Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

'Let's Enjoy The Day!'

Father Jason Gries, left, Deacon David Rice, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, Deacon Richard Leibundguth and Father Chris Forler are shown during the Nov. 4 Mass at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Daylight. The Message photo by Tim Lilley

More than 450 people visited St. John the Evangelist Parish in Daylight on Nov. 4 for the 10 a.m. Mass, which served as a celebration of the parish’s 150th anniversary. Bishop Joseph M. Siegel concelebrated the Mass with the parish’s two most recent pastors – current pastor Father Chris Forler and Father Jason Gries, who served St. John the Evangelist from 2012 to 2016.

“Let’s enjoy the day,” Father Forler said during the Mass. “I can’t thank everyone enough for all of the hard work they put into this celebration.”

Visitors had a chance to view a gallery of photos that included bishops who served the Diocese of Evansville over the years and pastors who served St. John the Evangelist. Several photo albums also offered a look into the life of the parish over the years. Folks also got a chance to see the original home plate from the youth baseball field that parish used in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Former pastor Father Raymond Reising led an effort to organize and field a youth baseball team back then.

Founded in Elberfeld in 1868, the parish moved to its current location, in the Daylight community, in 1987. The parish has a rich, dynamic history, and Bishop Siegel recognized it during his homily. He told the congregation that it was clear the parish family had celebrated the two commandments that were the focus of the day’s Gospel reading (Mark 12: 28-34) for 150 years.

In the Gospel, one of the scribes asks Jesus which is the most important commandment from the Torah. He said the most important was to love the Lord God above all else, and the second was to love one’s neighbor as oneself.

Bishop Siegel added that people are the living stones that make up the temple of God in the world, and that the task for all of us is to follow the commandments Jesus cited – to love God and each other. He urged those in attendance to use well what they have been given to serve God and others, especially those in need.

The bishop thanked all of the bishops, priests, deacons, religious sisters (who taught in the parish school) and all the people of the parish who have contributed to its rich legacy.

 “I have been here since 2016, and these have been the best three years of my life. I thank all of you for that,” Father Forler said before the Mass’ final blessing. “I want to especially thank the members of the parish council, who did a tremendous job of organizing everything.”

Following Mass, the parish hosted a dinner in the parish hall. Parishioners brought so much food that the buffet line was set up in a separate room.

The inside cover of the worship aid and program for the Mass included a simple-but-perfect prayer:

“As God has smiled upon the devotion and family life St. John’s these 150 years, may he continue to bless, guide and strengthen us, now and forever.”