February 26, 2016

Catholic News Around Indiana

Compiled by Brandon A. Evans

Diocese of Evansville

No news briefs are available this week

 

(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

No news briefs are available this week

 

(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 'step up' to donate shoes for needy and environmental causes

Members of Theresa McLoughlin's seventh-grade homeroom assist in sorting donated shoes at St. Mary Catholic Community School in Crown Point on Feb. 11. The students have participated in a 'Soles for Souls" reuse-and-recycle campaign led by parent Jennifer Walkowiak. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)By Marlene A. Zloza

CROWN POINT—Most people take shoes for granted. Lace them up, buckle them or slip them on, and off they go. But for children and adults who don't have even one pair of decent shoes, the path is not so smooth.

And that's why students at St. Mary Catholic Community School embraced a suggestion by a parent to donate their unwanted shoes to the needy and to help save the environment.

"I have an online store, Joshua's Treasures, to sell new and used items for extra income, with a portion of proceeds going to charity,” explained Jennifer Walkowiak, of Highland. "I had a couple pairs of tennis shoes that weren't selling, and I found a site online that takes care of the environment, and another that helps the poor."

Armed with knowledge about Nike Grind, which recycles worn out athletic shoes, turning them into athletic surfaces such as basketball courts, tennis courts and tracks, and Soles4Souls, a not-for-profit global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing, Walkowiak contacted her son Joshua's seventh-grade homeroom teacher, Theresa McLoughlin, and suggested the St. Mary class collect extra shoes for the cause.

"I co-coach the St. Mary's Girls on the Run team for third-graders, and had been talking to Mrs. Walkowiak on a field trip about the (Girls on the Run) races. There is also a service project component, so after Christmas break, when she suggested donating old tennis shoes, I thought it was a good idea," McLoughlin said.

Since St. Mary's seventh-graders are matched up with third-graders throughout the school year for a mentoring program, McLoughlin teamed up with her GOTR co-coach, third-grade teacher Mirabel Villarreal, and fifth-grade teacher Mary Catherine Carr, who is joining the GOTR coaching staff this year, to host a shoe drive that ultimately collected 68 pairs.

Starting with athletic shoes, students soon asked to bring in other types of shoes they had outgrown, and Walkowiak agreed to deliver all donated shoes to Nike and Soles4Souls.

St. Mary's seventh-graders were enthusiastic about the project. "I donated about six pairs of shoes, a pair of old cheer shoes from my sister, Jennifer, and ones that I had outgrown and worn out," said Dillan Mori, of St. John.

McLoughlin offered extra credit points to her students who donated shoes, an added incentive, admitted Cassie Vickers, of Crown Point. But more importantly, Vickers offered, "The shoes that kids are able to use are going to kids who need them, and instead of the others going into the garbage, they will use the rubber for tennis courts and playgrounds."

"In this Year of Mercy for the Catholic Church, and with St. Mary's motto to open their hearts to others, I think this is a great project," Walkowiak said.

Photo caption: Members of Theresa McLoughlin's seventh-grade homeroom assist in sorting donated shoes at St. Mary Catholic Community School in Crown Point on Feb. 11. The students have participated in a 'Soles for Souls" reuse-and-recycle campaign led by parent Jennifer Walkowiak. (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

At Destination Jesus, ‘he is waiting for you’

Seeing hundreds of teenagers join in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament “is a special experience,” chaperone Aissa Lazarz said. (Photos by Kevin Cullen)By Kevin Cullen

NOBLESVILLE—The gym at St. Theodore Guerin High School morphed into a spirited beehive of praise, worship and inspiration for 870 teenagers and their chaperones at the 21st Destination Jesus retreat, Feb. 12-14.

Banners depicting saints and stained glass windows hung near the altar. The weekend schedule included talks by well-known Catholic speakers, live music, Eucharistic adoration and, of course, Mass. Scores of priests, women religious and seminarians attended.

“As you look at the pictures of saints, I’m looking at saints in bleachers and chairs,” Bishop Timothy Doherty said as he scanned the crowd before celebrating Mass on Feb. 13. “We’re all called to holiness. We’re here to find out how to do this.”

“Redeemed” was the theme for this year’s “DJ.” It had even greater meaning because it came during the Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, the bishop said in his homily.

“Mercy doesn’t just mean having sins forgiven,” he said. “We live in mercy. It is like the air; if we refuse to use it, bad things happen to us ... (Mercy is) the overarching presence of God. There is never a time when we don’t need his mercy.”

It is easier for people to forgive, he said, “if we know that God is just as patient with us. We’ll keep discovering that whether we’re 15, 35 or 65.”

He urged each teenager to build a relationship with God.

And although sometimes it may seem that he is calling in different directions, “the Lord is moving toward you. Never doubt that,” he said.

Destination Jesus, organized by Carmel deanery parishes, is designed to draw teenagers into a deep and lasting union with Jesus. Sacramental encounter is emphasized. Opportunities for healing are offered through reconciliation and the Eucharist.

Attendees came from 30 parishes and three states, said Lou Paiz, director of faith formation for high school, confirmation and young adults at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Carmel.

Hundreds of volunteers from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and St. Maria Goretti, Westfield, provided much of the planning and manpower needed, he said. Some have been involved all 21 years.

“What hasn’t changed is the need for silence, the need for our lives to slow down,” Paiz said. “The Church asks us to get away from our lives and reflect, especially during Lent. We ask the kids to step away from their busy lives, too.”

Photo caption: Seeing hundreds of teenagers join in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament “is a special experience,” chaperone Aissa Lazarz said. (Photos by Kevin Cullen)
 

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

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