• FORT WAYNE — Following approval at a board meeting of Catholic Cemetery Association Inc. this week, plans were announced for the building of the new Divine Mercy Funeral Home. The 14,000 square foot facility will be located on the property of Catholic Cemetery, 3500 Lake Avenue, Fort Wayne and will house 2 visitation rooms, each with a personal family room; a crematorium and embalming facility and the offices of Catholic Cemetery.

    Leadership of Catholic Cemetery hopes that the establishment of a Catholic funeral home will enable them to serve those grieving with a pastoral approach, always maintaining the dignity of each person. “Divine Mercy Funeral Home will complete Catholic Cemetery’s mission in burying the dead and better allow us guide and comfort, in Catholic tradition, those who have lost someone they love,” stated Casey Miller, Catholic Cemetery superintendent. “This funeral home is a natural extension of the pastoral care that Catholic Cemetery has offered since 1873.”

    An official groundbreaking ceremony is expected to take place late in February or early March, weather depending. The Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, commented on the momentous announcement, “I see the establishment of a Catholic Funeral Home by our Catholic Cemetery Association as a natural extension of its spiritual and pastoral mission to care for those who mourn the death of their loved ones as well as to provide for the liturgical rites of the Church for those who have died.  In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we have focused on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which include praying for and burying the dead and comforting those who mourn.”

    He continued, “The new funeral home will be named “Divine Mercy Funeral Home,” thus focusing on the merciful love of God, fully revealed in His Son Jesus.  The focus on Divine Mercy will bring consolation to those who are grieving as we entrust the souls of the faithful departed to the mercy of God.  I am hopeful that this new ministry of the Catholic Cemetery Association will bear much good fruit in serving the Church’s mission of mercy.”

    Bishop Rhoades will celebrate the Feast of All Souls with a Mass at Catholic Cemetery on Wednesday, November 2 at noon. All are welcome to attend.

    Posted on October 21, 2016, to:

  • St. Anthony of Padua parishioners, Angola, attend a Respect Life Fair Oct. 8-9. The parish has formed a group and a comprehensive action plan, of which the fair is a component, to encourage respect for life in the parish and the larger community.

    St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Angola, held a Respect Life Fair on the weekend of Oct. 8-9. Members of the Human Life and Dignity Group, along with a representatives of Project Rachel and of the Indiana State Council of the Knights of Columbus, were present.

    The purpose of the parish Human Life and Dignity Group is to promote a culture of life within the community, in keeping with the U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign in Support of Life. This policy statement calls for a comprehensive vision of human dignity and a consistent ethic of life, including at the parish level.

    Because the parishioners at St. Anthony’s want to focus on action, not meetings, they have organized their into a series of “action groups” or workgroups. Currently, they have eight action groups:

    • Action Against Abortion

    • Action Against Pornography

    • Care of God’s Creation

    • Dignity of Women

    • Post Abortion Healing

    • Prayer and Liturgy

    • Pregnancy Care

    • Prevention of Substance Abuse

    Individual parishioners may become a part of as many or as few action groups as they choose. They may give as little as a half hour of their time each month, or they may make promotion of a culture of life the focus of their own life’s apostolate. The action groups combined have over 50 members, and each group is asked to plan “doable” actions or events each year. Taken together, this produces several dozen pro-life events at the parish each year.

    A big focus of parish efforts is working with other groups in society. Different members cooperate with the Compassion Pregnancy Center in Angola, the Knights of Columbus, March for Life, the TLC women’s shelter, Angola Community Anti-Violence Alliance, Trine University’s anti-rape program, Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, Women’s Care Center of Northeastern Indiana, March for Life, Project Rachel, Christ Child Society, Human Life Action Center and more.

    Twice a year, the parish’s Human Life and Dignity Group meets in a large assembly to coordinate actions and discuss principles. Nurturing a culture of life is an important duty of each Catholic parish and every Catholic individual. At St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Angola and St. Paul Chapel in Clear Lake, the people respond to this call with actions large and small.



    Posted on October 18, 2016, to:

  • By Rachel Batdorff

    Father Runyon reads from the Gospel of Matthew during the Red Mass on Oct. 3.

    The Monday, Oct. 3, Red Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Fort Wayne, was celebrated with  specific reflection on the life and message of St. Thomas More, patron saint of politicians, statesmen and lawyers.

    Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Mass celebrant, spoke during his homily about St. Thomas More and referenced the nation’s upcoming elections. Also in attendance was special guest Glenn Tebbe, executive director of the Indiana Catholic Conference.

    The Red Mass included readings from Deuteronomy, 2 Corinthians and Matthew, as well as sacred music from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Choir.

    During the homily, Bishop Rhoades remarked extensively on the example set by the life of St. Thomas More.

    “The first thing I propose from the example of Saint Thomas More is keeping your priorities straight, in proper order,” he said. “This is the order: God first, family and friendship second, profession third.”

    The life and martyrdom death of St. Thomas More can only be understood through the priority he gave God. “He put God before Caesar, his conscience before the state, and ethics before politics,” Bishop Rhoades said. Putting his faith first eventually cost him his life. St. Thomas More loved his family deeply, but could not accept their pleas to save his life by signing the Oath of Supremacy and accepting Henry VIII’s claim to be head of the Church of England.

    Faith without works is dead, the bishop went on to say.

    “To be living, faith must not be limited to one hour of church on Sunday. If it is real, it is lived, put into practice, in our whole life, in relation to our family, our work, our politics, our economics.”

    The topic of separating one’s faith from one’s actions — specifically politics — was presented as well.

    “For a politician to say that he or she is personally opposed to an evil, like abortion or euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, and then cooperate with the evil with the excuse of not imposing one’s morality on others, is not only a weakness in courage, it is a betrayal of conscience, a denial of truth, and an acquiescence to a false notion of freedom.” Doing so is the exact opposite of what St. Thomas More lived and died for.  “One becomes a counter witness to the Gospel,” Bishop Rhoades added. “To be heedless to human dignity is to be headless of God the Creator, no matter how one seeks to justify it.”

    Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades and Father Jacob Runyon, both in red, begin the celebration of the diocese’s annual Fort Wayne-area Red Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

    St. Thomas More was a servant of the truth and a man of authentic faith and right reason. Faith and reason cannot be separated, Bishop Rhoades said.

    “Some worry about the dangers of religion, the danger of bringing faith into politics.” He went on to acknowledge the dangers of religious fanaticism and added that by reason, such faith is a distortion of the true face of God. One must guard against those who make God into their own image and likeness in order to justify hate and violence.

    “The true God, known by authentic faith and right reason, has a will that conforms to His being and essence as pure goodness and perfect love,” the bishop pointed out.

    Bishop Rhoades then discussed the state of the situation faced by the United States and other Western nations: Reason is often truncated, and science and technology are exalted without any moral constraints, he noted.

    “When the mind is closed to God, when faith is excluded from public discourse, the existence of objective standards of morality is often denied. God is seen as irrelevant to public life,” he commented.

    Without God, society becomes disoriented. Society redefines marriage and escapes into things such as drugs and pornography, robbed of real greatness.

    Bishop Rhoades referenced Pope Benedict XVI’s statement, “If there is not objective morality, law has the ground taken from under its feet.”

    St. Thomas More loved his wife and children with great devotion. He put his prayer life before his work, setting daily hours in his schedule for prayer. He also showed love for the poor.

    “Blessed with material wealth, he always remained detached from that wealth,” the Bishop remarked of the saint. “He would invite the poor into his home to eat at his table. He set up a special house to care for the age and infirm in the neighborhood.”

    As referenced in Thomas More’s book, Utopia, the bishop quoted: “For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for their crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be conclude from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them.”

    The Mass concluded with an invitation to pray and learn from St. Thomas More.

    “Pope Francis revealed some time ago that he prays to Saint Thomas More every day,” said the bishop. “I invite you to do the same and to learn from him to be servants of the truth, witnesses of the beauty and joy of the Gospel, and to make his priorities your own in this proper order: God first, family, profession.”





    Posted on October 12, 2016, to:

  • By Bonnie Elberson

    For more photos visit the photo gallery.

    Mass was celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades Saturday morning, Oct. 1, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, downtown Fort Wayne, on the occasion of the annual Mass and breakfast of the World Apostolate of Fatima, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend division.

    On Saturday, Oct 1, nearly 400 members and supporters of the World Apostolate of Fatima attended an annual breakfast meeting at the Grand Wayne Center in downtown Fort Wayne. The World Apostolate of Fatima is a public, international association of the faithful under The Pontifical Council for the Laity. Its mission is to learn, live and spread the Fatima message in full communion with the Church.

    The day began with Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades with concelebrant and homilist Father Glenn Kohrman. Father Ben Mulenkamp and Father Adam Schmitt also concelebrated Mass. A statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which is being transported throughout the country on its Fatima Centennial U.S. Tour for Peace, accompanied by its custodian, Patrick Sabat, was prominently displayed during the Mass. At its conclusion, the statue was carried in a Marian procession to the meeting site by a group of Franciscan friars, accompanied by three costumed children depicting Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco — to whom Our Lady appeared at Fatima — and the cadre of the Apostolate faithful.

    Apostolate President Mariam Schmitz said that the organization has “grown by leaps and bounds” recently, primarily as a result of Bishop Rhoades’ consecrating the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese to Mary in 2014.

    “That was a catapult to growth…. People are eager to learn more about the Fatima message,” she added. The group’s primary outreach this year is to the youth of the diocese, with junior high school retreats enriched by Franciscan Father David Mary Engo’s “joyful way of teaching about Fatima.”

    Attendee Ed Dahm professed a special love for the Blessed Mother, and noted that devotion to her is “more prevalent today.” Member Shelly Tippmann, said, “I’ve always prayed to her. I trust that (Fatima) message. David Carollo, executive director of the New Jersey-based organization who was also in attendance, said of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, “This is a very fine division of our Apostolate.” Next year, the centennial of the 1917 apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, will see special diocesan events take place in commemoration of that occurrence, the highlight of which will be a pilgrimage to Spain and Portugal in July, hosted by Bishop Rhoades himself.

    Keynote speaker for the World Apostolate of Fatima meeting was Bishop Rhoades, who said that he anticipates this will be an opportunity for much spiritual growth in our diocese.

    “You may recall the third part of the secret of Fatima that Pope John Paul revealed in the Jubilee Year 2000. Sister Lucia described a bishop dressed in white whom, she said, she and the other children believed was the Holy Father,” he said to those present. “This bishop was followed by other bishops, priests, men and women religious, and men and women of different ranks and social positions. They were walking up a mountain through a city that lay in ruins, and atop the mountain stood the cross. This all symbolized the human history and so much destruction, yet moving toward salvation, moving toward the cross, the goal and guide of history. Amid all the horrors around them, the bishop dressed in white and the others made their way through the ruins of the city, among the corpses of the dead. This is the path of the Church as it journeys through a time of violence, destruction and persecution.

    “This especially reminds us of the 20th century, the destructive world wars and the persecution of the Church. Sadly, these things continue in the 21st century. Pope Benedict XVI, when he was still a cardinal … wrote a profound commentary on the third secret. He describes this vision in the third secret as the Via Crucis (the way of the cross) of an entire century. He wrote: ‘In the Via Crucis of an entire century, the figure of the pope has a special role. In his arduous ascent of the mountain we can undoubtedly see a convergence of different popes. Beginning from Pius X up to the present pope (John Paul II), they all shared the sufferings of the century and strove to go forward through all the anguish along the path that leads to the cross. In the vision, the pope too is killed with the martyrs. When, after the attempted assassination on May 13, 1981, the Holy Father had the text of the third part of the ‘secret’ brought to him, was it not inevitable that he should see in it his own fate? He had been very close to death, and he himself explained his survival in the following words, ‘It was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path…. That ‘a mother’s hand’ had deflected the fateful bullet only shows once more that there is no immutable destiny, that faith and prayer are forces that can influence history and that in the end, prayer is more powerful than bullets and faith more powerful than armies.

    “For decades, people wondered what the content of the third part of the secret might be. … Actually (it) belongs to the whole of the Fatima message: the importance of prayer as the path to salvation as well as the summons to penance and conversion. Approved private revelations, like Fatima, can, in the words of Cardinal Ratizinger, ‘help us to understand the signs of the times and to respond to them rightly in faith.’”

    The bishop clarified that what the children experienced in the apparitions was an interior vision. Cardinal Ratzinger called this “interior perception.” Cardinal Ratzinger continues, “Interior vision does not mean fantasy, which would be no more than an expression of the subjective imagination. It means rather that the soul is touched by something real, even if beyond the senses.”  

    Bishop Rhoades continued, “In the course of the centennial year, we will have the opportunity to consider more closely the six apparitions and the messages. I would like, therefore, to look at the whole, the central messages. … The Fatima message involves a truth and a call that the Church has always taught, the truth and the call of the Gospel itself. In its basic nucleus, it is a call to conversion and repentance. … Convert and repent! Everything about Fatima is linked to this call of the Gospel.” Further, he said, “The Fatima message is a message of love. Mary’s immaculate heart is full of love for her children.”

    “When we think of the world today, we can feel almost overcome by the evil around us, wars, terrorism, violence, abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, abandoned refugees, the crisis of marriage and the family, the persecution of Christians, threats to our religious liberty, atheism, militant secularism, relativism — the list goes on.” Bishop Rhoades continued, “This message of Fatima, the message of the Gospel, is addressed to us today. Our Mother reaches out to us who live in a culture where there is a collapse of morality, resulting in so much suffering, which brings so many dangers, including right here in our own country. … She revealed to the children that her Immaculate Heart will triumph. We don’t know exactly how that will happen, but it must begin with each one of us, in our own hearts, our own conversion from sin, our own repentance, our own prayer and sacrifices, just as Mary asked for these things from the shepherd children in their own lives.”

    “So that’s Fatima; that’s the Gospel: penance, conversion and growth in faith, hope and love. … That’s the way to salvation,” said Bishop Rhoades. Our Lady pointed out the connection to prayer when she requested that the children pray the rosary daily, a plea she repeated in all six of her apparitions at Fatima.

    Bishop Rhoades elaborated on the three angel apparitions which occurred a full year before that of Our Lady of Fatima. “The word angel means messenger,” he said. “In the Scriptures, we read about the angels who were messengers sent by God to prepare His people. At Fatima, an angel calling himself the Angel of Peace visited the three children to prepare them for what was to come.” Sister Lucia later described in her memoirs a young man, whiter than snow, transparent as crystal and of great beauty, who appeared to them in the spring of 1916. This angel of peace taught the children the Pardon Prayer, which they were to pray for the salvation of souls. The angel appeared to them a second time in the summer of 1916. He told them to pray and to offer sacrifices constantly to the Most High. After that, the children became especially devoted to prayer. The third apparition of the angel occurred in early September or October of 1916, when he held a chalice with the Eucharistic host above it, knelt beside the children and taught them the Fatima Angel’s Prayer. After giving the consecrated host to Lucia and the chalice to Jacinto and Francisco, the angel left them, for his mission was complete. He had prepared them to meet Our Lady.

    Bishop Rhoades summed up his remarks by saying, “These three appearances of the angel are a good reflection for us as we approach the centenary celebration. They remind us of the importance of prayer, of reparation, and of reverence for the Eucharist, both Holy Communion and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. … I invite you to think about these three apparitions and to pray the two prayers the angel taught the children between now and May 13. In our diocesan pilgrimage to Fatima next July, we will visit the two sites of these three angel apparitions.”

    In closing, the bishop said, “We will have many opportunities in the year ahead to reflect on the events and message of Fatima. These are opportunities for ongoing conversion and repentance, for growth in our prayer life and for growth in the virtues of faith, hope and love. Our Lady, our spiritual mother, guides us and helps us … we must never give up hope in the promise that in the end Mary’s Immaculate Heart will triumph. … The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise.”

    Posted on October 4, 2016, to:

  • FORT WAYNE — The University of Saint Francis has designated a portion of the academic day as “Sacred Time” on its campus. Endorsed by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, the university’s founders and its sponsors, the Sacred Time initiative is the first of its kind in U.S. Catholic higher education. It enables students and employees to participate in Mass or to engage in personal spiritual practices in keeping with their respective traditions.

    “The institution of the Sacred Time policy at the University of Saint Francis is a strong affirmation of its mission and a very concrete means for members of the university community to cultivate and deepen their spiritual lives,” said Bishop Rhoades. “In the busy and often hectic world of our daily life, we need quiet time and space for prayer and reflection. I am grateful that the University of Saint Francis recognizes this need through this initiative which demonstrates the conviction that the academic life is enriched, not diminished, by openness to the transcendent, a deeper understanding of the Word of God and prayer.”

    USF encourages a trustful, prayerful community of learners who integrate faith with life. As a Catholic, Franciscan university, this necessitates providing opportunities to practice the faith through participation in Mass, the sacraments and religious devotions. In recognizing the Eucharist as the most perfect act of community worship, the university provides sacred time to ensure that student and employee participation is practically feasible, given scheduling limitations and available resources.

    “We understand how demanding each day can be for our students who are busily moving from class to class and for our staff as they support our students,” said USF President Sister M. Elise Kriss. “Sacred Time gives everyone a chance to slow down, to become more conscious of their spiritual needs and to just see and feel God around them on a daily basis, which can truly help make the rest of the day less stressful and overwhelming.”

    Sacred Time occurs for 30 minutes on weekdays and one hour each Sunday, when Mass is celebrated at the USF main campus. During sacred time, regardless of participation, no on-campus university-sponsored activities are scheduled for or by students or employees.

    “The Sacred Time policy is one more way USF commits itself to students’ and employees’ spiritual nourishment, and it enhances our Catholic, Franciscan identity,” said USF Campus Ministry Director Scott Opperman. “Sacred Time is innovative and bold. It reveals our priorities. Everything else is scheduled around Mass, not vice-versa, which is the norm.”

    Participation at weekday Masses on campus has increased 300-400 percent, depending on the day, since the initiative began.


    Posted on September 20, 2016, to: