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Last updated 04/17/2015 2:08 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

Young Parishioners Turn 'homeless' for a weekend

By Tim Lilley (The Message Editor)

For 20 young members of two Dubois County parishes, the late afternoon of March 27 marked the beginning of a new, albeit short-lived, paradigm. They became homeless for about 24 hours, participating in the Shantytown Weekend organized by Deacon Miek Seibert of St. Celestine Parish in Celestine and St. Raphael Parish in Dubois. 

“We had support from a bunch of adults,” Deacon Seibert said, “but the youth got a hard look into the lives of many people across our region – and our state and country – who don’t have a home.” The young people had no technology; only large cardboard shelters to use on a night when temperature dipped into the high teens; and hardly anything to eat. 

They did, however, have plenty of work. Deacon Seibert organized them into groups to chop firewood, and to deliver it by the load to needy family in Dubois County. “We hauled about 26 loads of firewood,” he said, “so they were all pretty tired by Saturday afternoon.” 

The group attended the Palm Sunday Vigil Mass at St. Raphael, which was followed by a soup dinner to provide a hot meal. 

Deacon Seibert has been organizing the Shantytown Weekend for several years during Lent to help the young people of the parishes gain a better understanding of what it truly means to be homeless.

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

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Theology of the body curriculum to be added to seventh-grade religious education

By Tim Johnson

MISHAWAKA—The Office of Family Life will showcase their component of the standardized seventh-grade religion program when they introduce the theology of the body curriculum on April 16 in South Bend and April 30 in Fort Wayne. The theology of the body curriculum will utilize Ascension Press’ “Theology of the Body for Teens” (middle school edition) program, “which contains a student text, parent guide and DVD series, as well as supplemental lesson plans developed by the junior high religion curriculum committee for our diocese,” Lisa Everett, the co-director of the Office of Family Life, described.

The Office of Family Life, in conjunction with the Secretariat for Catholic Education, will be coordinating the implementation of this curriculum this upcoming fall.

“To introduce the program to parish and grade school administrators, our office will be holding two roll-out sessions on each side of the diocese to provide priests, grade school principals and parish DREs with important information regarding the middle school theology of the body curriculum that schools and parishes in our diocese have been required by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades to implement beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year,” Everett told Today’s Catholic.

“In brief,” she said, “schools will be integrating an eight-week theology of the body curriculum module into religion class during the second semester of grade 7, while parish religious education programs will be integrating two daylong theology of the body seminars into the second semester of grade 7 utilizing some of the same materials.”

Training for teachers and catechists who will be teaching the new theology of the body program will take place this coming fall on both sides of the diocese.

The presenters of the April showcases will be Lisa Everett and John Sikorski, who serves as the assistant director for Pro-Life and Youth Outreach for the Office of Family Life.

Everett described the theology of the body teaching that traces its roots to St. John Paul II.

She said, “St. John Paul II once commented that as a young priest, ‘I learned to love human love.’ He numbered many married couples among his friends, and he spent a lot of time with them.”

Prior to becoming pope, he had written a manuscript for a book that was tentatively titled “Man and Woman He Created Them,” and in 1979 he began delivering a series of Wednesday audience catecheses based on this manuscript, that came to be referred to as his “theology of the body.”

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

Diocese of Gary

Andrean Theater group helping build students bonds while earning awards

By Steve Euvino

MERRILLVILLE—At one end of Andrean High School, tech students are painting scenery for the upcoming spring play. At another end, actors are rehearsing scenes from that play.

Between people on either side of the stage, it’s been a busy season for the drama department at Andrean. Under second-year drama and English teacher Stephen Grabek, the program is picking up new students and awards.

It all started the previous school year, Grabek explained, when Andrean was chartered a chapter in the National Thespian Society, which enabled the school to enter competitions. Last fall AHS competed in the regional at Huntington with “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” finishing second. That qualified the drama group for state, where Andrean took third.

Competition consists of setting up, performing, and tearing down, all in 45 minutes. Anything over the allotted time is disqualified.

The school has since been chosen to represent Indiana in national competition this summer in Nebraska.

Since coming to Andrean, Grabek has directed such plays as “The Crucible,” “Zombie Prom,” “Almost Maine,” and, this spring, “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

From zombies to Shakespeare to women accused of witchcraft, Grabek said, “We try to hit as much a variety as possible, so students can experience as much theater as they can.”

Grabek’s program has attracted 30-40 students, and he’s excited about that – not simply because of numbers, but because of the students he’s getting.

“I’ve got football players, basketball players,” Grabek said. “They see they can come together and do this.”

The thing about theater, Grabek continued, is “it’s fun, it’s welcoming. You can find a place here, no matter where you’re from.”

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

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

A match made in heaven: Wedding plans set for young couple drawn together by volleyball and Catholic faith

By John Shaughnessy

Considering that they first met on a volleyball court, Katie Coonan and Matt Duffy know that some people will call the young couple’s upcoming marriage “a match made in heaven.”

Besides, that’s exactly how Katie and Matt feel about their love story so far—a love that began through their interest in sports and that has grown deeper through their mutually strong Catholic faith.

“It’s divine intervention at its best,” said Matt as he sat next to Katie in a coffee shop on the north side of Indianapolis.

Looking at Matt, Katie smiled and added, “We just live four blocks away from each other, but we never would have met if it wasn’t for being on the same intramural team.”

Katie and Matt, both 26, were randomly assigned in early 2014 to the same volleyball team during the first season of the IndyCatholic Young Adult Intramurals program.

Started by the archdiocese’s young adult and college campus ministry, the program reflects the desire to use sports and friendly competition to create a sense of community and a connection to the Catholic faith for young adults.

It’s also led to another kind of deep, personal connection between Katie and Matt, neither of whom imagined that they would be engaged to each other just 10 months after they met as strangers.

When Matt and Katie played for the first time on the court together, neither of them were thinking it would eventually lead to a courtship.

At the same time, the leaders of the intramurals program encourage the idea that teammates and other players should hang out together before and after games, emphasizing the social connections more than the sports competition.

The  more they were around each other, there was no denying there was an attraction between them.

“I started to like Katie for the qualities she has—her genuine kindness and loving nature, and she tries to include people in things, and her competitive nature,” Matt noted.

Katie added, “I think what made a difference was hanging out before the games. I got to know him. He was funny, athletic, Catholic and cute. I always said that the guy I married, I wanted to be friends with him. I was drawn to him.”

Their friendship continued in group settings after the volleyball season ended. And when the intramurals program had a sign-up for a kickball season, they decided to form a team together.

They plan to be married in St. Vincent de Paul Church in Fort Wayne on July 25, during a Mass concelebrated by two of her older brothers who are priests in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend—Father Matthew Coonan and Father Terrence Coonan.

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

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