• Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, with Bishop Dwenger’s crozier, joins Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, right, and Bishop John Michael Botean from the Romanian Catholic Diocese of St. George in Canton, Ohio, left, following a Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne on May 14. The Mass was part of the conference, “Dorothy Day and the Church: Past, Present and Future Dorothy,” sponsored by the University of Saint Francis and Our Sunday Visitor.

    Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles provides keynote at Dorothy Day Conference 

    By Vince LaBarbera

    FORT WAYNE — Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles discussed the remarkable life and achievements of Servant of God Dorothy Day and her impact on the 20th century and today at an address he delivered May 14 at the USF’s Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center. The address was part of the May 13-15 conference “Dorothy Day and the Church: Past, Present and Future” and one of the celebrations marking the 125th anniversary of the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne. The conference was co-sponsored by Our Sunday Visitor in Huntington.

    “I don’t know if she is a saint,” said Archbishop Gomez in his opening remarks in his address titled, “A Time for Saints: Dorothy Day and the 20th Century.”

    “That’s for the Church to decide,” he said, “but I do know she makes me want to be a saint. She makes us want to be better. She makes us want to be holy.”

    Dorothy Day (1897-1980), an American journalist, social activist and devout Catholic convert, became known for her social justice campaigns in defense of the poor, forsaken, hungry and homeless. In the 1930s, Day worked closely with fellow activist Peter Maurin to establish the Catholic Worker Movement, a pacifist movement that continues to combine direct aid for the poor and homeless with nonviolent direct action on their behalf. She served as editor of the Catholic Worker newspaper from 1933 until her death.

    Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades greets Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles following the May 14 Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

    In the late 1990s steps were taken with the Vatican to begin her canonization process. The Archdiocese of New York was granted permission to open her cause in March 2000. She therefore is referred to as Servant of God.

    Archbishop Gomez indicated that the journal of her life reads like a saint. Her reason for writing was to bring news to others of an inner war. In her newspaper articles and speeches she was writing the spiritual diary of the 20th century.

    Admitting he was not an authority on Day, Archbishop Gomez said he came to the study of her life from the perspective of a pastor.

    “She walked with the great saints of the Church,” he continued, “like Francis of Assisi, John of the Cross, Catherine of Siena and many others. These were her constant companions. She once said she spent her days in conversation with Jesus and the saints of the Church,” the archbishop noted.

    “I want to think and live like a saint,” he said. “I believe that what she has left us is a saint’s vision of our times and our society.”

    “Her conversion story is the story of a soul,” he continued. “It was Dorothy’s experience of love and goodness that brought her to conversion. … In the glory of childbirth she came to see that God made us in His image. … She wanted to show us … the consequences of trying to live without God.”

    Archbishop Gomez asked, “How do we continue to live as Christians in a society that has no room for Christ and for God? How do we live, work and raise our families? How do we carry out our mission?”

    “Dorothy Day gives us a powerful vision of how to live in a secularized society,” he emphasized.

    Archbishop Gomez noted, “The greatest danger of our age, I believe, is secularism.”

    This is a time when men and women must rise up to be messengers and disciples and practice heroic charity, he related.

    In order to live in this society, “the secularized society which we are, we need to strive to live in a close relationship with Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Gomez said.

    The archbishop recalled a recent annual youth conference held in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles where 16,000 young people attended separate Masses in two large groups of 8,000 each. The theme of the liturgy was a rap song titled, “Talk Jesus with Me.” He said the catchy phrase obviously involves talking to Jesus and Jesus talking back.

    Dorothy Day said all are called personally (by Jesus) to care for the poor. She helps show that the meaning of each life will be judged on the mercy shown to others. Each one is to strive for holiness. Dorothy Day said this is a time when there is more room for saints.

    “God expects something from each one of us that no one else can do,” said Archbishop Gomez. “Keep following Jesus. ‘Talk Jesus with Me!’”

    “I don’t know if Dorothy Day is a saint. That’s for the Church to decide,” the archbishop again remarked. “But she left us a beautiful legacy.”

    Earlier in the afternoon, Archbishop Gomez celebrated Mass for those attending the conference and the faithful at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, concelebrant, was the homilist.

    Archbishop Gomez is the first Hispanic and fifth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest diocese in the United States with some 5 million Catholics. Archbishop Gomez is the highest-ranking Hispanic bishop in the U.S. Before his installation in 2011, he served as coadjutor in Los Angeles, archbishop of San Antonio and an auxiliary bishop in Denver.


    Posted on May 19, 2015, to:

  • By Chris Lushis 

    NOTRE DAME — Holy Cross College celebrated their 48th Commencement Exercises, welcoming Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades as honorary keynote speaker on Saturday, May 9.

    Addressing the graduating class of 2015, Bishop Rhoades began by exclaiming the need to remain focused on the reality of the cross. “This college is named in honor of the cross of Jesus, the tree of life. Our faith is in a God who has broken open His heart in love in order to save us. He died in order that we might have life and have it to the full. It’s a radical faith, this religion of the cross!”

    He continued, “A bland, secularized, lukewarm Christianity is not real Christianity. We live in an age and culture where the dominant elites want to silence the voice of the Church in the public square. They wish to force conformity to the materialism, relativism and hedonism they embrace. They may or may not explicitly attack Christianity and Catholicism; they just want a watered-down version: Christianity without the cross or a cross without Jesus. Neither is true Christianity.”

    Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades receives an honorary doctor of humane letters from Holy Cross College on Saturday, May 9.

    Bishop Rhoades, who was awarded doctor of humane letters by college president Holy Cross Brother John Paige emphasized the very real choice each person has to either focus their lives selfishly inward or to courageously pour out one’s self to God and others. “Your journey of life is like a drama. It can be an ego-drama or a theo-drama. An ego-dramatic life is one that is just about me, about self: my desires, my pleasures, my power and riches and fame. But this is not true life; it is not liberating. It’s not what we were created for.”

    “The true life, the good life, the fulfilling life is part of a theo-drama, one centered in God,” Bishop Rhoades said. “It is an adventure of love, with its gaze outward. It seeks truth, beauty and goodness. Thankfully, we have a Savior who lifts us up to experience this life, the life of grace, merited for us by Him who was lifted up on the cross.”

    To live this God-centered life, Bishop Rhoades offered students both spiritual and practical suggestions.

    “Have a daily time of prayer, a daily conversation with the Lord, to prayerfully read Scripture each day, and be immersed in the power of the Eucharist, the great sacrament of love,” he said. “Additionally, engage in the works of mercy. This is an essential part of a holy life: love of God expressed through love of neighbor, the opposite of an egocentric life.”

    “Think of the saints,” he said, “they embodied the Gospel and they didn’t just talk about it in lofty language. When they saw someone hungry, they gave them food. When they saw someone suffering, they helped them. When we give of ourselves, we find ourselves; it’s about learning to love. I pray that you will never forget Christ’s instruction to take up your cross as His disciples. He reminds us that ‘whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’ When we live this, we become able and free to live every day with passion and purpose!”

    Following Bishop Rhoades’ speech, Matthew Wingard, a member of Holy Cross’ 2005 inaugural baccalaureate class and senior Ana Davidson presented their insights and advices for the new graduates. Wingard encouraged the students to each carry with them a “SWAG, as Saints With an Attitude for God,” to make a positive and transformative difference in the world. Davidson highlighted the importance of carrying forward the lessons and experiences gained from Holy Cross. “Through our education, we have been cultivated in both mind and heart. Our family, friends and community here have helped us see how we can truly make a difference, providing us with both the competence to see and the courage to act.”

    President Paige, after bestowing each new graduate with their diploma, commended the efforts of the students, faculty, staff, parents and all those who have contributed to this year’s success as a college community.

    Afterwards, Student Government President Rob Lulgjuraj expressed his gratitude to “have the opportunity to serve and represent the students of Holy Cross” and thanked Bishop Rhoades for “both his blessing of the graduating class and for guiding us on our new path to continue to serve God’s people through our vocations.”

    Graduating senior Michael Tarala also wished to convey his appreciation having received a Holy Cross education. “Living the Gospel means not only seeing Christ in others but actually being Christ to others. Holy Cross has given me not only the understanding that we are all children of God, but it has helped me be a better man and example in hopes to make a lasting impact on future generations.”

    Posted on May 12, 2015, to:

  • Holy Cross Father Anthony Szakaly, chair of the Ave Maria Press board of directors, reads the Gospel at the Ave Maria Press 150th anniversary Mass at Moreau Seminary at the University of Notre Dame on May 1. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades was the celebrant.

    By Chris Lushis

    NOTRE DAME — Since its founding in 1865, Ave Maria Press has provided spiritual nourishment and education for the Catholic faithful through its publication of countless books, magazines and other resources to help readers on their journey to better know, love and serve God.

    A dinner honors Ave Maria Press’ 150th anniversary at Moreau Seminary at the University of Notre Dame.

    On May 1, exactly 150 years after the first issue of its weekly magazine The Ave Maria was published, leaders and contributors within the organization joined to commemorate all that has been accomplished in the name of Our Lady.

    Following Mass at Moreau Seminary celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Ave Maria Press CEO and Publisher Thomas Grady led members of the staff in recounting many of the company’s historically significant moments.

    The tribute began by highlighting Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin’s efforts to create The Ave Maria, which served as one of the first American Catholic publications for a predominately immigrant Church. Despite obstacles, it became the country’s most popular Catholic magazine during its 105-year run. Sorin implored at its foundation that “The Ave Maria is a family newspaper, and it wishes to speak to hearts that love the Blessed Virgin.” During this time, The Ave Maria covered many significant moments of American and Church history, before the company shifted its primary focus in 1970 to the publications of books and pamphlets. Since then, Ave Maria Press has continued to highlight the writings of many prominent Catholic authors covering a diverse array of spiritual issues, while also adapting to changes within the culture.

    Even in uncertain times, Ave Maria Press has continued to remain focused on preserving devotion to Our Lady and leading Catholics to grow in faith. One day earlier, at an open house at the main facility, board member and Holy Cross Father David Guffey touched upon the company’s success in transition.

    “It has been great to see Ave grow and thrive. Publishing and printing has changed so dramatically in recent years, with the next frontier being advancements in digital media,” Father Guffey said. “While Catholic publishing companies are shrinking, Ave is looking far enough ahead and adapting, looking for how to reach audiences; they are well poised to continue for 150 years. The biggest challenge is how to encourage Catholics to read, watch and absorb spiritually enriching material. It isn’t just about producing solid products, but also about marketing it in such a way that it becomes appealing to consumers who might be harder to reach.”

    Ave Maria Press staff members Kristen Hornyak Bonelli, Michael Amodei, Karey Circosta, Thomas Grady, Robert Chukinas, Eileen Ponder and Robert Hamma share details of the company’s historical highlights and triumphs at a dinner commemorating the 150th anniversary held May 1 at Moreau Seminary.

    Karey Circosta, vice president and director of sales and marketing, further emphasized this point. As a Catholic raised in South Bend and educated by men and women from the Congregation of Holy Cross, Circosta shared, “It has been exciting to be part of a non-profit organization, which promotes the mission of Holy Cross that is also celebrating 150 years. A large part of our success has been through our commitment to diversity. Our challenge now is to withstand like we have throughout our history, to continue enhancing and diversifying what we do. We cannot take success for granted, but must keep working to ensure continued growth for the future.”

    In gratitude, Grady expressed his appreciation to the entire staff, members of the Congregation of Holy Cross, members of the board of directors, former and retired employees, authors who have come from near and far, and all those who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help shape the successes of Ave Maria Press. He also shared three new features of the company, which highlight its historical vision and upcoming hopes.

    “In January,” he said, “we unveiled a new logo, which simultaneously looks to both the past and the future. It recalls and celebrates the ongoing importance of our Marian heritage, while looking ahead with a sheaf of unbound pages, a nod to our digital present and future.”

    Secondly, he praised the idea of Karey Circosta and Kristen Hornyak Bonelli to display quotations throughout the building. “These quotes will serve to remind us of our mission — that we are “educators in the faith” and that we should continue to pray that Ave remains, in Father Sorin’s words, a “source of most abundant blessings” for the Church and for the congregation.”

    Thirdly, he directed attention to the visual timeline, which runs along the wall of the main hallway, citing the efforts of many people to research Ave’s extensive history and display it in elaborate fashion. This timeline can also be viewed in full detail at www.avemariapress.com/anniversary.

    Grady further emphasized, “What I’m most proud of is that through the years Ave has tried to serve the needs of the whole Church, not just one segment of it. While staying true to our mission we strive to be flexible and adaptable. Our attention to the diverse needs of Catholic schools, Catholic parishes and individual believers and seekers has been the foundation of a publishing program that — we pray — continues to give glory to God, serve God’s people and honor Holy Cross.”


    Ave Maria Press remains committed to publishing ministry after 150 years of service

    “I may be deceived, disappointed, laughed to scorn, but with all that I will still retain my conviction that The Ave Maria will be the source of most abundant blessings, one of the best things ever done in the congregation, and ultimately a glorious work for our Blessed Mother.”  — Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin

    Holy Cross sisters and brothers working on the magazine.

    NOTRE DAME — Even after 150 years, Ave Maria Press remains committed to the core mission set by Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin in 1865 as he established the Congregation of Holy Cross in the United States.

    Ave was the third apostolate of Holy Cross founded in the United States by the missionary priest, following the University of Notre Dame and St. Joseph Parish in South Bend. Father Sorin started The Ave Maria magazine to honor Mary, focus on Catholic families and showcase the best American Catholic writing. Many had doubts about whether the publication would survive because of the fate of other Catholic periodicals, as well as the mainly poor, immigrant makeup of the American Church. But The Ave Maria did thrive for more than 100 years and at one time was the most popular Catholic magazine in the country.

    Father Sorin would be proud of his legacy. “Planning for our anniversary has given all of us at Ave Maria Press a welcome opportunity to step back from our day-to-day work and reflect on the history and legacy of the wonderful publishing ministry that Father Sorin founded 150 years ago during a very different era,” said Thomas Grady, Ave’s publisher. “Father Sorin might be mystified by the way we create and distribute our work in a digital era (as I frequently am!), but I hope he would recognize that we have remained faithful to our mission to proclaim the Gospel, serve the spiritual needs of the Church and join the Congregation of Holy Cross as ‘educators in the faith.’”

    Ave Maria Press has evolved as a leader in publishing Catholic high school religion textbooks, parish resources and books on prayer and spirituality. In the tradition of Holy Cross, Ave strives to make God known, loved and served through the spiritual, pastoral and catechetical books that are at the core of its publishing mission. “Father Sorin’s vision of deepening the faith remains the basis for everything that Ave Maria Press does today,” said Holy Cross Father Anthony Szakaly, chairman of Ave’s board of directors.

    Holy Cross Brother Raymond Trottman who now lives at Columba Hall.
    He was a typesetter.

    Under the leadership of Holy Cross Father Daniel E. Hudson, who served as the third editor from 1875 to 1930, the magazine grew from 10,000 subscribers to 35,000. Throughout its life, the magazine boasted contributions from every important Catholic writer of the time, including Dorothy Day, Orestes A. Brownson and Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson.

    During Father Hudson’s tenure, Ave began publishing hardcover books of inspirational Catholic stories. During the first five months of 1930, the serialization of “Patch: Memories of an Irish Lad” by Holy Cross Father Patrick J. Carroll, later the editor of The Ave Maria, appeared in the magazine. The complete work was published as a hardcover book in the same year.

    Eight Holy Cross priests served as editors and publishers between 1865 and 1994, but Holy Cross brothers and sisters also have been an important part of Ave Maria Press as well. Holy Cross Brother Stanislaus, (John A. Clarke), was the first printer, pressman and proofreader for The Ave Maria. He trained Holy Cross sisters to set type, proof, fold and stitch sheets by hand. Mother Angela Gillespie did much of the editorial work for the magazine. About 1873, the sisters assumed more of the work at the magazine and served in a variety of roles, including writers and proofreaders, which continued until the 1950s. Holy Cross brothers served with zeal as typesetters and pressmen for more than 100 years. Traveling by foot, train, trolley, buggy and car, the brothers also acted as canvassers to get the magazine into Catholic homes and parishes in the United States, Canada and Australia.

    Father John L. Reedy, editor and publisher from 1955 to 1983, oversaw the last issue of The Ave Maria in 1970. He wrote in that issue, “The identity of Ave Maria magazine submerges itself in a new effort to serve the religious needs to today’s audience.”

    Ann Garrido, author of “Redeeming Administration,” praised Ave’s adaptability. “Even as the field of Catholic communications continues to undergo tremendous change in terms of available media, technology and demographics, Ave Maria continues to adapt without losing sight of its founding purpose. With an ear close to the ground, the Ave Maria team excels at what St. John XXIII called “reading the signs of the times.”

    The publishing ministry continues in earnest. Ave Maria Press remains one of the oldest, continually operating Catholic publishing houses in the country.

    “As the magazine evolved into Ave Maria Press, this ministry has touched the lives of countless individuals throughout the world who have been privileged to be inspired by the words of some of the best spiritual writers of our time,” said Holy Cross Father Thomas J. O’Hara, provincial superior of the U.S. Province. “In a world where so many search for guidance in their lives or grasp for spiritual insights, Ave Maria Press has become a leader in providing such guidance.”

    Among Ave’s highly acclaimed titles are: Lisa Hendey’s “The Handbook for Catholic Moms”; “The Artist’s Rule” by Christine Valters Paintner; “Rebuilt” by Michael White and Tom Corcoran; and “A Book of Hours” by Thomas Merton.

    Posted on May 5, 2015, to:

  • By Ann Carey

    NOTRE DAME — The Knights of Columbus became the fifth recipients of the annual University of Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal at a banquet on the university campus Sunday evening, April 26.

    The medal has been awarded annually since 2011 by the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture to honor individuals or organizations for outstanding work affirming and defending the sanctity of all human life. It is named for St. Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical “The Gospel of Life” and the honor carries a $10,000 prize.

    The medal was presented to Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, by Carter Snead, a professor in the Notre Dame School of Law and director of the Center for Ethics and Culture. In his comments before the presentation, Snead praised the Knights for their “heroic and tireless efforts” in responding to St. Pope John Paul’s call to affirm a culture of life and to protect the most vulnerable members of society.

    Snead cited some of the contributions of the Knights, including tens of millions of dollars and volunteer hours donated to worthy causes and ongoing support for various pro-life initiatives.

    Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight since 2000, accepted the award on behalf of the Knights of Columbus and announced that the $10,000 prize was being donated to the Notre Dame Charles E. Rice Fellowship Fund, named for the late law professor Anderson described as a good friend and “tireless advocate for life.”

    Anderson spoke about the challenges to a culture of life in the United States, and cited President Barack Obama’s speech at the 2009 Notre Dame graduation. In that speech, the president said that a way to find common ground on the abortion issue was “to honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion and draft a sensible conscience clause” for the Health and Human Services mandate implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly called “Obamacare”).

    “Six years later, that goal has still not been achieved,” Anderson said, going on to innumerate the various revisions to the mandate requiring employers to provide insurance for contraceptives and drugs that can be abortifacient.

    “The history of the HHS mandate shows an administration grudgingly walking back its proposal only by the smallest steps and only when ultimately forced to do so by judicial action,” Anderson said, “and in the end, not really walking it back at all.”

    The Obama administration has been “stubbornly intransigent,” even after discussions with Catholic bishops, cardinals and the Vatican Secretary of State, he continued.

    “During a time when the search for common ground and consensus received heightened rhetoric in Washington, the (Affordable Care) Act itself has become an example of the way in which Washington is becoming less democratic and less capable of consensus,” Anderson said.

    The message of the HHS mandate is that “Catholic institutions remain free to fashion their own identity as long as that identity conforms to the dictates of government,” he explained. And this adds to concern over the potential for government control of the U.S. economy through “HHS mandate-style regulation that goes far beyond what we may have imagined a few years ago.”

    Anderson said the HHS mandate “rests upon the myth that women’s social and economic equality” depend upon reproductive services “imposed, if necessary, by government.” In reality, he continued, “the mandate is not necessary to protect women’s rights” and is merely “cover” to “further secure the emancipation of men from the responsibilities of fatherhood.”

    The Knights’ leader concluded by calling for “bold action,” saying, “It is time for Catholics to take up a new evangelization of American freedom,” for Catholic institutions must be allowed to fulfill their mission of treating each human person with dignity.

    The free exercise of religion must be preserved, he stressed, for “the autonomy of our religious institutions is not extrinsic to the missionary nature of Christianity; rather it is essential to it.”

    Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend celebrated a special 5 p.m. Mass in Sacred Heart Basilica before the award dinner. In his homily, he noted that it was appropriate to celebrate the Evangelium Vitae Mass during the season of Easter, for the season is about life and the victory of the Risen Christ over death.

    The readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter “are a proclamation of life,” he observed, and he focused on the Gospel of the Good Shepherd, who not only defends His sheep, but is willing to lay down His life for them.

    “In the world today, there are wolves who seek to devour the sheep,” the bishop continued. “There are those who sow hatred, malice, doubt and confusion. They destroy human life. They attack it in the womb. In the name of a false mercy, they attack it at its end. All this happens here in our beloved nation.

    “And then in the world, there are the wolves who seek to devour the sheep simply because they profess the name of Jesus or because they are of another religion.”

    Bishop Rhoades said that “the culture of death seems to be expanding every year,” and St. Pope John Paul II, “ever the good shepherd,” addressed this fact by urging the building of a new culture of life.

    The Knights of Columbus, he continued, heeded that call, and their leader, Carl Anderson, “has been a good shepherd in leading the Knights in service of the Gospel of Life.” Further, he said, the Knights have been “exemplary” in heeding St. Pope John Paul’s call to support and promote human life through the service of charity.

    “They bear witness to the sanctity of life through volunteer works of charity, education, advocacy, and prayer” and “are untiring in their service of the Gospel of Life. They are loyal sons of the Church, ever ready to support the Church and our bishops in working to build a new culture of life.”

    Bishop Rhoades reminded the congregation that every Christian also is called to be a good shepherd by practicing the Works of Mercy and by evangelizing those who do not belong to the sheepfold of the Church.

    “The Gospel of Life is for the whole of human society,” he said. “The Church is convinced, and the Knights of Columbus hold this firm conviction, that a new culture of life, a new culture of love and solidarity, is for the true good of the whole of human society.”

    “As St. John Paul II wrote: ‘Only respect for life can be the foundation and guarantee of the most precious and essential goods of society, such as democracy and peace,’” Bishop Rhoades concluded.

    Posted on April 28, 2015, to:

  • Young people look at the cornerstone for the new St. Pius X Church in Granger during the blessing and groundbreaking on April 19.

    By Chris Lushis

    For more photos visit the gallery.

    GRANGER — Hundreds of parishioners and friends of St. Pius X Parish, Granger, gathered on April 19 to witness the blessing and groundbreaking for the site of their new church, led by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.

    “Jesus is alive in His Church, as we are the living stones of His body,” Bishop Rhoades said in his homily during the ceremony. “He is the cornerstone. He is the reason you made all these sacrifices. And He is the reason for this holy endeavor. This church, which will stand as one of the most beautiful in our diocese, is offered for the glory of God, to lift up the minds and hearts of generations to come. It will serve as a sacred place, a house of prayer and a spiritual home open to all.”

    After the homily, the crowd processed outside, braving the rain and lining the perimeter of the new church as Bishop Rhoades blessed the foundation with holy water and invoked God’s protection upon the site. Additionally, he consecrated the sites of the church’s future altar and tabernacle. He also blessed the cornerstone of the new building, recalling Peter’s words in the Acts of the Apostles pointing to Christ, the one originally rejected, as the now everlasting cornerstone of the Church. He prayed for lasting unity among believers and for the spiritual nourishment of all those who will labor on the project and come to worship there in faith.

    To conclude the event, Bishop Rhoades, clergy members, project leaders, parish staff and representatives, campaign chairs, and members of the building and liturgy committees took turns ceremonially breaking ground to officially commence the project.

    Celebrating the event with Bishop Rhoades was Msgr. William C. Schooler, St. Pius X pastor; Father Terry Coonan, parochial vicar; Holy Cross Father Tom Jones, former pastor; and Holy Cross Father Bill Neidhart and Father Daniel Scheidt, both former associate pastors.

    Msgr. Schooler elaborated further on the importance and necessity of constructing a new house of God for the parish community. “The groundbreaking for the new church is a significant step in our major facilities project to renovate and expand St. Pius X,” he said. “It is through the prayer and generosity of parishioners and friends that the campaign continues to be such a success. Generations of St. Pius parishioners will benefit from larger facilities, which will provide ample space for worship and education, as well as for outreach and community building. Present and future parishioners will enjoy an enriched faith life because of the foresight and investment of our congregation.”

    Betsy Quinn, the director of evangelization and stewardship, further commented on the current needs of the parish community. “While the present church was built in 1992 to accommodate 1,400 families, St. Pius X now serves more than 3,100 families. The new church will comfortably seat over 1,300 people, nearly doubling the size of the current church. This will allow more parishioners to attend Mass together on a weekly basis. It is projected to be completed in the fall of 2016. The current church will be renovated to include a baptistry, a gathering area, a parish library and meeting rooms. The next phase of the project will include the expansion of the Parish Education Center, including a preschool wing, additional classroom space for the school and the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd religious education program, additional restrooms, and a multi-purpose gathering area.”

    The design of the new church, which can be found on the parish’s capital campaign webpage, reveals plans to follow a Romanesque architectural model with a cruciform style, a bell tower, choir loft, and centralized tabernacle, which will be open 24 hours for prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

    Scott Cramer, a St. Pius X parishioner and assistant with the Rekindle the Fire conferences, expressed his excitement to experience liturgies in the new church building. Cramer said, “Because we have such large number of parishioners for the space available, we currently offer Mass at seven different times on the weekend, including in the school gym. This makes it hard for many people to gain sufficient familiarity with others in the parish. The new church will allow for more people to interact at the same time while also providing a deeper sense of holiness and transcendence upon entering because of the centralized focus on the Eucharist and the traditional style sacred architecture.”

    Father Terry Coonan also revealed what excites him most about the new church, stating, “the increased focus on sacred art will help many people in their prayer at Holy Mass. When your eyes are wandering and you see something, which elevates your mind and heart, it brings you back and draws you more deeply into the faith. It reconnects you to the altar and to the presence of Christ in your midst.”

    Additionally, Father Dan Scheidt shared his thoughts on the new endeavor, and said, “It was overwhelming to be in the sanctuary where I first celebrated Mass as a priest and to think that sanctuary will be the narthex of an even greater, larger church. There I was thinking that the church is like an archeological dig in which each layer is actually alive and the church grows like the body grows. It becomes more differentiated and the generations who form its family multiply.”

    Tom Pratt, who with his wife and children have been parishioners at St. Pius X for nearly seven years, further elaborated on the joy of belonging to such an engaging community of faith.

    “Since finding St. Pius X, it has been the best and most vibrant parish I have ever been associated with in my life,” Pratt said. “It is exciting to be growing, and in a sense it is an investment in goodness. Many will benefit because of this future growth. To further participate in this holy work, we will continue to offer our support for the mission of the church and the community through our prayers.”

    Posted on April 21, 2015, to: