Msgr. Schaedelís letter for bulletin of January 7, 2001:
This weekend we celebrate the Epiphany, the manifestation, the "public showing" (if you will) of the Christ Child. Do we manifest His presence in and among us?
This is my first letter to you in the New Millennium! Happy New Year! With all of the hype last year about the Year 2000, Y-2K, and so forth we lost sight of the fact that the new millennium did not begin until 2001. Thatís why Archbishop Buechlein launched us on the "Journey of Hope 2001" about four years ago.
As we began the New Millennium, I spent New Yearís Eve in a wonderfully unique way. I was in Princeville, Illinois (near Peoria) with Community of Saint John. We celebrated a very simple but beautiful Midnight Mass to mark the passing of time into the Year 2001.
What was I doing in Princeville, Illinois? I was with the Community of Saint John because I wanted to be present to witness the profession ceremony of a new member, a young man from Indianapolis, Brother John Dominic (John Geis). He took his first vows on New Yearís Day, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Some of you may know Brother John Dominicís parentsóBob and Peggy Geis. Peggy was awarded the archdiocesan Respect Life Award last October for her outstanding witness and work with the pro-life movement. By the time you read this, Brother John Dominic will be on his way to his communityís mission in India to work with lepers and AIDS patients.
The Community of Saint John was founded in France in 1975. Counting priests, brothers, sisters, and their respective novices, they number about 800 members. They must be doing something right to attract such large numbers. Right now, there are three young men from Indianapolis who are members of the community with a few other members who are also Hoosiers. The new convent of the contemplative Sisters of Saint John near Peoria was not built large enough. Itís full.
The Community of Saint John is doing such "novel" things as living a very definite prayer life which includes at least one hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament daily, regular community prayer including the Divine Office, corporate apostolates, wearing a religious habit, and so forth. Gee, what novel ideas. Young people are flocking thereóand staying too.
This brings me to remark that I believe this new millennium is filled with hope for the Church. For one thing, I think vocations to the religious life and the priesthood will again increase. The Community of Saint John is just one of several who are attracting new members. Our own archdiocese is seeing an increase in the number of young men interested in the priesthood. U.S. seminaries are seeing an ever so slight increase in enrollment.
Our young people are the main reason for my hope-filled attitude. No, itís not that they are so "conservative" or want "security" or have nostalgia for the so-called "good old days." (Those "good old days" werenít so perfect, at least as I remember them.) Young Catholics today want to be challenged; they want a life with purpose. And above all, they seek Truth.
The late great Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, speaking after the confusion that followed Vatican II, said, "The lay people will save the Church." And I think he was right. Every misguided idea in the Church today can usually be traced right back to some wacky priest or religious, usually around my age or older. Itís not the laity that dreams up such nutty things. Nor is it the young clergy or religious. Our young people are seeing right through some of that screwball stuff and cutting to the chase. 2001 and beyond fills me with hope for our Church.
I was also delighted that Pope John Paul II was able to bring in the new millennium and evidently is going to be on hand to close out the Holy Year. At least on television he seems to be enthusiastic and really alert. Sometime when you see him, watch his eyes. Someone once said, "The eyes are the windows of the soul." The Holy Fatherís eyes sparkle and seem full of life. I have also noted that the longer he goes or the longer he speaks, the more energy he seems to have. Long live the pope! He is one of the successors to Saint Peter that the Church has ever known.
Speaking on behalf of everyone here at Holy Rosary, I want to thank those who made our celebration of Christmas and New Yearís so wonderful. So many people did so much to make it beautiful again this year.
Many thanks to Bernie Greene for the beautiful decorations in church. Ours has to be one of the most beautifully appointed in the city. So many have remarked on the elegant but somehow simple beauty of our church. I agree.
Many thanks also to our parish musicians: Gary Asher, Barb Armbruster, and the choir for the English Masses; Jim Alton, Dawn Doane, Charles Wyeth, and the choir for the Latin Masses. The music was so wonderful, as it generally is all year round. Special thanks to our good friends, the Franciscan Brothers of Christ the King who joined the choir to sing at the English Midnight Mass.
Thanks must also go to the Catholic Choir of Indianapolis who sang the 4:30 p.m. Mass on Christmas Eve. They were outstanding as usual. Iíve already invited them back for next Christmas. They will also be here for Mass on Saturday of the Italian Festival Weekend in June.
Special gratitude goes to Rob Hankee, a seminarian from Saint Meinrad, who often helps us out at special times of the year. God willing, Rob will be a deacon in November 2001 and a priest in June 2002. In fact, we play to ordain eight men to the priesthood that year! Iíll bet his class is the largest class in 25 years.
I also especially appreciate our wonderful servers. They are a faithful, and well-trained group. I hope and pray every day that one or two of them will come back one day to celebrate a First Mass here at Holy Rosary as a newly ordained priest either for the Archdiocese or the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. Wouldnít that be fantastic! Pray with me that one-day it will happen.
Thank you ushers, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and everyone else who made Christmas a great one here at Holy Rosary. Thanks also to the children who marched in the processions at the 4:30 p.m. Mass on December 24. Thanks also to Marie Ann Mascari who helped organize it.
I sincerely appreciate David Waldenís creative and diligent work with our parish bulletin each week. The special edition of the bulletin over the holidays was outstanding.
Father Duvelius and I would like to thank all of you for your generosity to us. We truly appreciate your cards, gifts, and delicious goodies of all kinds. In fact, as I write this bulletin letter Iím munching on homemade cookies given to me by one of our parish families for the holidays. Iíll think of you when I get on the scale tomorrow morning too! God love you all for your goodness to your priests! Pray for us and know that we pray for you.
Faithfully yours in Godís Providence,
Rev. Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel