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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
February 14, 1992     The Message
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February 14, 1992

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ary 14, 1992 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Bishop's Forum 11 By BISHOP GERALD A. GI 1' The Catholic Center sits directly below the _ght path of int:onfiug and outgoing airt:raft from cVansville Regional Airport. The sounds of e'mngs and goings are a normal part of lilt, lives s Whowork till:re. Although they are intermit- tl t, !hey come inlo our consciousness inuch like vil defense siren at noon on Fridays. Wa On Thursday morning, 1,'ebruary 6, 1992, it t t s different I was going over my schedule for ts day with De.anna Ruston my secretary. She Sou, Od.iu the doorway next to' my desk as the, caurlo of what I thougl)t was an incoming plane h leto my consciousness. The sound was some- a. w tlifferent. The sound changed.., here was t aStant thud the liohts flickered.., the Udding shook ." ." .' Muza we, nt off tie air... ere Was a bnrst of sound somewhere to our teast, but close it seemed I recall saying Olld ,,r-,. - " .... ,,' " Ul(l that plane (:rash? swFrom the windows of the Catholic Center we v,,.a n enormous fireball exploding to the sky. A f0i/* Very large cohunn of |)lack smoke quickly 'UWed. Indeed it was close. tL P ul Leinaan, our Director of Communica- 118,  .  '-' ..... t},, ollowmo his'ournahstm instructs, ran out fr a :k door Vithin five minutes he called back n t le crasia scene He located it at L nch Road arid U " Y bI_ , S. Highway 41 less than a half-mile away. h0, al ! it involved the plane, a restaurant and a ges3 e was sure there were deaths. He sug- 0f t might consider coming to the scene to be 1 tance. Doubting that there would be little I could Stillness of death pervaded the scene do, I de(:ided to go anyway. It was about fifteen minutes after the tragedy. Traffic had been shunted onto our street but I was able to make it to U.S. 4a by driving on the berm past the stalled cars. The unitbrmed t)olicewoman who had blocked ac:c:ess to the sc:ene, acklmwledging my own uniform, was most gracious in allowing me to clrive within 100 yards of Lynch Road. I reached for nay poc:ket ritual and the oil of the sick just in case .... There in front of me, within just a few yards, was the awful sight. I too was certain there were deaths. The fire, the flames, the smoke, the heat, the courageous rescuers and firefighters, the am- bulances, the fire-fighting equipnmnt, the walk- ing and injured survivors, doctors, nurses, paramedics, media persomml with microphones and cameras all combined to signal the awesome nature of the tragedy. Its proportions were im- mense. And there were the likes of me, helplessly standing by, watching and waiting for the in- escapable word that we knew would come sooner or later. Standing in the cold that sunlit morning, I withdrew into the silence of my own thoughts. In my helplessness I prayed for those who had died in the crash. I prayed prayers for the dead. I prayed for those courageous men and women risking their lives as they tried to save others and prevent further deaths from explosions. I prayed for those whose loved ones had perished. I prayed for those who were injured. I would have been confforted had I been able to do something to help, but it was not to be. Someone came up to me and told me of a man who feared that his wife was lost in the restaurant. Sh(; was working in the kit(:herl area and was unaccounted for. I went to him only to experience a terrible inadequacy. My words seemed as sawdust in my mouth. I touched his arm and asked if there was anything 1 could do. How emptily they echoed in my ears aware that what was neede(l I could not give. He tearfully thanked me and sought his own solitude. 1 re- treated ill the face of the mystery of death and its consequences. Despite the sounds of equipment, the quiet talk and a circling helicopter, the stillness of death pervaded the scene. I cannot erase it from my mind. It was only many hours later that the in- evitable news came .... Sixteen of our brothers and sisters had died in a human tragedy. We entrust them to Almighty God. Now let us tell their stories over and over again. Let us laugh at the humor they shared. Let us remember the joy they brought to all those whose lives they touched. Let our memories of them sustain us in our grief. Let us ask them for the courage to live up to the good example they left us. "Good is the Lord to one who waits for him, to the soul that seeks him; it is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the Lord." (Lamentations 3:26) and caution follow or peace accord C TENA COLCLOUGH paign in the E1 Cuco district atholicNewsgervice early in January damaged (CNS) -- ly has begun in a priest and in an eastern note that forgive- ill not happen er Kevin Conroy, who at Our Lady of Mission in Chiri- n province, rnunities in the area -'erned about their and what peace rly 1980s, Usulu- ld. Today :dry presence is uerrilla forces re- looked as Were five wed- oR at the same when the :1 a special Peace, Father Con- that it has not Since then. rnela Owen, who at the mission, signing of the in Mexico in village atmo- play in the she said. Uerrillas told were scared town without )articularly ers were n December. Be- presence in public confidence when three young men were shot as they fled to avoid being drafted, Sister Owen said. She noted that shortly after last year's annual remem- brance service for three U.S. nuns and a lay worker killed in 1980, family members of the National Guardsmen con- victed of the women's rape and murder defaced and cracked the cement grave- stone marking the burial place along the airport road. Hate must be replaced by forgiveness, Father Conroy said, because communities need to pull together and "take the future into their own hands." Agrarian, medical and civic projects coordinated in 40 parishes by the Catholic mis- sion are aimed to produce self-reliance and sufficiency. Only one of the 207 peas- ant farmers in the area owns his small plot of land; others rent land to grow basic food- stuffs, such as beans and maize. The mission is encour- aging the cultivation of mel- ons as a cash product. "Our message is to become independent," said Conroy, "however, we face huge barri- ers." In Intipuca, a community just a few miles up the road from Chirilagua, Father Con- roy said "the largest industry in town is opening en- velopes." Remittances from as absent for a the United States provide A ?ll more hard cash than coffee, , ry recruitment cam- he said. worksho ) at n Saturday, religious and lay people, ' i Little Rock, Diocese of ment, studies for, Worksho of Little The workshop is scheduled at the Catholic Center, Evansville, Saturday, Feb. 22; from 9:45 a.m. to 2:30 formation about the gram, ( the Catholic Center, {812) or (800) 637-1731. III I I I II I Ill I II II: I'" ii : .... ' ! : ::: j Pe0plos "Funeral Pre-Planning Since 1940" Trust Company 59 SOUTH MAIN STREET P.O. BOX 101 LINTON, INDIANA 47441 Miller & Miller 424-9274 Homemade Amish Cookin; 15% Senior Discount Every Monday Groups, Please Call 812-486-3977 For Reservations Guided Tours Available Montgomery, Indiana 00mf*ch, Open Monday Thru Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. CLOSED SUNDAY I I I II I I I [ I I I I I I I HI