Rev. Patrick J. Beidelman, STL, ChD, is the Executive Director, Secretariat for Worship and Evangelization in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He also serves as priest moderator pro tem of Holy Angels and St. Rita, Indianapolis and rector of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Rev. Beidelman joined the Order of Malta, American Association in 2014. He currently serves the Central and Southern Indiana Area as a Deputy Chaplain.
How did you become involved in the Order of Malta?
Rev. Beidelman: The Archbishop was asked by Hans Geisler who was Area Chair at the time for a dedicated chaplain to minister to the spiritual needs of members of the Order. The Archbishop asked me, and I was honored to reply yes. I’ve been involved with the Order since the Spring of 2014.
Since your time with the Order, how have you seen the Order and the Knights and Dames evolve in relation to serving Our Lords the Sick and the Poor?
Rev. Beidelman: I came in when there seemed to be a renewal of spirituality of the Order in an intentional way. The Area began holding regular days of reflection, having Area Mass together where we invited people to share in the spirituality of the Order and learn of the work of the Order. An increased spiritual dimension was beginning in the Area, which was probably why I was asked to become a chaplain of the Order.
In which ministry are you most involved? And in which ones are members from the Central Indiana Area most actively involved?
Rev. Beidelman: The Central Indiana Area has several programs that involve food for the poor. It began with supplying and serving seniors monthly meals at a senior center. The members now also serve at a soup kitchen and supply and serve meals at a local low-income housing complex. Not only do they provide good wholesome food, but they also provide social interaction for many people who have a limited social network or no social network. A few members have become very active with the local VA hospital. They provide spiritual support to veterans who are nearing the end of life and have no family.
What about Dr. Kelly’s initiative for a palliative care ministry?
Rev. Beidelman: Excellent place for the Order to be, right in the cross hairs of our mission. Historically the Order used to tend to pilgrims and, in this way, the Order is with people on their journey of life.
Do you feel that the spirituality of the Order has been given a backseat to the works of the Order?
Rev. Beidelman: In Indiana, the people invited into the Order already had a deep faith and practiced that faith. They have a high level of spiritual maturity. Service has not detracted from spirituality. The Knights and Dames in Indiana are a small but very active group with a high level of commitment. The reason I was so willing to serve as a chaplain was because I noted how real the commitment was for the Knights & Dames in the Indiana Area. They put what they professed into action. They walk the walk and talk the talk. That’s what is distinctive about the Order of Malta. Knight & Dames have a high commitment to serving out their charism.
What do you think about the change to the Daily Prayer of the Order?
Rev. Beidelman: The newer version is an improvement. It strengthens the commitment of Knights & Dames and the dimension of their spiritual life. My hope is that the new wording will have Knights & Dames focus on the prayer and not pray by rote. As they focus, they will grow in understanding. The human tendency is to go on autopilot and when you change the words, there is an opportunity to put your whole heart in it. Another good thing is that all three (3) Associations (the Federal, the Western and the American) will be saying the same version of the prayer.