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January 9, 1998     The Message
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January 9, 1998
 

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10 Jaunu The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana New Year's resolutions aim at spiritual fitness, too By JOSEPH ZYBLE Catholic News Service MARQUETTE, Mich. (CNS) -- Exercise more, quit smoking, eat better -- 'tis the season for New Year's res- olutions, ha ha ha ha ha! Holiday resolutions are made with the best intentions, but often are short-lived. The most common resolutions seem to involve physical fitness, but how many people have considered improving their spiritual fitness in 1998? Research has shown that-prayer can provide health benefits. And several studies have noted that people who are healthy in spirit have an improved rate of recovery from illness. According to Stephen Lynott, director of Catholic Social Sen, ices in the Marquette Diocese, spirituality can be a major factor for success or failure when people try to change their behavior for the better. "People who do not have a spiritual foundation who want to grow and improve themselves really have a hard go of it," he said. "They lack the serenity that says 'God is in control of my life.' Some may be successful at changing their behavior, but they're never truly at peace with it." Lynott said results from 12-step programs show that "a spiritual component is essential in recovery from addiction for most people." Sister of St. Joseph Jean Junak, whose ministry focus- es on adult spirituality, told The U.P. Catholic, news- paper of the Marquette Diocese, that in order to have sound spiritual lives people must commit to spending time with God. "Write down time for God in your daily planner," she said. Sister Junak defines "healthy spirituality" as a close, personal relationship with God. "Get to know Jesus per- sonally by reading about him in the Gospel," she said. The nun also advises people to pray. "Prayer is the real you meeting the real God," she said. "In prayer I express to God where I am in my life: my problems, weaknesses, what has gone well and what has not." She said activities such as reading Scripture and recit- ing prayers are good spiritual exercises as well, but speaking to God one on one is a more powerful way to connect. Listening to God is equally important. "It's not a one- way conversation," she said. She recommends setting up a quiet place for this and using items such as holy cards, statues or candles to help stay focused on God. For spiritual enrichment, she also suggested: Living intentionally, that is, in the moment. For example, when on a lunch break, enjoy the food you have been blessed with instead of planning your next hour. Identifying God's grace, which is always present, even in the midst of pain. Reflect on how God has touched your life; in each event, there is always an invi- tation to life, to spiritual growth. Sister Junak said the state of people' depends on how near or distant God is. opening up to God and allowing God to within us," she added. : Msgr. Timothy Desrochers, director Retreat Center in Garden, said, "We all need t61 and dependent upon God so that God can fillu life and love." To grow spiritually, he recommended Live and do in a spirit of thanksgiving. positive in thought and action. Do good works for others, The way to live cannot be found in practice. Operate out of your convictions. Count your blessings and forget the 1 needs that are pushed by advertisements. Make time each day for silence, and meditating. Cultivate humility. Realize that everything m life is on your gifts prudently so they can be returned or better condition as a result of' Worship and take advantage : the onciliation regularly in your parish annual retreat. "When we are spiritually fit," "we will know it because our at and our internal machinery will b.e slowed i peaceful stride." Rams quarterback relying on faith in wake of son's By MAUREEN LEONARD Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- St. Louis Rams backup quarterback Mark Rypien's world turned upside down this summer when the family learned their 2- year-old son, Andrew, had a malignant brain tumor. Although surgery to remove the tumor was successful, Andrew has had to undergo extensive chemotherapy treat- ments in Spokane, Wash. When the treatments left the little boy bald, Rypien shaved his own head as a show of solidarity with his son. Rypien said his son's illness has not tested his lifelong Catholic faith, but has only made it stronger. "This experience has just magnified our faith that much more," he said. "The key is we had a good Catholic upbringing that you draw back on in a cri- sis situation." He made the comments in a telephone interview with the Catholic Standard in Washing- ton, where Rypien spent several seasons with the Redskins and in 1992 quarterbacked the team to victory in Super Bowl XXVI. He left the te,n at the end of the 1993-94 season, but he still has strong ties to the Washington area. After the Redskins he has played for Cleveland and Philadelphia and was finishing his second season with the Rams. When Rypien and his wife, Annette, first learned of their son's illness, he said, they did not ask themselves, "Why did this happen to us?" Instead, they turned to the Catholic faith they share and said that regardless of what hap- pened, they would get through it with God's help and with sup- port from family and friends. "We are in about 100,000 prayer groups. It's been amaz- ing to hear from old friends, family, teammates, even Cow- boys fans," said Rypien, who regularly faced off with the rival Dallas Cowboys when he played for Washington. He said his son is a typically active toddler who loves dinosaurs and is doing "absolutely spec- tacular." Rypien is optimistic. Andrew was halfway through a grueling 20- week chemotherapy treat- ment, and "he's been able to adjust very well, and that's what made it so good on Annette and myself," Rypien said. The cou- ple also has two daughters, an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old. Throughout this season, fol- lowing his Sunday games, Ryp- ien would fly immediately to Spokane. He said he had con- sidered retiring to spend more time with his son as he went through chemotherapy. Rypien is not the only one- time quarterbacking star whose young child has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. The 9-month-old son of former Buffalo Bills standout Jim Kelly, now a studio host for NBC Sports, is suffering from Krabbe's disease, a fatal degenerative dis- order that slowly erodes sight, hearing and mental faculties. Kelly, a Catholic, told People magazine, "I'd trade every penny that I've made for a healthy son .... I've always prayed. I believe in God. I don't say that I'm more religious now; I just say more prayers than I've said before. I pray for a miracle for my son because that's what he needs right now." Kelly said he and his wife are loving and holding their little boy "as much as we can." Rypien said contact with beat in the Super At the end of with Catholic talked he thinks life offers. in my life. He's there when wrong," he said. He has every will heal his "Miracles have do happen. That'S pray for School nurse requirements argued .in Rhode primary concern state ment, nonpublic vices, without funds in which Th year to no unfunded Officials fear wording in be interpreted schools unable teachers would be i state health would be forced to doors, Daigle said. At present, than 400 certified I in Rhode between $40,000 year. Health agreed not to tion of 1999. Officials would permit By CYNTHIA G. SMITH Catholic News Service PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CNS) Catholic schools simply cannot afford the extra financialburden of having to pay for certified nurse-teachers, said Catholic school officials at a state Health Department meeting Dec. 22. "Our goal is simple," said Bruce Daigle, interim director of the Rhode Island Catholic School Parents Federation. "Qualified personnel must be provided at public expense in every school, public and nonpublic." The Rhode Island depart- ments of health and education have proposed revisions to the existing school health program. If the changes are implemented, Catholic schools will be on their own to pay for certified nurse- teachers. Not only is this cause for con- cern for Catholic schools in Rhode Island, but for public schools as well, said Daigle. Both systems would be forced to absorb the additional cost of being required to hire such per- sonnel. Members of the parents feder- ation, Catholic schools represen- tatives and officials from the health and education depart- ments attended the meeting. All the officials agreed that the welfare of the children of Rhode Island is the primary issue. But the debate focused on who would be responsible for the cost of the nurse-teachers. Daigle said that for the past 30 years, the responsibility for school nurses has fallen upon the local communities through their public school districts. But the new category introduced in the proposed revisions may force nonpublic schools to assume the entire cost of the personnel. Currently, most schools depend on the principal, school nurse or secretary to dispense daily med- ications, said Nina Robert, sec- retary of the parents federation. Even in public schools, nurse- teachers are rarely present, she said. meeting the Daigle said the federation's nonpublic schools. :