Volunteers at the Multi-County Medical Outreach Clinic, 524 Branch Court in Columbia City, include Sarah Mossburg, at left, Shirley Rucks at the filing cabinet, Margo Phillips, the executive director, Gary Terrell and Dr. Thomas Hayhurst. The medical clinic is seeking additional medical professionals to volunteer and serve those in need of medical care.

    By Tim Johnson

    COLUMBIA CITY — The Multi-County Medical Outreach Clinic in Columbia City needs a few more volunteers — doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and office support staff.

    The clinic serves those who could be best described as “falling through the cracks” — they don’t qualify for assistance through the Affordable Care Act and don’t earn enough income to pay for private insurance.

    Tucked away between State Road 9 and State Road 109 and U.S. 30 on Columbia City’s north side in a space made available by Parkview Whitley Hospital,  Thomas Hayhurst, M.D., is the medical director and Margo Phillips, a registered nurse and member of St. Mary of the Angels Oratory at Big Long Lake, functions as the executive director.

    Patients come from the surrounding counties and beyond — as far away as South Bend, and some from Michigan. “We don’t close our doors to anybody,” Phillips said.

    Some patients, Phillips said, don’t have an income. “There are people who are homeless, living under bridges, in tents, in campers,” she noted.

    Others have incomes, but either lost their insurance, or make less than $22,000 per year. Many are working people who only earn about $15,000 per year, Dr. Hayhurst noted.

    The clinic is a walk-in clinic and operated the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, but the schedule varies with holidays in November and December — operating the second and third Thursdays. Dr. Hayhurst and Phillips hope to add additional days.

    Dan would be a typical patient of the Multi-County Medical Outreach Clinic. Dan worked construction, and one day in 2009 after working in the hot sun for an entire day on a roof, his body broke down. After being unemployed, he started a masonry business and got back on his feet financially, but he didn’t have any insurance. After noticing shortness of breath, he was diagnosed with the respiratory illness COPD.

    “I came in here, because it is a free health clinic,” Dan told Today’s Catholic. A series of tests discovered he had other health issues as well.

    “They got me all checked out,” Dan said. “They were all on me about quit smoking cigarettes too.”

    Phillips was able to enroll Dan into a smoking cessation program at Columbia City’s Parkview campus. But it was difficult. Still, Dr. Hayhurst and another clinic volunteer doctor, Dr. Terry Frederick, kept encouraging Dan to quit smoking.

    The good news is Dan has quit smoking since July. “If it wasn’t for you people, I would be dead today,” Dan related. “So I love these guys. They are excellent people.”

    The clinic served as a stepping stone medical alternative for Dan, who now qualifies for Medicare and Medicaid.

    The clinic makes wellness education a focal issue and offers information sessions on diabetes, obesity, women’s health issues and smoking cessation.

    Other community organizations and businesses assist the patients. Walgreens provides free flu shots. A representative from Brightpoint offers counseling if a patient is in danger of losing his home.

    One of the clinic’s founders, the late Patricia Ruah, has a fund in her honor called the Patricia Ruah Patients’ Assistance Fund, which through grants, provides funds for patients who may not be able to afford medical attention.

    Phillips noted that even though they are a small church, her home parish of St. Mary of the Angels at Big Long Lake offers one week’s tithe twice a year to the Patients’ Assistance Fund.

    Phillips’ motto is “Give it back and pay it forward,” a motto echoed by other clinic volunteers who receive much from the clinic as well.

    For years, volunteer Gary Terrell has functioned as office manager, scheduler and a former clinic board member. He estimates there are about 40 volunteers of which about 18 or 19 regularly volunteer at the clinic.

    Volunteer Shirley Rucks, a parishioner of St. Paul of the Cross Church in Columbia City, checks patients in and files office work. After retiring from a successful career with General Motors, Rucks said, “I felt it was my need to give back to those in need.”

    Sarah Mossburg, a nurse who works surgery at Parkview Whitley Hospital and also a clinic board member, told Today’s Catholic, “It’s my favorite thing I do. You feel the appreciation the people have for the services we are offering them.”

    Mossburg often hears from patients that they would like the clinic to be open more days, and they would also like a dental clinic. “We have this need, and we really want to be able to meet that,” Mossburg said.

    Phillips said, “If there is a group of Catholic doctors or nurse practitioners or any type of medical professionals that could give us four hours every three to six months, it would be amazing to have them come here and just deliver the care to the patients.”

    Doctors and nurse practitioners that wish to volunteer should contact Dr. Hayhurst at 260-433-0057. Other medical professionals interested in volunteering should call Phillips at 260-564-1946.

    Posted on November 24, 2015, to:

  • A small-faith sharing group from the Why Catholic? program at Corpus Christi Parish in South Bend meets in a home of one of the facilitators. Roughly 100 parishioners from Corpus Christi Catholic Church in South Bend gathered in small groups for six weeks this autumn, deepening their knowledge of Catholicism while praying together, strengthening their faith and connecting Church teaching to daily life.

    By Molly Gettinger

    SOUTH BEND — For six weeks this autumn, roughly 100 parishioners from Corpus Christi Catholic Church in South Bend gathered in small groups, deepening their knowledge of Catholicism while praying together, strengthening their faith, and connecting Church teaching to daily life. These groups are part of the diocesan-wide Why Catholic? program, which invites participants to learn from the catechism, read Scripture and engage in faith sharing.

    The Why Catholic? program, launched across the diocese the first week of October, is part of a four-year “Journey Through the Catechism,” as the program motto states. This past fall and next spring center on the theme of “Prayer.” Subsequent seasons focus on “Belief,” “The Sacraments” and “Christian Morality.”

    Why Catholic? small groups are led by group leaders, who open their homes to participants. Meetings begin and end with prayer, often including a meditative hymn. From there, groups make their way through the reflections, Scripture verses and readings for the day, intermingling questions and discussion between readings. And, of course, there is plenty of time to chat.

    Father Daryl Rybicki, pastor of Corpus Christi Catholic Church, shares, “It is exciting that nearly 100 members of our parish chose to be part of this new program exploring the four ‘pillars’ of the catechism. Most people may see the catechism as too detailed or too complex. Why Catholic? has brought the catechism ‘home’ to people, giving them the opportunity to explore, discuss, and learn the basic tenets of our faith in a supportive, rather ‘low key’ and non-threatening way.”

    Bob Schaeper, Corpus Christi Parish member and Why Catholic? planning committee member from Corpus Christ, shares that he likes the program because “we all come from different backgrounds and perspectives. These small groups easily allow us to share our perspectives. We find that, by and large, we have similar questions and concerns. This allows us to talk about them. While we may not come up with a definitive answer, we at least understand our perspective.”

    Participants in the Why Catholic? program follow the topic “Prayer” during the autumn and upcoming spring sessions.

    He continues, “I find that, generally, while we, as Catholics, know what the Bible says and our traditions, we can become uncomfortable or at a lost for words when others question our faith or why we believe something. So, my hope for this program is that adults understand the Catechism of the Church and feel assured that they are giving the ‘correct’ answer when others (including Catholics) have a question. We need to be less defensive with our answers.”

    Nancy Stopczynski, also on the planning committee, has a strong vision for this program, sharing that she hopes “that parishioners are able to strengthen their understanding of our faith, that the small faith communities can bond together, and lastly that we as a parish become an even stronger faith community.”

    She continues, “As a recent convert to Catholicism, the “Why Catholic?” program continues to quench my thirst for knowledge about this beautiful gift of faith from God. This program is increasing my knowledge of the Catholic faith. It is allowing me to grow more comfortable with the catechism, and it keeps bringing me into a closer relationship with Christ.”

    Jack Horn, member of the Corpus Christi young adult Why Catholic? group, shares that “Why Catholic? is important because it confronts participants with the idea of prayer. Often, our secular society can make it hard to pray. Young adults can too easily think ‘oh, I don’t go to church, pray or receive Communion because the world is too busy.’ It can be easy to think ‘I don’t have time.’ In reality, prayer could take as little as 30 seconds. There really is no valid excuse. It’s like brushing your teeth in the morning: it could take as little as two minutes, and it’s good, so you choose to do it.”

    While the fall season of Why Catholic? has come to a close, there will be a new season, continuing the theme of prayer, in the spring. Small groups across the diocese will be welcoming new members. Although Catholic in content, this program is open to individuals of all faiths. While the program extends over four years, participants only need commit for one six-week season at a time.

    Father Rybicki encourages participation, saying, “Although the idea of a four-year program may seem daunting and distant to many, spending two seasons of Why Catholic? on each of the four pillars of the catechism will allow ample time for the richness of this beautiful Church treasure to take roots in the hearts and lives of those participating, making them better able not only to explain the faith to others but also to understand it themselves. I look forward to the remaining three seasons and the grace of understanding that they will bring.”

    For information regarding participating, contact your parish office to see if your parish participates. To find a parish with a program, contact Cindy Black, director of Adult Faith Formation, at CBlack@diocesefwsb.org or 260-399-1436.


    Posted on November 17, 2015, to:

  • Brian Greenfield, from Tampa, Florida, gives his keynote address on “Black Souls Matter — Standing on the Rock: Pressing Towards the Mark.” Greenfield spoke at the SANKOFA event at St. Mary, Mother of God Church in Fort Wayne on Nov. 7.

    By Deb Wagner

    Click here for more photos

    FORT WAYNE — Over 50 people from around the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and beyond gathered at celebrate Black Catholic faith and culture at St. Mary Mother of God Church in Fort Wayne for the 2015 Sankofa Day of Reflection on Nov. 7. The word “Sankofa” originates from West Africa and means people need to examine their history, culture and faith in order to know how to proceed into the future. Sankofa made its debut in Fort Wayne this year after being held the previous two years in South Bend at St. Augustine Church.

    In his talk, “Black Souls Matter — Standing on the Rock: Pressing Towards the Mark,” Brian Greenfield, a dynamic keynote speaker from Tampa, Florida, brought an important message about conversion.

    He shared with his audience that his upbringing was not the typical story one hears of the child rising out of the ashes of an absentee parent or living on the streets. Rather, his mother was an office manager and his father a physician. His parents were Catholic, but attended Mass only on Easter and Christmas.

    Greenfield described his journey to Christ as interesting and his own conversion as ongoing. He saw things in his spiritual life shifting in high school and then again in college.

    Using an analogy of a mountain, he said everyone is at the base of the mountain where it is largest, but some do not make it to the midway point and even fewer make near the top. Greenfield said he felt frustrated. He began to feel like a “raisin in a bowl of oatmeal” as he matured in his relationship with Christ.

    “Reality is that the Black Catholic Church is struggling,” Greenfield said. “I’m here for the young who feel they don’t fit in. The Church needs a little help. There is a sense of urgency because it affects your sons and daughters. “

    Greenfield said when he was growing up, there were only two choices: ”God’s way” or the “regular way” — and the commonly accepted “regular way” often won.

    Success, he said, was measured by those around you. For Greenfield, success meant earning money, having a wife and children. He soon discovered, however, that the more he chased the things that were not true, the more miserable he felt. This left a “trail of tears” behind for the big, black football player until God became real for him.

    Greenfield said conversion to God is a choice that needs to be made every day. Merely attending church on Sunday could simply be a “cosmetic relationship,” but things in one’s life begin to change when the relationship with God becomes real, he said.

    Greenfield spoke of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-31. “When garbage becomes normal, we tend to beg people to give us more garbage,” he said. “There is something virtuous about the struggle. When you’re at the bottom, you can only look up (to God). In the midst of adversity, there is a moment of clarity.”

    He noted God only needs a moment to convert a heart and God hugs us all along the way as in the story of the Prodigal Son.

    After the keynote, participants were invited to attend breakout sessions centered on the five goals of the diocesan Black Catholic Advisory Board. Those goals are evangelization, education, history, pastoral care and vocations.

    Many of the young adults who attended enjoyed the camaraderie of other Black Catholics and they liked the upbeat music played at Mass, something similar to what would be found at a traditional Baptist church service.

    Francine Henley, a parishioner of St. Augustine Church in South Bend, says she goes to Mass there to “get my shot in the arm” for the week. She has attended other Catholic churches in the area where Blacks are more the minority, but has left feeling like the “raisin in a bowl of oatmeal” that Greenfield mentioned. Another attendee concurred that he attends St. Augustine’s for the fraternity and sorority felt by being among other Black Catholics.

    Rosemary Agwuncha is a student at the University of Notre Dame and a member of Holy Cross Church in Austin, Texas, also expressed the importance of a Black Catholic Church because it “seemed to make the Church more like home. To be both Black and Catholic does not have to feel strange. I see people like me and I did not have to choose.” It was noted oftentimes Black Catholics feel stuck in that they are either too Catholic to be Black or too Black to be Catholic.

    Heather Taube, a preschool teacher from St. Mary of the Assumption in Avilla, said, “We have to be intentional about welcoming people into our schools and Church in order for our Catholic schools to thrive.”

    The day of reflection concluded with the celebration of Mass. Father Kenneth Taylor, pastor of Holy Angels and St. Rita parishes of Indianapolis, and chair of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, was the celebrant of Mass that included music from the Gospel choir from Holy Angels Parish in Indianapolis.

    Posted on November 10, 2015, to:

  • Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrates the patron feast of St. Jude Church in Fort Wayne on Oct. 28 and also the 30th anniversary of the parish’s Perpetual Adoration Chapel. Photo by Joe Romie

    By Mary Kinder

    FORT WAYNE — There was a joyous mood at St. Jude Church in Fort Wayne as Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades joined the parish in celebrating not only the feast day of their holy patron saint, but also the 30th anniversary of the St. Jude Perpetual Adoration Chapel. Father Jake Runyon, pastor, and Father Bob D’Souza, parochial vicar, welcomed the bishop, along with several special guests, including Msgr. Joseph Schaedel of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and former St. Jude pastors Father Tom Shoemaker and Father John Pfister, to the special Mass. Bishop Rhoades spoke of the St. Jude Perpetual Adoration Chapel in his homily calling it “a beautiful blessing in Fort Wayne” and thanking the parish for its dedication and devotion to the Adoration chapel.

    Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrates the Eucharist at St. Jude Parish, Fort Wayne, on Oct. 28. From left, kneeling is Deacon Jim Tighe and Father Jake Runyon, pastor of St. Jude, Father Tom Shoemaker, former pastor, Father Robert D’Souza, parochial vicar of St. Jude, and Msgr. Joseph Schaedel, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. With the success of the Fort Wayne chapel, Msgr. Schaedel helped with the implementation of 19 chapels in the archdiocese.

    Bishop Rhoades explained that a Perpetual Adoration Chapel is devoted to the worship of Jesus Christ through Eucharistic Adoration, which means the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and adored by the faithful 24 hours a day. The devotion ensures that someone is always praying in the chapel and recognized what the bishop called, “the many wonderful spiritual fruits of the apostolate,” which are often hidden in moments of grace in people’s hearts. Bishop Rhoades called for everyone to spend time with the Lord in the chapel, where as he said, “We are close to (Jesus’) breast, like St. John at the Last Supper, feeling in our heart the infinite love of Jesus’ Sacred Heart.” He also described the strength that comes from contemplating Jesus’s love that enables the faithful to face the challenges of life in faith and hope, bringing Christ into the world where we live.

    The Mass also celebrated the feast of the Apostles St. Jude and St. Simon. Bishop Rhoades acknowledged in his homily that St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless cases and wondered how many people in very difficult situations, seemingly hopeless, come to pray before the Lord in the Adoration Chapel where they once again find hope. These moments of grace and renewed hope were revealed by several of the faithful who pray at the Adoration Chapel at an anniversary reception that followed the Mass. More than 30 years ago, two devout St. Jude parishioners, Ed Dahm and Betty Niedermeyer, had the idea to start a Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Jude. Ed Dahm, who was a speaker at the reception, explained how the idea was brought to their parish priest, Father John Pfister, who backed the idea right away. However, the bishop did not support the idea at the time. Three years later when Bishop John M. D’Arcy was appointed to the diocese, the pair once again presented their idea that was quickly approved by the new bishop.

    There was always a concern that there would not be enough people willing to spend time in the chapel. The Blessed Eucharist could not be left alone. Dahm said that when they explained the importance of Perpetual Adoration to the parish, 540 people signed up at the first opportunity.

    Ed Dahm speaks about the history and importance of Perpetual Adoration at St. Jude Church in Fort Wayne. Msgr. Joseph Schaedel, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, shared the importance of Perpetual Adoration. With the success of the Fort Wayne chapel, Msgr. Schaedel helped with the implementation of 19 chapels in the archdiocese.

    Today, 30 years later, more than 1.3 million hours have been spent in Adoration at the chapel. Dedicated adorers and coordinators who are responsible for finding someone to pray in the chapel 24 hours a day support the mission. Dahm was quick to give thanks and praise to all the men and women who gave their time to be adorers and coordinators, saying the chapel would not have lasted this long without their sacrifices and dedication. One coordinator, Helen Klotz, works hard to ensure her time slot is always filled, but said the Adoration Chapel is a blessing to her.

    She said she has heard countless stories of people, including herself, who received answers to prayers, grace and even miracles while praying there. Stories of Divine intervention and God’s grace are heard time and time again from the people who pray in the Adoration Chapel. Angela Schade described her time there as “feeling like I’m at home.” Mary Newell, who begins each week with a holy hour at 6 a.m. Monday mornings, said, “It is my go-to place when I know someone is suffering and I have no idea how to help. I feel like my week gets off to a much better start when it begins in the Adoration Chapel.” It seems like two o’clock in the afternoon would be a much easier time slot to fill than two o’clock in the morning. But that’s when one would find founder Ed Dahm in the chapel. Dahm prays in the chapel every Wednesday from 1-3 a.m. When asked why, he replied, “Jesus is my best friend. The more time you spend with Jesus, the better you become.”

    Stan Huguenard also has an early morning time slot, “For over three years now, I start my Tuesday morning at 4 a.m. at peace and Adoration with the Lord. It started as a sacrifice only to find out what a privilege and a blessing it is to be a committed adorer.” Linda Okleshen, the daughter of Betty Niedermeyer who helped start the chapel, believes the Adoration Chapel is a powerful place where miracles happen. She said, however, that her mother’s intent was much more humble. She explained that both of her parents always had a very beautiful relationship with Jesus and said her mother wanted to start the Adoration Chapel simply because she wanted a place where Jesus could be adored and glorified at any hour of the day. Okleshen believes her mother, who passed away in 2009, would be very happy it is still going strong 30 years later.

    Posted on October 30, 2015, to:

  • John Paul Meyer, dressed as his hero, St. John Paul II, completes his outfit with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades’ miter at the all-schools Mass in Fort Wayne. Meyer is a student at St. Charles Borromeo School, Fort Wayne.

    Bishop celebrates all-schools Mass

    By Tim Johnson and Kay Cozad 

    Click here for more photos from the Mass.

    FORT WAYNE — On the feast of St. John Paul II four young men dressed as the contemporary saint for the all-school Mass in Fort Wayne. During his homily, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades called all four students to the stage.

    One of the four, who was a student at Fort Wayne’s St. Charles Borromeo School when asked his given name, surprised the bishop by responding confidently, “John Paul.” Another of the four, this time from St. John the Baptist School in New Haven, also had the name John Paul.

    Asking for some facts about his patron saint, John Paul Meyer of St. Charles School told Bishop Rhoades that St. John Paul II had canonized 483 saints, which was very appropriate for a Mass celebrating saints.

    Young Meyer was complimented on his saint’s papal garb by Bishop Rhoades, but one thing was missing — a miter. Bishop Rhoades briefly “loaned” his miter for a minute to Meyer to complete his wardrobe.

    Nearly 3,000 students, teachers, principals, chaperones, parents and guests filled the expo center for the annual school Mass at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Expo Center during the all-schools Mass. Bishop Rhoades was the celebrant of the Mass, and parish priests and deacons also joined in the celebration.

    Traditionally, fourth-grade students come dressed as their favorite saints. Many of the area schools were well represented with a colorful array of saints.

    St. Bernard, Wabash, fourth-graders Madeline Von Uhl, Isabelle Anguiln and Essie Ward were anxious to attend this all-school Mass as their favorite saints. Von Uhl represented St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Anguiln dressed as St. Elizabeth of Hungary, and Ward chose to bring Mary Magdalene to life, as her feast day is Ward’s dad’s birthday.

    Adam Holzinger of Huntington Catholic School dressed as St. John the Baptist, was inspired that the saint “baptized many people.” Holzinger’s classmate Jadyn Stecher chose to represent St. Agnes of Rome because her father recalled the saint’s canonization from his childhood days at the tender age of eight.

    Alex Tippmann, fourth-grader at St. Charles Borromeo in Fort Wayne, chose to portray St. Patrick because, “he taught others about the Trinity using a three-leaf clover.”

    Other saints represented at the Mass were Michael the Archangel, St. Anne, St. Paul, St. Philomena, St. Mary Mother of God, St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Germaine.

    “We think about the saints today,” Bishop Rhoades said in his homily — “men and women who imitated Jesus, who brought Good News, glad tidings, to other people.”

    “The saints are men and women who brought God’s love to others. And we’re all called to be saints,” Bishop Rhoades emphasized. “We’re all called to bear witness to the love of God and the joy of the Gospel, to help other people go to heaven — that’s our mission.”

    Bishop Rhoades spoke of St. John Paul II’s love for young people, how he would challenge them, and preach the Gospel with courage.

    “He challenged them to be great,” Bishop Rhoades said. “God calls us to be great, not in the eyes of the world. … True greatness is holy greatness. It’s in following Christ that one finds real joy and real peace in our lives.”

    Pope John Paul started World Youth Day and Bishop Rhoades talked about the 2016 pilgrimage in which 150 young people from the diocese (16 or older) will be going to Poland next summer. He encouraged the Bishop Luers liturgical choir, who beautifully provided music for the Mass, to consider joining the pilgrimage. “There’s still time to sign up,” Bishop Rhoades offered.

    Bishop Rhoades also spoke about the day’s Gospel from Matthew 16:13-19, when Jesus asks the Apostles, “Who do people say I am?” Jesus then poses to the Apostles an important question — a question He asks every one of us — “Who do ‘you’ say I am?”

    Simon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

    Jesus said, “God, the Holy Spirit, told you that.” Because Simon made that profession of faith, Jesus said, “From now on, your name will be Peter, not Simon.” The name Peter means “rock,” in other words, he will be the rock of the Church, the leader of the Apostles, and the leader of the whole Christian community.

    Bishop Rhoades said that we all have to personally answer the question, “Who is Jesus for you?”

    Jesus is not a distant figure up in heaven or far away from us. Jesus is alive. He is risen from the dead. We can talk to Him; we can listen to Him.

    “That is what prayer is,” the bishop said. “Everyday, He is our best friend. He is our brother. And when we mess up and sin, He’s our savior. He has mercy on us. He forgives us when we’re sorry.”

    Jesus was central to St. John Paul II’s life, the bishop said. “That’s why John Paul II was so courageous.”

    He is a saint because of his relationship with Jesus. St. John Paul taught people how to love and “we find joy and happiness when we live like Jesus. When we give of ourselves, we find ourselves.”

    The bishop further encouraged, “Remember the words he said to young people all the time: ‘Be not afraid.’ Don’t be afraid to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Don’t be afraid to live your faith with conviction. Dare to be saints.”


    Posted on October 27, 2015, to: