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January 21, 1994     The Message
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January 21, 1994
 

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1994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 3 Idren's rit00--q AdvncAt00_ " ...... H0bert Piercv to s eak on cel ating the Word with Y PAUL R" LEINGANG  P Evansville: made presentations Na- Message edit0r At some point during or tional Catholic Education asso- ;i, : : ld not be for children to The Scriptures "opened up." That is Robert Piercy will presentation, "Cel- Word with Chil- Catholic Center Saturday, Jan. .= and Wonder, is another are Sure to hear at which is spon- offices of Schools "Awe and won- tat Piercy exuber- how contact is a child during the ROBERT PIERCY "Children's Liturgy of the Word." Here's how it works at sev- eral parishes in the Diocese of s bishops launch racism campaign :CNs)  In an subtle form of racism," Billy combat bishops of a major lPaign begin- confer- =ir three-year "Becoming a Undoing the the bishops Statement on resource ma- e for parishes e]ng Coordi- Confer- public pol- and the Justice in Murphy of the Catholic confer- ence told the New World, Chicago's archdiocesan news- paper. "Our goal it to educate peo- ple about the way (racism) ex- ists today and provide the tools to begin to address the prob- lem," he added. According to Illinois confer- ence officials, racism is a viru- lent force in social matters such as income levels, access to health care, housing and capi- tal punishment. They add that racism is entrenched in the po- litical process and in the Catholic Church itself. The 1991 beating of black motorist Rodney King and the riots in Los Angeles that fol- lowed sparked the bishops' anti-racism initiative. Although the King incident led to an intense focus nation- wide on racial matters, whites still don't understand racism, according to Jim Lund, direc- tor of the archdiocesan Office for Ministry of Peace and Jus- tice. "White folks don't experience the sharp edge of racism, and they don't listen to those who do," he said. The U.S. bishops in a 1979 pastoral letter called racism a sin "that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to children of the same Father." conference in Cornel at Princeton Wrote the best Matters". a JOUrnalist ago Tribune; at . of and an regation Under- can Sister at exists today. , it Was in the and a more f I) ?b.RISHE8 C, t 'Uthwestern Indiana their ern Indiana Catholics parishes and one another after the introductory rite at a Sunday Mass, the presider in- vites the children in the as- sembly to come forward. The children are sent to another area where the Sunday Scrip- ture readings are proclaimed and "opened up" for them. After this experience of the Word, the children return to the assembly for the Eucharis- tic Rite. During their time away from the assembly, the children have a chance to experience the scriptures and to talk about what they heard and felt -- not to be told what the Scriptures were supposed to mean. Piercy discussed his views in a recent telephone interview with the Message, from his Chicago office. He is the mar- keting director of Liturgy Training Publications at the Office for Divine Worship of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Piercy is also co-author of "The Guide to the Lectionary for Masses with Children." Piercy is known as an advo- cate for the rituals and rites of children, according to James Corr, diocesan director of reli- gious education. Piercy is a well-traveled speaker who has ciation meetings, National As- sociation of Pastoral Musicians meetings and numerous dioce- san liturgical and catechetical conferences across the United States. Piercy has worked as liturgy/music director at St. Julie Billiart in Tinley Park, Ill., where he directed the in- stitution of the children's Liturgy of the Word program. Piercy has studied ritual and movement in various cultures, from the bayou country in Louisiana to the ancient lands of Africa. What did he want to learn? "How does ritual affect life? How does life affect rit- ual?" he said. He found, for ex- ample, that the traditional Zulu way of welcoming a new- born child into the community had a particular impact on how Catholics from the Zulu tradi- tion celebrated the Baptismal Rite. Piercy insists that liturgical rites should be celebrated within the context of the soci- ety. He noted that children in the United States today are often well aware of the climate of violence which surrounds them, and that they are taught to stay away from strangers. Piercy fears many liturgies children planned for children, however, are still "60-ish type liturgies" -- "feel-good" liturgies he calls them, with balloons and flow- ers. Such liturgies are cele- brated as if nothing of a child's real life experience ever hap- pened. A real life experience re- Piercy is the keynote speaker and a worskshop session leader at "Liturgy and Prayer with Children," at the Catholic Cen- ter, Evansville, on Saturday, Jan. 29, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. CST. Fee is $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Catholics urged to share King's vision at commemorations WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The ideals of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. were brought to the forefront time and again in dioceses nationwide as they commemorated the national holiday for the slain civil rights leader. Indiana Attorney General Pamela Carter, a Catholic and the first black woman to be a state attorney general, chal- lenged students at Brebeuf Preparatory School in Indi- anapolis Jan. 10 to work for freedom and justice. Calling Dr. King a hero, Ms. Carter said, "A hero is an ordi- nary person who does extraor- dinary things. It takes courage, it takes conviction, and it takes commitment. And you never, ever know who it's going to be. "You don't plan to be a hero. You don't plan to be a heroine. It happens when you take courageous steps," Ms. Carter said. "My question to you is whether or not you're going to give birth to a broad definition of freedom for all." Also in Indianapolis, Father Clarence Waldon, director of the archdiocesan evangeliza- tion office, said at an arch- diocesan celebration on the Jan. 17 holiday that a prophetic voice like Dr. King's is needed amid a culture of vio- lence. "Today, we need to hear the prophet Martin. We need to hear the word of Jesus. No one is talking about nonviolence today," Father Waldon said. "Our society may depend on our listening to the word of God as it came to us through our prophet Martin." Father Waldon did not lead children in their traditional march down Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. in Indianapolis due to below- zero wind chill temperature readings that day. But inside his church, Holy Angels in Indianapolis, he told the children that Dr. King ig- nored efforts to draw him into conflict. "If someone hits you, you think, "Well, I've got to hit them back,"' Father Waldon said. But he warned against "getting down to their level." "When somebody hits you, you do what Martin did. Mar- tin just let them," Father Wal- don said. He told how Martin let them spit at him and call him names: "He just kept on walk- ing. You couldn't walk with Martin if you stopped every time somebody called you a name." Divine Word Father Charles Smith, who ministers to youth nationwide through the John Bowman Project in Atlanta, compared Dr. King to Joseph of the Old Testament at the At- lanta Archdiocese's 10th an- nual celebration Jan. 15 in honor of the Atlanta-born Dr. King. Joseph "had the audacity to dream," and thus became the victim of a plot by his brothers, said Father Smith. But "Joseph didn't make up the dream by himself. The giver of the dream never took his hands off Joseph. The same God who gave the dream" used hardship to fortify the dreamer, Father Smith said. "Somehow, through it all, (Joseph) kept the faith." "At the mountaintop is the crucifixion," Father Smith added, but beyond the moun- tain is the stone rolled away. Dr. King, he said, left "a value, a vision and a promise to sound the alarm." Those who remain are called to "move be- yond the political to the prophetic," he said. Dr. King was remembered as abuilder of bridges at a Jan. 14 Mass of thanksgiving at St. John Cathedral in Lafayette, La. Auxiliary Bishop Dominic Carmon of New Orleans asked those assembled to "focus on how we too can become bridge- builders in our communities today." Bishop Carmon said Dr. King chose community over chaos. "Community needs bridge-builders every day,  he said. "Communities of peace need each one of us to search together for what we need most, we name it, and like Dr. King, + we bring it to the Lord in prayer." In Rochester, N.Y., a peace rally and prayer service in- spired by Dr. King's message was held Jan. 14 at St. Bridget Church. A group of Holy Cross Parish teens in Rochester raised money to rent space on two billboards featuring portraits of Dr. King with the message "Live the Dream .... Stop the Violence -- Teens for Peace." The group plans to set up a phone line for youths to dis- cuss such issues as violence or to call for help if they face trouble in their own lives. cently has had a great impact on Piercy. It was the death of his 20-month old niece and the reaction of the child's five-year- old sister. The family was as prepared for the death as well as any Christian family could be. Five-year-old Megan had heard that Jesus had called her little sister, Kathleen, to be with him in heaven. The five-year-old talked to her uncle about the death, and told him, "I think God lived in Kathleen, so Kathleen called us to be children of God." That's the kind of experience of awe and wonder Piercy be- lieves children can have, and should have, if the Word of God is "opened up" to them.