What draws people to a particular parish remains subjective to the individual or family who is seeking. Some desire a strong sense of community, while others love a lively worship setting; and the unique emphases and assets of each parish in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend contribute to the beautiful tapestry that is the Catholic faith. St. John the Baptist, New Haven, is no exception.
With a strong sense of community and generosity, St. John the Baptist is a parish that consists of members who are very committed to the parish and who strive to serve everyone in the New Haven area as well.
Among the efforts to build both community and the foundations of the faith is the education of children at St. John the Baptist School. Father Bill Sullivan, pastor at St. John, said: “I couldn’t be in a parish without a school. The school gives me life. It’s also a sign of parents’ desire for their children to come into contact with Christ every day.” Father Sullivan himself graduated from a diocesan school, St. John the Baptist in Fort Wayne. He stated that his personal experience with Catholic education makes him value it all the more.
“My family moved to the diocese from Maine when I was a child,” he continued. “The reason was that we didn’t have access to a Catholic school where I grew up, and my parents decided to make the sacrifice to move all the way to Indiana so that my siblings and I could have a religious education.”
The St. John the Baptist School in New Haven has about 280 students enrolled in grades pre-K through eight, and excels in its small-classroom experience that provides a more personal education than bigger parochial grade schools.
In addition to providing a Catholic education, St. John has active outreach ministries that serve the parish and community through various corporal and spiritual works of mercy. These include the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Holy Name Society, Knights of Columbus and Rosary Society. Father Sullivan sees each of these ministries as valuable strengths of St. John, because the parishioners involved with them are very committed and tend to stay active for the long haul.
“Within 24 hours of someone calling our parish for help, someone from St. Vincent de Paul is there to lend them a helping hand,” noted Father Sullivan. “The Rosary Society provides meals for funeral families, and we had 37 last year. They also commit to praying the rosary daily before all Masses on weekdays and weekends.”
Father Sullivan said he has also been humbled by the priests who have assisted him since he has been assigned to St. John. Father Mark Enamali came to the parish from Nigeria after finishing his doctorate at Notre Dame a few years ago, and after Father Enamali left, Father Charles Ebelebe arrived to assist Father Sullivan at the parish and school. “They are both Spiritan priests,” he noted, “which is an order of priests who teach in the seminary in Nigeria. Father Enamali and Father Ebelebe are best friends and have been welcomed wholeheartedly by the St. John’s parish family.”
Deb Rhinock, who wears many hats at St. John as director of religious education, pastoral associate and cafeteria manager, said that she and her family fell in love with the parish because of the closeness of community. “We came to St. John’s in 1998 from another parish and put our remaining seven children in the school. What struck me was how everyone was so genuine, so willing to offer help to those in need.”
The Rhinocks experienced a family crisis after transferring their membership to St. John, and many of the parishioners rallied with them — especially in prayer. “I had a lot of people offer to help me in a variety of ways,” Rhinock added, “but the most powerful way was through prayer. To know that so many people are praying for you and helping you spiritually to get through a rough patch means so much.”
St. John the Baptist
943 Powers St.
New Haven, IN 46774
Saturday: 5 p.m.
Sunday: 7:30, 9:30, 11:30 a.m.
Holy Day: 6:45, 8:15 a.m.; noon
Holy Day Vigil: 6 p.m.
Weekday: M-Sat. 7:15 a.m.
School year: T and F 8:05 a.m.
Adoration: Thursday noon-8 p.m. with reconciliation 4:30-6:30 p.m.; Holy Hour and rosary 7 p.m.
Reconciliation: Saturday 8-9 a.m.; 3:30-4:30 p.m.
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