By Bishop Joseph M. Siegel
The Message Publisher
“Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
These words from the Letter to the Hebrews were chosen as the theme of our diocesan 75th anniversary to remind us that what we celebrate this year is not just a random historical event, but rather the unfolding of a story of faith. We celebrate how God has blessed our diocese in the past, continues to sustain us now and will guide us in the future.
We can certainly look back at the rich legacy of our diocese and see how God has guided the development of the Church, from the time the first French settlers and missionaries planted the faith in this region. The Diocese of Vincennes was established in 1834, with Servant of God Bishop Simon Bruté as the first shepherd. Pope Pius XII established our diocese in 1944, and we recall our bishops who provided leadership in those early years and beyond: Bishop Henry Grimmelsman, Bishop Paul Leibold, Bishop Francis Shea, Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger and Bishop (now Archbishop) Charles Thompson. We also recognize in prayer and gratitude the countless priests, deacons, religious and lay leaders who were instrumental throughout the past 75 years in building up this local Church, establishing the parishes, schools and institutions that continue to serve our people.
Our jubilee celebration also invites us to discern where our Diocesan Church is today and where the Holy Spirit is leading us in the days to come. With God’s help, we are called to build on the accomplishments of previous generations and, with the gift of our own talents and resources, continue the mission of evangelization. Through worship, education and service, we are to share the faith with the people of our time, inviting back those who no longer practice the faith, and engaging our young people who will be the leaders of our Church in the years to come. We know that as we continue our pilgrimage of faith, the Lord will be with us on the way as He promised.
I hope and pray that our celebration for our 75th anniversary will be a time of grace and renewal for the people of our diocese. As we reflect on the blessings of the past, may we look forward with profound faith, hope and love to a future of ever greater growth in the life of the Church in these 12 counties of southwest Indiana.
I entrust our diocese to the loving intercession of our patroness, Mary, the Mother of God. May she continue to lead us, as she has past generations, ever closer to her Son Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.