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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

White Mass Held For Health Care Workers

By Mary Ann Hughes

When members of the Southwest Indiana Guild of the Catholic Medical Association gathered for Mass with Bishop Charles C. Thompson on Oct. 28, they heard a thank you and a reminder.

The occasion was the 2015 White Mass, held at St. John the Baptist Parish in Newburgh, and it provided an opportunity to ask God’s blessings upon health care providers.

Bishop Thompson told those in attendance “of my greatest admiration for your work. We thank you for the sacrifices you make to serve the sick.”

He reminded them that, “each of us is called to be a missionary disciple, to meet people where they are and accompany them on their journey — even sometimes preparing them for death.”

The bishop noted that the First Reading in the Mass was taken from Ephesians 2, and that he took his motto “Jesus the Cornerstone” from this passage. The words “remind us we are all fitted together as one family of faith . . . the foundation must be Jesus Christ. Any other foundation will not last.”

He cited Pope Francis’ words in “Laudato Si’,” his encyclical on the environment, which offer the four essential relationships: with God, with self, with others and with creation. Each relationship cannot exist without the other three, the bishop said, because there must be an interconnection.

The Southwest Indiana Guild is a physician-led community of healthcare professionals that, according to its mission statement, “informs, organizes and inspires its members, in steadfast fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church, to uphold the principals of the Catholic faith in the science and practice of medicine.”

The White Mass is named for the color worn by those in the healing profession of medicine.

Dr. Tony Schapker, a deacon with the Diocese of Evansville, said, “The gathering of the healthcare community at the White Mass affirms the importance of healthcare workers in their role of being the hands of Christ in our world in caring for the sick and bringing to them the healing love that God has for all of His children.”

Dr. Bill Blanke, also a member of the guild, said, “The source and summit of our Catholic faith is the Eucharist. Being able to share the Eucharistic meal with co-workers in health care at a Mass with our bishop helps remind me that I am expected to use my time and talent to help provide healthcare for those whom I see for physical pain, emotional pain and spiritual pain.”

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

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

The devotional pieces of Divine Mercy

By Tim Johnson

AUBURN — Many readers may be devoted to the daily recitation of the Chaplet of Mercy, but there are four other devotions of Divine Mercy to note as well. They include the feast day, the image, the novena and the hour of mercy. Father Dan Cambra, a priest of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception whose charism is to promote Divine Mercy, recently discussed the Divine Mercy devotions after he made a presentation at Immaculate Conception Parish in Auburn.

“The Chaplet of Mercy is one of the five devotions that Jesus revealed to St. Faustina,” Father Cambra said.

One prays the Chaplet of Mercy, “we pray on the beads of the rosary the prayers that Jesus gave her to pray,” Father Cambra said. “So it is a completely unique devotion that was revealed by Jesus to St. Faustina.”

On several occasions, Father Cambra noted, Jesus told Faustina “to pray it for the dying, especially people who were not at peace dying because they had great anxiety over the state of their soul,” Father Cambra noted.

At one point in the “Diary” Jesus tells Faustina: “If a person prays the Divine Mercy Chaplet even once, they will receive sufficient grace to avoid eternal damnation.”

Father Cambra noted that a lot of people draw back — calling it magic — “Well, it’s not magic,” Father Cambra said. “The chaplet is a prayer in which we offer to the Father the satisfaction of Christ’s redemptive act. We appropriate it for ourselves and for the conversion of sinners.”

“The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is part of [a] call to be co-operators with God’s grace. Just as Christ died on the cross for our sins, so now we offer His passion and suffering back to the Father for those who are in need of God’s grace and mercy,” said Father Cambra.

In 2000, Pope John Paul proclaimed the feast of Divine Mercy, the second Sunday of Easter, and canonized Sister Faustina. In the Gospel that week, Jesus walks through the door and says to everyone gathered: “Peace be with you.”

In the image of Divine Mercy, Jesus’ left hand is touching His chest, and from there, from His heart, shine rays red and pale, “reminding us of the blood and the water that was shed when His heart was pierced by a lance,” Father Cambra said. “His other hand is raised in blessing.”

The feast of Divine Mercy is about reconciliation both with God and with others, Father Cambra said.

With the Novena of Divine Mercy, “Jesus is giving us something very unique,” Father Cambra added.

“The novena for the preparation for the feast of Divine Mercy is completely different from all those other novenas,” Father Cambra said. “It’s not about praying for something that you want, it’s about putting on the mind of Christ. In that sense, it’s a novena for the post Vatican II mentality. … How can I be more Christ-like to my brothers and sisters?”

The fifth devotion, the hour of mercy, for Father Cambra is the “key that unlocks the door to the understanding of a lot of the other devotions and all the revelations of St. Faustina.”

Faustina was asked to pray the Chaplet of Mercy at 3 p.m. At one other time Jesus asked Faustina to pray the Stations of the Cross at 3 p.m., to spiritually connect oneself to the difficult, arduous task of Christ’s final hours and death.

St. Jude Parish celebrates 30 years of Perpetual Adoration

By Mary Kinder

FORT WAYNE — There was a joyous mood at St. Jude Church in Fort Wayne as Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades joined the parish in celebrating not only the feast day of their holy patron saint, but also the 30th anniversary of the St. Jude Perpetual Adoration Chapel.

Bishop Rhoades spoke of the St. Jude Perpetual Adoration Chapel in his homily calling it “a beautiful blessing in Fort Wayne” and thanking the parish for its dedication and devotion to the Adoration chapel.

Bishop Rhoades explained that a Perpetual Adoration Chapel is devoted to the worship of Jesus Christ through Eucharistic Adoration, which means the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and adored by the faithful 24 hours a day. The devotion ensures that someone is always praying in the chapel and recognized what the bishop called, “the many wonderful spiritual fruits of the apostolate,” which are often hidden in moments of grace in people’s hearts. Bishop Rhoades called for everyone to spend time with the Lord in the chapel, where as he said, “We are close to (Jesus’) breast, like St. John at the Last Supper, feeling in our heart the infinite love of Jesus’ Sacred Heart.” He also described the strength that comes from contemplating Jesus’s love that enables the faithful to face the challenges of life in faith and hope, bringing Christ into the world where we live.

More than 30 years ago, two devout St. Jude parishioners, Ed Dahm and Betty Niedermeyer, had the idea to start a Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Jude. Ed Dahm, who was a speaker at the reception, explained how the idea was brought to their parish priest, Father John Pfister, who backed the idea right away. However, the bishop did not support the idea at the time. Three years later when Bishop John M. D’Arcy was appointed to the diocese, the pair once again presented their idea that was quickly approved by the new bishop.

There was always a concern that there would not be enough people willing to spend time in the chapel. The Blessed Eucharist could not be left alone. Dahm said that when they explained the importance of Perpetual Adoration to the parish, 540 people signed up at the first opportunity.

Today, 30 years later, more than 1.3 million hours have been spent in Adoration at the chapel. Dedicated adorers and coordinators who are responsible for finding someone to pray in the chapel 24 hours a day support the mission. Dahm was quick to give thanks and praise to all the men and women who gave their time to be adorers and coordinators, saying the chapel would not have lasted this long without their sacrifices and dedication.

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

Diocese of Gary

Sister honors military service: Veterans deserve appreciation and respect for serving their country

By Steve Euvino

SAINT-MARY-OF-THE-WOODS—What does a Sister of Providence have in common with the military? If you’re Sister Mary Montgomery, it’s in your blood.

For this retreat director and spiritual director, the military is a family affair.

Sister Mary’s late father was active during World War II. One brother, Frank, served in Vietnam with the Army. Another brother, Jim, served in the Air Force. Three of Frank’s children are currently active in the service, with two other nephews are or have been in the reserves.

“Sometimes, we don’t say thank-you enough to veterans,” Sister Mary said. “We want them to know they’re appreciated.”

These veterans, the sister said, “went in harm’s way on a regular basis.”

Sister Mary is part of a team preparing to honor veterans with a retreat, “Sharing the Sanctity of Commitment and Courage,” Nov. 10 at the Woods near Terre Haute.

At the retreat, the sister said, “the veterans themselves will have working space for camaraderie and sharing their stories, laughter, and possibly tears with new people.”

Sister Mary said the idea for the retreat came after she and others listened to a program on National Public Radio.

“There is concern of veterans getting their proper attention,” the sister said, adding the retreat was developed out of “concern and appreciation” for those who have given this country military service.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there’s plenty of appreciation to go around.

As of Sept. 30, 2014, the VA reports the U.S. has 22 million veterans, 476,000 of them in Indiana. Of that total, 2.02 million veterans are women, 36,000 of them Hoosiers. Some 9.95 million veterans are age 65 and older; 207,000 of those senior veterans live in Indiana.

Although the VA projects the total veteran population to drop to about 14 million by 2040, the percentage of female and minority veterans is expected to grow.

From a Catholic spirituality background, Sister Mary said, the faithful can offer veterans their love and prayers. Jobs are another issue for veterans returning home, she said.

Catholics can also provide veterans, and especially their families, with a safety net. She recalled the dedication of a park in Terre Haute to a veteran who died in combat. That memorial for a soldier, the sister said, was a “very positive” experience and means of remembering the service of that soldier and other military personnel.

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

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Cancelled game, Providence lead to ‘banquet’ for homeless

By John Shaughnessy

The gourmet menu was supposed to be part of a special celebration of a unique moment in the 54-year history of Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis.

Instead, the roasted beef tenderloin, the hickory smoked salmon and the tempting desserts—just part of the menu—ended up being an unexpected feast for homeless people who usually don’t get many opportunities in life to celebrate.

The dramatic change in plans unfolded on Oct. 16, the day that the Bishop Chatard Trojans football team was scheduled to play its first-ever, varsity home football game on the grounds of the archdiocese’s North Deanery high school that opened in 1961.

As part of that scheduled landmark game against the team from Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, Bishop Chatard administrators had also planned a special reception—featuring the gourmet menu—inside its three-year-old, multi-sports stadium. Yet on the morning of the scheduled game, school officials received a phone call from Shortridge’s athletic director, saying its team had to forfeit the game.

As school officials worked quickly to spread the news that the game and all the festivities were canceled, there was also the concern of what to do with the catered food order.

“The food had already been prepared,” recalls Margaret Ruffing, Bishop Chatard’s director of development. “We knew we couldn’t recoup any money, but we didn’t want the food to be thrown away.”

So Ruffing contacted Leo Stenz, a longtime friend and fellow member of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis who coordinates a volunteer ministry for the homeless called Beggars for the Poor. Every Saturday morning, the ministry provides clothing and a modest meal for about 200 homeless people in downtown Indianapolis.

In talking with Ruffing, Stenz wondered if the caterer would be willing to hold onto the food and keep it refrigerated until he and his fellow volunteers could pick it up early Saturday morning.

Ruffing shared that request with Matt Mills, owner of Mills Catering.

When he arrived at work early Saturday, Mills loaded up his catering truck. When he arrived downtown, he set up everything in grand style. For Stenz, it was a world removed from the first days of the ministry 28 years ago when bologna sandwiches were served to the homeless people.

“Not only was the food good, but it looked just like a banquet,” Stenz says. “They had the whole nine yards. There were 200 people in line all around the parking lot. They come there for food, clothing and socialization. They were pleasantly surprised, and we were surprised. It was a nice gesture by Chatard. We’ve been doing this for 28 years, and we’ve never had food of this banquet level. It was all good.”

‘Please don’t forget us’: Assisting millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees is a way of expressing faith, CRS director says

By Natalie Hoefer

GREENWOOD—Cullen Larson sat back comfortably in his chair, calm and relaxed.

One would never guess the responsibilities resting upon his shoulders in his most visible role with Catholic Relief Services (CRS)—serving as the organization’s director of the southeastern United States and as acting director of the Midwestern states.

But most impactful to him of late was his temporary role as country representative in Iraq in February and March.

The experience gave Larson insight into the recent wave of refugees seeking help in Europe, as well as an up-close view of CRS’ humanitarian relief efforts in Iraq.

Rather than viewing these events as remote to Indiana, Larson sees clear and simple ways that the people in central and southern Indiana can help those who have had to flee their homes overseas due to violence or poverty.

He spoke about these three areas during an interview with The Criterion and during a presentation he gave at Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood on Oct. 14.

The news has reported lately on the masses of Syrian refugees seeking help in Europe, and being turned away from one country after another.

“They call it Europe’s refugee and migrant crisis,” said Larson.

“I don’t think that accurately describes what’s going on because there’s nothing new. The people displaced by the war in Iraq, the violence in Syria and elsewhere are just now coming to the attention of Europe and the western media. But it has been going on a long time.”

According to Larson, CRS has been helping refugees in Syria, Iraq and the countries nearby for the last four years.

Part of the problem with the refugee crisis that has now come to Europe is a matter of semantics.

“A refugee is someone who leaves their home country typically because of violence,” Larson explained. “A migrant is someone who typically leaves because of poverty.

“The reason some governments will avoid recognizing some people as refugees [and instead label them as immigrants] is because [the designation of refugee] under international law triggers obligations to help them, and they don’t want to face that.”

Because the refugee crisis is finally becoming relevant to Europe, he said, the Iraqi refugee crisis is now gaining attention.

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

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