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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

Nearly 300 attend St. Vincent de Paul walk in Evansville

By Mary Ann Hughes (Interim Message Editor)

Cloudy skies and brisk winds did not stop the nearly 300 people who participated in the Sept. 19 Friends of the Poor Walk which benefits the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

When participants gathered at the Evansville State Hospital grounds, they were reminded about the various ways that the society helps the poor in neighborhoods and parishes, in part by offering assistance with utilities and furnishings.

Bishop Charles C. Thompson gave the opening blessing. He reflected on Pope Francis’ words about poverty, and how walk participants are witnesses who support efforts to help the poor.

The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Evansville assists over 1,100 families per month with food and toiletry items. The Thrift Store arranges for donations of bedding, clothing and household goods for the poor and disabled. The Ozanam Family Shelter’s goal is to keep families together as a unit, especially during hardships and circumstances that arise within families.

The 2015 Friends of the Poor Walk drew a record number of sponsors (63), totaling over $23,000 in donations. Every dollar raised the day of the walk will directly help the needs of the poor.

A Friends of the Poor walk/run is scheduled for Sept. 26 from 8 to 10 a.m. at Bohnert Part in Jasper.

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

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Inspiration offered at ZEAL Missionary Discipleship Summit

By Kay Cozad

FORT WAYNE — When the Popcaks deliver their keynote address at the first annual ZEAL Missionary Discipleship Summit at Bishop Dwenger High School on Saturday, Oct. 10, their topic “Radical Love: Living the Catholic Difference in Relationship” will inspire many of the faithful in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

The all-day adults-only conference, sponsored by diocesan Office of Catechesis, will offer a wide range of morning and afternoon breakout sessions presented by a diverse roster of exceptional speakers.

Dr. Gregory and Lisa Popcak, renowned speakers, authors and radio call-in hosts, say Catholics are called to love in a radically different way in the world. In the keynote address they will focus on the role relationships play in God’s plan for life, what it really means to love unconditionally, and how to bring healing to those relationships that seem to be stumbling blocks.

“In today’s world, there’s a lot of confusion about what love truly means and what being a loving person really requires of us. Our talks will help participants discover the real power of the Catholic vision of love and give them the tools they need to be effective instruments of grace in their relationships with their spouse, family, friends and the communities they live in,” Greg Popcak says.

Popcak says their message, inspired by Scripture, may bring to light the real meaning of the New Evangelization. “Scripture tells us that unless we have love we have nothing. People talk a lot about the New Evangelization but few people really know what that means. … Today, more than anything else, evangelization means creating relationships that show the world that we have the love that everyone longs for — because God is teaching us, step-by-step, how to live the love that springs from His very own heart. When we can commit to that kind of love, not only will our own relationships fulfill the longings of our hearts, they will make the world stand up and take notice.”

As speakers of the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, the Popcaks say, “Love ‘is’ both the desire and mission of every Catholic person. … God has great plans for our relationships. Our hope is that the Zeal conference will help people learn how to get out of God’s way so that His plan can be fulfilled in their lives and they can experience the transforming power of His love!”

He adds, “God wants to fill their hearts with His love through the people He has placed in their lives and that He wants to use their relationships to transform the world.”

Greg Popcak is the founder and executive director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute, and Lisa Popcak is the vice-president.

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

Diocese of Gary

Asian Catholic Unity: Different cultures come together to celebrate their one faith

By Steve Euvino

MERRILLVILLE—The only word that Michelle Batacan Alexander could use to describe the initial Asian Catholic Unity Day was beautiful.

"Very, very beautiful," said Alexander. "Everyone here is very happy. It was a beautiful service, with everyone feeling very good."

A Filipina from Notre Dame, Michigan City, Alexander directed the multi-parish choir at the afternoon Mass Sept. 13 at Our Lady of Consolation. Bishop Donald J. Hying was principal celebrant, joined by clergy of Filipino and Indian background.

"It's a joy and blessing to be here together," Bishop Hying said in his homily. "So many of you came from that vast continent with your cultures and experiences. You truly enrich us and bless us by your faith, spirituality, and culture."

Celebrating the Mass before several hundred people of different Asian nationalities, Bishop Hying said coming together this way reflects the "universality of our faith and particularity of our cultures."

Noting how Jesus was born on the eastern rim of the Roman Empire and western rim of Asia, Bishop Hying recalled the Gospel reading, in which Jesus and his disciples set out for Caesarea Philippi, which was on the northern border of Israel with Lebanon, a "smorgasbord of religious experiences."

"We are here today because we are convicted, that Peter's response ['You are the Christ'] is the most fundamental truth that could be uttered by human tongue," the bishop said. "We are here today because Jesus has given us that gift of faith."

Although Christianity comprises a small percentage of the people in Asia, Bishop Hying said, "Asian Catholics give witness to the radical Church. You enrich our Church. We are so much less without your presence and witness."

The multi-lingual Mass included music and petitions in English, Tagalog, Malayam, Ilongo, Korean, and Indonesian. Choir members included singers of Filipinos, Chinese, Indian, Hispanic, and German-Italian descent.

The bishop cited Asian values of family, respect, spirituality, and communal life, noting, "You have much to teach us about the Gospel and dignity of life."

Today, Bishop Hying said, "We celebrate the gift of faith and the gift of Asian culture – all of you are here in this diocese, blessing all of us. Thank you for living the faith and culture that formed you."

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

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Painting by young adult Catholic will be used to promote vocations

By Sean Gallagher

The canonization of St. Junipero Serra by Pope Francis on Sept. 23 during a Mass outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington drew the attention of Catholics across the country, and helped introduce them to the 18th- century Franciscan missionary to present-day California.

But members of Serra International have known about and had a devotion to St. Junipero for decades.

The Indianapolis branch of the organization that promotes vocations to the priesthood and religious life was founded in 1951.

Now Serrans in Indianapolis and staff members of the archdiocesan Vocations Office will use a newly painted image of St. Junipero to encourage people to consider their call from God.

The painting, the image of which will be used on vocations prayer cards and posters, is the creation of Mike McCarthy, a young adult member of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis.

An outreach coordinator for the archdiocesan Catholic Charities’ refugee settlement program, McCarthy will soon begin work full time in creating sacred art.

“I love the saints,” McCarthy said. “[St. Junipero] just adds another brother, another intercessor to my prayer family. I definitely asked his prayers for the painting.”

The 18-inch by 24-inch oil painting features St. Junipero wearing a Franciscan habit carrying a walking staff shaped like a cross because he is known for walking across Mexico and California in spreading the Gospel. Behind him is Mission San Carlos Borromeo, which he founded and where he is buried. The Pacific Ocean is also depicted in the background.

“Junipero Serra and his work in founding the missions of California are important parts of our history as Catholics in the United States, and their story is often forgotten when the history of our country is recounted,” said Father Eric Augenstein, archdiocesan vocations director. “I hope that bringing more attention to Serra at this time of his canonization will encourage people to learn from his missionary zeal and perhaps even be inspired in their own journey as missionary disciples.”

Carl McClelland, vice president for vocations for the Indianapolis Serra Club, was impressed by how the painting is “very colorful and positive.” He hopes it will help the club draw more people across central and southern Indiana into its ministry of vocations promotion.

Consecrated religious gather with archbishop to celebrate ‘different communities all focused toward God’

By Natalie Hoefer

Full veils, short veils, no veils.

Habits and robes of brown, gray, white, blue, black and lavender.

Races including African, Caucasian, Filipino, Hispanic and Indian.

The look of the religious men and women at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Sept. 13 was as varied as the different orders serving throughout central and southern Indiana. They came together to celebrate solemn evening prayer with Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin in honor of the Year of Consecrated Life. The archbishop also recognized those religious celebrating 25-, 50- and 75-year jubilees.

“Certainly Pope Francis gave us this year for the Church as a whole to thank God for the gift of consecrated life, and for people like us to look at our past with gratitude, our present with serenity, and our future with hope,” the archbishop said during his homily.

In 1997, St. John Paul II designated February 2—the Feast of the Presentation—as the World Day for Consecrated Life to honor all men and women religious.

On Nov. 30, 2014, Pope Francis took this honor one step further by declaring that date through Feb. 2, 2016, as the Year of Consecrated Life.

“This year is a letter of encouragement for consecrated life,” Archbishop Tobin continued in his homily. “This celebration tonight remembers how consecrated life has encouraged the Church in Indiana.

“When you think of the role of religious in the history of this state, we can marvel at the works that were accomplished. We can say that the history of the Church—and probably the history of the state— could not be complete without the contributions of the Franciscan Sisters of Oldenburg, or the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.”

The archbishop briefly addressed the history of religious life in general.

“Dedication to the consecrated life became visible in the Church when martyrdom ceased to be a feature of the Christian life,” he explained. “People feared they would lose the radical nature of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

“And so the Holy Spirit raised up women and men who, forsaking all, sought to imitate Jesus in living a life of obedience.”

To encourage those living consecrated lives in the archdiocese to inspire more vocations, Archbishop Tobin quoted directly from St. John Paul II’s 1996 apostolic exhortation, “Vita Consecrata:”

“Young people will not be deceived: when they come to you, they want to see what they do not see elsewhere.”

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

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