Msgr. Schaedelís letter for bulletin of January 9, 2000:

Dear Parishioners,

This is my first letter to you in the Jubilee Holy Year 2000! Happy New Year! Happy New Decade! Happy New Century!

Now, technically, I cannot say "Happy New Millennium." As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the new millennium does not actually begin until 2001. Thatís why Archbishop Buechlein launched us on the "Journey of Hope 2001" about four years ago.

Why isnít January 1, 2000, the beginning of a new millennium? Well, remember that the decades, centuries, and millenniums are supposed to mark the number of years since Jesus was born. When someone devised this calendar, they began with the year one rather than the year zero.

Thatís not the way we count birthdays. When you celebrate your first birthday, that means you have completed your first year of life. Or, when you celebrate your 65th birthday, that means you have completed your 65th year of life. You begin year number 66 that day.

But, because the calendar began with one rather than zero, when Jesus celebrated His first birthday, it was the year two. When He turned ten, it was the year eleven, and so forth. In other words, it was always one year off or one year behind. (This is all a mute point anyhow, since the two thousandth year since the Birth of Christ actually was between 1994 and 1996óbut letís not get into that!)

Now that the Year 2000 has arrived and the Y-2K panic turned out to be a fluke, what will be talk about next? Iím sure we will think of something.

I spent New Yearís Eve with the Archbishop and about five hundred other people in the cathedral church. We had a wonderful Mass that began at 11:30 p.m. Not everyone, but most of the folks there were young adults. Nine of us, including Archbishop Buechlein, began hearing confessions at 10:00 p.m. that night. I did not finish until right before the 11:30 Mass began. It was a wonderful way to begin the Jubilee Year 2000.

I was also delighted that Pope John Paul II was seemingly in pretty good health to welcome the Holy Year. At least on television he seemed 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. I noticed this when I was in Rome and when he was in Saint Louis at this time last year. As the Mass or the papal audience went on, he seemed to be energized. 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. Itís also dangerous to single individuals out, but Iím going to anyway.

Many thanks to Bernie Greene for the beautiful decorations in church, particularly the manger scene. So many have remarked on the elegant but somehow simple beauty of our church this season. I agree. Many thanks, Bernie and whoever helped you! (I think he did most of it himself.)

Many thanks also to our parish musicians: Gary Asher, Barb Armbruster, and the choir for the English Masses; Jim Alton, Dawn Doane, and the choir for the Latin Masses. The music was so wonderful, as it generally is all year round.

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 (June 10th).

I also especially appreciate our wonderful servers. They are a prayerful, 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. Iíd also like to see us give the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter a seminarian or two. The Fraternity is so good to us. Wouldnít that be fantastic! Pray with me that one-day it will happen. (I realize that some parishes have practically given up the traditional role that servers play at Mass. They are missing the boatóand perhaps missing the point. There is plenty that servers can and should do during Mass. I firmly believe that it is a very much-needed role and a breeding ground for religious vocations.)

Thank you ushers, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and everyone else who made the last Christmas of the century a great one here at Holy Rosary. Thanks also to the children who marched in the processions at the 4:30 p.m. and Midnight Masses on December 24. Thanks also to Marie Ann Mascari who helped organize it.

I receive so many nice compliments from folks who have attended Mass here at Christmas or just about anytime. They often say, "Gee, I feel like I have really been to Mass!" Iím not sure what thatís supposed to mean, but then again, I think I do know what it means. We all should be proud. The dignified and careful celebration of Mass and sacraments is the top priority at Holy Rosary. It will be as we move forward now into 2000.

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. We intend to spend your gifts on a new treadmill to work off the pounds we gained from the goodies! (Not really, but we should!) God love you all for your goodness to your priests! Pray for us and know that we pray for you.

Lastly, 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. If the Archdiocese ever has a "best parish bulletin contest," I want to enter ours right away. Iíll also make some bets as to who might win. Thank you, David. Thank you one and all!

(As soon as this letter goes to press, Iíll think of someone I should have thanked but forgot to thank. Accept my apology. Iím quite capable of making mistakes. Iíll use this to practice my humility. Since you were left out, you can do the same.)

Our January Parish Council meeting scheduled for January 6 is cancelled. For one thing, January 6 is the traditional date for the Epiphany and there will be a 7:30 p.m. Mass. Several council members will also be out of town. There was nothing pressing on the agenda anyhow. Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 2, 2000, at 7:00 p.m.

Faithfully yours in Godís Providence,

Rev. Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel