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The Week

As we end another week and look forward to Holy Week, here are some calendar items to consider.

On March 25, 1736 (which was Palm Sunday that year), Fr. Antoninus Senat S.J. was burned at the stake by Indians. He was pastor of St. Francis Xavier, Vincennes [Cauthorn p. 228]. In his “History of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Vincennes” Alerding says: “That Father Senat, a Jesuit, was pastor of Vincennes is mere conjecture. Still, it is presumed that he was, for the reason that he accompanied ‘Vincennes’ the commander of the fort…” [Alerding p.54]. Monsignor John Doyle, in his book, “The Catholic Church in Indiana 1686-1814“, says:

“Father Senat was 36 years old [when he was martyred], and had been in this country for only two years.” …”There is no reason to suppose that Father Senat, whom some list among the priests serving at the post on the Wabash [Vincennes] was ever there.”

On today’s date (March 26), Silas Francis Marean Chatard, (who later switched his first and middle name around) was named as the 5th Bishop of the Diocese of Vincennes. He was born in Baltimore in 1834 and ordained at Rome, in 1862. He became Vice-rector (and later Rector) of the American College in Rome. When he was named bishop of Vincennes on March 26, 1878 he took the name Francis Silas. He was consecrated in Rome on May 12, 1878. He was enthroned (we now use the term “installed”) in the cathedral at Vincennes on August 11, 1878. He arrived in Indianapolis on August 17, 1878.

In conjunction with Bishop Chatard’s being named Bishop, 20 years later, almost to the day, the Diocese of Vincennes was moved to Indianapolis. Upon his appointment in 1878, Bishop Francis Chatard, the fifth bishop of Vincennes, was directed to fix his residence at Indianapolis. (I’m sure that this direction was of his own making as well.) Although the site of the cathedral and the title of the see were continued at Vincennes, Bishop Chatard used St. John the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis as an unofficial cathedral until the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul was completed in 1907. St. John the Evangelist Parish, established in 1837, was the first parish in Indianapolis and Marion County. By apostolic brief dated March 28, 1898, the title of the diocese was changed to that of “Diocese of Indianapolis,” with the episcopal see in the city of Indianapolis. Although the bishop’s official residence was changed, the patron of the diocese remained St. Francis Xavier, the title of the Old Cathedral at Vincennes.

Finally, to round out the month, on March 30, 1826, Rev. John B. Champomier laid the cornerstone of the present St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Vincnennes. It was a Thursday. [Cauthorn p.228]


Categories: Postings.