December 7, 2007

Benedictine Father Julian Peters begins two-year ministry at cathedral

By Mary Ann Wyand

There’s a new priest in ministry at the cathedral.

Benedictine Father Julian Peters of Saint Meinrad began a two-year assignment on Oct. 1 as interim administrator of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral Parish in Indianapolis and interim director of liturgy for the archdiocesan Office of Worship.

His duties include assisting Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein as master of ceremonies for liturgies at the cathedral.

Father Patrick Beidelman, who was appointed pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral Parish, rector of the cathedral and director of liturgy for the Office of Worship by the archbishop in 2005, began a

two-year leave of absence in late August to complete a graduate degree in liturgical theology in Rome.

Charles Gardner, executive director for Spiritual Life and Worship and director of liturgical music for the archdiocese, said he is pleased that Father Julian was granted permission to accept this ministry assignment by Benedictine Archabbot Justin DuVall.

“The combination that we have [in the archdiocese] as director of liturgy and pastor of Cathedral Parish is somewhat unique,” Gardner explained. “There’s a lot to handle with the two positions. The cathedral [assignment] is unique because there is a small but active parish … along with many Masses, prayer services and other events.

“Father Julian has an amazing attention to detail and is very thorough,” Gardner said. “At Saint Meinrad [Archabbey], he spent a lot of time assisting two archabbots and serving as master of ceremonies so he has a lot of experience. … He brings a strong respect for the tradition and knowledge of liturgy [to this ministry position].”

Among other special duties, Gardner said, Father Julian will assist with liturgical arrangements for the National Catholic Educational Association conference on

March 25-28 at the Indiana Convention Center in ­Indianapolis and plans for the 175th anniversary of the archdiocese in the spring of 2009.

Diana Hay, executive assistant at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral Parish, said the staff appreciates Father Julian’s extensive liturgical and administrative experience.

“Father Julian brings in fresh ideas and we’re happy to have him here,” Hay said. “We’re glad we have somebody who is experienced to help us at the cathedral during the two years that Father Beidelman is studying in Rome.”

She said Cathedral parishioners welcomed their interim administrator during a reception after Mass on Oct. 7.

“It’s very busy [at the cathedral] during the Advent and Christmas seasons,” Hay said. “We have lots of concerts and special liturgies at the mother church of the archdiocese. We welcome everyone to come here to celebrate liturgy with us.”

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Father Julian graduated from the former Saint Meinrad College in 1982 then completed a Master of Divinity degree at Saint Meinrad School of Theology in 1988 and master’s degree in administration at the University of Notre Dame in 1994.

He professed his first vows as a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in 1983 and was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara at Saint Meinrad Archabbey Church in 1988.

Among his varied ministries at Saint Meinrad, Father Julian served as secretary to the archabbot, administrative assistant to the president-rector of the seminary, and master of ceremonies for the Archabbey Church for more than 10 years.

In addition to serving as commuting chaplain for the Sisters of St. Benedict at Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Ind., in the Evansville Diocese, Father Julian has conducted parish missions, retreats and assisted with weekend parochial assistance at parishes.

Last summer, he completed a sabbatical that included an intensive German language program in Munich, Germany, and visits to Benedictine monasteries in Germany as well as Saint Meinrad’s motherhouse at Einseideln, Switzerland.

“I’ve known that I wanted to be a priest since I was 5,” Father Julian said recently. “… I affiliated with the Diocese of Toledo and chose Saint Meinrad [for seminary studies] because they offered a bachelor’s degree in classical languages. … About my sophomore year, I started to become interested in monastic life and the community at Saint Meinrad.”

Cathedral Parish has about 200 households, and Father Julian said he is enjoying the opportunity to minister to the people. He feels especially called to the end-of-life ministries of “caring for the dying, the dead and the grieving.”

“The people are wonderful,” Father Julian said. “They’ve been very welcoming. I’m enjoying very much my time at the cathedral.” †

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