Antigo Area Catholic Churches Newsletter — September 2021

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Meet All Saints Teacher

Sue Werdeo


orking in the same career field for nearly 40 years is quite an accomplishment. But serving for 39 straight years as a teacher at the same school? Now that is a legacy. Sue Werdeo has been working at one of the Antigo Catholic schools for the past 39 years. She was hired at St. John’s, and after the consolidation, moved to All Saints. “I love the family atmosphere here and the parent support,” she says. “And I love the freedom of putting God into lessons. I love that we can talk about God and pray during school.” Mrs. Werdeo also loves the All Saints families. She loves the kids. She loves the All Saints teacher Sue Werdeo school spirit and all her colleagues. with her husband, Mike. And she loves teaching third grade. “This is just, overall, a really great place to work,” says Mrs. Werdeo. “I love this age group of students. They just want to learn everything.” Since the school’s name is All Saints, each classroom has a saint. Mrs. Werdeo chose St. Monica. “She’s the patron saint of patience,” says Mrs. Werdeo. “That’s something that we certainly all need!” Through the years, Mrs. Werdeo has worked alongside teachers who taught when she was in school. She’s also watched former students come back to teach at All Saints. Mrs. Werdeo has seen many changes throughout the past 39 years. The biggest of all has been the technology changes. That was never more clear than the last school year when Mrs. Werdeo was teaching students who were in class and at home, all at the same time. Everyone made the best of it. But, Mrs. Werdeo, along with everyone else, is excited to have everyone back in the building for the 2021 to 2022 school year. And, to see everyone’s smiles, (hopefully) with no masks. continued on back cover

Stewardship of Time:

The Foundation of Our Faith Lives A


professor stood at the head of the class with a big glass jar. He put six big rocks in the jar with the rocks up to the edge and then asked his students, “Is the jar full?” They replied, “Yes.” The professor told the students, “No, it’s not.” He then pulled out gravel and put it in the jar. He then asked, “Now is it full?” The students once again replied, “Yes.” The professor responded, “No, it’s not.” He reached down and pulled out sand, which he poured into the jar with the same responses. Then, he reached for a pitcher of water and poured it in, all the way to the brim. Then he asked, “Now is it full?” And the students replied, “Yes.” The professor then asked, “OK, what did you learn from this?” One student responded, “No matter how many things you’ve got in the jar, there’s always room to put a little more in.” The professor told the class, “No, that’s not the lesson. The lesson is, if I didn’t put the big rocks in first, they would have never fit!” Most Catholics may ask how this can apply to our own prayer lives. Essentially, every person must decide what the “big rocks” are in his or her life. And prayer should be one of those big rocks in the jar. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has told us stewardship is part of discipleship and is a way of responding to God’s call in every aspect of our lives. We refer to the three facets of stewardship as “Time, Talent and Treasure,” and when we consider the importance of these three Ts of stewardship, the “time” component comes first by design. Stewardship spirituality is about trying to become more generous with our Time, Talent, and Treasure. And there’s a reason why “Time” is first. We need to take time to talk to God and take time to be quiet and seek to listen as He expresses His love for us and wants us to know His inspiration in our life. There are many different forms of prayer. From weekly prayer such as the Mass to daily personal prayer, such as a daily Rosary. Morning and night prayer are also important disciplines to maintain. Set aside a comfortable place in your home where you can find silence. Focus on a spiritual image and take time to center yourself with Scripture or other spiritual reading. For many, spending large portions of the day in silent prayer is not possible. But make it a priority to find moments of quiet throughout the day, and find ways to incorporate prayer amid your busy schedule. When you get into a vehicle, pray — before a meal, after a meal, if you’re faced with a tough decision. Just pray! Just as in any human relationship, communication is a central aspect of a vibrant relationship with God. Prayer is fostering this communion of love with God. He loved us into existence, and He wants us to enter into a loving conversation with Him. We’ve got to talk to Him. And we must listen to Him. He will take care of everything if you just trust Him. He’s knocking at the door and waiting for us to open it in prayer.

A Letter From Our Pastor

SEPTEMBER : Back to School for All of Us Dear Parishioners,


attended a total of three different seminaries. Right out of high school, I went to St. John Vianney College Seminary. Next came two years at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago, where the future Bishop Barron was one of my professors. My final three years were spent at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy. After ordination, I decided to make a visit to Mundelein Seminary. The familiar surroundings and friendly faces made me feel at home, yet I couldn’t shake a feeling of disappointment. I went to the chapel to reflect on this feeling. While seminary was a blessing, the formation to help you become a good priest could sometimes be difficult and challenging. All through seminary, I had been looking forward to my ordination because that was when my formation would finally be over. The reality was different. The priesthood had, in fact, turned out to be a daily experience of formation, a real “school of hard knocks.” I shared my feelings with an old priest and he wisely reminded me, “We should never stop learning and growing.” Did you stop learning and growing in your faith? Perhaps we finished

eight grades at All Saints and then put our faith on the shelf so we could focus on sports, a major, and a career. Some of us went to the Wednesday catechism classes (what used to be called CCD) and never really learned much. Now we are raising kids, or grandkids, and don’t know how to share the basics with them. If that is the case for you, consider attending RCIA. Classes begin Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 7:15 p.m. in Hoffman Hall. Laurel Bradley will walk you through the faith in a way that is both engaging and enlightening. Stewardship is an excellent form of ongoing “faith formation.” It helps to challenge us and help us grow in simple and practical ways. God has blessed me with 24 hours each day. Am I using my time wisely in a way that glorifies Him? God has blessed me with gifts and talents. Am I making the most of what I have been given? God has blessed me with material possessions. Do I take good care of them and use them as a wise steward? Formation is about much more than good “information.” Formation is about lifestyle choices and the attitudes behind those choices. While

seminary formation was challenging and difficult at times, it was also very rewarding. I learned and grew in many ways. I continue to learn and grow; we should never stop learning and growing. It’s time for everyone to get back to school! Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Joel Sember Pastor 3



Set for Fest

eptember is shaping up to be a great month for our Antigo Area Catholic Churches, with two festivals scheduled that not only offer food, games, and fun, but also wonderful opportunities to come together in fellowship with other parishioners and the community at large. St. John Church is finalizing plans for the St. John Festival set for Sept. 12 at the Langlade County Fairgrounds MultiPurpose Building. Kaye Matucheski and Karen Duff are cochairing the festival that returns to its full splendor this year. The New Generation polka band will play for the Polka Masses at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. in the Livestock Pavilion next to the Multipurpose Building. The food booths will open at 10:00 a.m. and will serve until 3:00 p.m. “It is an international food festival with the proceeds going to the St. John Church operating fund,” Kaye says. “We are very fortunate to have volunteers from the parish and community who cook the food. Each volunteer cooks from their family specialties and we have different countries represented.” At least 10 to 12 food booths are planned. There will be Czech kolaches, and the famous St. John Long Johns, a great

memory for those who attended St. John School. The Italian booth will have spaghetti and meatballs, the Polish booth will serve pierogies, and the Irish booth will serve Irish stew. There will be a Sweet Shoppe with ice cream. Soda and beer will be for sale. There will be a Harvest Booth with mums and homemade bread. There will be games and activities for children in the Multipurpose Building. The Silent Auction will include a Packers package, and items such as quilts will be raffled. The band Lovin’ Country will play in the Multipurpose Building. Big raffle items will include a freezer full of meat; a Cub Cadet Zero-Turn Mower; 10 cash prizes of $500 each and a cash grand prize of $10,000. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time at the parish office and will also be available at the festival. The Festival has proved to be a very popular event in the area and offers a prime opportunity for fellowship. “When we moved to the fairgrounds and combined the Fall Festival with the spring food festival, it became a continued on page 5



tival Season huge event,” Kaye says. “Lots of people come. It has turned into a great community event. People are excited to get back this year.” Volunteers are still needed to help in all areas of the festival. Anyone interested may contact Kaye at 715623-4090. She may also be contacted for raffle tickets. St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Deerbrook is once again inviting everyone to the St. Wenceslaus Festival set for Sept. 26 on the church grounds. Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m., and the food will be served beginning also at 11:00 a.m. “This is a great fundraiser for our parish, but also a great community event, bringing people from around the county and out of town,” says Calvin Hurlburt. “This is co-sponsored by Catholic Financial Life.” Festival attendees can enjoy homemade chicken booyah, barbecue, and homemade pies. “If you have never been to the festival, chicken booyah is a traditional Bohemian soup with vegetables cut very fine with small pieces of chicken,” Calvin says. “It has been part of the Fall Festival since the very beginning. The recipe is a closely guarded secret!” In addition to the meal, there will be a bake sale, silent auction, 50/50 raffle, bucket raffle, pallet of wood, kids’ games, craft items, homegrown produce, and more. Cash drawings can win $500; $200; $100; and $50. Tickets are $5 each or three for $10. Tickets will be available at the parish office. Several businesses in town also will have them for sale. “At the end of the day, quart jars of the chicken booyah will be available for sale from what might be left,” Calvin says.

Volunteers are still needed to help in all areas. For the St. John Festival call Kaye Matucheski at 715-623-4090. For the St. Wenceslaus Festival call Mike Geib (414) 333-8956. 5

Celebrating the

F E A S T of the


very Sept. 29, the Church celebrates the feast day of the Archangels — St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael. We are blessed to be inspired by these “servants and messengers of God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 329). The term “archangels” has its Scriptural basis in the New Testament (1 Thes 4:16, Jude 1:9), indicating a chief or leading angel. “Archangel” generally refers to St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael, as they are the three angels most frequently mentioned throughout Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. The fact that these three angels are mentioned by name on multiple occasions indicates the significance of their roles in


the history of salvation. It is because of these important roles that we take pause to celebrate on Sept. 29. St. Michael is mentioned by name on several occasions in Sacred Scripture (Dn 10:13, Rev 12:7), and his role in the Tradition of the Church has been extensively documented. He has been widely referred to as the “great prince,” and is most often associated with the apocalypse — the final battle against Satan. Christian Tradition gives St. Michael four different roles, but he has primarily been regarded as the patron and protector of the Church. St. Gabriel is mentioned by name in Scripture (Lk 1:19), and Tradition has also assigned him implicit roles

within Scripture where he is not specifically mentioned. Most important, however, is St. Gabriel’s role as the messenger of God, delivering to Mary the announcement of the birth of Our Savior (Lk 1:26). St. Raphael is mentioned by name only in the Book of Tobit, where he is responsible for healing Tobias. Raphael means “God has healed” and thus, he has also often been associated with the “angel of the Lord” (Jn 5:4). The feast day on Sept. 29 gives each of us the opportunity to consider our own role in the Church, as we gratefully commemorate the Archangels responsible for carrying out their roles of defender, messenger, and healer.

All Saints Graduate: Cole Johnson Answering God’s Call to the Religious Life

Cole Johnson, Parishioner at St. John’s


ole Johnson has some thoughtful advice for young people as they consider their futures and choices available to them. In short, be open to the religious life as a potential path. “I would say the most important thing is admitting that the religious life is a viable option going forward and learning to talk with others about that,” says Cole. “If you start thinking that the priesthood or religious life might be for you, find people to talk to about it. Be open with your family and your parish priest.” This fall, Cole had his vestition ceremony and began his two-year novitiate with the Norbertine community. His vocation journey began within his family and the faith community at St. John’s, where he was baptized in 1999. “I was raised in and by this parish,” says Cole. “Since my parents wanted to ensure that my sister and I received a firm religious education, they sent us to All Saints, and we served the community together.” All Saints Catholic School was an instrumental step in Cole’s vocation journey

and where Cole began to think deeply about his Catholic beliefs. “At All Saints, I was provided the opportunity to think critically about what we believe as Catholics, and by doing that, I was able to maintain a sort of relationship between faith and reason,” says Cole. “The faith was always a significant part of my life, and the faith became very reasonable and attractive.” He felt his first calling to the priesthood while in middle school and particularly in his religious education courses. “The teachers made the faith attractive to me, and I’ve always been a thinker type,” says Cole. “Later on in high school, I started to pick the idea of a vocation back up — partially because of the example of priests at St. John’s and other wonderful and joyful priests who had impacted me.” When he began studying at St. Norbert College, Cole had declared his major as theology and religious studies, and he thought he’d become a diocesan priest. “I didn’t know anything about other orders, and then I met some of the Norbertines who worked on campus and got to know them and about their life and how they minister,” says Cole. “I fell in love with their community and their way of living and started entertaining the idea of joining them and immersing myself in their way of life.” Cole’s vestition ceremony took place in August. Now, he will spend his first year with the order learning about what it is like to live in community with them. “I’ll be getting to know them personally, taking classes on the history of the order, and participating in daily prayer with

Founded by St. Norbert in 1121 AD, the Norbertines are one of the world’s oldest religious orders and serve the faithful on nearly every continent, including ministering in the Diocese of Green Bay for over 125 years. For more information and an inside look at parishioner Cole Johnson’s upcoming vocation journey, visit the Norbetines website at

Cole Johnson with his parents at his college graduation at St. Norbert College (2021)

them,” says Cole. “I’ll learn how to serve and minister as a Norbertine. In my second year, I’ll do more ministry work.” “I would love to extend my gratitude to the local Catholic faith community because I know that without them, I would not be where I am today,” says Cole. “Faith is best nourished in community. Thank you! And, thank you in advance for your continued support.” Let us remember to keep Cole in our prayers as he begins his novitiate with the Norbertines this fall. 7

Saint John the Evangelist 415 6th Ave. Antigo, WI 54409 (715) 623-2024 Saints Mary & Hyacinth 819 3rd Ave. Antigo, WI 54409 (715) 623-4938 Saint Wenceslaus N5340 Church Rd. Deerbrook, WI 54424 (715) 627-2126

Meet All Saints Teacher

Sue Werdeo

There’s a special project that Mrs. Werdeo conducts each year. She calls it “warm fuzzies.” Students write down something nice about each student in class, and Mrs. Werdeo mails it to the students. She recently learned a current teacher still has her “warm fuzzies” from her third-grade year. “Knowing that she still has that and looks at it made my whole year,” Mrs. Werdeo says. Mrs. Werdeo grew up in Antigo and attended St. Mary’s School as a child. She is the youngest of six children and the only girl. Her

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parents owned a woodworking business, which was started by her grandfather. Mrs. Werdeo went on to get her teaching degree from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. She received her master’s degree from Viterbo University in Lacrosse. Mrs. Werdeo and her husband, Mike, enjoy spending time with their dog, nicknamed Daffy. They also enjoy spending time at their cottage on Pickerel Lake. Welcome back to all the All Saints students and teachers! Have a great school year!

“I love the family atmosphere here and the parent support. And I love the freedom of putting God into lessons. I love that we can talk about God and pray during school.” — SUE WERDEO, ALL SAINTS TEACHER

MASS & CONFESSION TIMES SAINT JOHN: Masses: Monday, 8:15 a.m., Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, 8:15 a.m., Thursday, 8:15 a.m., Saturday, 6 p.m., Sunday, 9 a.m. Confession: Tuesday, 5:30-6:15 p.m. & Sunday, 8-8:45 a.m. SAINTS MARY & HYACINTH: Masses: Wednesday, 7:15 a.m., Thursday, 7:15 a.m., Friday, 7:15 a.m., Saturday, 4 p.m., Sunday, 7 a.m. Confession: Saturday, 3-3:45 p.m. SAINT WENCESLAUS: Masses: Tuesday, 8 a.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. Confession: Sunday, 10-10:45 a.m.