August 20, 2013 // Uncategorized

Thank you for Pentecost offerings!

Bishop Daniel Jenky, of Peoria, and Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades visit outside the Basilica of the Sacred Heart before concelebrating the Mass in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the consecration of the basilica on Aug. 16.

My deep and heartfelt thanks to all who contributed so generously in the Pentecost Collection this year. This Collection, instituted three years ago, is very important as it provides financial support for the education of our increasing number of seminarians. This year, we received $268,755 in the Pentecost Collection. It is the largest amount received for an annual collection in our diocese. It demonstrates your love for the priesthood and your strong support of priestly vocations. Thank you!

I am happy to report that this year the diocese has 29 young men studying for the priesthood. It is presently a challenge for me to provide priests for all our parishes, however, the increasing number of seminarians gives us hope for the future. Please pray for our seminarians as they return to their studies at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, the Pontifical College Josephinum, the North American College, or Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary.

125th anniversary of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart

On Friday, August 16th, I had the joy of concelebrating with Bishop Daniel Jenky the 125th Anniversary Mass of the Dedication of our beautiful Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame.

On August 15th, 1888, Bishop Joseph Dwenger, the second Bishop of Fort Wayne, consecrated the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, known today as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. It was a 3 ½ hour Mass very early in the morning. The rest of that day was a grand celebration of the 50th anniversary of the priestly ordination of Father Edward Sorin, the founder of the University of Notre Dame.

For the past 125 years, the Basilica has been the heart of the Notre Dame campus, because the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary are at the center of this institution. The beautiful art and architecture of the Basilica make it a monument of the Catholic faith in stone, glass, and painting. Images of biblical figures, saints, and angels abound. When one prays or celebrates the liturgy in the Basilica, one feels surrounded by the communion of saints and part of the beautiful family of God. One especially feels the motherly presence of Our Lady who is represented in art throughout the Basilica.

The images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Holy Cross also abound in the Basilica, expressing the centrality of the love of Christ in our lives as His disciples. Every time I celebrate Mass in the Basilica, a landmark not only for Notre Dame but also for our diocese, I feel caught up by the visible beauty, often combined with the beauty that is heard in the sacred music of the choirs of Notre Dame.

Two years ago, I was giving a tour of the Basilica to some of my relatives who were here for the Notre Dame-BYU football game. During the tour, a group of Mormons joined us. It was the first time that I had the opportunity to share our Catholic faith with people of the Mormon faith. I remember their fascination at the relics in the Basilica’s Chapel of the Relics. I’m sure there are many other little miracles of grace at our Sacred Heart Basilica.

This great church in our diocese is not a museum. It is a sacred place of living faith and worship. If you have never visited the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, I encourage you to stop by for a visit, to attend a liturgy, or just to pray.

Arise Together in Christ

We are about to begin the third session of Arise Together in Christ in parishes throughout our diocese. Thousands of the faithful met in small Christian communities this past year for the first two sessions. Many have shared with me their positive experience of participating in an Arise group and how it has helped them to grow in their faith. If you have not participated in an Arise group thus far, I invite you to consider joining a group for this third session.

The theme of the third session is “walking in the footsteps of Christ.” This session provides an opportunity to learn more about Catholic social teaching. It focuses on an active commitment to charity and justice in our lives as disciples of Jesus.

I pray that, through Arise Together in Christ, many will draw closer to Christ and His Church. I also pray that it will build up Christian community in our parishes, helping parishioners to get to know one another more deeply as they share their faith together. It is also a good way to bring newly initiated Catholics and those who may be returning to the practice of the faith more personally into the life of the parish community.

Jesus said: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20). This is what Arise is all about: gathering in Christ’s name and experiencing His presence among us in the Scriptures, in prayer, and in one another. This prepares us to enter more deeply into His amazing presence with us in the Most Holy Eucharist.

May the Lord bless all those participating in the third session of Arise! May you learn in the coming weeks “to follow in Christ’s footsteps” with the grace of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of the Holy Mother of God!


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