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February 2, 1990     The Message
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February 2, 1990

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12 View Point The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana February 2, 1990 By FATHER JOSEPH L. ZILIAK Associate Publisher We need a re-membering and evangelization campaign In parish and school closings, is it money or people that serves as the critical factor? Last week we wrote about the closing of 30 parishes, one preparatory seminary and 10 schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago, in order to achieve a balance sheet of black coloration rather than red. Chicago's problem of insufficient income has led them to borrowing money from commercial banks to operate. Bad news. Bad news on several fronts. An organization -- be it an individual, a family, a business, a diocese, or a nation -- cannot consistently trade on the hope of future income. Bills have to be paid. Heat, electricity, water and phones are necessary to operate. People are necessary to make things work. Those things do not happen without money. We also noted that the Arcldiocese of Detroit closed 30 parishes this past year and is threatening the same fate to at least 15 more. But money isn't the only factor in the deficit equation. The lack of people is just as significant. Last week we referred to the giving pattern of Catholics. Reports show that they give only one percent of gross income to the church. This figure is the lowest of all religious groups, although Catholics now are among the most educated and have the highest average income among religious denominations. Something is not being transmitted to another generation. Let us even say that something has not been transmitted to the generation that is now among those who would normally provide the steady and regular income for a parish. We know that national statistics show that regular church attendance is the mark of only half the nation's Catholics. That is a decline from 72 percent in 1968. I would submit that Catholics moving in large numbers from central city areas to the city's rim and suburbs, and the lower number of Catholics at- tending church regularly contribute massively to this present phenomenon of parish and school closings. These things have happened in our own diocese. Vincennes went from five elementary schools to one. Over the past generation seven elementary schools, one high school and one preparatory seminary closed in Evansville. Had Assumption Cathedral not been sold to the city of Evansville, there would have been three parishes within blocks of one another in downtown Evansville. What is happening in a horrible rush in some places happened in our area over a course of years. The problems are the same, namely, changing opulation patterns, a change in style of Catholics ving their faith, and a lessening in financial sup- port of the church and its works. We have to go after our people. Why are they not finding their guidance and support within the actively engaged Catholic community? What can we do to become that light that attracts others to it? What do we need to do to heal those who have been hurt or alienated through our practices or deeds? Why is it that we allow people to drift away from a regular practice without ever once asking them if they are having problems or are they in need of help? Do we come across as uncar- ing, as intractable, as vengeful? Many of our problems are of our own making. We begin by asking God to forgive us that we may be able to reach out and invite others to return to the table of the Lord. We need a massive re-membering and evangelization campaign or else we'll continue to read articles of retrenchments and cutbacks. The number of Catholics grows each day. There is very little reason for decline. We are in a time of growth. "Come, Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. ' ' 'Life in the Spirit' Charismatic seminars begin at St. Joh00 Church, Newburgh By KATHYMULLER Greg Bailey and other active Special to the Message members of the charismatic prayer group have invited Evidence of a growing in- members of prayer groups at terest in charismatic worship Christ the King Church, and prayer services is resulting Evansville, and St. John in a Life in the Spirit Seminar Church, Daylight, to assist in being offered by the New Life in the effort. Father William Christ Prayer Group at St. John Traylor, diocesan liason to the the Baptist Church, Newburgh, charismatic movement and during February and March. pastor of St. Agnes Church, The group has met at St. John Evansville, will be the spiritual Church on Thursday nights for director for the seminar. nearly two years. "The Life in the Spirit Terri Appel, Mary Steele, Seminars like this one have Mark Schaeffer, Debbie and been widely used throughout the world," said Appel. "They are designed to proclaim the basic message of Christianity, but with the added fuller ex- perience of the works of the Ho- ly Spirit as in the early Church. "The Church has never lost the experience of the Power of the Spirit," she stated. "Many saints throughout the history of the Church operated in the gifts of the Spirit such as St. Paul listed in [ Corinthians 12. To- day however, there is a great spiritual renewal in the grass roots level of the Church -- of Bishops: Halt El Salvador military aid By JERRY FILTEAU Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- At least 50 U.S. Catholic bishops have signed a letter asking Congress to halt "all military assistance to E1 Salvador." The letter said U.S. policy toward El Salvador contributes to a "systematic persecution of the churches" and "violations of human and religious rights" under the current Salvadoran government. It urged Congress to pressure the Bush administration "to revise its policy toward E1 Salvador and become a force for negotiations." The bishops who called for a complete halt to military aid went beyond the policy on that subject of the U.S. Catholic Conference, the bishops' na- tional public policy arm. As expressed Dec. 22 in a let- ter to President Bush by USCC the" murder, allegedly by president Archbishop Daniel military personnel, of six Jesuit Pilarczyk of Cincinnati, the priests and two lay co-workers USCC seeks from the govern- at Central American University ment: Nov. 16. Also cited in the letter --A "thorough reconsidera- were other actions by the tion of the extent, nature and Salvadoran military against appropriateness of U.S. church facilities and church military aid." workers. -- "Withholding of substan- tial portions" of currently authorized military aid until the government has reassessed E1 Salvador's protection of human rights and willingness to reach a negotiated solution to its civil war. The letter signed by 50 bishops was originally written as an open letter to Congress last November by top officials of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, an organiza- tion of the leaders of men's religious orders in the United States. It was sparked especially by i | ] xcNT00 ] [ SEED COMPANY J VINCENNES FUTURE IN QUESTION The Army National Guard will train, provide a career path, pay you well and help secure educa- tion through a Bachelor's degree. "YOU MUST QUALITY." 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