• By Stephanie A. Patka

    For more photos visit the photo gallery.

    FORT WAYNE — Diocesan seminarians, Eric Burgener of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Fort Wayne and Dennis Di Benedetto of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne, were ordained to the diaconate Saturday, May 21, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne.

    A nearly full cathedral included the celebrant Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, concelebrating diocesan priests and visiting priests, diocesan deacons and seminarians, Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre and area Knights of Columbus. Also attending the joyful celebration were members of several religious congregations as well as parents, families and friends of the two candidates.

    The Rite of Ordination during the Mass begins after the Gospel, whereby each man is formally chosen for ordination. Father Andrew Budzinski, vocations director, publicly attested to the worthiness of each of the “elect” and presented both men to Bishop Rhoades.

    After the homily, Burgener and Di Benedetto declared their promises to assume the responsibility of the office of deacon. These promises included celibacy and respect and obedience to Bishop Rhoades and his successors. Cantors from the Cathedral Choir sang the litany of saints while the elect lay prostrate on the sanctuary floor of the cathedral in front of the altar.

    After the litany and in silence, Bishop Rhoades laid his hands on the head of each  of the elect in accordance with the apostolic tradition and then solemnly recited the Prayer of Ordination. Afterwards, each newly ordained deacon was vested with the diaconal stole and dalmatic. Bishop Rhoades then handed now Deacon Burgener and Deacon Di Benedetto the Book of the Gospels. The handing on of the Book of the Gospels symbolizes their task 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 in this fashion.

    In Bishop Rhoades’ homily, he recalled last Sunday’s celebration of the feast of Pentecost and likened the cathedral to the upper room in Jerusalem where the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles. “Today at this ordination, a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit will take place as Dennis and Eric are strengthened by the sevenfold grace of the Holy Spirit for the faithful carrying out of the diaconal ministry.”

    Bishop Rhoades also spoke to the free will of Dennis and Eric as they promised celibacy, respect and obedience, which is “radically countercultural in society today.” He used the words of Saint Paul to the Corinthians, “‘We are fools for the sake of Christ.”  Paul wrote: “Let no one deceive himself.  If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is folly with God.’”

    Bishop Rhoades commended the motivation of love behind Eric and Dennis to follow this life. “True love can make one do things that seem crazy in the eyes of the world, like hang in agony on a cross. That’s Christianity!  Only love — love for Christ and His Church — can explain the free choice of celibacy and obedience.  And only this love can explain why Dennis and Eric give their lives today to the service of Christ and His Church.” The Bishop went on to say that the call to the diaconate was ambitious, but not in a sinful way. But rather in an authentically Christian way: ambitious to serve and be signs and instruments of Christ, who Himself came to serve.

    As deacons, Dennis and Eric are called to a threefold diakonia or service: that of the Word, of the altar, and of charity. Bishop Rhoades encouraged them to be “true evangelizers who speak of the God whom they themselves have come to know and are familiar with.” Deacons also serve as ministers of the altar by preparing the Eucharistic sacrifice and distributing the Lord’s Body and Blood to the faithful.  They preside over public prayer, administer Baptism, assist at and bless Marriages, bring Viaticum to the dying and conduct funeral rites.

    Finally, deacons are entrusted in a special way with the ministry of charity: the ministry that is at the origin of the institution of the diaconate. Bishop Rhoades emphasized the critical call that deacons have to “bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted, like the Good Samaritan, pouring the wine and oil of God’s merciful compassion into the wounds of those who lie beaten along the road of life today.” He continued, “Eric and Dennis, may your hearts, like the Sacred Heart of Jesus, have a special place for the poor and suffering!  Your diaconal ministry of charity is not optional.  It is an essential part of ordained ministry in the Church because it was an essential part of the ministry of Christ the deacon and priest.”

    Posted on May 25, 2016, to:

  • Redeemer Radio was visited by Al Kresta of Kresta-in-the-Afternoon who was covering an event at the University of Notre Dame. Kresta used the studio at the Little Flower Redeemer Radio location for this afternoon broadcast. Later he told his audience how he, “… enjoyed last week in South Bend, Indiana who had an outstanding radio station there. One of our great Catholic media outlets in America.”

    By Stephanie A. Patka

    For Catholic radio station Redeemer Radio, 2016 is a special year because it marks the 10th anniversary of the audio ministry. Through the work of its dedicated staff, hundreds of volunteers, board members and prayer, Redeemer Radio has been a labor of love to accomplish the mission of nurturing individuals towards greater Catholic discipleship. The leadership of Redeemer Radio seeks to carry out its mission in many ways including proclaiming the truth of the Catholic faith, by providing encouragement on how to live one’s life in accordance with the Catholic faith and by supporting the development of individuals as Catholic leaders.


    Redeemer Radio’s origins started with the name Fort Wayne Catholic Radio in December of 2005. Fort Wayne Catholic Radio began buying airtime on Fort Wayne’s WLYV AM 1450 and broadcasting Catholic Answers Live as early as December 2005 bringing full-time Catholic radio to Fort Wayne radio airwaves.

    It was on January 3, 2006 that the late Bishop John M. D’Arcy blessed the Redeemer Radio studio on Illinois Road. Three days later, on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6th, the station was fully ready for operation.

    January 6, 2006 also officially marked the day that the station began its own branding.  It was at a meeting of the board of directors and advisors that the name “Redeemer Radio” was unanimously adopted. As a moniker that has served humanity for centuries, it was chosen for the apostolate because of the truth and beauty of its message.

    The staff of Redeemer Radio recall the extraordinary blessings which have befallen the apostolate during its time broadcasting the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith. For most of its 10 year history, the station depended on the 1450 AM signal. In February of 2014, the non-profit Redeemer Radio station received the gift of FM in exchange for its AM station when the Adams Group, who had purchased two local commercial stations to comply with FCC ownership rules, offered 106.3 FM for 1450 AM.  Remarkably, no cash was exchanged in the transaction between the Adams Group and Redeemer Radio. An FM signal meant new growth opportunities reaching thousands of new Northeast Indiana listeners 24 hours a day.

    To better reach all the Catholic faithful in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Redeemer Radio wanted to expand into the Michiana area. Four members of the St. Thomas More Foundation had joined the board of Redeemer Radio in 2010 to begin researching the process of acquiring a station in the northwest side of the diocese. During the last week of February 2014, then Board Chair, Michael Landrigan was made aware that the owners of 95.7 FM were offering to sell their station. By the end of March, under Landrigan’s leadership, the Board had received pledges for over half the amount required.\On May 14, 2014 an agreement to buy 95.7 FM was entered and in September Redeemer Radio began airing EWTN programming from its studio based at Little Flower parish in South Bend.


    Executives and board members at Redeemer Radio credit the extensive number of faithful listeners and volunteers. The support of prayers, time and financial contributions are nothing short of impressive. March 2006 was the date of the inaugural Shareathon, which was to grow to a two times a year appeal for listener donations.

    Current Board President, Jeremy Reidy shares his gratitude, “I am overwhelmed by the generosity of Redeemer Radio supporters. This Spring Sharathon turned out to be the most successful fundraising event in Redeemer Radio’s 10 year history.\But even more impressive was the amount of joy emanating from Redeemer Radio listeners, staff, volunteers, and visitors during the three-day celebration.”

    He continued, “The Redeemer Radio family was having fun — praying, laughing, hugging and smiling, while working hard to raise funds to support our apostolate. The funds raised during Sharathon will allow Redeemer Radio to continue its mission to evangelize the culture. We are grateful for the outpouring of time, talent, and treasure from supporters across the Diocese.”

    Each of Redeemer Radio’s stations have two on-air fundraisers a year. Sharathons, in the spring and fall, raise the necessary funds to continue its programming and local outreach.\\Over the course of six days (3 in Fort Wayne and 3 in South Bend) approximately 400 people, comprising of on-air guests, priests, religious, volunteers, staff and prayer warriors converge for the mission of listener-supported Redeemer Radio. \Sharathon broadcast hours are filled with area parishes, apostolates, and ministries that discuss how they share the Good News and how they extend the mercy of God to others whom they reach.


    Since the inception of the radio station, Redeemer has aired Catholic Answers Live from EWTN. In the summer of 2014, Redeemer Radio launched their two-hour weekday morning show, titled “Redeemer Mornings,”  and launched this program on 95.7 FM in greater Michiana in December.

    Originally hosted by Deacon Jim Tighe, Redeemer Mornings brings the joy of the faith to listeners with information and tips for living the faith in their daily lives. The morning show also highlights interviews covering a variety of topics from local events and diocesan ministries to catechesis and personal faith witness. This week marks the introduction of a new voice on Redeemer Mornings. Deacon Jim Tighe will be passing on the Morning torch to new Redeemer Radio voice, Kyle Heimann. Kyle comes with an extensive background in media, youth ministry and Catholic husband and father. He, his wife and three boys are parishioners at St. Mary of the Assumption parish in Decatur, IN. Deacon Jim isn’t going anywhere, however.  He will still be a part of the Redeemer Radio staff in a variety of forms.

    Redeemer Radio is thrilled to begin a partnership with Relevant Radio with their national headquarters located in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Since December of 2000, Relevant Radio has been helping people bridge the gap between faith and everyday life through informative, entertaining, and interactive programming twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. Father Simon Says will be filling the 11 am slot, replacing Women of Grace.  While The Drew Mariani Show will be heard at 3 pm, previously held by EWTN Open Line.

    The weekday noon hour will now begin with Readings and Reflections, followed by Take 2 with Jerry and Debbie.  The Journey Home, which was previously heard at noon, will now be on Redeemer Radio at 8 pm.

    Another local favorite is Dr. Matthew Bunson with a weekly feature called “Faithworks.” Airing on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., Faithworks is Redeemer Radio’s original, locally produced program that showcases prominent Catholic authors and leaders from across the world and the dedicated and talented people right here in the local diocesan Catholic community. Among Bunson’s guests have been George Weigel, Mike Aquilina, Cardinal John Foley and Cardinal Telesphore Toppo.

    The strength of programming on Redeemer Radio is that it contains the best of Catholic radio programming from across the country and also gives visibility to local catholic ministries and broadcasts live during important diocesan events. Redeemer Radio is  present at historic events like the installation of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades as the 9th bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend. The station also airs live coverage of priest ordinations and local Catholic high school sports teams.

    Following Redeemer Mornings at 8 a.m. is a national morning show titled, “Morning Glory.” Then “Fathers Know Best” fill the 10 a.m. hour, which has teachings and talks from priest favorites Father Larry Richards, Father John Riccardo and Father Benedict Groeschel. The 2 p.m. hour features a live call-in show titled “Called to Communion,” with host Dr. David Anders as he talks with non-Catholics and fallen-away Catholics.

    Redeemer Radio also airs Al Kresta with Kresta-in-the-Afternoon. The station was actually visited by Kresta who was covering an event at the University of Notre Dame. Kresta used the studio at the Little Flower Redeemer Radio location for this afternoon broadcast. Later he told his audience how he, “…enjoyed last week in South Bend, Indiana who had an outstanding radio station there. One of our great Catholic media outlets in America.”

    Redeemer staff reflected, “It’s always exciting when an EWTN worldwide on-air personality finds Redeemer studios the solution as a base to keep on their schedules. Further it’s a testament to the confidence in Redeemer’s Technical Staff and volunteer corps.”

    New executive director, Cindy Black is excited about the future of the 10 year old radio station, “Our Redeemer Radio staff and volunteers gather daily to pray. We ask the Holy Spirit to help us in our mission as instruments heeding Pope Francis’ words: “It is urgently necessary to find new forms and new ways to ensure that God’s grace may touch the heart of every man and every woman and lead them to Him.” \Our listeners will notice some changes to our programming this week in response to that call,” she remarked. Black is confident that Redeemer Radio will continue its work to strengthen those already living the Catholic faith, but, she added, “we also need to reach beyond to those who do not yet know Christ and the power of His love.”

    Black continued, “One of my favorite things about Redeemer Radio is how many people are engaged in the mission. In addition to our professional, dedicated staff there are thousands of people who support us with their time, talent and treasure. We have engineers, voice talents, office help, committee members, a mail crew, people praying…all making it a family of faith and joy.” Black encourages the community to get involved in the ever growing and flourishing mission of the radio station. She invites, “If you would like to join the Redeemer family, set up a time to visit either station and we’d be happy to help discern how to use your gifts.”

    Posted on May 18, 2016, to:

  • The Fort Wayne Frassati road rally brought out a friendly competitive spirit between young adults from Our Lady of Good Hope Parish. Participants smile before they were given a list of the challenges to map out a strategy before the start of the race. After the allotted two minutes of planning, all the teams ran to their cars and raced to complete the challenges.

    By Jacob Laskowski

    FORT WAYNE — Young adults at Our Lady of Good Hope Parish in Fort Wayne have been building a new ministry to reach out to their peers in their neighborhood called Fort Wayne Frassati, based on the patronage of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. The Italian almost-saint was passionate about bringing his peers deeper into their faith and brought many souls to the Lord through social activities such as skiing. Through all that he did, whether social activities or service to the poor, Blessed Frassati led others to the Blessed Mother and to the Eucharist. He died at 24.

    “This is our goal with Fort Wayne Frassati,” said Jacob Laskowski, a co-director of the group. “We host trivia nights, ski trips, Bible studies, and events like this road rally — solely as an effort to bring more souls deeper to Christ. We do that through providing opportunities for formation and prayer as a part of every event we host.”

    The road rally featured more than 20 challenges for the young adult teams of 4-5 people per car to complete within one hour. Faking a proposal at the mall food court was one of the many risky challenges that earned participants points, as well as taking a selfie with a priest, writing on sidewalks with chalk to encourage people to pray the rosary, and taking a photo with a random family at a local restaurant. At the end, the final challenge of the night was spending 30 minutes in silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

    “A perfect end to the evening,” adds Laskowski. “Everything in our lives should revolve around our personal intimacy with Christ — especially in the Eucharist.”

    Teams were composed of 30 area young adults, many of whom hadn’t met each other before.

    “We wanted to bridge the gap between acquaintances and new friendships,” said Monica Bodien, the other co-director of Frassati. “We have such a great group of young adults here at Our Lady, and building up deeper relationships with each other is fundamental to helping us build a deeper relationship with God. We can’t thrive in our faith on our own. We were made for community.”

    Fort Wayne Frassati hosts young adult trivia nights every second Saturday of the month August-May. Bible studies and other event information is available through the website: www.FortWayneFrassati.org or by emailing frassati@olghfw.com.

    Posted on May 11, 2016, to:

  • NOTRE DAME — A Marian procession and May crowning will took place Sunday, May 1, at the University of Notre Dame. The procession started at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto behind the Sacred Heart Basilica and ended at Geddes Hall with a crowning ceremony, blessing and reception.

    “Mary is the most inculturated person in the Church because she is the the mother of all people,” said John Cavadini, McGrath-Cavadini Director of the Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame. “We are so happy to restore the gift of this beautiful tradition honoring Mary, the Mother of God, for whom this university was named.”

    A statute of Mary was blessed at the Grotto and processed through campus accompanied by prayer and song. The procession traveled to the Coleman-Morse Center and then passed by the Main Building on the way to the Geddes Hall Chapel where Mary was crowned and enshrined. A final blessing was offered by Holy Cross Father Terry Ehrman and a reception followed in Geddes Hall.

    “Events like this nourish the Catholic imagination,” said Cavadini. “A May crowning and procession is a beautiful way to participate in a devotional practice that makes the faith more accessible, and it offers an inspiring spectacle for those who want to know more.”

    The Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame connects the intellectual life of the academy to the pastoral needs of the Catholic Church. Dedicated to forming faithful Catholic leaders at all levels of Church life, the institute partners with dioceses, parishes and schools to offer programming and resources in theology education, faith formation and leadership development.

    Posted on May 3, 2016, to:

  • By Junno Arrocho Esteves

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Sharing and celebrating the joy of faith with thousands of Catholic teenagers from around the globe was a rare moment that not many people are able to experience, a U.S. teen said.

    “It was a different atmosphere than what I’m used to, but it’s good because it shows that the beauty of the Catholic Church is there,” Emily Sullivan told Catholic News Service April 25.

    Emily, her brother Ryan and parents Matt and Susan, came from North Carolina to participate in the Year of Mercy celebration for young teens April 23-24 in Rome.

    Both siblings, who are preparing to receive the sacrament of confirmation, said that despite the language barrier, they were able to join in singing and praying during the April 23 youth rally at Rome’s Olympic Stadium.

    “It was awesome; the energy was insane,” Emily said. “The people knew all the lyrics and they were jamming out. So we came up with a couple of words that we could sing along. It was really cool to be in that atmosphere.”

    To see so many Catholic teens in one place was “definitely encouraging,” she added.

    For Ryan, attending the April 24 Mass in St. Peter’s Square was the highlight of his pilgrimage. “It was great seeing the pope,” and “meeting other people and seeing the city” was “all good,” he told CNS.

    “We will make our confirmation in two weeks so it was definitely great to see the history of the church and (meet) other people who are Catholic because where we live, there’s not as big of a following,” Emily said.

    In his homily, Pope Francis told the more than 100,000 teens present that happiness “is not an ‘app’ that you can download on your phones” and that love leads to true freedom, which is a gift that comes from “being able to choose good.”

    The pope’s message, Emily said, encouraged people “to go back to the church at the end of the day, not your phone.”

    Their mother Susan told CNS she hopes that attending the jubilee event will give her children a “fuller and richer experience” as they prepare to receive confirmation in two weeks.

    “It was really important for me and for them to have this experience,” she said. “To be that close (to Pope Francis) as he was celebrating Mass was truly, I hope, a life-changing experience for them that reaffirms their faith.”


    Pope Francis smiles as he attends an Earth Day celebration April 24 at Villa Borghese Garden in Rome.

    Dive into world’s problems with courage, pope says

    VATICAN CITY — Dive into the world’s problems with courage and help people turn their lives of desolation into abundance and hope, Pope Francis said.

    “You must take life as it comes. It’s like being the goalie in soccer — grab the ball wherever they kick it,” he told people gathered in a Rome park for an Earth Day event.

    “We must not be afraid of life, afraid of conflict,” he said April 24, because it is only by confronting challenges head-on and together that they can be solved.

    Making a surprise late afternoon visit to Rome’s Villa Borghese park, the pope spoke to more than 3,000 people attending a four-day event sponsored by the Focolare Movement and Earth Day Italy.

    In conjunction with the celebration of Earth Day April 22, the Focolare Movement tried to create a “village” in the park in the center of Rome to promote ways for people to live together in friendship and solidarity and with respect for the environment.

    After listening to some of the speakers talk about their experiences helping others, Pope Francis said their work was a “miracle” in which they helped transform “deserts into forests.”

    The arid, lifeless world of the desert can be found “in all of our hearts,” in cities, on the margins of society and even in exclusive, gated communities — “it’s terrible, the desert is there, too,” he said.

    “But we must not be afraid to go into the desert in order to transform it into a forest,” bringing about abundant life, even if it is a bit “messy.”

    “But that’s the way life is,” he said.

    The only way to understand the world’s problems — and feel compassion — is to get close to those in need, the pope said.

    “It’s a risk, but it is also an opportunity, for me and for the person I draw near to.”

    Helping others must be “free” without expecting anything in return, he said. The Christian sense of “gratuity” is not to be forgotten “in this world where it seems if you don’t pay, you can’t live.”

    Some people will look withdrawn or worried, he said. They are missing “a smile, tenderness” because they lack a kind of friendship or fellowship among people in the community.

    Posted on April 27, 2016, to: