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The Year in Indiana Catholic History, or the lull in the calendar?

As we approach the end of 2009, there is a lull in the calendar, at least in mine. So, I thought, why not take a short look at this year in Indiana Catholic History.

As I say in my essay An American Church?,

History is an individual approach to the past, its impact on the present and what that means to me and to us. History is an Interpretation of events.

With 2009 still with us and so many things still too “close”, it is difficult to interpret these current events. However, I wanted to make note of two very important events in the history of Catholicism in Indiana.

First, 2009 was the 175th Anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Vincennes. I’m wondering if anyone remembers the sesquicentennial Mass in 1984 and the celebration on Monument Circle afterwards. You may also remember the volume “Our Family Album-A Journey of Faith”. The closing pages of that book included an epilogue which said:

“To those who wish to move forward in the archdiocese, we say ‘Get to know the past!’ Until we know and accept with pride where we have been, we can never live comfortably in the future.”

There was talk then about a “new” history of the diocese being written, but that never happened. The 175th anniversary celebration, hopefully, re-instilled the desire to not only publish a new and concise history of the diocese, but also to help a completely new generation to appreciate our collective history.

The other item from this past year was the selection and installation of Fr. Paul Etienne as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne Wyoming. The number of men who have come from the Diocese of Vincennes (Indianapolis) to become bishops is rather small and Bishop Paul’s appointment is also worth marking because of the quality of this appointment and his connection to the cause of Bishop Simon Gabriel Bruté.


Categories: Postings.