November 20, 2021 // Diocese

Around the Diocese: November 21, 2021

Mission trips open to Catholic college students

FORT WAYNE — Since 2004, more than 13,000 college students, chaplains and Fellowship of Catholic University Students missionaries have served on more than 1,000 mission trips around the world, making FOCUS Missions the largest Catholic missions program. FOCUS Missions expects more than 2,300 participants will serve on trips in the next year, serving communities in the U.S. and around the world.

Young adults are encouraged to consider a FOCUS international mission trip. The deadline to apply for spring break trips is Nov. 30, and applications for summer trips are due by Feb. 15. More information is available at

Spiritual Impact Bootcamp at Little Flower

FORT WAYNE — The Spiritual Impact Bootcamp is a weekend designed to train, equip and strengthen Catholic individuals for their mission in the world. It will include a retreat element, but the primary objective is to equip participants with the necessary evangelization skills to be effective apostles in the world. 

Some of the objectives of this St. Thérèse, Little Flower Parish initiative include learning to live a life of witness in the world; identifying enemies to the mission; sharing personal testimony; learning how to share the Gospel of Jesus with others in a compelling way that prompts a response from the hearer; and small group facilitation. Hear from the captain, the heavenly Father, about His battle plan and learn how to exercise prophetic ministry.

The schedule for the Dec. 3-4 weekend is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, with optional fitness class at 7 a.m. and Mass/adoration at 8 a.m.

A $10 donation for the bootcamp is requested of parishioners, and $20 for nonparishioners.

Register on the St. Therese parish website, Click on “Go Deeper with Us” and “Retreats.” Deadline to sign up is Monday, Nov. 29. The parish is located at 54191 Ironwood Road, South Bend.

St. Joseph Parish repeats popular digital Advent calendar

SOUTH BEND — Last year, the Christian Formation Commission at St. Joseph Parish, South Bend, faced the challenge of helping parishioners observe Advent when many of them were still unable to gather in person. The group’s creative solution was an online Advent calendar. Each day, people could click on a different “door” and encounter a resource to enhance their personal or family preparation for the great feast of Christmas. Parishioners shared in an intimate way about their spiritual practices, such as eucharistic adoration, and their physical ones. Some invited viewers to see how they’d decorated their home for the season.

The 11-member commission received so much positive feedback from last year’s calendar that they created a new Advent calendar this year. The link isn’t yet available, but as Advent begins, interested readers can find it by going to the parish website,

Sean Driscoll, director of religious education, viewed the reality of the pandemic as an opportunity for engagement, not just a challenge. The electronic postings, therefore, are designed not only to minister to the homebound but to bring all parishioners and visitors to the site together, facilitate in-person encounters and highlight events happening in the parish community.

Every Sunday, there will be a written prayer service to use at home, drawing on that day’s Scripture selections.

On Mondays, a personal testimony from a parishioner about his or her own prayerful experience of expectant waiting will be posted. This may include a pregnant mother, an engaged couple or a family whose loved one is under hospice care. Last year’s testimonies focused instead on how individuals prepare to keep Advent.

The Tuesday link will focus on the parish grade school, perhaps including students’ artwork, their nativity pageant or a service of lessons and carols.

On Wednesday, the choir will perform an Advent hymn. Theresa Slott, director of music and liturgy, has already been sending out a weekly recording by the group.

Thursday will be a day for unique surprises that may include recipes, international customs or traditions shared by seasoned parishioners. Friday will have a penitential flavor, with different ways to examine one’s conscience and a list of opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation.

On Saturdays, the focus is on Mary. Possibilities include poetry, coloring sheets for children and artistic images with meditative music.

Doesn’t that sound sweeter than a secular Advent calendar, with candy behind each door?

                                     — Jill A. Boughton

Jerry Kessens/Provided by Justin Purdy
On Oct. 15, Father Thomas Brandon Council 451 at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Fort Wayne celebrated its 122nd anniversary. After more than a century, the council is alive and flourishing as is evident by the most recent membership drive, recruiting 15 new candidates. To commemorate the drive’s success, the officers and members held an exemplification ceremony utilizing the new ceremonial format rolled out by Supreme in 2020. The event was attended by more than 150 family members and brother Knights in support of the men as they begin their journey into Knighthood.

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