By Lauren Caggiano
ANGOLA — Bishop John M. D’Arcy, bishop-emeritus of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, fielded questions from a room full of young adults at the Bishop’s Retreat on the afternoon of April 10 at the Potawatomi Inn in Angola. Bishop D’Arcy, who actually began the annual retreat several years ago, was one of the four event speakers.
Each year the Office for Campus and Young Adult Ministry hosts a weekend where young adults, ages 18-39, can draw aside from the demands of everyday life and spend time with God, seeking His wisdom in their life. In general, it is a time of inspirational talks, sharing in the sacraments, gathering in fellowship and refreshing one’s body, mind and soul.
This year’s weekend retreat took place April 9-11 with a theme “In the Meantime … Trust.” The question-and-answer session Saturday afternoon was an opportunity for some one-on-one time with Bishop D’Arcy and to consult with him on relevant issues in the Catholic Church. Prior to the session, participants were asked to write questions on index cards.
The growing Hispanic popularity was an impetus for many of the questions. For example, “What is the Church doing locally to help Hispanic Catholics?”
“We always want to do more for our people,” Bishop D’Arcy said as a preface. He advised the youth to provide feedback and consider what they can do to become more active in their respective parishes.
On a more serious note, the bishop was asked about the controversial topic of the Church’s response to abuses in the priesthood. He said the Church is undergoing a “dark time” and needs to move forward.
“Evil comes to us from the beginning,” he said. However, “Jesus came to forgive evil and help us overcome it. The Church has taken on the enormous task to overcome abuse.”
The bishop said Catholics must realize the Church is in the process of purifying itself and that the faithful can find Jesus through the Church. In his words, “We need to be purified to be holier.”
Other questions related to the fate of the soul after death. “When one dies, does the soul come back to the world,” a young woman asked. The bishop’s response: the soul goes to heaven if the person is saved. Eventually the body and soul are united.
“Death is not the end,” he affirmed.
With regard to reincarnation, Bishop D’Arcy clarified that the Church does not believe in this concept because it “takes away from the joy of when we die.”
Additional questions related to immigrants’ inclusion in the Church, the call to vocations and the ethics of same-sex adoption.
The talk concluded with a buffet dinner. The remainder of the weekend consisted of a reconciliation service, social time and Mass.
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