• Click here for more photos of the walk

    By Laurie Kiefaber

    SOUTH BEND — The Six-Church Passion Walk on Palm Sunday in South Bend was like a retreat for some and a pilgrimage for others, depending on shoes or a lack of them. Either way, most participants polled said it was a good way to prepare for Holy Week.

    Approximately 100 to 175 people attended the walk at any one time, with some people participating in a few Stations of the Cross, but most taking on the entire walk. The sunny but cool and breezy day with a daytime high of 52 degrees brought together people from St. Joseph, St. Patrick, St. Hedwig, St. Augustine, St. Stanislaus and Holy Cross churches as well as those outside the area. Local police assisted walkers at intersections and a few golf carts were available to those who needed a break.

    “Today was like a day of retreat for me with my people of the diocese,” said Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades after the Palm Sunday Mass at Holy Cross. “It was so prayerful and a wonderful way to begin Holy Week.”

    Before the walk began, Bishop Rhoades talked about Jesus’ walk to Jerusalem when people walked with Him.

    “We are spiritually united with them,” Bishop Rhoades said. “I thank you for being here.”

    Most people wore sensible shoes for the event, with participants walking from one church to another between various stations. However, Gabriel Akre, 13, went the majority of the walk without his shoes.

    “I’m giving up shoes for Lent,” said the home-schooled teen. “Last year during the fall 40 Days for Life (I also gave up shoes).”

    The St. Pius X member said he was inspired by the Franciscan Brothers Minor who have gone barefoot before.

    “It helps your faith grow,” he added. “It definitely toughens up my feet. … The Franciscans are really cool!”

    His father, Tom Akre, said he was pleased he could participate barefoot, donning shoes inside the churches and public places.

    “Sometimes doing something a little more extreme makes a statement and gets people to ask about it,” he said. “Hopefully, it will get people to think. God became flesh and (giving up shoes and other physical activities) make it more real.”

    While inside each church, attendees were able to listen to beautiful meditations and prayers by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general emeritus of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome, with permission. They also were educated on the history of each parish and the people who built it. St. Augustine was established in 1928 for black Catholics who had come to South Bend, according to Holy Cross Father Pastor Leonard Collins. Father George O’Connor was their first pastor.

    “(O’Connor) was born in Kansas and a tornado wiped out his whole family,” Collins said. “A black family took him in.”

    Before the church was built in 1941, Collins said black Catholics met at taverns. Cheryl Ashe, a St. Augustine member, said church was segregated back then and African Americans had to take Communion last. Before St. Augustine was built, some churches had a small room set up for them so they would not have to wait until the end, she said.

    Ashe’s mother, Theresa, had been a social worker and she converted to the faith.

    “She wanted to align herself with people who lived the Gospel,” Cheryl Ashe said.

    When Theresa Ashe’s clients needed a donation for something, the Catholic priests did not ask if they were Catholic or attending Masses, as some ministers did, Cheryl Ashe explained.

    “I thought (this walk) was nice,” Ashe said. “It showed the solidarity of all the city parishes. People think St. Augustine is dying, but it’s not. People may move away (to St. Joseph, Mich. or Buchanan, Mich.) but they still come back.

    “The church has not abandoned (the local churches or people). That’s what Jesus was about. He didn’t abandon us,” she said.

    Neighborhoods in the area are deteriorating, but the diocese still supports ministries such as soup kitchens and clothing donations for people, Ashe said.

    Another St. Augustine member, Jonathan Jones, 17, was asked to help carry the hollow cross between several churches. “It was heavy,” he said. “My hands were freezing when we first started. It was a good experience. I did it a couple years ago (for a smaller event).”

    Gary King, a St. Joseph member, said this was the first time he had been inside St. Augustine. An addition to the church was built about 20 years ago.

    “There’s a good mix of people here,” King said. “I’m happy to see younger people participating in an old tradition. It’s a good witness (of faith) to see people walking through the streets of South Bend.”

    John Sikorski was one of the younger people taking the walk with his wife and two small children — aged two and nine months.

    “We wanted to instill the faith in them at a young age,” the St. Matthew Cathedral member said. “We were really excited the bishop wanted to bring this tradition to South Bend. It’s a beautiful experience what we’re doing in South Bend with the Universal Church. The bishop is the shepherd of the flock here.”

    Sikorski also mentioned the walk was a powerful witness to non-Catholics who might be watching the procession.

    Several order priests and nuns also participated in the walk. Friar Gerard, whose order has ties to Great Britain and Ireland and is serving an interim novitiate with the Mishawaka Franciscans, was snapping photos of the walk. “It’s a great way to prepare for Holy Week,” he said.

    Sister Benedicta Duna, who had not yet professed her first vows with the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Mishawaka, enjoyed seeing all the people who came to share a prayerful beginning to Holy Week.

    “It was neat seeing the different churches in South Bend I haven’t seen before,” she said. “It also was neat to see the bishop’s faith and understanding and making the event public for the people to see.”

    Sister Mariana Collison, who has yet to profess her second vows in the same order, appreciated the experience. “It’s really powerful — walking,” she said. “It’s a time to meditate on the stations.

    … People were watching us at the intersections … I identified with Him as He walked.”

    At the St. Stanislaus grotto where palms were distributed, Bishop Rhoades talked about how Jesus took charge of even small details of His entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and how He was different from other kings.

    “Worldly kings rode horses,” Bishop Rhoades said. “The new King — meek and humble of heart — entered riding a donkey.”

    Jeanine Celmer of Holy Cross and St. Stanislaus was among the walkers who said the rosary and sang songs at the beginning. “It’s such a beautiful idea,” she said. “I’ve never been on a walk (like this) and will never make it on a pilgrimage.”

    College students such as Regina Slonkosky also were enjoying the day. “We’re giving witness and preparing for the triduum,” the liberal studies major at Holy Cross College in South Bend said in front of the grotto. “This is a great way to start Palm Sunday.”

    Chris Gautsch, a University of Notre Dame student, saw his faith in the event. “It’s been great!” he said. “I really enjoyed celebrating with the bishop — Palm Sunday, the Lord’s Passion and following in the bishop’s steps. … Being here with the faith community of Catholics is another aspect of faith building.”

    During his homily at Holy Cross Church, Bishop Rhoades said, “It’s important for us to focus on the crucifixion. It’s a horrendous way to die.”

    Jesus endured mocking from people, having His clothes stripped away and nails being painfully hammered through His hands and feet, Bishop Rhoades said.

    “Hanging on a cross He embraced every feeling of intense spiritual and physical suffering,” he continued. “He entered into complete solidarity (with man).”

    Posted on April 20, 2011, to:

  • By Brian MacMichael

    Last week, we began with Palm Sunday and walked through Holy Week, ending with Holy Saturday. Now, at Easter, we look at the liturgical celebrations of our Risen Lord.

    Easter Vigil
    Commencing at nightfall on Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil – or the “Great Vigil” — is the high point of the Easter Triduum and of the entire liturgical year. It is when the Church keeps vigil at the tomb and rejoices with the arrival of Easter and Christ’s Resurrection.

    In the Early Church, the Easter Vigil was when the elect were baptized, given their white garments and welcomed to the Holy Eucharist. But the practice became lost, such that there actually was no true Easter Vigil until Venerable Pope Pius XII began instituting a number of liturgical reforms in the 1950s. In fact, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Vigil were all celebrated on the mornings of Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

    A main reason was the Tridentine fasting regulation, which strictly forbade that any food be eaten between midnight and the reception of Holy Communion at Mass that day. As such, it was impractical to have evening Masses. When Pius XII loosened these regulations, it allowed for the Holy Week liturgies to be situated at much more appropriate times, lending a greater authenticity to the celebrations. Moreover, reforms after the Second Vatican Council restored the character of the Vigil as one of Christian initiation.

    The Easter Vigil today consists of four parts: 1) The Service of Light, 2) The Liturgy of the Word, 3) The Liturgy of Baptism, with Christian Initiation (including Confirmation) and the Renewal of Baptismal Promises, 4) The Liturgy of the Eucharist.

    The Service of Light begins with “Lucernarium” (from the Latin word for “light”), when the Paschal Candle, lit from the Easter fire outside the church, is brought into the darkened church building. The candle is dipped into the font that will be used to baptize the elect, symbolizing Christ sanctifying the waters. The darkness (whose onset was recalled at Tenebrae) is dispelled by the “Light of Christ,” and the flame is spread to the candles of the individual Christians gathered in the Church. The Paschal Candle itself will be used throughout the season of Easter, and especially for Baptisms and funerals during the coming year. When light has been restored, the magnificent and ancient text of the “Exsultet” is chanted. The current English translation begins: “Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels! Exult, all creation around God’s throne! Jesus Christ, our King, is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation!”

    The Liturgy of the Word includes seven Old Testament readings, although that number can be shortened for time constraint reasons. Prior to Pope Pius XII’s reforms, there were 12 Old Testament readings. The current selection is drawn from Genesis, Exodus and prophetic texts — all alluding to creation and redemption. Then, the church bells are rung and the Gloria is sung, marking the end of the expectant vigilant period and a rousing elevation of our Easter joy. Following a reading from Romans, the Alleluia returns from its Lenten absence to herald the Resurrection Gospel: “He is not here, for He has been raised just as He said.” — Mt 28:6.

    The subsequent rites of initiation begin with a Litany of the Saints, followed by the public Baptism of those who have completed their catechumenal journey and are now undergoing death and rebirth in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, working through the newly blessed water.

    Afterwards, the newly baptized, and sometimes also those previously baptized who are now being brought into full communion with the Catholic Church, receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, using the Sacred Chrism consecrated earlier in the week. All those in the assembly then renew their baptismal promises to reject Satan and remain faithful to God, and all are sprinkled with baptismal water.

    The first Mass of Easter then continues with the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and for the first time, the newly baptized are permitted to join their brothers and sisters in Christ as they receive the Body and Blood of our Resurrected Lord.

    Easter Sunday
    Masses during daylight on Easter Sunday don’t contain quite as much splendor as the Vigil, but they are extraordinary celebrations nonetheless. The Gospel is always taken from John Chapter 20, in which Mary Magdalene finds the stone removed from Christ’s tomb and runs to tell Peter and the other disciple, who return to find the tomb empty. A wonderful liturgical practice, always observed on Easter Sunday, is the use of the Easter Sequence, “Victimae Paschali Laudes” (the title is from the first line, which translates as “Christians, to the Paschal Victim offer your thankful praises”) immediately before the proclamation of the Gospel. The sequence is a very ancient tradition, and is exceptionally beautiful when sung — especially in the original Latin chant form, which is not very difficult to learn.

    The Easter Triduum officially ends with Vespers (Evening Prayer) on Easter Sunday, but the solemn feast of Easter is celebrated for eight days, known as the Easter Octave. The eighth day, the Second Sunday of Easter, has recently also become known as Divine Mercy Sunday. The concept of the “Eighth Day” is very important in Christian theology and liturgy. Six was considered a number of imperfection by Jews and Christians, while seven was the perfect number — for instance, God rested on the seventh day of Creation, which became the Sabbath. The “Eighth Day,” as a day beyond even the seventh, is known as the “eschatological” day (derived from “eschaton,” the Greek word for “last”) — it is the day of Christ that points to His “Parousia,” or Second Coming, together with the end of time and the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom. Sunday was often referred to as the “Eighth Day” in the Early Church. Baptisteries and baptismal fonts were and still are constructed to be octagonal, indicating the eschatological reality of sacramental death and new life — eternal life — in Christ.

    During the Easter Octave, there is a long-standing tradition of Christians exchanging a variety of Easter greetings. One might say, “Christus resurrexit!” (“Christ is risen!”), and another would respond with either “Vere resurrexit!” (“He is risen indeed!”) or “Resurrexit sicut dixit!” (“Risen just as He said!”) or “Deo gratias!” (Thanks be to God!”).

    Easter Sunday in the West falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. In terms of date, this can be anywhere from March 22 to April 25. This year, Easter has a very late date of April 24. Easter will not be so late again until 2038, when it falls on April 25, the latest possible day.

    In his superb book, “The Spirit of the Liturgy,” written while he was still a cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI discusses the timing of Easter. The date of Easter not only has a historical relationship with the date of the Jewish Passover, but has also come to express the cosmic significance of the Lord’s Resurrection. By celebrating Easter on a Sunday (the “Eighth Day”) after the first fully “risen” moon of spring (a season of renewal), Christians express the power and universality of sacred time, uniting the rich symbolism of the solar and lunar calendars.

    The Easter season lasts 50 days: Ascension Thursday comes 40 days after Easter Sunday (although it is observed on Sunday in much of the United States including this diocese), and is followed 10 days later by Pentecost Sunday, the conclusion of the Easter season.

    As we can see, there is much more to the commemoration of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection than just Easter Sunday, or even Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The Easter Triduum and all of Holy Week are a very interwoven expression of and participation in the Paschal Mystery that we celebrate every Sunday.

    I encourage all to try to attend as many of these Masses and liturgies as possible, including the Easter Vigil. By immersing ourselves in the Church’s liturgical life, we spiritually bind ourselves more fully to Christ our Head. We can then better serve as joyful witnesses while we accompany tens of thousands of people — in the United States alone — who will sacramentally enter into the life of the Catholic Church during Easter this year.

    Posted on April 20, 2011, to:

  • Father Ed Reutz asks God’s blessing on the new quarters of Earthworks bakery and teaching site. Sister Sue Rogers holds the bowl of water for the ministrations.

    PLYMOUTH — Father Ed Reutz of South Bend was a member of the first Earthworks board and has remained an enthusiastic supporter of the Earthworks mission as it has grown and evolved.

    On Saturday, April 9, Father Reutz offered the ceremonial blessing of Earthworks’ new location, asking God’s blessing on the work and service that will be done in the bakery, classroom and the market.

    Earthworks’ mission is a ministry sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. Spearheaded by Sister Sue Rogers, Earthworks encourages people to be environmentally responsible.

    A large crowd toured the premises at Earthworks’ new location at 701 E. Jefferson St., Plymouth, admiring the renovations done by volunteers, many of them from Ancilla College’s baseball program. Everything in the building is recycled with the exception of the linoleum.

    Earthworks plans to hold classes in the new facility as early as the end of April.

    Future plans include a baking and employment training program for young adults in partnership with Heart and Hands and the Jesse programs.

    Some of the products offered are Earthworks’ artisan bread, homemade sweets, jams, jellies and granola. Local products such as brown eggs, raw honey, Indiana maple syrup and Fair Trade coffee and teas are available. Humanely raised meats, without steroids or antibiotics, Ancilla beef, local pork, lamb and chicken are also featured.

    Sister Sue said, “We hope that this new and enlarged venture will be a source of education, love and pleasure.”

    Market hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesday until 5:30 p.m.

    Posted on April 20, 2011, to:

  • By Brigid Curtis Ayer

    INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana House of Representatives addresses concerns of Alliance for Immigration Reform of Indiana (AIRI) and significantly amended the immigration reform legislation, SB 590, April 14.
    The bill passed the House Public Policy Committee, 6-5, April 15.

    “We are pleased that the House leadership addressed many of the concerns raised by faith communities, business, social service and agriculture groups. The committee amended out many of the egregious provisions of the bill,” said Glenn Tebbe, executive director for the Indiana Catholic Conference (ICC).

    “The Church is still opposed to the bill primarily because the legislation does not address a solution to the broken federal immigration system,” said Tebbe. “Immigration reform must be comprehensive and addressed at the federal level for it to be meaningful and effective.”

    The amendments removed the “reasonable suspicion” language requiring local and state police to enforce federal immigration laws. Many argued during previous testimony in the Senate that “reasonable suspicion” could only lead to racial profiling. The House also removed all the “English only” language from the bill. State entities will continue to offer services in both English and Spanish.

    Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, R-Syracuse, said, “I was pleased with the amendments and the shift of the bill. It moves away from targeting the individual and more to penalizing the businesses. We need to be doing something at the federal level, but, for now, at least the fear factor is gone. There is a sense of relief in the Hispanic community.”

    “The sentiment of the House and most of my colleagues is that this is a federal issue. Our hands are tied. These laws need to be changed, uniformly at the federal level,” said Kubacki.

    “What we ought to be doing as legislators is to get in touch with our Congressmen and tell them to do something about the immigration problem, to put more pressure on them to act and to quit punting,” Kubacki said.

    House Sponsor of the SB 590, Rep. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, said, “Illegal immigration is a problem in Indiana. We need to find a solution that’s right for Indiana. What might be right for another state like Arizona, doesn’t mean it will be right for Indiana. We are not a border state.”
    He said, “The general philosophy of amendments was to tailor a solution for Indiana considering our location, geography and economy.

    “We worked very closely with Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, the governor’s office, author of the bill Sen. Mike Delph and Rep. Davis, chairman of the House Public Policy Committee on these amendments,” said Koch. “It was very much a collaborative effort.”

    Koch said, “The general philosophy of the bill is to target intentional wrong-doing, either on the part of an individual who commits identity theft or the business who knowingly or intentionally hires an illegal alien.”

    Koch explained that SB 590 as amended would add the following penalties for companies. “Businesses that knowingly or intentionally hire an illegal alien would have to repay employment benefits, lose tax credits, and lose tax deductions for that illegal alien’s wages.

    “The bill also directs the Indiana Office of Management and Budget to calculate the cost of illegal immigrants to Indiana and send the bill to the federal government,” said Koch.

    Sen. Mike Delph, author of SB 590 said, “I’m going to let the House do their work on the bill. I do think there are many good things still in the bill including the human trafficking provision; prohibition of sanctuary cities, and E-Verify,” said Delph. “I think E-Verify is critically important.”
    E-Verify is an Internet-based, free program offered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which allows businesses to determine if a potential employee is eligible to work in the United States.

    Senate Bill 590 requires all businesses that are contracted with the state to provide services to use E-Verify.

    Testimony before the House committee indicated that E-Verify works well for some business, but other businesses find it riddled with errors and ineffective.

    “E-Verify is based on the Social Security Administration’s data base. The Social Security Administration admits its data base has 17 million errors,” said Ed Roberts, lobbyist for the Indiana Manufacturers Association, who testified in opposition to the bill. “That’s what we are relying on.”
    Representatives from Eli Lilly Incorporated expressed concerns that the legislation, while improved, still conveys an unwelcoming perception to immigrants and could significantly hurt their ability to recruit the best international talent and be competitive in the global economy.

    Rep. Koch said that he expects SB 590 to pass the House by Easter weekend.

    Posted on April 20, 2011, to:

  • Posted on April 20, 2011, to: