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Local pastor explores roadside chapels

Father Edward Looney already calls two Catholic parishes home, but he is reaching out to several other small houses of worship over the next month. Roadside chapels have been a staple in rural Brown, Door and Kewaunee counties since Belgian settlers first came to the area in the mid-1800s. According to the Belgian Heritage Center in Brussels, the roadside chapels were often built to share with travelers before traditional churches were constructed. Last month, Looney started a Facebook page to highlight the 32  roadside chapels in Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties so people could reference them as they visit the area and to commemorate the upcoming All Saints’ Day. He hopes to not just visit them all over time but to highlight them and the landowners that help keep them up.

Looney adds that roadside chapels and other small outdoor places of faith like the St. Francis and St. Mary Grotto in Brussels are becoming popular places to pray for those maybe still uncomfortable with attending church services. Diocese of Green Bay Bishop David Ricken reinstituted dispensation for area Catholics not attending Sunday masses due to the influx of positive COVID-19 cases. That does not mean local churches have to stop holding in-person masses.

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