Catholic Herald staff
Travelers on State Hwy. 51 through the Vilas County community of Manitowish Waters will appreciate Our Lady Queen of Peace’s latest parish project.
Each night, a back-lit, stained glass Madonna and Child beautifies the town from dusk until 11 p.m. Designed by Jerry Krauski, Hayward, and completed in 2015, the massive peak window was the last in a series of window upgrades that began in 2009.
On Sunday, June 26, Bishop James P. Powers celebrated Mass in the church and blessed the new windows before joining the parish at a luncheon reception.
Members of Our Lady Queen of Peace’s cluster parishes – St. Anthony of Padua, Lac du Flambeau, and St. Isaac Jogues and Companions, Mercer – were invited to the celebration, said Jim Banovetz, a retired professor and chairman of the parish council who also chaired the event.
“We did have some folks from those parishes who came as well,” he said.
About 135 people attended the brunch, which was paid for through the window fund, but the Mass drew an even larger crowd.
It was a good turnout for a small, rural parish with an estimated 70 to 75 families.
The 14-person choir was also a blessing, Banovetz added, although Bishop Powers had to squeeze past them as he moved around the church from window to window.
“This is the biggest choir we’ve ever been able to assemble at the church,” Banovetz said.
Celebrating the Mass and blessing the windows was “a nice and much appreciated” effort on the bishop’s part, he added.
Like many parishes in northern tourist towns, Our Lady Queen of Peace enjoys triple- or quadruple-sized congregations during the summer.
It’s hard to keep count of the visitors, he said, though some seasonal parishioners have summer homes going back four or five generations.
Fr. Ron Serrao is parochial administrator of Our Lady Queen of Peace and its cluster parishes.
“We’re supportive of the concept of the cluster,” Banovetz said. “We’re trying to promote it. We’ve got a couple of activities planned we hope the cluster parishes will participate in.”
A cluster pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, Champion, is planned, and a cluster penance service is also set for Aug. 15.
Only the ‘best’ for Our Lady
Special to the Catholic Herald
The first phase of replacing the original church windows began in 2009, after determining they had deteriorated beyond repair. Since the glass had no religious imagery, the Liturgical Environments Company of Hayward, under owner and designer Jerry Krauski, was commissioned to design new windows. Those depictions of Mary in nine, side-wall windows were installed in 2010 and received the “Best of Show” award in the 2010 National Art Glass Competition. But “best” for the parishioners was that the windows fulfilled the parish’s hope for a wonderful tribute to Mary, Our Lady Queen of Peace.
In July 2014, under the direction of Fr. Ron Serrao, parochial administrator, the parish began another fundraising campaign in order to complete the window project, which involved installation of new stained-glass windows surrounding the entry door, in the alcove, and in the peak window.
As Our Lady Queen of Peace is the only church in the Superior Diocese located on a state highway, prospective donors were encouraged to envision the peak window lighted at night for passersby on the highway with the slogan, “Our Lady Queen of Peace — Together Let Us Help Her Light Up the Night!”