Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Let's Celebrate Writing Gifts Of Two Of Our Own

By Tim Lilley The Message Editor


Managing Editor Mary Ann Hughes and regular contributor Greg Eckerle deserve our collective gratitude and congratulations.

Hughes has been a rock in the diocesan communications office, and her writing talents have been recognized – again – by the Catholic Press Association of the U.S. and Canada.

Eckerle, who works in public and media relations for the Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, provides readers with regular glimpses into the blessed good work of the Benedictine Sisters. The CPA also recognized his outstanding talents as a writer with a national award at the 2014 Catholic Media Conference, June 18-20 in Charlotte, N.C.

They provide the Catholic community across our 12 counties with unique news and information that many readers of The Message otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Their work – and that of our other contributing writers and photographers – is a primary reason why you see a wealth of local content in every issue.

They shared the spotlight in Charlotte with Catholic media from all over North America. It was gratifying to see their hard, good work recognized by our continent’s premier Catholic communications organization.

When you see Hughes and Eckerle, salute them. We are blessed and fortunate to have them, and we thank them for their service to our Catholic community.

While you’re add it, please do the same for the other members of The Message staff and our regular contributors. They deserve recognition and thanks for an ongoing job well done!



This issue is dated June 27 – the final workday of my 52nd week in the Diocese of Evansville. The year has flown by – although not so fast that I didn’t notice all the blessings.

Working in the diocesan communications office continues to be an amazingly rich experience. Days are filled with interactions involving true people of faith at every turn. More than once since last summer, I have found myself in prayer asking God what I did to deserve such a wonderful opportunity.

Thanks to the listening sessions Bishop Thompson has completed as part of the Diocesan Strategic Planning Process, I’ve visited many of our parishes and met scores of great people. The past year also has brought real appreciation for the wealth of beautiful, holy churches that grace our 12 counties.

More than a few people have heard me call this “the best job I’ve ever had.” It is.

Collectively, you are the primary reason. This office and The Message serve a small piece of a much larger Catholic world. Without exception, people I have met across the diocese left the lasting impression that they are thrilled to be citizens of that Catholic world – and even happier to call the Diocese of Evansville home.

At every turn, you have welcomed me into the diocesan family. I am truly grateful, and give thanks to God every day – early and often.

Have there been potholes? Sure; every road has them. Repairing them has provided opportunities for useful dialogue with a number of people from across the diocese.

We celebrate the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul this Sunday (June 29). It’s become more special to me because of an observation Bishop Thompson made during a listening session.

“If Peter and Paul walked into this room,” he said, “they wouldn’t know what to think.” They didn’t have cathedrals; they had prison cells. Their “parish boundary” extended to the ends of the known world.

Church buildings? Zero. Parish halls? None. Bulletins? No. Diocesan newspapers? Um … I suspect they might ask, “what’s a diocese?!”

Peter – “the Rock” – denied Jesus three times during our Savior’s darkest hours. Paul – Saul of Tarsus – persecuted our Lord’s followers until being blinded by The Light. Together – after Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension – they led the spread of the Gospel throughout the world.

God’s endless Mercy made their holy work possible. All of us have a stake in that work as we strive to answer Pope Francis’ call to take our faith “out to the peripheries.”

Here, I thank God early and often for this opportunity to serve the diocese through The Message and the communications office. And I thank Him for you and your kindness because you have made this son of a Western Pennsylvania coal miner feel so welcome and blessed.