall would bear his name in recognition of his service to the college.


Rev. Peter J. Renard, O. Praem.

50th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood

Eat and drink what is offered to you.

—Luke 10:7
Fr. Peter Renard, O. Praem.

Fr. Peter Renard, O. Praem.

Green Bay native Fr. Renard is a 1964 graduate of SNC, earning a B.A. degree in philosophy. His graduate degrees include an M.A. degree in economics from the University of California-Los Angeles and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He was ordained to the priesthood on March 19, 1968.

Fr. Renard has served numerous parishes around the state and country. He also served on the faculty of SNC and as hospital chaplain locally and around the country. In 2004 Fr. Renard became involved with the Diocese of Green Bay as chaplain and pastoral care worker to the Hmong/Lao community. He played flute and oboe with the Allouez Village Band for 20 years.

Fr. Renard has been a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1978 and held the positions of council chaplain and state chaplain. In 2007 he received the Fourth Degree. He currently assists leadership at both the assembly and district levels.


Very Rev. James T.  Baraniak, O. Praem.

25th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood

Fr. James Baraniak, O. Praem.

Fr. James Baraniak, O. Praem.

Fr. Baraniak, an Antigo, Wisconsin, native, received a B.A. degree in theology and psychology from SNC and M. Div. and M.A. in liturgy degrees from Catholic Theological Union, Chicago. He was ordained to the priesthood on January 3, 1993.

Following his ordination Fr. Baraniak was appointed associate pastor of Old St. Joseph Church and associate director of campus ministry at SNC. In 1996 he was named associate pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, De Pere, and in 2004 was named pastor of Old St. Joseph Church. He served the Norbertine community as vocation director from 1995-2007 and again from 2014-2018.

Since 1997 Fr. Baraniak has served as chaplain to the Green Bay Packers and has been a sacramental minister at Green Bay Correctional Institution for the past 19 years. Currently Fr. Baraniak is prior of St. Norbert Abbey. As of June 16, 2018, he will serve as house superior and master of professed at Holy Spirit House of Studies, Chicago.


Rev. James P. Neilson, O. Praem.

25th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood

Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

A native of Springfield, Illinois, Fr. Neilson received a B.A. degree in art education from SNC and an M. Div. degree from Catholic Theological Union, Chicago. He continued his art education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana; and Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, from where he earned an M.F.A. degree in three-dimensional mixed media sculpture. He was ordained to the priesthood on November 13, 1993.

Fr. Neilson lectures across the country on topics related to art and spirituality. His own artwork was on display at the Neville Public Museum, Green Bay, where he took first place and best in show awards at the 62nd Art Annual Exhibition (2006). His work most recently was on view at the Mary-Frances and Bill Veeck Gallery, Chicago.

He presently is an assistant professor of art at SNC and recently received the college’s Student Life Educator of the Year Award.

Lenten Lessons and Chants 2017 at St. Norbert Abbey

March 10, 2017

The Church of St. Norbert Abbey

Lenten Lessons and Chants 2017 in the Church of St. Norbert Abbey

Sunday, April 2, 2017 | 7 p.m.

Join us for this time of Word, silence, and song.

LentIn this season of Lent, the Church invites us all to prepare for the Easter Feast through a deepening life of prayer, fasting, and works of mercy.

On the Fifth Sunday of Lent, the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey is offering Lenten Lessons and Chants.

The abbey church will be filled with praise of God’s Mercy through Word (Scripture and other Christian writings), rich silence, and sacred music sung by Norbertine cantors and the Abbey Singers of St. Norbert College.

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April 2, 2017 — Lenten Lessons and Chants 2017

from St. Norbert Abbey on Vimeo


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More opportunities to celebrate the sacred season of Lent at St. Norbert Abbey »

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