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Last updated 07/25/2014 11:37 AM

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

Heralds Of Good News

By Tim Lilley (The Message Editor)

Evansville – Mission trips are regular elements of ministry across the Diocese of Evansville. A group from Jasper, for example, traveled to the Atlanta area earlier this year to serve and help others. Another parish group stayed right here in Evansville to help its own and other local residents.

People from our diocese have assisted with natural disasters – not only in this country but in Haiti and elsewhere. The call to mission work always includes one simple concept – going where you’re needed to do what you can … to help.

Meet Father Anthony Govind and Father Sudhakar Bhastati. They are from India – members of the Heralds of Good News Missionary Society of Apostolic Life. Like the people mentioned above, they have gone where they’re needed – to North America; the state of Indiana; the Diocese of Evansville.

From here, it’s no coincidence that the name of their home for the next five years – Indiana – is nothing more than their home country – India – with the abbreviation of our continent – NA – added.

“As Heralds of Good News,” Father Govind said, “we go to work wherever more priests are needed.” “We have brother priests in at least 10 countries,” Father Bhastati added. Together, they listed all the places: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Papua/New Guinea, Uganda and the U.S.

They are from the same general area in India, but did not live or grow up close to each other. “Agriculture is an important part of life for both of us,” Father Bhastati said, but in my region, rice is the most important crop. Most of the rice grown in India comes from the region where I grew up.

“Cotton is the more important crop where I come from,” Father Govind added. “But for all of the families in our areas, there is about a three-month period where they tend to smaller, personal gardens to grow vegetables and beans, which feed the families.” 

There is little doubt that initial impressions of their new, albeit temporary, home in southwestern Indiana will be front and center. They arrived at Evansville Regional Airport on May 22 to begin a five-year visit to minister in our parishes.

Spiritually, they already see something important.

“The message of God is in the people here,” Father Bhastati said. “People make us feel truly at home.”

Good Shepherd Prayer Apostolate

By Anna Schulten (The Message Intern)

At this moment, someone from the Good Shepherd Prayer Apostolate is praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament here in the Diocese of Evansville. Perhaps more importantly, there will continue to be prayers offered during every hour of every day – for the diocese, Bishop Thompson, our priests and religious, and for vocations.

Deacon Charlie Koressel is Spiritual Director of the Good Shepherd Prayer Apostolate. “We are a lay-organized and lay-led group of Catholics gathering in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament,” he said. The GSPA mission statement explains that the group offers a "24/7 Perpetual Prayer Service for Bishop Thompson, his special intentions, for our priests, seminarians, an increase to vocations (religious, single and married) and for our Diocese.” In addition to Koressel’s work, Cindy Masterson serves as GSPA Diocesan Coordinator, and each deanery in the diocese has coordinators.

Koressel said the apostolate came about in spring 2012. “While I was at a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament,” he said. “I was reflecting on the spiritual direction of the Church, the low numbers of seminarians (there were five at the time), fewer vowed religious in our educational system, and other concerns. It was impressed upon me that there were things that the laity could do to mobilize and be a force for a positive change to some of the trends that were happening. As is in all things, it should start with prayer.” As a result, a group of laity from around the diocese met and formed the GSPA.

“Most parishes in the diocese are directly or indirectly involved,” Koressel said. “Each deanery has a coordinator or co-coordinators, and each of the seven deaneries has one of the seven days of the week. For example, the Evansville East Deanery has Mondays.” In this example, because there are usually four Mondays per month, four parishes in the Evansville East Deanery volunteer to host the GSPA. “One of those four participating parishes has a Monday every four weeks, thus fulfilling those Monday obligations.”

 “Some parishes are host parishes, where the opportunity to adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is made available,” Koressel added. “There are also parishioners who come from non-host parishes, and they spend an hour (in adoration) at the host parish.” The GSPA has developed a prayer booklet that provides a series of suggested prayers, readings, and suggestions on how to more fully participate in a Holy Hour of adoration – as well as some guidelines on how to personally grow in faith.”

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

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Infertility website offers resources and community for struggling couples

A  new website has recently been launched by the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend that focuses on the burden of infertility. premiered appropriately on June 24, the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, who was conceived after many years of Elizabeth and Zechariah’s infertility.

The website, two years in the making, provides a safe and hope-filled resource for those who carry the cross of infertility, says Cindy Black, director of Adult Faith Formation, and member of the team who created the site. “It provides community with others who share their suffering, and offers suggestions for prayer and other possible paths,” she says.

The site’s content, first developed by Natalie Kohrman, past director of the Office of Spiritual Development and Evangelization, and later Megan Swaim, past associate director of Youth Ministry and Black, is specific to the challenges faced by couples that are dealing with infertility. “…This website exists to let couples who are facing infertility know that the Church understands their desire for a child and is here to help them in their struggle. It aims to introduce and explain Church-approved methods for identifying and attempting to treat infertility,” says Kohrman.

Website visitors can find not only an extensive list of recommended resources that include prayers, articles, Church documents, blogs, audio files, links to other websites and books, but also stories of hope from couples who have faced infertility, answers to frequently asked questions and a page specifically designed as a resource for friends and family who want to support a couple dealing with infertility.

The featured resources offer the Church’s teaching on infertility, natural family planning, NaproTechnology, miscarriage, adoption, dealing with suffering and strengthening marriage and more. These teachings are not arbitrary rules, says Black. “Rather, the Church upholds the dignity of every life to be co-created with God in the way He intended — through the one flesh union of husband and wife. As my morality professor taught: human persons in the image of God are to be begotten, not made.” Kohrman agrees, adding that having a child is not a right but a gift from God.

Black says the website sprang from a pastoral need and a hope that couples who have suffered in silence will find that they are not alone. “We recognized that it’s not enough to just inform people of the Church’s teaching on reproductive technologies, we need to show love and compassion to those who long to conceive a child, but are struggling to and may not be able to,” she says, adding, “Infertility is a heavy burden, but Jesus wants to help us carry that cross and even grow closer to Him through it.”

Shrine of Christ’s Passion attracts pilgrims to northwest Indiana

ST. JOHN, Ind. — For pilgrims looking for an uplifting place to visit with their family this summer or for a peaceful spiritual retreat, a few hours’ drive northwest to St. John, Ind., will bring one to two beautiful places —The Shrine of Christ’s Passion and St. John the Evangelist Church.

The Shrine of Christ’s Passion opened in 2007 and consists of 40 life-size bronze figures depicting the way of the cross — from the Last Supper to the Resurrection. The shrine sits on 15 acres of property and 3,000 trees and bushes make up the half-mile prayer path that contains the stations.

The Stations of the Cross are set into alcoves intentionally so that when visiting one, the next is not visible. Eighty-eight semi-loads of rocks were brought in from Wisconsin to create the path. Mickey Wells is the bronze artist who constructed the figures and had people model as he designed the statues. The expressions portrayed on the statue’s faces and attention to detail creates a very real experience for visitors.

The shrine is nonprofit and non-denominational and was commissioned by the Schilling family to be built. According to a guide at the shrine when the Schillings first conceived of creating a Stations of the Cross prayer path they envisioned just having plaques with the stations. But following a visit to Amarillo, Texas, where another Shrine of Christ’s Passion is located and he saw Mickey Wells’s work Schilling returned knowing he wanted to create a similar experience.

Every aspect of the shrine was created to give visitors an authentic feeling of journeying with Christ along the way. The landscape design of shrubs and rocks is similar to that found in Jerusalem. Music plays softly along the prayer path, composed by two local men — one Christian, the other Jewish — to represent the time and place, and to set the mood.

From the beginning of the journey at the Last Supper visitors are invited to join Jesus and sit at the table with Him. Pilgrims are encouraged to get close to the figures of Christ and His followers, to touch the statues and to look into their eyes. The path itself is a peaceful place where guided tours are offered and encouraged for large groups, but individuals can also take a self-guided tour as there is a recorded story at each station.

Faithful encouraged to join in preparation for Marian consecration

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades has recently announced that he will renew the consecration of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend to the Blessed Mother during the 6 p.m. Mass on Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption of Mary, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. The Mass will be followed by a Marian procession, organized by the Knights of Columbus, from the cathedral to Headwaters Park, which will mark the beginning of the third annual summer Festival of Faith.

The bishop has invited all to join him and many others in the consecration to Jesus through Mary and proposes following the 33 days of preparation written by Father Michael Gaitley, a priest with the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. The guidebook, entitled “33 Days to Morning Glory,” includes prayers and meditations for each day, using the writings of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and St. John Paul II, who were all deeply devoted to Mary.

St. Louis Marie de Montfort set forth the traditional method of Marian consecration, which seeks a deeper union with both Jesus and Mary for those who participate.

In a recent interview, Father Gaitley explained, “St. Louis was the first to take all the threads of Marian consecration, popularize them and synthesize them. The way I look at it, ‘33 Days to Morning Glory’ is written in the same spirit, meant to combine and promote the main streams of Marian devotion that have come since St. Louis’ model. The way it is written also provides an easier to use and updated version from the traditional method.”

The book is to be read a few pages each day, which “allows for deeper reflection as you ponder the teachings of the saints, leading you to formally acknowledging and accepting Mary as your spiritual Mother,” said Father Gaitley, adding that the consecration may be done individually or as part of a group. As a guide to make the consecration the Hearts Afire program offers a DVD set, retreat companion guide and group discussion manual for group use.

Father Gaitley explains the purpose of making a Marian consecration: ““Mary brings us to a personal relationship with Jesus, Jesus then brings us to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the Trinity in turn brings us closer to others. Transforming community with Christ is our goal, because when we enter into deeper intimacy with Christ we take on His heart and His thirst for souls.”

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

Diocese of Gary

At Presbyterian church, Catholics serve lunch to needy

By Anthony D. Alonzo

MERRILLVILLE—Area Catholics and Presbyterians were among those who shared their time, talents and treasure to ensure local families in need were served a complimentary meal and dessert on a recent weekend.

Boosting the list of cooperating Merrillville churches to a dozen, Our Lady of Consolation Church volunteers manned the kitchen in the basement of First Presbyterian Church on June 28, fulfilling another shift for the Feeding the Flock program.

OLC parishioners showed up in advance of the diners at the Presbyterian church on a sunny Saturday morning. Perhaps Catholics and Protestants generally have not worn a path to the doors of each other’s churches, but this year the OLC contingent has felt at home completing some faith-in-action at a church other than their own.

“This came out of our ministry Friends in Christ,” OLC’s Marilyn Huber said of the former St. Vincent De Paul Society. “Myself and our chairperson were driving by (First Presbyterian) and we saw the (Feeding the Flock banner). So we decided to stop in and ask questions.”

Members of OLC’s peace and social justice commission presented the ecumenical, service-minded idea to parishioners as something that could spark some interest. Many committed to volunteering. “I love it,” Huber said.

Our Lady of Consolation joined St. Joan of Arc and 10 Orthodox and Protestant churches that are part of the Congregations of Merrillville ministerial group and that signed on to operate the brunch event on a rotating schedule. Feeding the Flock was started at First Presbyterian four years ago to help local residents who are affected by the slumping economy.

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

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Amid razor wires and prison walls, volunteers change inmates’ lives as well as their own

By John Shaughnessy

The letter still touches and inspires Laura Kazlas.

She received the letter several weeks after she felt “very strongly urged by the Holy Spirit” to have the children she taught in a religious education program make Christmas cards for the inmates at a nearby correctional facility.

“I called the chaplain and asked for a list of names of inmates that never received any visitors, phone calls or letters,” Kazlas recalls.

“We made Christmas cards for these men. About a month later, the deacon from our parish gave me a letter that an inmate sent to the church. He thanked us for the handmade Christmas card. He had been in prison for over 20 years, and had never received a handmade Christmas card. He said it was the best part of his Christmas.”

The next part of the man’s letter touched her even more.

“His bunkie was a Catholic who had just begun to teach him the rosary, and he attended Mass a couple of times. He was full of hope for his future, and wanted to set things straight with God before he was released from prison.

“I never forgot his letter. It deeply touched my heart.”

That letter has continued to inspire Kazlas during the past seven years as she has served as a volunteer and a visitor at the Indiana Women’s Prison in Indianapolis.

She’s involved in Bible study and catechism classes with the women during the school year. She attends Mass with the women every Sunday evening—Masses that are celebrated by priests from the Indianapolis West Deanery.

“Christ called us to visit those in prison for a reason,” says Kazlas, one of about 15 Catholic volunteers at the Indiana Women’s Prison.

“These men, women and children are sometimes rejected and abandoned by their own families. They feel like they are forgotten by society, that they are not worthy of anyone’s love, and that their sin can never be forgiven. Their sin is a heavy weight on their soul.”

The sacrament of reconciliation offers a measure of healing and forgiveness for the women, Kazlas says.

“Decades of guilt and remorse are often healed through the sacrament of confession. Then regular Mass attendance becomes the oasis of peace in their lives. It is the one place where we are all loved, accepted and welcomed, regardless as to what else may be going on in our lives.”

Crossroads walkers will witness to culture of life in archdiocese

By Natalie Hoefer

When the 12 college-aged men and women arrive in Indianapolis on July 25, they will likely be hot, tired and ready for a good meal.

That’s what one would expect of young adults who have walked roughly 2,400 miles.

But after trading in “hot dogs and sleeping in an RV” for a homemade lasagna meal and a good night’s rest in real beds, the 12 young walkers for Crossroads Pro-Life will be ready to pray at an abortion center in Indianapolis and spread their message at Masses in parishes around the city on July 26 and 27 before continuing on their journey to Washington.

The group members are walking from San Francisco to the nation’s capital—a 12-week journey of 3,200 miles—to promote the pro-life cause.

Their trek comprises the central route of Crossroads Pro-Life’s three routes across the United States. Each route begins on the west coast and ends in Washington for a pro-life rally on Aug. 16. There are also walks in Canada, Spain and Australia.

In the archdiocese, the group will walk along U.S. 40, passing through Terre Haute on July 23, Indianapolis on July 24, and Richmond on July 25, before returning to Indianapolis for the weekend of July 26-27 to pray at a Planned Parenthood abortion center and to speak at various parishes.

But there’s more to the program than walking, praying and speaking to promote the pro-life message, says James Nolan, president of Crossroads Pro-Life.

“They’re activating other youths,” he says. “They’re letting pro-life young people know there are others like them out there, and that even though the culture of death seems big, the culture of life is strong. They encourage youths to stand up for their beliefs and for the culture of life, and to not believe in the lies of the culture of death.”

This is critical, he says, as college is a time when young adults’ beliefs are challenged.

“With Crossroads, it gives them that time to solidify their beliefs, faith and pro-life position,” Nolan says. “We’ve seen a lot of amazing conversions and transformations, not just in the people they reach but in [the walkers] themselves as well.”

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

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