May 1, 2009

175th anniversary Mass to be celebrated on May 3

Criterion staff report

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

All Catholics from across central and southern Indiana and those from outside the archdiocese are invited to the Mass. The general public may attend as well.

On May 6, 1834, Pope Gregory XVI established the Diocese of Vincennes. At the time, it compromised the entire state of Indiana and the eastern third of Illinois, including Chicago which, at the time, was a tiny village on the shore of Lake Michigan.

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.

“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.”

Tickets will not be needed for general seating in the stands. Those to be confirmed and others to be honored at the Mass will have reserved seats on the stadium floor.

The Mass will be broadcast on giant screens in the stadium to aid those seated far away from the altar.

All present will be able to receive Communion, and attendance at the Mass will fulfill one’s Sunday obligation. A collection will be taken up to support the anniversary Mass.

No general concessions will be sold at Lucas Oil Stadium before, during or after the Mass, but bottled water will be available for $3 per bottle.

For those needing assistance, elevators will be available. People can use the southeast and northwest elevator banks to get down to the lower level of the stadium.

Adequate parking will be available in lots and on the streets adjacent to the stadium.

The doors will open for the Mass at 1 p.m. More information about the Mass, including driving directions to Lucas Oil Stadium, can be found at

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 had 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 300 volunteers will carry out a variety of ministries.

Starting at 1:30 p.m., a choir made up of 119 students from Catholic high schools from across the archdiocese will sing a variety of selections for about an hour.

It will be led by Eddie Guanajuato, who directs bands and choirs at Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis.

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.

The text of the opening hymn, “Come and See the Many Wonders,” was composed specifically for the 175th anniversary Mass of the archdiocese by Benedictine Father Harry Hagan of Saint Meinrad Archabbey.

Charles Gardner, archdiocesan executive director for spiritual life and worship, will lead the choir.

(For more information on the archdiocese’s 175th anniversary, log on to

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