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Evansville, Indiana
May 21, 1993     The Message
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May 21, 1993

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,1993 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 Bishop's Forum-- He was fourteen years old. I thirteen. The date was Sep- 9, 1949. We were first-day at St. Meinrad High We were beginning an that would span 44 Twelve years as seminary and 32 years as priests. Father Paul Ofer, the pastor Mark Church near Tell City to the seminary. Fa- Earl Feltman, my pastor at Church in French- me for fear that I get even more homesick :ipated. "amin Harpenau first student in alphabetical order after d Andrew Gettelfinger. Assignments were those days according to the king of the alphabet. We were next to each other everything in those early days: for s, for study hall, for chapel, in the wash- in the dormitory. Where there was Harpe- there was Gettelfinger; where there was Get- there was Harpenau. a farm kid. I was too. He was a bit my 98-pound frame. After all, he was older than I was. two brothers and two sisters. I had ers and five sisters. parents were all living. We were penny family rich. uncle Father Bockhold was a priest ocese of Indianapolis. My uncle, Joe Gettelfinger was a priest in the Arch- isville. Both became Monsignors. Were classmates at St. Meinrad too. They in 1920. t and I discovered handball early. We chance we had for many years. es we led in the seminary fit us well got over the initial, but very painful, Neither of us had been away from Boyhood friends eCause we had so much in common, we :Omfort in companionship. Most of our 74 from the city. Of course, )BISHOP RALD A GETTELFINGER any city was "big" to us. They came from places with names of Evansville, North Vernon, Poseyville, Ferdinand, Jasper, Tell City, Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Toledo. Little did we realize in those early days that most of our classmates, too, felt uncomfortable with [heir "lot" compared to the perce.ived "lot" of others. We didn't realize that much of it was simple adolescent self-conscious- ness. Pat had trouble with Latin. I loved it. I discovered reading. Pat hated to read. Nonetheless we not only survived, we thrived on the seminary diet of good substantial food, spiritual formation and study. The city boys tended to lose weight on the seminary diet. Pat and I had hearty appetites and became the beneficiaries of "ex- tras" that table mates did not want. Unaware that it was happening, we became beloved brothers. I came to learn that Pat looked up to me because of my extroverted personality and my willingness to take the lead. He was more reflective and stood back until invited to partici- pate. I got involved with the stage crew in my fas- cination with the stage plays for which St. Mein- rad was noted. Pat joined me as a crew member. We did that for at least eight of our 12 years in the seminary. He was the ever faithful and loyal friend. He was also a dependable and hard worker. The years past ever so quickly in the closed seminary environment. Seminarians in our day went home only for Christmas and summer vaca- tions, two weeks and three months respectively. We therefore spent most of our growing up years together. We were ordained together on May 7, 1961, along with 13 other classmates for the Archdio- cese of Indianapolis. We celebrated our First Mass each in our home parish, Father Pat at St. Mark and I at St. Bernard. Both of us had prepared for teaching at the direction of Monsignor James P. Galvin who was in charge of seminarians for the archdiocese. Fa- ther Pat was assigned to St. Mary's-of-the-Knobs with the pastor who took him to ite seminary. Father Ofer. He was also to teach at Providence High School in Clarksville while I was assigned to St. Matthew Church in Indianapolis and a teaching assignment at Chatard High School which was scheduled to open in the fall of 1961. The following year, Father Pat joined me at Chatard. We worked together in Catholic Educa- tion for nineteen of our first twenty years as priests. Father Pat and I left Catholic education in the 1980s. Father Pat became a pastor and I be- came Chancellor of the Archdiocese. We contin- ued to keep in close touch since he and I had joined Father Koopman and Father Pappano in a priests' support group in the late 1970s. Father Pappano had been killed in an auto accident on Easter Sunday in 1987, We shared sorrow at his death. We talked openly of our experiences in priesthood arising from the turbulent times within the Church. We never lost sight of who we were or what we were about. It was at a support group meeting in the fall two years ago that Father Pat first spoke of his physical distress for which his doctor had no di- agnosis. We "jumped his case" and insisted that he get to the hospital and not leave until they could find out his problem. That discussion was prompted by the information that Father Keep- man was to have a "heart cath" the following week. He did what we urged only to be sent home. He finally went back and stayed until tests indi- cated a cancerous tumor which has ultimately taken his life. Father Pat was my best friend in the priest- hood. I loved him as he loved me. Those were the last words we shared on the telephone a few days before his death. Father Patrick Benjamin Harpenau was a faithful priest and a loyal friend. He died on May 14, 1993, on the thirty-second anniversary of our : i "first Mass day" in 1961. I miss him! : Ily PAUL R. LEINGANG essage editor is another in a orticles about people Synod '93. d ore responses of questions from ! : !'7 for the Synod: Nieva Schapker the Message. mittee. Nieva Schapker knows now that she used to know very little about some parts of the diocese. Her knowledge has increased, however, since she became a member of the Synod Central Planning Com- PRAYER FOR THE SYNOD Diocese of Evansville PRAY love, Yotl sent "four m to live among us, and love You, and worship 5ou ,as Your faithful people. ( living holy lives as faithful disciples of Jesus, Your n, may be known and felt in our midst. may come tt know and love 'r,u begin to serve and worship Ym. Your Spirit to use full 7, the many gifts You have given us. Our faith. as t0 see Your plan for the Church. future, may our plans be iaithful to Yours. 'twe, the Church of mthwe,qern Indiana, kingdom throt,gh preaching and 1Mng Your gospei. through Jtus Christ Our Lord! Nieva and Anthony Schap- ker have three children Heidi, 13; Peter, 11, and Liesl, 9. They live in New- burgh and are members of St. John the Baptist Church. Nieva is active at her parish, as a substitute teacher and volunteer at the parish school. She is also active in Cub Scouts and in the Cur- sillo movement. Why did you say "yes" to involvement in synodal plan- ning? [I wanted] a chance to have an impact in the life of the Diocese. Describe vour Synod Cen- tral Planning Committee ex- perience: Meeting other members of the, diocese especially the ones from the eastern (lasper Deanery) and northern {Vin- cennes and Washington Dean.eries) parts of the dio- cese. I'm sure that Dad I not been involved, my perception of who the Evansville Diocese is would certainly be very limited. What are your hopes for Synod '93? "To bring the whole of the Evansville Diocese closer and 1 in brother- and sisterhood 1 ai! Nieva Schapker listens to some serious talk during a meeting of the Synod Central Planning Committe,. AI the next table. Father lohn Kane. another member of the committee, ponders the discussion. -- Message photo by Paul R. Leingang I II I I I I II MILLER & MILLER ',4 family name you can trust" 424-9274 I I I I I III [ I COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE Auto! Home! Fire & Life! 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