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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
September 4, 1987     The Message
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September 4, 1987

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St. Francis Xavier,. vlncenne;, I I II II I lll e Father John Emge and Father Robert Bultman, above, serve Old Cathedral Church. Their home is the rectory built in 1840. Father Bultman, a Vincen- nes native, was named pastor in 1986, after serving parishes in Washington, Evansville, New Harmony, Jasper and Mt. Vernon. He also taught at Washington Catholic High School, Washington, Rex Mundi High School and Mater Dei High School, Evansville. Father Emge served parishes in Jasper, Washington, Vanderburgh Count,v, Cannelburg, Evansville, Boonville, Petersburg, and Loogootee, before being named associate pastor at St. Francis Xavier in 1986. At right, a replica pro- claims 1702 as the date of parish beginning. The Old Cathedral is the third struc- ture built on the site; the cor- nerstone was laid in 1826. Below, a sign points the way to the burial place of the first four bishops in Indiana, in the crypt below the main altar. VINCENNES DEANERY . SULLIVAN GREENE VINCENNES IINGTON DEANERY GIBSON [  DUBOIS .e JASPER Parish records in the state of Ind! "St. Francis Xavier Church in Vincennes (The Old Cathedral) is the wellspring of the Catholic Church of the Northwest," according to Father Kenneth Walker, who wrote his licentiate paper on the beginnings of the Evansville Diocese. Other facts from Father Walker's research: St. Francis Xavier is the only church in Indiana honored with the papal designation "minor basilica." St. Francis Xavier is the first of eight Catholic Churches in Indiana listed on the National Register of Historic Places. St. Francis Xavier is the only known parish in Indiana, to perate a museum. To celebrate the diocesan centennial, Bishop Ritter invited the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Amleto Cicognani, to :elebrate Mass at Vincennes. Indiana Governor Paul V. McNutt attended the Mass. " . To celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Archdiocese of In- ]ianapolis, Archbishop O'Meara returned to St. Francis avier as the guest of Bishop Shea, October 28, 1984. In the spirit of Simon Brute, the first bishop of Vincennes, Bishop Shea called the faithful to "act in unity and harmony to lead others to peace." Bookfets with historical information are readily available, for visitors, at the church entrance; volunteer tour guides are available from Spring through Fall. Serious research is possi- i i ble at the Cathedral Library, the oldest inrIndiana , with ] 11,000 volumes -- many printed before 1700. The oldest books are dated 1476 and 1477. Also in the library is an Of- ficial Letter of Pope John XXII, dated 1319; an original letter t of St. Isaac Jogues written in 1644, Father Gibault's Mass Book, and Mother Seton's Bible, which was in her hands at her death in 1821. . . Various dates are cited for the beginning of this "Cradle" of Catholicism" in Indiana. Some clarity comes from Father Walker's paper: "Vincennes is the oldest permanent European settlement in Indiana. In the beginning of the settlement, Vincennes was a trading post and military station. It was founded by and named for the Canadian soldier Francois-Marie Bissot, sieur de Vincennes. Vincennes built a small fort and trading post around 1732 along the St. Jerome River (now called Wabash)