• The Pontifical College Josephinum held its 114th Commencement on Saturday, May 11. Deacon Christopher Lapp from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend received a master of arts in dogmatic theology; a master of divinity; and a baccalaureate in sacred theology.

    By Tim Johnson

    FORT WAYNE — Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will ordain Deacon Christopher Lapp to the Priesthood on Saturday, June 1, at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne.

    Of the approaching ordination to the Priesthood, Deacon Lapp told Today’s Catholic in an email interview earlier in the year, “I’m looking forward to seeing a conclusion to formal preparation for Priesthood so as to be able to live my vocation in all of its concrete reality. In short, I am looking forward to being what God has created me to be.”

    Deacon Lapp served at the parishes of Holy Family in South Bend, St. Charles Borromeo in Fort Wayne, and St. Therese Parish in Fort Wayne.

    Deacon Lapp said, “Being able to live at a parish has provided me beautiful experiences of the depth of relationship a priest is called to have with his people.”

    “My last summer at St. Therese was especially full and rewarding because of the opportunities to regularly preach to the people with whom I lived in Waynedale,” he added.

    Of his diaconate year, Deacon Lapp said, “This year, seminary formation has shifted from primarily theology classes to a stronger emphasis on elements of ‘praxis’ in priesthood — instruction on hearing Confessions, celebrating Mass, etc.”

    “My brother deacons and I also all have parish assignments where we go on the weekend, primarily assisting at Sunday Masses (and occasionally preaching) and helping with Baptisms,” he said. “As scheduling permits, we also try to find time to do some teaching, youth ministry, marriage preparation and just about anything else that comes up!”

    Deacon Lapp is the son of Greg and Juli Lapp of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne. He attended St. Vincent de Paul School and Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne. Deacon Lapp has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Immaculate Heart of Mary in Winona, Minn., and took theological studies at Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.

    Deacon Lapp traces the beginnings of his journey to the Priesthood to Bishop Dwenger High School’s strong theology and campus ministry program.

    “I became truly interested in learning theology in high school and the theology classes kept me on my toes,” he said.

    He also credits the priests at his home parish: “The priests at St. Vincent’s especially helped me consider a vocation to the Priesthood — especially Msgr. (John) Kuzmich, who has been my only pastor and a wonderful priestly example. And the people there are amazing.”

    He added, “Lastly, my family helped me to grow up to be free to embrace whatever the Lord invited me to; and I received tremendous support when I entered seminary. This support has been a sturdy shelter throughout the ups and downs of the last several years.”

    Deacon Lapp, who was ordained to the diaconate May 12 last year at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne, has the opinion that every Catholic man “needs to explicitly open his heart to the possibility of a priestly vocation.”

    “I have confidence that God is calling many more men to answer this call,” Deacon Lapp noted. “So much does He love us and desire for us to have the Eucharist and other sacraments. We can and should pray that these men are courageous in the face of any number of oppositions that present themselves, especially the culture, friends, personal expectations, and even at times family.”

    Deacon Lapp said there were “signs” along his journey that reassured him. Those were, he said, “abiding peace, good and faithful prayer, parish and apostolate experiences.”

    “Further, I ‘knew’ when Bishop Rhoades sent me a letter officially ‘calling’ me to present myself for ordination to the diaconate, and then ultimately as I knelt before him after the laying on of hands and during the Prayer of Ordination,” Deacon Lapp added. “The Church always confirms a vocation; and this has been a tremendous consolation to me. Fundamentally, we are called to acknowledge reality like Mary in asking the angel, ‘how can this be?’ rather than wallowing in doubt as Zecheriah: ‘how can I know this?’”

    More and more Catholic men are entering the seminary. Deacon Lapp contributed this increase to “prayer, patience and the practice of accepting men of good quality in this diocese. …”

    He added, “Better catechesis, youth ministry, preaching and vocations work, and many other things are certainly there, too.”

    “We trust that God will continue to provide for our needs; and we do our best to cooperate with Him.” Deacon Lapp said.

    “Of the seminarians I know, there is a seemingly universal desire to live radical lives of self-emptying love for the salvation of souls,” he noted. “The men generally attribute their own closeness to Jesus in the Eucharist and love of Holy Mass above other things which I would include myself in, as well.”

    For the people in the pews, Deacon Lapp encourages the faithful to pray for vocations. “Pray,” he said, “especially for more men to open their hearts to the possibility of a priestly vocation and for the courage to embrace it. Also, affirm young men in their striving to live lives of virtue. And don’t be afraid to directly ask him to consider a vocation to the priesthood; many here in the seminary will admit that those encounters stuck with them and, like a gnat, got them to take the Lord’s actual invitation seriously.”

    As the June 1 Ordination to the Priesthood approaches, Deacon Lapp concluded, “At 27 years old, with most of my friends married and starting families, I am definitely looking forward to all of the relational dynamics of Priesthood, especially embracing spiritual fatherhood within the context of parish life.”

    Lapp family in awe of son’s vocation

    From left are Chris, Josh, Greg, Juli, Nick with Becca Lapp in front.

    FORT WAYNE — Deacon Christopher Lapp has been preparing intellectually, emotionally and spiritually for his ordination into the Priesthood on June 1 for a long time and his family has been a steadfast support all along the way. His parents Greg and Juli are in awe of their son’s vocation and look forward to his future with joy.

    “It is a great and amazing feeling,” they chime as they recall the beginning of their son Chris’s journey toward the priesthood. As a young boy Chris was intelligent and precocious, they say. And because he was so very curious and technical his dad imagined that he would follow in his footsteps and become an engineer. Always a strong, self-motivated student, athlete and Cub Scout, his parents were proud of not only his intelligence, but his character as well.

    When thinking back over the years, the Lapps, who are parishioners of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne, recall how Chris’s faith developed during his years of high school when he began attending the Lifeteen program at their church after Sunday Mass and ministry hour on Wednesday nights as well. He even prayed at the abortion clinic once a week and never missed an overnight Lifeteen retreat.

    Both Greg and Juli are devout in their faith and have developed a deep love for the Church through Christ Renews His Parish programs, Small Christian Community involvement, participation in a monthly rosary group and an Adoption Small Christian Community.

    “Our faith has supported our marriage over the past 31 years,” notes Juli, who along with Greg has also worked with couples preparing for marriage for over 15 years.

    The Lapps have lived that faith in their home with their children Chris, Josh, Nick and Becca.

    Greg says, “My faith is important because it is the center of my existence. …  My vocation as a parent is to impart the faith to each of my children and try to do all I can for them to secure their place in heaven.”

    Juli adds, “My mother has been the one who inspired my faith. We lost my Dad in 1972 and she always guided us and prayed for her children. I’ve tried to be the same example for my children.”

    As his vocational call became apparent to Chris during his freshman year at the University of Dayton, his dad recalls his own surprise and joy when his son disclosed his decision the day after Thanksgiving in 2004 while they hung Christmas lights together. “For me it has been a very emotional experience,” says Greg. “I am so in awe that God called my son to administer the sacraments and serve the Church in a special way as persona Christi that every time I think of the upcoming ordination I am moved to tears.” Their son will become the first priest in their family on either side.

    As Deacon Lapp continued his studies at the seminary his family stayed in close contact. They say, “Meeting the other seminarians and their parents has been a very good experience. We have been blessed to get to know some of the great young priests that have been ordained over the last several years.”

    And knowing the quality of men studying for service in his diocese Greg says, “I am so optimistic for the future of our Church because of the amazing quality of the men being called to the Priesthood at this time. … Our diocese is truly blessed.”

    Juli agrees and adds, “All of these seminarians make a mom feel like she has more sons in her life.”

    Deacon Lapp shared a special friendship with Bishop John M. D’Arcy, who was instrumental in his commitment to the Priesthood. The grief over Bishop D’Arcy’s recent death will be with them all and they say, “Just thinking of this on June 2 at Christopher’s first Mass, knowing Bishop D’Arcy is looking down on him will bring tears to our eyes.”

    What kind of priest will Greg and Juli’s son be? The Lapps say, “Chris is going to make an awesome priest. He is very intelligent and he understands the history of our Church. He knows where we have been and how we got there and most importantly where we need to go as the Church.” Greg continues, “Chris is a very conservative Catholic. He loves the Church especially all of the traditions and he will always follow the tenets of the faith. Chris has a lot of energy and he relates well to all kinds of people.”

    Juli says of her son, “I agree with Greg and also know that whatever parish gets Chris is very lucky. He is very self motivated, caring, a great listener, full of common sense and good problem solver. Chris is also a leader and will be very proactive in doing what needs to be done in the parish.”

    Posted on May 21, 2013, to:

  • By Tim Johnson

    FORT WAYNE —Catholic leaders of northeast Indiana met on Wednesday to complete the formation of the St. Thomas More Society of Fort Wayne, a private association affiliated with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, serving under the oversight of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.

    After several months of planning, the society formally adopted its constitution and bylaws and elected its founding governors and officers. Father Mark A. Gurtner has been appointed chaplain by Bishop Rhoades.

    “The society is a wonderful opportunity to honor and emulate St. Thomas More, the patron saint of attorneys, statesmen and politicians,” said Father Gurtner. “Indeed, his steadfast conviction in the face of death is a reminder for legal professionals to not forsake their private conscious for their public duties.”

    Father Gurtner told Today’s Catholic of his duties to the society: “First not only have I been appointment chaplain, but as a canon lawyer, I enjoy membership in the society in my own right. I am also a founding member.”

    “My duties as chaplain though will focus on the spiritual well being of the society,” he said. “I will offer Mass for the group periodically, seek to foster the spiritual life of its members, and be available as spiritual counsel for its members individually and for the group as a whole. I would also anticipate that I would serve to represent the society to the diocesan bishop and to represent the diocesan bishop to the society.”

    The St. Thomas More Society is a Catholic professional association that promotes the mutual interaction of faith and culture in the realm of law and public policy. Any lawyer, member of the judiciary, canon lawyer, law professor or student at an ABA accredited law school residing, practicing, serving or studying primarily in the greater Fort Wayne area is eligible to apply for membership.

    Magistrate Craig Bobay of the Allen Circuit Court and member of St. Jude Parish, Fort Wayne, said, “We hope to meet several times per year to discuss issues of faith and the legal profession, attend Mass together, pray together and help organize an annual Red Mass.”

    “Catholic and non-Catholic lawyers and judges should join the society to explore the place for our Christian faith in the legal profession,” he encouraged.

    Michael Barranda, an attorney with Burt-Blee-Dixon-Sutton and Bloom, LLP, and member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Fort Wayne, encouraged Catholics in the legal profession to consider joining the society.

    “Legal professionals are required to take continuing education classes,” Barranda said. “In addition to fellowship, the society offers members educational opportunities that will strengthen both their faith and their practice.”

    Father Gurtner added, “I would encourage those in the legal profession to join the society in order to seek even more fully to integrate their Catholic faith into their work. Also, membership in the society will serve to deepen their own faith because it will afford them access to special Masses offered for the society, will join them in the spiritual benefits of mutual prayer for each other in the society, will be a source of encouragement for the members to stay faithful to the tenets of the faith in the face of opposition, and will offer members continuing education in the faith and the legal profession through periodically-offered presentations.”

    “Each of the founding governors is more than willing to speak with prospective members of the society,” Barranda noted. “Incidentally, we just happen to represent a great cross-section of the area parishes. Applications for membership are available through the Membership Chair, Chris Nancarrow.”

    Attorney Tom Blee of Fort Wayne’s Burt-Blee-Dixon-Sutton and Bloom, LLP, firm, said the “society is being reenergized by Magistrate Craig Bobay and some associates with a new constitution, bylaws and a membership drive.”

    Bobay told Today’s Catholic, “Bishop Rhoades has mentioned that a society existed in his previous diocese, and a few of us got together, and prepared a proposed framework for the group. We then presented it to the bishop, who gave us his blessing and encouraged us to identify people to make up an initial board of directors, and then plan to recruit members.”

    Blee said in addition to preparing and hosting the annual Red Mass, a Mass for those in the legal profession, the society will arrange programs and activities related to the intellectual and religious growth of the members, as well as honor those professionals that represent the principles and ideals of St. Thomas More.

    Blee said, “An essential goal of the group is to create a strong membership of attorneys, which will attract prominent speakers to the St. Thomas More Red Mass celebration, and promote the unity of the family, the dignity of the person and the justice of civil society — all traits exhibited by the life and death of this patron saint of statesmen, politicians and lawyers.”

    Blee has been devoted to St. Thomas More since his admission to the law profession at age 45. He wears a St. Thomas More medal, and a painting of Thomas More hangs in his office. The painting is used at the Red Mass in Fort Wayne.

    Blee said, “When something is demanded of me because of my faith — something which seems just too hard, or even unfair — I need only to think of St. Thomas More in his prison cell — and it doesn’t seem hard or unfair at all.”

    The elected officers are president — Magistrate Judge Craig J. Bobay, Allen Circuit Court; vice president — Liz Brown, civil and domestic mediator; treasurer — Tom Niezer, Barrett & McNagny LLP; and Judge Michael J. Kramer, Noble Superior Court.

    Founding governors also include: Kathleen Anderson — Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Michael Barranda — Burt, Blee, Dixon, Sutton & Bloom, LLP; Judge Thomas J. Felts — Judge, Allen Circuit Court; Scott Hall — Hall & Gooden, LLP; Judge Kent W. Kiracofe — Wells Circuit Court; Chris Nancarrow — chief deputy, Allen County Clerk of Courts.

    Professionals interested in membership opportunities may contact Membership Chair Chris Nancarrow at cnancarr@gmail.com.

     

    Posted on May 21, 2013, to:

  • Holy Cross Father John DeRiso has been assigned as rector of the Shrine of Blessed Basil Moreau in Le Mans, France.

    By Vince LaBarbera

    SOUTH BEND — The weekend of June 8-9 will be Holy Cross Father John DeRiso’s last at St. Joseph Church, South Bend, where he has served as pastor for the past nine years.

    “Being your pastor has been the joy and privilege of my priesthood,” Father DeRiso told parishioners the weekend of May 4-5 as he announced a new assignment from his superior general in Rome at the site of the congregation’s foundation in Le Mans, France.

    “It was here, in 1837, that our holy founder, Blessed Basil Moreau, united priests and lay brothers as equal partners within a single association, thereby forming the Congregation of Holy Cross,” he continued. “Our congregation’s motherhouse and its church — Our Lady of Holy Cross — serve as the symbol and center of this union. It is at this church, dedicated to Our Lady and the site of Moreau’s tomb, where I will minister as rector of the Shrine of Blessed Basil Moreau.”

    At Masses the following weekend, Father DeRiso announced that Holy Cross Father Kevin M. Russeau will succeed him in mid-August as pastor of the 160-year-old parish founded by Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin.

    “I expressed an interest nearly a year ago to the superior general (Holy Cross Father Richard Warner, former head of campus ministry at Notre Dame) to assist as I am able in responding to the needs of our congregation in Le Mans,” Father DeRiso said. “He was very responsive to my interest. The assignment is something he and the Holy Cross community would like me to do and I’m open to it.”

    As rector, Father DeRiso’s main duty will be to establish the shrine in what now is a parish church with an existing pastor. Not only will the shrine be for the Congregation of Holy Cross, but for the local Church, the Diocese of Le Mans and the universal Church as well, he related. “Above all it is a spiritual and administrative task, and less of a physical construction one,” he said. “A beautiful church is already there and we will establish some offices for the shrine adjacent to it.”

    The area is not new to Father DeRiso since he visited the location last month, making several acquaintances among the congregation’s French priests and brothers, and the Marianites of Holy Cross, religious sisters who also look to Blessed Moreau as their founder.

    The French language also is not new to Father DeRiso since as a sophomore at Notre Dame he spent a year abroad as a participant in the University of Notre Dame’s Angers Program near his new location. “Everything, including all classes, was in French,” he related. Despite his past proficiency in the language some 22 years ago, prior to assuming his new position, he will spend seven weeks at Middlebury College in Vermont participating in an intensive French-language program. “Middlebury’s language school has an excellent reputation. I’m confident it will help me to greatly improve my French language skills.”

    Father DeRiso also speaks Spanish. After his ordination to the Priesthood, April 6, 2002, at Notre Dame, his first assignment was to serve a mostly Spanish-speaking community as associate pastor at St. John Vianney Church, Goodyear, Ariz., just outside Phoenix. He was there two years before returning to South Bend.

    Referring to his present parishioners, he added, “The gift of this parish is its people. I will miss them greatly! We’re just concluding a $4 million campaign begun last fall for a new parish center, school addition, church improvements and reconfiguration of parish grounds. It’s been a real team effort!” He thanks Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, the late Bishop Emeritus John M. D’Arcy and the United States Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross for the support and encouragement given him during the time of his pastorate in the diocese.

    Speaking of his arrival as pastor in 2004, Father DeRiso wrote to his parishioners, “I was 33 years old and had been a priest for two. I doubted my abilities and my readiness to assume a pastor’s role. I was anxious and afraid, but you welcomed me, the stranger, as your brother in Christ.”

    “As before, I doubt my abilities and my readiness to assume a (new) role,” he continued. “I am anxious and afraid. And yet, I am called to a place of trust — trust in Divine Providence and trust in the Lord Jesus who said to His disciples, who themselves were troubled and afraid, ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.’”

    When we take on any new position I don’t think it’s uncommon to feel unworthy and perhaps not up to the task,” Father DeRiso explained. “But that’s when we turn to the Lord who makes us worthy and who gives us the grace we need to accomplish it. The Lord provides! I’m confident that’s what is going to happen for me (in France).”

    He continued, “The gift of this assignment is that Blessed Moreau from Notre Dame de Sainte Croix in France sent Father Sorin to the woods of Indiana where he founded the University of Notre Dame in 1842. And now I, a spiritual son of Sorin having been educated at Notre Dame, graduating in 1993, am going back to help the Church in France. I’m not sure that’s happened before. It’s quite a privilege!”

    Father DeRiso’s parents, Rudy and Mary Jo, of Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. — where he was born, along with two brothers and a sister — will journey to South Bend to spend his last weekend at the parish with him.

    “I’m glad they’re coming and very encouraged by my family’s support of my new assignment,” he said. “They’ll miss visiting South Bend and the friends they’ve made here, but perhaps they’ll enjoy visiting me in France as well!”

     

    Posted on May 21, 2013, to:

  • Pope Francis launches the smartphone app Missio during an audience with national directors of pontifical mission societies May 17 at the Vatican. Holding the iPad for the pope is Oblate Father Andrew Small, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States. The free app features homilies from Pope Francis as well as Catholic news from the Vatican’s missionary news agency and other providers.

    By Diane Freeby

    SOUTH BEND — With the touch of a button May 17, Pope Francis joined forces with a small mobile app company from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend to make history and help spread the Gospel even further in the digital age.

    After a few anxious moments, the first-ever papal launch of a mobile app took place as Pope Francis opened Missio, a free app that brings the latest Catholic news and video from around the world to iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices. Scheduled to happen between 4 and 6 a.m. EST, the two-hour window came and went. Then at 7:09 a.m., the screen flickered to life.

    “We were just relieved that everything worked!” grinned Chip Leinen, one of the founders of Little i Apps, all of whom were anticipating Friday’s launch. “We had to build this very, very quickly and we were nervous about whether everything would be working, and we’re just thankful that it did!”

    Leinen, a parishioner at Christ the King in South Bend, says the ancient architecture of the Vatican presented some technological concerns, but the app, first blessed by Pope Francis, was launched without a hitch.

    “Missio,” which is Latin for “mission,” was developed at the request of and in conjunction with the Pontifical Mission Societies, based in New York City. National Director Father Andrew Small approached Little i Apps a few months ago with the idea. Development sped up significantly two weeks ago when Father Small announced the pope’s interest in launching the app himself.

    “We’ve been putting in 14-hour days for the last week-and-a-half,” admits Leinen, who makes up the Little i Apps team along with his brother, Patrick Leinen and friend Ryan Kreager, both parishioners of St. Pius X in Granger.

    Missio provides daily news reports and videos from the Vatican’s news service — Vatican.va —and international news agency of the Pontifical Mission Societies (FIDES) along with streaming video from Catholic News Service and Vatican News Agency. Users will have the latest global Catholic news at their fingertips along with the ability to share articles and videos on other social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

    “The most rewarding part of our work is seeing our clients flourish,” says Kreager. “The Pontifical Mission Societies are a great example. These guys are the real deal — they run thousands of clinics, orphanages and schools all over the world. They are living out the call to preach the Gospel, and they do it through their actions. Even this app is part of their mission. Computers are expensive in developing nations, but smartphones are becoming more common; the app is mindful of this need. The most rewarding part of what we do is getting to be a small part of the great work our clients do.”

    Missio provides a variety of news services in eight languages: English, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Arabic and Chinese.

    The unveiling of Missio came on the heels of World Communications Day as the Catholic Church reflects on the former pontiff, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s invitation to Catholics to make better use of social media in sharing the Gospel. The Pope Emeritus, who opened the first papal Twitter account, challenged the Church to think about social networking sites as “new spaces for evangelization.”

    Pope Francis offers Catholics a new opportunity with the launch of Missio to reflect on ways their mobile devices can also be used as spaces for evangelization.

    “I think the best feature of this app is the video,” says Kreager. “Catholic News Service and Vatican News videos produce a huge amount of high-quality videos about the Catholic Church all over the world, and especially related to the pope. Unfortunately, the videos were embedded in their mobile-unfriendly websites or buried in YouTube RSS feeds. The Missio app brings some amazing video right to your pocket.”

    Little i Apps is no stranger to drawing connections between digital and sacred spaces. In 2011, they developed and launched, Confession: A Roman Catholic App, which triggered an international response to how individuals could properly make use of digital tools to aid their spiritual lives.

    “We are excited and honored to have been selected to develop the first app launched by a pope,” adds Patrick Leinen. “Bishop (Kevin C.) Rhoades has always been supportive and kind to our work, and it’s nice to know the Vatican has taken something from this diocese and shared it with the world.”

    A few more Catholic projects are in the works, including apps for the Knights of Columbus and Augustine Institute. Leinen says they will also work on some commercial projects for secular clients, then create more Catholic apps.

     

    Posted on May 21, 2013, to:

  • ZAC BARRY

    FORT WAYNE — Seminarian Zachary Barry will be ordained into the diaconate by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades on Saturday, May 25, at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. Barry has been preparing for that day, and ultimately ordination into the priesthood, since before high school.

    A Fort Wayne native, Barry is the eldest son of Vincent and Rebecca Barry’s six children. The family belongs to Our Lady of Good Hope Parish in Fort Wayne.

    Seminarian Barry is a graduate of Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne. He studied philosophy at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Minn., and theology at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.

    In an email interview with Today’s Catholic, Barry said he was led to the seminary because “Jesus drew me closer to Him so that I could begin to hear His will for me.”

    He credits people that the Lord put in his path to help discern the vocation of the Priesthood.

    “My middle school religion teacher (at St. Charles Borromeo School in Fort Wayne) suggested that we read a chapter of the Bible every day, which led me closer to God’s Word,” Barry said. “My mom suggested that we could ride our bikes to Mass during the week in the summer, which drew me closer to Christ’s intimate sacrifice. And during high school my participation in Bishop Dwenger’s ‘A Chance To Serve’ ministry and in my parish youth group led me deeper in prayer and discernment.”

    Barry told Today’s Catholic he believes every Catholic young man should consider the Priesthood as a possible vocation.

    “All young people, and all Catholics not already committed to a vocational way of life, should ask the Lord in prayer to reveal His plan for their life,” Barry said. “In His own time He will reveal to us the deepest desire of our hearts and will give us the graces we need to follow Him to a truly fulfilling happiness in following His will.”

    Barry said it has become clear to him, especially in the past several years in the seminary, that the Lord is calling him to be a priest.

    His parish work at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Fort Wayne and St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Elkhart in the summers also helped fortify his decision.

    “The best thing about being in a parish over the summer was praying with the people,” Barry said. “There is something powerful in the simple action of joining together in the prayer of the Eucharist.”

    “The time I spent in parishes over the summer serving at Mass, drawing close to the Lord in His sacrifice and therein discovering a greater love for the people, was crucial for my discernment,” he added. “The shared prayer of the Mass in a parish brought home to me the deep desire I had to spend my life serving the people of this diocese.”

    Barry said, “The wisdom and example of leadership and prayer in the priests with whom I stayed was also very beneficial and I am grateful for the time they took to mentor me as a seminarian. Seeing their great joy in being a priest of Jesus Christ was a true gift and an encouragement to me.”

    “What I have learned about the Priesthood both in the classroom and in pastoral experiences, and my own prayer about this vocation has all contributed to my vocational discernment,” Barry said, “but it isn’t something that I came to know on my own. My spiritual director in the seminary helped me to understand through my years of formation how God is at work in my own heart and life, and the formation team at the seminary has offered their confirmation of my vocation. Ultimately, I have found the greatest peace here in following the Lord’s call, which has come to me through His Church.”

    On the call to priestly vocations, Barry said he notices there are more young men coming forward to enter seminary and discern their possible call to the priesthood.

    “I attribute this to a greater awareness to the Lord in their lives,” Barry said. “This kind of increase in vocations comes from better catechesis, prayer as Jesus recommends in Matthew 9:38, fostering vocational discernment among Catholic youth, and from the witness of holy, faithful, joyful priests.”

    “As seminarians,” he added, “we recognize the need for greater evangelization and discipleship, which will draw us closer to the heart of Jesus Christ, the source of all true vocations.”

    He encourages the faithful to “pray for vocations, that the Lord will find a way into the hearts of our young people today, and that they will respond courageously to Christ’s call to witness to the faith out of love in whatever way He calls them to do so.”

    Of the upcoming diaconate ordination and year serving as a deacon in the Church, Barry said, “I am humbled by the responsibility to be entrusted to me and excited to continue following the Lord, drawing others to Him. It will be a great joy as a deacon to assist at the altar of His sacrifice.”

    “Vince and I are honored and blessed to have been trusted by God to raise up a potential priest to serve the Church we love,” said Becky Barry, Zak’s mother. “Every child is created with special gifts, to be used for their own salvation and that of others. It has long seemed that Zak’s unique vocation was that of a priest.”

    “It is with great joy, and also some fear and trembling, that we see this coming to fruition as we anticipate his ordination to the diaconate,” she added. “Zak is very delighted, peaceful and enthusiastic in accepting this path God has offered him. We are thrilled, because we want our children to be eternally happy.”

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Posted on May 15, 2013, to: