October 30, 2015 // Uncategorized
St. Jude Parish celebrates 30 years of Perpetual Adoration
By Mary Kinder
FORT WAYNE — There was a joyous mood at St. Jude Church in Fort Wayne as Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades joined the parish in celebrating not only the feast day of their holy patron saint, but also the 30th anniversary of the St. Jude Perpetual Adoration Chapel. Father Jake Runyon, pastor, and Father Bob D’Souza, parochial vicar, welcomed the bishop, along with several special guests, including Msgr. Joseph Schaedel of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and former St. Jude pastors Father Tom Shoemaker and Father John Pfister, to the special Mass. Bishop Rhoades spoke of the St. Jude Perpetual Adoration Chapel in his homily calling it “a beautiful blessing in Fort Wayne” and thanking the parish for its dedication and devotion to the Adoration chapel.
Bishop Rhoades explained that a Perpetual Adoration Chapel is devoted to the worship of Jesus Christ through Eucharistic Adoration, which means the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and adored by the faithful 24 hours a day. The devotion ensures that someone is always praying in the chapel and recognized what the bishop called, “the many wonderful spiritual fruits of the apostolate,” which are often hidden in moments of grace in people’s hearts. Bishop Rhoades called for everyone to spend time with the Lord in the chapel, where as he said, “We are close to (Jesus’) breast, like St. John at the Last Supper, feeling in our heart the infinite love of Jesus’ Sacred Heart.” He also described the strength that comes from contemplating Jesus’s love that enables the faithful to face the challenges of life in faith and hope, bringing Christ into the world where we live.
The Mass also celebrated the feast of the Apostles St. Jude and St. Simon. Bishop Rhoades acknowledged in his homily that St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless cases and wondered how many people in very difficult situations, seemingly hopeless, come to pray before the Lord in the Adoration Chapel where they once again find hope. These moments of grace and renewed hope were revealed by several of the faithful who pray at the Adoration Chapel at an anniversary reception that followed the Mass. More than 30 years ago, two devout St. Jude parishioners, Ed Dahm and Betty Niedermeyer, had the idea to start a Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Jude. Ed Dahm, who was a speaker at the reception, explained how the idea was brought to their parish priest, Father John Pfister, who backed the idea right away. However, the bishop did not support the idea at the time. Three years later when Bishop John M. D’Arcy was appointed to the diocese, the pair once again presented their idea that was quickly approved by the new bishop.
There was always a concern that there would not be enough people willing to spend time in the chapel. The Blessed Eucharist could not be left alone. Dahm said that when they explained the importance of Perpetual Adoration to the parish, 540 people signed up at the first opportunity.
Today, 30 years later, more than 1.3 million hours have been spent in Adoration at the chapel. Dedicated adorers and coordinators who are responsible for finding someone to pray in the chapel 24 hours a day support the mission. Dahm was quick to give thanks and praise to all the men and women who gave their time to be adorers and coordinators, saying the chapel would not have lasted this long without their sacrifices and dedication. One coordinator, Helen Klotz, works hard to ensure her time slot is always filled, but said the Adoration Chapel is a blessing to her.
She said she has heard countless stories of people, including herself, who received answers to prayers, grace and even miracles while praying there. Stories of Divine intervention and God’s grace are heard time and time again from the people who pray in the Adoration Chapel. Angela Schade described her time there as “feeling like I’m at home.” Mary Newell, who begins each week with a holy hour at 6 a.m. Monday mornings, said, “It is my go-to place when I know someone is suffering and I have no idea how to help. I feel like my week gets off to a much better start when it begins in the Adoration Chapel.” It seems like two o’clock in the afternoon would be a much easier time slot to fill than two o’clock in the morning. But that’s when one would find founder Ed Dahm in the chapel. Dahm prays in the chapel every Wednesday from 1-3 a.m. When asked why, he replied, “Jesus is my best friend. The more time you spend with Jesus, the better you become.”
Stan Huguenard also has an early morning time slot, “For over three years now, I start my Tuesday morning at 4 a.m. at peace and Adoration with the Lord. It started as a sacrifice only to find out what a privilege and a blessing it is to be a committed adorer.” Linda Okleshen, the daughter of Betty Niedermeyer who helped start the chapel, believes the Adoration Chapel is a powerful place where miracles happen. She said, however, that her mother’s intent was much more humble. She explained that both of her parents always had a very beautiful relationship with Jesus and said her mother wanted to start the Adoration Chapel simply because she wanted a place where Jesus could be adored and glorified at any hour of the day. Okleshen believes her mother, who passed away in 2009, would be very happy it is still going strong 30 years later.
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