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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

Coordinated Approach To Child Health Comes to Evansville

By Tim Lilley (The Message Editor)

If there was any skepticism in the room about the need for additional focus on ways to combat childhood obesity, Jo Ambrose may have extinguished it with one statistic. 

“Seventy percent of our young people exceed the daily recommended intake of fat,” she told school administrators and observers Feb. 11 at the Catholic Center. More than 100 participated in training Ambrose led on the “Coordinated Approach to Child Health,” which was developed by the University of Texas School of Public Health. 

Known by its acronym – CATCH – the program emphasizes the need for a healthy lifestyle to improve living and learning with four core components – nutrition, physical activity, health education and family/community involvement. 

Among its most enthusiastic proponents is Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle, an Indianapolis native and University of Indiana graduate who attended the session and talked about his support through the Jared Foundation he founded almost a decade ago. 

“This means a lot to me to be here,” Fogle said. “I started the Jared Foundation as a way to fight childhood obesity in 2006, to try to help kids going down the same path as myself.” 

Fogle recounted how he found himself, in 1998, the victim of poor nutritional choices he’d made since grade school. He weighed 425 pounds and had a 60-inch waist. “I lived next to a Subway,” he explained. “I started eating there twice a day from the low-fat menu, and I started walking, and I lost 245 pounds in a year. I got my life back on track.” 

Fogle said he’s excited about CATCH because of what it can mean to today’s young people. “If I was exposed to CATCH at a young age,” he said, “I would have gone down a much healthier path in my life. It is really important. 

“We have a huge opportunity to influence hundreds of thousands of kids in a positive way with CATCH,” Fogle said. “This will be taken nationwide.” 

Russell Traylor, executive director of the Jared Foundation, told the group that he and Fogle had just returned from setting up a pilot program in 10 Las Vegas-area schools. “Jared’s heart is in helping kids keep from going down the same path he did,” Traylor said. “We picked CATCH because we learned that teachers have enough to do already,” he continued. “It doesn’t add anything; it just modifies things you’re already doing.”

Training Gives Teachers New Insights into Emergency Situations

By Tim Lilley (The Message Editor)

The sound was unmistakable – and unsettling to a number of teachers from Evansville’s Holy Rosary School. 

The report of a handgun – albeit one firing blanks – had never-before echoed through the halls of a school they were in. This was no normal professional-development seminar. 

Evansville Police Department officers, including members of the EPD SWAT team, provided training Feb. 13 to teachers from four Catholic schools, including one with two campuses – Annunciation (Christ the King and Holy Spirit campuses), Holy Rosary, St. Benedict Cathedral and Good Shepherd. 

Training occurred in classrooms at St. Benedict Parish. Officer Jeff Worthington, EPD Resources Officer for all of the schools that participated, talked to the teachers before, during and after a series of scenarios to help them understand that fires and tornados aren’t the only threats they need to think about – and prepare for. 

“We giving you real-life situations,” Worthington said. “We can’t tell you what to do because every situation is different – every school has a different layout; every classroom has its own unique features. We are going to provide some examples of what could happen in an active-threat situation that forces a lockdown, and we’ll give you some options.” 

Worthington made it clear that, in descending order of preference, those options fell into three general areas. “Run if you can,” he said. “Barricade (doors, entries, etc.) if you have to; fight if you must.” 

Worthington led a group of EPD officers through scenarios involving the call of a general lockdown in an area of a school where teachers and students have time to react and execute a plan – that is, the threat they could face is not imminent; maybe it’s in another part of the building and could eventually reach them; and another involving an active attacker gaining entry to a classroom before first responders arrive on scene. 

Teachers learned about organizing their classrooms to facilitate quick-escape and barricading scenarios, and they also learned how they and their students should react if police enter a room where an active attacker is present. 

“We approached EPD and requested that they provide the training,” said Nancy Mills, principal of St. Theresa School. Mills and her staff have trained in a variety of scenarios, and she coordinated these Feb. 13 sessions for the other schools on the city’s east side.

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

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Seniors trained on the job by Catholic Charities program

By Kay Cozad

FORT WAYNE — With the uncertain economic situation in the U.S. many are finding it difficult to find adequate employment, especially those considered to be part of the over 55 senior population. Fortunately, Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend currently offers a program to address just that. Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) offers assistance to eligible low-income seniors, age 55 and older, in finding employment opportunities by building confidence and skills through temporary paid on-the-job training in community service positions.

Chris Smith, SCSEP project director, says the program currently serves 103 participants across six counties, including Adams, Allen, Dekalb, Huntington, Whitley and Wabash, who have found the program not only through word of mouth but through informational fliers distributed throughout the community and online as well.

Funded by grants through the Department of Labor, participants whose skills and interests are matched to paying community jobs are considered employees of the Title 5 job-training program.

For acceptance into the program, applicants must be 55 or older and live at 125 percent of the federal poverty level. Those with a domestic violence or crimes against children criminal record are not eligible for the program.

Smith says the program has assisted seniors in the 55 to 75 year old range with the oldest being 88. Following the top priority of placing veterans and those with disabilities for the program, Smith says, “Then the most in need are those with low literacy skills, limited English-speaking skills, the homeless or at risk of being homeless.”

After completing an application and the interview process, Smith analyzes the information and matches the qualified applicant with a host agency that will benefit both. Host agencies are required to be government or non-profit organizations to participate in the program and currently include schools, libraries, social service agencies, hospitals senior centers and museums. St. Vincent de Paul and Urban League are only two of the network of agencies with which Smith works.

Participants can utilize the program for up to four years. “But we like to try and keep it around a year,” notes Smith. Catholic Charities also offers assistance with computer skills so participants can apply for jobs online.

The SCSEP, formerly known as Senior Aides, was founded in 1976 at Catholic Charities, Smith reports, with the idea to “get seniors out and active in the community with pay to help them financially.”

Men of all ages inspired at Rekindle the Fire Conference

By Chris Lushis

SOUTH BEND — Nearly 1,000 men from throughout the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and beyond joined together on Saturday, Feb. 7, for the fifth annual Rekindle the Fire Conference. They gathered to partake in the sacraments and gain insightful motivation from notable Catholic speakers on living as strong and holy men in the midst of a fallen world.

Father Ben Muhlenkamp, parochial vicar of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Fort Wayne, served as master of ceremonies alongside Conference Chairman Jeff Krudop. Main presenters for the conference were Franciscan Father David Mary Engo, Steve Ray, Dr. John Wood and Ruben Quezada.

The day’s theme stemmed from the inspiration of famed Catholic apologist Matthew Kelly, who instructs “if we get the man right, we get the world right.”

Father Engo began the talks with energy and enthusiasm, encouraging the men present to be courageous and live with holiness. “There are many challenges, which stand in opposition to Christ and His Church. In response, we must be men who are unafraid and unashamed to live the Gospel! It begins here, recognizing that the first person I must evangelize is me; that every day I need to be turning from sin, choosing virtue, living in holiness, and by setting my sights on the glory of heaven.”

He stressed the importance of returning to God through His gift of Reconciliation. “Enter into the mercy and goodness of God, where we are given the grace not to sin again, where we will be transformed and converted to Jesus Christ, to be liberated from shame and guilt, and able to live as a free son of God again.”

Throughout the day, the opportunity for Confession and Eucharistic Adoration was offered to all, with 476 men becoming spiritually cleansed through participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Steve Ray next spoke about the importance of personal evangelization. A convert to Catholicism and passionate apologist, Ray emphasized the necessity of talking to others about the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith who might not otherwise have access to it. “There are people out there who would love to be Catholic if someone would just take the time to listen and share with them.”

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

Diocese of Gary

17th year for outreach: Caps and gloves find homes throughout diocese

By Steve Euvino

MERRILLVILLE—A 93-year-old woman donates all the hats she knits over the span of a year. Prison inmates donate more than $1,300 and knit enough hats to fill several large bags. Church groups, from religious education kids to parish seniors, continue their support.

These are among the success stories surrounding the 2014-15 Caps for Kids campaign. Having finished its 17th season, the outreach sponsored by the Northwest Indiana Catholic provided winter caps, gloves, scarves, and socks to 24 groups or agencies serving area needy.

As of early February 2015, newspaper staff and other volunteers distributed 3,385 sets (caps and gloves or scarves together), 276 loose sets (caps or gloves separately), 215 scarves, and 170 pairs of socks to the four-county area comprising the Diocese of Gary.   

After an initial sorting night at the Pastoral Center that saw 1,465 sets leave the building, donations continued to arrive – from church groups, individuals, Catholic schools and religious education programs, senior citizens, sororities, and prison inmates.

The diocesan newspaper also received financial and material donations from Westville Correctional Facility. Then more donations came from several groups at Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, including the St. Dismas Catholic Community.

Although Caps for Kids is designed around the winter months, donations of materials or funds are accepted year-round. For more information call the Northwest Indiana Catholic at 769-9292, ext 249.

40th year for CRS charity: Rice Bowl funds both international and local initiatives

By Steve Euvino

MERRILLVILLE—It’s Lent, which means it’s time to break out the Rice Bowl containers, put them in the back of church, perhaps put a blurb in the parish bulletin, and hope somebody takes them.

No, not quite – there has to be a better way to help the needy, both globally and locally.

To mark Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl’s 40th anniversary and to generate greater participation in the campaign, the Diocesan Peace and Social Justice Commission invited parish representatives and lay ministry candidates to a meeting at the Pastoral Center on Feb. 14.

Father Thomas McQuaid, Midwest liaison for CRS, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief agency, outlined ways parishes can get involved.

One way, the Chicago-based priest said, is to engage the pastor and other parish clergy in promoting the campaign, which started four decades ago in a lone Pennsylvania parish. Since then, $250 million has been raised to combat hunger and poverty in the U.S. and overseas.

Another way to further involve one’s parish, Father McQuaid said, is to use materials CRS provides at no charge. Through its website,, CRS outlines the campaign and offers information on who is being helped, educational resources, quizzes, prayers, information geared to youth and young adults, and apps for use on mobile devices – all in English and Spanish.

“There’s a ton of stuff,” Father McQuaid said. “You don’t have to re-invent the wheel.”

The bowl itself has information that focuses on five different countries each year. This year’s focus is on Tanzania, Nicaragua, Niger, Lebanon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The CRS website also includes recipes from the 93-plus countries it serves, and the Saturday morning meeting included a sampling of one such recipe, gallo pinto, a rice-and-bean dish from Nicaragua.

For more information on CRS Rice Bowl go to

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

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Catholic Aviation Association seeks to build, evangelize world of aviation

By Natalie Hoefer

NOBLESVILLE, IND.—In the dark of night over the sea, the F-4 fighter jet was having problems.

“We didn’t know if we could get the aircraft back to the carrier,” recalled Thomas “Wulf” Beckenbauer, who was riding in the backseat as the radio intercept officer.

“The pilot called back to me, ‘OK, Wulf, you need to start praying for us because I’m having a lot of trouble up here.’

“So I’m in the back praying for him to have the wisdom and the skill to land. We finally landed, and he said, ‘OK, God, I can take it from here.’

“We knew it was only by God’s grace that we were able to get back and land.”

Faith and aviation have formed the fabric of most of Tom Beckenbauer’s life.

He and his wife, Joy, now hope to evangelize and build the aviation community through their recently launched non-profit, Catholic Aviation Association (CAA).

The chapter-based organization, which holds an Indianapolis address, provides a way for those interested in learning to fly to do so in a more economical way.

But unlike other aviation-based organizations, CAA includes a faith focus, encouraging members to grow closer to God and live Christ-centered lives.

For Beckenbauer, the organization is the latest chapter in a life that he calls “a very wandering trail.” The journey eventually led him to his wife, his Catholic faith, and the creation of CAA.

The structure he and Joy developed for Catholic Aviation Association involves chapters and flying clubs comprising people experienced or interested in aviation.

“The leadership, headquarters, clubs and chapters will be Catholic, that’s a requirement,” Tom says. “However, it’s open to all people of faith.”

The goal of the chapters is for members to support each other spiritually through prayer and faith discussions at each meeting, grow in faith and aviation knowledge, and participate in social activities—fulfilling CAA’s motto of “Faith, Flying and Fellowship.”

“Out of those chapters, we hope to get people who want to develop flying clubs—let’s get an airplane and let’s fly,” says Tom.

He envisions CAA headquarters purchasing planes and leasing them to these “Cupertino Clubs,” named for St. Joseph of Cupertino, who was known for levitating while in prayer or at Mass.

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

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