May 5, 2017

Catholic News Around Indiana

Compiled by Brandon A. Evans

Diocese of Evansville

Seton Harvest Welcomes Growing Season With Mass, Blessing

The new Seton harvest Veggie Van will travel throughout the Evansville area this spring and summer to encourage healthy eating and share recipes and fresh produce. The Message photo by Tim Lilley.By Tim Lilley

Those attending the April 24 Mass and blessing that formally opened the eleventh season of the Daughters of Charity Seton Harvest community-supported agricultural initiative had a chance to sample strawberries picked that morning. They were sweet, firm and delicious – tasty and hopeful signs of the growing season to come.

After offering Mass in the chapel at Seton Residence on Evansville’s West Side, Vincentian Father Stephen Gallegos, Seton Residence Chaplain, joined attendees for a quick trip across New Harmony Road to the farm, where he blessed the fields and the new Seton Harvest Veggie Van. The Veggie Van will travel throughout the Evansville area this spring and summer to encourage healthy eating, and share recipes and fresh produce.

The Daughters donated a passenger van, and a local individual modified it for Seton Harvest. The van will bring more fresh naturally grown produce and education to the community through farmers markets and education to schools, and by enabling Seton Harvest to provide cooking demonstrations for those entities that receive its fresh-produce donations. 

Sharing fresh produce is nothing new to Seton Harvest, which is sponsored by the Daughters of Charity Province of St. Louise. Over the past 10 years, it has donated approximately 103,000 pounds of produce to families living in poverty.

As a community-supported agriculture initiative, Seton Harvest divides up all of the produce it does not donate among a committed group of supporters who share with the farmer the risks and benefits of farming. Throughout the growing season, the farm harvests fresh ripe crops that are divided equally among the shareholders.

The shareholders are community members who pay the farmer an annual membership fee to cover the production costs of the farm. In turn, shareholders receive a weekly “share” of the harvest. A share is generally enough for a family of four.

The organization harvested more than 45,400 pounds of produce in 2016 and donated more than 9,400 pounds of it to those in need. Seton Harvest plans to use the Veggie Van as a pick-up for shareholders who live on Evansville’s far eastside, Newburgh, Lynnville and Boonville.

Seton Harvest will hold Twilight Farm-to-Table Dinners at the facility on May 13, June 10 and October 14. All proceeds from the dinners will go directly toward the farm's weekly donation of fresh produce to the food pantry systems and homeless shelters in the area.

For more information on Seton Harvest, or to purchase a full or partial produce share or tickets to the Twilight Dinners, visit www.setonharvest.org.

Photo caption: The new Seton harvest Veggie Van will travel throughout the Evansville area this spring and summer to encourage healthy eating and share recipes and fresh produce. 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

Saint Joseph High School SECO club acts on ‘Laudato Si’

Saint Joseph High School senior Jack Thomas, left, and sophomore Emily Smith, right assist two young Earth Day participants in creating homemade wildflower seed packets and catnip toys. SECO volunteered to run the table for the Earth Day and Arbor Day activities on April 22 at Rum Village Park, South Bend.By Andrew Mentock

When Pope Francis published his environmentally conscious encyclical, “Laudato Si,” in May of 2015, he reiterated to Catholics all over the world how important it is that they take better care of the earth.

“This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor,” wrote Pope Francis in “Laudato Si:” “…‘she groans in travail’ (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.”

For the past 12 years, Saint Joseph High School in South Bend has had a Social and Ecological Concerns Organization club, where the students meet to discuss how they can personally help to improve the environment.

To incorporate “Laudato Si” into the club, all members participate in two online social justice communities inspired by the encyclical letter: Catholic Climate Covenant and the Ignatian Carbon Challenge.

In addition to caring for the environment, SECO also works to raise awareness of other social injustices.

“SECO is greatly concerned about social issues,” said Kathy Kershner, a theology teacher at Saint Joseph who has been the club’s moderator since it started. “Throughout the school year SECO members ‘teach’ their classmates about the importance of buying fair trade products that do not exploit poor and hardworking laborers in underdeveloped countries around the world. SECO sponsors the selling of fair trade chocolate on Halloween/All Saints’ Day, Valentine’s greeting cards, and sponsors one or more fair trade cafes during the school year.”

The club also plans and assists with other events and activities, such as recycling much of the school’s paper and plastic each week, creating recycling awareness videos, running a “hygiene drive” and sponsoring the hunger bowl, which is a yearly food drive where Saint Joseph competes against Marian High School to benefit the St. Vincent De Paul food pantry.

An original idea, the SECO club was born out of a student’s passion for Catholic social teaching, which is why communities such as the Catholic Climate Covenant works so well with the club.

“We are grounded in the church’s deep history of teaching on creation, ecology and the poor,” it says on the homepage of Catholic Climate Covenant. “Caring for creation and caring for the poor have been a part of the Catholic story since the beginning, but in recent years St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and especially Pope Francis have added a sense of urgency to their call for Catholics to act on climate change.”

Photo caption: Saint Joseph High School senior Jack Thomas, left, and sophomore Emily Smith, right assist two young Earth Day participants in creating homemade wildflower seed packets and catnip toys. SECO volunteered to run the table for the Earth Day and Arbor Day activities on April 22 at Rum Village Park, South Bend.
 

Exodus 90: a Catholic man’s 90-day challenge to freedom

Exodus logoBy James Baxter

Exodus 90 is the fruit of a priest’s prayer and priestly experience. This 90-day challenge emerged from a seminary years ago in response to a profound need. Today, it’s transforming thousands of Catholic men — priests, seminarians and laymen alike — across the country and beyond.

In 2011, Father Brian Doerr of the Diocese of Lafayette was appointed vice rector of Human Formation at Mount St. Mary’s Theological Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. He soon realized that many of his good and generous seminarians were not as free as they could be as they approached ordination to the priesthood.

What did their slavery look like? For some, it was addictions. For others, it was wasting away their lives on Netflix, videogames, news and other technological distractions. For still others, it was using food and alcohol as crutches to medicate the tough times. Perhaps this is scandalizing? But the lament of the Lord was their prayer: “Let my son go, that he may love me” (Ex 4:23).

Father Doerr took five of these struggling seminarians and issued them a 90-day challenge that would change their lives forever. He did not uncover a secret formula, but simply re-presented to them the tradition of the early church and her emphasis on asceticism. The number 90 was not coincidental or for some kind of secular marketing purpose, such as a “Catholic P90X”. Ninety was based off his reading of the sciences regarding the time it takes to return the brain to a normalized state and to begin forming new, lasting and healthy habits.

The men prayed and practiced penance as they never had before, with the support of a band of brothers. Some said it was the hardest thing they had ever done, but after only a few weeks, they would come to their fraternity meetings with smiles on their faces. They were experiencing joy once again. The story of the people of Israel, traveling from the slavery of Egypt into the freedom of the Promised Land, was becoming their own.

The experience was so fruitful for these men that Father Doerr would go on to launch 10 more 90-day fraternities over the next three years at the seminary, with increasing success. Taking what he had learned, and with the help of a few millennial friends, he issued the challenge online, at Exodus90.com, over a year ago.

From the beginning, the Exodus 90 regimen was accused of many things. “This is too extreme; no one will make these sacrifices.” “Exodus is great in a seminary, but impossible within the hustle and bustle of family life.” “Intentional fraternities are exclusive.” “Why aren’t you doing something for women?”

The proof that Exodus 90 works is not only the original seminarians, but the faces of men across the country who have been given new life through this challenge. Some have broken decades of addiction. Others have simply been freed to be more present to their parishes, wives and children in an age “distracted from distraction by distraction,” as T.S. Elliot wrote in “Four Quartets.”
 

(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

While Church teaching hasn’t changed, there is a need to become more pastoral in matters of divorce

Rhea Ferrell, of LaPorte, talks about her annulment experience during Queen of All Saints' Tapped In program on divorce and remarriage. (Bob Wellinski photo)By Bob Wellinski

MICHIGAN CITY - Using excerpts from Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Congregation of Holy Cross Father Bob Dowd of Notre Dame University clarified the Church’s teachings on divorce, annulments and remarriage.

Father Dowd said that too many people have walked from their faith feeling as if they no longer belonged to the Church after being shunned for being divorced or remarried without an annulment.

“We need to meet people where they’re at,” Father Dowd said.

The Queen of All Saints and Marquette High School alumni returned to his hometown to speak at QAS’ “Tapped In” program March 29 at Gelsosomo’s Pizzeria.

Father Dowd reminded the group the Church teaches marriage is a sacrament, intended to last a lifetime, with the bride and groom as the ministers of the sacrament. He went on to note that the Church doesn’t teach that men and women must endure abuse within a marriage for the rest of their lives.

“In some cases, respect for one’s own dignity and the good of the children require not giving in to excessive demands (and) preventing grave injustices, violence and other chronic abuse. (In those instances), separation becomes inevitable if that is the situation. It may even be morally necessary,” Father Dowd read from the pope’s exhortation.

He added that separation “should always be the last resort, after a sincere and sustained attempt to make the marriage work.”

Father Dowd stressed that annulments shouldn’t be thought of as a legal process, but rather a healing process. He said the annulment process “should not be like a trial - accuser and the accused,” but “should be seen as a healing process to the point we can figure out what went wrong and process that. To learn from that and move on.”

Photo caption: Rhea Ferrell, of LaPorte, talks about her annulment experience during Queen of All Saints' Tapped In program on divorce and remarriage. (Bob Wellinski 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 statue at cathedral ‘a labor of love, time and prayer’

Rachel Witt, a parishioner of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, created a mosaic statue of Mary as a gift for the parish. (Photo by Caroline B. Mooney)By Caroline B. Mooney

LAFAYETTE — In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, parishioner Rachel Witt created a mosaic statue of Mary as a gift for the parish.

“It’s a beautiful expression of faith, and wonderful to have come from such a talented parishioner. I am very grateful for Rachel and her work,” said Father Jeff Martin, pastor of the cathedral parish. He named the statue “Mary, Mother of Mercy, Advocate of Joy.”

“It was a true labor of love, time and prayer,” he said. “I think it’s amazing how Rachel connected different aspects of Mary — from the knots in her rope to the materials used. I like the sense that the statue exemplifies mercy and joy together. It resonated with me when I saw it. I think children can find it very appealing, so it’s great to have it here with a parish school.”

While plans were under way for the parish anniversary celebrations last August, Witt was asked to create an art project.

“I really felt strongly that it needed to be a life-size statue of Mary, although it was initially daunting to take it on,” she said. “Devotion to Mary is something I have struggled with. This is more a gift to me than to the parish. I grew a lot in my faith in the process of making her and that was beautiful for me.

“My husband, Michael, and our six kids make sacrifices every time I take on a large project like this. Nothing happens without their support, encouragement and, sometimes, heavy lifting.”

In planning the project, Witt flooded herself myself with images of Mary so that no single image stood out.

“I looked at about 700 Mary images from all around the world in all different mediums,” she said. “I kept finding myself drawn back to a mature, motherly Mary that I could connect with. It’s been interesting because parishioners have told me they also connect with her, and that makes me feel good.

“I have been working with mosaic for 23 years and always find it to be a peaceful, meditative process.  This project was especially so as I was able to blend prayer into the creative process in a way I haven’t done before,” she said.

“I’m so grateful for the time in silence and prayer.  Every time it seemed I hit a creative hurdle, a solution came,” she said.

Photo caption: Rachel Witt, a parishioner of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, created a mosaic statue of Mary as a gift for the parish. (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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