May 6, 2016

Catholic News Around Indiana

Compiled by Brandon A. Evans

Diocese of Evansville

Sixth Tri-State IDOL Full Of Memorable Moments

Master of Ceremonies Mike Blake, left, salutes 2016 MEO Tri-State IDOL winner Stasia Reisinger, standing next to him, the trio of Jessica Weinzapfel, Matt Cassidy and Emily Pfister, who finished third, and second-place finisher Colton Colbert.By Tim Lilley

Memorable moments filled The Crescent Room at Milestones, on Evansville’s east side, on April 22 during the Sixth MEO Tri-State IDOL Gala.

  • Five individual finalists and one trio offered passionate, stirring performances.
  • An IDOL alumna showcased a blossoming musical career.
  • The crowd created what auctioneer Jason Blue called “the quickest ‘fund-an-item’ ever.”
  • One family shared its moving story of how Marian Educational Outreach has opened a new world of opportunities for one youngster.

“I had someone tell me they loved what we were doing with IDOL,” MEO Executive Director Bev Williamson told the crowd just before the finalists performed. “But they said they were concerned that we would not be able to attract strong talent from year to year. They were wrong. This group of finalists in amazing.”

What followed were a half-dozen truly remarkable performances; more about them – and the importance of the IDOL competition to young musicians – later.

On the surface, it would be easy to see the gala as nothing more than a showcase for aspiring Tri-State musicians – with a silent auction and a few live-auction items included – that raises funds for MEO.

Jenna and Paige Talbert painted a far different and more-important picture during their brief presentation, which included a video on their journey as a family.

“Paige’s story is a testament to one of the finest ministries in our diocese,” Jenna told the crowd. The youngster encountered difficulties when she started school, and a deeper look into their source led to a diagnosis of autism.

Paige was attending her parish school – Holy Rosary – and Pastor Father Bernie Etienne introduced the family to MEO and suggested the special-needs program at Annunciation Parish’s Holy Spirit campus. “Just today,” Jenna said, fighting back tears, “she stood up in front of her class and read her DARE report. She has a whole world of opportunities now. She has the classes and support she needs, and she is continuing her Catholic education.”

The Talbert family truly represents MEO’s mission: “Marian Educational Outreach is a ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Evansville committed to providing opportunities for students with unique learning needs to reach their highest potential while remaining in the Catholic school system.”

MEO developed Tri-State IDOL as a fun way to raise funds; and in a way, it has become another avenue of opportunity – for the young performers who step up to the microphone.

Photo caption: Master of Ceremonies Mike Blake, left, salutes 2016 MEO Tri-State IDOL winner Stasia Reisinger, standing next to him, the trio of Jessica Weinzapfel, Matt Cassidy and Emily Pfister, who finished third, and second-place finisher Colton Colbert.
 

CAJE Gets Action On Housing, Mental Health Issues

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, second from right, talks about the Mental Health Commission he is co-chairing with Wyeth Hatfield, left, of ECHO Community Health in Evansville. The Message photo by Tim Lilley.By Tim Lilley

Congregations Acting for Justice and Empowerment got action from local leaders on two significant issues during the 2016 CAJE Nehemiah Action, which was held April 25 at Old National Events Plaza in downtown Evansville.

Attendees heard that one in four Evansville families cannot find safe and affordable housing. CAJE’s proposed solution involves city leaders agreeing to use the land bank available to obtain blighted properties, and the affordable housing trust fund to begin changing the paradigm of the city’s housing landscape.

Kelly Coures, director of Evansville’s Department of Metropolitan Development, agreed to approach the City Council with the authorization of Mayor Lloyd Winnecke to request and advocate for the council to annually dedicate 2-5 percent of the Tropicana Riverboat Funds to the affordable housing trust fund.

CAJE also has been working toward a crisis care center to mitigate challenges related to those with mental health issues whose only treatment options involve emergency room visits or, in some cases, incarceration.

Mayor Winnecke and Wyeth Hatfield of ECHO Community Health agreed to co-chair a commission to develop a crisis care center in Evansville.

The pair elicited cheers from the large audience when they announced that the commission already is in place and had met for the first time on April 12, with another meeting scheduled for May.

For the past few years, CAJE also has sought placement of the opiate antidote Narcan with local first responders for use in the life-saving treatment of drug overdoses. Attendees learned that, as a result of positive response from local law enforcement, seven lives have been saved in Warrick and Vanderburgh counties since 2014 by first responders’ administration of Narcan. 

Photo caption: Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, second from right, talks about the Mental Health Commission he is co-chairing with Wyeth Hatfield, left, of ECHO Community Health in Evansville. The Message photo by Tim Lilley.
 

(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

Seniors among steadfast group of Vincentians

Vincentians prepare to make several home visits to a Mishawaka Apartment Complex.By Jodi Magallanes

SOUTH BEND — The vocation of the members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society is to follow Christ through service to those in need.  Members, called Vincentians, show their commitment through person-to-person contact with the poor, striving to seek out and find those in need and forgotten, the victims of exclusion or adversity. As such the “Home Visit” is the cornerstone of the work of the Society in the Diocese.

When Vincentians make Home Visits, they bring food and personal items to meet the immediate needs of the person struggling with poverty, but also the hope that they are not alone in their struggles.  Vincentians make home visits in groups of at least two and offer to pray with and for each and every person they visit.

In 2015, Vincentians from the 21 parish Vincentian Conferences in St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties made 5,491 unique home visits, visiting 18,512 people in their homes. Home Visits are made 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Photo caption: Vincentians prepare to make several home visits to a Mishawaka Apartment Complex.
 

(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

Artist helps bereaved heal with commemorative portraits

Portrait artist Anne Jones of Crown Point (left) and Munster resident Mary Yates are pictured on April 11 holding a pastel chalk drawing that Jones created for Yates, honoring her deceased son Ryan Andrew Yates, who died at the age of 19 in 2013. Jones is the director of the non-profit Face to Face Art, the mission of which is to serve grieving families through art featuring a dearly departed. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)By Anthony D. Alonzo

Some paintings are valued for capturing a picturesque scene or a historic moment. While photography is the most popular way to capture a person’s image, painted portraits are prized for the artistry that adds unique hues to an impression of a loved one.

Crown Point resident Anne Jones has painted thousands of portraits since the time she was recognized for her artistic talent in junior high school. What had been a business for many years transformed into a mission after a particularly difficult year in which she lost three family members in a short period.

On a recent spring day in her home, Jones was setting up her pastel chalks – her main medium for portrait art – when she got a call from Munster resident Mary Yates. Friends since she painted a portrait of Yates’ late son, Ryan Andrew Yates, she told Jones that the portrait means the world to her.

“My husband and I think our portrait is priceless,” Yates said. “If our house was burning down, there’s only one thing we would grab and it would be the painting.”

Yates lost her “beautiful boy” on November 30, 2013. The 19-year-old died suddenly among friends. He had been born with a heart defect, but, after surgery as a toddler, he had lived an active life.

The grieving mother said she has gained some measure of peace through prayer, and also reflecting on her son’s life and his legacy of being a peacemaker. Yates said she has since become an advocate for Jones’ Face to Face Fine Art non-profit studio.

The inspiration behind Jones’ charitable artistry was the death of her sister, mother and husband all within a two-month time frame.

Jones considers the sorrowful chapter in her life to be “a crash course in grief and loss,” and the events led to a welling up of empathy for those also experiencing grief.

She had become a master artist, able to accurately capture the essence of a person’s face and complete a pastel chalk work in free-hand fashion within a few hours. In a business that was based out of local kiosks, Jones had marketed her services to those looking for her artistic impression of  a family member or other loved one.

Since gaining 501(c)(3) non-profit status for Face to Face, Jones has painted more than 70 commemorative portraits. She said the organization’s mission is to “assist individuals who have suffered a significant loss due to sudden, unexpected or tragic death.”  

“I pray over the portraits, so that they may be a source of joy and healing and peace. I pray for the survivors too,”  Jones said.

Portraits are painted for the bereaved after a nomination is reviewed by the Face to Face board of directors. Families and friends of the deceased are never charged for the service. The $600 per portrait costs are defrayed by mostly private donations.

Photo caption: Portrait artist Anne Jones of Crown Point (left) and Munster resident Mary Yates are pictured on April 11 holding a pastel chalk drawing that Jones created for Yates, honoring her deceased son Ryan Andrew Yates, who died at the age of 19 in 2013. Jones is the director of the non-profit Face to Face Art, the mission of which is to serve grieving families through art featuring a dearly departed. (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

New Evangelization Summit: ‘Let us spread the joy of the Gospel’

St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in West Lafayette was one of 31 host sites — and the only site in Indiana — for live streaming of the 2016 New Evangelization Summit held in Ottawa, Ontario, on April 15-16. (Photo by Caroline B. Mooney)By Caroline B. Mooney

WEST LAFAYETTE — St. Thomas Aquinas Parish was one of 31 host sites for live streaming of the 2016 New Evangelization Summit held in Ottawa, Ontario, April 15-16.

The West Lafayette parish was Indiana’s only host site.

“It’s really a rare opportunity to have this type of a resource — to listen to experts from all over the world,” said Father Patrick Baikauskas, OP, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas. “The speakers give us their insights on a topic we talk about a lot, but I’m not sure we ever fully understand what it means to be evangelizers.

“People can get very intimidated by that word,” he said, “but I think that the talks have been able to convey the message of how to be evangelizers in very concrete, easy-to-understand words, and also to help us understand our faith better and be able to talk about it.”

The intent of the second annual summit was to inspire Catholics to be engaged in the New Evangelization. Approximately 5,000 people from 31 cities representing 28 dioceses registered for the conference.

Speakers and topics included Christopher West, “Theology of the Body and the New Evangelization”; Sherry Weddell, “Parish Renewal: The Fruit of Forming Intentional Disciples”; Father Raniero Cantalamessa, “The Holy Spirit and the New Evangelization”; Peter Kreeft, “The Three Big Questions”; and Angele Regnier, “Actually Evangelizing — Best Practices in Sharing Christ so that People Can Respond.”

“I thought this sounded like a great opportunity for the diocese,” said Eileen Strater, director of adult formation at St. Thomas Aquinas and event organizer. “We have 30 people from Lafayette area parishes, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Carmel, and St. Louis, Mo.

“The speakers are great and group discussions have been wonderful,” she said. “Everyone has given us practical ways to work with evangelization in our parishes, no matter where we are. If you are already well into it, the talks gave new ideas; and for those just getting into it, there were basic ideas where you can start evangelization efforts in your parish.”

“A parish is a community for faith,” said Bishop Timothy L. Doherty, who attended on April 16. “The community picks at us and peels away — we get to be self-sealing after a while. Our faith can’t grow and flourish unless it’s rubbing up against other people.

“Sometimes there are deep theological conversions we have to make and sometimes it’s the environments that we create that actually say a lot more to people,” he said. “If there’s not a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, many Hispanic people may not feel welcome. We need to be aware of these things and to invite people. There are great opportunities for laypeople. If you see a need, say something and build on it. Don’t leave everything to the priests.

“I appreciate all of you being here,” Bishop Doherty said. “A lot of lives will be affected by what comes out of this room — love and missionary insights.”

Photo caption: St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in West Lafayette was one of 31 host sites — and the only site in Indiana — for live streaming of the 2016 New Evangelization Summit held in Ottawa, Ontario, on April 15-16. (Photo by Caroline B. Mooney)
 

Nursing honor guard seeks to expand ministry

A nursing honor guard has been active in Madison County for the past two years and its organizers would like to see the idea spread.

In May 2014, after attending a funeral for a fellow nurse and seeing a nursing honor guard’s service, Jan Bronnenberg had a dream to form a nursing honor guard in Madison County.

The St. Vincent Anderson Regional Nursing Honor Guard was formed, with support and encouragement from St. Vincent Anderson Regional.

A team of volunteer nurses worked for months to discern a ministry to honor deceased nurses of Madison County. The nurses retrieved their caps, white uniforms and shoes from their closets or purchased new ones for the honor guard.

A group of 26 retired and working nurses from St. Vincent Anderson Regional, Community Hospital-Anderson and the area volunteer their time. The nurses “stand guard” at the casket during visitation, if the family requests it. Also, a brief service is provided wherever the family requests it ... the funeral home, church, hospital or even a park.

Funeral homes in Madison County and surrounding communities have been supportive of the effort. Funeral home staff members share honor guard information with families as arrangements are being explored. Upon their request, the funeral home contacts the guard to set up the requested services.

“The registered nurse or licensed practical nurse need not have worked in a hospital or anywhere, for that matter, to receive this honor,” Bronnenberg said. “Being a nurse is an honor in itself. There is no charge for this service.”

Thirty-three services have been completed since the nursing honor guard began in 2014.

“The nurses that have served feel very humbled to be able to honor their fellow nurses in this manner. It is the ultimate tribute to those who have committed their lives to serving others,” Bronnenberg said.

While they have performed some services outside of Madison County, it is often difficult for these nurses to travel greater distances.

The Madison County guard has been instrumental in starting another nursing honor guard in Kokomo.

It is the goal of the honor guard to encourage nurses and hospitals in other cities to start their own nursing honor guards, especially in the Indianapolis area.

St. Vincent Anderson Nursing Honor Guard and North Central Indiana Nursing Honor Guard of Kokomo will host a seminar for those interested in volunteering or starting a new nursing honor guard in their area from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, at St. Vincent Hospital located on 86th Street in Indianapolis. Light refreshments will be served.
 

Bishop speaks on role of a parish, importance of its renewal

Bishop Timothy L. Doherty speaks at St. Ann Parish, Lafayette, on April 10.By Caroline B. Mooney

LAFAYETTE — “As Catholics, it’s important that we understand that the Local Church is headed by a bishop and each parish is an instance of that church,” said Bishop Timothy L. Doherty on April 10 at St. Ann Church here. “Or we can say our diocese is one church on 62 campuses — with about 100,000 members in Northcentral Indiana.” 

Approximately 80 parishioners attended the talk on “Revisualize the Parish; Renewal and Mercy,” which was sponsored by the men’s Christ Renews His Parish group.

“As Catholics, we are part of a much wider Church. We have a set creed (beliefs), code (laws) and cult (worship),” he said. “We don’t reinvent the worship every Sunday. Some people think being Catholic is going to Mass, going to Communion — it’s between me and God and that’s basically it.

“Different parishes think of themselves in different ways,” Bishop Doherty said. “Do we see ourselves as part of the Catholic Church in connection with the diocese and other parishes or are we in competition with them?”

He asked if parishioners were vertically or horizontally oriented, or a nice mix.

“Vertical is between us and God,” Bishop Doherty said. “Horizontal is what we are doing and how we are relating to each other. How can we help each other and relate to each other so our mission is better understood? Our mission isn’t bingo, soccer teams or card parties. Our mission is to preach the healing name of Jesus Christ to people and invite them to come alive in the Lord.”

At St. Ann’s, he said, the parish food pantry is horizontal, an engagement with the community. Other horizontal examples would be a parish school or an Alcoholics Anonymous group meeting on parish grounds.

“Each parish is a little different,” Bishop Doherty said. “When we articulate the vertical model, can we articulate God and Christ? 

“We have to decide intentionally what qualifies as a parish and what its relation is with the rest of the Local Church,” he said. “In terms of re-visualizing the parish, we need to see what some of the commonalities are. Our mission is about faith. How can we be helpful to each other and help parishes relate to each other? We have to have an infrastructure. Parishes that actively engage in their renewal are getting closer to questions of intentional discipleship.”

Much can be learned about a parish by its cleanliness, landscaping and parking.

“For about a 20-year period, Catholic churches built parking lots with churches in the middles,” Bishop Doherty said. “Buildings were round, with multiple entrances and exits. Seating is in a circle, with more seats in the back. When Mass ends, people can get up easily and blow out the doors — what does that do? People don’t stay around and get to know each other.

“When people ask about our weekend plans, how often do we say our plans include church?” he asked. “The thing about renewal is that it has to be intentional.

“Not everybody feels comfortable with Pope Francis,” Bishop Doherty said. “His job isn’t to make us comfortable, but thoughtful and faithful.”

Photo caption: Bishop Timothy L. Doherty speaks at St. Ann Parish, Lafayette, on April 10.
 

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

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