• 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:

  • By Chris Lushis 

    NOTRE DAME — Holy Cross College celebrated their 48th Commencement Exercises, welcoming Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades as honorary keynote speaker on Saturday, May 9.

    Addressing the graduating class of 2015, Bishop Rhoades began by exclaiming the need to remain focused on the reality of the cross. “This college is named in honor of the cross of Jesus, the tree of life. Our faith is in a God who has broken open His heart in love in order to save us. He died in order that we might have life and have it to the full. It’s a radical faith, this religion of the cross!”

    He continued, “A bland, secularized, lukewarm Christianity is not real Christianity. We live in an age and culture where the dominant elites want to silence the voice of the Church in the public square. They wish to force conformity to the materialism, relativism and hedonism they embrace. They may or may not explicitly attack Christianity and Catholicism; they just want a watered-down version: Christianity without the cross or a cross without Jesus. Neither is true Christianity.”

    Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades receives an honorary doctor of humane letters from Holy Cross College on Saturday, May 9.

    Bishop Rhoades, who was awarded doctor of humane letters by college president Holy Cross Brother John Paige emphasized the very real choice each person has to either focus their lives selfishly inward or to courageously pour out one’s self to God and others. “Your journey of life is like a drama. It can be an ego-drama or a theo-drama. An ego-dramatic life is one that is just about me, about self: my desires, my pleasures, my power and riches and fame. But this is not true life; it is not liberating. It’s not what we were created for.”

    “The true life, the good life, the fulfilling life is part of a theo-drama, one centered in God,” Bishop Rhoades said. “It is an adventure of love, with its gaze outward. It seeks truth, beauty and goodness. Thankfully, we have a Savior who lifts us up to experience this life, the life of grace, merited for us by Him who was lifted up on the cross.”

    To live this God-centered life, Bishop Rhoades offered students both spiritual and practical suggestions.

    “Have a daily time of prayer, a daily conversation with the Lord, to prayerfully read Scripture each day, and be immersed in the power of the Eucharist, the great sacrament of love,” he said. “Additionally, engage in the works of mercy. This is an essential part of a holy life: love of God expressed through love of neighbor, the opposite of an egocentric life.”

    “Think of the saints,” he said, “they embodied the Gospel and they didn’t just talk about it in lofty language. When they saw someone hungry, they gave them food. When they saw someone suffering, they helped them. When we give of ourselves, we find ourselves; it’s about learning to love. I pray that you will never forget Christ’s instruction to take up your cross as His disciples. He reminds us that ‘whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’ When we live this, we become able and free to live every day with passion and purpose!”

    Following Bishop Rhoades’ speech, Matthew Wingard, a member of Holy Cross’ 2005 inaugural baccalaureate class and senior Ana Davidson presented their insights and advices for the new graduates. Wingard encouraged the students to each carry with them a “SWAG, as Saints With an Attitude for God,” to make a positive and transformative difference in the world. Davidson highlighted the importance of carrying forward the lessons and experiences gained from Holy Cross. “Through our education, we have been cultivated in both mind and heart. Our family, friends and community here have helped us see how we can truly make a difference, providing us with both the competence to see and the courage to act.”

    President Paige, after bestowing each new graduate with their diploma, commended the efforts of the students, faculty, staff, parents and all those who have contributed to this year’s success as a college community.

    Afterwards, Student Government President Rob Lulgjuraj expressed his gratitude to “have the opportunity to serve and represent the students of Holy Cross” and thanked Bishop Rhoades for “both his blessing of the graduating class and for guiding us on our new path to continue to serve God’s people through our vocations.”

    Graduating senior Michael Tarala also wished to convey his appreciation having received a Holy Cross education. “Living the Gospel means not only seeing Christ in others but actually being Christ to others. Holy Cross has given me not only the understanding that we are all children of God, but it has helped me be a better man and example in hopes to make a lasting impact on future generations.”

    Posted on May 12, 2015, to:

  • Holy Cross Father Anthony Szakaly, chair of the Ave Maria Press board of directors, reads the Gospel at the Ave Maria Press 150th anniversary Mass at Moreau Seminary at the University of Notre Dame on May 1. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades was the celebrant.

    By Chris Lushis

    NOTRE DAME — Since its founding in 1865, Ave Maria Press has provided spiritual nourishment and education for the Catholic faithful through its publication of countless books, magazines and other resources to help readers on their journey to better know, love and serve God.

    A dinner honors Ave Maria Press’ 150th anniversary at Moreau Seminary at the University of Notre Dame.

    On May 1, exactly 150 years after the first issue of its weekly magazine The Ave Maria was published, leaders and contributors within the organization joined to commemorate all that has been accomplished in the name of Our Lady.

    Following Mass at Moreau Seminary celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Ave Maria Press CEO and Publisher Thomas Grady led members of the staff in recounting many of the company’s historically significant moments.

    The tribute began by highlighting Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin’s efforts to create The Ave Maria, which served as one of the first American Catholic publications for a predominately immigrant Church. Despite obstacles, it became the country’s most popular Catholic magazine during its 105-year run. Sorin implored at its foundation that “The Ave Maria is a family newspaper, and it wishes to speak to hearts that love the Blessed Virgin.” During this time, The Ave Maria covered many significant moments of American and Church history, before the company shifted its primary focus in 1970 to the publications of books and pamphlets. Since then, Ave Maria Press has continued to highlight the writings of many prominent Catholic authors covering a diverse array of spiritual issues, while also adapting to changes within the culture.

    Even in uncertain times, Ave Maria Press has continued to remain focused on preserving devotion to Our Lady and leading Catholics to grow in faith. One day earlier, at an open house at the main facility, board member and Holy Cross Father David Guffey touched upon the company’s success in transition.

    “It has been great to see Ave grow and thrive. Publishing and printing has changed so dramatically in recent years, with the next frontier being advancements in digital media,” Father Guffey said. “While Catholic publishing companies are shrinking, Ave is looking far enough ahead and adapting, looking for how to reach audiences; they are well poised to continue for 150 years. The biggest challenge is how to encourage Catholics to read, watch and absorb spiritually enriching material. It isn’t just about producing solid products, but also about marketing it in such a way that it becomes appealing to consumers who might be harder to reach.”

    Ave Maria Press staff members Kristen Hornyak Bonelli, Michael Amodei, Karey Circosta, Thomas Grady, Robert Chukinas, Eileen Ponder and Robert Hamma share details of the company’s historical highlights and triumphs at a dinner commemorating the 150th anniversary held May 1 at Moreau Seminary.

    Karey Circosta, vice president and director of sales and marketing, further emphasized this point. As a Catholic raised in South Bend and educated by men and women from the Congregation of Holy Cross, Circosta shared, “It has been exciting to be part of a non-profit organization, which promotes the mission of Holy Cross that is also celebrating 150 years. A large part of our success has been through our commitment to diversity. Our challenge now is to withstand like we have throughout our history, to continue enhancing and diversifying what we do. We cannot take success for granted, but must keep working to ensure continued growth for the future.”

    In gratitude, Grady expressed his appreciation to the entire staff, members of the Congregation of Holy Cross, members of the board of directors, former and retired employees, authors who have come from near and far, and all those who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help shape the successes of Ave Maria Press. He also shared three new features of the company, which highlight its historical vision and upcoming hopes.

    “In January,” he said, “we unveiled a new logo, which simultaneously looks to both the past and the future. It recalls and celebrates the ongoing importance of our Marian heritage, while looking ahead with a sheaf of unbound pages, a nod to our digital present and future.”

    Secondly, he praised the idea of Karey Circosta and Kristen Hornyak Bonelli to display quotations throughout the building. “These quotes will serve to remind us of our mission — that we are “educators in the faith” and that we should continue to pray that Ave remains, in Father Sorin’s words, a “source of most abundant blessings” for the Church and for the congregation.”

    Thirdly, he directed attention to the visual timeline, which runs along the wall of the main hallway, citing the efforts of many people to research Ave’s extensive history and display it in elaborate fashion. This timeline can also be viewed in full detail at www.avemariapress.com/anniversary.

    Grady further emphasized, “What I’m most proud of is that through the years Ave has tried to serve the needs of the whole Church, not just one segment of it. While staying true to our mission we strive to be flexible and adaptable. Our attention to the diverse needs of Catholic schools, Catholic parishes and individual believers and seekers has been the foundation of a publishing program that — we pray — continues to give glory to God, serve God’s people and honor Holy Cross.”


    Ave Maria Press remains committed to publishing ministry after 150 years of service

    “I may be deceived, disappointed, laughed to scorn, but with all that I will still retain my conviction that The Ave Maria will be the source of most abundant blessings, one of the best things ever done in the congregation, and ultimately a glorious work for our Blessed Mother.”  — Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin

    Holy Cross sisters and brothers working on the magazine.

    NOTRE DAME — Even after 150 years, Ave Maria Press remains committed to the core mission set by Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin in 1865 as he established the Congregation of Holy Cross in the United States.

    Ave was the third apostolate of Holy Cross founded in the United States by the missionary priest, following the University of Notre Dame and St. Joseph Parish in South Bend. Father Sorin started The Ave Maria magazine to honor Mary, focus on Catholic families and showcase the best American Catholic writing. Many had doubts about whether the publication would survive because of the fate of other Catholic periodicals, as well as the mainly poor, immigrant makeup of the American Church. But The Ave Maria did thrive for more than 100 years and at one time was the most popular Catholic magazine in the country.

    Father Sorin would be proud of his legacy. “Planning for our anniversary has given all of us at Ave Maria Press a welcome opportunity to step back from our day-to-day work and reflect on the history and legacy of the wonderful publishing ministry that Father Sorin founded 150 years ago during a very different era,” said Thomas Grady, Ave’s publisher. “Father Sorin might be mystified by the way we create and distribute our work in a digital era (as I frequently am!), but I hope he would recognize that we have remained faithful to our mission to proclaim the Gospel, serve the spiritual needs of the Church and join the Congregation of Holy Cross as ‘educators in the faith.’”

    Ave Maria Press has evolved as a leader in publishing Catholic high school religion textbooks, parish resources and books on prayer and spirituality. In the tradition of Holy Cross, Ave strives to make God known, loved and served through the spiritual, pastoral and catechetical books that are at the core of its publishing mission. “Father Sorin’s vision of deepening the faith remains the basis for everything that Ave Maria Press does today,” said Holy Cross Father Anthony Szakaly, chairman of Ave’s board of directors.

    Holy Cross Brother Raymond Trottman who now lives at Columba Hall.
    He was a typesetter.

    Under the leadership of Holy Cross Father Daniel E. Hudson, who served as the third editor from 1875 to 1930, the magazine grew from 10,000 subscribers to 35,000. Throughout its life, the magazine boasted contributions from every important Catholic writer of the time, including Dorothy Day, Orestes A. Brownson and Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson.

    During Father Hudson’s tenure, Ave began publishing hardcover books of inspirational Catholic stories. During the first five months of 1930, the serialization of “Patch: Memories of an Irish Lad” by Holy Cross Father Patrick J. Carroll, later the editor of The Ave Maria, appeared in the magazine. The complete work was published as a hardcover book in the same year.

    Eight Holy Cross priests served as editors and publishers between 1865 and 1994, but Holy Cross brothers and sisters also have been an important part of Ave Maria Press as well. Holy Cross Brother Stanislaus, (John A. Clarke), was the first printer, pressman and proofreader for The Ave Maria. He trained Holy Cross sisters to set type, proof, fold and stitch sheets by hand. Mother Angela Gillespie did much of the editorial work for the magazine. About 1873, the sisters assumed more of the work at the magazine and served in a variety of roles, including writers and proofreaders, which continued until the 1950s. Holy Cross brothers served with zeal as typesetters and pressmen for more than 100 years. Traveling by foot, train, trolley, buggy and car, the brothers also acted as canvassers to get the magazine into Catholic homes and parishes in the United States, Canada and Australia.

    Father John L. Reedy, editor and publisher from 1955 to 1983, oversaw the last issue of The Ave Maria in 1970. He wrote in that issue, “The identity of Ave Maria magazine submerges itself in a new effort to serve the religious needs to today’s audience.”

    Ann Garrido, author of “Redeeming Administration,” praised Ave’s adaptability. “Even as the field of Catholic communications continues to undergo tremendous change in terms of available media, technology and demographics, Ave Maria continues to adapt without losing sight of its founding purpose. With an ear close to the ground, the Ave Maria team excels at what St. John XXIII called “reading the signs of the times.”

    The publishing ministry continues in earnest. Ave Maria Press remains one of the oldest, continually operating Catholic publishing houses in the country.

    “As the magazine evolved into Ave Maria Press, this ministry has touched the lives of countless individuals throughout the world who have been privileged to be inspired by the words of some of the best spiritual writers of our time,” said Holy Cross Father Thomas J. O’Hara, provincial superior of the U.S. Province. “In a world where so many search for guidance in their lives or grasp for spiritual insights, Ave Maria Press has become a leader in providing such guidance.”

    Among Ave’s highly acclaimed titles are: Lisa Hendey’s “The Handbook for Catholic Moms”; “The Artist’s Rule” by Christine Valters Paintner; “Rebuilt” by Michael White and Tom Corcoran; and “A Book of Hours” by Thomas Merton.

    Posted on May 5, 2015, to: