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

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1996 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana ' 5 "- Bishop's Forum -- St. John parish: A call for unity the text of Bishop statement to members torch, Evansville, the outset, to ex- to a parish visit -- that is when I because I am bishop, not the Sunday wearing the miter the crosier, signs of zs Usually the way e rue since my visits here for formal cele- for the Sacra- ByBISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER say, I am here today, not only to with you as a member but to bear official news to John. your parish community has for its very survival. ) has kept me very much YOur situation. Both you and he have ex- frustrations. He has expressed to his effectiveness as pastor has He and I have discussed that issue at COncurred that it is best he step John our concerns have continuance of the faith community its demise. who have publicly suggested that to close your parish are responsi- I appointed him precisely for the namely that St. John might grow . as a parish community. to my second point of concern. Jathobcs are not a congregational . . Parish its lay leadership does ramlster. In the Roman Catholic Person responsible for the pastoral care appointed by the bishop and only roles of the bishop is that of Similarly, the parish pas- the unity of the parish, not only ip but with the diocese as well. St. John Parish is suffering from that lack of unity. Father Earl feels that he has not been able to achieve unity among the members of St. John so as to remain a viable worshipping community. He submitted to me his letter of resignation as pastor of' St. John. It was dated January 8, 1996. I have reluctantly accepted Fa- ther Earl's resignation as pastor. My acceptance was effective Jan- uary 8, 1996 as well. Subsequently, what appeared recently in the public media is re- grettable. I leave the accountability for statements made by members of St. John to those who made them. Some of those comments were flagrant and clearly unfounded. What about the future of St. John? In the short term, I have appointed Father Earl Rohleder as "administrator" of the parish of St. John. Simply stated, Father Earl will continue to pro- vide for the sacramental and liturgical needs of the parish on a "maintenance" basis. There are to be no new initiatives undertaken during this time. In other words, he will not be part of the planning for the future. The parish council and all existing council-re- lated committees cease to be. Until a pastoral leader is appointed there is no parish council or other offi- cial decision-making group within the' parish. Main- tenance decisions remain with the administrator alone. The parish council may be reinstated, but not necessarily so. That will be the decision of your new pastoral leader. All parish council and official re- lated meetings are herewith canceled. However, planned parish activities are not in- cluded here. I urge that those take placeas indi- cated. Whatever activities for the parish that have been planned should be carried out by those respon- sible. The life of the parish community should not stop -- must not stop -- if it is to remain alive. What about the long term? I will be very direct. Do you wish to be a viable worshipping commu- nity? Before you answer, allow me to remind of" some responsibilities. 1. You must be financially able to provide for your pastoral leader and the operation of your parish.. 2. You must also be able to accept responsibil- ity for the Church beyond your own boundaries, i.e., obligations to the diocese and the universal church. 3. You must demonstrate your need for Eu- charist and participation in it on a daily basis. 4. You must be willing to cooperate with dioce- san policy for religious education of the young by providing competent volunteers as catechists. 5. You must be willing to provide lay ministers to visit the sick and bring the Eucharist to the , home-bound. 6. You must support your pastoral leader for unity not only with the members of the parish but with the bishop as well. What is your will? Each member needs to ponder the question: "Do you will that St. John's Parish remain a viable worshipping community?" I expect you to exemplify your response by your faithful attendance at Sunday worship and your co- operation with each other and with your pastoral leader in carrying out parish activities. You must also contribute to the support of your parish plant and budget, as well your obligations beyond the parish. During the spring, I, along with our clergy per- sonnel board will search for a pastoral leader. That person may or may not be a priest, but liturgical and sacramental needs will be provided as long as this parish remains a viable worshipping commu- nity. Your new pastoral leader, whoever that person may be, will help you to insure that you have the will to remain a parish community. I suggest that "fair-weather" membership is no membership at all. You must be members who be- lieve in the Jesus Christ as reflected in the Roman Catholic Church and its structures. The center of your faith life is the gathering around the table of the Lord for the celebration of Eucharist as one body of believers. It is my will to walk with you and to assist you where I am able. I have no intention of abandoning you, but I must be able to experience your unity with me and with your pastoral leader. A theology of Serra The question inquir- They are and Women aCOns want- raore, feeling ething more, and SUpport The Serrans appreciate the contribution to the life of the church made by religious. By living their vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience they give witness to the kingdom of god. The historical contribu- tion of religious orders and the direct personal influence of re- ligious on the lives of individ- ual Serrans, for example that of women religious teachers, expressing feelings in Washington m fellow- Christian rking to through and as a giving ordained life, call to harvest to harvest" has made of church the Serran's part to tt World," ue everyday hOme, fac- Is here that the bulk of ary and Continued from page 4 his parochial school education and are "deeply rooted in my religious beliefs." "I cannot separate my reli- gious convictions from my po- litical beliefs," he told CNS. "They overlap." Dornan had a similar com- ment. "I wouldn't even be in politics if not for my Catholic faith," he said. "My Catholic faith is everything to me." Keyes, the first black Repub- lican presidential candidate, was ill and could not respond by deadline time to a CNS re- quest for an interview. In his campaign materials, radio talk show host Keyes calls abortion "a breach of the fundamental tenets of our pub- lic moral creed" and especially of the Declaration of Indepen- dence. have given Serra strong rea- sons to be grateful, supportive and encouraging. Because Pope John Paul II recognized the valuable role of Serra in the church, Serra was aggregated to the pontifical work for priestly vocations. Serra today, then, remains a group committed to the work of the church, called to the lay vo- cation, seeking to achieve ex- cellence in the vocation to do more than the ordinary, and convinced of the need to sup- port its ministers. It performs works cited as "criteria for ec- clesiality for lay groups in Pope John Paul II's Christifidelis Laici: the reawakening of voca- tions to the ministerial priest- hood and the consecrated life and a capacity for teaching and forming Christians." "If we take the principles of the Declaration and toss them down the toilet, you can be con- fident, the first people they will come for will be mine," he said in a November speech to the National Jewish Coalition. "But you will not be long after, when they have decided once again that humanity is a matter of choice, when we know it is a matter of God's will beyond our choice," Keyes added. Clearly, Catholic voters will not approach the presidential race only in terms of the candi- date's religion. "In both Ameri- can and Catholic tradition it's not crucial what religion candi- dates profess but what values they uphold," said John Carr, secretary of the U.S. Catholic Conference Department of So- cial Development and World Peace. But the presence of three Catholics in the crowded Re- publican field is "a tribute to how far the party has come," Buchanan said, admitting that the GOP "did not used to be terribly hospitable to Catholics." Although none of the Catholic candidates is likely to get the GOP nomination, Dornan and Buchanan said they have al- ready had a strong effect on the Republican Party, "They're all copying me," Dornan says of the front-run- ners such as Kansas Sen. Bob Dole and Texas Sen. Phil Gramm. He said Gramm "talked about virtue after I talked about virtue" and called Dole "a good man who x'ilI Stewardship by the Book In the first reading, Isaiah urges us in the name of the Lord to feed the hungry, shel- ter the homeless and clothe the naked. If we do so, he assures us, the Lord will hear and answer our cries for help in time of need. t ,i probably win the nomination" but said that Dole's attacks on Hollywood values "have my fingerprints all over them." Buchanan is even more blunt. "The Buchanan agenda of 1992 is the Republican agenda of 1996,  he said. But in his speech to the Na- tional Jewish Coalition, Keyes made clear that his campaign is about much more than win- ning or losing. "People are going to win elections, they're going to lose elections," he said. "If this country keeps on electing peo- ple who either do not under- stand or are not willing to stand up and respect its princi- ples, it won't matter who wins and who loses because the re- public and our freedom will lost.