Cribben


Episode 003: Transformative Meals: Opportunity for Encounter

To share a meal, and not just food, but also affection, stories, events, is a fundamental experience.

—Pope Francis

Fr. Alfred McBride, O. Praem. (left), Abbot Emeritus E. Thomas De Wane, O. Praem. (center), and Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem. (right), in the dining room (refectory) at St. Norbert Abbey.

Fr. Alfred McBride, O. Praem. (left), Abbot Emeritus E. Thomas De Wane, O. Praem. (center), and Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem. (right), in the dining room (refectory) at St. Norbert Abbey.

When is the last time you sat down together with loved ones and enjoyed a meal, good conversation, events of the day? Given the fast-paced culture in which we live, it has become the norm to grab a meal on the go, or eat while tuned into television or smart phones. But sharing a meal at home or in the Eucharist can be a transformative experience—an opportunity to encounter Christ within ourselves and one another.

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The Sandwich Generation: Fr. Dane Radecki, O. Praem.

Norbertine Priests Juggle Work, Family, and Health Concerns with the Help of their Brothers in Christ

As seen in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Abbey Magazine (page 9)

By Gina Sanders Larsen

Managing Editor, Abbey Magazine

Fr. Dane Radecki, O. Praem.

A Norbertine priest chooses a new family upon his entrance to the order—his confreres, or brothers—yet the man’s family of origin “is understood to be an important part of the community, too,” said Fr. Dane Radecki, O. Praem., current interim pastor of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Greenville, Wisconsin. Fr. Radecki, 66, has regular responsibilities to support his aging parents’ care and the care of his adult brother, Jeff, who has ongoing medical needs. “I manage my brother’s finances and I am his health care power of attorney. Mom is 86 and Dad is 90 and still living independently in Pulaski, but I expect my family caregiving will continue to increase,” Fr. Radecki said.

Up until his recent sabbatical and assignment to St. Mary’s, Fr. Radecki was a leader in the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) system and called upon to consult for Catholic education programs across the country. As with so many other families, no amount of professional responsibility removes the obligation to family caregiving. “Those surprise calls in the middle of the night, or the decision to ‘clean the place,’ or an upcoming surgery, or someone losing her ability to drive—I rely on the generosity of my (Norbertine) community when it comes to caregiving. It’s something you step up and do as a son and a brother,” Fr. Radecki said, noting that his brother and sister also share these responsibilities.

When someone is amazed I still have my parents with me, I realize each moment with them is a blessing.

—Fr. Dane Radecki, O. Praem.
Fr. Dane Radecki, O. Praem.

Fr. Dane Radecki, O. Praem.

Fr. Radecki returns to St. Norbert Abbey weekly, from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon. “The concept is to recharge, but that doesn’t always happen. I may have a funeral, or an emergency call from my brother in Pulaski, and this is when I catch up on his finances,” Fr. Radecki said.

While with his confreres at the abbey, Fr. Radecki slides into the comfortable daily ritual of his community. “Serving in a parish, I miss the communal prayer of the abbey.” Long morning walks are his healthy habit, Fr. Radecki says, but he’s been known to choose more sleep over long strolls. “Sometimes the fatigue wins out,” he said, laughing.

The future is uncertain for Fr. Radecki as he waits to see how his family’s needs will change in the coming months and years. He wonders about moving his mother into the rectory with him so he can be her primary caregiver. “Yet these responsibilities do not weigh heavily on me,” he said. “When someone is amazed I still have my parents with me, I realize each moment with them is a blessing.”

The Sandwich Generation

The Sandwich Generation: Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem.

Norbertine Priests Juggle Work, Family, and Health Concerns with the Help of their Brothers in Christ

As seen in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Abbey Magazine (page 8)

By Gina Sanders Larsen

Managing Editor, Abbey Magazine

Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem.

Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem., 53, is one of 11 children born into a Dodge County, Wisconsin, farming family. No stranger to hard work, he is currently the pastor of the 1400-family St. Willebrord Parish in downtown Green Bay, which just celebrated its 25th year as one of the region’s largest and most vital Hispanic Catholic churches. Seventy percent of parish families are Hispanic in language, culture, and tradition, and 30 percent are native English speakers.

“Our Hispanic families are primarily young with children, and our English-speaking members tend to be elderly,” Fr. Cribben said. “Changes in immigration law enforcement have caused a new wave of worry and uncertainty. We work every day to be companions to many long-term and well-established Hispanic people in Green Bay and the people who know them. My biggest challenge is parish unity in the midst of so many different pastoral needs.”

Fr. Cribben lives at the parish rectory and returns to St. Norbert Abbey, just a short car ride away, for meetings or supportive discussions with his confreres. “A group of us gathers intentionally to support one another in our active ministry. We share a desire to be happy, healthy, and holy. It’s where I experience the love and support I need to serve the people of our parish.”

The Norbertine Order’s personnel committee has been responsive to Fr. Cribben’s call for more help at the always-bustling St. Willebrord. Fr. Jack MacCarthy, O. Praem., came on as assistant pastor nearly two years ago, fluent in Spanish and Hispanic culture after decades of pastoral and medical service in the jungles of Peru. Fr. Cribben is confident in and thankful for his confrere’s expertise and compassion. “We can discuss pastoral and spiritual concerns of our parish members and community issues,” he said. “To have a confrere at my side is a great benefit to us both, I believe.” Together with Fr. MacCarthy and Br. Jacob Sircy, O. Praem., up to 12 Norbertines regularly assist Fr. Cribben with twice-daily Masses and eight weekend Masses at the parish. “Several of our elderly priests speak Spanish, so we can gather up to eight bilingual confessors for special events like our recent women’s retreat,” Fr. Cribben said.

I am working to regain healthy habits so I can stay productive and available to the people who need me.

—Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem.
Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem. (center)

Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem. (center)

High on Fr. Cribben’s list of concerns is providing capable, Spanish-speaking Norbertines to serve at St. Willebrord Parish. “I hope and pray I have many more years at St. Willy’s, but given the size and complexity of our parish, I’ve already started discussions with the abbey personnel committee about a transition plan. How will we prepare? I rely on the members to help us with longer-term plans,” he said.

Fr. Cribben said self-care is often sacrificed in the midst of his hectic schedule and the heavy emotional and spiritual demands of his flock. “As a farm boy, my exercise was our daily work on the farm, and that has gone away,” Fr. Cribben said. “I am working with Dr. John Gray (abbey health advisor) to try and regain some healthy habits so I can stay productive and available to the people who need me.”

The Sandwich Generation

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