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Last updated 05/05/2017 11:29 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

Seton Harvest Welcomes Growing Season With Mass, Blessing

By Tim Lilley

Those attending the April 24 Mass and blessing that formally opened the eleventh season of the Daughters of Charity Seton Harvest community-supported agricultural initiative had a chance to sample strawberries picked that morning. They were sweet, firm and delicious – tasty and hopeful signs of the growing season to come.

After offering Mass in the chapel at Seton Residence on Evansville’s West Side, Vincentian Father Stephen Gallegos, Seton Residence Chaplain, joined attendees for a quick trip across New Harmony Road to the farm, where he blessed the fields and the new Seton Harvest Veggie Van. The Veggie Van will travel throughout the Evansville area this spring and summer to encourage healthy eating, and share recipes and fresh produce.

The Daughters donated a passenger van, and a local individual modified it for Seton Harvest. The van will bring more fresh naturally grown produce and education to the community through farmers markets and education to schools, and by enabling Seton Harvest to provide cooking demonstrations for those entities that receive its fresh-produce donations. 

Sharing fresh produce is nothing new to Seton Harvest, which is sponsored by the Daughters of Charity Province of St. Louise. Over the past 10 years, it has donated approximately 103,000 pounds of produce to families living in poverty.

As a community-supported agriculture initiative, Seton Harvest divides up all of the produce it does not donate among a committed group of supporters who share with the farmer the risks and benefits of farming. Throughout the growing season, the farm harvests fresh ripe crops that are divided equally among the shareholders.

The shareholders are community members who pay the farmer an annual membership fee to cover the production costs of the farm. In turn, shareholders receive a weekly “share” of the harvest. A share is generally enough for a family of four.

The organization harvested more than 45,400 pounds of produce in 2016 and donated more than 9,400 pounds of it to those in need. Seton Harvest plans to use the Veggie Van as a pick-up for shareholders who live on Evansville’s far eastside, Newburgh, Lynnville and Boonville.

Seton Harvest will hold Twilight Farm-to-Table Dinners at the facility on May 13, June 10 and October 14. All proceeds from the dinners will go directly toward the farm's weekly donation of fresh produce to the food pantry systems and homeless shelters in the area.

For more information on Seton Harvest, or to purchase a full or partial produce share or tickets to the Twilight Dinners, visit

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

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Saint Joseph High School SECO club acts on ‘Laudato Si’

By Andrew Mentock

When Pope Francis published his environmentally conscious encyclical, “Laudato Si,” in May of 2015, he reiterated to Catholics all over the world how important it is that they take better care of the earth.

“This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor,” wrote Pope Francis in “Laudato Si:” “…‘she groans in travail’ (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.”

For the past 12 years, Saint Joseph High School in South Bend has had a Social and Ecological Concerns Organization club, where the students meet to discuss how they can personally help to improve the environment.

To incorporate “Laudato Si” into the club, all members participate in two online social justice communities inspired by the encyclical letter: Catholic Climate Covenant and the Ignatian Carbon Challenge.

In addition to caring for the environment, SECO also works to raise awareness of other social injustices.

“SECO is greatly concerned about social issues,” said Kathy Kershner, a theology teacher at Saint Joseph who has been the club’s moderator since it started. “Throughout the school year SECO members ‘teach’ their classmates about the importance of buying fair trade products that do not exploit poor and hardworking laborers in underdeveloped countries around the world. SECO sponsors the selling of fair trade chocolate on Halloween/All Saints’ Day, Valentine’s greeting cards, and sponsors one or more fair trade cafes during the school year.”

The club also plans and assists with other events and activities, such as recycling much of the school’s paper and plastic each week, creating recycling awareness videos, running a “hygiene drive” and sponsoring the hunger bowl, which is a yearly food drive where Saint Joseph competes against Marian High School to benefit the St. Vincent De Paul food pantry.

An original idea, the SECO club was born out of a student’s passion for Catholic social teaching, which is why communities such as the Catholic Climate Covenant works so well with the club.

“We are grounded in the church’s deep history of teaching on creation, ecology and the poor,” it says on the homepage of Catholic Climate Covenant. “Caring for creation and caring for the poor have been a part of the Catholic story since the beginning, but in recent years St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and especially Pope Francis have added a sense of urgency to their call for Catholics to act on climate change.”

Exodus 90: a Catholic man’s 90-day challenge to freedom

By James Baxter

Exodus 90 is the fruit of a priest’s prayer and priestly experience. This 90-day challenge emerged from a seminary years ago in response to a profound need. Today, it’s transforming thousands of Catholic men — priests, seminarians and laymen alike — across the country and beyond.

In 2011, Father Brian Doerr of the Diocese of Lafayette was appointed vice rector of Human Formation at Mount St. Mary’s Theological Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. He soon realized that many of his good and generous seminarians were not as free as they could be as they approached ordination to the priesthood.

What did their slavery look like? For some, it was addictions. For others, it was wasting away their lives on Netflix, videogames, news and other technological distractions. For still others, it was using food and alcohol as crutches to medicate the tough times. Perhaps this is scandalizing? But the lament of the Lord was their prayer: “Let my son go, that he may love me” (Ex 4:23).

Father Doerr took five of these struggling seminarians and issued them a 90-day challenge that would change their lives forever. He did not uncover a secret formula, but simply re-presented to them the tradition of the early church and her emphasis on asceticism. The number 90 was not coincidental or for some kind of secular marketing purpose, such as a “Catholic P90X”. Ninety was based off his reading of the sciences regarding the time it takes to return the brain to a normalized state and to begin forming new, lasting and healthy habits.

The men prayed and practiced penance as they never had before, with the support of a band of brothers. Some said it was the hardest thing they had ever done, but after only a few weeks, they would come to their fraternity meetings with smiles on their faces. They were experiencing joy once again. The story of the people of Israel, traveling from the slavery of Egypt into the freedom of the Promised Land, was becoming their own.

The experience was so fruitful for these men that Father Doerr would go on to launch 10 more 90-day fraternities over the next three years at the seminary, with increasing success. Taking what he had learned, and with the help of a few millennial friends, he issued the challenge online, at, over a year ago.

From the beginning, the Exodus 90 regimen was accused of many things. “This is too extreme; no one will make these sacrifices.” “Exodus is great in a seminary, but impossible within the hustle and bustle of family life.” “Intentional fraternities are exclusive.” “Why aren’t you doing something for women?”

The proof that Exodus 90 works is not only the original seminarians, but the faces of men across the country who have been given new life through this challenge. Some have broken decades of addiction. Others have simply been freed to be more present to their parishes, wives and children in an age “distracted from distraction by distraction,” as T.S. Elliot wrote in “Four Quartets.”

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

Diocese of Gary

While Church teaching hasn’t changed, there is a need to become more pastoral in matters of divorce

By Bob Wellinski

MICHIGAN CITY - Using excerpts from Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Congregation of Holy Cross Father Bob Dowd of Notre Dame University clarified the Church’s teachings on divorce, annulments and remarriage.

Father Dowd said that too many people have walked from their faith feeling as if they no longer belonged to the Church after being shunned for being divorced or remarried without an annulment.

“We need to meet people where they’re at,” Father Dowd said.

The Queen of All Saints and Marquette High School alumni returned to his hometown to speak at QAS’ “Tapped In” program March 29 at Gelsosomo’s Pizzeria.

Father Dowd reminded the group the Church teaches marriage is a sacrament, intended to last a lifetime, with the bride and groom as the ministers of the sacrament. He went on to note that the Church doesn’t teach that men and women must endure abuse within a marriage for the rest of their lives.

“In some cases, respect for one’s own dignity and the good of the children require not giving in to excessive demands (and) preventing grave injustices, violence and other chronic abuse. (In those instances), separation becomes inevitable if that is the situation. It may even be morally necessary,” Father Dowd read from the pope’s exhortation.

He added that separation “should always be the last resort, after a sincere and sustained attempt to make the marriage work.”

Father Dowd stressed that annulments shouldn’t be thought of as a legal process, but rather a healing process. He said the annulment process “should not be like a trial - accuser and the accused,” but “should be seen as a healing process to the point we can figure out what went wrong and process that. To learn from that and move on.”

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

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Building a legacy: First graduating class of Marian’s medical school seeks to touch the lives of others

By John Shaughnessy

The six young adults are viewed as pioneers, trailblazers—part of a group that will soon earn its place in both the histories of Catholic colleges and medical education in Indiana.

The two young women and four young men are all graduates of Catholic high schools in the archdiocese, and on May 7 they will also be part of the first class—of 134 students—to graduate from the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Indianapolis.

Tyler Feldman, Katie Fiori, Maureen McAteer, Tony Rohana, Gregory Specht and Matthew Wysocki all know the history they are part of: how Marian’s program is the nation’s first osteopathic medical school at a Catholic university, and how it became, in 2013, the first medical school in Indiana to open in 110 years.

Still, they and their classmates are far more concerned with making a difference than making history.

Consider the joy that Katie Fiori displays when she recalls delivering a baby for the first time.

“You see how happy the parents are,” says the 28-year-old Fiori, a 2007 graduate of Roncalli High School in Indianapolis. “And I had a huge smile on my face. I helped bring a child into the world and brought joy into their family.”

And consider the concern that Matthew Wysocki continues to have for one of his patients.

“He came in critically ill. His kidneys and liver were shutting down, and it all stemmed from his alcoholism,” says the 27-year-old Wysocki, a 2008 graduate of Cathedral High School in Indianapolis. “I followed him for a month. It came time to have him come to terms with his alcoholism. When I talked to him about his disease and how it was affecting him, his family and his career, it really hit him hard.

“We got him set up with different programs and resources. From what I’ve heard, he’s been sober since. It makes me feel good to know what I said had an impact on him.”

Wysocki says his involvement with his patient reflects the approach of osteopathic medicine—“to treat a patient holistically, to not just treat their physical ailments, but to delve deeper into how a disease is affecting every part of a patient’s life.”

That approach to caring for patients connects with the Catholic faith, Fiori says.

“The osteopathic philosophy is to try to get to the root cause,” she says. “Looking at the person as a whole and trying to understand their emotions and feelings is part of what lends itself to the Catholic faith—of seeing people deeper.”

That influence of faith touched their lives at nearly every turn during their four years at Marian’s medical school, the students say.

‘A cloud of witnesses:’ More than 600 women gather for Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference

By Victoria Arthur and Natalie Hoefer

Ruby Dlugosz was reluctant to attend the March 25 Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference.

“I didn’t think there would be many people my age,” said the 28-year-old member of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Indianapolis.

In addition, she was dealing with worry and stress over the upcoming surgery her 4-month-old son Daniel would soon undergo. He was born with cranial scaphocephaly, a condition that occurs when the skull bones fuse prematurely.

Dlugosz decided to attend the conference, held at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown hotel.

“I loved it,” she said. “I saw people of all ages, and I ran into several friends I hadn’t seen in a while. That was my favorite part—the feeling of community.”

Throughout the day she participated with other women who prayed the litany of the saints, listened to three speakers whose talks focused on Mary, worshipped at Mass and participated in a eucharistic procession down several blocks in Indianapolis.

Dlugosz realized the opportunity to “draw closer to [God]” through her son’s health issue.

At the end of the conference, Dlugosz’s husband, Michael, joined her in having their son blessed at a healing service by one of the speakers, Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Father James “Jim” Blount, immediately following the conference.

Father Jim was joined by Father Ronan Murphy and author, blogger and Pontifex University professor Dr. Carrie Gress as speakers, while Father Michael Keucher, associate pastor of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, served as the master of ceremonies, concelebrated Mass and led the eucharistic procession.

Reminiscent of the conference’s theme “A Cloud of Witnesses,” more than 600 women gathered for the March 25 conference, which was also the Feast of the Annunciation.

Between that feast and 2017 being the centennial anniversary of the Marian apparitions of Fatima, the topic of the event’s three talks and the homily naturally focused on the Blessed Mother—the foremost of all witnesses.

“The women’s conference helped a lot,” said Dlugosz. “Next year, I am going to get as many people to go [to the conference] as I can. If anyone says, ‘No, I don’t want to,’ I’ll say, ‘That was me last year. You really need to go.’ ”

Since the surgery, Dlugosz shared some good news—her son’s April 10 surgery was a success.

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

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