• “Jesus’ disciples and Christian stewards recognize God as the origin of life, giver of freedom, and source of all things. We are grateful for the gifts we have received and are eager to use them to show our love for God and for one another. We look to the life and teaching of Jesus for guidance in living as Christian stewards. … Stewards of God’s gifts are not passive beneficiaries. We cooperate with God in our own redemption and in the redemption of others.” — “To Be a Christian Steward, A Summary of the U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Stewardship,” 1992.

    There is a frequently quoted Scripture verse from Luke that says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required.” Practical examples of this can be found everywhere: You get a promotion and larger title at your job, the more work you have to do. You are blessed with additional children, the more people you are responsible for feeding, caring for and teaching the love of God. There is another word for this kind of responsibility — stewardship. Simply, stewardship is the way that you are aware of and take care of what gifts you are given.

    This is such an important concept that God even outlines it for us in the book of Genesis. Our awesome responsibility begins when God makes us in His own divine image and likeness. Then, He instructs all humankind to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and all living things that move on the earth.”

    So, now it’s up to us to decide to answer God’s call to stewardship. In 1992, the bishops of the United States issued “Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response,” a pastoral letter that address stewardship as a way of life. They made the case that there is an “essential link between being a Catholic and living a life of stewardship as an expression of the call to discipleship.”

    The work of the Today’s Catholic newspaper is truly a response to the call of discipleship and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all. It is the goal of Today’s Catholic to bring you the messages of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades; to celebrate with our local parishes at special milestones; to promote the work of numerous ministries; and to keep you informed of important headlines throughout the world that have impact on the Catholic Church.

    We are so fortunate that in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend all registered Catholic households receive a complimentary copy of this weekly publication. That is over 45,000 papers for each publication! Unfortunately, the cost of this ministry continues to rise with increases in postage, transportation and general costs of printing. Twice a year, Today’s Catholic encloses an envelope in the paper for a donation to the newspaper and you will find that envelope inside this week’s edition. If you have donated before, I sincerely thank you for your generosity. Even through difficult economic times, you have been supportive of our work through your financial contributions and we are so grateful.

    To all of our readers, I ask you to prayerfully consider a gift to Today’s Catholic. Every single gift enables our staff to continue to share the call to discipleship through the production of Today’s Catholic. We are thrilled to be able to produce the paper both in print and online at todayscatholicnews.org and look forward to the expansion of our reach through multiple sources. You can help us continue our work. Please enclose your gift in the envelope, or go online to donate electronically at the online giving page at www.diocesefwsb.org. or at www.todayscatholicnews.org. While you are there, sign up to receive Today’s Catholic news through e-mail. We thank you for your generosity.

    Stephanie A. Patka is the Secretariat of Communications for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and the business manager of Today’s Catholic newspaper.

    Click here for a list of donors from the January campaign.

    Posted on July 21, 2015, to:

  • Photos by Joe Romie

    FORT WAYNE — The Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Bear Witness began nationwide on June 21 with events, education, reflection and prayer that focused on “the freedom to bear witness” to the truth of the Gospel as the nation faces serious threats to its religious freedom. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops it is “a time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power — St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, Ss. Peter and Paul and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.”

    Read Bishop Rhoades’ homily from the closing Mass here.

    Posted on July 7, 2015, to:

  • Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrates the Eucharist at St. Mary of the Annunciation, Bristol, on June 20. Father Robert Van Kempen, pastor, is at right. Deacon Robert Garrow is at the left.

    By Tim Johnson

    For more photos visit the photo gallery.

    BRISTOL — The parishioners of St. Mary of the Annunciation Parish in Bristol took to heart the words of 1 Corinthians, “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord,” as Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades dedicated the new altar and blessed new altar furnishings on Saturday, June 20.

    “It is appropriate that we sang these same words,” said Bishop Rhoades in his homily, “since we too have come rejoicing to this house of the Lord for the dedication of this new altar. This church is the house of the Lord because here the Lord is present in the Blessed Sacrament. And in this church is contained the altar of the Lord, a sign of Christ who is the living altar of the heavenly temple. We who pray in this church, according to ancient writers, are the living stones from which the Lord Jesus builds the altar.”

    Father Robert Van Kempen, pastor of St. Mary of the Annunciation, told Today’s Catholic, when he was assigned to the parish in 2004, he had hoped to replace the altar and altar furnishings.

    “When I talked with Bryan Finkelstein, the music director at St. Mary’s at the time, he said he would be interested in making new furniture,” Father Van Kempen said. “With a new altar in mind, Brian MacMichael (director of the Office of Worship) and some from the Sacred Art and Architecture Committee came to St. Mary’s, and we discussed the plans for the new furniture. We talked about the new altar, tabernacle stand, ambo and chairs.”

    Finkelstein created all the furniture but the chairs, which were constructed locally by an Amish craftsman. The carpeting in the sanctuary was also replaced with new flooring.

    The altar is considered the center and focal point of every Catholic church, Bishop Rhoades explained.

    Bishop Rhoades related in his homily, “From the earliest times, Christians erected permanent altars for the celebration of the memorial of the Lord, the mystery of the Eucharist. By its very nature, the altar is a table of sacrifice since on it the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated in mystery throughout the ages until Christ comes again. It is also a banquet table, a table at which God’s children assemble to offer thanks to Him and to receive the holy Body and Blood of Christ. The altar thus has great dignity. It is the table of the Lord and it signifies Christ. It is dedicated to God.”

    During the Rite of Dedication and Anointing, the Litany of Saints was sung. Bishop Rhoades then deposited a relic of St. Jude Thaddeus, Apostle of Jesus, in the altar stone. St. Jude is the patron saint of desperate situations and hospitals.

    Parishioner Lu Downs, who manages the Love and Blessings Catholic gift shop in the church and famous for passing out over 50,000 pocket angels, gifted the relic to Father Van Kempen. Lu and her late-husband, Buddy, joined the Church in July of 2000. Shortly thereafter, they visited Rome with a friend from South Bend who was acquainted with an order of nuns that took care of relics. Years later, when Buddy became ill, the South Bend friend gave Buddy a relic of St. Jude with the paperwork declaring authenticity. After Buddy’s death, Lu gifted the relic to Father Van Kempen.

    “I offered this (relic) to the church so the altar would have a first class relic,” Father Van Kempen said.

    After placing the relic, Bishop Rhoades poured on the altar sacred Chrism, “the same oil that is used at Baptisms, Confirmations and Ordinations,” the bishop noted in his homily, and then anointed the altar top.

    After the incensation of the altar, the candles were lit for the lighting of the altar and the altar was prepared for the celebration of the Eucharist.

    Bishop Rhoades explained in his homily, “This celebration is also a cause for joy for us since we too understand the meaning of the altar and its dignity and the abundant graces we receive from the great gift of the Eucharist celebrated on it.”

    In the Gospel reading from the Sermon on the Mount, the bishop explained that Jesus taught the Jewish people that at worship they must leave their gift at the altar if they recall that a brother or sister has anything against them. They are to go and be reconciled, then come back to the temple to offer their gift.

    “This teaching is also important for us at the Eucharist,” Bishop Rhoades said. “Before approaching the altar, we too should be reconciled with our neighbor. In order to be reconciled with God, we must be reconciled with each other. It is significant that before we go to the altar to receive Holy Communion, we exchange a sign of peace to our neighbors.”

    “Today’s Gospel also reminds us of the importance of the sacrament of Reconciliation, necessary before receiving Holy Communion if we have committed a mortal sin,” he noted. “None of us should approach the altar of the Lord unless we are in the state of grace, reconciled with God and the Church, and thus properly disposed to receive the Holy Eucharist.”

    After the Mass, Father Van Kempen called the dedication “a grand celebration. Music, prayer, tradition — it was truly a grand evening.” Nearly 250 people were present at the dedication and were invited to Annunciation Hall for food and friendship following the Mass.

    Posted on June 23, 2015, to:

  • By Ann Carey 

    For more photos visit the photo gallery

    SOUTH BEND — Three diocesan seminarians — Craig Borchard and David Violi of St. Pius X Parish in Granger, and Robert Garrow of St. Matthew Cathedral — were ordained to the diaconate Saturday, May 23, at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend.

    It was the first time in many years that an ordination has taken place in South Bend, as ordinations normally are celebrated in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. However, since the three men being ordained are from the South Bend area, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades granted their request to have the ordination at St. Matthew, and their friends and families nearly filled the pews for the colorful ceremony.

    Area Knights of Columbus formed an honor guard along the center aisle as the celebrant, Bishop Rhoades, concelebrating diocesan and visiting priests, diocesan deacons and seminarians, and other dignitaries processed into the cathedral. Also attending were members of several religious orders.

    Bishop Rhoades opened the celebration by welcoming the parents, families and friends of the candidates before beginning the Rite of Ordination, which is rich with meaning and symbolism. The glory of the ceremony was enhanced by the voices and music of the Diocesan Choir and Cantus Cathedralis.

    After the chanting of the Gospel came the Election of the Candidates, whereby each candidate is formally chosen for ordination and becomes referred to as the “elect.” Father Andrew Budzinski, parochial vicar at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Fort Wayne, and diocesan vocation director, presented each candidate to Bishop Rhoades. Father Budzinski testified to the worthiness of each, after which Bishop Rhoades formally accepted the men to be ordained as deacon.

    In his homily Bishop Rhoades noted that May 23 was the vigil of Pentecost: “Today we rejoice that the same Holy Spirit, who descended on the apostles on Pentecost, will descend upon three disciples of Jesus to strengthen them to serve the evangelizing mission of the church as deacons.”

    Bishop Rhoades noted that the role of deacon is to assist the bishop and priests in divine worship, prepare the Eucharistic Sacrifice and distribute the Lord’s Body and Blood to the faithful. Alluding to the second reading from the Acts of the Apostles (8:26-40) that described the evangelizing work of Phillip, one of the original seven deacons of the Church, the bishop said that the new deacons will proclaim Jesus to people, explain Scriptures and baptize, just as Phillip did.

    The bishop reminded the three men that to fulfill this mission, they must immerse themselves in God’s Word “to meet the living God and to be continually transformed by our encounter with Him in prayer.” He also stressed the “tremendous responsibility” of proclaiming the Gospel and preparing meaningful homilies that “prepare the faithful well for the Eucharist … help them grow in faith, hope, and charity and experience the joy and peace that the Gospel of Jesus brings to our lives.”

    The Gospel for the ordination Mass was Luke’s (10:1-9) account of Jesus sending the 72 disciples forth to evangelize, and Bishop Rhoades compared that account to the present day.

    “As it was 2,000 years ago, so it is today: The harvest is abundant, but laborers are few. I thank the Lord that He has heard the prayers of so many people of our diocese for more laborers for His harvest.”

    The bishop encouraged the men to be strong in the face of the secularizing culture: “The Lord is sending you also like lambs among wolves,” the bishop reminded them. “We live in a culture that is increasingly hostile to the faith. Secularism is becoming ever more pervasive and sometimes even militant, especially against the Catholic Church.

    “Be prepared, but the Holy Spirit will be with you with His gift of courage. We, all of us who are ordained, must be courageous in our ministry, especially when we feel like lambs among wolves. Yes, we must be ready ever to suffer for the Lord, to love our enemies, and to seek to bring God’s peace, like the Lord instructed the 72 to bring peace to the households they visited. Like the 72, you are being sent to proclaim the Kingdom of God, the kingdom of grace and peace.”

    Bishop Rhoades concluded by thanking the three men for their courage and generosity in answering the call to lifelong service of Christ’s church, and he entrusted them and their ministry to Our Blessed Mother.

    After the homily, the elect declared their intentions to assume the responsibility of the office of deacon, and promised celibacy, as well as obedience and respect to Bishop Rhoades and his successors. During the Litany of Supplication, the candidates lay prostrate on the sanctuary floor of the cathedral while the intercession of the saints and angels was invoked.

    After the litany, Bishop Rhoades laid his hands on the head of each elect in accordance with the apostolic tradition and solemnly recited the Prayer of Ordination.

    Each of the newly ordained was invested with the stole and dalmatic — the proper liturgical attire of the diaconate. Bishop Rhoades then handed each man the Book of the Gospels, symbolizing the task of the deacon to proclaim the Gospel in liturgical celebrations and to preach the faith of the Church in word and deed.

    Bishop Rhoades then bestowed the traditional liturgical gesture known as the fraternal kiss of peace, and thereby welcomed the new deacons into their ministry. The other deacons present also welcomed the newly ordained, and the order of the Mass continued.

    The joyous mood of the occasion continued after the Mass with a reception in

    St. Matthew School gym. There, seminarian Eric Burgener of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Fort Wayne told Today’s Catholic he is very much looking forward to his own ordination as deacon next year.

    Referring to the ordination of the three deacons, he observed: “God transforms these men; there is a huge gift God gives these men. You could almost see it in them; it’s God’s presence that changes them.”

    Brian Borchard of Chicago, the only brother of Deacon Craig Borchard, said his brother had been looking forward to his ordination for years, adding that that the entire family was pleased to see Deacon Craig so happy.

    For Father Glenn Kohrman, pastor of Holy Family Parish in South Bend, the ceremony brought back memories of his own ordination and the idea of service. He also found it very hopeful to see the fine young men who were choosing to become priests.

    “My favorite part of an ordination is when they get the Book of the Gospels (and the bishop says) ‘Believe what you read; teach what you believe; and practice what you teach.’ I just love that beautiful aspect,” Father Kohrman said.

    Franciscan Sister Marie Morgan, chair of the Theology Department at Marian High School in Mishawaka, had a special reason to celebrate the ordination, for Deacon David Violi was the first theology student of hers to be ordained a deacon for the diocese.

    “I’m so proud,” Sister Marie said. “The day he graduated, he gave me a rosary that he had made for me. I told him I want him to bless it for me next year (when he is ordained a priest).

    Franciscan Sister Angela Mellady, superior of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, Immaculate Heart of Mary Province in Mishawaka, told Today’s Catholic that the sisters pray regularly for the seminarians, and the three deacon candidates had come to their convent during the week of their ordination to spend two days in prayer.

    “It’s such a gift for our sisters in formation to interact with them, and they are such a witness to us. I really think they appreciate the fact the sisters are praying, especially during our Adoration,” Sister Angela said. “It’s such a gift to our diocese and to the church to have these young men.”

    Posted on May 27, 2015, to:

  • Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, with Bishop Dwenger’s crozier, joins Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, right, and Bishop John Michael Botean from the Romanian Catholic Diocese of St. George in Canton, Ohio, left, following a Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne on May 14. The Mass was part of the conference, “Dorothy Day and the Church: Past, Present and Future Dorothy,” sponsored by the University of Saint Francis and Our Sunday Visitor.

    Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles provides keynote at Dorothy Day Conference 

    By Vince LaBarbera

    FORT WAYNE — Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles discussed the remarkable life and achievements of Servant of God Dorothy Day and her impact on the 20th century and today at an address he delivered May 14 at the USF’s Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center. The address was part of the May 13-15 conference “Dorothy Day and the Church: Past, Present and Future” and one of the celebrations marking the 125th anniversary of the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne. The conference was co-sponsored by Our Sunday Visitor in Huntington.

    “I don’t know if she is a saint,” said Archbishop Gomez in his opening remarks in his address titled, “A Time for Saints: Dorothy Day and the 20th Century.”

    “That’s for the Church to decide,” he said, “but I do know she makes me want to be a saint. She makes us want to be better. She makes us want to be holy.”

    Dorothy Day (1897-1980), an American journalist, social activist and devout Catholic convert, became known for her social justice campaigns in defense of the poor, forsaken, hungry and homeless. In the 1930s, Day worked closely with fellow activist Peter Maurin to establish the Catholic Worker Movement, a pacifist movement that continues to combine direct aid for the poor and homeless with nonviolent direct action on their behalf. She served as editor of the Catholic Worker newspaper from 1933 until her death.

    Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades greets Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles following the May 14 Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

    In the late 1990s steps were taken with the Vatican to begin her canonization process. The Archdiocese of New York was granted permission to open her cause in March 2000. She therefore is referred to as Servant of God.

    Archbishop Gomez indicated that the journal of her life reads like a saint. Her reason for writing was to bring news to others of an inner war. In her newspaper articles and speeches she was writing the spiritual diary of the 20th century.

    Admitting he was not an authority on Day, Archbishop Gomez said he came to the study of her life from the perspective of a pastor.

    “She walked with the great saints of the Church,” he continued, “like Francis of Assisi, John of the Cross, Catherine of Siena and many others. These were her constant companions. She once said she spent her days in conversation with Jesus and the saints of the Church,” the archbishop noted.

    “I want to think and live like a saint,” he said. “I believe that what she has left us is a saint’s vision of our times and our society.”

    “Her conversion story is the story of a soul,” he continued. “It was Dorothy’s experience of love and goodness that brought her to conversion. … In the glory of childbirth she came to see that God made us in His image. … She wanted to show us … the consequences of trying to live without God.”

    Archbishop Gomez asked, “How do we continue to live as Christians in a society that has no room for Christ and for God? How do we live, work and raise our families? How do we carry out our mission?”

    “Dorothy Day gives us a powerful vision of how to live in a secularized society,” he emphasized.

    Archbishop Gomez noted, “The greatest danger of our age, I believe, is secularism.”

    This is a time when men and women must rise up to be messengers and disciples and practice heroic charity, he related.

    In order to live in this society, “the secularized society which we are, we need to strive to live in a close relationship with Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Gomez said.

    The archbishop recalled a recent annual youth conference held in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles where 16,000 young people attended separate Masses in two large groups of 8,000 each. The theme of the liturgy was a rap song titled, “Talk Jesus with Me.” He said the catchy phrase obviously involves talking to Jesus and Jesus talking back.

    Dorothy Day said all are called personally (by Jesus) to care for the poor. She helps show that the meaning of each life will be judged on the mercy shown to others. Each one is to strive for holiness. Dorothy Day said this is a time when there is more room for saints.

    “God expects something from each one of us that no one else can do,” said Archbishop Gomez. “Keep following Jesus. ‘Talk Jesus with Me!’”

    “I don’t know if Dorothy Day is a saint. That’s for the Church to decide,” the archbishop again remarked. “But she left us a beautiful legacy.”

    Earlier in the afternoon, Archbishop Gomez celebrated Mass for those attending the conference and the faithful at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, concelebrant, was the homilist.

    Archbishop Gomez is the first Hispanic and fifth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest diocese in the United States with some 5 million Catholics. Archbishop Gomez is the highest-ranking Hispanic bishop in the U.S. Before his installation in 2011, he served as coadjutor in Los Angeles, archbishop of San Antonio and an auxiliary bishop in Denver.


    Posted on May 19, 2015, to: