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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 100 Years Of Ministry And Care

By Trisha Hannon Smith

Bonnie Ambrose and Charles (Charlie) Voight have seen generations of students pass through their classrooms at Holy Rosary Catholic School.  Many of those former students joined the duo’s co-workers, friends and families for a June 5 Mass of Thanksgiving and reception to pay homage to these teachers with careers that span nearly 100 years as they enter retirement.

Ambrose has taught in the Catholic schools for 50 years. Voight follows closely behind with 47 years of service. Both have chosen to retire as they’ve taught – together, as a team.  

”We do honor Bonnie and Charlie for their witness – no small witness in our world,” said Holy Rosary Pastor Father Bernie Etienne. “Holy Rosary Parish has been the happy beneficiary of the time you’ve shared. What you did is not teaching, it was a ministry of care.”

Ambrose and Voight provided the staff of Holy Rosary with leadership blessed with humor and consistent faith in Jesus Christ.  Through difficult times and joyful times they proved the work important and worth the dedication of a career.

“What has always remained steady and true is their unwavering dedication to Catholic education and their ministry at Holy Rosary,” Principal Joan Fredrich told the crowd at the Mass of Thanksgiving. “Whether you sit in a desk in their classrooms, teach across the hall, partner with them in a parent-teacher conference, collaborate with them for a project…whether you clean their classroom or experience their support from the office…you learn so much from their example.  You learn support, partnership, sacrifice. “

As Father Etienne mentioned in his homily, Ambrose and Voight have made a difference. “And all of us are better, much better, because of it.  You don’t do this for as long as you have done it without passion about sharing the faith.” Father Bernie continued, “Nobody would do what you do without a true vocation with passion, and I am so grateful you have been willing to do that for us. The influence you’ve had is hard to imagine.”

The retirees, joined by their spouses, children and grandchildren, shared many memories with guests at a reception held after mass.  Guests signed special pictures for them to show gratitude.  Gifts were on display, including student-created handcrafted rosaries and one-of-a-kind collages depicting Holy Rosary School.  

The Holy Rosary Community holds great gratitude and love for these two retiring teachers. As Father Etienne stated, “This is your home, and you’ll always be a part of us.”

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

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

New career ministry helps those seeking jobs

By Lauren Caggiano

FORT WAYNE — A new ministry at St. Vincent de Paul in Fort Wayne is focused on catering to the needs of local jobseekers.

There is a spiritual component of job searching — something co-organizer Molly Roman wanted to address with the ministry.

Roman moved back to Fort Wayne after being away for several years and wanted to find a way to give back while building on her experience in the business world. So she approached Father Dan Scheidt at St. Vincent’s with her idea and was able to gain some momentum. She met with several volunteers who were interested in helping — many of which were in Human Resources or management. The end result is the Career Ministry program.

The group has met several times and has taken a variety of formats. For example, in May they had a speaker who led an exercise based on two books. And in February they hosted mock interview sessions. Volunteers helped critique jobseekers’ answers. They’ve seen a great interest when speakers have been part of the program.  They’ve had as many as 20 attendees at some sessions.

According to Roman, regardless of the format, everyone receives career coaching and resume review. The intent is to be a positive, nurturing and supporting environment. Anyone is invited, regardless of faith or religious background. They approach job seeking in a holistic way.

“Our goal in this ministry is to really give people help and hope,” she said. “We look at the person and not at the resume.”

Discouragement can block progress and Roman and her team want to remove any barriers to success. Speaking of success, Roman said she hopes the ministry can connect jobseekers with employers in a variety of industries.  She said she would love to recruit more volunteers, especially those with hiring experience. The more volunteers, the more people they can help.

Parishioner Lizzy Klee is one jobseeker who has benefited from this ministry. She currently works two part-time jobs, but is looking for something full-time.

“I went (to the program) one evening, had an enjoyable time, and learned some tips to help me with my resume and future interviews,” she said. “Molly asked for my resume so she could forward it to potential employers. I interviewed with one man a few weeks later as a result.”

Fellow parishioner John Taylor speaks highly of the ministry and volunteers. He said he found the team to be talented and experienced — offering “useful tips and advice for career seeking skills, resume building, interviewing skills, etc.”

He also acknowledged the spiritual aspect. The ministry was a source of comfort in times of uncertainty for him.

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

Diocese of Gary

Women surrounded by love and respect as they raise themselves up

By Marlene A. Zloza

GARY—“This place is like no other,” said client Marilyn Myles to a group of 30 potential supporters last month at Sojourner Truth House, most of whom wholeheartedly agreed after touring the facility and meeting staff members of the day center for homeless and at-risk women and their children.

“The difference here is that there is so much love, so much caring,” said Myles, who admitted that “too many abusive relationships” led to her being homeless and “sleeping on the streets in Chicago” before a religious sister at a soup kitchen brought her to STH.

“They have some great programs, and if they don’t have the resources you need, they will send you to those resources,” Myles added. “They treat us all with dignity and respect.”

After surviving in temporary housing and completing months of training and classes – in everything from basic reading and math skills to stress management and yoga – Myles is “on my way back to becoming a productive citizen of society again” thanks to STH.

Myles proudly held up the key she received a day earlier at STH, sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. “I will be moving into my own apartment tomorrow, and Monday I start school in the Hospitality program at Ivy Tech (Community College).”

As Myles freely spoke about her struggles and her recovery, staff members including Sister of St. Agnes Peg Spindler, STH executive director, beamed with pride.

“We are just so blessed. . .with so many wonderful partnerships,” Sister Peg said of the resources for homeless women and children who arrive on the doorstep at 410 W. 13th Ave.

Each new client is assigned a case manager to evaluate their needs and direct them to township, church, or another housing agency. Clients set goals and attend classes Monday through Thursday, visit a food pantry crammed with cases of donated nonperishables, and “shop” the STH Boutique for a new wardrobe.

Support Services Coordinator Twyla Burks offers a big smile and organized racks of donated – sometimes new - clothing, jewelry, shoes, purses and underwear. Donations, accepted 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays (“We ask that they be clean and in season”), are sorted and shelved.

Clients are assisted in obtaining birth certificates and ID’s, use phone and laundry facilities, receive meals, get health screenings, borrow library materials, watch training videos and check the jobs bulletin board. With mothers in class, children attend the Child Enrichment Center, where infants through high schoolers find stability and a customized educational plan.

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

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Benedictine Father Kurt Stasiak elected new leader of Saint Meinrad Archabbey

By Sean Gallagher

ST. MEINRAD—When the votes were being announced one by one on June 2, Benedictine Father Kurt Stasiak kept hearing his name called out as he and his fellow monks sat together in a room adorned with paintings of monastic virtues and Christ in glory.

Father Kurt closed his eyes and had a “peaceful feeling” as the votes confirmed in his mind that his fellow monks were asking him to serve as their new leader.

When the necessary number of votes for a successful election was reached, the abbot president of the Swiss-American Congregation, an organization of Benedictine monasteries in the United States, asked Father Kurt if he was willing to accept the leadership position. At peace with the will of the community, Father Kurt responded, “With the help of God, I am willing.”

Father Kurt thus became Archabbot Kurt, only the 10th abbot and seventh archabbot in the 162-year history of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad. He succeeds Benedictine Father Justin DuVall, whose resignation as archabbot took effect the same day as the election.

Elected on Dec. 31, 2004, Father Justin announced in January his intention to resign on June 2. Abbots in the Swiss-American Congregation are elected to an indefinite term. From the time of his announcement until the day of the election, the monastic community met several times to discern the qualities they desired in their next leader and which monks might have them.

Soon after Archabbot Kurt accepted his election, news of it was passed on to the novices and junior monks who have not yet professed solemn, lifelong vows and had not participated in the election.

They then began to ring all six of the bells in the monastery’s Archabbey Church of Our Lady of Einsiedeln. Hearing those bells shook Archabbot Kurt out of his peacefulness and into the enormity of what had just happened in his life.

“It was starting to sink in,” Archabbot Kurt said during a June 6 press conference. “Oh my gosh. I’m the one who was elected abbot. It was an emotional time.”

The intensity of his emotions only increased when, a few minutes later—now wearing a pectoral cross and sitting in the presider’s chair in the Archabbey Church—he received his fellow monks one by one. Each ritually placed their hands in his as they professed their obedience to him and gave him a sign of peace.

It was “psychologically, spiritually and emotionally profound—very moving,” he said.

“Now I’m their abbot,” added Archabbot Kurt, who will be formally installed in his office during an abbatial blessing Mass on July 26 at the monastery. “They’re looking at me as their abbot. Not that I’m better, but more is being asked of me now. They’re expecting more. That’s a humbling thing and certainly a privileged feeling.”

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

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