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January 24, 1997     The Message
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January 24, 1997

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana -- Taking the time to make a difference -- tt L, aarning from the generations Joey was ecstatic. The group of families had gotten together and exchanged some "white elephant" gifts, and he was mightily pleased with what he had selected at ran- dom from the wrapped packages. Very few others in the group would have enjoyed the gift as much as he did. It was an old desk model telephone, sort of yellow- orange-brown in color, an "earth tone" appliance designed to be fashionable for atime that had long since gone by. The telephone was in working condition -- if you connected it. It was ugly, the givers thought, but to the receiver, it was beautiful. Joey held the base in one arm as he ran gleefully through the gathering area talking on his own telephone. The obvious pleasure Joey experienced was one of the pleasant memories of the "family fun" evening organized by a group of the Christian Fam- ily Movement. Another memory came from the com- ments of one of the parents at the gathering. The comment came at the end of the evening. The comment followed a series of activities which involved parents and kids and even some adults in the group who did not have kids with them. In one activity, family groups competed with each other, to see who could make the best "sculp- ------Washington Letter By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR ture" out of a pack of gum and two toothpicks. One of the games had everyone seated in a circle, except for the per- son who was "it" who was in the middle. "It" would toss a ball to somebody, and call out a category -- earth, air, water or fire. Depending on the category called out, the one who received the ball had to respond with the name of a creature -- a four-legged animal for earth, a bird for air, or a sea-dwelling crea- ture for water; the one who had the ball had to be silent if "fire" was the category called out. Depending on the response, appropriate or inappropriate, the one who received the ball became "it." The memorable comment, the one that still stands out clearly in my mind, came from an adult as we were about to wrap up the evening. He point- ed out that his family and other families often gath- ered together -- but then the kids and the parents would separate. The "family fun" evening was unusual, since it had kids and grownups playing together w and that made it an unusual pleasure. When do you come in contact with people of a different generation? Do you work with, play with or pray with persons who are your own age? Or do you associate with persons who are old enough to be your parents, or young enough Have your family traditions regard? Does your extended family regular occasions? If you have such has the pattern changed over Jesus spent most of his ups" -- at least that is what I the scriptures. But Jesus is also ing that children should be able I'm also convinced that the wedding! tion at Cana must have included famil) multiple generations. And I bet together. * :F Take the time today to co ships with persons of different age about the people with whom and share a home. If you discover that your and if you make the judgment that other age groups would be an take the time to make it happen. Work to develop activities at and in the community which together. Take the time to make a Comments about this column are or the Christian P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. New faces, old issues await on Cap" By PATRICIA ZAPOR Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) ,---, There were 90 newly elected faces at the Capitol when the 105th Congress convened in January, but many of the issues on their agenda are familiar to the public policy staffs of Catholic agencies. Legislation dealing with immi- gration, welfare, health care and abortion procedures are all on the watch lists for the U.S. Catholic ill i i The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 WeekSy newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Pubisher ............ Bishop Gerald A. Geltelfinger F.tor ...................................... Paul R. Leingang Production Technician ............... Joseph rtrich Adveng ................................... Paul Newland Staff Writer ............................ Mary Ann Hughes Circulafon .................... Mary Etta Kieter, O.S.B. Conference and Catholic Chari- ties USA as Congress gets down to work. Thsstart of the session this year seemed muted in comparison to the dramatic opening of the 104th Con- gress two years ago. Then, the flamboyant rhetoric of the Repub- licans' Contract with America sig- naled a contentious shift from decades of Democratic domination of the House to the heyday of House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia's political power. Although Republicans retained control of the House and Senate, the 1996 elections narrowed the margin in the House and brought a 15 percent turnover to the 100- member Senate. Coupled with fallout from ongoing ethics inves- tigations of Gingrich's activities, the opening of the 105th Con- gress seemed more of a sidelight to other events in Washington than the main event it often is. immigration bills. Among areas of prime concern are provisions in the immigra- tion law that allow would-be refugees to be summarily exclud- ed from entering the United States if they do not have proper documents with them; time lim- its on applications for asylum; and elimination of several steps in the appeal process for reject- ed applicants. President Clinton also has voiced interest in reversing wel- fare law changes that make legal immigrants ineligible for govern- ment support programs such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicare. At the time he signed the welfare and immigra- tion bills , Clinton said he had problems with some areas of the legislation and promised to work on changes in such areas as ben- efits for legal immigrants. Some proposals the USCC The U.S. church's domestic social services agency also will carefully eye adoption and foster care regulations .and programs that are expected to arise. Among the human life issues likely to come up is a further attempt to ban the partial-birth abortion procedure. President Clinton vetoed such a bill last session, saying he would have signed it if it included an exemp- tion for when the health of the pregnant woman is an issue. But supporters of the legisla- tion said such an exemption would render the bill useless because the term "health" has been interpreted broadly by the courts to. define the bill save the life' le -- An a Institute the use on live, rently a requirementS" Efforts use of funds or perform The critical need in the pro-life movement today, I believe, is the' that pounds the heavens for justice; prayer that pleads with washes our minds, cleanses our souls, purifies our hearts. -- Cardinal John O'Connor, "Calling on the Spirit of Life; 1991 But once Congress gets down strongly opposed that were to business, many of the same strippedoutofthe1996immi-Bishop's issues that occupied the public gration bill also could resurface. policy offices of the USCC and Those include: ending the citi- Catholic Charities for the last two - zenship birthright; reducing the The following activities and events years are expected to be back. number of refugees admitted; ule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: During the 104th Congress, church lobbyists seemingly scrambled from the time the term opened in January 1995 until Election Day, 1996 to keep up with and try to shape legis- lation. In addition to dozens of small- er issues that surfaced, major welfare and immigration bills were on the table through much of the 104th Congress. By the time they were signed into law, they had evolved into quite dif- ferent laws from their original versions, but the USCC and Catholic Charities still found many of their components objec- tionable. This session, part of legislative lobbying efforts on behalf of Catholic agencies will be direct- ed towar d mitigating some of the effecta.of, the 1 96: Wcl far.e at]d making it more difficult to obtain citizenship; and cutting down on the number of legal immigrants admitted in each category ofnon- refugees. In addition to immigration- related concerns, Catholic Char- ities' list of legislation worth watching this term includes wel- fare-related proposals dealing with health insurance coverage for children and subsidized hous- ing for the poor. The administration has bud- geted more than $750 million a year to provide health insurance to uninsured children, under a plan that would allow states to set up their own programs to reach the 10.5 million children who are not covered for medical care. The House and Senate also are preparing proposals for uninsured children. l:30p'm, CST. ::: :Clean Cit Thursday, Jan. 30, 10 a,m: CST. : Address all Oommunications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $17:50 per year , 8ingle Copy Price: $.50 Entered as periodical matter at the post office in Evmsville IN 47201.  number 843800, PostrnasteF. Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Puicabon. Copyrghf 19 Catholic Press of Evansville