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Last updated 07/30/2015 12:54 PM

Catholic News Around Indiana

Catholic News Around Indiana logoThe Catholic newspapers of the five dioceses of Indiana -- Evansville, Fort Wayne-South Bend, Gary, Indianapolis and Lafayette -- have agreed to share news stories with each other on a regular basis. They are compiled by Brandon A. Evans.

Sometimes these new stories appear in the print edition of The Catholic Moment; many more will be appearing here.


Diocese of Evansville

Ignite Your Torch Conference attended by Daylight parishioners

"Ignite your torch! Conquer for Christ!"

This was the cry of nearly 300 youth gathered in the gym on the campus of St. Catharine College in Springfield, Ky. Since 2009, this campus has become the training ground for Catholic high schoolers as they go forth amongst their peers as martyrs – witnesses to the faith.

The Ignite Your Torch Conference was created in response to World Youth Day, started by our beloved St. John Paul II. It places a strong emphasis on our individual, particular calls to holiness and better prepares youth to proudly cling to their Catholic identity, even in the midst of our often anti-religious society.

On this retreat, the youth are able to partake in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist; share in the community of youth from other parts of our country; interact with many priests and religious; attend workshops where they may learn how to better defend their Faith; and to stand up for Life as they pray and silently witness outside of the abortion mill in downtown Louisville, Ky.

IYT begins and ends with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Devotion to Our Lady also sets the tone for the weekend, as at the end of the first night the participants all join in a candlelit Rosary procession with her image.

The youth and adults also have the opportunity to praise God joyfully through recreation and music. There is a religious vs. youth dodgeball tournament, line dancing, praise and worship throughout the weekend and other fun activities.

Adoration of Our Dear Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament is a very central part of the weekend. IYT participants are able to have that time to become intimate with their Eternal Love, the Most Blessed Trinity. It is in adoration that the rest of the weekend finds its place, and by which the conference bears fruit. It is that time during which attendees may sit with their Creator, Savior, Friend and King. They all have the opportunity to kiss or touch the veil around Jesus, just as the woman in the Gospel touched Him and was healed.

The great spiritual warfare that surrounds us is brought to light in this conference. This war – which Christ has already won – is ever waged on us, the Church militant, by Satan. During this retreat, participants are on the front lines as they go before the abortion mill to pray for the women and children inside. It is that ancient struggle between life and death. And it is Christ, our Life, who triumphs. All at IYT are reminded, "Jesus is Lord!"

'Tech It Easy': MEO hosts summer day camp

By Katelyn Klingler (The Message Intern)

From July 13-16, Marian Educational Outreach hosted “Tech it Easy,” a summer day camp for diocesan students in grades 3-12 who benefit from assistive technology.

Assistive technology allows students of various learning needs to discover and create personalized ways of learning that optimize and enhance their classroom experiences. 

This goal ties in with the mission of Marian Education Outreach, “a ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Evansville committed to providing opportunities for students with unique learning needs to reach their highest potential while remaining in the Catholic school system.”

This year’s camp, which focused on using iPads and a variety of apps, was held in the Reitz Memorial High School media center, and it was broken into sessions for students in elementary, middle school and high school grade levels. Resource teachers and tech specialists from diocesan Catholic schools directed the camp, which included scavenger hunts and other activities designed to make learning as engaging as possible. 

During the camp, elementary school students used the app Pic Collage to create digital poster boards about themselves, and they used apps like Photofunia and Puppet Pals to create other engaging videos and presentations.

High schools students used a “smart pen” and special paper to take recorded notes; they were then able to review their notes and listen to what their teachers had been saying as they wrote.

Students also used an app called Green Screen to create videos of themselves, to which they could add recordings and images. They worked in groups to create video reports using the app, and they used various tools to label and add notes to assignments and projects.

The technology tools incorporated during the camp will provide students with knowledge and resources they can carry into the school year as alternative tools to complete class work. If a student struggles to present in front of his or her classmates, for example, that student could create a video or virtual presentation instead. 

“Students who learn differently often need alternative options to demonstrate their understanding of a particular standard or subject content they have learned in the classroom,” said Bart Burke, technology coordinator at Sts. Peter and Paul School in Haubstadt. He taught at this year’s camp and also serves as MEO's social media coordinator.

(For news from the Diocese of Evansville, log on to the website of The Message at

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Mishawaka man’s books chosen for World Meeting of Families

MISHAWAKA — Franciscan Music of Mishawaka has been selected to provide two books that will be used at the Youth Congress of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia this September. The two books, a 32-page coloring book and a 64-page storybook, are based on the spiritual classic, “Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi,” which was written around 700 years ago. These fanciful tales, abridged for children by Joe Higginbotham, a member of the Secular Franciscan Order, and edited by Jill Boughton, will encourage young readers to imitate the love and virtue of the humble man who rebuilt the Church and forever changed the world. In addition to the World Meeting of Families, Scholastic Book Club has added the storybook to their catalog. Scholastic sells books to children throughout the country.

Higginbotham, the director of liturgy and music at St. Bavo Parish in Mishawaka and spokesman for Franciscan Music said, “We are honored to have two of our products chosen by the World Meeting of Families and Scholastic Book Club. Our goal is to offer inspiring music and books in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. We want to make accessible the love, joy and goodness of St. Francis through materials based on Franciscan spirituality.” The books chosen contain engaging tales that capture these Franciscan traits. A special prayer to help the child engage from their heart follows each story.

Artist Andrea Pynaert, also of Mishawaka, has crafted warm and vibrant illustrations that make this an appealing coloring book or storybook for children of all ages.

Jennifer Farrell, a local first-grade teacher, said, “The children in my class look forward to getting their other work finished so they can take out their St. Francis coloring books and continue their artistic work. What a beautiful way to engage young children in the lives of the saints. The students in my class learned a great deal about this popular saint.”

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades has said, “The books are excellent.”

Marsha Jordan, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, said, “The Little Flowers of St. Francis Story Book and companion “Little Flowers of St. Francis Coloring Book” are both delightfully presented for young children to enjoy and be captivated by the story of St. Francis of Assisi. The animation of the characters and animals depicted will attract the attention of any young child, while presenting themes of faith, holiness and a love of Jesus by St. Francis.”

(For news from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, log on to the website of Today’s Catholic at

Diocese of Gary

10 years: Soup kitchen continues serving up good food, fellowship

By Steve Euvino

CEDAR LAKE—It started 10 years ago with a handful of volunteers, 25 hungry mouths, and a blessing from Bishop Dale J. Melczek. Ten years, countless meals, and many devoted volunteers later, St. Clare’s Kitchen is still in operation, serving up food and friendship. 

Bishop Donald J. Hying was there June 16 for the 10-year anniversary dinner, passing out napkins and utensils to the people lined up for hot turkey, mashed potatoes, and a piece of cake bearing the image of St. Clare, a contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi who also served the poor.

Located in the basement of Holy Name Church, St. Clare’s Kitchen today serves an average of 100 people every Tuesday from 5 to 6 p.m. The weekly meal began when members of Our Lady of Lourdes Fraternity of the Secular Order of Franciscans contacted the former pastor, the late Father Edward Kennedy, about starting such a ministry. Father Kennedy approached the parish council about the idea, and the council gave its approval.

Jim Metro, who served on the Holy Name finance council when the soup kitchen started, was attending recently with his son James. Saying the project “took off very well,” Metro noted, “It’s great that people come, not just because they’re hungry, but for the fellowship. They come for a meal and a smile.”   

Franciscan Father Edward Tlucek, Holy Name pastor, observed the number of elderly who come to enjoy others’ company and the growing number of families attending. The pastor said the free meal is open to anyone, regardless of economic status.

“You come, you get fed, no questions asked,” Father Tlucek said.

Kathy Georgelas, a Secular Franciscan who with Sharon Marmalejo began the soup kitchen, has witnessed its growth, as well as community support for the project. That includes donations of bread products from a local supermarket which are placed on a table for patrons to take home. 

“It’s in my blood. I enjoy it. I look forward to it,” Georgelas said. “Part of our mission as Secular Franciscans is serving the poor. We’re serving people who are in need and people who need fellowship. There are a lot of hungry people and lonely people out there.”

(For news from the Diocese of Gary, log on to the website of the Northwest Indiana Catholic at

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Officials hope eliminating fees will dispel annulment misconceptions

By Sean Gallagher

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin has chosen to eliminate all fees previously connected to canon law investigations related to petitions for declarations of nullity of marriages, commonly known as annulments.

In an interview with The Criterion, Archbishop Tobin said that “my heart goes out to the many good people who have suffered the tragic breakup of their marriage.”

“My hope is that the decision to waive the fees for the annulment process may encourage these brothers and sisters who have a doubt regarding the sacramentality of their previous marriage to submit a petition to our Metropolitan Tribunal,” he added.

As archdiocesan vicar judicial, Father Stanley Pondo leads the ministry of the archdiocese’s Metropolitan Tribunal.

He said that the investigations tribunal staff members carry out can help petitioners to come to terms with aspects of their own lives related to their failed marriages in ways that the civil divorce process doesn’t address.

“When a person goes through a divorce, a lot of times it’s a traumatic experience and there’s not a lot of self-reflection that occurs as a part of the civil process,” Father Pondo said. “The civil process essentially deals with the civic effects, such as custody of children and division of property that results from a civil divorce.

“The civil courts really don’t encourage any sort of reflection about what the marriage was, what the behaviors in the marriage were, what may have contributed to the breakup of the marriage. One of the things that happens in the annulment process is that the person is encouraged and helped to consider those kinds of issues. That can have a healing effect.”

Archbishop Tobin noted that the waiving of fees related to annulment investigations is part of a broader effort of the Church in central and southern Indiana to support couples preparing for marriage and thse already married.

“Christian marriage is a precious gift and holy lifestyle that is beset by new stressors and whose meaning is blurred by cultural confusion,” he said. “The Catholic community must respond to these challenges with prophetic witness and pastoral charity.”

Archbishop Tobin blesses first of its kind Intercultural Pastoral Institute, praises local Church’s diversity

By Victoria Arthur (Special to The Criterion)

A diverse group of Catholics from across central and southern Indiana gathered on July 16 to witness the blessing of the new Intercultural Pastoral Institute in Indianapolis—and a new beginning for the building that it will call home.

The institute will offer programs that promote and celebrate the rich diversity within the Church and the archdiocese in particular. It is located at the former St. Bernadette Parish on the east side of Indianapolis. St. Bernadette merged in November with nearby Our Lady of Lourdes Parish as a result of the Connected in the Spirit planning process.

“This is a building for all of us,” said Franciscan Brother Moises Gutierrez, director of the archdiocesan Office of Intercultural Ministry, which developed the concept for and will operate the institute. “We can use our imagination because now we have a really good place as a platform for living out our call to communion in this diverse Church of ours.”

The institute’s facilities, located at 4838 Fletcher Ave. in Indianapolis, will host classes for the Office of Intercultural Ministry’s four ethnic pastoral formation programs and other cultural events.

An ethnic dinner series began on July 18, with an evening celebrating the food, culture and spirituality of Vietnam. Future evenings will focus on Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and Africa—all orchestrated by Catholics in the archdiocese with ties to those cultures. Ultimately, according to Brother Moises, the programming offered at the institute is intended to strengthen ministry and outreach to diverse cultural groups at the parish level.

The Intercultural Pastoral Institute is the first of its kind in the United States, he said, because of its all-encompassing scope.

“There are Hispanic institutes, but ours is the first pastoral institute serving multiple cultures,” he said. “This says a lot about the leadership of the archdiocese … that it is responding to the needs of the Church.”

Before blessing the new institute, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin compared the idea behind it to concepts set forth by Pope Francis in “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” his encyclical on protecting the environment. He noted that Pope Francis refers to care for our common home, the Earth—and respect for the diversity of life that dwells there.

“We must recognize the relationship that exists between us and the world around us,” Archbishop Tobin said. “We are all connected. We all must recognize the bonds of faith, hope and charity that unite us without erasing the diversity that is the Spirit’s gift to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.”

(For news from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, log on to the website of The Criterion at

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