January 8, 2016

Catholic News Around Indiana

Compiled by Brandon A. Evans

Diocese of Evansville

Catholic Charities' Christmas Giving Assists 358 Youngsters

By The Message Staff

For 29 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.

This year, Catholic Charities assisted 358 needy children by facilitating the adoption of 133 families who faced the prospects of a Christmas without gifts. Community Outreach Coordinator Laura Chandley said that 75 donors – a combination of small groups, churches, individual families and businesses - received wish lists that Catholic Charities obtained from those in need.

The adopting groups bought and wrapped gifts, and delivered them to the Catholic Center Dec. 14-15. Families picked up their gifts Dec. 16-17.

Students from St. Benedict Cathedral School volunteered Dec. 15-16. On Dec. 15, 22 students helped organize and prepare the donated gifts for delivery. On Dec. 16, another 22 students helped with package delivery and staffed 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.

Chandley said Catholic Charities partnered with the Indiana Department of Children’s Services and organizations like Healthy Family and Parenting Time Center for the 2015 program.

(For news from the Diocese of Evansville, log on to the website of The Message at www.themessageonline.org)

 

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

SoulCore strengthens faith and improves health

Ruth Beier, center, leads a SoulCore class in a friend’s barn. The workout includes praying the rosary with strengthening, stretching and isometric exercises.By Kay Cozad 

FORT WAYNE — SoulCore, a new movement spreading across southwest Fort Wayne, is strengthening faith and improving health for many. The program, according to its website, www.soulcore.com, is a “contemporary core workout that pairs exercise with the prayers of the rosary. A sensory experience that combines candlelight, music, reflections and movement to nourish body, mind and soul and encourage deeper meditation on the mysteries and virtues of the rosary.”

Initially conceived by Colleen Scariano, parishioner of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Carmel, after several devastating losses in her life, SoulCore was designed to lead participants to a deeper devotion to the rosary while connecting to the mind and body through exercise.

SoulCore sessions last one hour and the class leader guides participants through the mysteries of the rosary matching each prayer with an exercise pose or posture. Those involved are quick to say though that SoulCore is not yoga and no yoga poses or Sanskrit are used in the workout that involves strengthening, stretching and isometric exercises.

The session begins with recitation of the Apostles’ Creed with simple stretching. Pushups work the arms while praying the Our Father and each Hail Mary is recited for a variety of poses including core strengthening. According to SoulCore’s website, “Each mystery begins with a Scripture verse and a reflection, offering a time of rest. The end result is a feeling of relaxation, strength and renewal — of body, mind and soul.”

On the southwest side of Fort Wayne, a couple of friends, Ruth Beier and Patty Edwards, both parishioners of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, have taken the training to facilitate SoulCore classes, which includes consecration to Mary, and have found immense benefits both spiritually and physically.

Ruth Beier, like SoulCore founder Scariano, prayed the rosary while walking. After discovering SoulCore through a post on Facebook, she thought, “This is genius. You focus better when you’re moving. … It’s multitasking at its best!”

After purchasing the DVD and exercising her way through the rosary she felt called to share the program and began giving DVDs away. Eventually she attended the leader’s training and began offering classes in earnest in June, first in a barn space donated by a friend and currently, as the weather cools, at St. Joseph Church in Fort Wayne in the Adult Learning Center, Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. and Fridays from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Participants are asked to bring a mat and hand weights are optional. No rosary is needed. The program is intended for everyone with no restrictions on age, religion, gender or race.

Beier feels she is improving physically through the SoulCore workouts. And she admits, as she meditates on the mysteries and virtues of the rosary, she is better able to “surrender her life to God,” in everyday situations. “There’s always something going on,” Beier says. “It (Soulcore) is helping me put everything in perspective as I stay centered on Christ and Our Lady.”

Photo caption: Ruth Beier, center, leads a SoulCore class in a friend’s barn. The workout includes praying the rosary with strengthening, stretching and isometric exercises.
 

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

 

Diocese of Gary

Students at Catholic high schools find Christ in Christmas giving

Andrean High School senior student council members decorate a Christmas tree in the senior hall at the Merrillville school on Dec. 7. Andrean students participated in a variety of festive and service-oriented activities in Advent and Christmastime. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)By Anthony D. Alonzo

 “I feel like every kid deserves presents. Not to be selfish, but that’s what most kids look forward to,” said Andrean High School senior Brett Lesch about Christmastime charitable efforts at his school. “Even now, I get excited on Christmas morning – the feeling doesn’t really go away.”

Andrean senior Noah Davis talked about the impact small deeds and modest gifts can have on children – and the gift-giver.

“To see how the children reacted was very cool,” Davis said about delivering gifts for last year’s “Adopt-A-Family” program. “It helps to see that these kids are happy and it makes you want to give more.” 

At Andrean, Bishop Noll Institute and Marquette Catholic High School, normal school routine has been punctuated with outreach efforts, fundraising, gift-giving and decorating for Christmas. 

The popular “Christmas is for children” sentiment is reflected in the season’s colorful decorations, but also in the commercialism of the holiday – the intense marketing of toys, electronics and other treats for youths. Yet some teens have found less materialistic approaches to bringing holiday cheer.

On Dec. 4, about a dozen Marquette freshmen visited Sharing Meadows, a residential and vocational center for people with developmental or learning disabilities, located in Rolling Prairie. The teens helped residents sweep the floors, process walnuts and craft Christmas-themed art.

The students’ works of mercy personify what Church members are called to do in the current Year of Mercy. And, according to Sharing Meadows executive director Kathleen Kelly, the teens demonstrate a sense of maturity and compassion. Kelly said the Marquette students’ visits help foster a unique bond among people who may not normally interact.

“We’re delighted to have the Marquette students here,” Kelly said, with Sharing Meadows founder Father Dennis Blaney standing nearby. “(The students) are enthusiastic, loving and kind and the Villagers (residents) look forward to having them here.”

Photo caption: Andrean High School senior student council members decorate a Christmas tree in the senior hall at the Merrillville school on Dec. 7. Andrean students participated in a variety of festive and service-oriented activities in Advent and Christmastime. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)
 

Bishop Melczek: Year of Mercy an opportunity to evangelize, witness to faith

Bishop Emeritus Dale J. Melczek speaks about "The Gift of Our Merciful God's Forgiveness" at St. Paul Church hall in Valparaiso in this March NWIC file photo. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)By Steve Euvino

GARY—Although the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy was only one day old, Bishop Emeritus Dale J. Melczek related that the Church concept of mercy goes back to the Old Testament.

Speaking at St. Mary of the Lake on Dec. 9, Bishop Melczek also suggested means of experiencing mercy.

Bishop Melczek said that from the beginning of his papacy, Francis has stressed mercy. During this jubilee year, he continued, the pope wants the faithful to “become a more effective sign of [God’s] mercy.”

“Pope Francis suggests that mercy enables us to be more aware of and accepting human differences,” Bishop Melczek said. “Mercy overcomes what the pope has termed ‘the globalization of indifference,’ indifference which engenders prejudice and exclusion based on race, ethnicity, gender, socio-political affiliation, physical ability, and immigration status.”

The Jubilee Year of Mercy now runs through Nov. 20, 2016. That starting date of Dec. 8 marks the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, which Pope Francis considered an impetus for Catholics to evangelize, to witness to their faith with greater “enthusiasm and conviction, to be a living sign of the Father’s love for the world,” the bishop said.

For Pope Francis, Bishop Melczek said, mercy is the “ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy is the bridge that connects God to all of us, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.”

Mercy, Bishop Melczek said, is “always greater than any sin and no one can place a limit on God’s mercy.”  Church teachings have always put mercy before judgment, the bishop said, and “God’s judgment will always be in the light of his mercy.”

Photo caption: Bishop Emeritus Dale J. Melczek speaks about "The Gift of Our Merciful God's Forgiveness" at St. Paul Church hall in Valparaiso in this March NWIC file photo. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)
 

(For news from the Diocese of Gary, log on to the website of the Northwest Indiana Catholic at www.nwicatholic.com)

 

Diocese of Lafayette

Carmel parish expands hours for adoration

An expanded Eucharistic adoration ministry at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Carmel, was kicked off with a procession on the feast of Christ the King. (Photo provided)By Caroline B. Mooney

CARMEL — An expanded Eucharistic adoration ministry was kicked off with a procession of approximately 300 parishioners on Christ the King Sunday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.

For more than a decade, the parish offered Eucharistic adoration on Wednesdays. Now it is offered from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday in the reservation chapel. More than 128 adorers have registered. Many of the 60 weekly adoration hours have two adorers scheduled.

“Our modern culture isn’t exactly conducive to having a contemplative heart,” said Father Thomas Haan. He serves as a faculty member and chaplain at St. Theodore Guerin High School in Noblesville and is in residence at the Carmel parish, where he formerly served as associate pastor.

“I hope these increased hours of adoration will bring about a more authentic love for our Lord, a more generous love for our neighbor, and a greater reverence and gratitude for the gift of the Eucharist. I also think we will see that the various apostolates at the parish will become more fruitful, and other apostolates will organically emerge.”

“There was a common thread during my involvement in the activities at Seton,” Father Haan said. “Folks coming away from a Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) weekend would claim that adoration was one of the most powerful moments of the retreat. When we offered exposition and adoration to our junior high and high school groups, both young people and their parents were visibly moved by the experience. I perceived a groundswell of desire for more opportunities with our Eucharistic lord, and at the same time we had wonderful individuals who boldly offered their assistance to organize daily adoration.

“I am certain that my own love for our Lord, the first stirrings of my priestly vocation, and the spiritual strength to live my priestly vocation all stem from time in front of the Blessed Sacrament,” he said. “In adoration, anxieties are calmed, discouragement dissipates, faith is fortified, and the heart is enflamed.”

To those who haven’t been to adoration, Father Haan said, “Don’t be afraid of silence! If you aren’t sure what to do or what to say, just remember the anecdote of St. John Vianney, who asked an old peasant what he was doing all day in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The peasant replied, ‘I look at him, and he looks at me.’ That statement’s simplicity robs us of any remaining excuses.

“I think in our age of technology, our young people long to experience authenticity in their relationships,” he said. “They know that the Blessed Sacrament isn’t superficial, fake, or a gimmick: it’s pure self-gift of Christ for them… it’s where they rediscover their identity as sons and daughters of God, and they learn how to be present to him and offer themselves authentically in return.”

McFeely hopes to see perpetual adoration one day at Seton, but “but we’re taking baby steps for now.”

Photo caption: An expanded Eucharistic adoration ministry at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Carmel, was kicked off with a procession on the feast of Christ the King. (Photo provided)
 

(For news from the Diocese of Lafayette, log on to the website of The Catholic Moment at www.thecatholicmoment.org)

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