December 17, 2010

Seminary enrollment, charter schools top local news stories of 2010

Aaron Foshee, left, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City studying at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, helps Archdiocese of Indianapolis seminarian Anthony Hollowell, right, move his belongings into the southern Indiana seminary on Aug. 26. The seminarian enrollment at Saint Meinrad is at a 25-year high this year. (File photo by Sean Gallagher)

Aaron Foshee, left, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City studying at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, helps Archdiocese of Indianapolis seminarian Anthony Hollowell, right, move his belongings into the southern Indiana seminary on Aug. 26. The seminarian enrollment at Saint Meinrad is at a 25-year high this year. (File photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Brandon A. Evans

The 25-year high for enrollment at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, and the creation of two charter schools in Indianapolis were voted the top local news stories of 2010.

Working in tandem with the custom of other news agencies, including Catholic News Service, The Criterion editorial staff votes each year for the top 10 stories that were published in our newspaper.

Many of the stories selected this year were actually made up of several individual articles. Read them all here

Amid the hundreds of locally produced news stories during 2010, here is our “Top 10” list:

1. Enrollment at Saint Meinrad Seminary reaches a 25-year high.

Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology has 136 seminarians enrolled from 35 dioceses and religious communities this year, marking the largest class since 1985.

Only four years ago, the enrollment was 94, but the number of seminarians there has steadily increased during the last three years.

The large number of seminarians—including men from India, Korea and Vietnam—led Saint Meinrad to change the orientation of St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel to fit more students and to convert guest rooms to seminarian housing.

From our coverage by Sean Gallagher:

“Such growth … surprised Benedictine Father Denis Robinson, Saint Meinrad’s president-rector.

“According to Father Denis, there are several reasons for the growth in seminarian enrollment at Saint Meinrad—improved relationships with dioceses, strengthening of its priestly formation program, support given by the alumni of Saint Meinrad, a realignment of enrollment in seminaries across the country, and the closing and consolidating of some smaller seminaries.

“He also noted that there has been a general increase in the number of seminarians nationwide in recent years.”

2. Archdiocese creates two charter schools.

From our staff report in April:

“The archdiocese recently received approval to create two charter schools in Indianapolis—a move that will make it the first Catholic diocese in the United States that has committed to overseeing a school involved in this educational approach.

“When the 2010-11 school year opens in August, St. Anthony Catholic School and St. Andrew & St. Rita Catholic Academy will become charter schools. While they will still be managed by the archdiocese, they will have to change their names and they will no longer be able to promote the Catholic faith during school hours.

“The two schools are currently part of the six schools that form the Mother Theodore Catholic Academies—a consortium of schools created by the archdiocese to focus on educating students in urban areas of Indianapolis.

“The other four schools in the consortium—Central Catholic School, Holy Angels School, Holy Cross Central School and St. Philip Neri School—will continue as Catholic schools.

“ ‘Many urban Catholic schools are closing across the nation, and we did not want to leave the students or communities we currently serve,’ said Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel, vicar general of the archdiocese. ‘Through this transformation, an urgent and unmet need within urban Indianapolis will be filled.’ ”

3. St. Anne Parish dedicates new church three years after arson fire.

St. Anne Church in New Castle was destroyed in an arson fire on April 7, 2007—Holy Saturday. Three years later, on Feb. 28, the rebuilt church was consecrated by Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein.

Mary Ann Wyand reported the following in her news coverage:

“Offering his congratulations and thanks to St. Anne parishioners for their patience, sacrifices and hard work, the archbishop said the dedication liturgy ‘marks a joyful conclusion to the sadness and the anguish caused by the destructive fire in your church three years ago.’

“As parishioners celebrate the dedication of their new church, the archbishop said, it is important to remember those ancestors of our faith who founded St. Anne Parish in New Castle in 1873 as well as the entire communion of saints.

“ ‘The history of every faith community is a pilgrimage often marked by challenges,’ Archbishop Buechlein said. ‘I doubt that the pastor and folks who founded your parish envisioned that someday we would have to experience a fire by arson.’

“The new church has a statue of St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin Mary which survived the fire. The statue now includes a small plaque that reads: ‘Tested in Fire. Strengthened in Faith.’ ”

4. The Office of Catholic Education hires a new director.

Harry Plummer started his service in the archdiocese as the executive director of the Office of Catholic Education and Faith Formation on July 1, after serving the past three years as the superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings in Montana.

The father of eight was born and baptized in Indianapolis.

He succeeded Annette “Mickey” Lentz, who served in the role for 12 years and is now chancellor of the archdiocese.

“ ‘Harry is committed to Catholic education,’ ” Lentz said in a news story written by John Shaughnessy. “ ‘He has a deep spirituality which gives witness to his faith. He understands the concept of total Catholic education. He has had experience both in schools and religious education. He sees his role as a shepherd of all of the ministries for which he will be responsible.’ ”

Plummer’s selection was the result of a national search that began in December 2009. He inherits an archdiocese in which 25 of 71 Catholic schools have been recognized as Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education, and in which the high school graduation rate is 98 percent.

5. Archbishop Buechlein has surgery to remove a tumor.

In a page-one letter published on March 26, the archbishop wrote: “A recent medical checkup revealed that I have a small tumor that will need to be surgically removed.

“The tumor is not related to the Hodgkin’s lymphoma that I had in 2008. My doctors believe the tumor is benign, and want to remove it as a precautionary measure.

“I’ve been told I may need four to five weeks of recovery time following the surgery.

“I do not expect the day-to-day operations of the Archdiocese of

Indianapolis to be greatly affected. We are blessed to have so many dedicated and hardworking clergy, religious and parish life coordinators as well as an excellent administrative staff. Our many ministries will continue as usual.”

The surgery was performed in April, and the archbishop made a full recovery.

6. A new bishop is chosen for the Diocese of Lafayette.

Bishop Timothy L. Doherty, previously a priest and health care ethicist for the Diocese of Rockford, Ill., was chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to be the new shepherd of the Diocese of Lafayette, which borders the archdiocese on the north.

He succeeded Bishop William L. Higi, 76, who had served as the leader of the Lafayette Diocese since 1984.

The episcopal ordination and installation of Bishop Doherty was celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Lafayette, and was attended by more than 700 people, 200 priests, 25 bishops and two cardinals.

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein was the principal celebrant.

Kevin Cullen, the editor of The Catholic Moment, reported on the event:

“In his homily, Archbishop Buechlein said, ‘Bishops are called to live the simple life of the Gospel in a way that somehow mirrors Jesus, the one who serves.

“ ‘The Church needs us to be no-nonsense, down-to-earth, holy, spiritual and moral leaders who are who we claim to be,’ he said. ‘With Jesus, in Jesus and for Jesus, that is the ultimate service, the ultimate witness to the unity of faith. God bless you, Bishop Doherty, with many fruitful years of living his call to holiness.’ ”

7. Archdiocesan Catholics respond to the needs in Haiti.

From a Jan. 22 story written by Sean Gallagher:

“In the wake of the massive Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, parishes across the archdiocese that have done mission work there made initial plans to assist in the relief work in the impoverished island nation.

“The Archdiocese of Indianapolis as a whole is providing aid through second collections taken up in every parish on the weekends of Jan. 16-17 and

Jan. 23-24. The money donated in these collections, taken up at the request of Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, will be given to Catholic Relief Services, which is coordinating support from Church agencies around the world.

“Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Jeffersonville, Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, St. Ambrose Parish in Seymour, St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus and St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg all have sister parishes in the northern part of Haiti that seem to have come out of the earthquake relatively unscathed.”

St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Indianapolis, which has longstanding ties with a parish in Haiti, organized a 10-member medical trip outside the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

8. Archdiocese begins to prepare for changes in the Mass.

Beginning mid-year, the archdiocese began preparing priests, deacons and laity for coming changes to the English translation of the Mass, which will take effect on the weekend of Nov. 26-27, 2011—the First Sunday of Advent.

Father Patrick Beidelman, the archdiocesan director of liturgy, will help ministry leaders prepare for the change.

Sean Gallagher reported:

“Included among the ministry leaders that Father Beidelman and other archdiocesan Office of Worship staff members will meet with over the next 15 months are priests, deacons, deacon candidates, parish life coordinators, other lay parish staff members, and those involved in liturgical and music ministry.”

Video presentations on the new translation of the Mass, to be posted on the archdiocese’s website, will be geared for teachers, catechists, and those who minister to youths and young adults.

“ ‘My hope, as we work with those in leadership in our parish and school communities in the archdiocese,’ Father Beidelman said, ‘is that they themselves will learn this new translation and come to a deeper understanding of the meaning of our worship of God in the Mass.’ ”

9. The Criterion celebrates its 50th anniversary.

From our staff report composed mostly by editor emeritus John F. Fink:

“In its Sept. 23, 1960, issue, this announcement appeared in The Indiana Catholic: ‘Archbishop [Paul C.] Schulte has announced that with this issue The Indiana Catholic ceases to be the official publication of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.’ ”

Two weeks later, on Oct. 7, 1960, The Criterion was published for the first time.

Msgr. Raymond T. Bosler, the founding editor of The Criterion, had been the editor of The Indiana Catholic for 13 years.

Where did the name The Criterion come from? Msgr. Bosler said that Father Paul Courtney came up with the name. Father Courtney was then a full-time professor at Marian College, who also wrote editorials for the newspaper. His editorial in the first issue explained the name. Here is an excerpt:

“Webster’s Dictionary says ‘criterion’ means ‘a standard of judging, a rule or test by which anything is tried in forming a correct judgment respecting it.’ In short—a standard. It may seem a trifle immodest to label as ‘The Criterion’ a paper in which we editors express our views about numerous subjects, but if our readers will only accept the unofficial character we claim for our editorial opinions, the title ‘Criterion’ won’t seem too arrogant.”

Our special coverage has included a decade-by-decade timeline of major news events, a four-page, pull-out section in October and an ongoing column looking at the news 50 years ago.

The Criterion has also started to post full issues from the 1960s in its online archive.

10. Msgr. Richard Kavanagh, longest serving priest in the archdiocese, dies.

From a news story written by Sean Gallagher:

“Retired Msgr. Richard T. Kavanagh died on Jan. 20 at St. Paul Hermitage in Beech Grove. He was 98.”

Msgr. Kavanagh, who died of natural causes, had lived at the Hermitage since 1998.

At 73 years, he was the longest serving priest in the history of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Msgr. Mark Svarczkopf, the pastor of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, was the homilist during Msgr. Kavanagh’s funeral Mass.

“ ‘He was a really good pastor, a real gentleman, very inspiring,’ Msgr. Svarczkopf said. ‘I try to be like him, but I don’t think I’m making it.’ ”

Msgr. Kavanagh served as the administrator and pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Indianapolis for more than 30 years.

He was active in the founding of the archdiocesan Catholic Youth Organization and the construction of the four interparochial high schools in Indianapolis. He also started the archdiocesan Office of Purchasing and guided the renovation of the former home of Cathedral High School into the Archbishop O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis.

(Click here to read our original coverage for all of these stories, including additional links of interest)

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