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February 9, 1996     The Message
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February 9, 1996

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9, 1996 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 !. "" Bishop's Forum -- " Of sacraments and sacramentals Sieveral Weeks ago I wrote how I suggest to each of you to "notice" ng casual" about sacred matters during the next week alone the in- acnd to trivialize even those ,, are most central to the ex- Pression and celebration of our faith. In December man mem our di .... Y bers of se snared a da with Catholic leaders fro-  -" other a detailed re'po:a)ra" jiWm e of Purdue. It included the study of Catholicism state of Indiana. Our Mes- carried summary reports of his fall of 1995. most striking, yet most findings of the study is the impor- and other adults -- in passing on about our faith. Notice my word: "infor- k s to the faith takes on life only when nowledge of, even if not an understand- ByBISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER numerable symbols which are such a rich part of our faith heritage. You may not understand their meaning. For that reason, and most impor- tantly, ask if you don't understand any one or all of them. Those of us who grew up in a past era when "rote" learning was the practice can well remember the im- ages, the symbols of our Catholic heritage. Unfortunately we never grew to understand their meaning as integrated into daily living. Then there was the era of reli- gious education -- pardon my oversimplification -- where we taught through "experiential learning" wherein structures and symbols, except the current pop culture, were shunned. "Feeling" became the sacrament and sacramental of the day. Today, happily, we are striving to bring together the rich heritage of the Church with the experience of faith in daily living. We have long way to go. You should be excited with this challenge! I cer- tainly am! For those of you who wonder about my early expe- rience of religious education, allow me this brief comment. I celebrated my sixtieth birthday last Oc- tober. I, with my siblings, attended first Saturdays CCD classes and two weeks summer school each year which extended through eighth grade. This was prior to the "discovery" that religious education is a life-long process. Those were valuable moments to the growth in faith. But it was at home that we "experienced" the importance and meaning of the sacraments in daily living. Daily I give thanks to my parents for that. Because my father was the youngest of his family, he remained at home to be with his parents for the rest of their lives. It was in that way, parental lessons were reinforced directly, and immediately, by our paternal grandparents. More next time. of this cen- emile was bap- in fact, one of .to be baptized in m northwestern rrival of the His com- of and a Partners in mis- he call to had re- around him, .me a catechist. he shared his also with the to him and those children: or- Speaking Bishop as a son of !. Was introduced of evange- 4 WOmen in pro Vauch limited Bullets, team that it wins to and college [ey, to one eague goal- to four Pro leagues each the men's nothing. mprove- in the Ms. 1972 fed- r.ovisions that nation at funds. oises from IX could an ira- takes ef- date, col- make public men's and s, including costs rates. lization: "As I grew up, I was told my father's story, and I witnessed the part of the cross he had to carry as a catechist. That made me desire to follow in his footsteps, as a priest." Educated for the priesthood in St. Victor's Major Seminary in Ghana, he pursued higher studies in Rome and in Regens- burg, Germany. He returned to St. Victor's seminary as a pro- fessor and then, in 1991, be- came the rector. As rector, in a letter to the Propagation of the Faith, he said, " We appreciate the tremendous sacrifices of those who support the educa- tion of priests for the Church of God. It is all these people that we ask God to reward and thank when we stand daily around the table of the Lord." Then on March 25, 1995, Paul Bemile was ordained a bishop. Who was there among the many who rejoiced with him? Anselm Bemile, the person who started it all. "I was particu- larly grateful," Bishop Bemile says, "to have my two parents, father and mother, participate actively in the event. May God be praised." In a very real way, members and friends of the Propagation of the Faith were also at Bishop Bemile's ordination as he prayed "for the many people who have made and continue to make immense sacrifices to sus- tain us in the missions." The story of the Bemile fam- ily is very much connected to the Propagation of the Faith. The Propagation of the Faith is the Church's central means for the support of the universal missionary task; it is, at heart, ALL OF US WHO ARE COM- MITTED TO THE WORLD- WIDE MISSION OF JESUS, helping together to provide yearly support for lay catechists and seminarians, for the needs of Religious Sisters and Broth- ers, for establishing new dioce- ses and missions and for the daily work of mission dioceses worldwide. The Diocese of Wa, which Bishop Bemile serves, was es- tablished in 1960. Today, there are some 80 local priests and four issionaries of Africa as well as 190local Religious: 147 Sisters and 43 Brothers. Bishop Bemile says, "As I look back, I see the finger of God at work in my life. I also see God's work being accom- plished in me and the whole diocese through the Propaga- tion of the Faith. It is the Prop- agation of the Faith which is at the very heart of the growth of the Church here, and which helps the Church continue to grow. I rely on those who so faithfully support the Propaga- tion of the Faith for the future growth and evangelization of this vibrant local church." Will you be one of those faith- ful supporters, helping the Church's work in some 1,000 mission dioceses? As you pray for the MIS- SIONS and as you sacrifice for the missionary task through the Propagation of the Faith, you help the work of the Church in Ghana and in such countries as Sudan and Papua New Guinea where Sisters and Brothers labor among the poor; and throughout the world as the Good News of Jesus is an- nounced in word and in deed, day after day, and as people are welcomed into the Church, the Body of Christ. To become a member of the Propagation of the Faith, a "partner in mission," you do just this: include in your daily prayers the people in mission dioceses and those who bring the message of God's love, serv- ing them in life-changing ways; offer your personal sacrifices (your pain, your burdens, your anxieties) in union with Christ for the work of Redemption, and offer your financial support for the service of the Missions' priests, Bishops, Religious and catechists. For each individual annual membership, we ask a sacrifice of $ 5, annual family member- ship $ 10, individual perpetual membership $ 50, and family perpetual membership $ 100., You may enroll yourself and/or friends or family members, liv- ing or deceased. You and they will receive the graces of the 15,000 Masses celebrated for members each year by mission priests. Please take a moment now in prayer, and resolve to make Jesus' worldwide mission a part of your daily life. Then, please, a) offer your membership gift in your parish church on Mem- bership Sunday, February 11 or b) send your gift to me at The Catholic Center - Mission Office P.O. Box 4169 Evansville, Indiana 47724-0168. Thank you for becoming a partner in mis- sion, sharing you faith and your love with a troubled and weary world so in need of Christ. Report from Beijing: A personal experience Following are excerpts from a "Report On The Fourth World Conference On Women, Beijing, China,  by Franciscan Sister Sue Bradshaw. I am frequently asked "What was the conference really like? In this article I will attempt to respond to this and other ques- tions, based on my own per- sonal experiences and my re- search. Why a conference on women? Here are some rea- sons: Women are: one half the world's population; one-third of the world's labor force; do two-thirds the world's work; earn one-tenth the world's income; own one-hundredth the world's property; are 80% of the world's refugees; are 70% of the world's illit- erates; earn 70 cents to the man's $1 for equal work (in the U.S.); in some countries earn as low as 25 cents to the man's dollar; are battered at the rate of 1 woman every 15 seconds (in U.S.); * when over age 60 are twice as likely to be poor than a man 60 plus; are 70% of the 1.3 billion people in poverty. Why were you, a Francis- can sister, present for the conference? As a member of the Olden- burg, Indiana, Franciscan Sis- ters, I decided to join Francis- cans International, along with thousands of other Franciscans around the world. This group is an Non-Governmental Orga- nization (NGO) with'perma- nent status in the U.N. Eco- nomic and Social Council, which means that its certified representatives can attend all meetings of the Council, make interventions, and present po- sition papers. The focus of this NGO is to commit ourselves to the care of creation, peacemak- ing, and concern for the poor. Thus I attended the NGO Forum in Beijing, and was for- tunate enough to be named as one of the five persons repre- senting Franciscans Interna- tional at the U.N. meetings as an official observer. At the NGO Forum I at- tended many workshops on a variety of topics, listened to women from around the world share their experiences, and participated in caucuses to pre- pare written statements for the U.N. delegations so as to influence their decisions. I also facilitated a workshop on Women in Religion, and pre- sented a paper at another one on Cross-cultural Education. During the U.N. conference I was present for some of the plenary sessions to hear vari- ous heads of state address the assembly, observed the work- ing groups struggle to get con- sensus on the Declaration and the 150-page Platform of Ac- tion, lobbied the U.S. delega- tion and continued to partici- pate in various caucuses such as the Peace Caucus. The Message will publish more of the comments of Sister Bradshaw in future issues. Among questions to be an- swered are, "Was the conference "atheistic" (as reported on some radio talk shows)?" and "Was the conference "anti-family?" Will you become a partner in mission?