July 20, 2016 // Uncategorized

Bishop Rhoades celebrates and blesses St. Henry Community Center

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades blesses the greenhouse with Father Dan Durkin, pastor, at the St. Henry Community Garden where he visited for the feast day of the patron saint of the parish.

By James Mount

FORT WAYNE — July 10th was a special day for St. Henry Parish as it celebrated the Feast of the patron saint of the parish with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. The event showcased how St. Henry has grown into its new role as a missionary Catholic outreach — a Community Center.

The Bishop, during his homily, spoke about the meaning of the parable of the Good Samaritan and its application to true Christian life today — following Christ not just with our lips but with actions.

“We have to live what we profess and that means to be disciples of Jesus and imitate His love.” The Bishop challenged those in attendance, “Remember when He washed the feet of the disciples He said, ‘What I have done for you, you must do for others.’ This is what every Catholic Parish should be about, it’s what every one of us should be about.” A message that resonated with Property Manager Paul Gerardot.

“How amazing it is,” Gerardot said, “that the Bishop came out and blessed St. Henry’s on the Feast of St. Henry. The Bishop coming here was a breath of fresh air, breathing the Spirit into this community, into this building, this parish. It was much needed and we are rekindled by his presence here, by his words that he honored us.”

For Gerardot and the surrounding community that comes together to make the Community Center happen, the Bishop’s visit and his words of encouragement were an uplift.

“We needed to hear that he was proud of what St. Henry’s has been doing to reach out to the community. We are a light house, we reach out to so many different people and now that he’s been here we feel that we’ve been uplifted. I sense it, experience it and feel it. I think that the Bishop was very surprised at the enormity of what we are doing here. He had a lot of questions, he hung around to talk to people and was in no hurry to go anywhere. He found a lot of joy here,” Gerardot says, “he said it was the Holy Spirit working.”

Gerardot shared that the Bishop himself reflected on his visit and how it affirmed the message of the Good Samaritan.

“It was great to be here for the patronal feast of St. Henry,” Bishop Rhoades said reflecting on the events of the day, “because the Mission of the Church is so important in this area of Fort Wayne. I was really happy and edified to see all the good works, the works of mercy that are taking place here. The Garden, the De Paul Society and everything that they are doing. And then to have the Gospel today of the Good Samaritan was perfect because I believe that’s what this parish is really living. Trying to be good Samaritans to people in need in this area of Fort Wayne.”

The visit and blessing from the Bishop was an event that led to a culmination of a busy summer for the Community Center. With the involvement of St. Vincent de Paul as a sister parish and a successful Summer Clubhouse in June, St. Henry is poised to grow more fully into their missionary outreach as the personification of Christ — reaching out to the community in Christian fellowship and establishing bonds of deep friendship and working together. Gerardot sees this coming together in building a legacy on the Southeast side of Fort Wayne.

“I see hands that are joining together,” Gerardot says, “and I think that is so much of what society needs to be good Christians whether you are Catholic or whatever you are. I see a lot happening. We’ve been flooded with St. Vincent de Paul parishioners coming out to help us and getting to meet a lot of people who live in this community, getting a better understanding of what really goes on on this side of town and that makes them want to come back.

I believe what the Bishop says. He feels the Holy Spirit’s presence here and I think that’s very indicative of what St. Henry’s is. We’re on the path the Lord wants us to be on and I think that anything done for His glorification will be a jubilee in the end.”

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