St. John the Baptist
26455 Muskey Ave S., Webster WI 54893
Year parish was established: 1915
Number of households: 240 plus many summer/weekend residents
Pastor: Fr. Michael J. Tupa
Weekend Mass: Sunday Mass: 10 a.m.
Describe your faith community
“St. John’s is in an area experiencing declining numbers of young households. Our parishioners are largely of retirement age, and a number of them leave during winter. St. John’s enjoys many volunteers for liturgical ministries, faith formation, visiting the homebound, in the Knights of Columbus and the Council of Catholic Women. Our annual observance of Lent includes good participation in Thursday evening Stations of the Cross followed by soup supper. St. John’s is very generous in assisting the needy of Burnett County, which ranks high in Wisconsin for number of persons struggling financially.
“When visitors come to our parish, they will …
… notice a flurry of activity as people visit with one another before Mass, prepare for their liturgical roles, welcome friends and guests with hugs, smiles and handshakes. Visitors will hear words addressed to them of appreciation that they have come to worship with us. Summer brings many people from their cabins so that we often experience standing room only, while in winter there is much opportunity for seat selection.”
In what way(s) does your parish proclaim the Gospel with its actions?
“Our mission statement reads: ‘… we witness our love of God through liturgy, social outreach, and lifelong faith formation … to be a people of unity, peace and love.’ Those who are homebound, in nursing homes, hospitalized or ill receive visits each week from a great group of volunteers. We have weekly faith formation sessions for children and youth, as well as regular adult faith formation sessions, including among other seasonal options, Thursday evening Lectionary Scripture study for the upcoming weekend Sunday readings. Children’s Liturgy of the Word is offered during Sunday Mass twice each month throughout the school year, and every weekend in summer.”
What is something about your parish that most people might not know?
“In July 1915, the first Mass was celebrated across from our current church. The 28’ x 45’ facility is currently serving as a private residence. Fr. Henry Shaney was the first resident priest in 1921, being mostly out of town while ministering to eight mission parishes. St. John’s had Sunday Mass twice a month. Fr. Joseph Annabring took charge in 1927, followed by Fr. Bernard Fries in 1929. The latter built the first rectory which also housed the pastor for Frederic, Grantsburg and Clam Falls missions. In 1955, Fr. Joseph Kelchak oversaw the building of our church, which was needed to accommodate an increased membership and large influx of summer vacationers. A 1982 addition brought water and plumbing into the ‘new’ church for the first time.”