July 27, 2010 // Uncategorized

Increase in vocations is a great blessing, offers hope

Here we are at the end of the July. The summer is passing quickly. I hope that you have been having a good and refreshing summer. We have had some hot and humid days, not unlike what I experienced during the summer in Pennsylvania. Still, I enjoy the warmth of summer and especially the opportunity for outdoor activity and some sports.

Two weeks ago, I enjoyed a day with our seminarians at Holy Family Parish in South Bend. It was a good opportunity to share with them some thoughts on the call to priestly holiness and then to meet one-on-one with our young men in priestly formation. We finished the day with Mass and dinner, to which the parents of our seminarians were invited to participate. It was good to meet the parents and to thank them for their support of their sons’ vocations.

I am very happy to announce that we have experienced a significant increase in applications to the seminary this year for our diocese. In addition to the 15 men currently in formation, I accepted 10 new seminarians who will begin their priestly formation next month. This increase is a great blessing and gives me much hope for the future of priestly vocations in our diocese. I thank all the faithful of our diocese for their prayers for this intention. I believe that the prayers of our people are the main reason we are seeing such an increase in number of seminarians. I also thank Msgr. Bernard Galic, the director of our Office of Vocations, and his staff for their dedicated work in support of this mission.

Speaking of the promotion of priestly vocations, on July 21, I attended my first Andrew Dinner. Father Jacob Runyon, our associate director of vocations, led this evening event at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Fort Wayne. There were dozens of young men, mostly high school age, who attended the Andrew Dinner at the invitation of their pastors. These men were identified as having qualities that indicated a possible vocation to the priesthood. I was really impressed by the faith and joy of these young men and their openness to the possibility that God may be calling them to the priesthood. Several priests were also in attendance at the dinner. These dinners are named for the Apostle Andrew, who brought his brother Peter to Jesus.

Our Franciscan Brothers Minor are also experiencing growth in numbers. When they came here to Indiana with me, there were eight brothers, including Father David Engo, the superior. They now have three additional young men who have recently become postulants.
Please continue to pray for all our seminarians and those who are discerning the call to the priesthood.

Institute for Catholic Liberal Education
I was happy to celebrate Holy Mass on July 14 for a group of Catholic School teachers attending the academic retreat at Holy Cross College. This retreat was sponsored by the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education, an organization that leads Catholic educators to a clear understanding of the riches of Catholic education and helps them implement the Church’s vision in their schools. The theme of this year’s retreat was “Truth and Joy in the Catholic School.” It was good to meet teachers from Catholic schools around the country who are so strongly committed to the Catholic educational mission.

Ordination of Bishop Timothy Doherty
On July 15, I made my first visit to Lafayette to attend the episcopal ordination of the new bishop there, Bishop Timothy Doherty. Bishop Doherty was a priest in the Diocese of Rockford, Ill. It was a beautiful ordination liturgy. I extended to Bishop Doherty the prayerful best wishes of the faithful of our diocese. As you probably know, the territory of the Diocese of Lafayette was once part of the Diocese of Fort Wayne. The Diocese of Lafayette was established in 1944 when 24 largely rural counties of our diocese were separated to form the Lafayette diocese. This was during the time that Bishop John F. Noll was the bishop of our diocese. When it was created, the diocese of Lafayette was almost 10,000 square miles and had 30,000 Catholics. Ours was indeed “the mother diocese” of Lafayette, which has now welcomed its sixth bishop. May God bless Bishop Doherty as he begins his episcopal ministry!

New pastor of St. Adalbert and St. Casimir Parishes
On July 17, I celebrated Holy Mass at St. Adalbert Parish in South Bend and installed the new pastor of St. Adalbert and St. Casimir Parishes, Holy Cross Father Peter Pacini. It was a joyful occasion as the parishioners of both parishes warmly welcomed their new pastor. Speaking of “warm,” St. Adalbert’s is not air-conditioned so it was indeed a warm evening. It reminded me of the church where I was once pastor in Harrisburg, St. Francis of Assisi, which was also inner-city and did not have air-conditioning. In any event, we cooled off after Mass in the parish hall, where we enjoyed a delicious dinner together. It is beautiful to see the sharing of cultures, both Hispanic and Polish, at these parishes, both at the liturgy and at the dinner. May God bless Father Pacini as he begins his pastoral ministry at these historic South Bend parishes!

St. Catherine of Siena Parish
On July 18, I celebrated Holy Mass at St. Catherine of Siena Parish (St. Jude Church) in South Bend. Again, it was a beautiful liturgy and joyful celebration. Many thanks to Father John Delaney for his warm welcome and hospitality! After the Mass, I spent a couple hours at the parish festival, enjoying especially a delicious Polish dinner following Mass. I believe this is the newest parish in our diocese, having been established with the merger of the former St. Jude, Sacred Heart and St. Mary parishes on the south side of South Bend. We are looking at the possible purchase of land for a new church for St. Catherine of Siena Parish.

Antioch youth Mass
After most of the day at St. Catherine of Siena, I went in the evening to St. Bavo Church in Mishawaka. There the church was packed for a Mass I celebrated for the Antioch youth group. It was great to see so many young people in attendance and participating with such zeal for the faith. The music was very well-done and uplifting. Many of the young people had spent the weekend at a youth conference at Franciscan University in Steubenville. They came home renewed in their faith.
After the Mass, I joined the young people for pizza in the parish school hall. I thank Father Barry England for his gracious hospitality. I am constantly edified by the enthusiasm for the faith of so many of our youth.

Archbishop Sheen film
On July 19, over 100 people joined me at the Allen County Public Library for an advance showing of a new documentary film on the life and legacy of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. The film was very well done and I recommend it to you. It will be shown at various parishes throughout our diocese. The cause for Archbishop Sheen’s beatification and canonization has begun. Archbishop Sheen led so many people to Christ. He touched the minds and hearts of millions of people. If it is the Lord’s will, may he one day be proclaimed a saint!

Prayer service for ACE
students at Notre Dame

On another hot and humid evening, July 22, I celebrated a prayer service at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes at Notre Dame for the students of the ACE (Alliance for Catholic Education) program being sent forth on mission to Catholic schools throughout our country. Many of the students’ parents were on retreat at Notre Dame for a few days as well and joined their children at the grotto service. I thank Father Tim Scully, CSC, and all who assist him in this program dedicated to the service of Catholic education in our country.

ACE is a remarkable program. It places college graduates in under-resourced Catholic schools throughout the country. They prepare these teachers through an intensive two-year service experience that includes professional preparation and spiritual formation. ACE also has a Leadership Program that trains future Catholic school principals and administrators as well as an English as a New Language (ENL) Program. ACE is leading a movement to enrich and champion our Catholic schools.

Immaculate Conception Parish, Auburn
I continue to enjoy visiting parishes throughout our diocese. This past Saturday, I made my first visit to Auburn at the invitation of the pastor, Father Derrick Sneyd. I celebrated the Saturday Vigil Mass at Immaculate Conception Church and then enjoyed meeting parishioners at a reception afterwards. In my homily, I reflected on the Gospel account of Jesus teaching His disciples the “Our Father.”
St. Thomas Aquinas says the following about the Our Father:

The Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect of prayers. … In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.

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