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Solemnity of St. Norbert


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.

June 2016 Norbertine Celebrations at St. Norbert Abbey

May 18, 2016

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

—Psalm 34:3
Statue of St. Norbert of Xanten (1080-1134) | St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin | Sculptor: Paul T. Granlund

Statue of St. Norbert of Xanten (1080-1134) | St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin | Sculptor: Paul T. Granlund

On Saturday, June 4, 2016, Rev. Frater Bradley R. Vanden Branden, O. Praem., will be ordained to the priesthood. The Mass of Ordination will be celebrated by Most Rev. David L. Ricken, DD, JCL, Bishop of Green Bay, at 10 a.m. in the church of St. Norbert Abbey.

On Monday, June 6, 2016, the Solemnity of St. Norbert, Rt. Rev. Gary J. Neville, O. Praem., abbot of St. Norbert Abbey, will preside at Mass at 4 p.m. in the church of St. Norbert Abbey. This sacred celebration also honors the 50th priesthood ordination anniversary of Rev. Salvatore H. Cuccia, O. Praem.

On Sunday, June 12, 2016, the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Rev. Vanden Branden will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 3 p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, De Pere.

View the Mass of Thanksgiving homily of Fr. Vanden Branden »


In the News

Celebrations for Norbertine priests at St. Norbert Abbey
June 2, 2016
The Green Bay Press-Gazette


June 4, 2016 — Mass of Priesthood Ordination of Fr. Bradley Vanden Branden, O. Praem.

from St. Norbert Abbey on Vimeo


June 6, 2016 — Solemnity of St. Norbert

Archbishop and Founder of the Canons Regular of Prémontré
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Ordination of Fr. Salvatore Cuccia, O. Praem.


Rev. Frater Bradley Robert Vanden Branden, O. Praem.

Ordination to the Priesthood

… as I knelt before the bishop, the only thing I was aware of … was my heartbeat.
—Fr. Bradley Vanden Branden, O. Praem.
Deacon Bradley Vanden Branden, O. Praem.

Deacon Bradley Vanden Branden, O. Praem.

Deacon Vanden Branden, 29, is the son of Thomas and Joan (Van Schyndel) Vanden Branden of De Pere, where his home parish is Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.

Deacon Vanden Branden was vested in the white Norbertine habit in August 2010, professed Simple Vows in August 2012, and professed Solemn Vows in August 2015, when he also was ordained to the diaconate. He will be ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 2016.

In 2009 Deacon Vanden Branden graduated from St. Norbert College, De Pere, with a degree in music education. In May 2016 he graduated from Catholic Theological Union (CTU), Chicago, receiving a master’s degree in divinity. He is currently on track to receive an M.A. in theology (liturgy) from CTU in May 2017.

A gifted musician and cantor, Deacon Vanden Branden most recently served as deacon at St. Ann Catholic Parish in Lansing, Illinois.

Read the full reflection by Fr. Vanden Branden »


Rev. Salvatore Henry Cuccia, O. Praem.

50th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood

Only God knows when the next ‘right’ turn will come.

—Fr. Salvatore Cuccia, O. Praem.
Fr. Salvatore Cuccia, O. Praem.

Fr. Salvatore Cuccia, O. Praem.

Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Fr. Cuccia graduated from St. Norbert College with a B.A. in philosophy in 1963. He was ordained to the priesthood on September 1, 1966.

Following ordination, Fr. Cuccia attended Marquette University, Milwaukee, and received an M.A. in theology in 1967. While attending Marquette, he served as chaplain at Misericordia Hospital.

From 1967 until 1986 he served in various capacities at Archmere Academy and Immaculate Conception Priory in Claymont, Deleware. The following year, Fr. Cuccia was director of liturgy at the Norbertine Generalate in Rome, and in 1987 he attended the sabbatical program at Katholic University, Leuven, Belgium. From 1987 to 1991, he served in various ministries at Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, Pennsylvania. From 1991 to 2000, Fr. Cuccia served as parochial vicar of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Baltimore.

In 2000 he returned to the Midwest and became parochial vicar of St. Norbert College Parish at Old St. Joseph Church in De Pere, as well as a member of the college’s campus ministry staff. For 10 years he participated in the SNC TRIPS (Turning Responsibility into Powerful Service) program on an all-men’s service trip to Our Brothers’ Place, a shelter for homeless men in Philadelphia.

Fr. Cuccia currently is a member of St. Norbert College’s alumni board, while retaining his current ministry at St. Norbert Abbey as house superior/sub-prior.

Read the full reflection by Fr. Cuccia »

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