Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

You Have Brought Us A Lot Of Good

Archbishop-elect Thompson, left, visits with Father Donald Dilger, retired priest of the Diocese of Evansville, after the July 6 Mass of Thanksgiving. The Message photo by Peewee Vasquez

Father Phil Kreilein, pastor of Evansville’s Resurrection Parish and Dean of the Diocese of Evansville’s South Deanery, spoke to Most Rev. Charles C. Thompson on behalf of the diocese in the closing moments of the July 6 Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Benedict Cathedral.


“You have brought us a lot of good,” Father Kreilein told the Archbishop-elect of Indianapolis, who will be installed there on July 28. “Through your example, you are building up vocations to the single life, married life and those to the priesthood. You have stretched us to welcome missionary priests, and a new Latino priest and Latino seminarians.


“We the diocese thank you for all the times that your hand reached out to do good or show the love of Christ; to dry a tear or bring comfort to the lonely; to show the way to someone who’s lost; to console a broken heart; to help the fallen or each those thirsting for truth ; to forgive or to offer a new start in God,” Father Kreilein added. “You have helped us to seek out the paths that we need to take and the spirit with which we need to work to reach the kingdom of God.”


More than 30 priests of the diocese concelebrated the Mass with Archbishop-elect Thompson, and more than a dozen permanent deacons assisted. Members of the Monsignor A.J. Sprigler Assembly of the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus provided the honor guard.


Several members of Evansville’s faith and civic communities attended, including (listed alphabetically) Abraham Brown of the Evansville Latino community; Rev. Kevin Fleming of First Presbyterian Church; Rev. Dr. Todd A. Gile of Trinity Unity Methodist Church; Vanderburgh County Prosecuting Attorney Nicholas Hermann; Dr. Mohammad Hussain of the Evansville Islamic Society; Rabbi Gary Mazo of Temple Adath B’Nai Israel; Steve Stanfill of the Evansville Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; and Rev. Veltri Taylor of First Ebenezer Baptist Church.


Benedictine Father Godfrey Mullen, Rector of St. Benedict Cathedral, served as homilist. “So often, we have beautiful examples of the freedom and joy that come with obedience among the people that we know and love,” Father Mullen said. “And Bishop Thompson, we are certain that you have been a beautiful example of obedience to us; and we have seen the joy and the freedom that your obedience to God and to the Holy Father has brought.”


Archbishop-elect Thompson has served – and will continue to serve – as Apostolic Administrator of Evansville until his July 28 installation in Indianapolis. Before giving the final blessing of the Mass, he talked about the faithful across our 12 counties and the nature of our community.


Anything that I am able to accomplish is because of you,” he said. “It’s because of us working together and all the great collaboration. There are so many gifts and blessings in this diocese. (Bishop-emeritus Gerald A.) Gettelfinger has said it all along – this is a gem of a diocese, a jewel; and there are so many wonderful people in our parishes, in the Catholic Center, in our clergy, our religious and our laity.


With our religious leaders here and our civic leaders, “ he said, “this community has a lot going for it; a lot of beautiful relationships, working together and tearing down walls; embracing each other as brothers and sisters; and trying to build on what we share in common, not what divides us. I’ve always felt that here in this community.


“I have to say one last word about the priests here,” Archbishop-elect Thompson said, turning to face the priests who were seated in the altar area. “I love you, and I thank you. You are a great group. I thank you all for embracing me, and for your willingness to work with me. I thank you for the witness you have given me.


“Whatever reason Pope Francis had for having the Nuncio call me, it was because of you,” he added, turning again to the several hundred attendees in the St. Benedict sanctuary. “If Pope Francis thinks I’m ready for this next step, it’s all because of you. Keep me in your prayers, and please know of my prayers for you. God Bless.”