Letter from Msgr. Schaedel for bulletin of October 17, 1999
Iím back! Our pilgrimage group had a wonderful ten days visiting the Shrines of France. It is a trip we shall never forget. As the weeks go by, I hope I do not bore you with my accounts of some of our travels. Suffice it to say, however, that I am happy to be back home here at Holy Rosary.
Before we left Indiana, we all had heard the usual "rumors" about France: the people are unfriendly, no one goes to church anymore in France, no one will speak English, and so forth. Well, I did not encounter any of that. France is a beautiful country. The people we met along the way were most friendly and tried to be helpful in every way that they could.
Is the Faith declining in France? I did not see evidence of it. Some estimate that only 3% of the French people go to Sunday Mass. Since we did not attend a "usual" parish Mass on Sunday (we had our own Mass in a private chapel at Nevers), I donít know how to gauge that.
I can say for sure that the French Revolution had a very negative effect on the life of the Church and of the French nation. But at the same time I can also say that at most of the Shrines we visited, people were there in abundance. Many of them were young people around college age. For example, we had an early morning Mass at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in Paris. Some others wandered in to join us, about two hundred of them! We participated in a rosary procession on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7) at Lourdes. There was a minimum of ten thousand people praying the rosary and singing hymns to Our Lady. And they do this every single night for sixth months (May through October). Such Faith I have never seen before in my life!
More about the pilgrimage in weeks to come. We are having a kind of "pilgrimage reunion" next Sunday, October 24, to share pictures and talk about our trip. Anyone else is invited to attend. We will meet at Saint Malachy Church in Brownsburg at 2:00 p.m. next Sunday. If you would like to hear more about our trip firsthand, please join us.
The Parish Council met last Wednesday night. We finalized plans for our Parish Stewardship Renewal and the United Catholic Appeal, rejoiced over the roof project finally being underway, talked about the Saint Josephís Table in March 2000, made plans for the "Giving Tree" Project next month, and heard an update on our new elevator for the church. Gus Stinnett is doing a great job in heading up this project.
Speaking of the new elevator, the architectís drawings for how it might look are on display in the back of church this weekend. Take a look. The plan is to build an elevator shaft adjacent to the bell tower on the Southeast side of the church. One would enter the elevator via the courtyard door that is presently there that leads down to Priori Hall. The elevator would take one to Priori Hall, the church proper, or to the choir loft. This project will take time and actually cost more than we had anticipated. But as my mother always told us kids, "If youíre going to do something, do it right" And we will! Pray for the success of this project.
The roofers should be here any day now. Pray for their safety and the success of that project too. Pray for good weather until the new roof is safe and secure. We cannot make any other improvements to the church (including an elevator) until the roof is finished. We run the risk of letting everything be ruined if we again have a leaky roof this winter.
The next Parish Council meeting is Wednesday, November 16, at 7:00 p.m.
This weekend we begin talking from the pulpit about Stewardship. There are two ways to look at it:
One way is to say that all I have (time, talent, treasure) belongs to me and I thank God for it. And just to show it, when somebody needs something, if I think itís worthwhile, Iíll share what I have. Show me a legitimate need and I will respond. Thatís nice, but thatís not true Christian Stewardship.
The correct view is that all I have (time, talent, treasure) still belongs to God. But I have been "gifted with it" for a time, my lifetime. I am simply a steward of all the good gifts of creation. Therefore, I have a responsibility to see to it that these gifts are used properly. But, in the end, they belong to God not me. Iím just the caretaker while I am on this earth.
Now, in order to do that there are many things to consider. For most people, their spouse and their family are of prime concern. They should be. Next comes the Community of Faith, the Church. We have a responsibility to support our parish community as well as the needs of the wider Church (for example the home missions, the foreign missions, the other things that the Church does on a higher level).
This is the sort of thing we wish to focus on during the next three weeks. On the first weekend of November everyone will be asked to fill out an Intention Card. It will include our commitment to Stewardship in these areas: Prayer, Regular attendance at Mass, Sharing our Talent in Service to our family and to our parish family, Financial gifts to our parish and to the larger (archdiocesan) Church.
As Catholics, we are called to serve through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service. The above things are some ways we are called to serve during the Jubilee Yearó2000. If we all do so, Godís work will be done in our lives, in our families, and in our parish.
October is the month of the Holy Rosary. And Our Lady, Queen of the Holy Rosary, is patroness of our parish. Pray the rosary often, especially during October. Ask Our Lady to guide our efforts.
Do you know anyone interested in finding out more about the Catholic Church? This year we are teaming up with our neighbor, Saint Patrick Parish, for the RCIA Program. (The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) If you know anyone who wants to know more about the Catholic Faith, or if you would simply like to update yourself, call Sister Jean Marie at 631-5824 soon.
Please continue to pray for Archbishop Buechlein. As you can read in his Criterion column this week, his bout with kidney stones is far from over. The doctors have found at least one additional stone and this one is a very stubborn complicated one. He is in pain and needs our prayers.
The other downside to this is that since Iím vicar general, I must stand in for him in many places while he is ill. To some extent, I certainly enjoy many of these occasions. The one negative is that sometimes it forces me to spend even less time here in the parish. I hope that you understand. I also want to thank the generous priests who fill in for me while I am away. Most of all, I thank our associate, Father Duvelius, for the many things he does to lighten my load during this time. And thank God for our business manger, Bernie Greene, and for our secretary, David Walden. The Parish Council is always ready to pitch in to help in a spirit of true Christian Stewardship. They do a thousand things!
In Godís Providence,