Dear Parishioners,

I went to the Jimmy Buffet Concert the other night. To my mind, it was great! Iíve been a Buffet fan for some time. I must admit that a couple of his songs are in poor taste, but for the most part they are about simple things like cheeseburgers, sailing, volcanoes, fish fins, or a pencil thin mustache.

Itís the first time I had ever been to Deer Creek. That was an experience in itselfóover 6,000 people singing, carrying on, mostly just having fun.

Whatís this got to do with Church? Well, I noticed that the reviewer in the morning paper the next day gave the concert a very poor review. I just wonder if he was a different concert. I could not disagree with him more.

Itís been on my mind lately that all too often we base our opinions about the Church on what somebody has written. All it takes these days is a printing press or your own web page on the Internetóinstantly, youíre an expert! I donít think so. Be careful of what you read about our Church today. We know that our own parish is vibrant, our own archdiocese is growing by leaps and bounds. As the vicar general, I can tell you that our biggest problem in the archdiocese is unprecedented growth; lots of young folks.

Now, if we all depended on some of these so-called experts, sociologists, and theologians we would think that the Church is in big trouble. I donít think so. Watch what you read in all of these supposedly Catholic journals or web pages that abound today. But above all, come aliveóparticipate fully in the life of your Church and your parishóthen judge for yourself.

Thatís the connection between what I want to say this week about the Church and the Jimmy Buffet Concert. O, other than the fact that Jimmy himself was once an altar boy. I wonder if any our own servers will be famous someday. Who knows!

As I mentioned last week, the pilgrimage Iím leading to the Shrines of France is almost full. There are a couple folks from Holy Rosary who are going. Iíd love to take some more. But there are just a few seats left. Some have asked for a repeat of where we are going:

The pilgrimage to the Shrines of France is September 29 through October 9. Itís hard to imagine all of the wonderful Catholic Shrines that are there in that one country. For that reason, France is the only place we will be. I had hoped to end in Rome but decided against it mostly because there is so much to see in France.

In France we will spend a few days in Paris and environs. We will see the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the convent where the Little Flower, Saint Therese lived as well as her family home; the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal, and the foundation place of the Daughters of Charity. We will also visit the tombs of Saint Catherine Laboure and Saint Louise de Marillac.

We will visit the place where Our Lord appeared to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. She is the one who promoted Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the First Friday observances.

Then itís on to Ars where the Cure of Ars, Saint John Vianney, spent his life. His incorrupt body lies there. I will have the chance to actually hear confessions using the same confessional the Cure of Ars used during his life, often for 15 to 20 hours a day.

We shall also visit the Palace of the Popes in Avignon. This is where the popes governed the Church while in exile between 1309 and 1377.

The best is saved for last: Lourdes! I have wanted to visit Lourdes since I was a kid. I suppose it was that movie, "Song of Bernadette." I donít know whether Saint Bernadette looked anything like the actress, Jennifer Jones, or not. We will see Saint Bernadetteís incorrupt body at Nevers, so Iíll let you know. The story of Our Ladyís apparitions to Saint Bernadette and the cures that take place there to this day have always fascinated me. To offer Mass there will be a chance of a lifetime! What a holy place Lourdes must be.

Anyhow, thatís the story on the pilgrimages planned so far. If you would like details, call Carolyn Noone at the Archdiocese (317-236-1428).

Have a good week this week!

In Godís Providence,

Msgr. Schaedel