The Catholic Parish of St. Isidore, encompassing the churches of St. Celestine (Celestine, IN) and St. Raphael (Dubois, IN) is located in the rolling hills of Northeast Dubois County in Southern Indiana, near Patoka Lake. Our two Churches are united in faith, family and community. Please join us in worship!

Mission Statement - We, the parish of St. Isidore, witness to the world the love of Christ we have received in the Sacraments, and we invite others to personally experience the Grace of God through prayer, acts of service, and spiritual formation.

Entries in St. Celestine (13)


From the Desk of Fr. Eugene

What are the benefits or impact of marriage preparation?  Here are the top conclusions of a nation-wide study done by The Center for Marriage and Family.

1. The vast majority of individuals who participated in marriage preparation programs view the experience as valuable early in their marriage. 93.8% of respondents in their first year of marriage agree that marriage preparation was a valuable experience; 74.8% in their second year offer the same judgment. Overall, almost two-thirds (66.3%) perceive marriage preparation as a valuable experience, 26.6% of them as a very valuable experience. The other third (33.8%) perceive it as less than valuable, 8.2% of them strongly.

2. The perceived value of marriage preparation declines significantly over time. Is it simply that memory fades? Is it that the benefits erode with time? Is it that marriage preparation prepares couples for the tasks they face early in their marriages, but not for the tasks they face later? If the last is the case, and we hypothesize that it is, it indicates the need for booster programs throughout the various developmental stages of a marriage.

3. Marriage preparation is judged most valuable when it is done by a team of clergy, lay couples and parish staff. Clergy working alone with a couple is currently the most common format for marriage preparation, but couples judged this format significantly less valuable than a team format. Their commentary was interesting, if predictable: "Priests who don't marry . . . just don't know what marriage is really like." A team approach which does not include a clergy representative, however, was also judged less valuable than a team with a clergy member.

4. The topics addressed in marriage preparation that were perceived as being of most value were the five Cs: communication, commitment, conflict resolution, children and church (values and sacramentality). A sixth C, career and especially dual career, was among topics perceived as least helpfully covered. This suggests enhancing all six Cs to the maximum, and especially the dual career marriage which is currently so prevalent.


God bless,

Fr. Eugene


     A question that seems to come up often in marriage preparation is, “Why is the Catholic Church against us living together before being married?” 

This is a question that seems to be asked often.  Many couples believe that it allows them to get to know each other better and know what it will be like to live with their future spouse before they are married.  Studies show that couples who live together before marriage have a greater chance of divorce (33 % greater chance of divorce) than those who don’t live together before marriage.  One of the obvious reasons for not moving in together before marriage is that it is much harder to break off a relationship that has gone wrong when your living together versus not living together.  Another reason for the higher divorce rate is the ability for sexually intimacy to bind couples together emotionally.  The months and years spent prior to one’s marriage should be a time of serious discernment.  By having sex during this courtship period, couples hinder their ability to look at each other clearly and objectively.  A third reason for higher divorce is that cohabiting undermines commitment.  If a partner finds enough faults in the other, he or she is free to leave.  The desire to enter a ‘test run’ shows a lack of faith in one’s love for each other.  On one hand, the couple is saying that they desire complete intimacy, but on the other hand they want to leave a way out if their partner does not measure up.  This sows seeds of doubt and distrust from the start.  Also, studies show that couples who cohabitate before marriage have a greater chance of marital conflict, domestic abuse, and be less sexually satisfied.  If one is living together, they should consider cease living together until they marry.

     Now with this all said, “Can couples who live together and have successful and happy marriages?”  The answer is yes they can and do.  I usually also comment that to the cohabitating couple who are getting married that I am glad you are making things right with God.  However, there are greater risks with cohabitation and studies show this by secular institutions just as Christian organizations.   


God bless,

Fr. Eugene


From The Desk of Fr. Eugene

Transgender Bathrooms?

From The Catholic Answer; September/October 2016 Volume 30, No. 4

What is the Church’s official teaching about transgender bathrooms? There does not seem to be a clear answer about all of this.

There is no such thing as being “transgendered” from any biblical or Catholic perspective.  Thus there is no official teaching about something that doesn’t even exist, let alone about bathrooms.  What we can do is apply Catholic principles to address the deep confusion that has arisen about something so clear and basic as one’s sex.

The human person has a sex (not a gender), and God assigns that sex.  Scripture says, in creating us, “[God] created them; male and female he created them’ (Gn 1:27). Our bodies are therefore a revelation of who and what God created us to be.  No amount of clothes, cosmetics or surgery can alter the fact that we are male or female right down to our DNA.

Transgenderism is one of the stranger manifestations of the sexual confusion of our times.  It is a form of Gnostic dualism wherein a person can claim that he has an “identity” wholly separate from anything indicated by his body.  This amounts to a reduction of the human person to his thoughts or feelings, and a stepping back from reality as clearly indicated by the body.  It also denigrates the body and the witness it makes to us of who and what we are.

And yet the glory of the human person is to unite the two aspects of God’s creation, the spiritual and the material.  So precious is the bodily dimension of the human person that Christ took to himself a full human nature: body and soul.  He did not simply come among us as a ghost or mirage.  He walked among us in our full nature, offered His body on the altar of the cross, and raised up His full humanity and glorified it.  To reduce our bodies to a mere tool, or a sort of prison (where a man is “trapped” in a woman’s body), or to mutilate in surgically is a grave offense against what God has wrought.  Since our body is a revelation from God of who and what we are, to ignore its voice or overrule what God says is a sign of the pride of our days.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. ‘Being man’ or ‘being woman’ is a reality which is good and willed by God…..  In their ’being-man’ and ‘being-woman,’ they reflect the Creator’s wisdom and goodness” (No. 369, emphasis in original).

Those who struggle with their sexuality as given by God deserve our sympathy and care.  But in no way can we participate in confirming them in a very great error and dep confusion.  Only the truth, as God has declared it, will set us free.  We therefore must resist and teach against the “gender ideology” of our times, which seeks to replace what God has wrought with vain imaginings that both confuse and demean the true glory of the human person.


Celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy

What is a Holy Year?

Last April, on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter, Pope Francis announced the coming of an Extraordinary Jubilee Year, also known as a holy year.  The purpose of this year-long celebration is to give Catholics the opportunity to reflect on God’s mercy for all his children – each one of us, individually and collectively – and to help us recognize that we are called to be merciful to others.  The Scriptural theme of the Holy Year is taken from Luke 6:36: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

The Holy Year began on December 8, 2015 – the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It will come to a close on the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe.

Traditionally, since 1300 AD, holy years have been celebrated by the Church every 25 or 50 years.  The last jubilee year was convened in 2000.  It was known as the “Great Jubilee.”  However, popes may also designate special jubilee years whenever appropriate.  These holy years are called extraordinary jubilee years.  The last extraordinary jubilee year was held in 1983, called to celebrate the 1,950 years that had elapsed since the death and resurrection of Jesus.  It was convened by St. John Paul II.

The opening date of the Year of Mercy has great significance.  Pope Francis wrote that the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception “recalls God’s action from the very beginning of the history of mankind.  After the sin of Adam and Eve, God did not wish to leave humanity alone in the throes of evil.  And so he turned his gaze to Mary, holy and immaculate in love, choosing her to the Mother of man’s Redeemer.”

The pope also emphasized that December 8 has special meaning in recent Church history because it marks the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, a time (as the pope said) when the “walls which for too long had made the Church a kind of fortress were torn down and the time had come to proclaim the Gospel…(a time when) the Church sensed a responsibility to be a living sign of the Father’s love in the world.


Announcing Our New Parish Name

Effective July 1, 2016 the Parishes of St. Celestine and St. Raphael will merge into one.  We are happy and pleased to announce the name of our new Parish will be St. Isidore the Farmer.   The church building names will remain the same.  So you will attend church at St. Celestine Catholic Church or St. Raphael Catholic Church.  But the people will be members of St. Isidore Catholic Parish.

St. Isidore is the patron saint of farmers, good harvest, and humble work in the fields of the Lord.  St. Isidore is also the patron saint rural communities.

The feast day of St. Isidore is May 15.  Click HERE to read more about St. Isidore the Farmer.


From The Desk of Father Eugene

Below is the information of the new phase of the strategic plan of St. Peter Celestine and St. Raphael Parishes from Bishop Thompson of the Diocese of Evansville.  

Parish Reorganization Announcement


Saturday Mass Location Change

Starting Saturday, October 4, Saturday evening Mass location will change to St. Raphael Church until the first weekend in April.


A century later, soldier’s grave given tombstone

Herald photo
This tombstone was recently placed at the burial site of Civil War soldier Louis Brang in the cemetery behind St. Celestine Catholic Church. His grave went unmarked for more than a century.

Herald Staff Writer

CELESTINE — The old soldier was buried more than a century ago in an unmarked grave behind St. Celestine Catholic Church.  

His name was Louis Brang, a widower killed in a gruesome accident just before his 64th birthday. He had fought in the Civil War years earlier in the 49th Indiana Infantry.  

Little is known about Brang other than what is recorded in the cemetery’s registry, which lists birth and burial dates along with the row and plot number of the deceased. Brang’s entry ends with the words: “Old soldier, no stone.”

Rosie Stewart found it odd that Brang, who died in 1903, was buried without a marker commemorating his military service. She came across his name earlier this year while sifting through St. Celestine’s burial registry. Stewart, who serves on the parish’s cemetery committee, was tasked with uploading reams of old records to the church’s website. 

She passed along Brang’s information to Doug Merkel, a member of the church’s building and grounds committee. 

“For him not to have a stone makes you think he was probably alone or there wasn’t much family,” said Merkel, who is spearheading a fundraising campaign to restore local grave sites that have worn with age. 

Other Civil War veterans buried at St. Celestine have a tombstone. Merkel and Stewart agreed something needed to be done about Brang. 

“Since he was in the service, we thought he should have a stone,” Stewart said.

An Internet search led them to the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., which pays for tombstones of long-forgotten soldiers like Brang. After collecting the old soldier’s military records from the National Archives, Merkel applied for a government-furnished tombstone.

But the application process was halted until he got authorization from Brang’s next of kin. Merkel, through a stroke of luck, found the old soldier’s great-great niece. He remembered a woman had recently approached church officials about placing a new tombstone on her long-deceased relative’s grave. The woman’s name was Betty Brown, and the grave was that of Tarsilla Brang, who died in 1898.       

“I thought, well, same name. Maybe she’s got some relationship there,” Merkel said.

Brown, who lives in Jasper, was intrigued by the story of the old soldier and was curious to know whether she was Brang’s closest living relative. After studying her family tree, she discovered that Louis Brang was the brother of John Boniface Brang, who was married to Tarsilla Brang, her great-grandmother. In May, Brown wrote a letter to the VA granting Merkel authorization to proceed with the application process.

All that was left was providing documentation that Brang was indeed buried at St. Celestine. Merkel sent the VA a copy of the cemetery’s registry. But there was one problem: The church’s records from that era were written in German.

Merkel explained to the VA, “Here’s what we have. It’s written in German, but it clearly states ‘Brang.’” The agency told him, “We need something in English.” Church officials dug around and eventually found an English version of the registry. The tombstone application was approved this spring.

Glued to the German-language registry was an old newspaper clipping, also written in German. It read: “This Tuesday Louis Brang, an old soldier, found his death under the wheels of a heavily laden wood truck near Celestine, Dubois County. Brang intended to pull the brakes when driving down a (steep hill) with his wagon. However, they failed, the wagon jolted, and the unfortunate man was ejected from the wagon, which then rolled over his abdomen. Shortly thereafter he succumbed to his grave injuries.”

Last week, a white marble tombstone was placed over the old soldier’s grave. It is 42 inches long, 13 inches wide and 4 inches thick.

“Every veteran deserves a tombstone,” Brown said. “It makes me feel good to know he is a relative of mine and that I helped in a small way in getting him a marker for his service to the country.”


Restoring damaged tombstones
CELESTINE — St. Celestine Catholic Church is raising money to restore tombstones damaged by weather and age.

Last year, about 50 headstones and a 20-foot-tall concrete crucifix in the church’s cemetery were refurbished after parishioners collected more than $22,000 in donations. 

Doug Merkel, a member of the church’s building and grounds committee, hopes to raise between $15,000 and $20,000 this year. That would be enough to restore about 75 tombstones.

The cemetery is 170 years old. Many of the older tombstones have begun to show their age, Merkel said. In some cases, a grave marker’s inscription is barely legible.

To donate to the restoration project, call the parish office at 812-634-1875.


Contact Tony Raap at


St. Celestine Cemetery Restoration Project

Last year, with the generous financial support of over 100 parishioners, we were able to renovate 57 tombstones in the St. Celestine Church cemetery.  There are another 150 or so stones still in dire need for cleaning and restoring. Again this year, we would like to bring back Jeremy Miller from Batesville Monuments to continue the renovation. A goal would be to renovate at least half of the remaining stones.  If you have relatives in our cemetery and would like to make a donation to have their tombstone restored, please contact the St. Celestine parish office at 812-634-1875.

Restoration Brochure


Make A Difference Stories

This past lent, Deacon Mike challenged our youth to "Make A Difference."  He gave each child $5.  The only stipulation was they had to make a difference with it and report back to him on what they did.  We had some amazing and creative ideas.  Click on the link below to find out what our youth did with their $5.


Make A Difference Stories


From The Desk of Father Eugene

May like October is a month where we honor or recognize Mary in a special way.  Some interesting facts about Mary are that she was born in Nazareth and lived there most of her life.  Her birthday is celebrated September 8 and her parent’s names are Joachim and Anne.  Mary was born without original sin because to carry Jesus, the Son of God, she needed to be free from sin.  Some of Mary’s most famous titles are: Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of the church, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Grace, Queen of Heaven, and Lady of Fatima.  Mary was approximately 13 or 14 years old when she gave birth to Jesus.

We honor Mary and hold her in a special place in the Church but we do not worship her.  We only worship Christ and His Father.