Home > Franciscan-Belgian Foundations (1914-1917) > Process of Naming a Church

Process of Naming a Church

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During the construction of the church when our parish had yet been named it was referred to as the “Catholic Church in Allouez” or the “Allouez church.” Even after the Bishop gave a name to the parish having accepted Fr. Rudolph’s recommendation (see next page), people commonly used the geographic location when referring to the new church. Such nomenclature has its origin in the New Testament (i.e., the church of Corinth, the church of Ephesus, etc.) In fact, the name of the Roman Catholic Church itself has its roots in geography.

Choosing a name for a parish is a process that requires a lot of thought. There is a sense of permanence that comes with the task. Today, when bishops seek a parish name they typically choose one not held anywhere else in the diocese. But that was not always true. In the Superior Diocese, seven churches (including our own) are named after St. Anthony of Padua. (The parish in Cumberland is not one them though. It was named after St. Anthony, the Abbot.

Many Catholic churches are dedicated to a specific saint, and put under their patronage. For example, St. Pius X who was canonized a saint in 1954, has many parishes, schools, seminaries and retreat houses named after him. One of the reasons why his name is so popular is that many of these buildings were being built during or soon after his canonization during the baby boom era. In 1955, when St. Mary of Good Counsel (Solon Springs) built a new church, they renamed their parish St. Pius X.

Not all Catholic churches, however, are named after saints. In the Diocese of Superior today, for example, we have churches named Sacred Heart (Almena and Radisson), Holy Family (Bayfield), Immaculate Conception (Butternut, Grantsburg, Hammond, and New Richmond), Assumption (Chelsea, East Farmington, Strickland, Superior), Sacred Heart (Stetsonville), Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (Crescent Lake), Most Precious Blood (Glidden), Holy Trinity (Haugen), Holy Rosary (Medford and Mellen), Holy Redeemer (Pence), Nativity of Our Lord (Rhinelander), Cathedral of Christ the King (Superior).

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