Happy Fathersí Day! We wish all of our parish fathers Godís blessing in a very special way. May Saint Joseph, the patron of fathers and the patron of Italy, pray for you and with you. The vocation of "father" is wonderful one. Enjoy your special day.
Father Petko and I and all priests enjoy that very special title, "Father." We are "spiritual fathers" to those we seek to serve in our ministry for the Church. Sometimes people apologize when they address me as "Father," rather than "monsignor." I really donít mind. When you think about it, "Father" is a really a nicer title than "monsignor," which means "my lord." (Thatís what most people said when they heard I was named a monsignor, "O, my Lord!")
The Italian Street Festival is over and tucked away for another year. What a splendid weekend it was. The weather was with us, even though the Pacers were not. We had only a bit of rain during the 7:00 p.m. Mass Saturday. It didnít last too long. Naturally, those inside at Mass did not have to worry!
Iím not really admonishing those who did not attend the Mass. It was packed. I donít think we could have admitted many more people even if we wanted to. It was so wonderful to see our church so full. As usual, the Catholic Choir of Indianapolis did a splendid job with the music. Thanks to all who assisted: the altar servers, lectors, special ministers of Holy Communion, and the ushers. We were also privileged to have two of our archdiocesan seminarians assisting at Mass: Rob Hankee of Saint Pius X and Jude Mulindwa of Saint Gabriel. Thanks to all!
It would be impossible for me to even begin to thank everyone who made our Italian Street Festival such a success. The families who volunteer their time and work so hard each year are the key. I am amazed at their dedication to our beloved Holy Rosary Parish and her annual festival.
I am, however, going to single out three people:
The first is David Page, general chair of the whole event. How he pulls this thing off so smoothly year after year is amazing to me. David is a man of few words, but a man of action. In other words, heís not one of those guys who just talks. He gets things done! Heís also not one for drawing attention to himself. I could go on and on, but I wonít. It would embarrass him. Suffice it to say we cannot do it without him. Thanks, David (and family)!
The second is Bernie Greene, our business manager. Heís another one who seems to be able to pull things together almost automatically. I know how many hours Bernie gets paid for each week. But I shudder to think how many hours he puts in, particularly around festival time and other special times of the year. On behalf of all of us, I cannot thank him enough for his tireless dedication to Holy Rosary Parish.
The third is Annette Rose. Annette, with the help of many others, organizes the religious procession with the statue of Mary that precedes the Mass. It was beautiful. Again, this is my first time to be directly involved as pastor here. How would this all work? I wondered how in the world she would put it all together. She did! Thank you, Annette.
At this point, it looks like our profits will be slightly below last yearís. The extremely hot weather, the bit of rain Saturday, the free concert downtown Saturday night, and the Pacersí loss Friday night were factors. (If the Pacers would have won I think folks would still be out in the street celebrating and buying our food and drink!) A more detailed report will follow. Even if we are down a bit, our success with the festival is the envy of any parish.
During the festival did you notice the "tolling of the bell" on the hour. Again, thanks to Gus Stinnett, the bells are working better and more than ever. We can now electronically control the largest (San Salvador) bell and the tolling mechanism by a switch from the sacristy. Until last week, the big bell could only be rung manually. Thanks, Gus!
Our next big project should be an elevator for handicapped access to the church. We had a major but anonymous donor complete our campaign for this with a gift of $30,000. Iíve asked Gus to head up this project. Once the parish council approves our plans, we will begin. By the way, the construction of our new confessional or reconciliation room is slated to begin July 12. It should take about a week.
All of the festivities with the festival overshadowed a very special visitor last weekend. Father Arnaud Devillers, F.S.S.P., the superior of the American Region of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter was with us. Father Devillers offered the 10:00 a.m. Mass last Sunday and confirmed twelve of our young people and adults the same afternoon. He also joined Father Petko and I at the Mass for Home-Schooled Seniors at the cathedral last Monday night. Archbishop Buechlein was the main celebrant.
A votive candle burning before a statue or shrine is not superstition. No, it is a sign of a prayer or an intention left there by someone. Each candle is a person or an intention. Each time we see a votive candle burning, we are reminded that we are a community of Faith. We pray for and with one another.
In response to numerous requests, we will be adding some additional votive candles to our church. Beginning August 15, the feast of the Assumption, we will add four (4) perpetual votive candles to the shrines in front of the church: the Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph, the Sacred Heart, and Saint Anthony. I say "perpetual" because they will burn regularly and all the time.
Families may request the candles to burn for their intentions on a monthly or an annual basis. We ask an offering of $25.00 per month or $250.00 yearly. If you wish to do this, please contact Father Petko, the parish office, or me.
By the way, during the Italian Street Festival last week I was deeply touched by the number of people who stopped in the church to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, light a candle, or pray before one of the shrines. Any number of times, I observed young couples taking a moment out from the frolic and fun of the festival to slip into the church to pray together. It was beautiful. Devotion is not dead.
As I said in last weekís bulletin: La Chiesa Del Santo Rosario (Holy Rosary Church) is alive. We are strong. And, no, 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 and our traditional Catholic devotions are celebrated with dignity and grace.
In Godís Providence,