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CLOSING CELEBRATION OF SYNOD ON PENTECOST Diocese looks ahead to ‘a new beginning’ with Mass and procession

Synod closing Mass 1

At the closing Mass for the diocesan synod, Bishop Donald J. Hying is seen through a monstrance near the stage at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary on June 4. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)



Northwest Indiana Catholic


      GARY – Calling upon more than 2,000 faithful to “Be not afraid of our future, (but) boldly embrace it and shape it,” Bishop Donald J. Hying celebrated the closing Mass of the first-ever synod for the Diocese of Gary, then carried the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of Gary as hundreds accompanied him to the Cathedral of the Holy Angels for the benediction and blessing.

      “This is an absolutely magnificent day,” said the bishop on June 4 in greeting more than 55 fellow priests, two dozen deacons, more than 40 confirmandi, scores of volunteers and busloads of representatives from every parish in the diocese – many wearing red to mark Pentecost – and Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, at the Genesis Center. “We celebrate the sending forth at the end of our synod, but it really is the beginning (as we go out) with great conviction and greater generosity.”

      “Over 300 synod delegates engaged in a marathon session of animated prayer and discussion yesterday,” added Bishop Hying, “and today, we receive a fresh infusion of the Holy Spirit. So many of us have felt that joy, power and enthusiasm that the Holy Spirit brings.

      One of those feeling the Holy Spirit was Denyse Buck of Highland, a member of Our Lady of Grace who arrived early with her husband, George, drummer for the closing Mass. “I love seeing the youth involved,” she said as she watched volunteers preparing for the liturgy and seating the faithful. “It is a great ‘coming together,’ and I am absolutely feeling the Holy Spirit fill this space.

      “The Church equips us with the power to go out and make new disciples; that’s what disciples do, they form other disciples” the bishop said, recalling his Feb. 25, 2016 pastoral letter that announced Synod 2017, ‘Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations. . .’

      “The early Church went everywhere, wanted to tell every person about Jesus Christ, this man who touched their lives,” added the bishop. “The Church grew all because those first followers of Christ went public” instead of huddling in the Upper Room.

      After a year of discussion and discernment, Phillip Hinton, an East Chicago resident and parishioner at Ss. Monica and Luke in Gary, is “looking forward to the proposals” emanating from the synod. “I am concerned about the closing of churches, interested in building Church membership up,” added Hinton.

      Verlee Suggs, of Merrillville, who operates the soup kitchen at Ss. Monica and Luke, is pleased that the synod “allowed parishioners to get involved in their own destiny.”

      Signifying the importance of Pentecost in sending forth disciples of Christ, Bishop Hying and Bishop Emeritus Dale J. Melczek confirmed more than 40 adults from throughout the diocese, laying hands on each and anointing them with the Oil of Sacred Chrism.

      “It makes it that much more special, to (be confirmed) here with the entire diocese,” said Anthony Jackson, of Hammond, a confirmandi from St. John Bosco. “This is about confirming my faith, showing that I’m dedicated to Jesus. My 3-year-old daughter, Lillian, was baptized earlier today, so it is a special day for both of us in the Church.”

      Following the Rite of Comm, the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament offered a period of silent prayer and song before the Eucharistic Procession.

      “It was a wonderful exposure of the Church at its best, all the instruments, choir, all the priests and the people,” said cantor Tina O’Drobinak of Schererville, a parishioner at St. John the Evangelist in St. John.

      Shuttle buses were provided, but hundreds braved the 90-degree sunshine to walk, sing and pray the Rosary behind cross bearers Robert Ross and Nathaniel Santos. Processing with the Blessed Sacrament, Bishop Hying was attended by Deacons Bob Marben and Tom Grzybek, censer bearers Jacob McDaniel and Jeff Burton, torch and canopy bearers. Honor guards represented the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree, the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Knights of Peter Claver with its Ladies Auxiliary.

      The procession ended under a large tent where the faithful recited the Divine Praises, sang “Holy God We Praise They Name” and received a blessing.

      Kerry Triplett, of Gary, brought her granddaughter, Naudia Steele. “We want (to represent) black Catholics, and we are happy this was held in the city,” said Triplett, a member of Ss. Monica and Luke who applauded when the bishop said, “We will never give up on this wonderful city.”

      “I am waiting for the written report on the synod, to see where I fit in,” Triplett added.

      Marisol Medrano, of Portage, a member of St. Francis Xavier in Lake Station, called the procession, “long, but so beautiful” after walking with her husband, Mauricio, and daughters Marisol and Jackelyne, and sending a photo to son Mauricio, away at college. “Our pastor, Father (David) Kime, gave us a lot of motivation to come, and it touched my heart to see so many people.”


Synod closing Mass 2

Liam Neary, 9, of Queen of All Saints Parish in Michigan City follows along in the guide book at the closing Mass for the dicoesan synod on June  4 at the Geneisis Convention Center in Gary. The celebration, on Pentecost Sunday, marked the beginning of the implementation phase of the ideas choosen by the faithful for a 'new beginning' for the Local Church. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)


Synod closing Mass 3

On Pentecost Sunday, Father Martin Dobrzynski, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel in Schererville, welcomes the faithful to Genesis Convention Center in Gary for the closing Mass of the diocesan synod. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)


Synod closing Mass 7

Bishop Donald J. Hying carries the monstrance under a canopy held by local parishioners as the procession heads to Broadway, then to 7th Avenue, tracing a route from the Genesis Convention Center to Holy Angels Cathedral after the closing Mass for the diocesan synod on June 4 in Gary. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo) 


Synod closing Mass 6

Peggy Behn of St. Mary in Griffith raises her hand in praise as she sings along with the faithful under a tent at the benediction during the closing of the diocesan synod at Holy Angels Cathedral in Gary on June 4. On Pentecost Sunday, the final event of the closing of the diocesan synod took place after a Eucharistic procession traced a route from the Genesis Convention Center to the cathedral. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

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