Letter from Msgr. Schaedel for bulletin of June 11, 2000)
Welcome to La Chiesa Del Santo Rosario, Holy Rosary Church! It’s the weekend of our seventeenth annual Italian Street Festival. In a particular way this weekend, we welcome the hundreds of parishioners, former parishioners, and visitors who will be with us at the Italian Parish of Indianapolis.
We also welcome the Concord Ensemble and Catholic Choir of Indianapolis who provide the music for our Saturday Masses on festival weekend. Thank you for being with us.
This is Pentecost weekend; some call it the “birthday of the Church.” The Holy Spirit gave the apostles the courage to begin the work that Jesus had commissioned them to do. Here at Holy Rosary, we continue to do that work—leading people to Christ.
“La Chiesa e il tempio del Signore, la porta del cielo; venite, dopo una settimana di cure terrene, dopo tante fatiche, dopo tante tristezze, dopo tanti patimenti, riposate le vostre membra, rigenerate il vostro spirito alle fonti della grazia, innalzate la vostra mente a Dio, ringraziatelo dei benefizzi ricevuti nella creazione e nella vita quotidiana, domandategli forza per poter vincere tutte le lotte della vita, per poter godere dei frutti della redenzione.”
These are the words of our founding pastor, Msgr. Marino Priori. Msgr. Priori founded Holy Rosary just over ninety years ago on May 2, 1909. Translated from the Italian, here is what Msgr. Priori said:
“The church is the temple of the Lord, the gate of heaven. Come after a week of earthly cares, after so much toil, after so many sorrows, after so much pain. Rest your limbs. Regenerate your spirit at the sources of grace. Raise your mind to God; thank Him for the benefits received through His creation and in daily life; ask for strength so you can win all of life’s struggles, and be able to possess the fruits of redemption.”
What beautiful words! They were true then and they are so true today. We thank God and thank Monsignor Priori and all the thousands of men and women who have gone before us. They made Holy Rosary what it is today. It is truly “the temple of the Lord and the gate of heaven.”
The end of the last century saw many changes here. We have shared pastoral leadership with one or two other parishes at the same time. We’ve been fearful that we would be closed or merged with another church. Lately there has been the false rumor that Holy Rosary no longer is the “Italian Church,” but has become the church where only the “old” Latin Mass is offered.
To begin with, it seems to me that Holy Rosary is stronger today than she has been for some time. Our numbers will never be what they were thirty or forty years ago. The city and the neighborhood have changed. On Friday evening of this festival weekend we dedicated the historical marker on the north west corner of our parking lot. This neighborhood is historic and we are proud of it.
But now Holy Rosary has two priests: one part-time pastor and a full-time associate pastor. We have three Masses every weekend. One of these is the traditional Latin Mass. We have at least one Mass every single weekday. In years past, daily Mass was offered only one day and it was celebrated in a room that had been converted into a chapel. That’s no longer possible. There are too many people coming to any given daily Mass here. We would never all fit into the chapel that had been in use.
Our next major project will be the installation of an elevator. Many of our long-time parishioners find it had to make it up and down the front steps to enter the church. Our plans to build an elevator shaft just east of the church have been approved by the Archdiocesan Building Commission. They are out now for contractors’ bids. The architect’s rendering is posted in the rear of the church. The elevator will have the capacity to take folks to the main floor of the church, the choir loft, and Priori Hall downstairs. This was the main focus of our recent successful “Legacy of Hope, From Generation to Generation” campaign.
The best thing about the parish today is our loyal parishioners. They make the whole thing work. Many of them have moved from the neighborhood, but a good number of them still live within walking distance. We have several new young families. They work hard to keep our parish alive.
We proudly help sponsor Central Catholic School for our elementary students and Roncalli High School for our high school students. Let the record show that Holy Rosary does even more than its part to support these two fine Catholic Schools. We are pleased to be able to do it. I celebrated the final Mass of the school year with the Central Catholic students last Friday. They were ready to see summer vacation begin! Enjoy.
Naturally, the biggest single event of the year is our Italian Street Festival. Runner up would be the Saint Joseph’s Table in March to benefit youngsters who otherwise could not attend a Catholic School. This year, in thanking us for our support, this is part of what our principal, Mrs. Kathleen Tichenor, wrote: “You have no idea what a blessing it has been for me every year to know that I can sit down and work with a family who is having financial trouble and be able to have sources to help them.” Every family with children at Central Catholic pays something; every family sacrifices. But many cannot afford the full cost. We are privileged to help.
I am proud of the fact that not only are we paying our own bills, but we reach out to others (like families at Central Catholic School). Recently, I’ve received thank-you letters from those we have assisted recently: The Cistercian Sisters who bake our altar breads, Sister Diane of the Servants of the Gospel of Life and our own Pro-Life Office, and the Indiana State Council of the Knights of Columbus for our support of the annual K. of C. Tootsie Roll Drive to benefit Saint Mary Child Center.
Our parishioners seem to have known what Stewardship was long before the term became popular. You will meet most of them at the Italian Street Festival this weekend. It’s amazing how the largest festival in the city comes together with just one meeting! People know what to do and they do it!
By the way, speaking of Stewardship, I want to say a word of thanks to Susan Pizarek. On Good Friday the “closer” on one of the main church doors fell off. Upon inspection, it was a complicated job to replace it. Susan did! Thank you. I only wish I were as handy with a toolbox and had the patience to do things like this!
Next weekend we welcome to Holy Rosary Msgr. John B. Kauta of the Archdiocese of Tororo, Uganda, East Africa. He will preach at all of the Masses and ask for our assistance for his missionary archdiocese. As always, I know you will be generous.
Sunday, June 25th will be the feast of Corpus Christi. We will have the traditional outdoor procession through the neighborhood with the Blessed Sacrament immediately following the 12:15 p.m. Mass that day.
June also brings the official start of summer and summer vacations. Let’s remember that the serious obligation to attend Sunday Mass is for fifty-two Sundays a year—without exception—unless one is ill or truly prevented from attending Mass.
Being on vacation is not an excuse. How in the world does one take a vacation from God? Some people will claim that they were out of town and could not find the church. Baloney! If people want to find a certain restaurant or shop, they sure do it. The same should be true for the church. Plan ahead.
A group called Mass in Transit has information about churches and Mass times all over the United States. It’s a great service, available twenty-four hours a day. Their phone number is 800-627-7846. You need to have the zip code of where you are going, which you can obtain from any post office or from travel brochures. You will receive the name of the church, phone number, address, and times of the Sunday and weekday Masses.
Sorry this letter is doubly long-winded this week. I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished and continue to accomplish here at Holy Rosary. Our regular folks have heard much of this before, but I wanted our visitors to know about it as well.
We are alive; we are strong. We are not interested in being the “old fashioned” anything. But we are interested in being known as a parish where the beautiful Liturgy of the Church is celebrated with beauty, dignity, and grace. Holy Rosary will continue to be for all who come to her doors “the temple of the Lord, the gate of heaven.” I think our founding parishioners and Monsignor Priori would be proud. I know I am.
Faithfully yours in God’s Providence,
Monsignor Joseph F. Schaedel, V.G., Pastor