Last updated 12/06/2013 1:57 PM
Catholic News Around Indiana
The 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.
Saying 'good-bye' And 'thank You'
By Mary Ann
At 12:30 p.m. last Sunday afternoon, the parking lot at Evansville’s St. Benedict Cathedral was almost full. Despite the chilly temperatures, the elderly residents across the street were being wheeled over to attend a 1 p.m. Mass of Thanksgiving for the Little Sisters of the Poor.
As the cathedral filled up, Little Sister of the Poor Gonzague Castro said, "We're very happy they are coming out to show their gratitude to us and that we can show our gratitude to them. It's a day of thanksgiving."
Thanksgiving and sadness too, as southern Indiana said farewell to the Little Sisters of the Poor after 131 years of service to the elderly poor.
Msgr. Kenneth R. Knapp was early for the Mass. He said that his mother had lived at St. John's Home for the Aged with the Little Sisters for 10 years, noting, "they served so well."
Their foundress St. Jeanne Jugan, taught them to be at the bedsides of their dying residents, a tradition that continues to this day around the world.
The doors closed at St. John's Home at the end of October, and the facility is now under new management. Last Sunday, over 20 Little Sisters returned to Evansville to say "thank you" for all the community support they received over the years, and to be thanked for the work they had done.
Little Sister Carolyn Martin said, "We thank God for all his goodness to us and for all the people of the Tri-State who made our work possible.
"It's a little bittersweet," she said of their departure, adding that, "when you have a family member who moves away, it's painful. You miss them. As we leave Evansville, the people of the Tri-State are still our family."
Bishop Emeritus Gerald A. Gettelfinger delivered the homily during the Mass of Thanksgiving. He said, "It is right and just that we give thanks to Almighty God for the Little Sisters, that they said 'yes' with generosity."
He added, "It is not only right that we give thanks for the Little Sisters, it is just."
At the conclusion of the Mass Father Ted Tempel and St. John resident Frances Muensterman made a presentation of more than $131,000 to the Little Sisters, which included donations from all over the country.
(For news from the Diocese of Evansville, log on to the website of The Message at www.themessageonline.org)
Women’s dignity and vocation class bonds Dwenger students
By Ann Carey
FORT WAYNE — A new theology class at Bishop Dwenger High School is drawing rave reviews from students, parents and Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. And the veteran teacher of the class is calling it “the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done as a teacher.”
The “Dignity of Women” class was offered for the first time this fall as a one-semester theology elective for seniors. Bishop Dwenger is thought to be the only Catholic high school in the country to offer such a class.
Jessica Hayes, who has taught theology for 14 years at Bishop Dwenger, developed the class over the past year. She told Today’s Catholic that the seed for the class was planted about six years ago, when she attended a conference on the 20th anniversary of “Mulieris Dignatatem,” Pope John Paul II’s 1988 apostolic letter on “The Dignity and Vocation of Women.”
When Bishop Rhoades visited Bishop Dwenger in January, Hayes approached him about developing the class. Bishop Rhoades was enthusiastic about the idea, so she compiled a comprehensive reading list, ranging from saints and popes to contemporary writers. Hayes, who has a master’s degree in theology from Franciscan University, said all the readings she chose were works she has studied.
“My goal for the class was to help the students understand their value, their dignity, their call to holiness as women. I wanted them to know how very much the Church thinks of them and how very much their popes think of them, and to see how much women have been part of the whole life of the Church,” Hayes said. “And we need them to be a part of the Church as women.”
The class was subsequently approved by the school and the bishop, and offered to senior girls for the fall semester.
“Some of the boys were interested in taking the class too, which is great,” Hayes said. “I think they should study about the dignity and vocation of women also, but what I wanted for this course was for the girls to be more free to share their own thoughts, without worrying about the reaction of the guys in the class.”
Hayes said that some boys are asking that a class be developed for them, too, and she sees that as a possibility for the future, as the boys would benefit knowing what the Church says about the value of women, and there is plenty of material about the dignity and vocation of men, as well.
Conference illuminates encountering God in the person of the poor
By Ann Carey
NOTRE DAME — Charity as a sacramental action was the subject of a Nov. 14-15 conference at the University of Notre Dame entitled “Blessed are the Merciful: Charity as Sacramental Action.”
The conference was planned as a series of conversations on issues raised in a new book by Gary Anderson, Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology. The book is entitled “Charity: the Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition” (Yale University Press, 2013).
Anderson limited his own role in the conference to welcoming the five main speakers and making brief comments on the topic. He explained that the practice of charity by Jews and Christians has been a virtue noticed by all. However, the theological and biblical grounding of this virtue have not been given adequate recognition.
For the Christian, he explained, the motivation to charitable works should be not only to create a just and equitable social order, but also to encounter God in the person of the poor. Thus, charity has a deeply sacramental character, a character that emerged in Western society during the 16th and 17th centuries, a time of profound change as society became more urbanized.
Anderson added that Pope Francis, with his deep concern for the poor, may help the contemporary Church recover some of these Catholic traditions regarding the poor.
The keynote speaker, Carlos Eire, a Yale University professor of history and religious studies, traced this notion of charity’s sacramental character to the Catholic Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries.
At that time, society was becoming less agricultural, cities were beginning to grow and currency was coming into greater use, Eire said. Thus, the numbers of homeless and indigent people were increasing and governments had no master plan to care for them.
Monastic reformers began to infuse new life into religious orders, the Church and society. Many of them brought about these needed reforms by making a wholesale commitment to the poor and sick, Eire said. Lay confraternities also sprang up to perform charitable works.
Eire said that Protestants tended to see poor relief as more of a centralized, secular activity and a way to stabilize society so that the poor would not turn to criminal activity. A Catholic model developed that approached care of the poor more on a personal level rather than as a social problem, Eire said. This Catholic model recognized the integrity and dignity of the poor person, and it saw the poor person as an image of Jesus Christ. Thus, to encounter a poor person is to encounter Christ.
(For news from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, log on to the website of Today’s Catholic at www.todayscatholicnews.org)
Advent season: Time for spirituality, service, thinking of others
By Anthony Alonzo and Steve Euvino
MERRILLVILLE—Falling leaves and dropping temperatures tell the observer that wintertime is right around the corner. In its wisdom, the Church has provided the faithful with a season of anticipation and preparation so that by the end of Advent, believers can be ready for the coming of Christ.
How does a Catholic make use of this time to ready for Christmas – without heading for the nearest department store or searching for the jolly old fellow in the red suit? Some make a concerted effort to set aside secular tendencies and dedicate their efforts to fostering a personal or communal spiritual journey.
Area religious in their pastoral responsibilities and lay people seeking a meaningful Christmas holiday continue to mark the season with special liturgical colors, folk traditions and various disciplines. Advent, which is derived from the Latin word 'adventus', meaning coming, remains an important transitionary period for many of today's believers.
Father Michael Yadron, pastor at St. Thomas More, Munster, recommends making an Advent wreath as a family tradition. When folks do go shopping, the pastor said, consider purchasing something for a local food pantry or shelter. If someone knows of a person or family in need, "adopt" them by purchasing food or gifts for them.
Office of Hispanic Ministry director Adeline Torres said that while Advent symbols such as candles and wreaths are less common at Hispanic celebrations, there are plenty of opportunities to encounter prayerful settings. The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is observed on Dec. 12, and the Posadas, a series of nightly prayers recalling Joseph and Mary searching for lodging (posadas), leads to the Nativity of Jesus.
"Kids and parents pray together in church every evening (until Christmas)," Torres said.
From Crown Point, Father Jim Wozniak affirmed there is something to be learned from the decorations – or lack thereof – in worship spaces. The pastor of St. Matthias said "the absence of Christmas stuff at church" prior to the actual holiday or its vigil Masses speaks volumes.
"Advent is a preparatory time," said Wozniak, decrying how some seem to be programmed by secular entities into thinking otherwise. "(Advent) is one time to remind us to clean house and welcome Christ into our lives on the (day of) Christmas."
(For news from the Diocese of Gary, log on to the website of the Northwest Indiana Catholic at www.nwicatholic.com)
Archbishop Tobin addresses youths as ‘parish of the U.S.’ at closing Mass
By Natalie Hoefer
For three days, the energy level of the 23,000 Catholic teenagers kept soaring.
Now their voices, raised in joyous song, filled Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis as wave after wave of nearly 400 bishops, priests, deacons and seminarians processed into the arena.
Tapping into that energy, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin began Mass with the trademark call and response that was often shared by the teenagers during the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) on Nov. 21-23.
“NC!” he shouted.
“YC!” the youths thundered in response.
“NC!” the archbishop yelled again, raising a fist in the air.
“YC!” the youths roared even louder.
Seconds later, a spirit of reverence and sacredness descended upon the stadium.
No ordinary Mass in a common church building, this was the closing bilingual Mass held on the evening of Nov. 23—the climax of the three-day celebration of Catholic youths and the faith they embrace.
After the Gospel reading, silence pervaded the stadium as the archbishop made his way across the large circular stage in the middle of what is normally the playing field for the Indianapolis Colts.
In the presence of 12 bishops, 237 priests, 31 deacons and 90 seminarians—as well as the 23,000 teenagers—Archbishop Tobin offered his homily.
“I believe it’s safe to say that tonight we formed the national parish of the United States of America,” he began, after opening with comments in Spanish. “Can you recall another occasion when there are people from all 50 states gathered around the Lord’s table in word and his sacrament? I can’t.”
Archbishop Tobin commented on two other events that marked the day—the ending of the Year of Faith, and the feast of Christ the King.
“Whenever we celebrate the Eucharist, we join our brothers and sisters across time and across space,” he said. “Tonight, in a particular way, we are part of a world parish, a parish that stretches across the globe as 1.2 billion Catholics bring to conclusion a year that was dedicated particularly to our faith.
“[Faith is] first and foremost knowing a person, and letting that person know us. That person tonight we call our king, Jesus Christ, the king of the universe, the king of our hearts.
“Calling Jesus our king means we belong to him and he belongs to us, but in a way different from any relationship between an earthly king and his subjects.
“We belong to the Lord. We are signed, sealed and delivered,” Archbishop Tobin said, calling upon the “Signed. Sealed. Delivered” theme of the conference.
Baptism sets up life of ‘fulfillment, purpose,’ speaker tells youths
By Natalie Hoefer
When Stevie Wonder wrote his hit single “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” in 1970, he likely never imagined the words would form the theme of a national Catholic gathering for youths.
But the words reinterpreted through the lens of faith formed a clear message to the 23,000 youths gathered for the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC):
Signed—by the waters of baptism.
Sealed—by the Holy Spirit.
Delivered—from death into life.
The rain that fell outside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Nov. 21 proved appropriate, with the opening general session focusing on baptism.
Through that rain, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis processed with the Eucharist from St. John the Evangelist Church across the street to the Indiana Convention Center.
Xander Eisert of the Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., 15, described the scene.
“We were in the lobby of the convention center. [Priests and seminarians] started walking in, group after group, and they were singing in Latin. Everyone was down on their knees, our hats were off. It was a really cool experience. I didn’t expect that on the first day.”
From the quiet of the adoration chapel in the convention center, the youths made their way to Lucas Oil Stadium for the music performances before the opening general session.
In the stadium, the teens swayed, clapped and even formed a conga line to inspiring songs by Grammy-award winning musician Israel Houghton, the energetic tunes of Grupo Huellas and the rap sounds of Righteous B.
Overhead, Twitter messages from participants flashed on several Jumbotron screens, statements of joy, excitement and anticipation from youths across the nation yet all under one roof in Indianapolis.
The opening general session began with Catholic catechist, singer, musician and Two by Two Ministries co-founder Jesse Manibusan taking the stage as emcee for NCYC, then later Catholic singer and songwriter Matt Maher
Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, vicar general, offered closing remarks about the sign of a baptized disciple.
“There’s going to be troubles in our lives, times when things don’t go right,” the bishop said.
“But I really think what marks us most as disciples is the joy of knowing that we’re signed, sealed and delivered, of knowing from whom we come and to whom we go.
“Why would anyone want to join a sad Church?” Bishop Coyne asked. “Isn’t that one of the best ways of being an evangelizer—to live the good life of faith, and to spread the Good News wherever we go that Jesus is Lord?”
(For news from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, log on to the website of The Criterion at www.CriterionOnline.com) †