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Evansville, Indiana
February 2, 1996     The Message
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February 2, 1996

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199e The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 3 ana legislature tackles life, child welfare issues fetus legislative corn- approved a bill charges for fetus. iciary Corn- Support of authored by R-Indi- L Jan. 24. The legis- by an inci- in which an Woman lost her as a result of a explained that the . about bill, the charges intentionally Would be raised Class C L ls PUnishable by a :rm of imprison. and a max- 1,000 to a is punish. maximum prison term of 20 years and a maxi- mum fine of $10,000. Marion County Prosecutor Scott Newman told committee members that the woman, whose name is Melanie Knox, was eight-and-a-half months pregnant at the time of the shooting and that the baby was delivered stillborn. The woman was present at the hearing and gav e an emo- tional testimony before the committee about her loss: "All I can think about . . . is my baby girl is killed," she said. Newman said that the cur- rent Class C charges for this crime are the same is the penalty for a forged prescrip- tion. HB 1045 does not have any impact on current abortion statutes and does not change the definition of a human fetus under the law, Newman em- phasized. He said the bill would just raise the existing charges from a Class C to a Class B felony and attempts to make the crime "proportionate to the harm that's being done." M. Desmond Ryan, the exec- utive director of the Indiana Catholic Co'nference and the only other person to testify at the hearing, mentioned that the Church's position on this issue is well-known. "We sup- port this bill because we be- lieve that the life of an unborn child is involved," said Ryan. The bill moves to the full House for consideration. Setting standards for caseworkers The battle to secure statewide caseload standards for child and family casework- ers continued in the Indiana General Assembly this session. The House Family, Children and Human Affairs committee approved a bill Jan. 24 that would establish Standards in the law for the maximum num- ber of troubled children and families that Indiana case- workers would handle during a month. Representative Mary Kay Budak, R-LaPorte, author of the bill, told the committee that she has been trying to pass this legislation for about six years and though it has re- ceived significant support in the House, it has stalled in the Senate. House Bill 1384 would set state caseload standards at 25 cases per month for child pro- tection casework and 35 per month for child welfare work- ers. As explained during the committee hearing, child pro- tection workers handle family situations while the child wel- fare workers deal with individ- ual children. Budak acknowledged the Family and Social Services Ad- ministration is doing a better job in hiring caseworkers, how- ever she is concerned that there are still not enough case- workers to handle all the cases which require attention. FSSA determined through a survey that they would need an additional 80 caseworkers to meet the requirements. Under the bill the state would have to hire additional child protection and child welfare caseworkers if they are needed in order to comply with the caseload standards before the end of 1997. The legislation has been supported by many organiza- tions including the Indiana Catholic Conference. In a paper distributed to the com- mittee, M. Desmond Ryan, ex- ecutive director of the ICC, said that the critical strains on the child welfare system in In- diana and the lack of up-front services "represent a lost op- portunity to spare children fur- ther abuse and neglect and to prevent family separation." The ICC paper also noted that 56 children in Indiana died from child abuse in 1994, and many of those children were under the age of three. There were 60,323 children re- ported abused and neglected that year as well. HB 1384 now moves to the full House for consideration. This information was pro- vided by Coleen Williams, Indi- ana Catholic Conference LEINANGt most parishoners agreed with editor Bishop calls for unity at St. John 'n around,- the as Bishop and Fa- ct entered St. for Mass, the bishop and with a comment expressed by one of the mem- bers of the community that "we can make it work." Bishop Gettelfinger called for unity during his official visit to the parish, as he an- nounced that he had reluc- tantly accepted the resignation Of the pastor, Father Earl Rohleder, on Jan. 8. ' The parish council and all existing council-related com- mittees "cease to be," the Lnd," the come mood of threat- comments in re- at on Sunday, bishop also said, but parish ac- :dear!-Deer crashes tivities -- such as the Chitter- lings Dinner scheduled Feb. 3 should be carried out. "The life of the parish community should not stop -- must not stop -- if it is to remain alive," the bishop said, (The complete text of Bishop Gettelfinger's statement is printed in this week's "Bishop's Forum," on page 5.) Bishop Gettelfinger said he had appointed. Father Rohleder as administrator of the parish, in order to "provide for the sacramental and liturgical needs of the parish on a 'main- tenance' basis." At some time in the future, the bishop said he would appoint a new "parish leader" -- who might be a priest, a,religious or a lay person. If the community wants to remain a "viable worshipping community," Bishop Gettefin- ger said the members would demonstrate their will "by your faithful attendance at Sunday worship and your cooperation with each other and with your pastoral leader in carrying out parish activities." During a question-and-an- swer session following his statement, some parish mem- bers expressed concern that dissension within the parish might continue. That dissen- sion was described variously as a "personality clash," a "power struggle" and as tension be- tween the traditions of the es- tablished families of the parish and the newer members who favored a style of worship more expressive of African-American culture. Bishop Gettelfinger chal- lenged them to leave the past behind them and to move on. Applause broke out in the con- gregation when a member told the bishop of being "proud that you are not closing St. John's," and promising that we will work together." Good Shepherd writer Students in grade hal that's not mto their orning, their all of their the rear in the af- worn asked their Used the ater, there and had se of head. eer's body tOward the Maurer, up to er arms yelling out., Then, m looked "that thing was everywhere. It was even on the teacher's desk, be- cause it was so scared." She locked the classroom door, and then she called Ani- mal Control. In 20 minutes, two men arrived, each carrying a long pole with a noose at one end. They escorted the deer down the school hallway to the exit. Once he was outside, "he moved around, and he was shaky at first, but then he just flew away." Four other deer were spotted on the Good Shepherd grounds that afternoon, and many peo- ple have sugg3sted that the high water in nearby creeks forced them away from their natural habitat. Sister Celestin spent Sunday talking on the phone with each of the fourth graders. "A couple of them were still afraid to go back into their classroom." She said she told them, "You have the best guardian angels, because no one got hurt." Because the desks had just been turned around, and be- cause the drapes were closed, none of the students was hit by the flying glass. "It was a real blessing," she said. Jasper Serra, Knights sponsor annual dinner The Serra Club of the Jasper Deanery and the Othmar Schroeder Council of the Knights of Columbus will sponsor a dinner and program for the priests and religious of the Jasper Dean- ery, at the Knights of Columbus Home, Jasper, on Thursday, Feb. 8. The event begins with a .... social hour at 6:30 and dinner at 7 p.m. EST. John Fierst of the Serra Club said the two clubs have held the event for the past seven years, "and with the backing of the people of the parishes within the Jasper Deanery, (it) has grown." The speaker will be Paul Uebelhor, a member of Precious Blood Church, a graduate of Notre Dame University (1956), and the operator of Uebelhor and Sons Chevy, Olds and Cadillac. Tickets at $10 per person are available from members of the clubs. The public is invited. Evansville Serrans meet with pope Two members of the Serra Club in Evansville, Dr. William C. Schmidt and Helen Kremzar, attended the July 1995 Serra International Convention in Genoa, Italy, according to a recent letter from the club. Schmidt and Kremzar also attended a private audience with Pope John Paul If, who told the Serrans "not to grow weary of teaching youth to make the gift of themselves to God." Kremzar said, "In other words, our mission as Serrans is to encourage and at times to awaken the vocational dimension of Christian life. However, we will only be able to do that by being that shining example of Christian charity, hope and love, and by giving freely of our- selves to God." Organization seeks European pen.pals The International Catholic Letter Exchange and Correspondence Department invites Message readers to "Make a journey to Europe without leaving your home: Have a pen-pal in the country of your preference." The organization claims to have arranged more than a half-million "pen-friendships" among people living on all five continents. Adolph Lung, the organization founder and director, said every second letter he receives from Germany requests a pen-friend in the United States. One of every three letter-writers from East European countries seeks an American pen-friend. For information, contact Adolph Lang, D-66798 Wallerfangen, Veilchenweg 2, Germany. Pen-friends should provide personal details such as age, hobbies, languages known and a full postal address.