August 18, 2009 // Local

Catholic News Around Indiana


The candidates for diaconate lie prostrate on the floor of the main aisle while the choir and the congregation sing the Litany of Saints. This act is intended as a sign of total submission to God, unworthiness for the office, and complete dependence on God and the prayer of the Mystical Body of Christ.(Message photo by Paul R. Leingang)

Compiled by Brandon A. Evans

Diocese of Evansville
New deacons commit to ‘the totality of it all’

By Paul Leingang (Message editor)

As 12 men and their families waited in anticipation of ordination to the diaconate, Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger invited them to consider “the totality of it all.”

The ordination, at St. Benedict Cathedral in Evansville, was celebrated Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption.
Bishop Gettelfinger, in reflecting on the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, asked the congregation to reflect on what it meant when Mary said “yes” to the invitation to be the Mother of God.

“She was being obedient,” he said, “embracing the totality of what it was to be mother.” She had to embrace all that followed, birth, changing diapers (or whatever they used in those days, he said), dealing with a precocious child at age 12, the trauma of his being rejected even by those who loved him, and finally the joy that he was resurrected.

He reminded the candidates that they and their spouses had already embraced obedience to the vocation of married life, “the totality of it all,” and now the 12 men were being called to accept another challenge: “to be a servant” and to “embrace the totality of what it means to be a deacon.”

Father Jean Vogler, diocesan director of the permanent diaconate, presented the 12 candidates to the bishop.
Each candidate then approached the bishop, knelt before him and made a series of promises. They resolved to discharge the office of deacon with humble charity in order to assist the priestly order and to benefit the Christian people, maintain and deepen their spirit of prayer, to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours, and “to conform your way of life always to the example of Christ, of whose Body and Blood you are ministers at the altar.”

7,138 students – overall Catholic school enrollment is down by 283 students

By Mary Ann Hughes (Message staff writer)

“Our first day will end in two hours,” said Char Bennett, principal at St. John the Baptist School in Newburgh. “It sure went fast! Each student pulled the rope on the bell in front of church to open the school year. They were thrilled.”

Newburgh students and students in Catholic schools throughout southern Indiana are now all back in school, and there’s a brand new private Catholic high school in Jasper. It’s named John Paul the Great and Elizabeth Flatt is the principal.

This year, all of the schools in the Diocese of Evansville will be using the theme “We Are Called.”

First day enrollment for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Evansville is 7,318, according to Donna Halverson, diocesan director of schools. This year’s figure is a decrease of 283 compared with last year’s enrollment figure of 7,601. This figure does not include students at John Paul the Great, operated as a private school.

Read the full story at for a first day of school enrollment report, on a school-by-school basis, gathered from information provided by the Catholic Schools Office, along with information submitted to the Message by principals.

(For these stories and more news from the Diocese of Evansville, log on to the website of The Message at

Diocese of Gary
Future priest appreciates parish life, preparing homilies

By Debbie Bosak

MUNSTER – The notion of becoming a priest came early to Deacon Ted Mauch. “I was very young – first or second grade – and was already telling people I wanted to be a priest,” Deacon Mauch recalled. “That thought always seemed to be there.”
Ordained a transitional deacon this past June, Deacon Mauch begins his final year of theological studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit this fall and hopes to be ordained a priest in June 2010. As part of his formation, Deacon Mauch has spent several summers locally learning the ins and outs of parish work.

This year he has enjoyed the added responsibilities of the diaconate: assisting at weddings, presiding at baptisms and graveside committal services, visiting nursing homes and preaching at daily Mass.

“It’s been an awesome experience and I’ve been very happy to exercise every aspect of my diaconal ministry for which I was ordained,” Deacon Mauch said, noting that not all of his classmates have been so fortunate.

When asked what he has enjoyed the most about his summer experience, Deacon Mauch pointed to preaching. “I just love it. I love preparing and praying over the readings,” he said. “You know, after a few days, you realize that this is something you’ll be doing everyday. There’s plenty to say, but it can be overwhelming.”

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

Archdiocese of Indianapolis
A journey touched by God: Roncalli principal follows in the footsteps of school’s namesake

By John Shaughnessy

Thousands of miles from his Indiana home on a recent summer day, Chuck Weisenbach sat in an outdoor café in a small Italian village, marveling at how his journey had once again been “touched by God.”

For three weeks this summer, Weisenbach and his wife, Jane, traveled through France and Italy, following part of the life journey of Blessed Pope John XXIII.

Weisenbach has worked at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis for 25 years and has been its principal for the past 15 years.
For years, Weisenbach has longed to travel to Italy to follow in the footsteps of the man whose name graces the archdiocesan high school on the south side of Indianapolis.

The dream became a reality this summer thanks to an $8,000 creativity grant that Lilly Endowment Inc. provides for teachers and school administrators. Weisenbach applied for the grant in 2008, 50 years after Cardinal Roncalli became pope in 1958.
“I had always been impressed when I read about his life,” Weisenbach says. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat to go to the places where he lived and try to find out as much as we could about the man?’ ”

The trip into Pope John XXIII’s past led Weisenbach and his wife back to the beginning, to the small Italian village of Sotto il Monte where he was born in 1881, the third of 13 children in a family of sharecroppers.

The couple visited the home where Angelo Roncalli lived, and the church where he was baptized, became an altar boy and first thought of becoming a priest.

“The simplicity of his life comes through in that church,” Weisenbach says. “If you read about him, all he wanted to be was a simple country priest. That’s the way he defined himself. But God had different plans for him.

“I am fascinated that God put his hand on a little boy from a small, remote village who came from a peasant family to become one of the most revered, loved and respected persons of his time and in our Church’s entire modern history.”

Seminarians Phillip Rahman, left, and David Proctor peer into a display case in the Old Cathedral Library in Vincennes that houses many of the books of Bishop Bruté and early documents of the Diocese of Vincennes, which later became the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Seminarians Phillip Rahman, left, and David Proctor peer into a display case in the Old Cathedral Library in Vincennes that houses many of the books of Bishop Bruté and early documents of the Diocese of Vincennes, which later became the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Archdiocesan seminarians make pilgrimage to Vincennes

By Sean Gallagher

VINCENNES-Twenty-five seminarians made a pilgrimage on Aug. 12 to Vincennes, Ind., the place where the Church in Indiana began 175 years ago.

That is when the Servant of God Bishop Simon Bruté came to minister in what is now known as the Old Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, a church that was built in 1826.

The seminarians, accompanied by archdiocesan vocations director Father Eric Johnson, prayed in the crypt where Bishop Bruté and his first three successors are buried, celebrated Mass in the main church and visited the Old Cathedral Library, which was founded in 1794 and is the state’s first library. Much of Bishop Bruté’s own extensive library is preserved there.

Father Johnson said that it was important for the men who are discerning if God is calling them to serve the Church in central and southern Indiana as priests to visit the place where it began.

“It kind of makes the stories that we know and the history that we’re a part of more tangible and concrete,” he said. “We need something that we can touch that helps to make that [history] more real and causes us to reflect a little more deeply on who it is that we are and what it is that we’re called to.”

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