• Provides a unique graduation gift for college-bound students
    SOUTH BEND — College Connection for Catholics (CCC), a program of the USA Council of Serra International and NET Ministries, unites college students with the Catholic faith on campuses. CCC is designed to connect incoming Catholic college freshmen with the Catholic presence on or near their campus, with the goal of helping the students stay active in their faith.

    Serra International was formed in 1936 as a lay Catholic organization to support the vocations to the priesthood and community life (sisters and brothers) through activities such as this and prayer.

    The program, which launched a new website in 2010, has become a premier national outreach program for the USA Council of Serra International and NET Ministries. It is a major step in helping promote Catholic campus ministries on college campuses. The College Connection for Catholics website features over 1,100 colleges across the nation; plans include increasing this number to 1,500 this year. CCC has generated positive responses from students, campus ministers and diocesan officials about its goal to reach this critical age group that is most likely to lose their faith.

    Several hundred members of Serra Clubs have spent the past six years developing the CCC program. They have gathered data which confirms that only 15 percent of incoming Catholic freshmen are practicing their faith by the time they graduate.

    More than 1.2 million Catholic students enter college life each year. Ninety percent of them attend a secular campus where it is difficult for Catholic ministries to reach them without knowing who they are. Members of Serra Clubs coordinate with their local diocese, Catholic high schools and parishes to obtain the names of graduating seniors and provide them with information about the Catholic presence at their college of choice. The clubs also provide Catholic campus ministry officials with these students’ names and information, so they can invite them to Catholic events and liturgies.

    The Serra Club of South Bend, composed of Catholic men and women devoted to the fostering and supporting of vocations to the priesthood and religious life was formed in 1946. The purpose of CCC, to keep the young people who enter colleges connected to their Catholic heritage, is related to Serra and so the club is using its resources to further the efforts of CCC to the local youth.

    Saint Joseph and Marian high schools have been enlisted to assist in obtaining the needed information on graduating seniors. This information will be forwarded to the Catholic Ministries program at the student’s college of choice. This will make it possible for the campus’s Catholic ministry group to contact the students at the beginning of their freshman year to invite them to participate in the programs and liturgical activities of the ministries.

    According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., if campus ministries reached just 10 percent more of the nearly 5 million Catholic college students across the United States and kept them active in their faith, it would add approximately 500,000 practicing Catholics to dioceses across the country.

    “I can’t think of a better way to make an impact on the Church and the world than by reaching people who are at the very beginning of their careers and connecting them deeply to their Catholic faith,” said Father David Konderla, director and pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Center at Texas A&M.

    Father James J. Bacik, who ministers to students at the University of Toledo, and author of “Empowered by the Spirit,” a campus ministry document for the U.S. bishops in 2006, said getting the names of Catholic students coming to the university from Serra Clubs is “like gold in our pockets. It is a great help in our ministry. These students are the future leaders of society and of our Church.”

    Robert McCarty, executive director of the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministers, said the College Connection program responds to the U.S. bishops’ goals for Catholic youth ministry: “To call young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ,” and to “draw young people to responsible participation in the life, work and mission of the faith community.”

    For more information, the Serra Club of South Bend may be reached by contacting either: Dr. Frank C. Toepp,  chairman, South Bend CCC at (574) 272-1897 or e-mail at franktoepp@comcast.net; or Stephen Elek, Jr., communications, South Bend CCC, at (574) 291-0550 or e-mail at selekjr2@comcast.net.

    Posted on May 25, 2011, to:

  • By Mark Weber

    Bishop John M. D’Arcy, bishop-emeritus, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, conducted a brief dedicatory ceremony at the Catholic Cemetery of Fort Wayne on Saturday, May 21. Recognizing St. Mother Theodore Guérin as the foundress of The Sisters of Providence in America and as the foundress of Catholic education in Fort Wayne, the bishop blessed a statue and, in the Guérin Mausoleum, a plaque honoring Our Lady of Providence. The statue was donated in memory of Richard and Marcella Ankenbruck and the chapel plaque in memory of Larry A. Amstutz, Jr.

    Posted on May 25, 2011, to:

  • Bob Mackin holds the gift that he received in recognition of 65 continuous years of bowling in the Knights of Columbus Bowling League on April 25. Mackin is shown standing in front of his picture that is included with the pictures of previous Santa Maria Council 553 Grand Knights.

    Rick Alexander

    SOUTH BEND — Knight Bob Mackin started the Knights of Columbus (KofC) Bowling League with fellow Knight Erv Golabowski in South Bend in 1946. The two were members of the Santa Maria Council 553.

    Although the league has had numerous homes, it was formed and bowled at the Indiana Club, which was the original home of Santa Maria Council 553. There were four bowling lanes in the basement, so the council started with four teams.

    Mackin, the sole survivor of those who originated the league, has bowled in the KofC Bowling League for 65 continuous years and is the only originator of the league still living. He served the league faithfully all of these years. At 86, Mackin is the oldest person to bowl in the KofC League.

    Mackin retired from the bowling league at the end of the 2011 season. His final KofC league bowling night was April 27. Over his bowling span, Mackin’s highest game was a 268. His highest series was a 703.

    Mackin counts among his achievements serving as the league’s secretary treasurer for 50 years. But his dedication to bowling did not end there. Mackin served as president of the Knights of Columbus International Bowling Association for several years. In addition, he served on its board of directors for nine years. He is also a past Grand Knight of the Santa Maria Council.

    Mackin, who is a member of the South Bend-Mishawaka Bowling Hall of Fame and the Knights of Columbus International Bowling Association Hall of Fame, was instrumental in bringing the International Bowling Tournament to South Bend on five occasions, the most recent in 2008.

    On April 13, the Knights’ bowling league honored Mackin before league bowling began. He was presented a clock/plaque, and card signed by each bowler in the league.

    Posted on May 25, 2011, to:

  • Members of Mishawaka Antioch Youth and the Marian High School Choir rehearse for A Festival of Praise in Honor of Pope John Paul II, at St. Bavo Church. From left are Stacie Bert, Mary Schmitt, Caty Long, Melanie Williams, Madeline Pingel, John Uebbing, Zane Langenbrunner and John Banes.

    By Susan Baxter

    MISHAWAKA— When the news broke that Pope John Paul II would be beatified, some people wanted to weep, some wanted to dance in the streets, and some, like a group of Catholic youth in Mishawaka, wanted to sing … and sing and sing and sing.

    This Sunday, May 22, members of Mishawaka Antioch Youth with singers from Marian High School will present a special concert, A Festival of Praise in Honor of the Beatification of Pope John Paul II, at 7 p.m. at St. Bavo Church. St. Bavo’s Joe Higgenbotham, who organized the event, will conduct.

    “There are 12 short readings from the writings of the pope,” Higgenbotham said. “Each will be followed by a brief reflection by Father Bob Lengerich, parochial vicar at St. Pius X in Granger. A song will then be presented by the choir or a soloist.”

    The readings were selected by Joe Bagiackas of South Bend and St. Bavo Pastoral Associate Gus Zuehlke. Bagiackas, who has a doctorate in theology from the Catholic University of America, has published the “Lay Person’s Guide” series.

    “These are summations that were written for lay people to help them better appreciate the papal teachings,” Higgenbotham said. “Joe and Gus came up with 12 themes (with short readings) which they felt were emphasized in his pontificate.

    “I then tried to come up with music that would match the theme. Of course, Father Lengerich will tie in his reflection with the theme.”
    Higgenbotham says the concert will have a variety of liturgical music, from traditional to contemporary.

    There is no doubt that the Blessed John Paul II will be pleased with the event; he held a special place in his heart for artists. In his “Letter to Artists,” as extracted by EWTN in a Vatican Update in 1999, the pope wrote that “the faith of countless believers has been nourished by melodies flowing from the hearts of other believers, either introduced into the liturgy or used as an aid to dignified worship.

    “In song faith is experienced as vibrant joy, love and confident expectation of the saving intervention of God,” Higgenbotham said.

    The concert, which features so many beautiful young voices, is an appropriate response to the gift of John Paul II, Higgenbotham said as he shared his family’s reflection.
    “He was a saint for our times; a great gift from God for the whole world,” he said. “He spoke to so many areas that we needed to hear about. He conveyed the truth courageously and was an example of Christ to all.

    “He always upheld the dignity and sanctity of human life and he modeled to the whole world through his own suffering the value of human life, even up to one’s last moments on earth.
    “He was a great light.”
    The concert is free and open to the public.

    Posted on May 18, 2011, to:

  • A large mural featuring the life of St. Mother Theodore Guérin was unveiled May 6 in Providence Center at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods before finding a permanent home in the rotunda of the Vigo County Court House. The five-by-ten-foot mural was created by well-known Terre Haute artist Bill Wolfe, pictured, who was assisted by Terre Haute artist Becky Gropp-Hochhalter.

    SAINT MARY-OF-THE-WOODS — A large mural featuring the life of St. Mother Theodore Guérin that soon will have a permanent home in the rotunda of the Vigo County Court House was unveiled May 6 in Providence Center at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

    St. Mother Theodore, foundress of the Sisters of Providence, was canonized Oct. 15, 2006, in Rome by Pope Benedict XVI. She came to the United States in 1840 to establish the Sisters of Providence.

    Click on the photo for a larger image.

    The five-foot-by-ten-foot mural was created by well-known Terre Haute artist Bill Wolfe, who was assisted by Terre Haute artist Becky Gropp-Hochhalter. The frame for the mural was made by Keith Ruble of the Vigo County Park and Recreation Department. About half of the lumber used for the frame came from the same walnut stock that was used for St. Mother Theodore’s coffin. The coffin rests for public veneration in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

    The mural shows St. Mother Theodore as a baby, then as a young woman walking on the Breton Shore in France. A map of France locates the French motherhouse for the Sisters of Providence.

    The central image shows Saint Mother Theodore kneeling in prayer at the ship’s bow as she and her companions prepare to arrive in the United States. Other images show LeFer Bridge at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, St. Mother Theodore welcoming students to the Academy, now Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, the sisters’ journey by stagecoach across swollen river waters to their new home, a sister carrying firewood to a log cabin and a map of Indiana documenting the state’s only Catholic saint.
    Also shown is an authentic replica of St. Mother Theodore’s handwriting from her journals.

    “I’m happy it’s completed and I’m honored to have had this opportunity to document history, not only for Mother Guérin, but also the other parts of history in Vigo County,” Wolfe said about the three-month project.

    Wolfe also will create three other murals about Vigo County’s history for the rotunda project.

    Sister Denise Wilkinson, the Congregation’s general superior, hosted the unveiling reception in the Providence Center lobby on behalf of the Congregation.

    Posted on May 18, 2011, to: