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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
January 31, 1992     The Message
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January 31, 1992

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I CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF EVANSVILLE VOLUME 22 NUMBER 22 January 31, 1992 Brother Dillman Missionary remembers human tragedy of Liberian war By PAUL R. LEINGANG, Message Editor he believes that as I ' : h r ' After spending almost a year without electricity, Holy Cross rether Thomas Dillman had to be reminded to turn on the lights for a | Cent interview at his sister's house. The lack of electric light was trivial [ ernpared to the hardship and suffering the missionary brother described | uuring and after the civil war in Liberia. | , Brother Dillman, 64, has been working as a math and science | teacher and missionary in that West African nation for 23 years. He lives |i and teaches at St Patrick High School for boys in Monrovia, Liberia's ] aita! city. He also teaches at a girls school in the city, St. Theresa High ',, "U00I. I: :lI Brother Dillman is a native of Evansville and a 1945 graduate of | eorial High School He usually vists family in the United States i vn l : {y two years, and for the past several weeks has been visiting his sis- 1':, "" Evansville. I tt'The Liberian civil war broke out late in 1989 During months of J, ;h,t!ng, Monrovia became a battleground. The bodies of soldiers and !,: vlllans littered the streets Food and medical supply lines into Men- l.. :t0Via Were cut off Brother [)illman and several other missionaries evacu- [: i ted a hospital and fled the country in August 1990. nd-a-half months in Ghana, Brother Dillman returned to in January 1991. The civil war had been over for more than a president Samuel Doe was dead, killed by rebel forces. A multi-national peace-keeping force was in place. Despite developments, Brother Dillman said the rebel forces led by 'lor still control much of the country. Monrovia and other portions of the country is still and dangerous. Families are still separated and some members ad for. City residents are cut off from the farms and forests SUrrounding countryside. Monrovia is a port city and so imported tams are easier to buy than Liberian produce. the war, shells and rockets intended for the presidential nearby school buildings: .Brother Dillman said sew;n of ings in the school;s compound needed new roofing. Dur- .ny season, building interiors and some of the books in the If- further damage. human tragedy was greater. From the time of his return in Jan- Dillman said he searched for Johnny Weah, a shop worker h School. The worker's wife and three of their children in October what had happened  that the man and three hat Dillman said he has seen no official reports or estimates, but many as 30- to 40- thousand people have died as a result of the civil war. Liberia has a population of about 2.5 million. Brother Dillman spent much of his first weeks back in Monrovia helping to distribute food from Catholic Relief Ser- vices and other sources. By April, he said, most people had enough food  not to satisfy them, but .to keep from starving. By June 1991, emergency school programs were begun, mainly to help keep children off the BROTHER THOMAS DILLMAN streets, and to provide them with one warm meal a day. School formally opened in September for the first time in a year-and-a-half. Brother Dillman said he knows that some of the boys who came back to school, even 12-year-olds, were involved in the fighting and killing just a few months earlier. Putting down an AK-47 automatic rifle and picking up a school book is quite a challenge, he said. St. Patrick has a current enrollment of around 400 students now, down from about 425 before the war, in grades 7-12. Of the 64 students who would have returned as seniors, only 18 came back. Brother Dill- man said he has noway of' kn0wingwhat happened to ther], but' he pre: sum,s,, some fled , the country mid that others were'killed in the Wa'r. The boys are playing basketball and soccer again, as school teachers and staff try to bring back a normal life. Even high school sports pro- grams were affected by the war, however, since all of the athletic equip- ment was stolen. The school has a staff of 24. The principal is Sister Shirley Kohhner, a member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, of Ruma, Ill. Another member of her community, Sister Kathleen McGuire, also works at the See BROTHER DILLMAN Page 12 St. Agnes parish begins centennial celebration liy RYT. SCHELLER some people are still in the finding the place, but once The St. Agnes centennial sisters, teachers and parish- uDeeial to the Message dark about how to find it. you get here, it's wonderful," kicked off Jan. 21 with a spe- toners will be welcomed back Father William Traylor, he said. St. A ne vaa_ . g s Parish, pastor, joked that its He described his congrega- Ville, is celebra m i location -- tucked away in a tion as "stable, generous and terl. t" g "ts quiet area known as Howell talented." Parishioners will t)tto, l,a S this year with the Ifat F,- hining Past; Bril- on the southwest side of be pooling their resources Evansville-- occasionally these next few months to lr e ^ Umre.,, While the fu- baffles first-time visitors, plan a variety of centennial ul the a " AJ P nsh is bright, "You may have a hard time celebrations, he said. "uVance Directives Workshop looked at I0000tient elf determmatmn / /e sl - ,aeclslon-maKmg R. LEINGANG and other interested persons name someone to make such MeSSage Editor attended the workshop on choices should he or she be- ly enacted laws pro- rtunities for per- greater control ity for health themselves embers of their fam- 's what Sister felly, D.C., and old partici- p. is director of are at St. Mary's Evansville. s an Evansville Lan 75 priests, raembers, hospi- dth care workers Advance Directives, at the Catholic Center, Wednesday, Jan. 22. Msgr. Kenneth R. Knapp, vicar general and moderator of the curia in the Diocese of Evansville, said the workshop was planned as part of the ongoing education of priests. Because of the interest in the topic and its timeliness, he said, the workshop was opened to a much wider au- dience. "Formal advance directives are documents written before an incapacitating illness oc- curs that state a patient's choice about treatment or come unable to make deci- sisons," according to a brochure from St. Mary's Medical Center. New federal laws took ef- fect Dec. 1, 1991. Since then, health care providers have to give patients information about their rights -- which include the right to make thuir own decisions about their care. Patients may de- cide if they want to accept or refuse certain life-sustaining medical treatments. Sister Kelly spoke with the workshop participants about See ADVANCED Page 9 cial Mass celebrated by Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger on the feast of St. Agnes. Other activities will high- light music, which is an im- portant part of the worship experience at St. Agnes, ac- cording to Father Traylor. Special musical concerts are being planned; The Con- querors, an old-time southern Gospel quartet, will perform Feb. 16, and the Amazing Grace Singers of St. Agnes are scheduled for March 15. Other concert dates will be announced. On Wednesdays during Lent, devotions popular dur- ing the history of St. Agnes will be held, such as the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament with Latin hymns. In addition, music -- "some reminiscent of our past, other that's current" will be emphasized during the Sunday worship during this centennial year, accord- ing to Father Traylor. Tle "high point" of the centennial will be a Home- coming Weekend June 20-21, during which former priests, to St. Agnes. A special Eu- charist and parade are being planned. The "dessert" to the Home- coming weekend will be the parish's Summer Social June 28. Other annual activities slated are the Turkey Shoots, held at Dogtown Nov. 15, 22 and 29, and the Burgoo on Oct. 25. The first St. Agnes church was a small frame structure built in 1892 at the corner of Egmont Street and Barker Av- enue. Father Patrick R. Fitz- patrick, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, offered Mass there for the Howell residents until 1906, when Father Fran- cis P. Ryves was appointed as the first resident pastor. The parish then moved to the present-day location on the 1600 block of Glendale Avenue, just off of Broadway Avenue, where a new combi- nation church and school building was built in 1910. Construction of the present church, made of St. Meinrad sandstone with Bedford lime- stone trim, was begun in June See ST. AGNES Page 11