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Last updated 02/04/2016 5:09 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

Catholic Schools Celebrate National School Choice Week

By Dr. Daryl Hagan (Diocesan Superintendent Of Schools)

Diocese of Evansville Catholic schools will join other schools, organizations and individuals from across the country to celebrate National School Choice Week 2016.  NSCW will take place from Jan. 24-30, 2016, and will be the world's largest-ever series of education-related events. The celebration is to raise awareness of K-12 education options for children and families. 

According to NSCW President Andrew Campanella, the exponential growth of National School Choice Week, which began in 2011, tracks closely with the growth in public interest in – as well as support and demand for – K-12 educational opportunity.

"From 150 events in 2011 to 15,000 events in 2016, the growth in enthusiasm surrounding National School Choice Week demonstrates that Americans in communities across the country recognize, more than ever before, the importance of ensuring that all children have the opportunity to learn and to pursue their own American dreams," Campanella said. "Many parents use the Week to begin looking for new schools or education environments for their children, while many others use the platform provided by National School Choice Week to speak out in favor of greater educational opportunities."

Hoosier families are blessed to have school choice through Indiana’s School Choice Scholarship Program. Indiana is committed to providing all children access to quality educational opportunities. The scholarship program, commonly referred to as the voucher program, provides scholarships to eligible Indiana students to offset tuition costs at participating schools. Students must satisfy both household income requirements and student eligibility criteria to qualify.

Feb. 7 Is 'Fat Sunday' In Evansville

By Tim Lilley

All Saints Parish and its “A-Men’s Club” bring “Fat Sunday” to Evansville. From 8 a.m. to Noon CT at the St. Anthony of Padua campus on Feb. 9, club members will be serving a hearty breakfast for a great price, with all proceeds going to fund improvement projects at the parish’s St. Anthony of Padua and St. Joseph campuses.

“We tried a pancake breakfast two years ago, and enjoyed pretty good success that first year,” said parishioner Deavron Farmer, who serves as A-Men’s Club president. One of our members spoke up at our regular meeting and said we ought to make it a breakfast buffet, so that’s what we’re doing this year. The menu will include scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, mixed fruit and, of course, pancakes. Guests will enjoy the buffet and their choice of beverage for $7 per person.

“We have replaced the garage door at St. Anthony and replaced storm doors,” Farmer said. The group also funded some gutter work, and is expanding its list of projects to include needs on the St. Joseph campus, which is located at the northeast corner of Washington and Garvin streets.

Farmer got involved with the men’s group shortly after he and his wife began attending St. Anthony Parish. “I am an Evansville native, grew up Baptist and attended the Baptist school through eighth grade,” he said. “Mom sent me to Mater Dei for high school. I graduated from the University of Southern Indiana, and I married a ‘cradle Catholic’ from Jasper.

He recalled that neither of them enjoyed active faith lives – until about 2 ½ years ago. “We decided we needed to begin going to church again regularly, and my wife mentioned that she passed by this beautiful old church just about every day,” Farmer said. “That was St. Anthony; and the minute we entered the church the first time, we felt instantly that it was the most awesome place.”

They began attending Mass weekly at St. Anthony, and Farmer began the RCIA program. He entered the Catholic Church formally about six months later.

“At the parish, I asked whether there was a men’s group,” Farmer recalled. “There was a core group of 6-8 who met regularly, and I began attending.” It wasn’t long until the group had heard more than a few good ideas from Farmer – so they elected him the new president!

“I told them I thought we needed a true purpose,” he said, so the group moved forward with a focus on small improvement projects around the St. Anthony campus. “We did not have a lot of experience, individually or collectively, when it came to undertaking various projects – but we all believed we could successfully raise money to pay professionals to complete the projects we identified.”

The group has proven that with their “Fat Sunday” pancake breakfasts, and they’re stepping it up with this year’s breakfast buffet. “At our last meeting before the event, one of the positions we’re going to fill is ‘emergency runner,’” Farmer said. “We will have someone ready to make runs for groceries in case we start getting low on items after we start serving.”

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

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Evensong ecumenical vespers joins voices in prayer for unity

By Tim Johnson

FORT WAYNE — Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades was the homilist at the Evensong Ecumenical Vespers on Sunday, Jan. 24, in Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Fort Wayne. The event was part of the Week of Christian Unity celebrations, which began on Jan. 18, the feast of St. Peter’s Chair, and concluded Jan. 25, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

The week of prayer has a history of over 100 years. This year’s theme was “Called to Proclaim the Mighty Acts of the Lord” from Peter.

Shawn Storer, coordinator of the diocesan Ecumenical Office, echoed the words of Pope Francis who recently reminded the faithful: “This Week of Prayer invites us to reflect on, and bear witness to, our unity in Christ as God’s people. All the baptized, reborn to new life in Christ, are brothers and sisters, despite our divisions. Through Baptism we have been charged, as St. Peter tells us, ‘to proclaim the mighty works of the One who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.’ During this Week of Prayer, let us ask the Lord to help all Christians to grow in that unity which is greater than what divides us. Together, may we respond to His call to share with others, especially with the poor and forgotten of our world, the gift of divine mercy which we ourselves have received.”

The Right Rev. Edward Stuart Little, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana, was the officiant at the service. Clergy from local Christian denominations were also invited to attend.

The sung office of Evening Prayer in the Anglican tradition was led by the combined choirs of the Trinity Episcopal Church and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne.

In the homily, Bishop Rhoades said, “We are used to the divisions within the Christian community, divisions that go back centuries. But these divisions are not natural. They are not good. They are wounds to the Body of Christ. They impair and impede the Church’s evangelizing mission in the world.”

There is a temptation to indifference and complacency in the face of Christian disunity. Bishop Rhoades noted, “We are here because we believe that it is God’s will that we be one. We know very well that there are many obstacles to the reestablishment of full communion among Christians. Rather than succumb to a sterile pessimism, we ask the Lord for the grace of renewed determination to pursue, with courage and generosity, the unity, which is His will.”

Pro-life community ‘walks the walk,’ ‘talks the talk’

By Jennifer Miller

SOUTH BEND — Marking the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the St. Joseph County Right to Life (SJCRTL) sponsored “March for Life: South Bend,” a peaceful walk to honor the lives lost and call elected representatives and community to change on Jan. 22 in South Bend. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was in attendance offering his support.

On Sunday, Jan. 24, the Knights of Columbus Council No. 553 sponsored a reflective prayer service at St. Joseph Church on Hill Street and an engaging panel discussion focusing on supporting family life for a culture of life. Both events offered specific ways to “walk and talk” pro-life values.

Claire Fyrqvist, rally host, began the rally with Father Bob Lengerich of St. Dominic Parish in Bremen leading prayer, Terry Wedel from Silent No More sharing her moving experience with grace and Tom Limner of Deer Run Church offering the closing prayer.

The new march route over the St. Joseph River and into downtown South Bend to the Federal Courthouse offered a peaceful public testimony to life through the heart of the city. Over 500 people attended, 250 students from local Catholic schools, such as Corpus Christi, Holy Family, St. Joseph, South Bend, and Mishawaka Catholic.

St. Joseph School first sponsored a special prayer service for the eighth graders attending the march. High school students and teachers from Saint Joseph and Marian high schools also participated, as their travel to the national March for Life in Washington, D.C., was cancelled due to the blizzard on the East Coast. From babies and toddlers in strollers to seniors walking with canes, every age came and walked for an end to abortion in America.

At the Federal Courthouse, people lined the streets with a joy-filled and united spirit. Many families attended, including Rachel Myers and her daughter, Catherine, of Granger, who brought handmade signs, “Peace begins in the womb.” Gov. Pence greeted the marchers, thanking them for their tireless witness to life.

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

Diocese of Gary

Legacy of civil rights pioneer inspires bishop, faithful to peaceful action

By Anthony D. Alonzo

GARY—At the 9th annual Tribute to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bishop Donald J. Hying spoke about the timeless nature of the civil rights pioneer’s message and sought input on how the Church can continue to be at the heart of combating social ills.

Holy Angels Cathedral, filled with the soaring spiritual sounds of the concert choir of the Wirt/Emerson Visual and Performing Arts High Ability Academy, hosted dozens of Gary-area residents for the King tribute on Jan 10.

Between musical interludes and prayerful invocations, King’s landmark 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered, not by a professional orator as in recent years, but by a Wirt/Emerson sophomore.

Sixteen-year-old Corrion Davis of Gary summoned a deep, bellowing tone to dramatically recite King’s 1,600-word anti-racism speech, originally delivered more than 52-years ago at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.  

“Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation… One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition,” Davis read.

Davis continued with King’s words of urgency: “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.”

Bishop Hying told the Gary faithful that King’s message would endure because it was and is aligned with the Gospel of Jesus Christ: “His power and his transforming legacy still reaches us today,” Bishop Hying said of King.

Comparing King’s 1950s and 60s activism to an aikido martial artist’s traditional approach of “disarming his opponent,” and even sharing a laugh after a confrontation, Bishop Hying implored today’s activists to stay the course of non-violence.

“Dr. King was also an aikido wrestler because in a world that responded with violence and threats and hatred to his cause of civil rights, he responded with non-violence, he responded with forgiveness, he reacted with mercy,” Bishop Hying said. “He ceaselessly said the only power that can quell the hatred in our world is the power in love.”

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

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Pilgrims live out pro-life beliefs while stranded on turnpike

By Sean Gallagher

Pro-life Catholics from across central and southern Indiana have travelled for many years to Washington to participate in the March for Life on the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion across the country.

Two groups of March for Life participants from the archdiocese had the chance to put their pro-life principles to the test this year when their buses were stranded in Pennsylvania during a massive blizzard that struck the central Atlantic region in the hours after the pro-life event.

Buses with youths and adult chaperones from the Indianapolis North Deanery and St. Nicholas Parish in Ripley County were stopped on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when traffic accidents happened ahead of them around 9 p.m. on Jan. 22. Snowfall increased after the accidents, with up to three feet accumulating around the buses and other stranded vehicles.

Organizers of both groups had been following weather forecasts earlier in the day and cut short their stay in Washington by a few hours, thinking they would still get on the road ahead of the blizzard.

They ended up spending nearly 24 hours on the turnpike, not getting underway again until the night of Jan. 23. They both arrived home on the morning of Jan. 24.

During the time they were stranded, Catholics from the archdiocese had on their buses what they needed to stay safe—enough fuel to stay warm, bathrooms and plenty of food and water.

Their faith soon moved them to share what they had with people in cars around them that didn’t have those resources.

“Our students were looking out the windows, and when they would see a car’s headlights go out in the middle of the night, they would walk to the front of the bus and say, ‘We have heat and they keep turning their car off. Can we go out and give them our blankets?’ ” recalled Ann Collins, administrator of youth ministry at Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis. “They were kind. They knew that they were marching for life.

“It was all life—whether you were an unborn baby or a stranded motorist. Their purpose was to protect life. And they did. They were concerned about everyone around them.”

Praying for every life: Local observances of Roe v. Wade decision raise voices for the voiceless

By Natalie Hoefer

It was a typical winter day in Indianapolis and Terre Haute on Jan. 22—biting cold, with gray skies overhead and gusts of blustery wind.

What was atypical about the day was the number of people who braved such weather to march, pray aloud and hold signs declaring that all life is sacred, from conception to natural death.

In Indianapolis, several hundred people gathered in SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral for Mass, followed by a several city-blocks march, as part of a local solemn observance of the 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decisions legalizing abortion.

“In an excavation of one Phoenician settlement in northern Africa, the bones of 20,000 children were found,” Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin noted in his homily. “They were sacrificed to the pagan god Melekh. Many more than 20,000 children have been sacrificed in our country since January 22, 1973.”

The archbishop asked the congregation, “How do we deal with the injuries that have been inflicted upon 60 million children, as well as on the soul of our country?”

The answer, he said, lies in a paraphrasing of the words of the third chapter of St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, which served as the second reading during the Mass: “Put on gentleness, kindness, meekness, and above all, forgiveness,” the archbishop said.

“In our protests against the darkness that descended on our country 43 years ago, we reject all violence, be it physical violence or violent words. But we do not take a vow of silence. We tell the truth about God, human beings, human sin and divine mercy.

“On this day, we commit ourselves to pray for our country. We commit ourselves to reject all forms of violence, whether it is bombing, rejection of the other, fear of the foreigner or destruction of the voiceless. We promise with God’s help to tell the truth about human life and about God’s mercy.”

Conveying this truth was the goal of dozens of people in Terre Haute gathered in front of the Vigo County courthouse and across from the Terre Haute Planned Parenthood facility as part of that community’s local solemn observance.

“Everyone braved the cold north wind and sacrificed all their labors, thoughts, prayers, inconveniences, sufferings and pains of the cold day to prevent precious lives from being denied the right to see the light of God’s day,” said Tom McBroom, coordinator of the Terre Haute observance. “People were from the nearby communities of Brazil, Cory, Riley and Rockville, as well as Terre Haute.”

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

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