July 29, 2016

Catholic News Around Indiana

Compiled by Brandon A. Evans

Diocese of Evansville

Catholic Veterans Organization Comes To Martin County

Officers attend the installation ceremony for Post 1976. Submitted photo.By Tim Lilley

George “Bud” Erler of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Loogootee saw a magazine feature about an organization that attracted him immediately. At the time, the Catholic War Veterans of the United States of America had more than 7,500 members and more than 200 posts scattered around the country.

None existed anywhere in Indiana.

“I thought it would be great for our parish,” Erler said recently. “I talked to our pastor, Father Kenneth Walker, about it, and he encouraged me to look into the matter.” He called the Ohio-based national commander of the CWV, Arminda C. Crawford. A veteran of the Women’s Army Corps from 1966 to 1968, she is the first woman to lead the veterans’ group.

“(Crawford) told me that we did not have any posts in the state of Indiana, and she was very excited about the possibility of starting one,” Erler said. “Father Walker suggested that we hold an information meeting in our parish to see how many people might be interested. We were very surprised and excited with the interest.”

Father Walker also serves the Diocese of Evansville as Judicial Vicar, so he assisted Erler in drafting a letter to Bishop Charles C. Thompson formally requesting his approval for the establishment of a Catholic War Veterans post in the diocese, and specifically at St. John Parish.

“Bishop Thompson responded immediately, showing his support and giving permission to start a post in the parish,” Erler said. “He appointed Father Walker as Chaplain to facilitate the process.”

Erler is among 31 charter members who requested establishment of a Loogootee post, and they requested that it be named in honor of Servant of God Bishop Simon Bruté, this first bishop of Indiana. National Commander Crawford officially created Bishop Simon Bruté, Servant of God, Memorial Post 1976 on April 11. Crawford and her husband George traveled to Loogootee for the June 26 Officer Installation Ceremony at the new post, when Erler became the first Post Commander.

“Post 1976 is dedicated to praying for good and holy vocations to the priesthood, religious life and marriage,” Erler said. “We also will encourage our young people to write essays about love of country, appreciation for our armed forces and patriotism. Winners will receive monetary scholarships, and Post 1976 will hold a variety of fundraisers to support the effort.”

Photo caption: Officers attend the installation ceremony for Post 1976. Submitted photo.

Diocesan Pilgrims Depart For World Youth Day On July 23

Father Christopher Droste, right celebrates Mass during the pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2013 in Rio. Submitted photo.By Katelyn Klingler (The Message Intern)

On July 23, 48 young people and adults from the Diocese of Evansville will depart for World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. Bishop Charles C. Thompson, Father Tyler Tenbarge and Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Steve Dabrowski will lead the group, which includes young people ages 16-25, chaperones, and seminarians Luke Hassler and Andrew Thomas. 

Plans for the trip have been in the works for almost 3 years.   

The pilgrims will spend most of their time in Krakow, where they will join 2.5 million other Catholics – mostly young people – and Pope Francis in prayer and devotion.  The diocesan group will also make trips to Niepokalanów (the monastery founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe) and Czestochowa (home to the Black Madonna, a revered icon of the Virgin Mary). The group will visit Auschwitz on their way to Krakow.

Dabrowski emphasized the significance of this World Youth Day’s location. He noted that, even though Poland has often been the victim of violence and vitriolic politics from other nations, “they toppled Communism, they produced one of the greatest saints of our time,” emerging repeatedly from immense pressure “from coal to diamond. People often overlook the role of this country.” 

Dabrowski particularly recognizes the country’s enduring and admirable faith. “Poland is a land of saints,” he said, citing the number of modern saints from the nation, including St. Faustina, St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. John Paul II.  He also noted the country’s overwhelming devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Mercy is the theme of this year’s World Youth Day, and it will permeate the pilgrims’ activities. Every group that registered for World Youth Day was assigned a time to visit the church in which St. Faustina received the messages of Divine Mercy. Additionally, the hub for English-speaking activities throughout the week will be called the “Mercy Center.”

Dabrowski said he hopes to witness the inspiring effect of mercy in the hearts of this year’s pilgrims. “As they go to this land (that is) particularly devoted to the Blessed Mother, and to the cause of mercy in our world today, I hope it inspires them to evangelize to their peers and spread those messages of mercy and love,” he said.

Photo caption: Father Christopher Droste, right celebrates Mass during the pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2013 in Rio. 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

Fort Wayne woman professes perpetual vows to eremitical life

Sister Nancy Frentz prays during the litany of the Mass on the feast of St. Benedict who was himself, a hermit.By Jodi Marlin 

On the feast day of St. Benedict of Nursia, the founder of Western Monasticism, a Fort Wayne resident committed her future to his example of interior transformation by removing oneself from the world.

Sister Nancy Frentz professed perpetual vows of diocesan hermitage on July 11 at the St. Mother Theodore Guerin Chapel, during a 6 p.m. Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades and concelebrated by Father Mark Gurtner, Msgr. John Seltzer and Father Adam Schmitt, with the assistance of Deacon Eric Burgener. The intentional simplicity of the evening’s event underscored the lifestyle to which Sister Frentz has ascribed.

It was in Subiaco, Italy, at the age of 17, that St. Benedict began his consecrated life and his life as a hermit, Bishop Rhoades told those in attendance. Later, many would follow him; he would found monasteries with communities of monks at Subiaco, and later at Monte Cassino.

“I remember visiting the monastery in Subiaco that was built around the original cave where Saint Benedict lived for three years as a hermit,” he said. Over the door of the entrance courtyard of the monastery is an inscription in Latin, which translated reads: ‘If you searched for the light, Benedict, why did you chose a dark cave? A cave doesn’t offer the light you desire. Why have you gone to darkness to seek radiant light?’ The answer is inscribed: ‘Only in a profoundly dark night do the stars brightly shine.’”

During those three years Benedict was transformed through his prayer in solitude, Bishop Rhoades continued. He grew in wisdom and holiness through the Holy Spirit’s action in his soul. While Sister Frentz will not live her eremitical life in a cold, damp cave, he noted, she will spend most of her day in prayerful solitude to allow the Holy Spirit to act in her soul.

“We pray today that, like St. Benedict, Sister Nancy will continue to grow in wisdom and holiness.”

Photo caption: Sister Nancy Frentz prays during the litany of the Mass on the feast of St. Benedict who was himself, a hermit.

College crew unites students of faith

By Lauren Caggiano

The weekly College Crew program provides an outlet for diocesan college students to connect and learn about their faith in a casual environment in the summer months.

Seminarian Mark Hellinger, who’s going into his third year of study, is one of the organizers.

“The whole premise of College Crew is to bring college students together while back home and see other students living faith,” he said, adding that, “it’s a community building activity.”

According to Hellinger, College Crew is Father Benjamin Muhlenkamp’s brainchild, and the specifics vary each week. In general, there is always social time, devotion and a talk to conclude the evening. On June 28, the program was held from 7-9 p.m. at St. John the Baptist parish in Fort Wayne.

Hellinger said the program is open to both current college students, as well as recent high school and college graduates. Students come from several parishes, including St. John, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Louis Besancon in New Haven.

On average about 50 students attend. There are a few regular attendees and a sense of comradery. But the most important aspect is the spiritual one.

“During these college years, life can get confusing and we want to promote an event in which young Catholics can be strengthened in their faith,” said Father Mulenkamp.

Sometimes faith can be pushed to the periphery in college, especially when youth don’t attend a Catholic institution. That’s why the communal nature of College Crew is so important.

“It’s critical that young people are around other young people who share the faith so they’re not alone in discipleship,” he said. It also gives the confidence to witness faith and fall more deeply in love with Christ.

Photo caption: Father Ben Muhlenkamp talks to a College Crew attendee during the social hour at the June 28 session at St. John the Baptist Church in Fort Wayne.

(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

Study break assignments open doors to growth, new skills, deeper faith

Diocesan seminarian Robert Ross is pictured leading a session of the summer Totus Tuus faith education program for Catholic youth, at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Lake Station on June 22. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)By Marlene A. Zloza

Essays about “What I did during my summer vacation” take on a whole new dimension for Diocese of Gary seminarians, who find their assignments this summer taking them from comforting families in Ann Arbor, Mich. to officiating at baptisms in Lake Station.

Jeff Burton, a Portage native who graduated from Valparaiso University and worked as a newspaper reporter before entering the seminary, is completing a hospital chaplaincy internship with St. Joseph Mercy Health System in Ann Arbor.

“It’s really been a rewarding experience,” he wrote in a letter that reflected his polished writing skills. “When you walk into a hospital room and ask someone how they’re doing, you never really know where the conversation will take you. Some of those ‘cold calls’ have been some of the most intimate moments of my ministry.

“Things are hectic, but sometimes you’re the liaison between what’s happening in the ER and family members. A couple of family members of a man involved in one of three crashes was waiting outside. I told them their loved one was there, he was being treated and he was joking around with the doctors. That’s all I had, but it was enough to calm their nerves.

“Having to tell someone that their spouse or parent is dead has been both a challenge and a moment of growth. I had a man who was at a family cookout on Father’s Day, got sick that night and was dead the next morning. His whole family stayed the night, then when his numbers stabilized, they left to clean up and change. By the time they got back, he was gone.

“I was in the ICU sitting with his body and praying when his wife walked in. When she saw all the machines were removed, she knew. In that moment, there was nothing I could say. She had to cry. She had to feel those emotions and I had to stand back and let her.

“What was beautiful, though, is that I was able to spend the next three hours with the family, sharing stories about his life. We were laughing, we were praying. It became so clear to me that. . .this was God’s work, I was just the vessel.

“It’s also interesting living in a parish in another diocese, at St. Francis of Assisi in Ann Arbor. I’m looking forward to learning more about how the faith is lived here and how I might be able to bring some of that home.”

Photo caption: Diocesan seminarian Robert Ross is pictured leading a session of the summer Totus Tuus faith education program for Catholic youth, at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Lake Station on June 22. (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

Welcome to the R.C. Ripberger Farm in rural Kokomo: Pull up a chair for the ‘Summer Silo Series’

The farm and events are a family effort. From left are Zack Reishus, Neal Reishus and Michele Reishus (daughter of R.C. Ripberger), Magdalene (Reishus) Mastin with daughter Reis and Jeff Mastin with daughter Raena. (Photo by Caroline B. Mooney)By Caroline B. Mooney

KOKOMO — The R.C. Ripberger Farm in rural Kokomo offers the perfect setting for the “Summer Silo Series” — three evening concerts with food and games.

Approximately 80 people gathered June 25 for the series’ second show. Neal and Michele Reishus, members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Tipton, operate Healthy Homestead, an organic farm, on the land.

“This is a beautiful space and we are trying to find other ways to utilize it,” said the Reishuses’ daughter and series organizer Magdalene Mastin. “We practice sustainable farming, so our animals eat grass, not grain, which eliminates a need for silos.”

The concrete base of a silo that was torn down serves as the concert stage.

A groove in the middle of the base that served to unload grain has been covered and stairs were built to climb onstage. It had to be inspected by the Department of Homeland Security before being used for performances.

During each show, Bind Café of downtown Kokomo sets up tents to sell food and drinks. Lawn games are available for entertainment before and during the concerts.

Mastin, her husband and their two children moved onto her parents’ farm last year. She had been working in Michigan as a civic events planner, so the concert organizing was right up her alley.

“I am really excited — I hope it’s a good kickoff year,” she said. “These are fun events.”

“Two summers ago, we had praise and worship gatherings in our barn loft,” Michele Reishus said. “We were trying to have an ecumenical time. Part of what we are trying to do here is to help with bridging all of the body of Christ. As Roman Catholics, we want to be welcoming in that way and known for that.

“We want people who have no connection with rural life to come here,” she said.

People brought their own lawn chairs to sit and enjoy music by TK Hanley, a Nashville-based band, and solo artist Nico Cabrera on June 25.

Photo caption: The farm and events are a family effort. From left are Zack Reishus,  Neal Reishus and Michele Reishus (daughter of R.C. Ripberger), Magdalene (Reishus) Mastin with daughter Reis and Jeff Mastin with daughter Raena. (Photo by Caroline B. Mooney)

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

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