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Last updated 01/23/2015 10:58 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

Kidney Transplant Helps Recipient

By Anna Schulten (The Message Intern)

Becky Dossett has returned to her position as parish secretary at Evansville’s Holy Redeemer Parish after a September kidney transplant. “I’ve always been religious,” Dossett reflected, “but through this experience, I’ve been shown the power of prayer.” 

While at a doctor’s appointment for her gallbladder, Dossett’s doctor discovered that she had polycystic kidney disease, a genetic kidney disorder. “I had a choice,” Dossett explained, “to have dialysis for the rest of my life, or to have a kidney transplant.” She chose the transplant. 

A few parishioners applied as potential donors, but were deemed incompatible for the procedure. Dossett and her family spread the word to family and friends; throughout the diocese via The Message; and through the internet, hoping to find a match. Hannah Randall, a niece of Dosset’s brother-in-law, saw the news online and applied to be the donor – and she was the match. 

Randall, 34,  has two children, ages 2 and 4. Dossett asked Randall what made her choose to donate her kidney. “She told me she had a lifelong friend who had died during childbirth,” Dossett recalled. “She said that no one should ever have to go through the pain of losing a loved one.” 

Dossett had her kidney transplant on Sept. 4. “My surgery was at IU Health on the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis,” she explained, “and I can’t say enough nice things about those people.” Dossett recalled her night nurse who kept her company while she was in the hospital. “She had just gotten engaged,” Dossett said, “so we talked about her wedding plans, my wedding … everything.” 

Not only was Dossett supported at the hospital, but she was supported back at her parish and school through a multitude of prayers. “Every morning, from Sept. 1 through Oct. 3, all the students at the school said a Hail Mary for me,” Dossett smiled. “That’s over 6,900 Hail Marys!” 

Holy Redeemer’s prayers have been answered. It’s been three months since the kidney transplant, and Dossett says she couldn’t be more thankful. “I feel great; I have my energy back,” Dossett said. “My color looks better too.”

Randall also is doing well following her kidney-donation surgery. “She ran a half-marathon over Thanksgiving,” Dossett explained. “I asked her why she would want to do that. She told me, ‘for the peace and quiet.’”

Christmas Giving Program

For the past 28 years – since the 1987 Advent season – Catholic Charities’ Christmas Giving Program has made it possible for needy children to smile on Christmas morning – and for parents to keep hope alive as they struggle through hard times. 

“The families that come to pick up their gifts are usually very touched that somebody would go above and beyond to help out their family,” said Laura Chandley, community outreach coordinator for Catholic Charities. 

This year, Catholic Charities facilitated the “adoption” of 153 needy families with a combined 392 children who faced the prospects of a Christmas without gifts. The families and organizations who adopted got a wish list that Catholic Charities obtained from those in need. 

The adopting families and groups bought and wrapped gifts, and delivered them to the Catholic Center Dec. 8-9. Families picked up their gifts Dec. 10-11. 

Students from St. Benedict Cathedral School volunteered Dec. 9-10, spending a few hours each day helping with package delivery and organization. They also set up a “freebies” table with additional donation of clothing and other items. Each family picking up gifts was able to select up to two items from the table. 

Catholic Charities also accepted donations of gift cards that will be used to assist families who face emergency needs (e.g., food, gasoline, etc.) over the Christmas season.

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

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Priests win first Cupertino Classic basketball game

By Tim Johnson 

FORT WAYNE — Diocesan priests and seminarians hit the hardwood courts to make the first Cupertino Classic a “spirited” success. The priests defeated the seminarians, 41-26, on Monday afternoon, Dec. 29, at St. Vincent de Paul gymnasium in Fort Wayne.

With an estimated 400-500 in attendance, spectators filled the gymnasium’s bleachers and many more watched from the floor surrounding the court.

Donations from the classic amounted to $1,000, which will go to the diocesan Vocation Office for seminarian tuition, according to Father Andrew Curry, pastor of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in North Manchester, and organizer of the Cupertino Classic.

“The event was marked with a spirit of joy and sportsmanship,” said Father Curry. “The priests were happy to be able to play basketball together, which hasn’t happened in a while.”

The Cupertino Classic was inspired by St. Joseph of Cupertino, a prayerful, simple priest from the 1600s renowned for having visions from God. While sometimes in prayer, people saw the saint float off the ground.

Father Curry recalled a painting capturing one of those moments where it looked as if St. Joseph of Cupertino is going up for a “slam-dunk.”

“So we had Nate Proulx (from the Special Ministries Office of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend) design a basketball in his hands and a rim above his head for our poster and T-shirts,” Father Curry said.

He noted, “Not only do we want to see some good moves on the court at the game but we also thought that the humble and prayerful St. Joseph of Cupertino would give the right spirit for the game. Not only that, he is one of the patron saints of students.”

Woman credits community for the confidence to be a mom

By Kathy Kershner

MISHAWAKA — When Emily Wohlgemuth became pregnant she was met with more than a few criticisms and difficulties. People she loved and trusted told her it was the worst mistake of her life. Friends told her it would be best for everyone if she would give the child up for adoption. Increasing tensions between herself and those with whom she was living at the time led her to believe she needed to find a “safer” place for herself and her unborn child.

A search on the Internet led her to the sanctuary she was seeking. Hannah’s House is a home in Mishawaka, which describes its mission as “a maternity home that provides a safe environment, programming and support for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of pregnant young women.”

Completely funded by private and community donations, Hannah’s House emerged to fill the need that was found by crisis pregnancy centers for young woman to have a safe and nurturing environment during their pregnancy.

Though Wohlgemuth said she was never tempted to abort her son, she described feelings of fear and doubt that sometimes confused her. Embroiled by so much negativity surrounding her at the beginning of her pregnancy she did wonder, “What if they are right? What if I can’t do this?”

But soon after meeting with her newfound allies at Hannah’s House, her perspective changed.

“Hannah’s House is a maternity home with a heart,” she explained. “That’s what is says on the sign — our slogan. The ‘house moms’ here — they care about us. They don’t want to see us fail. They really want to see us get ahead.”

Integral to the mission of Hannah’s House is a program based on expectations that residents are working toward bettering themselves. Wohlgemuth described some of the “works” that count toward the 40-hour weekly productivity requirement that all the residents agree to accomplish during their stay. Studying job skills, filling out job applications, reading articles or books on prenatal and postnatal care, contributing to the home environment through meal preparations and other domestic chores — all are considered by Wohlgemuth to be part of the way toward more fully reaching her own potential.

Director, Andrea Popielski, explained, “We require residents to attend doctor’s appointment, counseling and church as well as working on self-sufficiency skills. Those are critical pieces of what we do,” and how the women residing at Hannah’s House empower themselves while providing for themselves and their children.

“Now I am in this mindset,” Wohlgemuth said. “I’m going to do this. I’m going to be a mom. It’s awesome. I have this little boy. This life is growing inside of me.”

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

Diocese of Gary

King's legacy honored, citizens challenged to overcome today's problems

By Steve Euvino

GARY—For young Jaymee Dixon, the tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Holy Angels Cathedral “means a lot. It feels great to be a black person doing something.”

Dixon, 15, is a member of the Wirt-Emerson Concert Choir that performed at the eighth annual King tribute at the cathedral on Jan. 11. The high school student said black history today is loaded with stories of young black people dying.

Dr. Joyce F. Gillie Cruse, guest speaker at the tribute, addressed those deaths, some of which have become household names, including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Ferguson, Mo.

Noting how King’s fight for all races and against a system that promotes racism and racial divide, Gillie Cruse said King’s “vision is still in the process of coming true” decades after the civil rights leader was slain in 1968.

Recalling the deaths of young black males, Gillie Cruse said, “There is something wrong in this country,” adding that the social and governmental forces that should be protecting the rights of all are not doing that.

While many in this country have blamed police actions for these deaths, Gillie Cruse said there are other issues to be addressed – issues that “make black males an endangered species.”

These issues, Gillie Cruse said, include a low percentage of black voters, black teen homelessness, failing school systems, high crime rates, and unemployment or jobs that do not pay a living wage. Also, she said, only 26 percent of African Americans get married.

“We have some serious issues, and it’s not just the police,” Gillie Cruse said.

An adjunct professor at Xavier University and Loyola University in New Orleans, Gillie Cruse previously served in the Diocese of Gary, working with the Gary cluster parishes on adult faith formation and evangelization.

Experiences in Latin America teach future bishop about broader Church

By Steve Euvino

MERRILLVILLE—A man who admitted to knowing only two Spanish words served three years in Latin America. Along the way, Bishop Donald J. Hying improved his Spanish and learned something about material poverty and spiritual richness.

From July 1994 through the end of 1997, then-Father Hying served at La Sagrada Familia Parroquia (Holy Family Parish), the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s sister parish in the Dominican Republic. Since 1981 the archdiocese has partnered with Sagrada Familia, usually sending two priests at a time to work with a pastoral staff, health care personnel, and a social worker, all of whom are native to the Dominican Republic.

In addition to addressing the physical needs of thousands of parishioners, the staff strives to nurture the spiritual needs of the parish through evangelization, catechesis, sacraments, prayer groups, adult and youth formation, and leadership training.

Bishop Hying recalled the telephone call he received from the archdiocesan missions office, asking if he would go to Sagrada Familia. “I heard myself saying ‘yes,’” said the priest who up to that time knew only two words in Spanish, “cerveza” (beer) and “baño” (bath or bathroom).

Looking back, Bishop Hying has no regrets about those three years at Sagrada Familia, listing them among “the great experiences in my life.” He explained, “I came to know the Church in a different culture, seeing the Spirit living inside each person – their joy, generosity, and absolute confidence in divine providence.”

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

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Superior court judge rules in favor of Catholic students in bus dispute

By John Shaughnessy

A Marion County Superior Court judge has ordered Lawrence Township to provide public bus transportation for eligible students attending two Catholic elementary schools in the district.

The ruling by Judge James B. Osborn is the latest chapter in a legal dispute that started in 2010 when Lawrence Township ended bus service for students who attended St. Lawrence School and St. Simon the Apostle School, both in Indianapolis.

Previously, the transportation had been provided—as required by Indiana law—at no cost, but the Lawrence Township School Board said it had to start charging a fee because of financial problems in the district.

In issuing his order, Judge Osborn stated, “Lawrence Township shall establish its regular routes and bus stops to accommodate the needs of the public school students. If the non-public school students reside along the regular routes established by Lawrence Township, the non-public students may board the buses at the bus stops on the regular routes.”

He then noted, “Lawrence Township shall thereafter make arrangements for the non-public school students to be delivered to either their non-public school or to a point on the regular route from which the non-public students may walk to their non-public schools.”

Judge Osborn also ruled that Lawrence Township was responsible for providing bus transportation to return the Catholic school students to their homes.

The ruling was praised by the lawyer who has represented the archdiocese in the case. Jay Mercer hopes the judge’s decision will resolve the dispute that has included “three lawsuits, an appeal and a clarification of the law by the legislature.”

“We look forward to working with Lawrence Township to rebuild the spirit of cooperation that existed before this legal fight, and move forward with a bus transportation plan that will serve all of the taxpayers of Lawrence Township,” Mercer said.

“We also hope that Judge Osborn’s decision will deter other school corporations who have been considering canceling their bus transportation programs for non-public school students from doing so.”

The ruling is a great victory for the two schools, its students and their parents, Mercer said.

Blind faith: The spirit of a boy and the love of parents are caught through lens of Notre Dame football

By John Shaughnessy

The touching moment between Mitchell and Mike Bridwell offers two poignant reminders about the relationship between parents and their children.

First, even a strong child who is deeply loved by his parents sometimes has moments of insecurity.

The exchange between the son and the father also serves as a reminder of the incredible power of a parent’s influence on a child.

The moment is featured in the recently-released short film, Blind Faith, which shows the spirit of Mitchell—an eighth-grade student at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Indianapolis—through the lens of his experience at a University of Notre Dame football game in October of 2014.

In the scene, Mitchell’s father Mike recalls a moment when his son, who has been blind since birth, sadly tells him, “Dad, I don’t like being blind.”

“It broke my heart,” Mike says in the film. “And so I had to share with him, ‘Because you are blind, there are things that are going to be challenging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome them. It’s going to be OK. We’re going to figure this out. And God is going to take care of us.’ ”

Filmmaker Greg Kohs places that moment between son and father in a pivotal place in the film about Mitchell’s reactions to a Notre Dame football Saturday. The film has just shown Mitchell’s look of disappointment after learning that the football team of Stanford University has just scored a touchdown to go ahead of Notre Dame late in the game.

Yet while the joy has momentarily drained from Mitchell’s face on a day that was miserably bone-chilling and rain-soaking, the hope in his heart has still endured.

As Mitchell would say later, he still believed that Notre Dame would come back to win the game.

“Just the feeling of it,” he said. “You just felt it in your gut. You knew something big was going to happen.”

That enduring hope, the film shows, defines Mitchell’s 13-year-journey so far of overcoming the challenges and the odds.

To view Blind Faith, visit the website,

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

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