Dcn. Dan Tracy’s chalice was made for his cousin, Fr. Phillip Stack. (Submitted photo)
Following his ordination as a deacon, Dan Tracy began exploring options for a chalice and was particularly interested if there might be a chalice that belonged to any of his priest relatives. Dan visited the diocesan offices in Superior on July 25, 2022, to review the files of two cousins who were priests of the Diocese of Superior, Fr. Donn Tracy (1925-63) and Fr. Phillip Stack (1923-99). Dan did not find any information on Fr. Donn but discovered a Superior Catholic Herald article from 1997 which gave extensive details and included photos of the chalice belonging to Fr. Stack.
A few weeks later, on Aug. 17, Dan connected with a parish volunteer from St. Kunegunda parish in Sugar Camp, the last parish Fr. Stack served. She informed him that when Fr. Stack died, he gave the chalice to his brother’s family. So, Dan set to work trying to find Fr. Stack’s brother’s family. Fr. Stack’s brother, William, died in 2004 and his wife, Mary, died in 2014. On Sept. 21, Dan cold-called Fr. Stack’s nephew, Daniel, and inquired about the whereabouts of the chalice. Daniel informed Dan that his sister, Mary, had the chalice.
The following day, Mary called Dan and he shared with her how he had come to discover that Fr. Stack had owned a chalice and he thought it might still be with the family. Mary informed Dan that she did have the chalice in her possession, and she was given specific details from her father that had been handed on to him from Fr. Stack. Those details were that the chalice was to be given to the next Catholic priest in the Stack lineage.
Some details about the chalice:
* Chalice was gifted to Fr. Stack by his parents in 1948 on the occasion of his ordination to the priesthood. The chalice was made in honor of Fr. Stack’s brother, Kenneth, who was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army and who died in December 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
* Chalice designed by Fr. Angelo Zankl, OSB (1901-2007) who was a professor at Saint John’s when Fr. Stack was in seminary.
* Chalice made by Don Humphrey, a local artist in St. Joseph, Minnesota, who lived near where Fr. Dan lived when he served as a FOCUS missionary. Humphrey and his wife, Mary Alice, were close friends with Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement and one of the most notable American Catholics of the 20th century.
* Chalice includes inscriptions from the Canticle of Daniel found in Daniel 3:57-88. Fr. Stack’s first name was Phillip and his middle name was Daniel. He was often-called “Fr. Phil Dan Stack.”
* The base of the chalice includes a cross which is made of one ruby and four chrysoprase stones.
* The seven inscriptions on the chalice speak of the blessedness of creation and ascend from the base to the lip of the cup highlighting the work of God in creation, starting with all animate and inanimate objects, continuing with the earth, living creatures, and humanity, then concluding with the souls of the just and the three persons of the Blessed Trinity.
* The stem of the chalice is made of satinwood and the node is made of ivory. Uniquely, the ivory node was once a pool ball that belonged to the game room of the monks at Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville.
* The chalice has traveled around the world to locations in Europe, Southeast Asia and around the U.S. due to Fr. Stack’s time serving as an Air Force officer and chaplain (1953-1961).
* Chalice was held by seminarian (now Fr.) Andrew Ricci during summer visits he would make to visit friends in Sugar Camp while Fr. Stack was pastor there in the mid-1990s.