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By Tim Lilley
Bishop Charles C. Thompson told hundreds of youth and young adults attending the 2017 Source Summit Retreat that the readings for the March 17 Mass he celebrated for them reveal one simple truth.
“God always wins.”
The first reading recounted the Old Testament story of Joseph, whose brothers sought to eliminate him. Joseph, forced into slavery, ultimately became the third highest official in Egypt and eventually ended up saving the entire country, including his own family.
The Gospel reading, from Matthew, included Jesus’ parable about the vineyard owner who sent workers and, ultimately, his son, to collect from tenants, who refused all approaches and ultimately killed his son. “What Jesus is trying to tell us in this Gospel is foretelling what’s going to happen to him,” Bishop Thompson said. “All the different people the vineyard owner sent were the prophets. And then he said, ‘I’ll send my son,’ and he is killed. We hear Jesus say, ‘the stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.’
“Despite what they tried to do to Joseph, God still brought about the salvation of the people through him,” the bishop said. “Despite what they tried to do to Jesus, God still brings about our salvation. God always wins. And if we want to be winners, we need to make sure we’re on the right side … that we’re seeking to be on God’s side, not just assuming that ‘God is on my side.’”
“This Gospel has very special meaning to me,” Bishop Thompson said. ‘Christ the Cornerstone’ is my episcopal motto. ‘The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.’ It is the pivotal stone on which a foundation is built. We celebrate Jesus Christ the Cornerstone – the most significant aspect of what it means to us to be disciples, family of God. That is the most important stone in the foundation of who we are and what we are about. In this Eucharist, we receive that cornerstone; Jesus himself.
“Somehow we felt called to be here tonight,” Bishop Thompson said. “Each of us also has to ask, ‘when might I allow jealousy, envy, pride, resentment or bitterness to blind me from recognizing the very cornerstone of my life?’ That’s why we have Reconciliation here all weekend – to help us recognize the blind spots in our lives … how we might reject each other.
“We are called to recognize Christ coming to us in all people, and how we are to bring Christ to all people,” the bishop added. “This weekend, let us take time to ask ourselves where we might be rejecting … the Cornerstone, the only Son of God our Father so that we might grow through this Lenten season. We want Christ to be that very foundation of what we are all about. Pray for the grace to keep Christ-centered and Eucharistic-centered in all things.”
Photo caption: Bishop Charles C. Thompson speaks to hundreds of youth and young adults attending the Diocese of Evansville's 2017 Source Summit Retreat, held March 17-19 at Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville. The Message photo by Tim Lilley
(For news from the Diocese of Evansville, log on to the website of The Message at www.themessageonline.org)
By Molly Gettinger
“Every project I do, every report I write and every call I make has to have a real benefit to the world around me, or it isn’t worth doing.”
These are the words of Tim Ruggaber, senior project manager at EmNet in South Bend. Ruggaber’s undergraduate and graduate education were oriented towards his career as a civil engineer. After receiving his bachelors from the University of Notre Dame, however, he chose not to enter directly into the work force. Instead, he dedicated a year of his life to service at Nazareth Farm, a Catholic community in rural West Virginia that transforms lives through a service-retreat experience.
Serving from 2003 to 2004, Ruggaber wanted to gain a different perspective on life before traveling down a conventional career path. He shared: “My experience before my year of service had been very homogenous, and I knew that I lacked a broader perspective on life.
“While I was working at the farm, I daily ran into scenarios with no clear answer in sight, such as opening up a wall in an old house and not finding any studs, or having to teach a group of volunteers a skill that I had just learned that morning. The result was that I learned how to have confidence to innovate new solutions, to try something that I might fail at and to ask for help when I needed it. Today, I work to develop new technology to make infrastructure work better and smarter, and I’m continually using those same skills.”
For Ruggaber, his year of service equipped him an innovation-oriented mindset and a desire to use his work for good. For others, a year of service can go beyond this, directly influencing which field one pursues professionally.
Clarice Shear discerned her vocation to full-time service while a senior in college. From fall 2014 to summer 2016, she served as a Mission Corps member at Maggie’s Place in Phoenix, Ariz. Maggie’s Place is a house of hospitality, healing and growth for pregnant women and their babies.
“While at Maggie’s Place, I was fortunate enough to have the unique opportunity to walk beside these mothers on their personal journeys of struggle, heartbreak and triumph,” Shear shared. “Being able to share a home with them, I was able to also share the everyday challenges and joys in a very intimate way.”
As a Mission Corps member, she lived in a house with homeless, pregnant women. Her days were filled with anything from sharing chocolate cake at midnight to standing beside them in the court room and holding the hands of mothers as they gave birth. “After serving at Maggie’s Place I was able to discern that God was continuing to call me to work with this population.” Shear continues her commitment to mothers and to life through her current position at the Women’s Care Center in LaPorte.
Photo caption: Members of the Catholic Worker Community in South Bend.
By Jennifer Miller
“It doesn’t take much effort to see division, empty promises, fear and anger in our society. However, as a church, we know that a deep and personal relationship with Jesus, who is the Truth, leads to a life of unity, charity, joy and freedom,” Megan Bazler Urbaniak, director of adult faith formation at Christ the King Parish in South Bend, explained. “We begin to live a life of the beatitudes, a life where we see Christ in others and draw others to the healing and charitable love of Christ.”
Urbaniak organized the Christ the King Parish Lenten mission, which took place March 12-14. “We first considered choosing “Truth in Charity” because it’s Bishop Rhoades’ episcopal motto. As the planning committee spent time in prayer, we began to realize how important and timely a reflection on God’s truth and charity is. The psalms, readings, prayers and music we selected were carefully and prayerfully chosen as we each explored the need for more authentic truth and charity in the world.”
After a parish potluck meal Sunday night, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades began the Christ the King parish mission, leading evening vespers and preaching. The Gospel that evening was the Beatitudes, from Matthew 5:1-15.
He started his reflection by sharing the memory of how he chose his episcopal motto, Truth in Charity or “Veritatem in caritate,” in Latin. He was Rector of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., at the time, when he received the call that he was being appointed a bishop, the bishop of Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa. The motto comes from chapter four of St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, verse 15, which reads: “living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into Him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Bishop Rhoades explained, “He (St. Paul) urges them to live in the truth out of a desire for the good of others, acting in love. In our speech and our conduct, when we are truthful, sincere and motivated by love, we grow into maturity in Christ. Christ is our goal and our life is to be “in Him.” He is the head of the church. It is from Christ that we receive the truth and it is from Christ that we learn to love.”
Photo caption: Bishop Kevin Rhoades preaches at evening vespers, which began a Lenten retreat at Christ the King Parish March 14. He spoke on the theme “Truth in Charity.”
(For news from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, log on to the website of Today’s Catholic at www.todayscatholicnews.org)
By Marlene A. Zloza
GARY – “You are a precious part of Jesus’ body. . . (today’s Mass) allows us to know God’s love for us in a deeper way, how close he is to you and how important you are to him.”
With those words, Bishop Donald J. Hying shared a message of God’s all-encompassing love with special needs families attending The Apostolate for the Other Abled Annual Mass on March 19 at the Cathedral of the Holy Angels.
And as the bishop reached out with handshakes, hugs and kind words to the congregation gathered for the second year under the sponsorship of the Office of Intercultural Ministries, the families of persons with developmental disabilities, autism and physical disabilities likewise embraced the Diocese of Gary’s spiritual leader.
“The Bishop is a wonderful person, doing so much for the community,” said Loretta Arreguin, of Calumet City, Ill. and St. Victor parish, whose family attended with special needs daughter, Amanda Arreguin, 22. “It is important for all of us parents to support him at all his Masses.”
Francisco Arreguin, Amanda’s father, said the family has also found inspiration at Masses celebrated by the bishop at Hammond and East Chicago parishes. “I like the bishop, and I’ve had dinner with him,” added Amanda Arreguin, dressed for a talent show dance performance later that evening.
“This Mass is a place where (families) can feel included and supported by the Church and the community,” said Emily Hackett, of Munster, director of religious education at St. Thomas More and a member of the diocese’s Apostolate for the Other Abled Committee. “I have a master’s degree in Special Education and I am very passionate about people with special needs.”
That passion led Hackett to take on an important role for the Office of Intercultural Ministries and its director, Adeline Torres. “Emily is the person I rely on,” Torres said during a dinner after the Mass, while recognizing individuals and groups who assist with the ministry.
Torres said signing for the hearing impaired, provided at the Mass, will continue to be provided at AOA events. The ministry is looking into offering respite care to allow parents of special needs children up to four hours of time for themselves, additionally. The AOA office is studying the implementation of the Special Religious Development (SPRED) program in the Archdiocese of Chicago to instruct and prepare special needs youth to receive the sacraments and participate in the liturgical life of their parish.
“We will be asking the parents of special needs children for their ideas, too,” Torres pledged.
Photo caption: Robert Moravec, a Ss. Peter and Paul parishioner with special needs, presents a cruet filled with water to Deacon Christopher McIntire, as Deacon Duane Dedelow assists at the altar during the annual Other Abled Mass sponsored by The Office of Intercultural Ministries and The Apostolate for the Other Abled, at Holy Angels Cathedral in Gary on March 19. Also pictured in background (left to right) are servers Caitlin Perosky and Chris Neff and Deacon Michael Halas. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)
(For news from the Diocese of Gary, log on to the website of the Northwest Indiana Catholic at www.nwicatholic.com)
By Caroline B. Mooney
KOKOMO — Joe Farris feels a personal commitment to let youth know how much God loves them and that they can do incredible things.
“My goal is to figure out where the teenagers are and not to give them the same things we give everybody else,” he said. “The whole point of us being here is to give them an opportunity to recharge and be inspired.”
Farris spoke to 80 teens at the 14th annual high-school retreat “The Call,” held March 18-19 at St. Joan of Arc Church.
The weekend offered faith, spirituality and fellowship through motivational talks, breakout sessions, Mass, Eucharistic adoration, and the opportunity for reconciliation.
Paul Sifuentes, diocesan associate director of youth and young adult formation, served as emcee.
Ann Campbell and Brian Campbell, pastoral associate for youth and young adult ministry at St. Joan of Arc, organized the retreat with the help of the parish youth council. Youth came up with the theme, planned skits and designed T-shirts.
“Youth chose the theme ‘Recharge’ in reference to how all of their electronics have to be recharged. And we need to be recharged spiritually,” Ann Campbell said.
“The youth council helped plan this and all the adult volunteers are really like the Body of Christ working together,” she said. “Some volunteers call themselves ‘lifers,’ because they no longer have children coming here, but they keep coming.
“They have their niches that they do really well,” Campbell said. “Every year it amazes me that God has put all these people here with various gifts and makes it all work. Some people leave and others step in to those jobs.”
She said that Farris was helping the retreatants with their prayers.
“Our lives are too busy right now and kids don’t always know what to say,” Campbell said. “He’s been good about leading them through prayers and adding some music, using lyrics as prayers or meditation.”
Photo caption: Joe Farris challenges retreatants to change the way they look at other people.
By Jesica E. Hollinger
NOBLESVILLE — “Keep the faith — that’s what I want for you more than anything.”
Patty Schneier, a nationally recognized speaker and author from the Archdiocese of St. Louis, shared this expression with a crowd of more than 40 women gathered for “Breathe in the Spirit,” a women’s day of reflection held at Our Lady of Grace Parish on March 18.
That phrase, Schneier said, was a mantra she used every day to motivate her children and help them to remain true to the Catholic faith, as they were subjected to outside influences.
“The goal is heaven, nothing short — I’m raising you to be saints, nothing less,” she would often tell her children.
During her presentation, “I Wanna Be Like You,” Schneier challenged the crowd to learn more about the lives of the saints and to strive to become saints themselves.
“The first step to becoming a saint is desire,” Schneier said. “The difference between the saints and us is that they don’t let their past or anything else get in the way.”
Schneier encouraged participants to allow Christ to work through them and with them, in order to be potential saints, and answer the fervent call to holiness.
“The saints were ordinary people, just like you and me,” she reminded the crowd several times. “The saints are our fathers, our mothers, our grandfathers and grandmothers — our Holy family – and we need to learn more about their lives.”
Schneier addressed the common misconception that Catholics worship the saints, providing solid analogies with apologetics for those who encounter individuals who make this insinuation.
“Prayer and worship are two very different things,” she stressed to the group. “We can see several references in Scripture where we are encouraged to pray to the saints for assistance,” including the passage, ‘So confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another to be cured; the heartfelt prayer of someone upright works very powerfully’, James 5:16.
“Who should we call on in our most difficult times?” Schneier asked the crowd. “Those who are closest to Jesus, of course – they are our best prayer warriors, because the saints are alive in Christ and listen to our prayers.”
Photo caption: Patty Schneier challenges those attending the retreat to learn more about the lives of the saints and strive to become saints themselves.
(For news from the Diocese of Lafayette, log on to the website of The Catholic Moment at www.thecatholicmoment.org)