This Is A Grand Time
Truly, this is a grand time to live our Catholic faith – especially here in Indiana. We have big things to come, friends; God is preparing us for them even as I commit these words to “electronic paper.”
Recently, I saw a social media post that resonated intimately with the thoughts above. I paraphrase it here: “I put you in this place at this time.” Father, Son and Holy Spirit – each of us has a plan that is guided by the Holy Trinity. Our individual plans, together, form the plans of life and love that God launched at the moment of creation. History helps us see that.
Think back less than 200 years, when the Vatican elevated the Diocese of Vincennes. In many ways, I believe we can argue that our Minor Basilica of St. Francis Xavier served as a gateway for the Good News to travel across the great American West throughout the 19th Century.
By the late 1800s, however, our then-adolescent country was continuing to change. Roads were replacing waterways as primary travel routes, and the centers of all we did were changing to reflect that. Here in Indiana, the seat of our first diocese moved to Indianapolis, where it remains today.
Catholicism’s local foundational elements, however, continue in our care – in Vincennes, where the first four bishops of Indiana are buried at St. Francis Xavier.
As he opened the Mass of Installation for Archbishop Charles C. Thompson of Indianapolis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., took a moment to reveal his personal ties to our local Church:
- He shares his hometown with the first bishop of Vincennes, Bishop Simon Bruté de Rémur
- He shares a home diocese with the second bishop of Vinennes, Bishop Célestine de la Hailandière
- He shares his site of his baptism with St. Mother Theodore Guerin
Archbishop Pierre installed the seventh archbishop of Indianapolis – a man who came to the metropolitan seat of Indiana by serving the diocese that includes Vincennes and the two oldest churches in Indiana – St. Francis Xavier in Vincennes and St. Peter in Montgomery.
In a world that includes an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics, it is impossible to claim merely coincidental connections for all of these things – for me, at least. No; there is more.
“I put you in this place at this time.”
Moving forward, may we all heed the thoughts then-Bishop Thompson of Evansville shared with us during the June 3 Ordination Mass for Fathers John Pfister and Jerry Pratt Jr.:
“Missionary discipleship involves more than a single moment of sending or action. It requires a certain attitude – a willingness, an openness, that is only possible through the cultivation of particular virtues – namely, courage, humility and generosity. … For the missionary disciple, the journey is as important as the destination. No one must be overlooked along the way.”
Over the past few weeks, God has offered amazing reminders of the journey our Indiana Catholic family has made over the past almost-200 years. As Archbishop Thompson said so many times, our destination is the Kingdom of God. Our work as this journey continues is the salvation of souls.
We are here, now, reminded by God of the many blessings he has provided to Indiana – blessings that all of us must remember as we move forward because our words and deeds will mark this portion of the greater journey.
“I put you in this place at this time.” Friends, may we all be willing and open to what God has in store for us.