Campus ministry director plans daily Mass schedule

Mrs. Witka hopes to increase attendance


Mary Stempky

Father Augenstein greets those attending morning Mass

Max Wirth, Sports Editor

A piece of Cathedral history was written on May 19 at the beginning of the Irish 500, as former chaplain Fr. John Zahn announced his retirement. As his six-year tenure ended, the scramble to find a replacement began.

However, campus minister Mrs. Charlene Witka had a better idea.

“We didn’t have a chaplain, so I started reaching out to priests. I wanted to know who could help out,” Witka said, “and I wanted to spread the wealth.”

There is a rotating schedule, in no particular order, of priests for the daily 7:15 a.m. Masses, but Witka said no priest will celebrate Mass on consecutive days. On days of all-school Masses, no morning Mass takes place, and that priest would celebrate the Mass for the entire student body, faculty and staff. “I hope that people see a certain priest is coming Monday, and they decide to go because of the priest,” she said.

Among these holy men are Fr. Kyle Rodden from Saint Monica, Fr. Xavier Raj from Saint Luke and Fr. Nick Dante from Saint Matthew. “Kids always like when their priests come to visit, and I think it will increase attendance,” she said. These men are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday (in order of listed names) of each week if an all-school Mass falls upon that certain day.

The other two days of the week, Tuesday and Friday, are being occupied by Fr. Eric Augenstein, Fr. Keith Hosey and Fr. Jeff Godecker. Augenstein and Hosey are tag teaming the Tuesday duties. Augenstein currently serves as the vocations director for the Indianapolis Archdiocese. Hosey hails from the Lafayette Diocese and resides at Fatima Retreat House, along with Godecker.

Fr. Godecker, the chaplain of the first all-school Mass, has been involved with Catholic high schools before. “Once upon a time, I taught at a high school named Roncalli,” he said. Godecker aims to “deepen the student’s faith.” Godecker said he is happy to be back in a high school atmosphere. “I hope students know I’m always available,” he said.

School President Mr. Robert Bridges and Witka have a vision for next year, though. “There is a plan. My eyes are wide open if I can recruit someone. We hope to have someone for next year, but that’s all it is right now: a hope,” she said.

These priests who are visiting campus are not the only new faces involved with the school’s spiritual and religious life. Ms. Ashley Hill, who also will coach the men’s and women’s swimming teams, is the assistant campus minister. “I hope to increase visibility of Catholicism in Cathedral,” she said.