• Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, center, celebrates a Dec. 3 farewell Mass at Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades is center left.

    By Sean Gallagher

    On Dec. 3, 2012, then-Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin said that he and the faithful of central and southern Indiana were “under an obligation of love” to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    He said this in a Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis during which he was installed as the sixth archbishop of Indianapolis.

    Four years later to the day, looking back on his time of ministry to and with the Catholics of the Church in central and southern Indiana, he said during another liturgy at the cathedral that “we fell in love then, and we remain that way today.”

    This Mass was originally planned as a celebration of Archbishop Tobin being inducted into the College of Cardinals on Nov. 19. But when it was announced on Nov. 7 that Pope Francis had appointed Archbishop Tobin to lead the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., the Dec. 3 liturgy became a bittersweet farewell for him and the 1,000 Catholics from across central and southern Indiana who gathered in the cathedral to worship with him, and offer him their heartfelt prayers as he goes forward to lead the Church in northern New Jersey.

    Both Masses four years apart were celebrated on the feast of St. Francis Xavier, the 16th-century Jesuit missionary to Asia who is the principal patron of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

    In his closing remarks at the end of the Mass, Cardinal Tobin, his voice filled with emotion, made his own the words of St. Paul in his First Letter to the Thessalonians to describe his love for the Catholics of central and southern Indiana, and the mission he was given in ministering to and with them.

    “‘With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so beloved have you become to us’” (1 Thes 2:8), Cardinal Tobin said.

    The love Cardinal Tobin elicited from the faithful who gathered in the cathedral on Dec. 3 was palpable.

    “I love this man,” said Benedictine Sister Harriet Woehler, a member of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove. Cardinal Tobin made an impression on her.

    “What he’s done in these four years is unbelievable for me,” Sister Harriet said. “He reminds me of the Holy Father — what he’s done for the world, and what this guy has done for our archdiocese.”

    For his part, Cardinal Tobin expressed amazement in his homily at seeing all that Catholics across central and southern Indiana have done over the past four years to witness effectively to the Gospel.

    “I have been privileged to see witnesses across the 39 counties of this archdiocese, people who quietly bear witness, give testimony to Jesus Christ in prisons, in hospitals, on college campuses, in [religion] classes, in our Catholic grade and high schools,” he said. “I’ve seen the witnesses of this archdiocese in the food kitchens, in the shelters, the outreach of Catholic Charities and the welcoming of refugees and strangers.

    “I’ve seen the witness, and I think it’s no accident that for the four years that I’ve presided over Easter Vigils here in the archdiocese, we’ve welcomed 1,000 or more new Catholics, men and women who saw the action of the disciples of Jesus and came to believe.”

    During the prayer, he stood in front of the cathedral’s altar with his eyes closed in prayer while a group of people representing the congregation stood around him and placed their hands on him.

    One of those people was his mother, 93-year-old Marie Tobin, who was joined at the liturgy by 10 of her 13 children.

    “To be with my son when he offers Mass is the epitome of my life, the high point forever,” Tobin said. “But to be surrounded by all this love for four years—I am just so grateful. I would like to be a Hoosier myself.”

    At the end of his homily during the farewell Mass, Cardinal Tobin recalled the story of a group of Anglican religious brothers in the Solomon Islands, who died for their faith in 2000 during peacemaking efforts in the island nation divided by ethnic strife.

    In reflecting on the deaths of the fellow members of the community, one member of it said, “We know where we stand [and] who we belong to.”

    Cardinal Tobin used these words to draw out the deeper meaning of the call for him, the faithful of central and southern Indiana, and the broader Church to be witnesses to the Gospel in word and deed.

    “Beyond all the history of confusion and betrayal that surrounds a lot of the Church’s history, beyond the power games that we still can play in the churches, beyond the terrible scandals that have lacerated the body of Christ,” he said, “this one rocklike conviction remains, the conviction that drove the writing of every word of the New Testament.

    “It has nothing to do with conspiracies, opinion polls or the agenda of the powerful. It has everything to do with how the powerless, praying, risking their lives for the sake of Christ and his peace, are the ones who understand the word of God. They are witnesses.

    “And to accept that is not to sign up to the agenda of some sort of troubled, fussy human society of worried prelates and squabbling factions. It is not to enroll in a fraternity or sorority and begin paying dues. To be a witness in the Church and for the world is to choose to belong to the life-giver, Jesus Christ. To him be glory, now and forever.”

    He then said, “Let the Church say,” and the congregation responded with a resounding, “Amen!”

    This article originally appeared in The Criterion, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

    Posted on December 6, 2016, to:

  • You are Peace.

    We await you oh Jesus!

    We are fretting – come and ease us

    With your Peace.

     

    We are anxiously waiting

    And eagerly advocating;

    Bring us Peace.

     

    A virgin is with child;

    On a donkey they are piled

    Carrying Peace.

     

    A long journey lies ahead;

    Over mountains they must tread

    Yet there’s Peace.

     

    Shepherds sleep in restful grasses;

    Angels appear by the masses

    Singing Peace.

     

    Telling of a newborn King,

    The one of whom these angels sing

    Of coming Peace.

     

    Their song makes the shepherds weep;

    They load their packs and their sheep

    To meet Peace.

     

    Kings come from foreign lands,

    Traveling years upon the sands

    To honor Peace.

     

    Astronomy has pointed to a star

    That leads them to a place afar

    They find Peace.

     

    Virgins, shepherds, sheep, and kings

    All await what this child brings.

    Who is Peace?

     

    Oh mercy mild;

    Who is this child?

    You are Peace.

    Mary Simcox is a Bishop Dwenger High School sophomore.

    Posted on November 29, 2016, to:

  • By Emma Gettinger

    In the life of a student, time flies by too quickly. Before you know it, it’s already Thanksgiving and you are left scratching your head, wondering where in the world the past few months have gone. The start of Advent can be a rude awakening that forces you to realize Christmas is right around the corner and that the year is coming to an end.

    With this awakening, it is easy to be caught up with trying to find the perfect gifts for family and friends before time runs out. We can become sidetracked and forget to focus on the true purpose of Advent: preparing ourselves to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. However, even if we fail to prepare ourselves as much as we should, we can still have hope. No matter what we have done, hope in the mercy of God never fails us. We always have God’s immense love as a source of hope.

    Hope is not a foreign concept. It can be defined as the desire of something together with the expectation of obtaining it. We experience hope every day, whether it is something as simple as hoping that it’s a decent temperature outside or as serious as hoping that you achieve the goal of getting your dream job.

    Hope can be found even in the most desperate situations. The Gospel reading for the first Sunday of Advent may seem a little worrisome, since it speaks of one person being taken and the other being left. However, even there, hope can be found. We can hope that, even though we do not know when the Son of Man will come again, that we will be prepared and able to experience God’s mercy.

    The season of Advent fosters that hope, and reminds us of our need to be prepared since we do not know the exact time of the second coming of Christ.

    Emma Gettinger is a 2015 Marian High School graduate and a Saint Mary’s College student.

    Posted on November 25, 2016, to:

  • By Cindy Wooden

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Following Christ the King, whose regal power is love and mercy, means the whole church and each Christian must “follow his way of tangible love,” Pope Francis said.

    Celebrating the feast of Christ the King Nov. 20 and officially closing the extraordinary jubilee celebration of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis insisted, “we have received mercy in order to be merciful.”

    On a warm, late fall morning, St. Peter’s Square was filled with an estimated 70,000 people for the Mass, which was concelebrated by the new cardinals Pope Francis had created the previous day.

    The pope and the new cardinals first went to the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica and gave thanks for “the gifts of grace received” during the Holy Year. Pope Francis then went to the threshold of the Holy Door and pulled each side shut. The door will be sealed until the next Holy Year, which is likely to be 2025.

    In his homily, Pope Francis said that even if the Holy Door is closed, “the true door of mercy, which is the heart of Christ, always remains open wide for us.”

    The power of Christ the King, he said, “is not power as defined by this world, but the love of God, a love capable of encountering and healing all things.”

    Like the “good thief” who turned to Jesus on the cross and was assured a place in heaven, anyone who turns to God with trust can be forgiven, the pope said. “He is ready to completely and forever cancel our sin, because His memory — unlike our own — does not record evil that has been done or keep score of injustices experienced.”

    Loving like Christ loves us, he said, means constantly seeking the grace to forgive others, forget the offenses committed and be instruments of reconciliation in the world.

    Following Christ the King also means accepting “the scandal of his humble love,” which can be difficult because it “unsettles and disturbs us.”

    Christ’s love, the love Christians are called to imitate, is concrete and tangible and is not concerned with personal comfort, power and superiority.

    Even in evangelization “the lure of power and success seem an easy, quick way to spread the Gospel,” he said. The Year of Mercy was a call to “rediscover the youthful, beautiful face of the church, the face that is radiant when it is welcoming, free, faithful, poor in means but rich in love, on mission.”

    Christ the king, “our king, went to the ends of the universe in order to embrace and save every living being,” he said. “He did not condemn us, nor did he conquer us, and he never disregarded our freedom, but he paved the way with a humble love that forgives all things, hopes all things, sustains all things.”

    Christ’s followers are called to continue his saving mission, the pope said.

    At the end of the Mass, Pope Francis signed his new apostolic letter, “Misericordia et Misera,” (Mercy and Misery), which a papal aide announced was written to affirm that the commitment to sharing the merciful love of God continues because it is “the heart of the Gospel.”

    The pope gave the letter, which was to be made public Nov. 21, to a group of people representing different sectors of the church: Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, president of Caritas Internationalis; Scottish Archbishop Leo Cushley of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, on behalf of diocesan bishops; two priests who were “missionaries of mercy” for the Holy Year; a permanent deacon; two religious women; an extended family; an engaged couple; two women catechists; a person with disabilities; and a person who is ill.

    Posted on November 21, 2016, to:

  • Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrates the Eucharistic liturgy during a Mass with dedication of the altar at the new Chapel of Saint Francis of Assisi, Bishop Luers High School, Fort Wayne, Thursday, Nov. 10.

    By Lauren Caggiano 

    Visit the photo gallery for more from this event.

    Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne recently completed construction on a new chapel and other improvements, thanks to the support of generous donors.

    The changes mark the climax of Phase II of a $4 million capital campaign known as “The Faith In Our Future.” Following a silent phase last year, the campaign then entered a public phase in which the administration called on the support of the Luers community and others to meet the multimillion-dollar need.

    The goal of Phase II is to complete several core infrastructure projects, including building renovations that focus on enhancing the student experience in media, technology, religion and the arts. These upgrades are the most significant in the school’s history and will have a direct impact on the quality of education. The Phase I capital campaign, conducted in 2005, successfully raised over $3.1 million to fund other necessary projects, like modernizing the boiler system.

    According to Principal Tiffany Albertson, the recent improvements will better meet both the academic and spiritual needs of the students. For example, the previous chapel only seated 45 and did not promote a sense of community.

    “The new chapel offers a lot more opportunity to practice our faith, pray and worship in a space that’s worthy of our prayers,” she said.

    Bishop Rhoades replaces a portion of the altar after installing a relic of St. Francis Xavier during a Mass with dedication of the altar at the new Chapel of Saint Francis of Assisi, Bishop Luers High School, Fort Wayne on Thursday, Nov. 10.

    From a practical standpoint, the amount of seating has quadrupled — from 45 to 180. What’s more, its move from a small, former classroom to the front of the school makes a loud and clear statement that the school’s Catholic identity is at its forefront.

    “If we look at our mission and vision, we want to help all students practice their faith and see that it’s at the center of what they do,” she said.

    The larger space, known as the Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi, was constructed in loving memory of Bishop John M. D’Arcy. At a Mass with blessing and dedication ceremony Nov. 10, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades acknowledged the significance of the name.

    “This new chapel is named in honor of one of the most popular saints of the Church, Francis of Assisi. He is the patron saint of Bishop Luers High School. The art of this chapel will reflect the medieval art in Assisi and include beautiful scenes of Saint Francis’ life,” he pointed out.

    Some of the most striking artwork that will be placed in the new chapel, to direct those who visit the chapel in worship, have yet to arrive and be installed. A few key pieces are in place, however, and the bishop explained the relevance of one during the Mass.

    “Here in the center we see the San Damiano crucifix that spoke to Saint Francis at the beginning of his mission to renew the Church. Saint Francis is an extraordinary model of discipleship. He was a troubadour of the Lord, filled with love for Christ and the joy of the Gospel. His poverty inspires us to remember that only Christ is our true treasure. Meditating on his life of evangelical poverty, simplicity, chastity, and obedience, his love for the Church and the Eucharist, and his care of creation, can help us to live and embrace the radical truth of the Gospel. I pray that Saint Francis’ example and prayers will lead all who pray in this chapel to be faithful and committed disciples of the Lord.”

    This relic of St. Francis Xavier was placed in the Bishop Luers High School Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi altar by Bishop Rhoades, during the Mass.

    Those prayers and other forms of worship will be better accommodated now, given the chapel’s expanded footprint. First Friday Masses, Masses for entire grade levels, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and alumni Masses are all expected to be scheduled in the new space. Retreats will also move from the wrestling room to the chapel, giving them a more spiritual backdrop.

    Albertson said already the project has been a boon to Luers. “Students are excited about the new chapel,” she said. “This is about and for them.”

    Along with investments in the spiritual welfare of students, the school has demonstrated its commitment to academics. The media center and library have been updated; a new, more-flexible space accommodates reference materials and includes updated technology that will better prepare them for college and the workforce.

     

    Posted on November 15, 2016, to: