June 24, 2022

Diverse community of faith at heart of liturgies opening Eucharistic Revival

Father Patrick Beidelman elevates the Eucharist during a June 19 Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis to start the National Eucharistic Revival in the archdiocese. Concelebrating the Mass are Fathers Jude Meril Sahayam, center, and Minh Quang Duong. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Father Patrick Beidelman elevates the Eucharist during a June 19 Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis to start the National Eucharistic Revival in the archdiocese. Concelebrating the Mass are Fathers Jude Meril Sahayam, center, and Minh Quang Duong. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

The National Eucharistic Revival started in the archdiocese with two joyful Masses celebrated on June 19 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis.

One thing that could have made the liturgies even more joyful would have been if Archbishop Charles C. Thompson could have been present for them.

However, he was absent because he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier that day.

Father Patrick Beidelman, rector of the cathedral, invited the worshippers at the first Mass to keep the archbishop in prayer.

“In a special way, let’s lift up Archbishop Thompson today and all the sick, that God may grant them a speedy recovery, healing and comfort,” said Father Beidelman in opening remarks at the Mass that began at 1 p.m.

In place of Archbishop Thompson, he was the principal celebrant of the Mass, which was celebrated primarily in English. Other languages incorporated into the liturgy included American Sign Language, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Burmese dialects.

“We are grateful to be here,” said Robert Shwe, a Burmese Catholic who, along with his family, are members of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis. “We thank Jesus. We are happy to see everybody here. We love it.”

Veronic Win, Shwe’s wife who emigrated to Indiana four years ago, appreciated seeing worshippers at the Mass from so many places around the world.

“I really love to see all the ethnic groups,” she said. “It’s like my country, Myanmar. There are more than 150 ethnic groups there. In Christ, we are all human and children of God, even though we are from different ethnic groups and countries.”

People come each year from all over the world to Indianapolis to compete in and watch the Indianapolis 500. Archbishop Thompson’s homily, which was read at the first Mass by archdiocesan vicar general Msgr. William F. Stumpf, likened the Mass to a pitstop in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing where Catholics “recharge, to fine tune and to recalibrate any aspect of our lives that would hinder us from making the checkered flag and reaching the finish line.”

“The Eucharist, the very body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, is our fuel,” Msgr. Stumpf said. “It’s what makes us run as Catholics. It is the very life source of our energy, strength, power and salvation.

“It is from the Mass that the Lord instructs us, ‘Start your engines,’ in order to go forth as missionary disciples into the world.”

The Eucharist has been a source of strength for Celina Le since she moved to Indianapolis from Vietnam 25 years ago when he was 13.

“It was difficult, because of the language barrier, the culture, all of it,” said Le, a member of St. Joseph Parish in Indianapolis, which includes a vibrant Vietnamese Catholic community. “I was raised as a Catholic. My parents, my grandparents are all Catholic. When you go through difficulties and you think about God, it raises your spirits up and stops you from giving up. It’s very important.”

The faith is important also to Patrick Vogt, who attended the first Mass from St. Mary Parish in North Vernon.

His wife Courtney leads liturgical music at the Seymour Deanery faith community and assisted at the first Mass on June 19 as cantor.

While his ancestors came to Indiana from Germany many generations ago, he values coming together to worship with fellow Catholics who moved here more recently.

“We’re all one people, even though we might have different cultures and practices,” Vogt said. “We’re all together at that source and summit of our faith. It’s interesting to see how different cultures have accepted the faith and woven their practices into it.”

Msgr. Stumpf, while he said that “my heart just broke” because the archbishop was not able to celebrate the Mass, still took joy in worshipping with Catholics from around the world.

“It was beautiful to see so many people show up to celebrate their love for the Eucharist,” he said. “It was such a beautiful Mass. You could feel the Spirit and everyone’s great love and reverence for the Eucharist. They’re all centered on the Eucharist. It goes across all cultures and languages.”

Father Beidelman highlighted this aspect of the liturgy in closing remarks at the first Mass.

“We had both the word of God proclaimed in spoken word as well as sung prayer in many different languages today,” he said. “There were wonderful choirs that sang. Although I didn’t know all the languages that were being spoken today, I could hear our love for our eucharistic Lord in everything that was offered today. And that says something about our unity.”

At the 3 p.m. Mass primarily celebrated in Spanish, French was incorporated into the liturgy. Archdiocesan officials said a combined 850 people attended both Masses.

Father Todd Goodson, pastor of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, was the principal celebrant of the later Mass, and also delivered Archbishop Thompson’s homily in Spanish.

“Why is it important for us to embrace the Catholic belief in the real presence of Jesus Christ—his body, blood, soul and divinity—in the Eucharist? Because more than a mere symbol the very reality of his sacred presence is transformative,” he said. “No encounter with him leaves us the same as before any such moment of grace.”

Gustavo Ramirez, a member of Holy Spirit Parish in Indianapolis, attended the later Mass with his sister, Alejandra Hernandez, who is a member of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish.

“We were here as the one body of Christ,” Ramirez noted after the liturgy. “Pope Francis has talked about us being united [as people of faith]. For us, it was very important to be here.”

Carmen Rosa Hurtado, who proclaimed the first reading in Spanish at the later Mass, had a joyful glow after the liturgy.

“The whole time, I love listening to the Mass,” said the member of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis. “For me, it is food for my soul.”

Deacon Juan Carlos Ramirez of St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus has the same feeling about the Eucharist.

“You’re allowing Jesus to go into your being,” said Deacon Ramirez, who assisted at the Mass. “And having Jesus inside you, you’re praying and hoping that you will be able to act, think and serve in the same way that he did. And that means to be Jesus to everybody.”

(Editor Mike Krokos and Assistant Editor John Shaughnessy contributed to this story.)


Related: The gift and the challenge of the Eucharist come into focus in the start of the eucharistic revival

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