• University of Saint Francis President Sister Elise Kriss, right, presented Sister Rose Agnes Pfautsch, a Sister of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, an honorary doctor of humane letters during the university’s commencement exercises Saturday at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne.

    FORT WAYNE — Sister M. Rose Agnes Pfautsch, general councilor of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, received the honorary doctor of humane letters during commencement exercises for the University of Saint Francis Saturday in the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne.

    She was born and raised in Berger, Mo., and has been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration since 1952. She held the position of provincial superior for the order’s Eastern Province from 1986 to 1998, during which time she also served as chair of the University of Saint Francis Board of Trustees.

    From 1998 to 2003, she served as corporation treasurer, board vice chair and business office manager for the university. In 2003, she began her current responsibilities as general councilor for the worldwide Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, which has its motherhouse in Olpe, Germany.

    Sister Rose Agnes graduated from the University of Saint Francis with a bachelor of science in elementary education. She graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with a master of science in education and performed post-graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame.

    “We are pleased to honor Sister Rose Agnes Pfautsch for her many accomplishments and years of service to the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration and the University of Saint Francis,” said university President Sister M. Elise Kriss, a Sister of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration. “Her remarkable record makes her an admirable representative of the Church and the university, and one in whom both take great pride.”

    Posted on May 8, 2013, to:

  • MISHAWAKA — Spring weather, including lots of rain, is finally upon the Michiana area and the Marian High School Knights spring sports teams are ready for action.

    “We have had to reschedule many of the events due to bad weather but that is normal during the spring,” said Marian High School athletic director Reggie Glon. “We haven’t had a season like this in a while.”

    Boys’ lacrosse

    The boys’ lacrosse team is new to Marian High School and the team is holding their own with a 4-2 record.

    “The number one strength of this team is the willingness to pick up the required skills to play lacrosse and the team chemistry that this team has shown,” said lacrosse Head Coach Brian Welch. “The one weakness of this lacrosse team is that we are a new program. In fact, this is the first year Marian has a lacrosse team. Out of the 20 young men on the team, 16 of them have never played the game of lacrosse before. So getting them prepared and picking up the stick skills to compete at the high school level was the biggest obstacle to overcome.”

    Welch said he has received tremendous support and backing from Principal Carl Loesch and Athletic Director Reggie Glon. Welch feels the newly formed ICCL lacrosse league will help create a field full of squads in years to come.

    “The number goal for this season was to get the boys’ lacrosse program up and running,” said Welch.

    Softball

    The Marian softball team, coached by George Grenert since 1989, had a record of 29-2 last year and is hoping for great success this season. The goal is to concentrate on the next practice and/or the next game and get better at something each day.

    “Our strength at times is our hitting and consistency in our defense,” said Grenert. “I believe our biggest strength is playing together and helping each other.”

    “Our goal for this year is try to get better each day and to become a better all-around team,” said Grenert.

    Boys’ golf

    “Our goal is to play better each and every time as we go along,” said Brian Horvath, first-year head golf coach. He has a mostly senior dominated team with junior Michael Makris as his best player.

    The team is working hard to finish better in the Northern Indiana Conference tournament play this year than they did last season.

    “I expect our seniors to step up to be better this year and start playing better midway through the season so that we can make it down to state,” said Horvath who is a longtime golfer and enjoys coaching the kids.

    Although this is a senior dominated year, Horvath said he has a strong freshman class with kids who have a lot of good experience with golf that will create a strong team in the future.

    Girls’ tennis

    First-year Coach Tom Snelson feels he has a great group of girls with great attitudes, who are willing to work. The biggest problem has been the weather this season. They had a few practices on the courts because of the rain and cold.

    “Tennis is a year around sport for some schools with their players playing indoors in the winter and outside during summer. It is hard to compete with schools that have players that are only playing one sport. We have several players that play multiple sports and even though this sounds good, they suffer because their opponents have been playing for months when the season rolls around,” noted Snelson.

    “My goals for the girls are to have a good record. We have Penn in our sectional and they currently are a powerhouse ranked fifth in the state. Penn has seven players that only play tennis and play year round. If more of our girls played year round we would start to compete against bigger schools,” said Snelson.

    He would like the chance to work with a couple of girls during the summer and get a few more to play during the winter to strengthen the team and improve their competitive chances in the future.

    Posted on May 8, 2013, to:

  • From left are Hannah’s House’s Director of Programming Karen DeLucenay, resident Jamie Metheny and Business Manager Erin Price holding four-month-old resident Xavier Gearring.

    By Trish Linner

    MISHAWAKA — The celebration is on at Hannah’s House. For the last two decades, Hannah’s House, “The Maternity Home with a Heart,” located in Mishawaka has been providing a safe home for single pregnant women to live, learn and become successful parents. This spring they are celebrating 20 years of service to the community by opening a second Hannah’s House.

    “In 2012, we had to turn away 66 women,” said board president Linda Hammond. “The board of directors took note of this statistic and we identified two major needs that we wanted to address. One, we wanted to serve more women; and second, we wanted to serve them longer.”

    To serve more women, they needed more room. That goal will be accomplished this month with the opening of a second Hannah’s House, located just across the street from the first location. “We are so excited to have this opportunity. Thanks to the generous support of donors and the community we are going to be able to help more women become successful moms,” Hammond noted.

    The new house needed extensive work. It had previously been used as a two-unit apartment so it first had to be renovated back into a single-family home.

    Several councils of the Knights of Columbus have been instrumental in the project.

    “They have donated their time over the last several weeks to gut this house and then make it a home again. All labor has been donated. We can’t thank them enough and all the people who have donated their time,” Hammond said gratefully.

    The second Hannah’s House will be home to five women and will officially be named the Killilea House after Mr. and Mrs. Bill Killilea, two of the original founders of Hannah’s House.

    The second goal of serving women longer has also been achieved. Hannah’s House has partnered with Bridges of Hope, a nationally recognized mentoring program that successfully prevents and ends homelessness for single mothers with an 80 percent success rate. Hannah’s House is now a program site for this mentoring program and is supported by the National Bridge of Hope organization. This support allows women to stay at Hannah’s House longer.

    “Bridges of Hope is an excellent national program with a phenomenal rate of success of bringing women out of poverty. We are very excited to partner with them at Hannah’s House,” Hammond said.

    The first event of the month-long celebration kicked off on Tuesday, April 23, with a volunteer appreciation open house. Current and former volunteers were invited to tour the new house and enjoy food and fellowship with their fellow volunteers at Hannah’s House. Over 50 volunteers attended the event to see the new house.

    One volunteer, Malissa Wade summed up the feelings of many of the volunteers when asked why she gave her time to Hannah’s House, “I just love to be here and help. I babysit, talk to the moms and help with whatever they need.”

    On May 10, Hannah’s House will host a reunion for all former residents as part of the 20-year celebration. “We have been spreading the word through our networks, meetings and even Facebook,” laughed Hammond. “We really hope a lot of moms can attend.”

    Following a noon luncheon for the former residents, a formal dedication of the second house by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will take place at 2 p.m. with an open house and reception to follow. The Knights of Columbus will be in attendance, and St. Bavo Parish will provide music to add to the festive atmosphere. “We can’t wait to welcome everyone here for the dedication,” said Director of Programming Karen DeLucenay, “We’re looking forward to helping more women and their babies to a better life for another 20 years.”

    The community is invited to celebrate the dedication of the second home for Hannah’s House on May 10 at 2 p.m. For more information on how to help the mission of Hannah’s House, visit www.maternityhomewithaheart.org.

     

    Posted on April 30, 2013, to:

  • Sheila Gilbert, president of the National Council Society of St. Vincent de Paul, speaks about poverty at the Indiana Catholic Poverty Summit on Friday, April 26, at the University of Notre Dame. Gilbert was one of the national speakers, as well as Father Larry Snyder of Catholic Charities USA, who spoke about issues of poverty in the U.S. and Indiana.

    NOTRE DAME — The Indiana Catholic Poverty Summit, sponsored and hosted by the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns, brought together all five Indiana Catholic bishops and representatives from Catholic institutions across the state to discuss some of the causes and symptoms of poverty, and how the Catholic organizations of Indiana can form a framework together to reduce poverty in Indiana.

    Bill Purcell, associate director of the Center of Social Concerns served as the master of ceremonies and welcomed the large group to Notre Dame on April 26 and promised an “exciting and challenging day.”

    Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades served as host and spoke on the importance of the group’s mission. “As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to have a spirit of concern and love for the poor. We must see the living Christ in every person, and live the principle of human dignity. This summit will give a renewed commitment to this mission.”

    The summit was inspired by Catholic Charities national “Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America” and the new initiative by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called “Poverty USA.” Each diocese has its own Catholic Charities chapter, and all directors were in attendance.

    David Siler, executive director of the Indianapolis branch was instrumental in putting the summit together. He told the crowd a story about the opening of a shelter in Bedford: “We were really proud of our efforts and it is humbling to serve so many people, but I started thinking to myself that I’d like to stop serving so many people. I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have to close the doors because we had no one left to serve.”

    The staff of the Indianapolis office envisioned the conference as an opportunity to bring the various charities together to work towards their goals.

    “We all do amazing things, but our organizations are disconnected. We need to talk more, collaborate and lead the way. If we do this, we can truly make a difference to reduce poverty in our state,” Siler said.

    In addition to representatives from across the state, several national leaders were also in attendance. The president of Catholic Charities USA, Father Larry Snyder, updated the group on the latest poverty statistics.

    “Over 46 million Americans live in poverty, over 15 percent of the population,” Father Snyder said, “that is one in every five children across our country.”

    In Indiana, Father Snyder noted that closer to 20 percent of Hoosiers live in poverty. He commented on businesses that prey on the poor, which he called the “poverty pimps,” including payday loan businesses, pawnshops and slumlords.

    “These businesses only perpetuate the poverty cycle,” Father Snyder said. He also spoke about some of the initiatives Catholic Charities USA has implemented, including working with businesses on market-based components and a focus on outcomes versus how many people are currently being served.

    “We need to become a results based organization with program evaluation and accountability, we need to do better” concluded Snyder.

    Shelia Gilbert, president of National Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul also addressed the crowd. She spoke about engaging more parishioners in serving the poor. “The Catholic Church by itself cannot end poverty, but we can be a catalyst for our communities to make a real difference in people’s lives,” Gilbert said.

    She also commented about a lack of hope felt by some of the people that St. Vincent de Paul serves. “There is often a lack of belief that the future can be any better,” Gilbert said. “We must spread hope and help them make the journey out of poverty.”

    Active service to the poor was a major theme of the day. Creating a culture of giving within parishes and schools is vital to the mission of ending poverty. The Catholic high schools are already working toward several statewide goals for student service to their communities. According to Harry Plummer, the executive director Secretariat for Catholic Education and Faith Formation for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, “Catholic schools are moving together on an accreditation model for all schools. We want to put in place a service standard that will really help our communities and also help our students answer the social call of the Eucharist.”

    After meeting together in the morning, the group divided up by dioceses to talk about specific concerns and create possible solutions for better collaborations between the statewide agencies to address the poverty problem.

    Bishop Rhoades led the delegation from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. He noted the poverty statistics in South Bend were “higher than I expected.” He talked about his experience serving in a poor parish in Harrisburg, Pa.

    “We served up to 250 people a day,” Bishop Rhoades said. “We helped many of the children get into neighboring Catholic schools. While the kids did better in the Catholic school, so many of their issues stemmed from the atmosphere at home. It was disheartening. Poverty contributes to so many other issues and unless we deal with the root of the poverty, we will never be able to help.”

    Schools can be a place of understanding and action in dealing with poverty.

    Principal Mary Keefer of Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne commented, “You know we often host dress down days when our kids get to wear regular clothes for a dollar. We then donate those funds to charity. But what if we hosted dress down days for giving of one’s self? Is it service if we make the kids do it? Sometimes teenagers have to be led and this might be a great way to encourage them to donate more of their time.”

    Melissa Wheeler, diocesan director of Catholic Relief Services for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and theology teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, agreed and discussed how many teenagers need a better understanding of Catholic teachings on human dignity.

    “As a Church,” Wheeler said, “we have done a great job in helping kids understand the dignity of the baby in the womb. But they don’t have the same understanding of dignity for others who are different from themselves, such as prisoners or the poor.”

    The conference concluded with all the diocesan groups meeting together again to discuss potential ways for collaboration and to draw some conclusions about the day.

    “I know we are more united and connected now than when we came in,” said Mickey Lentz, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. “Short-term we need to capitalize on some of the ideas shared today and regroup again to revisit and explore further ideas and concepts. This has been a great learning day for all of us,” she concluded.

    Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin said, “I suspect that what brought people here today was the excitement of what it could mean if all five dioceses were working together, connected by the essentials of our Catholic teachings and united in our mission to serve the poor. I believe what we found was the deep feeling of connection between these people of faith and a renewed sense of urgency to implement new solutions to an old problem.”

    The ideas generated by the summit will determine the next steps. Each of the attendees will receive a follow up report highlighting the discussions and possible solutions. The hope of the organizers is that the Indiana Catholic Conference and the Indiana bishops will take the ideas of the conference and create new initiatives statewide to help end poverty in the state.

    Posted on April 30, 2013, to:

  • NOTRE DAME — A seed planted nearly a decade ago, nourished by devotion to the Blessed Mother, continues to bear fruit at the University of Notre Dame and beyond.

    Children of Mary, a student-run group devoted to praying the rosary, was inspired to organize the first campus-wide Eucharistic Procession at the University of Notre Dame. This April 21marked the event’s ninth year as a brilliant sun greeted the faithful who gathered outside the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. A few hundred people of all ages and from parishes near and far took part in the procession, praying and singing as Holy Cross priests took turns lifting the Blessed Sacrament for all to adore.

    Two Notre Dame alums scheduled a visit back to campus in order to participate in the Eucharistic Procession. Mary Tarsha is from San Antonio, Texas, and Father Derek Van Daniker serves in the Diocese of Lexington, Ky. Both are former members of Children of Mary and said the humble act of praying the rosary daily has produced tremendous grace in their lives.

    As a college student, Father Van Daniker served as the group’s president from 1999-2001.

    “Some students wanted to start praying the rosary together,” explained Father Van Daniker, reflecting on how Children of Mary began in the early 1990s after fellow student David Wade was inspired by the messages of Medjugorje and Our Lady’s call to prayer and conversion.  “They started in Zahm Hall, a residence hall in the middle of campus and very centrally located. They gathered very simply to pray the Prayer of our Church to Our Lady and that led to a little community of prayer that continues today. I was here a few years after it began, kind of the hey-day of its time, and it grew to a group of about 20-30 gathering every night to pray the rosary and go to Mass,” he said.

    Tarsha, who also served as president of the campus chapter of the Knights of the Immaculata, a group closely affiliated with Children of Mary, smiled as she explained the power of simple prayer.

    “The fruit of it was incredible,” said Tarsha, who attended medical school after graduating from Notre Dame in 2003. “We just came together to pray, and when you come together to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament a tremendous unity and community is formed. We have lasting friendships and there was so much joy.”

    Father Van Daniker said many religious vocations, including his own, were born from the time spent praying the rosary in college and reports at least a dozen priests and some religious sisters are counted among the Children of Mary alumni.

    “Steve Titus was a chemistry major and was studying with a fellow chemistry major,” explained Father Van Daniker, recalling a classmate of his: “He would kind of sneak out … he excused himself from studying around 10 o’clock and come back around 11 or 11:30. One of these times she asked, ‘Where have you been?’ ‘Well, I went and prayed the rosary and went to Mass.’ She was like ‘Oh, really?’ So he invited her to come. She’s now Sister Marie Colette Goetz, a Poor Clare nun in the Archdiocese of Chicago!”

    Titus himself entered the seminary and is now Father Steve Titus, serving as the parochial administrator at St. James Catholic Church in Douglas, Wyo. He credited classmate Tim Monahan, leader of the Children of Mary at the time, as a strong influence on the vocations of many. Now Father Tim Monahan, he entered the seminary right out of college and showed his peers how to give their whole lives to God and the Church.

    “I think I can speak for Sister Colette and myself in saying Mary interceded for us during those years at Notre Dame and enabled us to move without fear to answer God’s call spoken in the depths of our hearts,” reported Father Titus. “The support and true communion of Children of Mary fostered our faith and vocation.”

    Tarsha said she is happy to be a stay-at-home mom to seven-year-old Mary Faustina and three-year-old John Paul. She quotes another John Paul when asked how Children of Mary affected her vocation to motherhood.

    “Pope John Paul II said in ‘Love and Responsibility’ that education is the continual formation of the personality of the person,” Tarsha explained. “And without a doubt it was an incredible education formation. Notre Dame provided intellectual formation but it was really through Children of Mary that we received such an interior formation by praying the rosary, Adoration and love for the Mass. For me, that was life.”

    During her years in medical school, Tarsha said she remembered being incredibly exhausted after spending hours with cadavers in anatomy lab, but determined that nothing would keep her from going to Mass. She said she drew upon the faith cultivated during her college years.

    “As a mother now it’s really strengthened me in teaching my children this is the source of love,” she continued, referring to Mass. “In praying the rosary as family, there’s so much grace that comes that we’re not even aware of.”

    Founded by a small group of dedicated students, the annual Eucharistic Procession is now hosted by the University of Notre Dame Office of Campus Ministry. Beyond a campus event, the procession attracts people from all over the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

    The Children of Mary continues as a student group today, its members dedicated to prayer, social and service activities.

     

    Posted on April 30, 2013, to: