Christmastime is popular for year-end gifting. As we sit down with our checkbooks, we gift our loved ones, service providers, customers, and of course, our favorite charities. The Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana (CFNWI) is host for over a dozen endowment funds that have been named for the donor or a loved one who has passed. Family members choose the Holidays to remember loved ones and offer generous financial gifts in their memory.

Catholic Charities Endowment Fund is one of the most popular to gift at Christmas because of the good works that they do. The Women’s Care Center, a program of Catholic Charities, takes care of mothers at risk, walking with them through their pregnancy, helping them prepare for the arrival of their baby, teaching them how to be good parents, and offering guidance in career development. When we think of Baby Jesus born 2000 years ago, we have the opportunity to offer care and love to babies who are coming into the world in our century. Because it is an endowment, the CFNWI provides a stream of income from now into eternity.

You can make a tax-free charitable donation directly from your IRA to the Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana.  Distributions of up to $100,000 per year per taxpayer are allowed without an income tax assessment if the donor is age 70 ½ or older. Charitable distributions may exceed the amount of the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD).  Stocks and bonds are fantastic ways to donate.  By making a gift of appreciated securities, you may avoid paying capital gains tax that may otherwise be due if you sold these assets.  Consult your financial advisor about tax-advantaged charitable gifts or call CFNWI at 219-769-9292, x. 268.

Foundation Pays Tribute to Bishop Melczek

Bishop Emeritus Dale J. Melczek passed away August 25, 2022. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

On November 3rd, 2022, the Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana and Bishop Robert J. McClory welcomed Bishop Alphonse Quesnel of the diocese of Fort-Liberte’ in Haiti to the annual Friends of the Foundation reception.  Both bishops shared their gratitude for the generosity and kindness of Foundation founder and former chairman, the late Bishop Dale J. Melczek.

During his lifetime Bishop Melczek donated over $100,000.00 to establish educational funds for three Catholic high schools (Andrean, Bishop Noll, and Marquette) and to fund education in Haiti.  As part of his legacy, Bishop Melczek left $43,000.00 to the Catholic Foundation upon his death for the support of our sister diocese, Fort-Liberte’ in Haiti.  Bishop Alphonse announced that a school in Fort-Liberte’ will be named after Bishop Melczek to keep his name alive in the Haitian diocese.

A tribute to the late Bishop Melczek was included in the 2022 Annual Report which was distributed at the reception.  To request a copy of the report or make a donation, please email: or call 219-769-9292, ext. 268.

Homily focuses on Prayer and Meditation

“I don’t have God, God has me…”

The 11th annual Red Mass was held October 6th in Merrillville, Indiana. Based on a tradition initiated in Europe in 1245, the Red Mass is an opportunity to honor and invoke the Holy Spirit for wisdom. In the Gary Diocese, the Red Mass welcomes all in the legal and financial fields to recommit themselves to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance and to work for justice.

The main celebrant, the Most Reverend Robert J. McClory, shared his words of wisdom: “Remember the necessity of prayer, quiet, silence, reflection in (the) life of all professionals, where the duties…can become so all consuming, demands can be so pressing that the temptation, either intentional or otherwise, is to fill one’s day with everything but not give time to God in the midst of all those pressures and demands.”

Bishop Robert J. McClory (center) delivers his homily before area judges, legal and financial professionals. Bishop McClory, holds a law degree and practiced in the legal field before answering the call to the priesthood. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

Bishop McClory encouraged a 5-step way to expand quiet time and prayer in our lives as a response to the love that God has for us. “Christ himself who is the model for us all, would take those times for prayer, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes 40 days in the desert to make sure that he was in communion with God the Father.” Christ was nourished by his relationship with God in those moments of silence and prayer, moments of prayer and contemplation.

Bishop recommended a daily method to practice reflection, the Examen, created by St. Ignatius of Loyola. For more details and to hear the complete homily, please click here.

Guest Speakers for October 6 Continuing Education Seminar

Karin Clauson, a graduate of Purdue University and the University of Cincinnati, specializes in trusts and estates as a Senior Tax Accountant at Swartz, Retson & Co. after 15+ years in the banking industry, working with Trusts and managing the Trust Tax Department for over 12 years at MB Financial Bank, N.A. She will provide “roll up your sleeves” pointers regarding tax issues encountered at death.

Calvin Bellamy graduated from University of Michigan Law School and served in the District of Columbia, Illinois, and Indiana. He spent 37 years in banking, practicing law for another 13 years as a partner with Krieg DeVault LLP.  He has authored several Law Review articles and is active in community organizations. He will showcase estate planning horror stories with real life examples of celebrity estates gone wrong.

The presentation is free and can be used for 1 CLE credit for Lawyers, and 1 CPE credit for accountants. A light breakfast will be served. Scroll down for more details.

Diocese of Gary Red Mass

October 6, 2022, 8:00 am

Our Lady of Consolation Church

8303 Taft, Merrillville

The Red Mass tradition was initiated to bestow wisdom from the Holy Spirit upon Judges, Justices, and members of the legal profession at the beginning of each Court Season.  This tradition goes back to the thirteenth century.

The contemporary Red Mass brings members of the bar, government officials, the judiciary, the financial community, and all those who work together for justice in our world to reflect and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Bishop Robert J. McClory will preside. In the continuing education seminar following the Red Mass, guest speakers will be Attorney/ Former Banker Calvin Bellamy and Swartz Retson Senior Accountant/Former Banker Karin Clauson.  Together they will address the daunting topic of “Life, Death and Taxes.”  This event is open to everyone in the legal and finance community and is hosted by the Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana.

Building a Foundation for the Future

Students from Notre Dame Catholic School join students and faculty from Queen of All Saints and Marquette Catholic High School in praying the Our Father during Catholic Schools Week Mass at Marquette Catholic High School. Bishop Robert McClory celebrated Mass with the students. (Bob Wellinski photo)

With Father’s Day right around the corner, now is a good time for fathers (and mothers) to review their estate plan and consider how they would wish to be remembered and what kind of legacy they would like to leave. Do you wish to support your parish or a special Catholic organization after you head to your heavenly reward?  Now is a good time to consider giving a gift that continues to give by investing or bequeathing a gift through the Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana.

In 2008, Bishop Melczek and several members of the Diocesan Finance Committee had the foresight to establish the Catholic Foundation as a way to gather, keep, and grow parish savings and monetary gifts while generating income and stability for parishes and other Catholic ministries. The Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana has grown from $3 million at its start to $14 million today.  The Catholic Foundation gave over $2,720,000 in distributions in last fiscal year (7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021).

Where do the distributions come from?  Each of the Foundation’s endowments consist of an initial opening gift, and additional gifts that are received throughout the year.  The initial fund is never spent. Distributions come from earnings, dividends, and market growth. The donations that go into a fund stay there forever and continue working. 

Management fees are minimal, and distributions are available twice a year as income which can be used for whatever the parish or organization determines.  Distributions can be reinvested, resulting in larger, future distributions. The fund holder (pastor, principal, or other administrator) determines how to manage the distributions: accepting all or part of the available growth, deferring, re-investing, or any combination of the three.

What does defer mean in this situation?  Generally, to defer means to postpone.  In this instance, to defer means that that all or part of the distribution money stays invested until the next semi-annual distribution.  The deferred amount continues to earn and grow.  Distributions are offered twice a year in January and July and the deferred amount can be taken during those distribution periods.   

Gifts to the endowment funds are accepted year-round and start earning money right away.  Contact the Development Office (219-769-9292 x 268) to see if your parish or school already has an endowment.  Envelopes are available at the Pastoral Center if you wish to make a donation.  Digital giving makes giving easy, and the Foundation accepts donations online at  Disbursements from the Foundation’s endowment funds maintain church properties, support seminarians, assist our retired priests, Catholic Charities, and other worthy causes across the Diocese of Gary.  

The Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana, Inc. is a Catholic organization and a 501(c)(3) non-profit, independent corporation.

Friends of the Foundation 2021

Bishop McClory addresses Catholic Foundation donors and Mercy Grant winners at annual autumn mixer.

A crowd of 80+ came together on November 9, 2021 to share in fellowship and conversation at the sixth annual Friends of the Foundation reception at the Briar Ridge Country Club.  The Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana brings donors and fund holders together to share stories of the good work being done in the Diocese of Gary. Several new endowment funds were opened in the 2020 – 2021 year, and many new faces were introduced joining with corporate sponsors and winners of the 2021 Mercy Grant Awards to celebrate another year of growth for the Foundation.

Bishop Robert J. McClory compared an endowment fund to a tree, saying the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and the next best time is to plant a tree today, referring to the investments in the Foundation and how important it is to water those trees to benefit future generations.

A short video presentation outlined the history of the Foundation and introduced this year’s 2021 Mercy Grant winners:

Miscarriage, Mothers & Others

Their work recognizes the life of the unborn child and the validation of the parent’s, sibling’s, and grandparent’s grief when a miscarriage happens in the family.  Their activities include educational information and outreach to families who have lost a child through miscarriage.

Saint Elizabeth Seton Prison Ministry 

The ministry puts together bags with clothes and toiletries for prisoners who are reentering society.  Volunteers purchase and collect clothes and shoes from various churches in the diocese and assist with rent for newly released offenders. 

Saint Teresa of Avila Catholic Student Center 

This Center provides missionaries to lead Catholic college students into a growing relationship with Christ.  FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) ministers help students put their relationship with Christ into action through mission and service.

Sojourner Truth House

They are a ministry of hope and help for homeless and at-risk women and their children sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. Through hospitality, advocacy, integrative services and collaboration, participants improve their quality of life and that of the community in a safe, trusting environment assisting participants to improve their quality of life and become contributing members of their communities.

Focusing on Early Growth in the Foundation

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Melczek_mercy1-1024x680.jpg
(Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

In 2008 Bishop Dale Melzcek and the Finance Council of the Diocese of Gary established the Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana (originally named the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Gary).  Diocesan leadership brought their vision to reality, creating a permanent flow of income for our schools and parishes by establishing local endowment funds within a Catholic Foundation to serve the four counties of Northwest Indiana.   

The early growth of the Foundation was slow.  Several funds that had been established by Bishop Andrew Grutka, the first Bishop of the diocese, were transferred to the Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana to provide assistance and scholarships for Catholic high school students and the seminarians of the Diocese. Bishop Melczek supported the Foundation by establishing additional endowment funds in his own name.

Bishop Emeritus Dale Melczek proudly reminisces, “I am a great believer in our Catholic Schools.  What we have in our Catholic schools, no one can duplicate.  I wanted to preserve that.”   Cal Bellamy who served on the Finance Council at that time emphasized that the Council promoted the Foundation “to provide sustainability and serve the mission of the Church through investment in our Catholic parishes.” 

Endowment funds now exist for Nativity School (Portage), Aquinas School (Merrillville), St. Joseph School (Dyer), St. Patrick School (Chesterton), St. Casimir School (Hammond), St. Paul School (Valparaiso), St. Stanislaus Kostka (Michigan City), St. Thomas More (Munster), in addition to scholarships for three Catholic High Schools, and multiple parishes and college scholarships. 

If your Catholic school is listed, you may contact the Foundation to make a donation to an existing account, or if you wish to create a new fund, contact Judy Holicky, Stewardship Coordinator for the Foundation, at 219-769-9292, ext. 268 or email to

Make a Lasting Difference

Foundation Achieves $13 Million in 13 Years

This year, 2021, marks the 13 year anniversary of the Foundation.  In the last year, the Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana added six new accounts, bringing the total assets managed to over $13,000,000. The Foundation adds the following organizations to its growing list of funds and beneficiaries: St. Casimir Parish in Hammond, Sacred Heart Parish in Whiting, St. Patrick Church in Chesterton, St. Paul Parish in Valparaiso, Staley Scholarship for Andrean High School, and James & Barbara Thorstad Scholarship for St. Patrick’s School.

Anyone can donate to our existing endowment funds and support your local parish, school or ministry.  If your parish does not have an endowment account, it is easy to establish a new account. If you have 10 people who can contribute $500 each, or 5 donors at $1,000 (for a total of $5,000), you can establish an endowment that will fund your favorite ministry and generates income in perpetuity.  Through your financial discipleship, you help the Church in Northwest Indiana.  You can watch how your gift benefits the parish or agency while you are alive and the income from the endowment will continue to give after you are gone.  Contact Judy Holicky ( or 219-769-9292. ext. 268).

Mercy Fund applications open through 8/1/2022

Through generous donations from across our diocese, the Mercy Fund is entering its fifth year of granting awards for projects in our diocese that embody spiritual and corporal works of mercy. In 2020, the Mercy Fund awarded $6,000 in grants for projects throughout the Diocese of Gary.

Do you know a Catholic organization or group – engaged in programs, initiatives, or projects dedicated to a work of mercy in our diocese – that could benefit from a grant of up to $5,000? 

Applications were closed at noon on August 1, 2022.  Additional details and eligibility requirements are available at  Please contact Judy Holicky  at 219-769-9292 ext. 268 or  with any questions.

2020 Mercy Fund Grants Feed the Hungry in NW Indiana

For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink … The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’  (Matthew 25: 35,40)

In response to the current need brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, all 2020 Mercy Fund grant monies were awarded to support the immediate needs of the hungry within our Diocese of Gary.

The economic conditions created immense needs to feed the hungry, as the numbers of hungry multiply and our local food pantries and meal services report huge increases in demand for services.

For the 2020 grant cycle, the committee reviewed prior grant applicants and identified which programs are established to feed the hungry.  Following confirmation that the respective organizations were still engaging in programs to feed the hungry, each was awarded a pro rata share of the 2020 Grant funds.

2020 Mercy Fund Grant Recipients:

Good Samaritans, St. Michael Church – Schererville

St. Joseph Food Kitchen – Hammond

Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Special Works Fund

St. Stanislaus Community Food Pantry – East Chicago

Sacred Heart Food Pantry – LaPorte

Pick 7 Food Distribution, St. Matthias Church – Crown Point

St. Mary of the Lake Food Pantry – Gary

Boxes of Mercy/Food for the Hungry, Queen of All Saints – Michigan City

We are living in an unprecedented time. Together, with Christ by our side, we will not only survive but we will thrive.

Mercy is strong. Mercy rises to all challenges. Mercy shall prevail.

For more information contact the Foundation at

Click here to donate to the Mercy Fund!

“For it is in giving that we receive.”
St. Francis of Assisi

As a faithful disciple of Christ, you are generous with your time, talents, and treasure.  The Catholic Foundation of Northwest Indiana is here to help you create a philanthropic legacy that will reflect your faith and benefit your favorite Catholic church or ministry forever.

Contact Judy Holicky to learn how to start a fund:
219-769-9292 x 268


Facebook News

This message is only visible to admins.
Problem displaying Facebook posts.
Click to show error
Error: Server configuration issue