All Are Welcome

As seen in the Winter/Spring 2019 Norbertine Center for Spirituality program guide

Dear Friends,

When I was a child we used to sing a song, using hand gestures, that I’m sure many of you sang as well:

Here’s the church, here’s the steeple,
open the doors and see all the people!

Well, St. Norbert Abbey does not have a new steeple. And the church is more than 60 years old. But the abbey does have a new entrance and new doors. And with these new doors all are welcome to enter into a spiritual experience of community and peace.

All are welcome! Our friend Tom who is cognitively challenged and comes to “Jesus’ House” on most Mondays and Thursdays is welcome. Our brothers and sisters who struggle with addictions and come through the doors to attend support groups are welcome. Young people who come to the Norbertine Center for Spirituality (NCS) for their Confirmation retreat are welcome. Our seniors whose knee and hip joints are failing or have been replaced, needing the aid of a wheelchair, walker, or cane, are welcome. (Especially now that we have a shiny new elevator—one that even talks to you!)

All are welcome, and you are, too. This winter and spring we have everything from soup—literally, with our Soup and Soul offering by Fr. Jack MacCarthy, O. Praem.—to nuts—and you might think some of us are nuts when dancing a conga line to the sounds of Bent Grass as they play “When the Saints Go Marching In” at our Mardi Gras celebration! We also have a newly formatted Triduum Retreat in which we invite you to come and experience the silence of the NCS as well as the liturgical celebrations of the Norbertine community.

Ultimately, we have something for everyone to deepen one’s spirituality and connectedness to the holy. And most of all, we welcome YOU! All are welcome through these new doors. YOU are welcome. We will see you in Jesus’ House!

Tony Pichler

The Sandwich Generation: Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem.

Norbertine Priests Juggle Work, Family, and Health Concerns with the Help of their Brothers in Christ

As seen in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Abbey Magazine (page 8)

By Gina Sanders Larsen

Managing Editor, Abbey Magazine

Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem.

Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem., 53, is one of 11 children born into a Dodge County, Wisconsin, farming family. No stranger to hard work, he is currently the pastor of the 1400-family St. Willebrord Parish in downtown Green Bay, which just celebrated its 25th year as one of the region’s largest and most vital Hispanic Catholic churches. Seventy percent of parish families are Hispanic in language, culture, and tradition, and 30 percent are native English speakers.

“Our Hispanic families are primarily young with children, and our English-speaking members tend to be elderly,” Fr. Cribben said. “Changes in immigration law enforcement have caused a new wave of worry and uncertainty. We work every day to be companions to many long-term and well-established Hispanic people in Green Bay and the people who know them. My biggest challenge is parish unity in the midst of so many different pastoral needs.”

Fr. Cribben lives at the parish rectory and returns to St. Norbert Abbey, just a short car ride away, for meetings or supportive discussions with his confreres. “A group of us gathers intentionally to support one another in our active ministry. We share a desire to be happy, healthy, and holy. It’s where I experience the love and support I need to serve the people of our parish.”

The Norbertine Order’s personnel committee has been responsive to Fr. Cribben’s call for more help at the always-bustling St. Willebrord. Fr. Jack MacCarthy, O. Praem., came on as assistant pastor nearly two years ago, fluent in Spanish and Hispanic culture after decades of pastoral and medical service in the jungles of Peru. Fr. Cribben is confident in and thankful for his confrere’s expertise and compassion. “We can discuss pastoral and spiritual concerns of our parish members and community issues,” he said. “To have a confrere at my side is a great benefit to us both, I believe.” Together with Fr. MacCarthy and Br. Jacob Sircy, O. Praem., up to 12 Norbertines regularly assist Fr. Cribben with twice-daily Masses and eight weekend Masses at the parish. “Several of our elderly priests speak Spanish, so we can gather up to eight bilingual confessors for special events like our recent women’s retreat,” Fr. Cribben said.

I am working to regain healthy habits so I can stay productive and available to the people who need me.

—Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem.
Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem. (center)

Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem. (center)

High on Fr. Cribben’s list of concerns is providing capable, Spanish-speaking Norbertines to serve at St. Willebrord Parish. “I hope and pray I have many more years at St. Willy’s, but given the size and complexity of our parish, I’ve already started discussions with the abbey personnel committee about a transition plan. How will we prepare? I rely on the members to help us with longer-term plans,” he said.

Fr. Cribben said self-care is often sacrificed in the midst of his hectic schedule and the heavy emotional and spiritual demands of his flock. “As a farm boy, my exercise was our daily work on the farm, and that has gone away,” Fr. Cribben said. “I am working with Dr. John Gray (abbey health advisor) to try and regain some healthy habits so I can stay productive and available to the people who need me.”

The Sandwich Generation

Fr. MacCarthy featured on CW 14 Sunday “Focus”

January 14, 2016

Rev. Dr. Jack MacCarthy, O. Praem.

Rev. Dr. Jack MacCarthy, O. Praem.

Rev. Dr. Jack MacCarthy, O. Praem., has dedicated much of his life to caring for the physical and spiritual needs of the people in Peru. Earlier this year he visited for three weeks, attending to the Centro de Salud in Santa Clotilde and the 13 outlying clinics, as well as attending meetings with the Bishop and the Board of Directors of PANGO. He shared many stories of his South American ministry during a recent interview on northeast Wisconsin’s CW 14 Sunday “Focus” television program.

For a detailed account of Fr. MacCarthy’s medical ministry, see the Fall/Winter 2013 issue of Abbey Magazine (pages 4-9).

In the News

Norbertine serves as medical missionary in Peru
January 14, 2016
CW 14 “Focus” (TV)

The Call Came 50 Years Ago
Norbertines Serve Five Decades in Peru
Fall/Winter 2013
Abbey Magazine

Pin It on Pinterest