May 5, 2010 // Uncategorized

Authentic hope comes from something beyond ourselves

University of Saint Francis
baccalaureate Mass

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades congratulates graduates of the University of Saint Francis after the baccalaureate Mass on May 1. In the photo, he greets Monica Eichman, a Today’s Catholic intern, and one of the university’s valedicatorians.

Greetings in the peace and joy of the Lord! I am writing this column on Saturday, May 1, having just returned from celebrating the baccalaureate Mass for the graduates of the University of Saint Francis. I need to write this before leaving this afternoon for South Bend for Confirmation Masses tonight and tomorrow at St. Matthew Cathedral, at the University of Notre Dame, and at St. Adalbert Church. I checked the odometer in my car and see that I am almost at 7,000 miles! I realized that I am putting a lot more miles on my car here than I did in the Diocese of Harrisburg!

At the beautiful baccalaureate Mass today, it was great to celebrate with our graduates from the University of Saint Francis. They are a very impressive group of young people. I spoke to them today about joy, hope and courage as disciples of the Lord Jesus. My main message was that hope doesn’t come from our accomplishments nor even our success. Authentic and lasting hope comes from something beyond ourselves, or rather, someone beyond ourselves. That “someone” is Christ. Hope comes from God and our belief in Him. I prayed with the graduates that they will go forth with firm hope for the future, a hope that is founded on the Person of Jesus Christ. God has drawn near to each one of us in Christ Jesus our hope. I prayed that our graduates’ faith in Christ will always be lively and strong so that they will be messengers and witnesses of hope for the world.

Every week in this column, I report on my Confirmation Masses. This past week, I was privileged to bestow the sacrament of Confirmation on our young candidates at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Elkhart and at St. Gaspar del Bufalo Church in Rome City. These were my first visits to Elkhart and Rome City. I am truly enjoying my first visits to so many of the parishes of our diocese. I have heard a lot about the lakes of Indiana. I saw my first lake in the diocese at Rome City, the beautiful Sylvan Lake. I am hoping to get some time, maybe in the summer, to enjoy some of the natural beauty of Indiana!

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at St. Gaspar’s — when I arrived, I was greeted by a priest from Gettysburg, Pa., in my home diocese, Father Jim Miller, a Precious Blood father. Father Miller is serving there a few weeks while the pastor of St. Gaspar’s, Father Bernard Ramenaden, is home on vacation.

Thank you, Sister Jane Carew!
This past Wednesday, Bishop D’Arcy and I celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving for the 23 years of service of Sister Jane Carew, OV, here in our diocese. Sister has done an incredible job in strengthening the catechetical mission of the Church in our diocese. Though Sister Jane has now retired from her position as director of the Office of Catechesis, she still assists the office as a volunteer. How blessed we are by Sister Jane’s dedicated ministry and her expertise in catechesis! Good catechesis builds up the Body of Christ, the Church. The education of our people, of all ages, in the faith is one of our most important tasks. I thank Sister Jane for her many years of service in this important and vital ministry. I thank both Sister Jane and Bishop D’Arcy for leading the revitalization of catechesis in our diocese.

Knights of Columbus
This past Wednesday, the Knights of Columbus in Fort Wayne hosted a religious appreciation dinner for the sisters and priests of the area. I am very grateful to the Knights for their generous support of priestly and religious vocations. It was a very enjoyable evening. The Knights paid special tribute to our priests and sisters celebrating special anniversaries and jubilees this year. Thanks also to the students from Bishop Dwenger High School who served the delicious dinner!

Department heads
This past Thursday, I had my first meeting with all the heads or directors of diocesan departments. It was a good opportunity to discuss the various works and initiatives going on in the various offices, to share ideas, and to plan for the future. Of course, all we do in the diocesan offices is meant to serve our parishes, to foster the Church’s mission of evangelization, and to promote the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Thank you to all our diocesan staff for their dedicated commitment to the Church’s mission in our diocese.

Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters
On Friday, Sister Beatrice Haines and the leadership team of the Victory Noll Sisters came to visit me. I was happy to learn about the charism and the ministries of the sisters in our diocese and beyond, particularly in the southwestern United States. As you probably know, Archbishop John Noll, the fifth bishop of Fort Wayne, advanced the growth of this congregation that was founded by Father John Joseph Sigstein in 1922. I am looking forward to visiting the motherhouse, Victory Noll, in Huntington this summer. I learned about the Marian devotion of the Victory Noll Sisters and their spirituality that is grounded in a particular way in Our Lady’s Magnificat. During this month of May, it is a beautiful time for all of us to reflect on our Blessed Mother and to grow in our devotion to her.

The month of May, the month of Mary
In the Gospel of this first Sunday of May, the fifth Sunday of Easter, we hear Jesus’ new commandment of love: Love one another as I have loved you. — Jn 13:34. Mary teaches us to live this new commandment. She was always obedient to her Son’s commandment of love and teaches us that same obedience. She is the shining model of our call to holiness through love.

We see Mary’s love at the Visitation when she went to assist her cousin Elizabeth for three months in the final phase of her pregnancy. We see her love when she asked Jesus to help the newly married couple at Cana. We see her love when she stood at the foot of the cross, her heart broken as she witnessed her Son’s suffering and death. We see her love in the upper room as she prayed with the disciples awaiting the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Let us ask Mary to teach us to love as we journey through this life. On our Christian pilgrimage, love is the most important virtue for us to cultivate. Mary, Mother of Fairest Love, pray for us!

In this context, I ask you to be generous in the second collection next Sunday, May 9, for the benefit of Catholic Charities of our diocese. This is a very important collection that helps to fund so many programs that serve the poor and needy in our midst.

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