July 31, 2009

Catholic News Around Indiana

Compiled by Brandon A. Evans

Diocese of Evansville

The first half of 2009: Budget cuts, staff reduction, strategic planning

By Paul R. Leingang (Message editor)

The first half of calendar year 2009 saw staff reductions at the Catholic Center. The beginning of the next fiscal year in September will see a budget reduced from earlier planning.

Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger announced Feb. 6 that steps had to be taken to deal with “tough times” — to reduce the goal of the Catholic Parishes Campaign and to minimize diocesan exposure to the volatile fluctuations of the financial markets.

The results of staff reductions and budget trimming include lower expenses, a smaller CPC goal, and a diocese less reliant on investment income, according to Tim McGuire, chief operating officer.

Looking to the next fiscal year, Bishop Gettelfinger elevated the ministry to the Spanish speaking to diocesan departmental level. Benedictine Sister Karen Durliat is the director. Benedictine Sister Joan Scheller is associate director.

In a letter published in The Message, Bishop Gettelfinger noted that he had hosted four “Town Hall Style” sessions throughout the diocese, and that he had announced the appointment of “a task force to assist me in developing a strategic plan for our diocese to ‘re-energize our parishes.’”


Radio Mass reaches homebound in 14 counties

By Mary Ann Hughes (Message staff writer)

There are so many new ways to stay connected. The Intenet. Cell phones. Cable news.

And there is an old reliable way. The radio.

Every Sunday morning, on 106.5 FM radio out of Washing-ton, there is a radio broadcast of the Mass, allowing the home-bound in 14 counties to have the opportunity to listen to the Liturgy on the radio.

Kathy Burch, who works at the radio station, said the 50,000 watt station can be heard in the towns of Bloomfield, Jasper, Linton, Loogootee, Sullivan, Vincennes and Washington.

Jim Lawson is a parishioner at Our Lady of Hope Church in Washington. For the last three years, he has done the scheduling for the Radio Mass, which is broadcast every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. “We alternate every week between Our Lady of Hope Church and St. Peter Church [in Montgomery.]”

He explained that there is a telephone hook-up at each church, and “each Sunday before Mass starts, we call the radio station and make a hook-up with them. It’s hooked up to our sound system.”

The Radio Mass program is funded by the Fourth Degree K of C Assembly 630 in Washington. K of C member Jerry Walker said the program was begun in April of 1997 by St. Mary and St. Simon parishes in Washington, All Saints parish in Cannelburg, St. Peter parish in Montgomery, and St. John parish in Loogootee.

“Initially it was taped and we would drive the tape to the radio station. Now it’s broadcast live,” he said.

(For these stories and more news from the Diocese of Evansville, log on to the website of The Message at www.themessageonline.org)


Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Bishop promulgates norms for tabernacle placement

Bishop John M. D’Arcy writes:

The presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is at the center of our faith and of the devotional life of our Catholic people.

In recent years, the place of the tabernacle in our churches has become a source of controversy. This should not be.

The Eucharist, whether we are referring to its celebration or to the place of reservation, should always be a means of unity and communion, and never of division.

The place of the tabernacle in our church should reflect our faith in the real presence of Christ, and should always be guided by church documents.

My experience is that our people, with their instinct of faith, have always desired that the tabernacle be central and visible.

They find it confusing when the  tabernacle in their churches is not visible, and if possible, central.

Because of my responsibility to foster the devotional life of our people, and to keep it sound, I have asked our Office of Worship to prepare norms for the placement and design of the tabernacle in this diocese.

(For these stories and more news from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, log on to the website of Today’s Catholic at www.diocesefwsb.org/today)


Diocese of Gary

Young man learns value of genuine service to others

"I like being with people and becoming a part of their lives," seminarian Roque Meraz said of working in a parish this summer. (Tim Hunt photo).By Debbie Bosak

CROWN POINT — Training for a future priest isn’t all about academics and prayer.

Although those are important components, as in any profession, the education of a seminarian wouldn’t be complete without some practical experience. This fall, Roque Meraz will begin his junior year at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Mn., majoring in philosophy. This summer, however, he is working under the tutelage of Father Jim Wozniak, pastor at St. Matthias, and serving the people of the Crown Point community. “It’s good to have the experience with the parish,” said Meraz.

Meraz first moved into the parish mid-May and hit the ground running with his first assignment — working the annual St. Matthias rummage sale.

“I never thought about something that big,” Meraz said. “That was my first week here and I was introduced to so many people, it was hard to remember all the names.” Ministry and serving others has long been a part of this young man’s history.

At his home parish, St. Mary, East Chicago, Meraz participated in youth ministry for five years. Influential in his decision to become a priest he said, was his pastor, Father Steve Gibson, and Father Frank Torres, who was an associate at the parish at the time.

Photo caption: "I like being with people and becoming a part of their lives," seminarian Roque Meraz said of working in a parish this summer. (Tim Hunt photo).

Saint Mary’s College to participate in Yellow Ribbon Program

NOTRE DAME — Saint Mary’s College will participate this fall in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a new federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that helps veterans attend college and/or graduate school.

The program was created through the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, which was signed into law last summer and goes into effect in August. Under an agreement between the VA and Saint Mary’s, up to five qualifying students could potentially attend the school free of charge for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Saint Mary’s College will award the benefit on a first come, first serve basis.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers the cost of attending the most expensive public institution in each state. However, veterans may choose to attend private colleges that have agreed to pay at least some of the extra cost. These private institutions choose how many students to offer the aid to and how much cost will be covered, and the VA matches that amount.

Saint Mary’s College has committed to provide the benefit to five students at up to $10,000 each for the year. With the VA match, the remaining tuition and fees to attend the college would be covered for most of the qualifying students.

“Saint Mary’s is honored to be included in the more than 700 private colleges and universities across the nation that have signed on to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program,” said Dan Meyer, vice president for enrollment management.

 (For these stories and more news from the Diocese of Gary, log on to the website of the Northwest Indiana Catholic at www.nwicatholic.com)


Diocese of Lafayette

Scout's project transforms empty lot into playground

Volunteers pose for a photo after Phase 1 of the project. Charlie Cummings is fourth from right in the back row. (Photo provided)By Kevin Cullen

INDIANAPOLIS — What was once a weedy inner-city lot is now an inviting playground and community garden, thanks to an Eagle Scout service project spearheaded by 13-year-old Charlie Cummings of Our Lady of Grace Church, Noblesville.

“Charlie is a pretty amazing young man,” said Julie Molloy, director of The Lord’s Pantry at Anna’s House, which now has a playground for the children of its clients. “This child put his mind to it, then started e-mailing people and networking through his church. He got his Scout buddies together to help.

“It was not an easy task. Those poor boys … they took it on full-force, and it looks wonderful.”

Cummings, the son of Andy and Meredith Cummings, will soon be an eighth-grader at Our Lady of Grace School. He is a Life Scout in Troop 101, Noblesville, and he is working toward his Eagle badge, the highest award for a Boy Scout.

For several months, he, his parents and two siblings have volunteered at The Lord’s Pantry in the lower-income Stingtown-Haughville section of Indianapolis, which provides food, tutoring, life skills training and job placement services to the poor. The Cummings family helps distribute donated grocery store food to needy pantry clients, or “guests.”

Photo caption: Volunteers pose for a photo after Phase 1 of the project. Charlie Cummings is fourth from right in the back row. (Photo provided)

We celebrate God's beautiful design for marriage and family

By Susan Hoefer (NFP coordinator)

This week, we celebrate Natural Family Planning. We celebrate God’s beautiful design for marriage and family. And just as God’s plan for keeping the ground free from road kill is perfect, how even more so is God’s plan for married couples to space their children. 

Natural Family Planning is fertility awareness, and using that knowledge to either achieve or avoid a pregnancy. A woman is only fertile for a few days a cycle, and so couples postponing a pregnancy abstain during the time the woman is fertile. NFP is scientifically based and is 99 percent effective. For couples who are having difficulty getting pregnant, NFP is also very beneficial in helping them conceive. There are no harmful side effects and it is inexpensive to use.

But perhaps the greatest benefit of NFP is what it does for marriages. When a man and woman walk down the aisle and enter into the covenant of marriage, they vow to love each other freely, totally, faithfully and that their love will bear fruit. Every time a couple enters into the marital embrace, these wedding vows are renewed through the language of their bodies. If a couple does anything to hinder the life-giving aspect of that marital act, then they violate the vows that they shared on the day they wed.  They settle for something less than what God intended for them.   

So what does God intend for couples? That they have a baby every nine months? Contrary to popular belief, the Church does not desire married couples to have as many children as physically possible. The Church recognizes the blessing of children while also teaching responsible parenthood.

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

Local site Links: