September 9, 2009 // Local

News around Indiana

Compiled by Brandon A. Evans

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend
Expanded Women’s Care Center holds dedication in South Bend
SOUTH BEND — Just as the needs of pregnant women in St. Joseph County continue to grow, so does the ability of the Women’s Care Center to continue serving them.

With 14 pregnancy help centers operating throughout northern Indiana, lower Michigan and in Ohio, the office located just down the street from where the very first Care Center opened 25 years ago has expanded with Bishop John M. D’Arcy’s blessing.

He was on hand recently for the dedication ceremony. A supporter since the beginning, Bishop D’Arcy prayed especially for the Women’s Care Center and all who come there.

“This will be a place where you will give counseling and advice to women in need, to save the unborn,” said Bishop D’Arcy to a room full of care center supporters and staff — “a place, which respects the dignity of the human person. By this great work, for the most defenseless among us, you will help all of us continue in the journey where Jesus Christ will become closer to his people.”

Located at the corner of LaSalle and Notre Dame Avenue, this Women’s Care Center office will do more than house the corporate offices and provide central storage for all the donated baby items. It will allow counselors to continue serving those in need by offering pregnancy tests and helping women choose life for their babies. Women’s Care Center President Ann Manion says they also hope to make a positive impact on the problem women have accessing prenatal medical care in St. Joseph County.

“That has reached a 16-year low in our community,” explained Manion, “and so we were becoming concerned our clients were not receiving medical prenatal care.”

Manion said the Women’s Care Center joined with Saint Joseph’s Regional Medical Center to find a way to work together in solving that problem.

“We started seeing all kinds of other benefits because as the women are coming back for their prenatal care, we can walk the path of life with them, and help them with parenting classes and goal counseling, Crib Club and all the things we already do. So they’re not only getting medical care, they’re keeping in touch with us.”

(For this story and more news from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, log on to the website of Today’s Catholic at

Diocese of Gary
Andrean High School at 50 years

Story by Steve Euvino

MERRILLVILLE — “Long-standing hopes and aspirations of the faithful parishioners of Gary have been finally realized in the completion of this high school. It is an imposing structure from the material standpoint and from the spiritual view a powerhouse for human progress in virtue.”

That was Bishop Andrew G. Grutka writing in October 1960 prior to the formal blessing of the new Andrean High School.

Fifty years after the opening of the school in September 1959, alumni, current and former staff, and other members of the Andrean family gathered to celebrate and reminisce about the past five decades at 5959 Broadway. Bob Muir, a member of the first AHS graduating class from 1963, came from Corpus Christi, Texas, for the celebration Mass and social Aug. 29.

“It was the first year and we were the only ones here,” said Muir, who attended Ball State University on a football scholarship. “The building was half-done, and Father [William] Duggan, the principal, would ring a bell to change classes.”

Donna Bombassaro, who graduated five years later, is in her 34th year on the Andrean staff. The school’s technology support person noted the “family atmosphere” at Andrean.

Basilian Father Dave Bittner, a 1973 graduate who taught three years at the school, recalled AHS’ religious retreats. “They crystallized my faith and helped lead to my vocation,” said Father Bittner, who now teaches in Edmonton, Canada.
Father Bittner was among several local and Basilian clergy who joined Bishop Dale J. Melczek at the Saturday afternoon Mass.

(For this story and more news from the Diocese of Gary, log on to the website of the Northwest Indiana Catholic at

Archdiocese of Indianapolis
‘Women and Spirit’: Catholic sisters have served millions of people in U.S. for nearly 300 years

By Mary Ann Wyand

CINCINNATI—Gratitude, admiration and amazement were among the reactions of 60 archdiocesan pilgrims who journeyed by bus to see the “Women and Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America” exhibit on Aug. 27 at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

The exhibit pays tribute to the thousands of courageous, faith-filled sisters who faced many daunting hardships to found and staff hospitals, orphanages, schools, colleges and other social service ministries throughout the United States beginning nearly 300 years ago. It also honors the 59,000 sisters who continue to serve the changing needs of millions of God’s people today.

Sponsored by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in association with the Cincinnati museum, the exhibit documents their “quiet courage during many dramatic moments in American history”—the Civil War, Gold Rush, San Francisco earthquake, influenza epidemics, civil rights movement and Hurricane Katrina.

As part of the one-day pilgrimage, Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel, vicar general and spiritual director for the pilgrimage, celebrated Mass with the pilgrims at the historic and ornate St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Ky., before lunch at the authentic German Hofbrauhaus restaurant in Newport, Ky. The pilgrims then spent the afternoon browsing through the “Women and Spirit” exhibit, which features historical items assembled from more than 400 communities of women religious.

Artifacts range from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson to a cradle from a Victorian orphanage and medical supplies used by the brave sisters who provided nursing care for soldiers on bloody battlefields during the Civil War.
“I think it was really worthwhile, first of all, to have Mass in the beautiful cathedral basilica in Covington and then to see this exhibit of the contributions that religious communities of sisters have made to the United States,” Msgr. Schaedel said. “Some of the exhibits and videos are almost unbelievable. The sacrifices that these women made were quite touching. I’m really glad we came.”

Photo caption: Oldenburg Franciscan Sisters Rita Vukovic, from left, Ruth Breig and Jean Wolf read the display about their order on Aug. 27 at the Cincinnati Museum Center. (Photo by Mary Ann Wyand)

(For these stories and more news from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, log on to the website of The Criterion at

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