March 11March 11 Editorial: Archdiocese celebrates an impressive legacy (February 9, 2024)

February 9, 2024


Archdiocese celebrates an impressive legacy

Tonight (Feb. 9) people from all regions of central and southern Indiana will gather at the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Indianapolis to celebrate the archdiocese’s 2024 Legacy Gala. This important event calls attention to three fundamental aspects of archdiocesan life and ministry: priestly formation, Catholic education and the work of Catholic Charities.

The program will also recognize Franciscan Sister Shirley Gerth as this year’s Legacy Gala honoree, who ministered in central and southern Indiana for more than 50 years as a parish life coordinator and teacher before retiring last summer. We thank Sister Shirley for her longtime commitment to the archdiocese.

Those who recall the history of our archdiocese know that the Diocese of Vincennes—now the Archdiocese of Indianapolis—was established by Pope Gregory XVI on May 6, 1834. From the beginning of this new diocese, which was small in numbers but large in territory (the diocese then comprised the entire state of Indiana and the eastern third of Illinois), these three fundamental activities—clergy formation, education in faith, and outreach to those in need—have been characteristic of what is now the Church in central and southern Indiana.

We might say that this is our legacy, which is defined as “the long-lasting impact of particular events, actions, etc. that took place in the past, or of a person’s life.”

When we think of the impact that the Catholic Church has had on the lives of thousands of people during the past 190 years, surely these three aspects of Church ministry stand out as being fundamentally important to who we are and what we believe.

The Gala celebrates the priestly formation carried out by Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis. The seminary’s mission is to work with individual students to recognize and respond to the seeds of a priestly vocation.

Following the four dimensions of priestly formation—spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and human—the program seeks to inspire seminarians to:

—grow in holiness of life

—live in conformity with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ

—honor Mary by following her example of obedience, virtue and love

—develop an understanding of the teachings of the Church

—foster respect for human dignity and hone the human skills necessary for pastoral ministry.

The Feb. 9 Gala provides a unique opportunity for people throughout the archdiocese to learn more about the seminary and to support its vitally important work.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has a long, rich tradition of Catholic education—in schools, parish religious education programs and in the efforts of parents to form their children in faith. The Gala celebrates the achievements of Catholic schools throughout central and southern Indiana.

As noted on the archdiocese’s website:

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis operate as an extension of the family to unite faith and educational excellence through Gospel values, high educational standards, prayer and sacraments. The schools accomplish this educational mission through the responsible use of resources generously shared by parents, faculty, parishioners, and the larger community. Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis welcome all with open doors, open arms and open hearts.

Participants in this celebration show their support for all those who have sacrificed to provide children, youths and young adults with an outstanding education that is centered on the person of Jesus Christ and his Church.

The Legacy Gala being celebrated tonight also calls attention to the Church’s charitable outreach and its service to various communities in central and southern Indiana, including in Bloomington, Indianapolis, Terre Haute, New Albany and Tell City.

Catholic Charities provides help and creates hope for people in need. Catholic Charities advocates for justice in social structures and calls the entire Church and other people of good will to do the same. Agencies associated with Catholic Charities work with individuals, families and communities to help them meet their needs, overcome their obstacles, eliminate oppression and build a just and compassionate society.

This is Christ’s work which he has entrusted to all who wish to be his missionary disciples. Our archdiocese has been doing this kind of ministry since its beginning nearly two centuries ago, and the Gala makes it possible for the work of Catholic Charities—which is often “behind the scenes” and sometimes invisible—to receive appropriate recognition and heartfelt thanks.

If you are unable to attend the Legacy Gala, you can certainly support these essential ministries by your prayers, your volunteer efforts (if appropriate) and, of course, your financial contributions. The legacy that is being celebrated tonight is not “once and for all.” These are ongoing works of our Church that all of us are privileged to participate in according to our circumstances.

May tonight’s Gala be a great success. And may the work of Christ continue in our archdiocese for many more years to come.

—Daniel Conway

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