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

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Faith Today Supplement, The Message, Catholic Diocese of Evansville, January 15,1988 ',  I I II I Leading questions By Father Robert Kinast NC Ne. Service hen I entered the seminary in 1956 the primary goal of the priesthood was described as "saying Mass." By the time I was ordained in 1968, that goal was described as "celebrating the liturgy." Now that I teach eminarians, the same goal is described as "presiding over the assembit" These'are not just word changes. They represent discoveries about the priesthood, the Mass and the church -- and rediscoveries about the importance of each, and how the), relate to one another. The same thing happens to all of us. As our lives change, we discover new needs, ask new ques- tions, develop new relationships. For example, Fred was raised a Catholic but after high school drifted away from church activity. Following a period of military ser- vice, !. started his own business. Then lffe fell in love with Maria. When they began to make wed- ding plans, Fred discovered a lot had changed in the church. He and Maria were expected to make a weekend retreat with other engag- ed couples; they met informally with a married couple to discuss marriage and family life in the church; they selected readings and prayers for their liturgy; and they .wereL,lked to participate actively in the parish after their wedding. When people have been away ,00aning ex,Cre her question by asking questions: "What are your rock bottom beliefs? What is important to you?" Through such probing, the per- son began to realize that she wanted a job which was useful to the community, one where she could "feel that I am fulfilling a plan that God has for me." Ms. Donnelly observed that.peo- ple who are willing to grapple with their faith, recognizing their doubts and resolving or learning to live wt" them, often succeed in mov- ing into a more mature stage of belief. But usually people need a com- munity to carry on that process, she said. Being able to turn to others "who live out a strong Christian life" is crucial for people who have questions about their faith or values. (Ms. Bird is associate editor of Faith Today.) from the church awhile, they discover how many things have changed and they tend to ask "in- formation" questions about this. How long have women been reading the Scriptures at Mass? What does the church teach now about...? If these information questions are answered accurately and patiently, they lead to another type of ques- tion: Why? This kind of question aims at the "meaning" of what is done. It often is asked by people who are familiar with church prac- tices and teachings, but haven't thought much about their deeper meaning. Jane was like that. She had been a devout Catholic all her life. When she was invited to become a eucharistic minister and take com- munion to the homebound, she wondered why she, a lay woman, should do this. Soon she discovered how much the Eucharist meant to those she visited, how it helped them rediscover their ties to the church. In the process her own questions about the laity's role in ministry were answered. But soon Jane had another ques- tion. Who else feels this way? After people get in touch with the meaning of their religious prac- tices, they usually want to share that meaning. Jane did this with her husband; now both are eucharistic ministers. Pat's situation was different. As a single adult, her question reflected the need to discover how she fit into the church, which tends to stress family life. Starting with two or three others, sheinkiated a group for single Catholics. Now members of the group serve on every parish committee, keeping the parish aware of its single adults. Questions that lead toward infor- mation and meaning, as well as toward actions that share faith are just three means by which adults discover and rediscover their faith. Sometimes when people arrive at such a discovery, they express regret that they didn't learn more or take advantage of opportunities in the past. When this happens, it is impor- tant to remember the biblical testimony whenever someone in Scripture discovers the kingdom of God, there is rejoicing. The farmer who finds the pearl, the widow who finds the lost coin, the vineyard owner who finds workers, the host who finds guests for the banquet, the woman at the well who finds the source of living water: They are models for the Freds and Janes and Pats who discover and rediscover their faith. (Father Kinast teaches pastoral theology at the Washington Theo- logical Union in Silver Spring McL) -FOOD FOR THOUGHT IIIIII II What was the question that puzzled Job so intensely? Think about events with which you are familiar. Has there ever been a time when you or someone you know had a nagging question similar to Job's question? What are people to do when they have a nagging question such as Job had? Who can they discuss the question with? Where can they turn for support? Does it matter whether or not they truly pursue such questions about life's meaning? What are some of the reasons why, at certain points in adulthood, people renew their journey into faith? What causes them to want to in- vestigate the meaning of faith for their lives? What are some obstacles people may encounter to their desire to rediscover faith's meaning for their lives? Second Helpings. "Each of us cries out for meaning which will allow us to reach our potential and fulfillment as a person," writes Trappist Father Vincent Dwyer in Lift Your Sails: The Challenge of Being a Christian. He adds that "time and again, I have seen our people, young and old, searching for some light. They want to integrate their lives, they want to live an in- tense Christian witness, but for the most part the reality of the Christian life remains in the shadows." At various points in life, he continues, such as experiencing a major disappointment or reflecting on the passage of time, people are forced to question what they are doing with their lives. At such times, "we need to look again, to pose new questions, to search the Scrip- tures, and the writings of the spiritual masters for light that will offer Chris- tians a way to provide meaning to everyday life." (Doubleday, 245 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10167. 1987. Hardback, $14.95.) In America many fine calendars are available. Yet there is one that is unique. The Catholic Church Extension Society Parish Calendar performs a special service for the Church in America Funds generated through the distribution of our calendars to parishes help extend the Faith to rural and impoverished communities across America. Since 1905: these home missions ---areas which are too poor or sparsely populated to support a Catholic presence---have depended upon help from Extension, Now Extension needs your help to continue meeting the needs of our mission outreaches. Your participation in our Parish Calendar Program helps support priests and religious, build and repair chapels and parish centers, and provide religious education, evangelization and vocation formation programs. Help us keep the Churchalive in America. Select Extension calendars for distribution in your parish. Write or call today for a free calendar sample kit. There is no obligation. mllmmmmmNlmmmmlmmmm FT 0902 ( The Cathohc Church EXTENSION soiw 35 EEBst Wa(::ker Drive Chitgo, Illinois ESOESO 1 (,112] 236-7240 Please send me information about helping America's home mlsslohs through distribution of Extension calendars in my parish. Rev./Sr./Br. Mr./Mrs./MissMs. Address City Blrthdate __ __ State ZIp / /.__ Telephone ( ) This information will be kept strictly confidential i i I I I II IIII II II II I I q[i