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Last updated 08/21/2015 9:07 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

Youth group helps those in need in two Tennessee counties

By Kate Bittner (The Message Intern)

Members of the St. Maria Goretti Youth group joined with the Glenmary Home Missioners to help the less fortunate in the counties of Union and Grainger in Tennessee. They worked hard from July 12-16 before enjoying an exhilarating white water rafting trip on July 17.

“I was so excited for my first mission trip! There were so many great experiences with even greater people. Every minute brought something new and something wonderful. I can’t wait for next year!” said rising freshman Lindsey Field from Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Haubstadt.

The youth group was assigned many different tasks - including helping an older lady whose house needed to be waterproofed.

They also helped organize the donation office of Kingswood, an organization that cares for neglected children by giving them a place to stay and healthy food to eat as well as instilling within them the discipline and skills to make something better of their lives. The young missionaries also had the opportunity to spend time with these children and play basketball with them.

Another big project they had involved helping a woman who lived in a run-down mobile home without any electricity or plumbing. They built a new deck for her so that she could safely get in and out of her home. They also replaced her windows and a broken door. They learned how to install a sink, a water heater and the pipes needed for the new plumbing. Even though they didn’t complete the project, they planted the seeds of hope that will grow with the help of the other young missionaries who will visit the area to help the Glenmary Missioners later this summer. 

One of the major impacts for the St. Maria Goretti members was the shocking realization of how blessed they are. When they went to the mobile home and met the young kids, they began to appreciate the little things they always have taken for granted.

“Getting away for a week from your everyday life and responsibilities … and helping others and letting God lead … is difficult,” said trip chaperone Terri Ziliak of St. Bernard Parish in Snake Run. “But seeing how little these people have was eye-opening. It makes you stop and think about what is really important in life. Watching a group of young people work together, not complain and have such a good time helping others is so refreshing. I was so fortunate to be able to be a part of this mission trip!”

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

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Unstained fidelity to the Bridegroom: Jessica Hayes consecrated to a life of virginity

FORT WAYNE — On a day of joy and thanksgiving, Jessica Hayes, a beloved theology teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, was consecrated to a life of virginity at a rite celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.

Hayes’ students, graduates, friends, fellow parishioners of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Fort Wayne, priests, brothers, seminarians and religious sisters filled the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Fort Wayne on the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“God has called Jessica to be more closely united to Himself and to be dedicated to the service of the Church,” Bishop Rhoades said in his homily. “It is God who gives the grace of virginity. He gave this grace to the young woman of Nazareth, to Mary, who was inspired by the Holy Spirit to choose the life of virginity. Mary made a personal decision in faith to remain a virgin, to offer her heart to the Lord. She wanted to be His faithful bride.”

“Thus, Mary became the model for all those who have chosen to serve the Lord with an undivided heart in virginity,” Bishop Rhoades added. “It seems most appropriate that Jessica gives herself totally to Jesus, is consecrated to a life of virginity, on a feast of Our Lady, who gave herself totally to God as the virgin handmaid of the Lord.”

Hayes told Today’s Catholic she felt a “deep gratitude for the Church and for being Catholic, knowing whatever desire is placed upon our hearts by God, the Church has a place for us. And this is my place.”

Hayes’ attendant Emily Weimer said she thinks the life of a consecrated virgin “is a beautiful vocation. And I think our diocese is so lucky to have her because her job is to pray for our Church and for our diocese.”

Weimer said she was pleased, happy and blessed to be asked by Hayes to be an attendant. Hayes, Weimer and Fogarty, as a group of friends, have been praying about vocations for some time, Weimer noted.

Kelly Fogarty, a teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School, has been Hayes’ friend for the last nine years.

Fogarty noted, “It’s a vocation that a lot of people don’t know about, so it’s not something that even comes to mind. But when she explained what it was and that she was going to be a consecrated virgin, it made a lot of sense. I can very much see that is what God’s plan is for her.”

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

Diocese of Gary

Senior building project reaches 400th ramp milestone; work goes on

By Steve Euvino

MICHIGAN CITY—Amidst the heat, humidity, and some well-intentioned worksite humor, a ramp was being constructed July 29. It was the second ramp installed that Wednesday morning, and when the work was done, a milestone was reached.

Catholic Charities senior volunteers had completed their 400th wheelchair ramp.

“This is unbelievable,” said Tom Szawara, who started the program in July 2004. From a handful of volunteers making those first ramps, the Catholic Charities program now serves three counties of the Diocese of Gary and southwestern Michigan.

“It’s the workers. They make it happen,” said Szawara. “These are the people who really want to help people. You don’t come out in weather like this to build two ramps.”

The ramp project is an offshoot of the former Retired Seniors Volunteers Program (RSVP) which Catholic Charities has sponsored.

Szawara, who like other ramp volunteers is a retired mill worker, attended a meeting at which it was determined that something was needed to help the disabled and elderly enter and exit their residences.

Starting with a few volunteers and no money, the first ramps were constructed in Michigan City. Then, as more volunteers came and grant funds provided materials, the program expanded to include the city of LaPorte and LaPorte, Starke, Lake, and Porter counties.

From July 12, 2004 through July 29, 2015, 400 ramps were constructed, most of them in Michigan City and LaPorte County. In addition, 59 home safety repairs were completed.

This work, Szawara reported, involved 35 volunteers providing 21,646 volunteer hours. Each ramp costs an average of $1,150 in materials. If someone were to pay a contractor to build the ramp, Szawara estimated, the cost could run between $4,000 and $9,000.

Migrant workers a ‘blessing for us,’ bishop says at Mass at Herr Farm

By Steve Euvino

LOWELL—Never underestimate the power of the bishop’s presence, even when he’s an hour late.

After being stuck in traffic for two hours while driving from one corner of the Diocese of Gary to another, Bishop Donald J. Hying apologized for his tardiness when he arrived for the migrant ministry Mass at Herr Farm on Aug. 2. After Mass, a line of people approached the bishop, who has now been in the diocese for seven months. The bishop later joined migrant workers and sponsoring parish representatives for dinner on the grass.

Celebrating the outdoor Mass in Spanish and English on a sunny and breezy Sunday afternoon, Bishop Hying called the setting “nature’s cathedral,” saying the faithful were gathered in “the center of the heart of God.”

More than 20 migrant workers, many of them seated in the front rows, received the sign of peace from the bishop, who called the workers a “blessing for us.”

Bishop Hying, who helped pick tomatoes with native workers while serving in the Dominican Republic through the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said he would like to join Herr Farm laborers for a day, working with them in the fields.

Many of the migrant workers at Herr Farm come from Mexico. Seminarian Jose Cuellar, who has joined this diocese from Mexico, said the bilingual Mass is important because “sometimes, when immigrant people come here, they miss the Spanish Mass. They miss being close to God.”

Coordinated through the Office of Intercultural Ministry and sponsored by local parishes, three migrant ministry Masses took place this summer, including Masses in July at Johnson Farm and County Line Orchard, both in Hobart.

While awaiting the bishop’s arrival from Rolling Prairie, Cuellar led the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. Having these Masses, Cuellar said, shows workers “they’re a value for the Church. They’re not strangers.”

Antonio Sanchez, a worker in his first season at Herr Farm, said it was “muy bueno” (very good) to have the bishop celebrate Mass with his fellow workers.

Ismael Hernandez, in his 11th year at the farm, added the Mass is “very good for us” because “we need much from God.”

Laborers put in a six-day work week at the farm, which grows corn, fruits, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and melons.

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

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Book shares stories of teacher who loves what she does

By John Shaughnessy

It’s one of her favorite stories from her 22 years of teaching, a story that also led to the unusual title of her self-published book.

As she monitored a classroom of students taking a test, Evelyn Karozos was approached by a boy who finished the exam early.

“I have two things,” the boy said to her in his typically low-key tone. “First, where do we put our test?”

After Karozos told him to put the test on the front desk, the boy continued ever so calmly, “And the other thing, there’s a spider in your hair.”

“I screamed and told him to get it out of my hair,” Karozos recalls. “And he batted my hair to get rid of it.”

There’s a Spider in Your Hair (and other classroom vignettes) is Karozos’ effort to share her experiences with students from her 22 years of teaching at St. Mark the Evangelist School in Indianapolis.

There’s the memory of “the soccer game that one particularly troubled boy invited two of us teachers to watch. After the game, he performed a few cartwheels off the field as his way of thanking us for coming.”

There’s the story of the unexpected act by an eighth-grade boy who was known for bullying.

“He publicly acknowledged his faults to his peers and to the upcoming class of seventh graders, and advised them to not be like him and to treat their fellow classmates better than he did,” she writes. “On the contrary, I hope they all have the courage to be like him—to face their flaws and ask forgiveness of those they’ve wronged.”

There’s also the tale of her own memorable mistake, one she made as a first-year teacher that she was convinced would end her teaching career. Exhausted and overwhelmed one day, she “snapped” as she listened as some students blamed the other for something that happened. She blurted, “If you don’t stop lying, you’re going to go to . . .”

“Mouths gaped as deep as the Grand Canyon,” she writes. “I got up from my chair and marched myself straight to the principal’s office to confess my sin. I needed to tell her that her phone might be ringing about three seconds after dismissal. And I needed to prepare myself for my own permanent dismissal. Unflappable Mrs. C—she smiled, shook her head, and said that if this were the worst thing I ever did that I would be one lucky teacher.”

In all, she shares more than 70 stories, most just a page in length.

Available for $18, There’s a Spider in Your Hair (and other classroom vignettes) can be ordered through the website,

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

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