St. Monica Catholic Church Newsletter — Jan 2023

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MEET PARISHIONERS

MASS TIMES:

Monday, Wednesday, & Friday: 9 a.m.

St. Monica Catholic Church 6131 N. Michigan Rd. Indianapolis, Indiana 46228-1298

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: 5:30 p.m.

Saturday: 11:30 a.m.

Saturday Anticipation Mass: 5:00 p.m.

Sunday: 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. (Spanish), 3 p.m. (Spanish), 6 p.m. (Bilingual)

Mass in French, 2nd Sunday of each month: 4:30 p.m.

(317) 253-2193 www.stmonicaindy.org

Themission statement of St. Monica Catholic School includes the commitment to engaging students and families to “grow as disciples of Christ.” When it came time for Stephanie Mason and Daymon Gorman to choose a school for their oldest daughter, Aliyah, they only looked at St. Monica’s — they enrolled her and never looked back. Aliyah is now in fourth grade, with Daymon Jr. in second grade and Cecilia in preschool.

“We love the diversity, support, and the opportunities available to our family at our school,” Stephanie says. “The availability of resources for our kids is incredible to help them get the best education possible!”

Stephanie has been attending St. Monica’s Church since 2010. One big draw for her was the diversity of our

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Stephanie Mason and Daymon Gorman Embracing Faith and the Family Atmosphere at Our Parish School Stephanie Mason and Daymon Gorman

MEET PARISHIONER Matthew Simpson Joyfully Giving to God and Parish in Hospitality

Hospitality is one of the four pillars of parish stewardship. Offering a warm, welcoming environment is a key part of building up our parish community and inviting others to participate in parish life. Here at St. Monica, we have two ministries dedicated to hospitality — both the Usher and Greeter Ministries maintain a focus on hospitality at Sunday services.

“I think it helps provide that ‘all are welcome’ type of feeling inside a church,” says longtime parishioner Matthew Simpson. “It helps make people feel welcome inside the parish.”

Matthew has enjoyed the

opportunity to serve in both ministries for many years.

“There are some very nice folks at St. Monica who I enjoy being around,” he says. “Even for an hour or so, it’s very good to be connected

with folks who have similar thoughts. Being an usher and greeter lets me see not only those sitting next to me, but also those who are coming into the church.”

Although he was raised

“Stewardship is more than money. If you can make people feel welcome and comfortable where they are, that’s a good thing. If that’s part of your makeup and you can share that with people, then it needs to be shared.”
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— Matthew SiMpSon
on
Matthew says his involvement helps him use the talents God has given him.

Recognizing THE

GIFT WE HAVE TO

Growing up in the McCaslin household, the Christmas season was a special time of year for us. A usually modestly decorated house, due to the wear and tear of six children, was magically decorated for the Christmas season. One of our traditional Christmas decorations is a cardboard fireplace that is placed in the living room during the Christmas season. Each Christmas one or two of us would be chosen to assemble our “fireplace” for the Christmas season. Each of us would hang a sock on the fireplace in anticipation of receiving some Christmas candies on Christmas morning. As a small boy, I would curl up in front of the fireplace imagining that it provided me with warmth.

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to our past, our commitment to the present with hope for what is to come for my family. Thanks to its care by various family members over the years, we carry on our tradition. Perhaps your family has some similar type of tradition?

Over the years our Christmas fireplace became a family tradition with the ones who assembled it for the year writing on the inside their names and the year that they assembled it. When my mother finally sold our family childhood home, the fireplace traveled to her condominium. Every year, it joyfully appeared at Christmas, requiring a little more care, sometimes repair, and sometimes creating a replacement part. When the family celebration moved to my rectory, custody of the fireplace came to me. Now, each year the fireplace appears in my rectory in anticipation of my family coming over to celebrate our family Christmas. Each year, as it becomes a little more fragile, it requires some new tape to hold parts together or black marker to fill in some fading color. That old and more delicate cardboard fireplace, now over 50 years old, continues to be a symbol of our connection

To some, it may seem silly that we have so carefully cared for and worked to preserve a cardboard fireplace. It seems to me that in many ways, life in our community is like that old cardboard fireplace. We cannot take it for granted. It requires the attention and care of each one of us in our own way. Our parish community life finds its roots in years past, the way we choose to share our faith life together right now, with a deep hope for what is to come. It requires the attentiveness of all of us to help our families and our parish community to continue to be present to each other in Christ. The vitality of our parish community and our mission depends on each of us caring for what has been entrusted to us and through us radiating the love and warmth of Christ to all who seek Him. As we conclude the Christmas season, may you recognize the gifts that you have to share with Saint Monica and a spirit of generosity to do so. Happy New Year!

Sincerely yours in Christ, Rev. John P.

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Dear Parishioners,

St. James the Apostle,

Our Sister Parish in Honduras “A RELATIONSHIP THROUGH PRAYER WITHIN THE EUCHARIST”

Every third Sunday, we offer a special prayer for our sister parish partnership. We lift our voices as we “seek to build a relationship through prayer within the Eucharist” between the parishioners of St. Monica and St. James the Apostle in Lepaterique, Honduras.

“When you prepare to visit our sister parish, you start thinking about our differences, but in the end, you see how similar we are and receive a sense of the universal church,” says Kathy Cohenour, who has been involved with the Sister Parish partnership for 15 years “As you start talking with people and getting to know them individually, you’ll be amazed by the similar issues, concerns, and joys that we all share.”

Our sister parish partnership began in 2003 when Msgr. Paul Koetter went on a pilgrimage to Central America. He returned convicted to seek a way to foster peace and understanding between our Catholic communities.

“Monsignor wanted to connect Catholics in our common faith and to work together in deepening that faith,” Kathy says. “He found out about the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas, through which parishes in Latin America and Haiti partner with U.S. parishes.”

The parish contacted the program and was sent a list of approximately eight potential parishes throughout

Mexico and Central America. After some deliberation and discussion, the decision was made to put the names in a hat, say a prayer, and let the Holy Spirit decide.

“A parishioner read at random from the Bible, actually from James, and then St. James was the name drawn,” Kathy says. “I was not at St. Monica at that time, but a letter was sent to the pastor, and we asked if he would be willing to partner with us. The first group went to visit St. James in 2004, and then St. James’ pastor visited St. Monica in 2005.”

St. James the Apostle is in a little town in a remote mountainous area about 30 miles outside of the capital city of Tegucigalpa. The parish is comprised of 48 small communities situated in even more isolated locations. Many of them are only accessible in the dry season and then only by walking or on horseback.

“It is a very remote area without access to medical care, which is how I got involved,” says Kathy, who is a physician. “I had joined the parish and saw an ad asking if you like to travel, speak Spanish, and have medical knowledge, and I had all those things as well as experience in medical mission work.”

In 2007, Kathy started visiting St. James the Apostle with other St. Monica parishioners and offering basic medical services at a portable clinic. At the end of their visit, supplies that are not used are left for the traveling nurses who visit the villages when they can.

“Part of the ministry is having that time in person together, and it is a mutual exchange,” Kathy says. “Generally we send a team each year in early June and then in the fall they come up from St. James to visit us, but COVID shut everything

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Our Sister Parish in Honduras

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down. We recently visited for the first time in three years.”

During their recent visit, St. Monica parishioners realized the impact that COVID had on the community and pivoted to address those concerns.

“The biggest issue was that transportation was largely shut down, so people were even more isolated, and poverty and hunger had increased,” Kathy says. “We shifted gears to see how we could help with some of the hunger relief and food distribution programs.”

Over the years, more than 200 parishioners have gone from St. Monica to St. James the Apostle, including youth group members. Though parishioners from St. James the Apostle also regularly visit St. Monica, they navigate several challenges, especially obtaining visas. When they can visit, they’ve stayed with host families.

“Parishioners are always welcome to help host,” Kathy says. “In addition to going to St. James, parishioners can also support the partnership by helping pack supplies before the trip, donating over-the-counter medications, and giving in the monthly offering on the third Sunday.”

In the past, St. Monica supported St. James the Apostle in the development of a girls boarding school so that girls would have access to education beyond sixth grade.

“St. James parish came up with the idea to start a boarding school in Lepaterique, and when they raised funds, we helped,” Kathy says. “That school now has 26 girls who study there. We sought sponsors for those girls at St. Monica and encourage letter writing between the girls and their sponsors.”

Letter writing and even virtual conversations are two other ways the parishes connect and support each other, though they both have their challenges.

“We’ve tried to set up conversation online between different parish groups, and it’s challenging, but we’re also trying through WhatsApp now,” Kathy says. “I can text the pastor and pass on prayer requests, and they have done the same with us to include in our petitions.

Kathy would invite all faith community members to pray for our sister parish partnership and consider how else to support this building of understanding and community in our universal Church.

“Personally, getting to know the people of St. James one-onone, hearing their stories, and seeing their struggles has had a big impact on me,” Kathy says. “When I see their incredible faith, I am moved to be more trusting in God.”

 Heavenly Father, in solidarity with our Sister Parish we seek to build a relationship through prayer within the Eucharist.

 In solidarity we pray for our children. May they always find peace to nourish their hearts and love to nourish their souls.

 In solidarity we pray for our mothers and fathers. May they always have the wisdom to guide us and the perseverance to create a home of unconditional acceptance.

 In solidarity, we pray for our brothers and sisters. May we be doers of the Word and not hearers only and may we love our neighbor as ourselves and not make distinctions among us, instead, love all equally.

 In solidarity we pray for our poor. May we always respond to their call for justice with compassion and act in social conscience.

 In solidarity, we pray for our sister communities of St. Monica and St. James the Apostle.

 Through prayer, may we be joined through a spirit of faith in Christ. May the bond that we share extend to the lives of our families and communities.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

AMEN.

St. James the Apostle, pray for us. St. Monica, pray for us.

If you would like more information about the sister parish program, please reach out to Kathy Cohenour at 317-372-7884 or k.cohenour@comcast.net.

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PARISHIONER MATTHEW SIMPSON

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Catholic and grew up around the faith, Matthew left the Church during his college years. When he returned and joined St. Monica in the early 2000s, he began looking for ways to use his talents to serve the church. He started asking around if there was a need for ushers, but continually he was told, “no.”

“I quit asking,” he says.

But one Sunday, somebody said they needed help and asked Matthew. He readily agreed. Matthew says his involvement as an usher and greeter helps him use the talents God has given him. Since he started serving in those roles, he also has begun serving as a lector and as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

“I feel I need to give back. Ushering and greeting is

an easy way to do it,” Matthew says.

The primary role of a greeter is to welcome people into the church as they arrive, connecting with parishioners and helping them to feel welcome. The ushers, on the other hand, have a few more responsibilities, including handing out bulletins, escorting people for Communion, facilitating the collection baskets, and helping parishioners during Mass as needed. Both ministries seek to promote and foster hospitality within the parish on Sundays.

“Stewardship is more than money,” Matthew says. “If you can make people feel welcome and comfortable where they are, that’s a good thing. If that’s part of your makeup and you can share that with people, then it needs to be shared.”

PARISHIONERS STEPHANIE MASON AND DAYMON GORMAN

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parish. She feels the same way about the school as she feels about our parish — it’s a family.

“Everyone is part of the family at St. Monica,” Stephanie says. “We are so grateful to be a part of it.”

In particular, Stephanie has appreciated the ways she has been able to be involved with the school. This year, she became the permanent substitute at the school, and she volunteers as president of the School Commission. Stephanie has also helped in her children’s classrooms.

Daymon and Stephanie both value the role of Catholic education. St. Monica Catholic School is helping to build a firm faith foundation for their children, nurturing them through the sacraments and prayer. Mass attendance during school is important to the couple.

Stephanie Mason and Daymon Gorman’s children — Aliyah (fourth grade), Daymon Jr. (second grade) and Cecilia (preschool)

“Having the opportunity to pray daily throughout the school day helps our children to strengthen their

faith,” Stephanie says. “We want to be able to instill Christian values in our children and by getting a Catholic education, this will allow our children to learn and grow every day with their faith.”

The couple also finds it important to give back to the school in any way they can, considering it an investment in their children’s education. When the school can prosper, so can their children.

“By showing our support, we are contributing to our children’s ability to be ready for school each day and to help them learn throughout the year,” Daymon says.

Both Daymon and Stephanie believe their own involvement serves as a model for their children in the future.

“Being involved, volunteering, and being active in our school helps to set an example for our children to understand the importance of supporting their school and their education,” Daymon says.

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