July 13, 2010 // Uncategorized

Eucharist helps us to be an evangelizing community

Holy Cross Sisters
Two weeks ago, I was honored to visit and celebrate Holy Mass for the Sisters of the Holy Cross at the Church of Our Lady of Loretto in South Bend. I had already visited the communities of the Holy Cross Brothers and Priests in recent months. I have enjoyed getting to know the Holy Cross family of sisters, brothers and priests.

The Congregations of Holy Cross have played, and continue to play, an important role in our diocese. They were among the pioneers of the Catholic Church here in our diocese. The Holy Cross Sisters were certainly some of the pioneers of Catholic education here.

When I celebrated Mass for the sisters and guests at the Loretto Chapel, I thanked all the Sisters of the Holy Cross for their example of consecrated life and generous service of Christ and His Church. After enjoying lunch with Sister Joan Marie Steadman, the congregational president, and the leadership team of the congregation, I was able to visit many of the infirm sisters who were unable to attend the Mass. It was very moving for me to meet these incredible women and to learn about their lives and apostolates. I even met some sisters who had taught in Catholic schools in Lancaster, Pa., in my former diocese. I met many sisters who had devoted their lives to serving in various foreign missions and others who served in our diocese and throughout the United States. I left with thanksgiving in my heart for the selfless devotion and example of holiness of these consecrated religious women.

Priest picnic gatherings
One of the enjoyable traditions of our diocese is the summer gatherings of our priests, at both ends of the diocese. I enjoyed hosting a picnic at my residence at St. Mary’s in Fort Wayne and also joining the priests’ picnic at St. Pius X in Granger some weeks ago. As I have said many times, we have a great presbyterate here in our diocese. These opportunities for fellowship build our fraternity and provide an opportunity for relaxation and refreshment. Many of our seminarians also joined these gatherings. Please continue to support our priests and seminarians with your prayers.

Vincent Village
For months, I have heard so many positive things about Vincent Village in Fort Wayne. I was finally able to visit there on June 30. Located on the campus of the former St. Hyacinth Church, Vincent Village and two other organizations, Literacy Alliance and Park Center, are using diocesan property to serve the needs of the community.

Vincent Village provides shelter, basic needs, supportive services and affordable housing for homeless families with children. Ann Helmke, the executive director, and members of the board of directors, gave me a tour of Vincent House, the former St. Hyacinth convent, which is the temporary shelter for homeless families. Then, we walked through the neighborhood, which has truly been revitalized by Vincent Village through the 32 homes that have been renovated and are now attractive affordable homes for families who are ready to leave the shelter. It is great to see that a poor inner-city neighborhood can indeed be revitalized when people join together and work together with such vision and commitment, motivated by faith. It was remarkable to see the transformation not only of buildings, but of peoples’ lives. Thanks to all who support Vincent Village!

Let us always remember the words of Jesus: I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me. — Mt 25: 25:35-36.

Mass at St. Jude Church, Fort Wayne
A few months ago, the faith-filled parishioners of St. Jude Parish in Fort Wayne who attend the daily 6:15 a.m. Mass invited me to celebrate this Mass for them sometime. I was privileged to do so on July 1, the feast of Blessed Junipero Serra. I expected to see a few dozen parishioners at that early Mass and was pleasantly surprised, and very edified, to see 150 people in attendance, including parishioners of all ages. I joked with the people that I had to set two alarm clocks so I would not oversleep and miss the Mass!

I wish to thank Father Tom Shoemaker and Father Bob D’Souza who serve at St. Jude’s and also all who attended the Mass. I spoke in my homily about Father Serra, the holy Franciscan missionary of California. In my prayers, I also remembered the members of our Serra Clubs, who do so much to promote priestly and religious vocations, on the feast of their patron. I share with you the opening prayer of the Mass on that feast since Blessed Junipero Serra is an example for all of us of our missionary vocation:

God most high, your servant Junipero Serra brought the gospel of Christ to the peoples of Mexico and California and firmly established the Church among them. By his intercession, and through the example of his evangelical zeal, inspire us to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Dedication of St. Anthony of Padua Church, Angola
This past Saturday, I had the privilege of dedicating the new church and altar at St. Anthony Parish in Angola. This was my first visit to Angola. The new church is truly beautiful. It was interesting to see how the architects incorporated some of the items of the previous churches into the new church, including stained glass windows, the Stations of the Cross and other artwork. One item of particular interest is the center circle of the rose window over the main altar which shows a bouquet of lilies. This window had appeared over the main entrance of the original church. It had been removed years ago, stored in a garage, and forgotten. It was only rediscovered when the garage was being demolished. A parishioner found it in a pile of scrap. Now refurbished, it appears in the beautiful rose window above the main altar of the new church. Some parishioners commented about how appropriate this is since their patron, St. Anthony, is the patron saint of lost articles!

The dedication Mass was beautiful. I was very impressed by the excellent music of the parish choir. Conventual Franciscan Friars, who have staffed the parish since 1931, continue to serve at St. Anthony’s. Several of the friars concelebrated the Dedication Mass, including the provincial, Father Jim Kent. I thank the devoted pastor of St. Anthony’s, Father Fred Pasche, and all the priests and parishioners of this vibrant parish community.

During the liturgy, I reminded all that the most important reason why the new church was built, and the greatest act to be celebrated there, is the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Every time we attend Mass, we are strengthened by the Holy Eucharist to live our faith and to be witnesses of Christ’s love. The Eucharist is what builds up the parish and nourishes its members to love as Christ has loved us. The Eucharist helps us to be an evangelizing community, one that proclaims the truth of the Gospel in word and deed.
Our diocese now has another new house of God, one that is now permanently designated for the worship of God. May the St. Anthony Parish community be a beacon of Christ’s love in Angola and the northeast region of our diocese!

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