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Evansville, Indiana
January 15, 1988     The Message
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January 15, 1988
 

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4 Editorial The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana January 15, 1988 By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor When something good happens to us we must spread the news Stopping by the roadside on a snowy morning (apologies to Robert Frost), I received a gift. It was a cold morning in January, a morning when people and cars do not start very well. Christmas was over, as far as the commercial world was concerned. Schools were back in ses- sion. It was a normal weekday in winter, plain vanilla, topped with just a little snow. Stopping by the roadside on that snowy morn- ing was not what I had planned. Solitude and reflection were not what I needed. We were on the way to school, school and work that morning. The first intended stop of three {apologies to Coleridge} was to be Memorial High School for one son, then St. Benedict School for another son, then the Catholic Center for me. That is what we intended to do. Along a straight and narrow street -- a level place, quiet and residential -- my car faltered and failed. Powerless, it rolled and slowed. With op- portunities lessening, I turned and coasted to an intersection -- choosing the less-travelled path. By the curbside then we halted, along a street not cleared or salted {apologies to Longfellow and others). It was not a poetic mood. The car refused to revive. It was then that we received a gift of unex- pected goodness. A man who lived in a house near our disabled car asked if he could help. He and his wife allowed us into their home, interrupting their own busy time of preparation for school and work. The man asked if he could take us somewhere. I accepted, somewhat reluctantly, a ride for my sons to school. {Why is it hard to receive what is offered?) Using our benefactor's telephone, I made call after call to a busy service station until I received an answer -- and a promise of help. The help promised, however, was not ex- pected for an hour and a half, so again I accepted with reluctance more help from my sudden hosts. After the man took my children to school, and after the woman had safely put her daughter onto a bus to get to her school, I was given a ride back to my home where I could wait for help from the ser- vice station. If it sounds complicated, it was - this inter- ruption into normal routine few people would allow. The people who helped me and my children offered their help with such grace and style and care that everything was accomplished with decep- tive ease. Stopping by the roadside on a snowy morning, I received a gift. And despite the lack of calm and tranquillity within me at the time, I have since found the time to reflect on what it was that I was given. People who did not know me gave me trust. They allowed me into their home, into their morn- ing routine. People who did not know where I lived al- lowed me into the place they lived. People I had never met before gave me an un- forgettable experience of human kindness and consideration. I know nothing about the faith or religious practices of these people, yet they gave me a gift which revealed to me something about my own faith. The truth I learned is simply this, that when goodness is experienced, the story must be told.,  At work, after the assistance I received, I had  :' to tell the story of how I got to work -- of how people who didn't know me helped me; how a man on his way to work went out of his way to take my children to school; how a woman gave me a ride back to my house; how a family simply ex- panded for a few minutes one morning and in- cluded all of us. Such a story has to be told. It is good news. It can not be held back. It must come out. It must be spoken and written, told and re-told. When goodness is experienced, the story must be told. Each of us has experienced the goodness of God - sometimes eagerly, sometimes reluctantly and sometimes not even realized until afterwards. ,: It is not enough to accept such a gift of goodness; the gift was not meant to be kept inside, but rather to be shared with others. Spread the newsX Washington Letter Catholics and Amerasians: smoothing the bumpy road By STEPHENIE OVERMAN NC News Service WASHINGTON (NC} -- Bureaucracy has made the road bumpy for Vietnamese children of American fathers seeking new lives in the United States. But such sources as a Catholic resettlement agency and a New York congressman are helping to smooth the Amerasians' "homecoming." The Amerasian Romecoming Act, introduced by Rep. Robert J. Mrazek, D.-N.Y., and signed by President Reagan in December, creates a special im- migration category for the children born in Vietnam to U.S. military and civilian per- sonnel between 1962 and 1976. Between 8,000 and 12,000 could arrive in the next two years. The United States has a moral responsibility for these children 0008800tGO 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Publllhed weekly except last week In December by the Catholic Pre of vardwllle. Publllhet ........ Bilhop Francis R. Shu Allocate Publisher .... Rev. Jeeeph ZlUak Editor .................. Paul Letnglng Circulation Mgr..,. Mrs. Reee Montrulle Production Mgr ............... Phil Beget Advertlllng Mgr ............... O ltn Holly Addrell all communleetlonl to P.O. Box 4189, EvamwlMe, IN 47711. Phone (812) 424-5536. 8ubeorlptlon rate: $15 per year Entered as 2nd class matter at the post of- flee in Evamwtlie, IN 47701. Publication number 843800. PommRster: Return POD forms 3570 to the Offloe of Publication. of American fathers, U.S. government and resettlement officials have said. And they have expressed concern that in Vietnam their mixed heritage causes discrimination against them and members of their families. The Amerasians have long been a part of the U.S. Catholic Conference Migration and Refugee Services' massive resettlement program. MRS is one of a dozen voluntary agen- cies helping Amerasians claim the U.S. citizenship inherited from their fathers. The Orderly Departure Pro- gram, begun in 1979, has al- lowed Vietnamese, including Amerasians, to legally leave the country despite the fact that the United States and Vietnam do not have diplomatic relations, Since the fall of the govern- ment of South Vietnam in 1975, hundreds of thousands of Viet- namese have fled their country, often illegally, in leaky boats. About 60,000 have been able to leave through the Orderly Departure Program but about 650,000 applications are still on file. Then in January 1986 Viet- nam suspended the program, claiming inept U.S. bureaucracy had created a backlog. But by fall the Orderly Departure Program was heading back on track. Mrazek got involved in the plight of Amerasians when high school students in his district saw a story about a street child in He Chi Minh Ci- ty, Vietnam, and asked their representative for help, accord- ing to Stephen Goose, Mrazek's legislative assistant. "The high school students were moved by the picture and got him {the street child) iden- tified," Goose said. Mrazek went to Vietnam last spring to bring the boy to the United States. THAT CASE SPARKED Mrazek's interest in the pro- blems facing Amerasians in general and he introduced the Amerasian Homecoming Act last August. Goose said the Amerasians are now arriving in the United States as immigrants instead of as refugees. They will be eligi- ble for refugee benefits. Mark Franken, MRS migra- tion specialist, said the classification of Amerasians as refugees had been one of Viet- nam's complaints against the United States. Now, for a number of reasons, "the operational im- pediment that created the suspension was removed. Now there is a good understanding" between the United States anew Vietnam, and the program is "back on track," according to Franken. Franken also said MRS is the only one to study the special needs of the Amerasians. An update of that study is under- way. They face typical language and cultural ad- justments. Because of the: discrimination against them See WASHINGTON page 18 i ] Letter to the editor , I Stephen Ministries ed, There will probably be Body of Christ." Msgr. Martin many fat, healthy people in B. Hellrigel {1890-1981) To the editor, The fact that St. Joseph's is the only parish in the area with the Stephen program is pro- bably not the result of anyone being secretive. It could be because it is a Lutheran organized effort and that no American Bishop has published any endorsement. In no way is this meant to disparage any organization working toward the solution of the serious social problems that we have. However, isn't it reasonable to ask, "Do we need yet another 'ministry' replete with the buzz words, 'caring, sharing, feelings' to deal only with the body?" The Church already has many spendid vehicles to serve the needs of body and soul. Legion of Mary comes to mind and it's world wide. The Catholic Church has a more profound respect for the body than anything on earth but Her primary purpose is to save Souls. Chesterton once remark- Hell." Even the agnostic Jung said, "Getting right with God is the prerequisite to mental and physical health." Again, this is not meant to minimize the urgent need for social consciousness. My con- cern is to keep cause and effect in proper order. In recent years the word "renew" has been much used and much abused. Social awareness will be the inevitable result of a genuine renewal. To that end, I would quote the Western Hemisphere's greatest authority on the Sacramen- tal/Liturgical Life of the Church: "I was convinced 25 years ago, as I am today, that there is one road to renewal of the Christian world, and that is the liturgy and the liturgical life. The liturgy is not the whole Church; there are other things. But it is still the natural support of all the arteries in the Mystical If we could begin doing what the Church has urged us to do for so long we might be amazed., at the benefits for Soul and ,,. Body. God be with you, Clement T. Faszold Madisonville, Ky. Editor's note: The preceeding letter was submitted shortly after the Sept. 25 publication of a feature story on the Stephen Ministries program at St. Joseph, Jasper. The comment that "no American Bishop has published any endorsement" of the Stephen Ministries should not necessarily Jndlcate lack of support, since the Stephen Ministries does not seek written endorsements from the leaders elf any of the 53 denominations now involved. Among almost I800 American participants, 160 are Roman Catholic parishes.