Letter from Msgr. Schaedel for bulletin of December 24, 2000, and December 31, 2001
Merry Christmas! And a Happy New Year! May the peace and love that is Christ Our Savior be with you and your families during this holy season.
On behalf of Father Duvelius and myself, many thanks for your kind greetings, gifts, and remembrances during this Christmas Season. We are happy to serve you as your parish priests. We deeply appreciate your loving kindnesses to us during this Christmas Season.
Last week our parishioners should have received a special Christmas letter from the parish staff, Father Duvelius and myself. Although we cannot do it individually and more personally, we wanted to send you our very best for the Christmas season. We also sent you a special little gift from your parish. Itís just a token of our gratitude for your goodness and your faithfulness to Holy Rosary.
Let me take this opportunity also to thank all of those who make our Christmas Liturgies so special: Jim Alton and Gary Asher and our choirs, the Franciscan Brothers of Christ the King who also will help with music, Bernie Greene and all those who helped decorate the church, the servers, ushers, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Special thanks to David Walden for his splendid work on the bulletin and for attending to a thousand other details.
Last weekend I was in New York City leading the archdiocesan "Christmas in New York Pilgrimage." Two highlights were the Vienna Boysí Choir Christmas Concert at Carnegie Hall and Sunday morning Mass at Saint Patrickís Cathedral. Imagine my surprise (and theirs) when two members of the Corsaro Family from Holy Rosary approached me to receive Holy Communion. They had no idea that I would be there that weekend, nor did I know they would be there either. What a small world it really is!
I should also mention that on the first day of our pilgrimage we visited the Shrine of Saint Gerard, patron of mothers, at the Italian Church of Saint Lucy in Newark, New Jersey. We prayed the rosary the Saint Gerardís Shrine there and certainly remembered the needs and intentions of our own parish pro-life committee as we prayed. In mid-October that parish has a three-day pilgrimage and festival in honor of Saint Gerard. His feast is October 16. Many couples, unable to conceive a child, come to pray there. The pastor told us several inspiring stories including one about a Jewish woman who came to pray for that intention at the shrine. The next year she returned with her triplets! God cannot be outdone.
Happy New Millennium! Iíll never get the chance to say that again. As the year 2000 ends, we end the Holy Year and two thousand years of Christianity. Itís a once in a lifetime experience to be able to live through the change over to a new millennium. As our Holy Father points out, what a privilege this is. We are the Catholics who are taking our Faith through "the door to a new era," across the threshold to a new chapter in the two thousand year old story of our salvation in Christ.
This past yearó2000ówas a Holy Year and a Jubilee Year. For about 700 years the Church has celebrated Jubilee Years. Itís basically now every twenty-five years. We call them the "holy years." Itís a special year to reflect on where we have been spiritually and where we are going spiritually. The closing and opening of the "holy doors" symbolizes this. The concept of "jubilee" is rooted in Old Testament times. The word "jubilee" comes from the Jewish term for the ramís horn. It was blown to symbolize the year of jubilee.
Jubilee years were and are times of forgiveness and reconciliation. In Old Testament times slaves were freed, debts were forgiven, and people generally got the chance for a fresh new start.
Pope John Paul II reminds us that any Jubilee Year, but especially this one, is a logical place to pause and think about whatís gone before us as well as what lies ahead. Itís not unlike going on a retreat or having a long talk with God when we turn forty or fifty, when we prepare to get married or become a parent, make a career change, get ready to retire, and so forth.
This Jubilee Year is very special. Unlike the one in 1950 and the next one in 1975, this Jubilee Year ended the millennium and brought us to the threshold of a new millennium.
Now, you can get too hung up on the specific time here. It is not precisely two thousand years since Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Experts tell us that the calculation of our current calendar has been a bit off since its inception. The 2000th year since Jesusís birth was probably between 1994 and 1996. If you wanted to mark the precise moment in time, youíve missed it.
The Millennium Year is a symbolic reminder anyhow. We do the same thing often. People celebrate their birthday on perhaps the Sunday closest to the actual date, so more people can be free to come to the party. Married couples will celebrate their Silver or Golden Wedding Anniversaries as much as six months off from the actual date, so as to accommodate children or family and friends who need to travel from out of town.
In this Millennium Year of the Great Jubilee 2000 we celebrated two thousand years of Christianity! Christ and His Church have been at work in the world, offering salvation to those who will accept it, for two thousand years. Itís a time to celebrate; a time to give thanks; a time to look ahead: Christ YesterdayóChrist TodayóChrist Forever!
We here at Holy Rosary used this entire year of 2000 to do just that. We thanked God for the blessings of yesterday. Our parish is slightly over ninety years old. Our 91stth birthday was May 9, 2000. Over these past ninety years the saving work of Christ through His Church has been going on in this very spot. Countless people have encountered Jesus in Word and in Sacrament in this sacred place. He is and has been present here in the tabernacle of our church for close to one hundred years.
Today, in recent times, has additional blessings. These past fifteen years or so, Holy Rosary Parish has met many challenges head on. At one time, we were slated for closing or at least slated to become a "chapel." Parishioners, behind the strong leadership of various pastors and administrators, formed a strong parish council and pool of support. We reclaimed our rich Italian heritage. Once again, we are known throughout the city as "the Italian Church of Indianapolis." The "Italian Street Festival" is well known throughout our city.
In the past three years, our parish life has been enriched by the addition of the Tridentine Mass Apostolate in our parish. The beautiful traditional Latin Mass has drawn many to join our parish and countless others who often come some distance to attend.
We have also revived many of the traditions dating back to our early history: the May Crowning, Devotions in honor of Saint Joseph (patron of Italy) and Our Blessed Mother (patroness of our parish), frequent confessions, and some very beautiful choirs and music. Mass is offered at least once a day, seven days a week. The same is true for confessions. Attendance as well as our Sunday collections is increasing. We have much to be thankful for right now, today.
The future? Pope John Paul II says the new millennium is filled with hope. He calls us to a positive attitude. The world will always have its pessimists and basic crackpots who see nothing but doom and gloom. For them, there is a conspiracy at every turn and nothing but a negative attitude. Itís true in throughout the world and true in our local circumstances as well. But like the Holy Father, we should be filled with hope.
The saving work of Christ and His Church is alive and well. Itís been that way for two thousand years. And those two thousand years have not been years of smooth sailing either. Christ and His Church have been attacked from every side, in every conceivable way, inside and out. The Jubilee Year tells us to stand still. Look back over these two thousand years. The Church is strong. The Church is alive and well. It is growing. (Even locally in this archdiocese, our major challenge these days is our unprecedented growth.)
Are we without problems? No! I donít think we ever will be. If we had no problems, if the world and the Church were 100% perfect, I think thatís what they call heaven. And heaven is not of this world.
Happy New Millennium! As your pastor, with you I give thanks to God for all He has done through our beloved Holy Rosary Parish. I also join you in giving thanks to God for all He continues to do right here, at 520 Stevens Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Together, we move forward to meet the challenges and opportunities of the new century and the new millennium. How shall we do it? The way we will do it is the way I always sign my letters,
Sincerely yours in God's Providence,
Rev. Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel, V.G.