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Last updated 03/31/2017 10:48 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

God Always Wins

By Tim Lilley

Bishop Charles C. Thompson told hundreds of youth and young adults attending the 2017 Source Summit Retreat that the readings for the March 17 Mass he celebrated for them reveal one simple truth.

“God always wins.”

 The first reading recounted the Old Testament story of Joseph, whose brothers sought to eliminate him. Joseph, forced into slavery, ultimately became the third highest official in Egypt and eventually ended up saving the entire country, including his own family.

The Gospel reading, from Matthew, included Jesus’ parable about the vineyard owner who sent workers and, ultimately, his son, to collect from tenants, who refused all approaches and ultimately killed his son. “What Jesus is trying to tell us in this Gospel is foretelling what’s going to happen to him,” Bishop Thompson said. “All the different people the vineyard owner sent were the prophets. And then he said, ‘I’ll send my son,’ and he is killed. We hear Jesus say, ‘the stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.’

 “Despite what they tried to do to Joseph, God still brought about the salvation of the people through him,” the bishop said. “Despite what they tried to do to Jesus, God still brings about our salvation. God always wins. And if we want to be winners, we need to make sure we’re on the right side … that we’re seeking to be on God’s side, not just assuming that ‘God is on my side.’”

 “This Gospel has very special meaning to me,” Bishop Thompson said. ‘Christ the Cornerstone’ is my episcopal motto. ‘The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.’ It is the pivotal stone on which a foundation is built. We celebrate Jesus Christ the Cornerstone – the most significant aspect of what it means to us to be disciples, family of God. That is the most important stone in the foundation of who we are and what we are about. In this Eucharist, we receive that cornerstone; Jesus himself.

 “Somehow we felt called to be here tonight,” Bishop Thompson said. “Each of us also has to ask, ‘when might I allow jealousy, envy, pride, resentment or bitterness to blind me from recognizing the very cornerstone of my life?’ That’s why we have Reconciliation here all weekend – to help us recognize the blind spots in our lives … how we might reject each other.

 “We are called to recognize Christ coming to us in all people, and how we are to bring Christ to all people,” the bishop added. “This weekend, let us take time to ask ourselves where we might be rejecting … the Cornerstone, the only Son of God our Father so that we might grow through this Lenten season. We want Christ to be that very foundation of what we are all about. Pray for the grace to keep Christ-centered and Eucharistic-centered in all things.”

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

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Stories of Service: How dedicating a year or more of service after college can have a lasting impact

By Molly Gettinger

“Every project I do, every report I write and every call I make has to have a real benefit to the world around me, or it isn’t worth doing.”

These are the words of Tim Ruggaber, senior project manager at EmNet in South Bend. Ruggaber’s undergraduate and graduate education were oriented towards his career as a civil engineer. After receiving his bachelors from the University of Notre Dame, however, he chose not to enter directly into the work force. Instead, he dedicated a year of his life to service at Nazareth Farm, a Catholic community in rural West Virginia that transforms lives through a service-retreat experience.

Serving from 2003 to 2004, Ruggaber wanted to gain a different perspective on life before traveling down a conventional career path. He shared: “My experience before my year of service had been very homogenous, and I knew that I lacked a broader perspective on life.

“While I was working at the farm, I daily ran into scenarios with no clear answer in sight, such as opening up a wall in an old house and not finding any studs, or having to teach a group of volunteers a skill that I had just learned that morning. The result was that I learned how to have confidence to innovate new solutions, to try something that I might fail at and to ask for help when I needed it. Today, I work to develop new technology to make infrastructure work better and smarter, and I’m continually using those same skills.”

For Ruggaber, his year of service equipped him an innovation-oriented mindset and a desire to use his work for good. For others, a year of service can go beyond this, directly influencing which field one pursues professionally.

Clarice Shear discerned her vocation to full-time service while a senior in college. From fall 2014 to summer 2016, she served as a Mission Corps member at Maggie’s Place in Phoenix, Ariz. Maggie’s Place is a house of hospitality, healing and growth for pregnant women and their babies.

“While at Maggie’s Place, I was fortunate enough to have the unique opportunity to walk beside these mothers on their personal journeys of struggle, heartbreak and triumph,” Shear shared. “Being able to share a home with them, I was able to also share the everyday challenges and joys in a very intimate way.”

As a Mission Corps member, she lived in a house with homeless, pregnant women. Her days were filled with anything from sharing chocolate cake at midnight to standing beside them in the court room and holding the hands of mothers as they gave birth. “After serving at Maggie’s Place I was able to discern that God was continuing to call me to work with this population.” Shear continues her commitment to mothers and to life through her current position at the Women’s Care Center in LaPorte.

Bishop speaks on ‘Truth in Charity’ at Christ the King

By Jennifer Miller

“It doesn’t take much effort to see division, empty promises, fear and anger in our society. However, as a church, we know that a deep and personal relationship with Jesus, who is the Truth, leads to a life of unity, charity, joy and freedom,” Megan Bazler Urbaniak, director of adult faith formation at Christ the King Parish in South Bend, explained. “We begin to live a life of the beatitudes, a life where we see Christ in others and draw others to the healing and charitable love of Christ.”

Urbaniak organized the Christ the King Parish Lenten mission, which took place March 12-14. “We first considered choosing “Truth in Charity” because it’s Bishop Rhoades’ episcopal motto. As the planning committee spent time in prayer, we began to realize how important and timely a reflection on God’s truth and charity is. The psalms, readings, prayers and music we selected were carefully and prayerfully chosen as we each explored the need for more authentic truth and charity in the world.”

After a parish potluck meal Sunday night, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades began the Christ the King parish mission, leading evening vespers and preaching. The Gospel that evening was the Beatitudes, from Matthew 5:1-15.

He started his reflection by sharing the memory of how he chose his episcopal motto, Truth in Charity or “Veritatem in caritate,” in Latin. He was Rector of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., at the time, when he received the call that he was being appointed a bishop, the bishop of Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa. The motto comes from chapter four of St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, verse 15, which reads: “living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into Him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Bishop Rhoades explained, “He (St. Paul) urges them to live in the truth out of a desire for the good of others, acting in love. In our speech and our conduct, when we are truthful, sincere and motivated by love, we grow into maturity in Christ. Christ is our goal and our life is to be “in Him.” He is the head of the church. It is from Christ that we receive the truth and it is from Christ that we learn to love.”

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

Diocese of Gary

Living water of Jesus brings love and peace to special needs families

By Marlene A. Zloza

GARY – “You are a precious part of Jesus’ body. . . (today’s Mass) allows us to know God’s love for us in a deeper way, how close he is to you and how important you are to him.”

With those words, Bishop Donald J. Hying shared a message of God’s all-encompassing love with special needs families attending The Apostolate for the Other Abled Annual Mass on March 19 at the Cathedral of the Holy Angels.

And as the bishop reached out with handshakes, hugs and kind words to the congregation gathered for the second year under the sponsorship of the Office of Intercultural Ministries, the families of persons with developmental disabilities, autism and physical disabilities likewise embraced the Diocese of Gary’s spiritual leader.

“The Bishop is a wonderful person, doing so much for the community,” said Loretta Arreguin, of Calumet City, Ill. and St. Victor parish, whose family attended with special needs daughter, Amanda Arreguin, 22. “It is important for all of us parents to support him at all his Masses.”

Francisco Arreguin, Amanda’s father, said the family has also found inspiration at Masses celebrated by the bishop at Hammond and East Chicago parishes. “I like the bishop, and I’ve had dinner with him,” added Amanda Arreguin, dressed for a talent show dance performance later that evening.

“This Mass is a place where (families) can feel included and supported by the Church and the community,” said Emily Hackett, of Munster, director of religious education at St. Thomas More and a member of the diocese’s Apostolate for the Other Abled Committee. “I have a master’s degree in Special Education and I am very passionate about people with special needs.”

That passion led Hackett to take on an important role for the Office of Intercultural Ministries and its director, Adeline Torres. “Emily is the person I rely on,” Torres said during a dinner after the Mass, while recognizing individuals and groups who assist with the ministry.

Torres said signing for the hearing impaired, provided at the Mass, will continue to be provided at AOA events. The ministry is looking into offering respite care to allow parents of special needs children up to four hours of time for themselves, additionally. The AOA office is studying the implementation of the Special Religious Development (SPRED) program in the Archdiocese of Chicago to instruct and prepare special needs youth to receive the sacraments and participate in the liturgical life of their parish.

“We will be asking the parents of special needs children for their ideas, too,” Torres pledged.

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

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Interactive exhibit brings to life special story of chapel built by Italian prisoners of war

By Natalie Hoefer

On the far west side of Johnson County Park in Edinburgh stands a small structure, just 11 feet by 16 feet.

Unassuming in stature, the little building is teeming with history. If its walls could talk, they would tell the story of the tiny structure’s creation in 1943 as a Catholic chapel, a small space of peace and spiritual respite built by several of the 3,000 Italian prisoners of war interned in Camp Atterbury during World War II.

In an ongoing, rotating series of exhibits called “You Are There,” the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) in Indianapolis has given voice to some of the possible stories the chapel walls could tell. Using a photo taken in late August of 1943, the history center has re-created the interior of the chapel. For the next 18 months, visitors can “step into” the scene and interact with actors portraying actual men who worked at or were interned in the camp.

“We didn’t even know about the chapel,” says Angela Wolfgram, an IHS exhibitions researcher. “That whole story was brought to us by one of our historical society members. … We thought that [the photograph] would be a really nice scene to re-create.”

The photo depicts three Italian prisoners painting finishing touches in the chapel, with U.S. Army chaplain Conventual Franciscan Father Maurice Imhoff standing in front of the altar.

Father Maurice is one of the persons “brought to life” for the exhibit. He is portrayed by Michael Redmond, a paid IHS actor who is also a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Indianapolis.

To portray Father Maurice, Redmond relied upon Wolfgram’s research and research of his own. He tracked down newspaper articles from the priest’s hometown newspaper. He also read correspondence between Father Maurice and his family.

“We have four weeks to prepare” for their roles in the exhibit, he says. “We do probably a half a semester’s worth of work in four weeks.”

Redmond brings more than knowledge to the role of Father Maurice.

“Being Catholic, your entire being is Catholic,” he says. “Everything about you is Catholic. That was one of the reasons I was attracted to playing the priest. And I have an understanding of what a priest is.”

For the actors not familiar with Catholicism, Father Jeffrey Godecker, a retired priest of the archdiocese, was brought in to give an overview of the faith.

“I was there for about two hours,” says Father Godecker. “A lot of it was to answer their questions about Catholicism [now] and Catholicism at that time, what Italian Catholicism would be like, what [the prisoners’] relationship with the chaplain was.

Men’s conference gives early Lenten boost in faith to participants

By Sean Gallagher

ST. LEON—Some 800 Catholic men from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio got a good spiritual boost at the start of Lent by participating in the second annual E6 Catholic Men’s Conference held on March 4 at East Central High School in St. Leon.

The title of the conference, organized by All Saints Parish in Dearborn County and its King’s Men men’s faith formation group, refers to the sixth chapter of St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians in which the Apostle exhorts believers to “put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil” (Eph 6:11).

This year’s conference featured presentations by Catholic apologist and author Patrick Madrid; clinical psychologist, Catholic author and radio host Dr. Ray Guarendi; and Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, who played left tackle for the National Football League’s Cincinnati Bengals from 1980-92.

Opportunities for prayer and the sacraments during the conference included Mass, praying of the rosary, the sacrament of penance, eucharistic adoration and Benediction.

Madrid recalled a time during a summer in the 1970s when he was a high school student in California and dated a girl whose father was opposed to the Catholic faith and challenged him frequently about it.

During that summer, Madrid, with the help of his father and Catholic books that his father shared with him, learned about the faith and was able to answer those challenges.

“He actually, without intending to, made me a stronger Catholic,” said Madrid of his girlfriend’s father. “By the end of the summer, I had learned my Catholic faith under pressure so that I actually began to believe it for myself. It was no longer, ‘I’m Catholic because that’s how I was raised.’ ”

Madrid encouraged the men at the conference, especially fathers and grandfathers, to be leaders in the faith for the young people in their lives like his father was for him.

“Unless we know why we believe what we believe, we are unable, I believe, to lead or encourage or teach,” Madrid said. “If we really want to be those leaders, we have to know what we believe.”

This leadership, he said, is important today because the numbers of Catholics and Christians in the U.S. is declining while those who adhere to no faith is increasing.

“I would argue that the only way that we can stop that from happening is for you and me as Catholic men to not only know what we believe, why we believe it,” Madrid said, “but also have the gumption to share those beliefs with other people at work, in your social circles and certainly in your families.”

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

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