September 29, 2017

Catholic News Around Indiana

Compiled by Brandon A. Evans

Diocese of Evansville

Faith communities unite to renounce hatred

The Message photo by Tim LilleyBy Tim Lilley

More than 20 members of the greater Evansville faith community gathered in the narthex of the University of Evansville’s Neu Chapel on Aug. 29 to publicly renounce hatred and offer a formal statement to that effect. More than 65 representatives of numerous faith traditions signed the statement, which appears on page 3 with the list of signees.

“Today, we stand for the sacred worth of all people,” said Rev. Tamara Gieselman, University of Evansville Chaplain. “We are here to speak the Good News and promote peace.”

Recent events in Charlottesville, Va., and elsewhere across the country prompted a number of faith leaders to draft a statement originally released by the Evansville Executive Interfaith Partnership. “This is part of an ongoing effort to proclaim that all people are created by God and have dignity,” said EEIP member retired Rev. Joseph Easley of the United Methodist Church. “Our group released this statement after the events in Charlottesville because we did not want to delay a response by our area’s faith community. Since then, we have refined and condensed the statement; and as you’ll see by the signatures, a large number of pastors and other representatives of faith traditions have joined us.”

Rabbi Garry Mazo of Temple Adath B’nai Israel looked around the room at those gathered for the press conference as he began to speak. “I look around … and this is what gives me hope,” he said.

“We have rallied together and created this statement; we took a positive approach. It is so easy to respond to hate with hate,” he added. “Here in Evansville, we respond to hate with love.”

Diocese of Evansville Administrator Father Bernie Etienne was the first of six representatives of faith communities to share the reading of the statement’s full text. “Jesus tells us that the whole of God’s law is fulfilled through the love of God and the love of neighbor,” he said as he began the statement.

Other readers included Rev. Michael Irwin, pastor of Christ Church United Church of Christ; Omar Atia of the Evansville Islamic Center; Bishop A. Lance Farr of the Evansville Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Pastor Ange Humphrey of the Fresh Air Community of Faith; and Dr. Saiyid Shah of the Islamic Society of Evansville.

Rev. Gerald Arnold, Pastor of Independence Missionary Baptist Church and President of the Evansville Branch of the NAACP, concluded the formal press conference by discussing the importance of standing together against hatred and bigotry. “I am 73 years old,” he said, “and throughout most of my life, I have endured racism, hatred and bigotry. I thank God for this coming together.”

(For news from the Diocese of Evansville, log on to the website of The Message at


Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Priest’s emails make case for the self-sacrificial love of Godly relationships

Book cover to Man of God.By Christopher Lushis

The challenges young men and women face in building relationships today seem increasingly daunting. Technological developments, even those meant to increase personal connectivity, tend to have the opposite overall effect when it comes to matters of the heart and fostering true unity between individuals. Perhaps this is most apparent on college campuses, where young men and women for the first time experience freedom and responsibilities in a new way that is wholly their own. Without proper guidance and direction, these young adults become susceptible to the temptations and pitfalls of a sexualized world that values personal satisfaction over relational cooperation and self-sacrificial love.

It is for this reason that Holy Cross Priest Father Terrence Ehrman sought to write a book offering assistance to young people who are in the midst of these struggles. Recently published by Catholic Answers Press, “Man of God: Lessons to Young Men about Life, Sex, Friendship, Vocation, and Loving with the Heart of Christ” seeks to offer a pathway towards happiness and fulfilment by looking to Jesus, Mary and the saints as models for developing holy, healthy and life-giving relationships.

Written as a series of emails from a priest to a recent college graduate seeking advice and guidance regarding his relationships, the book presents an ongoing and engaging conversation on contemporary issues that range from struggles with pornography and masturbation to questions about courtship and cohabitation.

Following the liturgical calendar, each correspondence focuses on a particular feast day or life of a saint to reveal how other men and women have demonstrated love and experienced fulfillment through a complete giving of themselves to others. In this way, the narrative story offers spiritual direction and wisdom for practical living.

Father Ehrman, who serves as the assistant director for life sciences research and outreach at the University of Notre Dame, as well as chaplain for the Center of Ethics and Culture shared, “The idea for the book is rooted in Christian anthropology, which asks, “Who are we, as creatures, in relationship to God the creator? What is our relationship to ourselves, to other another and to the natural world?

“That is what this particular book explores. We are men and women; therefore, what does that mean and how do we live this life? This book is a tool not only for the person who wants to grow in holiness, but also for the one who will hand on how to be holy. It is not only forming the one who needs to be transformed, but also the mentor — the father, the uncle, the priest — who can hand on what it means not only how to life a moral life, but how to live a Catholic life as a follower of Christ.”

(For news from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, log on to the website of Today’s Catholic at


Diocese of Gary

Nativity students don cowboy hats and boots to help Texas neighbors

Luis Vuko (center), a pre-kindergarten student at Nativity of Our Savior sings along to country music as he dons a cowboy hat during the Portage school's Hurricane Harvey Hoedown on Sept. 7. Led by the seventh-grade class, students raised $2,400 to send to disaster relief agencies. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)By Marlene Zloza

PORTAGE – When seventh-grader Kennedy Bandy heard that the Portage YMCA was hosting a bake sale for Hurricane Harvey survivors in Texas, she shared the idea with her classmates at Nativity of Our Savior School, suggesting they make a donation or host their own bake sale.

A 20-minute brainstorming session, said teacher Jennifer Weeks, resulted, instead, in the Harvey Hoedown, a school-wide Western-themed fundraiser held on Sept. 7 that raised $2,400 for The Greater Houston Community Foundation Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, an organization that the son and daughter of a Nativity teacher are working with. “One hundred percent of the money will go to relief efforts,” Weeks said.

The outdoor event began with a prayer service led by Bandy and Father Andrew Corona, pastor.

In a prayer she wrote, Bandy gave thanks to God for the blessings of those at Nativity, then turned her attention to the suffering in Texas: “We ask you to send protection for the people (who) feel hopeless, as well as the animals. We ask that you help the relatives of people lost and people still in danger. We know, as long as we live with faith,we can get through this.

“Finally, we ask that you inspire and strengthen the people of Texas as they begin to rebuild their communities. We pray that our efforts today are fruitful and beneficial to those affected by the hurricane.”

Father Corona, wearing a Western hat and bandana, offered a prayer, then complimented them: “What a nice thing you are doing today.”

“I am happily surprised that the kids took the initiative (to help the Hurricane Harvey victims),” he said. “I believe it’s the hand of Christ actively playing a role in their lives.”

Photo caption: Luis Vuko (center), a pre-kindergarten student at Nativity of Our Savior sings along to country music as he dons a cowboy hat during the Portage school's Hurricane Harvey Hoedown on Sept. 7. Led by the seventh-grade class, students raised $2,400 to send to disaster relief agencies. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

(For news from the Diocese of Gary, log on to the website of the Northwest Indiana Catholic at


Diocese of Lafayette

Summit puts focus on engaging new generation

The pilgrims leave Otterbein after Mass celebrated at St. Charles Church there. (Photo by Carolyn B. Mooney)By Caroline B. Mooney

LAFAYETTE — The solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is well-celebrated by St. Boniface Parish each year.

For the 11th year, parishioners made an overnight, 30-mile trek filled with prayer, song and meditation to honor the feast.

It all began on Aug. 15, 2006, when Father Tim Alkire, pastor of St. Boniface, called a priest friend who was assigned to the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the national shrine honoring Mary as the queen of Poland.

“There were thousands of pilgrims — some who had been on pilgrimage for weeks — at the shrine for the feast day. He said, ‘You should see the confession lines. It’s really not a good time to talk,’” Father Alkire said.

 It gave him pause, as holy day Masses in the United States are often sparsely attended.

“That evening at Mass I shared the story and said that the next year we were going to begin a pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady and that I wanted as many as possible to participate,” Father Alkire said.

A committee was formed and scouted possible routes. St. Charles Church, Otterbein, was designated as the starting point.

The trek follows country roads and crosses fields to reach Battle Ground, where it picks up the Wabash Heritage Trail. Then, it’s on to Riehle Plaza in downtown Lafayette where other faithful wait to join in on the last few blocks to St. Boniface Church.

Grant Freeman, one of the pilgrimage organizers, said the event is “like a homecoming. It’s not a big production, but a small act of love. We are walking because we love Mary and Jesus. We pray, sing and have conversations. Sometimes we may get grouchy, but we offer it up. We can’t avoid the suffering. It’s a journey that is difficult, arduous and worth it.”

Photo caption: The pilgrims leave Otterbein after Mass celebrated at St. Charles Church there. (Photo by Carolyn B. Mooney)

(For news from the Diocese of Lafayette, log on to the website of The Catholic Moment at

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