September 9, 2009 // Uncategorized

Bishop ordains Holy Cross deacons, blesses law school chapel

A lovely late summer day at Notre Dame
Any day on that campus is grand, but this was also of great significance. In the morning, it was my joy to ordain to the holy and ancient office of deacon, Kevin Grove and Gerald Olinger. The previous day they had taken their final vows before a filled Basilica of the Sacred Heart, where so many before them have offered their lives to Christ in this historic, missionary congregation and where many others have pronounced the vows of matrimony.

Kevin, from a small town in Montana, had studied under the Jesuits at the University of Seattle. He happened to be coming through Notre Dame and heard a homily on the Holy Cross fathers by Father Kevin Russeau, CSC, at Sacred Heart Basilica where he found some literature on Holy Cross and was on his way. Gerry Olinger, from Philadelphia, with an aunt in the Philadelphia Franciscans, a congregation I know well, as three members of my family have been members. Gerry, as a young boy, was serving Mass in a large church in Philadelphia. He was about 12. While waiting for his mother to pick him up, he knelt for a little while before a statue of Our Lady. A woman came up to him and said, “You will be a great priest.” He went to Notre Dame and Notre Dame Law School. Indeed, many who studied law at Notre Dame have gone on to the priesthood, including Father Bill Beauchamp, CSC, now president of the University of Portland.

I know all this because Father Pat Neary, CSC, who is a good friend and the rector of Moreau Seminary and celebrates Mass in Spanish for the Hispanic Catholics at St. Dominic, Bremen, followed his usual practice of inviting me for coffee and Irish scones before the ordination. I knew these two young men previously. I gave a class as part of the course that Father Michael Heintz, Ph.D., teaches on priesthood and met them there and also at St. Joseph Parish. Deacon Kevin will serve his diaconate at St. Joseph Parish under the direction of Father John DeRiso, CSC, while Deacon Gerry will serve in the northwest at the University of Portland.

A beautiful diaconate ordination, with a testimony of their readiness being given by Father David Tyson, CSC, Holy Cross provincial. This was followed by a brunch, which included French toast and a slightly stained cassock.

A truly holy chapel
After a bit of rest, I returned to Notre Dame for the dedication of the new chapel at the Law School. Both in the place it is situated and its design, the new chapel is a place of prayer that uplifts the heart.

Dedicated to St. Thomas More, patron of lawyers and more recently, by decree by Pope John Paul II, patron of politicians, it is a worthy place of prayer.

Remember, under the direction of the newly retired Dean Patricia O’Hara, the law school has greatly expanded, and part of that expansion is a new chapel.

The beautiful stained glass windows depict Thomas More, St. Augustine, Our Lady and a window dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament. The symbol of Holy Cross is above the entrance.

The ceremony included the consecration of the altar. The chapel, which I am told seats about 70, was full to overflowing. There were about 150 people in attendance. Most of them were students of the law school, along with some faculty. Thus, for the second time in one day, I sang the Litany of the Saints, as we had done at the ordination. It was a special joy to meet Dean Nell Jessup Newton, the new dean at the law school, coming from a similar position in California. I thanked her for her gracious kindness. I wish to commend the committee who designed this chapel; and when you are on campus, you should visit this chapel. Surely an excellent addition to the many sacred places on campus. The committee members are Dean Patty O’Hara; Father Peter Rocca, CSC, rector of the Sacred Heart Basilica; and Father John Coughlin, OSF; professor of canon law and ethics at the law school. Father Richard Warner, CSC, concelebrated along with Father Rocca and Father Coughlin.

Afterwards, there was a delightful cookout nearby. I especially enjoyed meeting a number of international students. These are men and women who are already lawyers in places such as El Salvador, Peru or Africa. They come to Notre Dame to take a renowned course at Notre Dame on human rights. I was impressed with their backgrounds and their dedication.

A splendid evening in Warsaw
Monday evening, on my return trip to Fort Wayne, it was time to join Cindy Black and Megan Oberhausen, two extraordinary women who are in charge of our department of Youth Ministry at our still new Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and Diocesan Shrine in Warsaw. They had prepared a blessed evening for the adults who are working in the all-important ministry to youth in our various parishes. As I told Cindy later, for a bishop this was an encouraging night. With the help of a video featuring Father Mark Gurtner and two of our seminary candidates, Ben Muhlenkamp and Matt Coonan, a presentation was given concerning the essentials of youth ministry.

These essentials are prayer, catechesis, sacraments, service and evangelization. There was great emphasis on the centrality of the priest and on the formation of adult leaders. Ministry from adults — both priests and laity — rather than peer ministry, was said to be at the core at those parishes, which have a truly effective ministry to youth. The centrality of the priest giving pastoral and theological leadership was emphasized.

What I found especially important was the emphasis placed by Cindy and also Father Mark on the holiness and prayer life of those who are directing youth ministry. “Do not expect to draw the young people closer to Christ if you are not yourself living a life close to Christ in the holy Eucharist,” said Cindy. The emphasis was placed on the Mass and also on eucharistic adoration. After such an evening, it was a joyful drive through the night from Warsaw to Fort Wayne.

Adult catechesis
It was a joy to stop at St. John, Goshen, on my way to South Bend to join Father Tom Florek, SJ, along with Enid Roman De Jesus and Lourdes Silva of our Hispanic Office for the graduation of about 45 people from a program of catechesis given in Spanish. This was followed by some excellent Mexican food.

Enid and Lourdes, along with our Office of Catechesis, especially Jim Tighe, Christina Emilian and Sister Jane Carew have begun a second semester of adult catechesis, more directly under the bishop. It has not been easy to obtain people fluent in Spanish and catechesis and theology — but they have done it.

We have a number of parishes now with a flourishing ministry to our beloved Hispanics who have come to us from 19 countries. We must train catechists and teachers, and this effort indicates we are well begun.
I am glad to be visiting you every week once again. So, see you all next week.

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