April 8, 2016

Catholic News Around Indiana

Compiled by Brandon A. Evans

Diocese of Evansville

Lenten Food Drive A Huge Success

Karen Hanley, left, and Karla Dehner organize food items donated as part of the St. John the Baptist Parish Lenten Food Drive, which benefits the Newburgh Area Food Pantry. Submitted photo.By Special To The Message

Organizers for the Lenten food drive at St. John the Baptist Parish in Newburgh set a goal of collecting at least 10,000 shelf-staple grocery items to benefit the Newburgh Area Food Pantry. St. John the Baptist School also coordinated a Lenten food drive, and organizers asked students to collect and donate different food items each week. 

The parish also held Lenten Almsgiving Collections after weekend Masses to benefit the poor. 

So … how did things turn out? Missions accomplished! 

The parish collected more than 11,000 food items during the drive, and generous parishioners contributed more than $11,000 through the weekend Almsgiving Collections.

 "This will help tremendously to get us through the summer need," said Carol Schmitt, director of the Newburgh Area Food Pantry, which serves the needy in the 47630 zip code. "Thank you to all who have donated and participated. We appreciate everything, and every bit helps." 

Now that we have entered the Easter season, the parish isn’t halting its effort. Food items can be dropped off year-round at the Newburgh Food Pantry or the St. John the Baptist Parish Office. For more information, call the parish office at 812-490-1000.

Photo caption: Karen Hanley, left, and Karla Dehner organize food items donated as part of the St. John the Baptist Parish Lenten Food Drive, which benefits the Newburgh Area Food Pantry. Submitted photo.

(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

Bishop Melczek witnesses CRS in action in Egypt

Bishop Emeritus Dale Melczek (front row, second from right) is pictured at the Coptic Catholic Patriarchy in Egypt in February with (front row, left to right) Maronite Bishop of Brooklyn, Gregory J. Mansour; Marionite Bishop of Cairo, Georges Chihane; Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Egypt, Ibrahim Issak, and CRS country representative Mourad Aidi. Among the patriarchy staff in the back row are pictured (fourth from left) CRS regional director Kevin Hartigan; director of Evangelization for the Diocese of Camden, Andres Arango; and CRS vice-president Michele Broemmelsiek. Melczek traveled Egypt with a contingent from Catholic Relief Services and assessed the charitiable initiatives of the organization. (CRS provided photo)By Anthony D. Alonzo

In the shadow of historic wonders of the ancient world, Bishop Emeritus Dale J. Melczek recently traveled Egypt with a contingent from Catholic Relief Services, seeking to help the organization meet the modern needs of a country struggling with a refugee crisis.

Bishop Melczek met bishops, a U.S. ambassador, and everyday people in churches, schools and shelters as he traveled to cities such as Cairo and Luxor from February 22 to 28, on his first visit to Egypt.

Because CRS is “very strong on accountability” and has the “know-how and manpower,” Bishop Melczek said the international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic Church “has a good chance to improve the situation” in Egypt.

CRS first operated in Egypt in 1956, when it ministered to those ravaged by the Suez War. Now wars and internal strife in countries such as Syria, Iraq, North and South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Yemen have sent a flood of displaced persons to Egypt.

Bishop Melczek’s visit was part pastoral – he preached and concelebrated Mass daily, and part diplomatic – he was received by U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Stephen Beecroft.

Priority No. 1, said the bishop, is to serve the needs of the local dioceses.

“When delegations visit CRS programs in various counties, we meet with the local Cardinal, bishop, or in this case, patriarch, to determine whether the local bishops are in agreement with the importance or the need that we are attempting to serve and that the way the programs address the people are consistent with Catholic social teaching,” said Bishop Melczek.

Looking at photos provided by CRS from his charitable trip, Bishop Melczek recalled meeting children and teens, some of whom had fled their homeland unaccompanied, only to be snared in trafficking or other abusive situations along the way.

“This is a school serving Sudanese refugees. This priest is Eritrean Father Jamil – he runs three schools,” said Bishop Melczek. “There are 1,200 Sudanese refugees who he is serving.

“We serve so many non-Syrian refugees, especially from Sudan and Eritrea, who would be 15 or 16 years old. If they don’t leave their country, they would have to serve from ages 15 to 50 in the military,” he explained.

Bishop Melczek highlighted efforts by CRS members to guide those traumatized young people through art therapy and filmmaking in which they express their grief, hope, and even humor.

“They were so happy we took the time and cared about them,” said Bishop Melczek of the youth.

Photo caption: Bishop Emeritus Dale Melczek (front row, second from right) is pictured at the Coptic Catholic Patriarchy in Egypt in February with (front row, left to right) Maronite Bishop of Brooklyn, Gregory J. Mansour; Marionite Bishop of Cairo, Georges Chihane; Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Egypt, Ibrahim Issak, and CRS country representative Mourad Aidi. Among the patriarchy staff in the back row are pictured (fourth from left) CRS regional director Kevin Hartigan; director of Evangelization for the Diocese of Camden, Andres Arango; and CRS vice-president Michele Broemmelsiek. Melczek traveled Egypt with a contingent from Catholic Relief Services and assessed the charitiable initiatives of the organization. (CRS provided 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

St. Thomas Aquinas mission group travels to Cuba: ‘To be Christ to the people’

Members of a mission group sponsored by St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in West Lafayette speak with a Cuban woman at her home, where she cares for a severely handicapped young boy. (Photo courtesy Matt McKillip)By Kevin Cullen

WEST LAFAYETTE — Seventeen Purdue University students seized a unique chance to serve the poor, disabled and orphaned of Cuba during spring break.

“We got so many hugs and kisses. That was my favorite part,” said Jessica Wingate, a human services major whose family attends St. Boniface Church in Lafayette.

She was part of the mission group sponsored by St. Thomas Aquinas Church on the Purdue campus. It was in Cuba from March 12 until March 19.

Wingate worked on a farm, played games with orphans and visited with disabled children and their caregivers. The missionaries also distributed free toys, games, vitamins and medicines.

All that gave her the sense that “we showed the face of Jesus Christ to people who had not seen it in 50 years,” she said.

More than a year ago, President Barack Obama reopened diplomatic relations with Cuba, a Communist country 90 miles off the Florida coast that has been under a U.S. trade embargo since the early 1960s. The Obama family visited Havana a day after the Purdue group left.

Wingate had done mission work in Mississippi, but she wanted to see Cuba, experience its culture and meet its people. She wasn’t disappointed.

The students, led by Father Patrick Baikauskas, OP — pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish — landed in Havana then traveled east two hours to the town of Matanzas. They did farm work and got to know clergy and parishioners at a Catholic church led by Carmelite priests.

“We were all impressed with the Cuban people and how humble they were,” Wingate said. “ … what they really need is religious … just humanity.”

The local pastor, Father Miguel Angel, said that the students did more for the Cuban people in seven days than President Obama could do with a state visit. Obama is the first president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge.

“The orphans cried when we left,” Wingate said. “They said, ‘We want you to come back next year.’ I think I really learned a lot about humility, and the need to just love boldly. In my daily life, I hold back so much. The people there opened their homes and their hearts to us … they laughed with us, loved us, shared their lives with us.”

Photo caption: Members of a mission group sponsored by St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in West Lafayette speak with a Cuban woman at her home, where she cares for a severely handicapped young boy. (Photo courtesy Matt McKillip)
 

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

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!