• The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has awarded 27 grants totaling $172,000 from the St. Mary’s Heritage Fund to various organizations from throughout the diocese, including parishes, schools and agencies. The following were awarded grants upon the approval of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades:

    Parishes receive $20,800

    • Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Fort Wayne — $4,000 for National Conference of Burmese American Catholics

    • St. Joseph, Fort Wayne — $7,500 for tuition assistance

    • St. Mary, Fort Wayne — $3,000 for transportation, housing, food assistance and utilities for Ave Maria House Emergency Assistance

    • St. Bavo, Mishawaka — $2,500 to help Vietnamese single parent send children to Mishawaka Catholic School for 2013-2014 year

    • Holy Cross, South Bend — $3,800 for cameras and recording unit for school security.

    Schools receive $112,000

    Fort Wayne:

    • Bishop Luers High School — $20,000 for tuition assistance

    • Queen of Angels — $5,000 tuition assistance to low income students who do not receive state vouchers

    • St. John — $7,500 for tuition assistance for families in need

    • St. Joseph-Hessen Cassel — $2,000 financial assistance to needy families

    • St. Therese — $7,500 financial assistance to families in need

    South Bend:

    • Our Lady of Hungary — $8,000 for a part-time resource person

    • Our Lady of Hungary — $2,000 for a full-time aid

    • St. Adalbert — $12,500 to provide 25 families with $1,000 scholarships for tuition assistance

    • St. John — $7,500 for tuition assistance


    • Marian High School, Mishawaka — $10,000 financial aid for minority students

    • Marian High School, Mishawaka — $10,000 financial support to purchase a food truck

    • Marian High School, Mishawaka — $10,000 tuition assistance

    • St. Vincent de Paul, Elkhart — $10,000 for aid for Hispanic and other minority families

    Agencies receive $39,200

    Fort Wayne:

    • Catholic Charities — $10,000 for food for the food pantry in St. Joseph County

    • Clinica Madre de Dios — $5,000 to provide medications and testing supplies to poor and uninsured diabetic patients

    • The Franciscan Center — $1,500 to help with startup costs to open a thrift store

    • Matthew 25 — $4,000 to provide medications to Burmese and Hispanic patients

    • The Rose Home — $3,500 to resident assistance fund to assist residents with first two weeks of expenses at The Rose Home

    • Vincent Village — $7,000 to provide child care to preschool homeless children at Vincent House

    South Bend:

    • Christ Child Society — $1,700 to provide hand-made winter scarves with distribution of coats, hats and mittens for children living in poverty


    • Hannah’s House, Mishawaka — $2,500 to provide group counselor services to pregnant women and new mothers who are homeless, abused and need support

    • St. Martin’s Healthcare, Inc., Garrett — $4,000 for improved health and wellbeing of patients. Health care of uninsured patients in DeKalb County

    The $3-million endowment fund was established in 1997 at the groundbreaking for the new St. Mary’s Catholic Church in downtown Fort Wayne to help provide financial assistance to the poor and needy throughout the diocese. The St. Mary’s Parish complex was completed in October 1998 and dedicated on May 2, 1999, after a fire destroyed the church and soup kitchen on Sept. 2, 1993. The St. Mary’s Heritage Fund was created through the collaboration and planning of the late St. Mary’s pastor, Father Tom O’Connor, and parishioners using money received from fire insurance on the historic church. Since its inception, the St. Mary’s Heritage Fund has awarded annual grants totaling $3,577,032.88 from interest gained on the fund’s principal.


    Posted on July 11, 2013, to:

  • Priest removed from ministry

    FORT WAYNE — On June 10, Father Thomas J. O’Hara, CSC, superior of the United States Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross, informed Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades that a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor had been received against Holy Cross Father Cornelius Ryan, Administrator of St. Joseph Parish-Hessen Cassel, and former pastor of St. Therese, Little Flower Parish, South Bend. The abuse took place approximately 20 years ago in Uganda, where Father Ryan then served. In accord with the Church’s norms, Father Ryan was immediately removed as parish administrator.

    At the end of a Mass Bishop Rhoades celebrated at St. Joseph Church-Hessen Cassel, on June 22, he assured the parishioners that in the course of the investigation of cases of alleged sexual abuse, the Church works diligently to discover the truth. He stated that “our concern for the safety and welfare of children must always be primary.”

    The bishop informed the parishioners that the Congregation of Holy Cross, which received the allegation against Father Ryan, has been conducting the required investigation. He shared with the parishioners that when Father O’Hara presented the allegations to Father Ryan, “he immediately and freely admitted the allegations made.”

    The bishop shared the following message he received from Father O’Hara on June 20: “Like many of your parishioners we were saddened by the allegations and then were shocked by the admission they were true. No one wants to believe someone as beloved as Father Ryan is capable of committing sexual abuse, but we all must face what now is fact, and move toward comforting and reconciling with the victim of the abuse who needs our pastoral support and prayers. Father Ryan is very remorseful and understands the actions taken by you and I are justified. He is in need of our prayers as well.”

    At the Mass at St. Joseph Parish, Bishop Rhoades expressed his love and support for the people of the parish, stating: “You are in my heart in a special way for I know of no other parish in our diocese that has had to undergo such a difficult trial as you are undergoing.”

    Bishop Rhoades encouraged the parishioners’ perseverance in faith and hope, trusting in the Lord “who knows how to wipe the tears from our eyes.”

    He expressed confidence that through the suffering the parish community is enduring in union with the passion of Jesus, it will rise “with even greater faith, having embraced the cross with Jesus.” Bishop Rhoades said: “With God’s grace, we must resist the temptation to anger and despair, repel the devil’s desire for us to give up, to reject the cross, to succumb to bitterness. In the end, the cross is our hope. Christ is our hope, our only hope.”

    In his homily, Bishop Rhoades quoted the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: “there is no area that cannot be touched by Christ’s power; there is no evil that cannot find a remedy in Him, no problem that is not resolved in Him.”

    The bishop added that “in the midst of every adversity, even when the boat of the Church is ripped apart by storms, Jesus commands the waters. He stays in the boat of His Church and calms the storms. The same with our lives. We will not sink and drown if the Lord is with us. We must trust in Him, even in times of trial, following Him on the way of the cross.”

    Bishop Rhoades announced that daily Masses would resume at St. Joseph Parish on June 25, with Father James Bromwich of the Sons of St. Philip Neri as celebrant. He expressed thanks to Father Bromwich and Msgr. Owen Campion also for celebrating weekend Masses. The bishop also expressed his gratitude to the parish secretary and business manager, Michelle Rupright, and all who are serving at the parish.

    Through these weeks, Mary Glowaski, diocesan Secretary for Evangelization and Special Ministries and victim assistance coordinator, has been at the parish providing pastoral support and counsel. Bishop Rhoades expressed his gratitude to Glowaski and assured the parishioners of the diocese’s ongoing support.

    Before giving the final blessing, Bishop Rhoades announced that after much thought, prayer, and counsel, he was appointing Father William Kummer as the new administrator of St. Joseph Parish, beginning on July 16. He prayed that St. Joseph, the parish patron and patron saint of the whole Church, would watch over the parishioners as he took loving care of Mary and Jesus.

    Bishop Rhoades also sent a letter to the parishioners of St. Therese, Little Flower in South Bend expressing to parishioners there his affection and prayers during this difficult time. The letter was read at Masses there on June 22 and 23. Fred and Lisa Everett, the directors of the Diocese Office of Family Life were present after the Masses to offer pastoral support.

    The bishop is asking the prayers of the faithful of the diocese for victims of sexual abuse, for the parishioners of St. Joseph-Hessen Cassel and St. Therese, Little Flower parishes, for Father Ryan, and for the diocese and the Congregation of Holy Cross and the fulfillment of the commitment to the protection of children and young people from sexual abuse.



    Posted on June 26, 2013, to:

  • Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will celebrate a Mass concluding the Fortnight for Freedom on July 4 at 9 a.m. at St. Matthew Cathedral, South Bend.

    SOUTH BEND — The Aug. 1, 2013 deadline is rapidly approaching for religious institutions to comply with the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate. This regulation requires religious employers and employees to pay for contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion inducing drugs — one way or the other. In response to this and other threats to religious freedom, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has organized a Fortnight for Freedom, June 21 to July 4, a two-week period of prayer, sacrifice and citizen education for the cause of religious liberty.

    Notre Dame law professor Richard Garnett will speak on the critical issue of religious freedom in America, “Why Religious Freedom Matters,” to local Catholics and others concerned with the erosion of religious freedom. The event, scheduled Wednesday, July 3, at 7 p.m. at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend, is free and open to the public.

    The HHS Mandate is an open and flagrant attack on the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion because it was a well known fact prior to the enactment of this mandate that the use of contraceptive and abortion inducing drugs and sterilization procedures was gravely contrary to the faith of Catholics and other people of faith, and still others with no particular faith. Forcible coercion by the government to pay for these drugs and procedures is a direct attack on religious liberty and conscience rights.

    The American Catholic Bishops have categorically stated, “We cannot and will not comply” with the HHS mandate.

    Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will celebrate a Mass concluding the Fortnight for Freedom on July 4 at 9 a.m. at St. Matthew Cathedral.

    Professor Richard Garnett is an associate dean for Faculty Research and Professor of Law and a Concurrent Professor of Political Science at Notre Dame. The university website notes that he “teaches and writes about the freedoms of speech, association, and religion, and also about constitutional law more generally. He is a leading authority on questions and debates regarding the role of religious believers and beliefs in politics and society.”

    Posted on June 25, 2013, to:

  • First Mary Virginia Merrick Award recipient brings legacy
    to South Bend Christ Child Chapter

    Dottie Wallace, left, assists Marjorie Bycraft in folding shirts in the new clothing room of the South Bend Christ Child Society. Bycraft was the first recipient of the Mary Virginia Merrick award at the chapter.

    SOUTH BEND — As the first recipient of the South Bend Christ Child Society’s Mary Virginia Merrick Award, Marjorie Bycraft’s history with the society predates her initiation as a new member of the chapter in 1975. It was through her mother Jewel Kenney Lane, an active member of a Chicago area chapter, that Bycraft saw the fruits of the organization’s impact on clothing needy children.

    “I remember her going to prepare the Christmas gifts to be delivered to 900-1,000 needy children in Chicago through Madonna Center on Chicago’s near west side. Interestingly, those gifts included much of what we give today: new clothing, sweaters, dresses, shoes, stockings, pants, underwear, snowsuits, mittens, a book, a toy. Of course, they also gave the infant layettes that all Christ Child chapters are required to give,” Bycraft recalls.

    At the South Bend Christ Child Spring Mass and Luncheon, Bycraft was recognized for her service by chapter President Kathy Seidl with the new biannual award that Seidl describes as “for members who have given their time and talents unselfishly to Christ Child over the years.”

    Among the criteria for the award are inspiration and example for others to participate in or support the work and mission of Christ Child Society, visibility at Christ Child Society events in the form of attendance, advocacy and promotion, general support of the society by virtue of giving the gifts of time, work or financial resources, and outstanding service to the work of the society as a volunteer or officer of the board of directors.

    The following nominating letter submitted by a chapter member outlined Bycraft’s many contributions to Christ Child. “Over the years she has gone above and beyond with being the purchaser of clothes during the time that our chapter was going through so many changes about what to give out, how much can we afford, what children need and where are the best places to shop. On top of that she and her husband stored much of the inventory and had it shipped to Jack Post to save us postage on many deliveries and then delivered the goods to the center. She has been president and served on the board and on many committees. She is an example of ‘above and beyond.’”

    Another nomination letter added, “She and her husband have been responsible for the Knights of Malta grants given to our chapter. Marjorie continues to volunteer at the center regularly and we would not be as efficient today without her tireless efforts of the past.”

    Bycraft has seen many changes with the South Bend chapter over the years. “Christ Child has seen tremendous growth in the years that I have been a member. We now serve over 4,000 children each year. It is much more efficient since we moved to the St. Patrick School building five years ago. However, along with that growth, our financial needs have grown as well.  No longer can we clothe the children with bazaars and garage sales. We now have more lucrative fundraisers to help underwrite our costs,” she says.

    The impact of the Christ Child Society on the South Bend community extends beyond the distribution of new clothing, Bycraft explains. “The new winter clothing provided to those families assists the parents financially, but also gives the children a sense of pride in themselves, consequently, we hope, they will do better academically and socially. The center is located well and creates a Catholic presence along with Sister Maura Brannick’s Chapin Street Clinic and the Catholic churches on the near west side of South Bend.”

    In addition to the members who have become a part of the chapter through friends, Bycraft hopes to get the word out to others about Christ Child Society’s service so that others may become part of this worthy organization. “It is wonderful to be a part of an organization that is your ‘heart,’ an organization to which it is a joy to give your time and effort. Through the years, I have always known where I would be on a Wednesday morning, and looked forward to spending that time with good friends serving those who needed our assistance.”

    She concludes, “I have always been proud of the fact that Christ Child is an all-volunteer organization without even one paid employee. The amazing work it does year after year happens because of close to 600 members who give their time, talents and treasures. Each part is important to the Catholic outreach that Christ Child has here in South Bend.”

    Posted on June 25, 2013, to:

  • • St. Joseph Church, 1300 N. Main St., Bluffton, will have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 5 p.m., Evening Prayer at 6:40 p.m., Benediction at 6:50 p.m. followed by Mass at 7 p.m. for the call to Prayer for Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty

    • Immaculate Conception Church, 500 E. Seventh St., Auburn, has a holy hour Mondays 5:30-6:30 p.m. and every Friday from 11 a.m. to noon. The Adoration Chapel is open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and people are encouraged to spend time in Adoration and pray for the intentions of life, marriage and religious liberty.

    • St. Charles Borromeo Church, 4916 Trier Rd, Fort Wayne, has a holy hour all Fridays from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the chapel.

    • Queen of Peace Church in Mishawaka has an hour and a half (3:30-5 p.m.) every Saturday of Adoration and Exposition prior to the Vigil Mass at 5:30 p.m. They dedicate this time in honor of private prayer for the Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty.

    • St. Mary of the Assumption Church, Decatur, hosts Eucharistic Exposition on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 4:30-6 p.m. and on Thursday from 9-10 a.m. and 4:30-8 p.m. The parish asks participants to pray for the protection of marriage, religious freedom and unborn children.

    • Our Lady of Good Hope Church, 7215 Saint Joe Rd., Fort Wayne, hosts a holy hour for religious liberty beginning with a rosary at 9:30 a.m. every Tuesday.

    Resources for the Call to Prayer can be found at www.usccb.org/life-marriage-liberty. These include a template and suggested dates for a Holy Hour, suggested Prayers of the Faithful, a one-page flyer about the Call to Prayer, and more.


    Posted on June 25, 2013, to: