December 18, 2009

Anniversary, episcopal appointment top local news stories of 2009

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein celebrates a special Mass marking the 175th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis on May 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. At right is then-transitional Deacon John Hollowell. The special Mass drew a crowd of nearly 25,000 Catholics of all ages from central and southern Indiana. (File photo by Mary Ann Wyand)

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein celebrates a special Mass marking the 175th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis on May 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. At right is then-transitional Deacon John Hollowell. The special Mass drew a crowd of nearly 25,000 Catholics of all ages from central and southern Indiana. (File photo by Mary Ann Wyand)

By Brandon A. Evans

The celebration of the 175th anniversary of the archdiocese—which culminated with a Mass at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis—and the naming of Father Paul D. Etienne as the bishop of Cheyenne, Wyo., were voted the top local news stories of 2009, followed closely by the ordination of five men to the priesthood. (Related story: What were the top archdiocesan stories from the past decade?)

Working in tandem with the custom of other news agencies, including Catholic News Service, The Criterion editorial staff votes each year for the top 10 stories that appeared in our newspaper.

Many of the stories selected this year were actually made up of several individual articles. Read them all here

So, amid the more than 400 locally produced news stories this year, here is our top 10 list:

1. Archdiocese of Indianapolis celebrates its 175th anniversary.

Nearly 25,000 Catholics from central and southern Indiana took part in a special 175th anniversary Mass at Lucas Oil Stadium on May 3.

During the Mass—which was concelebrated by dozens of archdiocesan priests, 17 bishops and two Benedictine abbots from around the Midwest—2,800 youths and adults were confirmed.

Also, 200 couples were honored for 50 or more years of married life, and religious jubilarians were praised for their many decades of faithful ministry and commitment to the consecrated life.

The event was the high point of a year of celebration that looked back to the creation of our archdiocese in 1834. It was called at that time the Diocese of Vincennes and encompassed all of Indiana and the eastern portion of Illinois.

Archdiocesan pilgrimages to the city of Vincennes and to the Holy Land were also part of anniversary events.

2. Father Paul D. Etienne is appointed new bishop of Cheyenne, Wyo.

On Oct. 19, it was announced in Washington by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, that Father Paul D. Etienne had been appointed the new bishop of Cheyenne, Wyo., by Pope Benedict XVI.

Father Etienne, whose family was featured in a vocations story in The Criterion in January, was serving as the pastor of his childhood parish, St. Paul Parish in Tell City.

“Jesus has stepped into the boat of my soul and said, ‘Put out into the deep and lower your nets for a catch (Lk 5:4),’ ” Father Etienne said at the time of the announcement.

His episcopal ordination took place in Cheyenne on Dec. 9 (see related stories, pages 11-14), and was attended by Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein and dozens of local priests.

Established in 1887, the Diocese of Cheyenne is home to more than 53,000 Catholics. It has 36 parishes and 36 missions.

3. Five men are ordained priests of the archdiocese.

June 6 and June 27 were days of joy for Catholics in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis as five men were ordained priests to minister in central and southern Indiana.

It was the largest priesthood ordination class for the archdiocese since 2002 when eight men were ordained priests.

Archbishop Buechlein ordained transitional deacons Jeremy Gries, John Hollowell and Peter Marshall on June 6 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. On June 27, he ordained transitional deacons Sean Danda and Christopher Wadelton, also at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral.

In his homily on June 6, Archbishop Buechlein told the ordinands that they were to become “intercessors of divine mystery.”

“You will be intercessors in prayer and in blessing, intercessors of the Word of God, intercessors of the sacred, intercessors of love and mercy,” he said.

4. SHINE initiative kicks off with Lucas Oil Stadium event.

On Oct. 1, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis kicked off a yearlong ministry of social renewal, known by the acronym SHINE—which stands for “Spreading Hope in Neighborhoods Everywhere.”

In this effort, every Catholic in the archdiocese is being called to a life of service to make a difference in the lives of others.

The kickoff event at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Oct. 1 attracted more than 600 participants from parishes, schools, agencies and institutions throughout central and southern Indiana. A daylong series of keynote speakers and workshops was designed to further equip Catholics in the archdiocese for the social mission of the Church.

Through SHINE, archdiocesan leaders are shaping the 12 months as a celebration and renewal of the local Church’s commitment to serve others in need. It is the archdiocese’s response to Pope Benedict XVI’s call for the Church to respond with a universal revitalization of its ministries of charity.

5. ‘Christ Our Hope: Compassion in Community’ is new focus of annual appeal.

“Christ Our Hope: Compassion in Community” is the new name for the annual archdiocesan stewardship appeal.

After several months of research and conversations with parish leaders across the archdiocese, the new approach and name for the appeal were developed and announced in September. They represent the first major change in the appeal in a decade.

Archbishop Buechlein spoke about the change in the annual stewardship appeal.

“All of us are given the opportunity to offer Christ’s compassion to other members of our community, many of whom suffer and are feeling alone. Christ is our hope because he is the ultimate source of healing and consolation,” the archbishop said.

“And so we call our new annual initiative ‘Christ our Hope: Compassion in Community.’ I invite all of you to help us be that hope for those folks who carry heavy burdens and need us.”

The goal for this year’s appeal is $6.75 million.

Approximately one-third of this amount, some $2.2 million, will be dedicated to our outreach parishes that find it difficult to meet their annual ministry needs to the Catholics they serve.

6. Annette ‘Mickey’ Lentz is named chancellor.

When Annette “Mickey” Lentz was asked to be chancellor of the archdiocese by Archbishop Buechlein, she responded in the way that she always has in 48 years of serving the Church.

She said “yes,” believing she was answering God’s call to make a difference.

As chancellor, Lentz assumed the third highest position in the archdiocese, following Archbishop Buechlein and vicar general Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel. She succeeds Suzanne Yakimchick, who retired last year.

At 67, Lentz also continues to serve as the interim executive director of the Office of Catholic Education and Faith Formation for the archdiocese until her replacement is scheduled to be hired in the spring of 2010.

Her appointment on June 4 as chancellor reflects the archbishop’s great faith in Lentz, who has excelled in leading several of the archdiocese’s major initiatives in recent years.

During her 12 years of leadership as the executive director of Catholic education, 25 of the 71 Catholic schools in the archdiocese have earned recognition as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education—a distinction that no other diocese in the country can match.

7. Archbishop Buechlein responds to Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama.

Archbishop Buechlein sent a public letter to Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, to express his disappointment and concern about the school’s invitation to President Barack Obama to speak at the university’s commencement on May 17 and receive an honorary degree.

More than 70 bishops, including Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop John D’Arcy, who chose not to attend the commencement ceremony, spoke out against the decision by the university.

8. Holy Family Shelter dedicates new facility.

Twenty-five years to the day after the archdiocese opened Holy Family Shelter on the near south side in Indianapolis to serve homeless families, moving crews loaded furnishings, equipment and supplies onto trucks for transport to the new emergency shelter on the near west side of the city.

It was an emotional experience for the shelter staff members, who work hard around the clock to serve Christ by keeping the facility open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all 365 days of the year in order to provide safe lodging and social services for families in crisis situations who have no place to call home.

Shelter staff members barely noticed the chilly late autumn weather as they cheerfully pitched in to help direct the move from 30 E. Palmer St. near Sacred Heart of Jesus Church to 907 N. Holmes Ave. next to Holy Trinity Church.

The new shelter was dedicated by Archbishop Buechlein during a Mass of Thanksgiving on Dec. 6 at Holy Trinity Church in Indianapolis

Nearly six years ago, the archdiocese began planning the construction of a larger homeless shelter for families because of the great need for emergency housing.

The facility has operated for a quarter century as a 30- to 45-day emergency shelter, with 27 days as the average length of stay for the more than 9,000 homeless families served there.

9. Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary expands to accommodate needs.

When 23 seminarians enrolled at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis for the 2009-10 academic year moved in on Aug. 13, they were met with the sounds of pounding hammers and roaring power tools echoing through their normally silent arched hallways.

Construction workers were busy transforming into bedrooms a series of rooms that Carmelite nuns had previously used to bake Communion hosts and work at other tasks because the seminary’s enrollment now exceeds its 21 bedrooms.

When renovations were completed in October, there were 32 bedrooms.

A significant factor in the growth in enrollment at the seminary is the steady increase in the number of college seminarians in the archdiocese over the past decade.

In 2000, there were three college students affiliated with the archdiocese as seminarians. At the start of the

2009-10 academic year, there were 15 seminarians, all enrolled at Bishop Bruté. There have not been this many archdiocesan college seminarians since 1995.

10. World’s oldest Benedictine monk dies at Saint Meinrad Archabbey.

Benedictine Father Theodore Heck, a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, died on April 29. He was 108, and was the world’s oldest Benedictine monk.

Starting in 1935, Father Theodore spent half a century teaching and serving as an administrator of Saint Meinrad’s minor and major seminaries. He was rector of Saint Meinrad School of Theology from 1956-66 and served as rector of Saint Meinrad College for three years during that span.

Archabbot Justin DuVall, the leader of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, praised him for his longstanding ministry in the seminary.

He also said that Father Theodore showed what it meant to be a monk by his “fidelity to prayer” and by becoming a well-rounded person through constant reading.

Archabbot Justin also noted that Father Theodore, who came to Saint Meinrad in 1918 to its seminary, was a good source of its history.

Because of his decades of ministry in priestly formation at Saint Meinrad, he helped form a generation of priests of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, including Archbishop Buechlein. †

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