August 21, 2009

Catholic News Around Indiana

Compiled by Brandon A. Evans

Diocese of Evansville

12 deacons to be ordained for diocese Aug. 15

By Paul R. Leingang (Message editor)

Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger will ordain 12 new permanent deacons for the Diocese of Evansville at St. Benedict Cathedral on Saturday, Aug. 15 at 10 a.m.

“They are a great group of men,” said Father Jean Vogler, director of the diocesan permanent diaconate program. They are “highly talented, extremely dedicated, very competent,” he said. “The diocese will be very pleased with them.

The 12 new deacons will join 41 deacons — some of whom were ordained in 1977 among the first group in the diocese. Four of the 41 deacons are retired.

The number of diocesan priests has dwindled in recent decades, while interest in the permanent diaconate has blossomed.

“I think they are a great gift from God,” Father Vogler said. “The Holy Spirit is guiding the church and at this time in history, the Holy Spirit is providing deacons to get the work done.”

The Church is experiencing a time when many Catholic lay men are willing to take the time to prepare for ministry, he said. The Catholic Church is a sacramental church, and having deacons who can administer some of the sacraments “certainly will help.


St. Mary’s Medical Center CEO takes stand on healthcare reform

By Paul R. Leingang (Message editor)

In response to a request from the Message, a statement was provided as the “Overall Stance on Healthcare Reform” of Tim Flesch, president and chief executive officer of St. Mary’s Medical Center in Evansville.

Flesch met with Rep. Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind., in April 2008, and has another meeting scheduled with Ellsworth on Aug. 19.

“We believe that the United States healthcare system is in need of reform,” Flesch said. “As we consider that reform, we need to ensure that persons have access to high quality healthcare services. This includes improved transparency and the ability of patients to navigate the healthcare delivery system.”

Coverage should be univeral, he said.

“We also need to move toward 100 percent coverage for the American population. Most proposals have targeted 95 percent coverage or above.”

Insurance rules should be changed, Flesch said.

“We also need to reform the insurance rules to create shared obligation and responsibility for coverage.” He said that a proposal to eliminate pre-existing conditions as a reason to deny insurance coverage would be one of the ways to support this principle.

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


Diocese of Gary

Since second grade, he knew he wanted to be a priest

By Debbie Bosak

WANATAH — Ask and Father Gerald Schweitzer can tell you the exact moment he knew he would become a priest. He was in the second grade and his class was preparing to receive First Holy Communion. "Sister Francine said when we received for the first time, we should go back to our pews and pray quietly to ourselves. The Lord would then speak to our hearts," Father Schweitzer recalled.

"After I received, the fellow sitting next to me had to remind me I was supposed to be quiet so I folded my hands and waited." At that moment, the child receiving the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time heard God say he would like the boy to one day become a priest. "If there was a moment of revelation, an initial awareness of God, it was that second-grade experience," Father Schweitzer said. "From that time on, becoming a priest was always on my mind."

Growing up, the young Jerry was "shy, spoiled and enjoyed sports."

"I was not, however, academically prone," he explained. "I enjoyed basketball, football and baseball. I was a typical boy."

In seventh grade, while attending a gathering for religious life at St. Thomas More Parish in Munster, Jerry learned about the Capuchian-run St. Lawrence Seminary High School in Mt. Calvary, Wisc.

After graduation, a total of five classmates from Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Hammond decided to attend the boarding school. To the best of his knowledge, Father Schweitzer said, he was the only one who stayed the course to ordination.

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

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