• The Franciscan Center’s executive director, Tony Ley, loads donated food into Thanksgiving Day boxes for clients to be delivered on Turkey Tuesday, Nov. 25.

    Food items collected by parishioners of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Fort Wayne were unloaded Nov. 16 as part of a food drive for Thanksgiving boxes to be distributed to clients of The Franciscan Center, Fort Wayne on Turkey Tuesday — Nov. 25. The center is accepting food and monetary donations for the purchase of turkeys or hams at the 1015 E. Maple Grove location or at the store at 925 E. Coliseum Blvd.

    Posted on November 18, 2014, to:

  • Vinnie’s, a new kind of St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift store, opened in the former Belleville Plaza on Western Avenue on Nov. 3. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades blessed the new concept store, which is the size of a typical boutique store and will sell only used clothing and accessories, before celebrating Mass with St. Vincent de Paul Society members in the South Bend area on Nov. 3.

    By Ann Carey

    SOUTH BEND — A new kind of St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift store opened in the former Belleville Plaza on Western Avenue on Nov. 3. Named Vinnie’s, the new concept store is the size of a typical boutique store and will sell only used clothing and accessories.

    The name Vinnie’s has been used by the society in other parts of the country for similar stores, according to Thom Villing, a board member of the St. Joseph County society. The Vinnie’s name conveys a more contemporary image for a specialty store that is in a setting such as a strip mall, he said. However, the St. Vincent name will remain prominent, for the rebounding shopping plaza is being renamed St. Vincent Plaza.

    Additionally, a new traditional store that will carry the full range of merchandise —clothing, furniture, household goods, toys, sporting goods — is set to open soon on Bendix Drive, also on the city’s west side. Both new stores will take the place of the store on Ardmore Trail.

    Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades blessed the new venture on its opening day, assisted by Holy Cross Father Adam Booth, associate pastor of Holy Cross and St. Stanislaus Parishes. The bishop noted that the Vincentian project is “dedicated to service in the order of Christian charity.”

    Addressing members of the society’s staff and board who were present for the blessing, Bishop Rhoades commented on the new store: “It is a place where you will continue to aid the poor, clothe the naked, and give counsel and advice to those in need. By this great work for the disadvantaged, you further the mission of Jesus Christ, and bring His people closer to Him.”

    The new store will assist the disadvantaged in another way, too, for a partnership with South Bend’s Center for the Homeless will enable guests of the center to work in the store as part of an externship program to help them develop job skills for future employment.

    Anne Watson, executive director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, speaks at the Nov. 3 dinner for society members in the St. Joseph County region. The society recently opened a new concept boutique thrift store called Vinnie’s in South Bend.

    After the 4:45 p.m. store blessing, Bishop Rhoades celebrated a special Mass of Vincentian Friendship at nearby Holy Cross Church. Members of the St. Joseph County St. Vincent de Paul Society’s staff and board attended, as did members of the society’s parish conferences from across the county.

    “St. Vincent de Paul said that ‘In serving the poor, we serve Jesus Christ,’” Bishop Rhoades noted in his homily.

    “In the tradition of its patron, you, the members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, serve those who are needy and suffering, seeing in each individual you help the face of the Lord Jesus. Your beautiful and important apostolate in the Church reflects what Jesus told the Pharisees in today’s Gospel: ‘When you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind,’” he continued.

    “And you aim to do so with the Vincentian spirit of humility. St. Paul teaches us in today’s first reading: ‘Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others.’”

    Bishop Rhoades noted that the saint honored by the Church on that day was St. Martin de Porres, known as an “Apostle of Charity.” It seemed “providential,” he said, that the Vincentian Mass would be celebrated on St. Martin’s feast because St. Vincent de Paul was also known as an “Apostle of Charity.”

    The bishop reminded the Vincentians that members of the society “are called to seek personal holiness by works of charity,” and their vocation and mission “necessarily include a life of prayer.” And he concluded, “Whatever work you do as Vincentians, however menial it might seem, is sacred, when done in a spirit of loving service.”

    After the Mass, a dinner was enjoyed by the Vincentians in the Holy Cross School gymnasium, with an informal annual meeting of the society taking place afterward.

    The St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift stores support the mission of the society, which administers food, clothing, financial and other forms of direct assistance to the poor and those in need. It also offers self-sufficiency initiatives including the Bridges out of Poverty “Getting Ahead” classes, as well as the Food for Thought and Healthy Living programs.


    Posted on November 12, 2014, to:

  • Vocation awareness encouraged at all-schools Masses

    By Tim Johnson

    For more photos from both Masses visit the photo gallery.

    FORT WAYNE, NOTRE DAME — “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” The message from 1 Samuel stirred the hearts of young people gathered in Fort Wayne’s Allen County War Memorial Coliseum and the University of Notre Dame’s Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center as schools from across the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend assembled for the annual all-schools Masses.

    Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrated the Masses where his theme of vocation awareness to the Priesthood and consecrated life resonated with the students.

    “Jesus teaches us how important it is that we pray to the Lord of the Harvest, that we pray to God, that He may give laborers, workers for His harvest, for His vineyard,” Bishop Rhoades said in his homily.

    Jesus, in His ministry, saw that the people needed a shepherd and leaders who would show them God’s love. The Apostles began the mission of proclaiming the Gospel, healing the sick and helping those who were in trouble or had special needs.

    “This has been a need of the Church for 2,000 years,” Bishop Rhoades said. “There is a great need today for laborers, for workers in the Church, in the Lord’s vineyard.”

    “Jesus tells us to pray for vocations,” the bishop said, “to pray for more workers for the Church. I am asking you to pray for more priests and religious sisters and brothers.”

    He also asked the students to think of themselves, serving God as priests, religious sisters or brothers.

    “Maybe some of you are already thinking about it. I hope so,” Bishop Rhoades offered.

    He related the story of Samuel from the day’s first reading. God was calling Samuel to be a prophet.

    “Sometimes when you pray, say those words of Samuel: ‘Speak Lord, your servant is listening,’” Bishop Rhoades said. “Especially pray what to do in your life, pray about your vocation. … And when we are listening, we hear God’s call, and it may be a call to be a priest, to be a sister or a brother. It may be a call to marriage. But we have to listen.”

    He encouraged the young people to listen for that call in the silence of their hearts and minds. “When you pray,” he said, “don’t do all the talking. Listen. Listen to God speaking to you.”

    He encouraged the students to read the Scriptures. He said if they did not have a Bible, to put one on their Christmas list. “When we read the Scriptures, that’s one way that God speaks to us,” Bishop Rhoades said.

    He encouraged the young people to be open to God’s call when choosing a vocation. Think about, he said, “What does God want me to be and do with my life?”

    “When we do what God wants us to do, and we answer His call … then we’re really going to be happy with our life,” Bishop Rhoades said.

    With the feast of All Saints, Nov. 1, celebrated near the all-schools Masses, fourth-grade students came dressed as their favorite saints.

    In Fort Wayne, Max Robinson of St. John the Baptist, New Haven, was called out by Bishop Rhoades to speak about his saint, St. Maximilian Kolbe. Bishop had asked for a priest-saint and young Max was quick to volunteer and share with the 4,000 people gathered for the Fort Wayne Mass on Oct. 29 what he learned about the saint who “gave up his life for a stranger.” St. Maximilian, a priest, lost his life at Auschwitz, after he came forward to take the place of a man sentenced with nine others to the starvation chamber. Father Kolbe was the last survivor in the starvation chamber and actually died from a shot of carbolic acid.

    Bishop also called on Katie Palmer of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Fort Wayne, who chose St. Katharine Drexel as her patron saint. St. Katharine Drexel was part of a wealthy Philadelphia family. She used her inheritance to found the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and established schools and missions across the country to serve Black and Native American children.

    Other fourth-grade students chose priests, sisters and brothers to represent at the Mass.

    Mia Gabet from St. Mary, Avilla, chose a Dominican sister, St. Rose of Lima, as her patron saint. The sister took care of the poor and sick and was called the “Angel of the Andes,” Mia noted before the Mass.

    In South Bend, Bishop Rhoades emphasized the witness of St. Martin de Porres, the first Black Saint of the Americas, on his feast day of Nov. 3.

    “St. Martin, a Dominican Brother from Lima, Peru, was known for his great humility, love of the Eucharist, and enjoyment of menial work. He taught that no matter how humble our work, if we do it with love and for the glory of God, we can become saints.”

    Bishop Rhoades was pleased to learn that Martin Del Abra of St. Adalbert had chosen to dress as St. Martin de Porres, his patron name saint.

    Bishop Rhoades said, “We should all have our special friends in heaven — men and women we can look to and ask for prayers and intercessions from throughout our lives.”

    Additionally, Bishop Rhodes spoke with Teresa Pingel of Christ the King, who dressed as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whom she was named after. She shared that she admired Mother Teresa for “founding the Missionaries of Charity and helping to serve those who are very poor.”

    Bishop Rhoades commended all the South Bend students who dressed up as saints, again exclaiming his hope that some in attendance may become priests, or religious sisters or brothers. He thanked all those who participated in the Mass as servers, lectors, cantors, and choir members.

    He also recognized those who helped make the event a success, including the teachers, principals, and staff of the schools represented, the Catholic Schools Office, Superintendent Marsha Jordan, Quality Dining and the University of Notre Dame staff.

    Christopher Lushis contributed to this story.

    Posted on November 4, 2014, to:

  • By Tim Johnson

    Click here for the details.

    Today’s Catholic has announced an exciting new partnership that has been formed between Collette Travel and the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend with Today’s Catholic Travel. The travel initiative offers pilgrimage opportunities to local priests, parishioners and the Catholic community.

    The inaugural pilgrimage will be the “Shrines of Italy” tour that includes 11 days and 15 meals. According to Tracy Edwards, district sales manager at Collette, tour pilgrims will experience Rome, Assisi, San Giovani Rotondo, the ruins of Pompeii, and much more, including opportunities for Mass and taking part in the papal audience while in Vatican City.

    Two groups will depart on Nov. 10, 2015, with provisions for air out of Chicago for those in South Bend and air out of Detroit for those in the Fort Wayne area. Additionally, transportation to and from the airport will be included from a single pick up point in each city.

    Edwards notes, “Other gateways are available upon request for those friends and family members outside of this region that wish to travel with you.”

    Each Today’s Catholic Travel pilgrimage will include a local priest from each city to act as host. Father Terry Coonan, parochial vicar of St. Pius X Parish in Granger, will be the travel host for the South Bend departure for the upcoming “Shrines of Italy” tour and Father Andrew Budzinski, director of vocations and parochial vicar of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne, will host the Fort Wayne departure of the trip. Fathers Coonan and Budzinski will serve as spiritual hosts allowing for additional insight as the groups experience the roots of Catholicism. Each priest will have the opportunity to celebrate Mass in historical basilicas on the tour as well.

    Sean McBride, Secretariat of Communications for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend says of the new venture, “We’re very excited to offer this program to the faithful of the diocese. We’ve partnered with a very reputable company that offers travel programs specific to Catholics, and we are hopeful that this inaugural trip will be a great way to begin a long-standing tradition of Today’s Catholic pilgrimages. We look forward to offering two trips per year to many destinations around the world, with many of our diocesan priests acting as travel hosts.”

    Informational meetings about the tour will be held in Fort Wayne and South Bend for those interested in learning more. In Fort Wayne, the informational meeting will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, 1502 E. Wallen Rd., Fort Wayne, on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 6:30 p.m. In South Bend, the informational meeting will be held at St. Pius X Parish, 52553 Fir Rd., Granger, on Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 6:30 p.m.

    Posted on October 28, 2014, to:

  • Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades blesses the entrance of the Deacon Joseph Zickgraf Community Center adorned with the portrait of the church and public servant with holy water at the dedication ceremony on Oct. 19. The community center is located north of St. Paul of the Cross Church in Columbia City and will serve the church and the wider community with its space.

    COLUMBIA CITY — A dream that has been in the making for a decade has now come to fruition. St. Paul of the Cross Parish in Columbia City has completed construction on the long awaited Deacon Joseph Zickgraf Community Center. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrated Mass and officiated at a blessing ceremony for the center on Sunday, Oct. 19.

    The original building plans began with former St. Paul of the Cross Pastor Father Larry Kramer in 2004. The $1.1 million funding cost for the construction of the center was raised over the past decade with the Legacy of Faith and second collections taken at the church. Groundbreaking was held on Oct. 19, 2013, the vigil of the feast of St. Paul of the Cross.

    The Deacon Joseph Zickgraf Community Center is located just north of the church and offers a kitchen and dining area that will seat 300 people, and a multipurpose gathering space that doubles as a modern gymnasium. The center also provides room for the food pantry and St. Vincent de Paul Society and has the capacity for teleconferencing.

    In his homily at the Mass, Bishop Rhoades congratulated the congregation, including six of Deacon Zickgraf’s children, on the completion of the project and thanked them for their generosity, “Thank you for your generous donations to the parish that made this dream become a reality. I know this was a dream of your former pastor, Father Larry Kramer, so let us remember Father Larry in our prayers today.”

    Bishop Rhoades reminded parishioners that the community center was to be named in memory of Deacon Joseph Zickgraf, “So let us also remember Deacon Joe and also his wife Judy in our prayers today. I didn’t know Deacon Joe since he died before I became bishop here, but many have told me about his wonderful diaconal ministry.”

    Bishop Rhoades spoke of a letter that Bishop (John M.) D’Arcy wrote to Deacon Joe’s wife Judy after Joe’s death in which he wrote: “What can I say about Joe and you? His service at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Huntington and in Columbia City, was outstanding. He brought honor to the Office of Deacon and to the diocese. He loved serving on the Board of Catholic Charities. He was a joy to be around and, of course, a great public servant as mayor of Columbia City. None of this could have been done without you, Judy, because you were his support and his strength.”

    “So, to the children of Joe and Judy, how wonderful it is to have you here today at this celebration,” said Bishop Rhoades.

    Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades speaks to the congregation at the dedication Mass for the new Deacon Joseph Zickgraf Community Center on Oct. 19. The community center is located north of St. Paul of the Cross Church in Columbia City and will serve the church and the wider community with its space.

    Bishop Rhoades spoke of the Gospel message to render to Caeser what is his and to God what is God’s. “It is important for us to reflect on the teaching of Jesus in light of our culture today. Our Lord guides us on how we are to reconcile our obligations as members of civil society with our obligations as members of His Kingdom. ‘Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caeser and to God what belongs to God.’”

    He exhorted the congregation, “Today’s Gospel reminds us of our responsibilities as disciples of Jesus to be involved in the public arena where policies and laws are debated and enacted. Our faith and our consciences must inform our political choices. It is seriously wrong to separate morality from public policy or to claim that the separation of Church and state means removing God and moral truth from civil life.”

    Bishop Rhoades told those gathered that in rendering to God what is God’s, the faithful at Mass offer their lives, prayers, praise, sufferings and works, “united with those of Jesus and His offering of Himself on the cross. This is the great gift and mystery of the Eucharist.”

    Following the Mass, the blessing ceremony was held where parishioners and others gathered to celebrate the tribute to the man who served as deacon at St. Paul Parish for many years. Among those gathered were six of Deacon Zickgraf’s children.

    Pat Zickgraf, son of the deacon and parishioner of St. Paul, said, “My father dedicated his life to serving other people, from young till the day he died. He answered the call to serve in World War II, … served as veteran service officer in Whitley County, … and three terms as mayor.”

    As a member of the building committee of this particular project at the parish, Pat Zickgraf said, “It’s exciting to have this kind of addition to our church. It will enhance the ministry of helping the youth and will be a social place for the parish.” Of the center’s name he added, “It’s very humbling and gratifying. It’s quite an honor.”

    Father Gary Sigler, pastor of St. Paul of the Cross Parish, was happy to see the completion of the center and to have had the blessing by Bishop Rhoades. He was also excited to have the church and wider community come and see the new facility as St. Paul of the Cross celebrated its patronal feast day of Oct. 20 throughout the weekend.

    Father Sigler said though the center’s name was set before he was assigned to St. Paul Parish it is a good fit to honor the man who meant so much to the area. “Deacon           Zickgraf was an important part of this parish. He served three terms as mayor of Columbia City. The center is named in honor of his contribution to the parish and his leadership.”

    The Deacon Joseph Zickgraf Community Center, located just north of St. Paul of the Cross Church in Columbia City, was dedicated and blessed in a special ceremony officiated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades on Oct 19.

    The Deacon Joseph Zickgraf Community Center is intended to be of use now for various activities and events, among them youth activities, basketball and volleyball games, wedding receptions and fundraising breakfasts and dinners, as well as a polling place for future elections.

    “I’m excited to see what the future holds. It’s what the parish will have to discover,” said Father Sigler, who intends to contact the Red Cross to offer the center as space for future blood drives in the area as well.

    St. Paul of the Cross Parish’s fall festival was held in the newly dedicated Deacon Joseph Zickgraf Community Center as its inaugural event following the blessing ceremony on Oct. 19, where parishioners and others shared dinner, games and other activities.

    Posted on October 21, 2014, to: