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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

Benedictine Sisters In Ferdinand Have A New Prioress

By Mary Ann Hughes (Interim Message Editor)

During the homily of the Diocese of Evansville’s 2014 Golden Jubilee Celebration Mass, Evansville Bishop Charles C. Thompson told a parable of sorts – the story of an old, very worn violin that went up for auction.

“Someone finally said they’d give a quarter for it,” he said. “Someone else bid 50 cents, and another person bid a dollar. The auctioneer was about to lower the hammer and sell it when a man spoke up, asking to hold the violin for just a moment before it sold.”

The bishop went on to explain that, although highly unusual, the auctioneer agreed, and the man took the violin in hand. He wiped it off, tuned it, and played the most beautiful music anyone at the auction had ever heard. In just a moment, bidding on the instrument skyrocketed into the thousands.

“What just happened?” one bidder asked another. “That violin barely got to a dollar; and now, the bidding is up to several thousand dollars.” “It was just an old, worn instrument when the bidding started,” the second bidder replied. “But once it was in the master’s hands, it became invaluable.”

“The theme of Respect Life Sunday this year is, ‘Each of us is a masterpiece of God’s creation,’” Bishop Thompson noted. “Each of you is created in the image of the Master.”

Noting that, thousands of miles to the east in Rome, the Extraordinary Synod on the Family had begun just a few hours earlier at the Vatican, Bishop Thompson mentioned the call Pope Francis had made to those participating. “The Holy Father said there can be no room for arrogance … only humility and courage,” he said. “You know that; you understand that – or you wouldn’t be here today.”

The bishop also discussed the day’s Gospel, in which Jesus tells the parable of the vineyard leased by an owner, whose representatives are rebuked when they attempt to collect what is owed from the harvest. The tenants kill the owner’s son because they want to keep the vineyard for themselves, and they see everyone – including the owner’s flesh and blood – as threats.

“When we fail to recognize each other as brother and sister,” he said, “we are going to feel threatened by others. When we see others as threats, we lose our sense of family. Certainly, you can’t do that in marriage; you wouldn’t be here today if you did that.” 

Couples came from all across the diocese for the celebration, which was sponsored by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Evansville. Couples attending received a commemorative book that recognized those celebrating 50 years or more of marriage. Those listings filled 26 of the book’s 32 inside pages, and included couples married from 50 years to 74 years.

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

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Area Catholic health care professionals gather to hear Matthew Hanley

By Bonnie Elberson 

FORT WAYNE — Health care professionals and members of the Dr. Jerome Lejeune Catholic Medical Guild of Northeast Indiana gathered on Wednesday, Oct. 8, to hear remarks by Matthew Hanley, a senior fellow at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, during his visit to the Fort Wayne area.

The evening began with the second annual White Mass for all medical workers and their families which was celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Mass was followed by a banquet at St. Mary Mother of God Church nearby where Hanley was the featured speaker on the subject, “Ideological Medicine: Serving Politics, Not People.”

“Ideology and ethics are antithetical terms,” Hanley began. While ethics is a set of moral principles or rules of conduct based on right and wrong, ideology is a body of thought guiding a political or social program which derives its ideas from feeling and sensation. Ideological medicine, then, caters to popular whim rather than what is morally right for patients.

Hanley referred to the current Pink October breast cancer awareness campaign as an example. While the campaign promotes “full-on awareness,” it promotes mammograms as a safety measure. While mammograms provide early detection of breast cancer, they are not a preventative measure, he argued. Women can help protect themselves from breast cancer by giving birth, nursing those babies and avoiding altogether the carcinogenic birth control pill. We don’t hear about those preventative measures in the secular press, said Hanley.

Extensive studies which have received little or no press coverage are those relating induced abortion to breast cancer, he continued.

Hanley also spoke at length on the AIDS epidemic in Africa. He has traveled extensively there promoting the Catholic Church’s response to the problem and has authored the book “Affirming Love, Avoiding AIDS; What Africa Can Teach the West,” which was awarded a best book prize by the Catholic Press Association.

The popular government-promoted risk reduction techniques of condom use, treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), counseling and testing have not led to a decreased risk of AIDS. Instead, many studies have shown that HIV prevalence rises along with condom sales. The Catholic Church teaches abstinence and fidelity as solutions to the AIDS problem, said Hanley, and that has shown marked success in recent years. “It is never the role of the Church or its agencies … to help people do the wrong things more efficiently or safely,” he pointed out.

In conclusion, Hanley said that medicine needs a higher view of man. The problem of risk reduction as a philosophy is the implication that self-destructive behavior is unavoidable and that man has no capacity to change.

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

Diocese of Gary

Symposium: Catholics must respond to pope’s challenge to ‘go to extremes’

By Steve Euvino

MERRILLVILLE—"We have a lot to learn from Pope Francis," Passionist Father Robin Ryan said, concluding his address to the Diocesan Leadership Symposium at Our Lady of Consolation on Oct. 4.

An author and associate professor of systematic theology at Chicago's Catholic Theological , Father Ryan outlined five themes essential to Pope Francis' teachings. Bishop Dale J. Melczek followed the priest's comments with his own observations, after which some of the nearly 200 participants shared their thoughts.

The theme for the Saturday morning program was "Pope Francis calls us to mission and evangelization. Who will answer?"

Father Ryan offered these five themes of the current papacy: the primacy of mercy; the Church as home and instrument of comm; the call to solidarity; Church leadership as dedicated service to the people of God; and the indispensability of prayer.

For some, Father Ryan began, Pope Francis is a breath of fresh air; for others, the pope poses a threat or challenge.

Addressing the "folks in the trenches," Father Ryan encouraged the assembled catechists, school administrators and teachers, parish council members, youth and young adults, and clergy not to sentimentalize this pope. "We need to take his challenges seriously," Father Ryan said.

For Pope Francis, Father Ryan said, the primary word the Church must speak in evangelization is the mercy of God poured out in Jesus Christ. For this pope, the priest continued, the world needs reconciliation and comm, and the Church is the home of comm. Also, Father Ryan said, the Church cannot limit itself to its parish walls.

Regarding the call to solidarity, Father Ryan said, Pope Francis has criticized the current globalized economic system at the risk of being labeled a socialist. As to Church leadership, this pope sees the pastor as mediator rather than manager or intermediary; the mediator facilitates an encounter.

Father Ryan said Pope Francis, speaking on prayer, sees Christian life as a "response to the tenacious love of God poured out in Jesus Christ. ... Life with God requires disciples, but also a response to God's self-communication."

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

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Parish responds to Connersville drug crisis by scheduling a ‘novena of rosary walks’

By Natalie Hoefer

CONNERSVILLE—The town of Connersville, population just a little more than 13,000, has been rocked by a recent crisis: within 20 days between September and October, 20 heroin-related overdoses and five deaths were reported.

“I prayed with it all week,” said Father Dustin Boehm, pastor of St. Gabriel Parish in Connersville and St. Bridget Parish of Ireland in Liberty. “I called Father Bob [Mazzola] and just ran this idea by him about doing a novena of rosary walks, and it just kind of fell into place from there.”

Father Mazzola, who retired in 2011, was born and raised in Connersville, where he now lives. He and Father Boehm led more than 150 members of St. Gabriel Parish and the local community as they prayed the rosary on Oct. 12 while walking a path in Roberts Park in Connersville.

That was the first of nine scheduled rosary walks to take place on consecutive Sundays at 8 p.m. through Dec. 7.

The intention for each rosary, said Father Boehm, is “for all people and families struggling with addiction.”

The “novena” part of the plan stems from “that tradition of our belief that the Apostles and the Blessed Mother were in the upper room for nine days prior to the descent of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “We want to pray for a new life for these people specifically struggling with addiction.”

The park was not chosen for its idyllic setting, nor the 8 p.m. time for its convenience.

“We chose to do the rosary walk in [Roberts Park] at 8 p.m. because the park is where much of the drug activity takes place after dark,” said Father Boehm. “There have been many documented reports of parents and locals finding hypodermic needles there during the daytime when kids are there playing or walking around.”

Father Mazzola views the rosary walks as one more way to combat the drug crisis in Connersville.

“This has been a problem up and down,” he said. “It’s a small town, and people don’t talk about it if they’ve got a relative who’s dealing with [drug addiction].

“But this has brought it out. Now, they’re not afraid to speak up and say there are too many drugs in this town.”

St. Gabriel Parish member Cheryl Hreno participated in the walk because “Connersville has a lot of people that need help right now. Families need help, the addicts need help. There’s just a lot of outreach needed now.”

She said she was pleased to see several people participating in the walk who were not members of the parish.

“We need to band together,” she said. “I’m glad to see it’s a focus now.”

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

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