Last updated 05/20/2016 1:37 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.
2016 National Day Of Prayer
By Tim Lilley
From beginning to end, the May 5 observance of the 65th National Day of Prayer provided a collective witness of the Evansville area’s unity … and diversity.
After students from Mater Dei High School opened the event with the National Anthem, Bishop Charles C. Thompson welcomed everyone and introduced Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, who officially proclaimed May 5, 2016, as National Day of Prayer in the City of Evansville.
“It is fitting that on this 65th anniversary of the National Day of Prayer we focus on the need for healing and reconciliation within our community and our nation,” the proclamation reads, in part. What followed was a 40-minute testimony to the desire for that reconciliation – and continued strengthening of unity – in the Evansville area.
For the first time at this event, the Latino American Society of Evansville invited local residents who are natives of Central and South America to attend and hold the flags of their home countries. Against the colorful backdrop – those flags waving proudly with the American and POW/MIA flags at Four Freedoms Monument – Evansville Fire Department chaplains and representatives of nine faith traditions prayed.
When he stepped to the microphone to offer the closing prayer, Bishop Charles C. Thompson acknowledged the common themes of those who preceded him – prayers for refugees, the homeless, the sick and oppressed; and prayers for tolerance, peace, an end to hatred and discrimination.
“I don’t normally stray from the script,” he said, “but today, I am. I would like our presenters to step forward, and let us all join hands in a moment of silent prayer for our country and our world.”
That moving, emotional moment is shown in the lead photo with this report.
For the past couple of years, representatives of the Evansville Fire Department and Police Department have immediately followed Mayor Winnecke to offer prayer for all men and women in uniform, and all first responders. This year, however, the series of prayers began with a moment of silence in memory of Rev. F.P. Miller, longtime pastor of First Ebenezer Baptist Church in Evansville, who lost a brief-but-courageous fight against cancer last December.
Pastor Miller’s daughter, Rev. Veltri Taylor, has succeeded him at First Ebenezer Baptist. She led the crowd in a moment of silence for her father, who had participated in the National Day of Prayer observance for more than 20 years.
“I wonder when we pray,” Rev. Taylor said after the tribute to her late father, “… do we pray for selfish goals or for the common good of all people to be united one day in the glory of God?” She and those who followed her focused emphatically on the common good. They prayed for an end to violence, hatred and discrimination; for the sick, weak and oppressed; for refugees.
Every presenter also noted the need for reconciliation and unity.
(For news from the Diocese of Evansville, log on to the website of The Message at www.themessageonline.org)
Young adults host road rally competition
By Jacob Laskowski
FORT WAYNE — Young adults at Our Lady of Good Hope Parish in Fort Wayne have been building a new ministry to reach out to their peers in their neighborhood called Fort Wayne Frassati, based on the patronage of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. The Italian almost-saint was passionate about bringing his peers deeper into their faith and brought many souls to the Lord through social activities such as skiing. Through all that he did, whether social activities or service to the poor, Blessed Frassati led others to the Blessed Mother and to the Eucharist. He died at 24.
“This is our goal with Fort Wayne Frassati,” said Jacob Laskowski, a co-director of the group. “We host trivia nights, ski trips, Bible studies, and events like this road rally — solely as an effort to bring more souls deeper to Christ. We do that through providing opportunities for formation and prayer as a part of every event we host.”
The road rally featured more than 20 challenges for the young adult teams of 4-5 people per car to complete within one hour. Faking a proposal at the mall food court was one of the many risky challenges that earned participants points, as well as taking a selfie with a priest, writing on sidewalks with chalk to encourage people to pray the rosary, and taking a photo with a random family at a local restaurant. At the end, the final challenge of the night was spending 30 minutes in silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
“A perfect end to the evening,” adds Laskowski. “Everything in our lives should revolve around our personal intimacy with Christ — especially in the Eucharist.”
Teams were composed of 30 area young adults, many of whom hadn’t met each other before.
“We wanted to bridge the gap between acquaintances and new friendships,” said Monica Bodien, the other co-director of Frassati. “We have such a great group of young adults here at Our Lady, and building up deeper relationships with each other is fundamental to helping us build a deeper relationship with God. We can’t thrive in our faith on our own. We were made for community.”
(For news from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, log on to the website of Today’s Catholic at www.todayscatholicnews.org)
Milestone marriages celebrated for their fidelity and their faith in God
By Marlene A. Zloza
GARY—“Fidelity” was a recurring theme as Bishop Donald J. Hying celebrated the 34th annual Wedding Anniversary Mass for the Diocese of Gary on May 7 at Holy Angels Cathedral.
Sponsored by Catholic Charities, 88 couples married 25 through 74 years gathered, many holding hands throughout the service, to give witness to their “faithfulness to a person, cause or belief demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support,” – the dictionary definition of fidelity.
Bishop Hying added his own definition, lauding the married couples for saying “I will be with you, no matter what changes, no matter what happens. . .Keep witnessing, keep living, we need your example in a world where fewer people are getting married,” he added.
Recognizing the special significance of the day, the bishop called it a “trifecta” of celebrations encompassing not only the “beautiful marriage renewal,” but the vigil of the Ascension and Mother’s Day.
In his homily, the bishop reassured the couples that they are not alone in their journey, for they have the ever-present power of God to support them. “In all three readings today we hear the word power,” the bishop noted. “Jesus says he will send the Spirit…Jesus is filled with the power of God…that power and grace of God has sustained you for 25 or more years. How else can you explain such an amazing thing – that you’ve stayed together all these years?”
“You have to have a lot of faith to get you through everything, the ups and downs,” agreed Pat Rolewski, of St. John the Evangelist in St. John, celebrating 59 years of marriage to husband Dan.
“Communication and don’t get selfish” is the key to a successful marriage,” said Joyce Stodola of Munster and St. Thomas More, who has shared 55 years of wedded bliss with her husband, Deacon Stanley V. Stodola, and shared him even at the anniversary Mass as he helped serve at altar. “Keep God in your life – church and God,” she added.
The bishop asked the couples to “think how God mysteriously led you to each other. . .think back on the day you decided to get married, think of your wedding day when you said your vows to each other in front of family and friends.”
In a touching reminder of their wedding vows, Bishop Hying asked each couple to stand and again exchange their wedding rings as he blessed them, with husband and wife each repeating the traditional invocation: “Take this ring as a continued sign of my love and fidelity. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Remember that it’s a lifetime commitment, and don’t enter into it lightly,” said Bob Hornback, parishioner of St. James the Less, Highland, who will officially celebrate 30 years of marriage in August. “When you take those vows, it’s for life.”
(For news from the Diocese of Gary, log on to the website of the Northwest Indiana Catholic at www.nwicatholic.com)
‘It is my language’: Deaf priest offers ‘very rare’ Mass in American Sign Language for local deaf community
By Natalie Hoefer
The conversation before Mass was boisterous—words of welcome, friends greeting each other, catching up, talking of their excitement about the upcoming Mass and presentation.
The volume would have raised a racket—had it been verbal.
But the chatter was communicated in a flurry of fingers using American Sign Language (ASL).
The exchange took place at St. Matthew the Apostle Church in Indianapolis on April 20, where the archdiocesan Office of Catechesis arranged for a special Mass, dinner and talk for the archdiocese’s deaf community.
Oblates of St. Francis de Sales Father Michael Depcik, a priest who ministers in the Archdiocese of Detroit and who was born deaf, served as the celebrant of the Mass, with about 35 people in attendance. At a dinner afterward, he spoke on “Celebrating the Year of Mercy.” Both the Mass and the presentation were entirely signed—a rare treat for deaf Catholics.
Erin Jeffries, archdiocesan coordinator of catechesis for those with special needs, hopes the evening is just the beginning of building up the archdiocese’s efforts to meet the needs of the deaf community.
“It’s taken a little while to build up a network,” she admitted. “It really was literally two or three people I connected with initially” when she took on the special needs coordinator role more than two years ago. “We’re trying to build up our group of Mass interpreters. Right now, there are only a few who are comfortable signing Masses, and they get called on quite a bit.”
Jeffries is trying to remedy the situation.
“One of our first big initiatives is a workshop series to help people become more comfortable in signing in religious settings,” she explained.
The first training session, which was held on April 19, focused on “getting to know the liturgy, getting to know some of the basic liturgical signs and prayers, and really conveying the story, the message in ASL.”
The difference between interpreting other languages and interpreting ASL is that “interpretation is not verbatim,” said Jeffries.
“You have to consider how to build a scene and present the story visually. When you tell a story by voice, it’s very linear. When your focus is visual, you really have to develop the scene and decide which points are most important so the message doesn’t get lost. ASL really is its own language. You’re not just conveying word for word.”
In addition to increasing the number of ASL Mass interpreters, Jeffries is also hoping to increase the number of opportunities to build the deaf Catholic community.
“We’re working to form a regular schedule of Masses that are at least interpreted, with some community time afterward, maybe a pitch-in to help bring the community together,” she said.
(For news from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, log on to the website of The Criterion at www.CriterionOnline.com) †