March 6, 2009

May 3 Mass at Lucas Oil Stadium will culminate 175th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Archdiocese of Indianapolis 175th anniversary logoBy Sean Gallagher

On May 6, 1834, Pope Gregory XVI established the Diocese of Vincennes. At the time, it comprised the entire state of Indiana and the eastern third of Illinois, including Chicago, which was then a small village.

The pope appointed then-Father Simon Bruté as the first bishop of Vincennes. He, along with three priests, shepherded some 25,000 Catholics across more than 50,000 square miles.

At 3 p.m. on May 3, approximately 35,000 to 40,000 Catholics from across central and southern Indiana will worship together with 20 to 30 bishops and more than 100 priests and deacons during a Mass at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to culminate a yearlong celebration of the 175th anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese of Vincennes, which later became the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

“This huge gathering of Catholics from around the archdiocese will be an exciting demonstration of how the Church in central and southern Indiana has grown in the past 175 years,” said Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel, vicar general. “We will give God thanks for his marvelous gifts to us all these years.”

During the Mass, approximately 2,500 teenagers and 300 adults will receive the sacrament of confirmation.

Among those being honored at the Mass will be children from parishes across the archdiocese who will have recently received their first Communion, couples who have been married 50 years or longer, and men and women religious who are celebrating significant anniversaries of entrance into religious life or profession of vows.

In order to make the anniversary Mass run smoothly, approximately 400 to 500 volunteers will be needed to carry out a variety of ministries, an archdiocesan official said.

Stephen James, director of the archdiocesan Office of Purchasing, is coordinating the recruiting of volunteers. He said that the Mass will give volunteers a greater appreciation for the Church as it is spread out across the state.

“It will be about community,” James said. “A Mass like this will help us experience that the Church goes far beyond the pews in our own parish.”

Those interested in volunteering at the Mass, including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from across the archdiocese, should contact James at 800-382-9836, ext. 1451, or at 317-236-1451, or by sending him an e-mail at

That community experience will begin before the Mass when a choir made up of approximately 125 students from Catholic high schools from across the archdiocese will sing a variety of selections for approximately an hour.

Eddie Guanajuato, who directs bands and choirs at Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis, will lead the choir.

“What better way can students use their God-given talent to help make the stadium a house of worship before the liturgy begins,” Guanajuato said. “The music to be selected will be from a wide range of styles and genres that offer praise to God and is fun to sing.”

During the Mass, the St. Monica Spanish Choir from St. Monica Parish and the Holy Angels Mass Choir from Holy Angels Parish, both in Indianapolis, will add their voices to a choir expected to be made up of hundreds of Catholics from across the archdiocese.

Those interested in singing in this choir should contact Charles Gardner, archdiocesan executive director for spiritual life and worship, at 800-382-9836, ext. 1483, or at 317-236-1483 or by sending an e-mail to

(For more information on the 175th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, log on to

Local site Links: