National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help LogoAt a news conference on Aug. 15, 2016 -- the feast of the Assumption -- Bishop David Ricken announced that the only approved Marian apparition site in the United States is now the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the designation.

Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help™ Chapel exteriorOn Oct. 9, 1859, Adele Brise, a young Belgian woman said the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her at Champion in Brown County, northeast of Green Bay, and asked her to teach religion to children. Soon, her father built a chapel on the site and Adele started a school and a community of women to teach in it.

On Dec. 8, 2010, at a special Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception Bishop Ricken announced that he officially approved the Marian apparitions. Bishop Ricken issued the decree of the apparitions authenticity after an investigation by three Marian experts.

Decree of Apparitions Authenticity

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National Shrine Designation

Since 1992 the U.S. bishops have used set norms to designate national shrines. In the request for the national shrine designation, sent on April 30, 2015, to the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and its Committee on Divine Worship, Bishop Ricken said the "mission of prayer and catechesis is at the very heart of the apostolate of this sacred Shrine."

The USCCB Administrative Committee approved the designation March 8, 2016. The official decree is dated March 19, the feast of St. Joseph. The U.S. bishops must review a national designation every 10 years. There are about 70 national shrines.

Conditions for Designation

Conditions for receiving the national designation include being dedicated to promoting the faith of the pilgrims such as a devotion based on church-recognized revelations.

A national shrine also must nourish the spiritual lives of pilgrims through the liturgy; offer some form of common prayer, such as the Liturgy of the Hours; provide adequate pastoral care for pilgrims, especially of various language groups.

Because a shrine cannot serve as a local parish, baptisms, weddings and funerals are ordinarily not celebrated there.

Feast of Assumption Mass-goers Informed

Bishop Ricken announced the national designation to the more than 1,500 people who participated in the annual outdoor Mass for the Assumption, which was celebrated by Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee. Bishop Ricken was the homilist. Bishop James Powers of Superior and numerous priests of the Diocese of Green Bay concelebrated. The annual rosary procession around the shrine grounds followed Mass.

"I am deeply thankful for the faith, devotion and unwavering commitment to all those who have been stewards and care takers of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help for the past several generations," Bishop Ricken said in his homily. "Each of them simply followed the whispers of their own deep faith and in doing so, preserved and advanced the shrine. They carried the inspiring story of Adele Brise, a young Belgian woman to whom the Blessed Mother appeared. They carried this message in their own hearts, passing it on from one generation to the next, freely sharing it with all who came seeking, searching and praying.

National Novena

Bishop Ricken also said a Father of Mercy Bill Casey would lead a retreat day on Oct. 1 to begin a National Novena to Our Lady of Good Help. The novena will end on Oct. 9, Apparition Day.

The Fathers of Mercy have cared for the shrine since July 2011, starting with Fr. Peter Strycker who served until July 2016 when he was succeeded by Father of Mercy John Broussard.

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Shrine Apparitions Featured on National Television Program

The ABC News program "Primetime Nightline" on July 13 featured a six-minute segment on the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help™ as part of a program entitled "The Miracle Mysteries."

The program was the second in a five-part "Primetime Nightline" summer series called "Beyond Belief."

Series Looks at Shrines Around World

In "The Miracle Mysteries," "Nightline" co-anchor Bill Weir journeys from Nazareth and Rwanda to Spain, Bosnia, and across the U.S. to explore "The Miracle Mysteries." These destinations are pilgrimage sites for people who profoundly believe that the Virgin Mary has appeared to and communicated with ordinary people.

Weir visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help™ in Champion, and interviewed Bishop David Ricken and others who recounted their experiences at the Shrine.

The piece was shot May 6-7. The crew arrived the evening of May 6 and walked the grounds during a quiet time. May 7 was a retreat day for a confirmation class from the Diocese of La Crosse allowing Weir to talk to the young people.


Spared from Peshtigo Fire

When the Peshtigo Fire spread across Green Bay on Oct. 8, 1871, area residents walked around the chapel grounds all night praying the rosary and carrying a statue of Mary. Everything outside that five-acre area was burned.

Every year on Oct. 8 people reenact the procession at the Shrine. There is also a large procession and outdoor Mass on Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven.

The fourth -- and current chapel with a shrine to Mary in the crypt -- was dedicated on July 12, 1942. Adele Brise is buried on the grounds.

The Diocese of Green Bay cares for the chapel, which serves as a testimony to the power of prayer.


Fathers of Mercy at Shrine

Beginning July 7, 2011, two Fathers of Mercy from Auburn, Ky., began serving at the Shrine. Fr. Peter Stryker, CPM, serve as the rector and Fr. Jewel Aytona, CPM, served as chaplain.

"It is fitting that the Fathers of Mercy will be in residence at the Shrine, as their members consecrate themselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary every year on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th," Bishop Ricken said in announcing the appointment.

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Film Chronicles 150-year History of Shrine and Chapel

A 30-minute documentary on the 150-year history of The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help™ premiered March 2, 2010, at Notre Dame Academy, Green Bay. Ashley Cross produced and directed the documentary, which is available on DVD for viewing by parish or school groups.

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Wisconsin Bishops Encourage Pilgrimages to Approved Marian Shrines

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Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee, Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, and Bishop William Callahan of LaCrosse have designated three Wisconsin Marian shrines as places of pilgrimage. They also asked Catholics to consider making a pilgrimage of faith with Mary "to pray, as did the Apostles: 'Lord increase our faith' (Lk 17:5)."

The three designated Marian shrines are:

  • The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, Champion
  • The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians at Holy Hill, Hubertus
  • The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Crosse

Marian Shrines Brochure

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Where to Find Us:

Contact the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

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4047 Chapel Drive
New Franken, WI 54229
(One mile east of Champion on Kewaunee County Highway K)
Phone: (920) 866-2571
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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