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Evansville, Indiana
January 10, 1997     The Message
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January 10, 1997

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]V/ E S SAGE -- -- -------- 1111 26 yea i of serving Catholics VOLUME ,,, ] i { }, i: ' . , nner with the Bishop full of 'spirit' and 'hope' editor a great spirit Sister as she "Din- at the Jan. 2. Sister )eople who with hope." might ar the out that Were not Rexing, who many of the attended, who who invit- by and excellent lens y to WOman, a 3lder, |.' dioce- ;said he was - people great invited the din- of inviters he said, i one reason the semi- in o be eSSential.- Spoken with many young people who told her that no one had ever asked them to consider a church leadership vocation. The fact that so many people this year had invited some one to attend the dinner was a sign of hope for the future, Sis- ter Rexing said. Father Etienne was also pleased with the "strong response" from the participants, many of whom asked to contin- ue to be in contact with the voca- tions office. "A good number of them have asked to meet with a priest or a religious to discuss the possibility of priesthood or reli- gious life," he said. Sister" Rexing noted that oth- ers had expressed interest in a discernment retreat for men and women, entitled "Where are you going?" which is scheduled at Sarto Retreat House in Evans- ville, on Memorial Day weekend, Mary 23 through 25. Others inquired about the dis- cernment support group, which meets every third Sunday of the month at St. Joseph Church, Princeton. About 15 young per- sons currently meet with Father Etie.nne, Sister Rexing, or with Father Mark Kurzendoerfer, the third member of the diocesan vocations team. The members of the discern- ment support group themselves choose the topics they want to have at the meetings. The topics are presented by'the members of the vocations team or by outside speakers. Three speakers addressed the group at the Dinner with the Bishop. They were recently- ordained Father Ken Steckler; Tony Ernst, a seminarian, and Sister Briana Craddock, a novice at Monastery Immaculate Con- ception. Among participants at the Dinner with the Bishop are, f,am left, Alex Zenthoefer, Jason Gries, John Silva, Tony ErnSt, Mkrler/e Obe', El;in Zenthoei'er, Pat Hall+and Deaeon: Stephen Hall. -- Message photo by Paul R. Leingang Each of the speakers was asked to speak from their own experience, according to Sister Craddock, who came from Thou- sand Oaks, Calif., to enter the monastery in August 1995. "I feel blessed to be living in community," she said. Commu- nity life has "just opened me up so much to what God is calling me to do." In a telephone interview early this week, Sister Craddock repeated the story of how she had responded to an ad in a voca- tions magazine. After some writ- ing ofletters back and forth with Sister Rexing, she came to aBenedictine Life Weekend in July 1993. "I wasn't sure I wanted to come to the monastary," she remembered, but on the plane trip back home she kept feeling she had forgotten something. After going over a mental list of tooth brush and hair brush and other personal items, she came to realize what it was. "I left my heart here," she said. Her family and friends were somewhat uncertain about her decision at first, but are now very supportive, "now that I am here asks churches for help in hiring, reconciliation 3e (CNs)  At able-bodied people the same at the community level," Clinton said in remarks that touched briefly on welfare, immigration and the need for respect in the United States and in the world. "If every church in America just hired one family, the wel- fare problem would go way "" " " "f v down, Chnton stud. I e cry church in America challenged every member of that church who had 25 or more employees to hire another family, the prob- lem would go away.., but we would always have a community- based commitment that crossed party lines and religious lines." Among Catholics attending the Jan. 6 breakfast were Arch- bishop Theodore E. McCarrick of Newark, N.J., and Cardinal James A. Hickey of Washington. Cardinal Hickey has been particularly critical of Clinton's support for legal abortion, tak- ing hi m to task in stronglyword- ed letters during last year's leg- islative battle over the Partial- Birth Abortion Ban Act, which the president vetoed. Cardinal Hickey, who was seated at Pres- ident Clinton's table in the State Dining Room, left for a retreat in Florida immediately after the event and could not be reached for comment. The prayer breakfasts have become almost an annual event for Clinton, who typically invites guests from a cross-section of Aanerican churches. Clinton noted that some of the participants in the breakfast had criticized his support for last year's welfare bill. He concluded by asking the religious leaders for their help in easing the effects of welfare cuts on the poor and in helping to create "a sense of reconcilia- tion -- the right sort of spirit in which we can deal with these issues." who own businesses to do the same. He also encouraged religious leaders to help the country find a common ground of mutual respect as a way of solving other problems. "My objective here is, once and for all, to take the politics out of poverty arid to treat all every one and members at Start? rved this year on Feb. 12. Ash Wednesday until the Mass of the Thursday, according to the Ordo Lst Press. begins with the Evening Mass of reaches its high point in the Easter evening prayer on Easter Sunday, and they know that I am happy." Sister Craddock said she liked to describe her vocation not so i much as a "calling" but more as i a picture puzzle. Some times pieces fit, even though they look at first like they won't. At times the pieces you think will fit, do not. Father Etienne said he want- ed to thank the members of the Serra Club of Evansville, who helped set up the tables, serve the food, and make the partici- ! pants feel welcome. ', "It's hard to tell how many vocations will come from this," said Sister Rexing. "It's like planting seeds."