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

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2 14, The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana The old rectory at St. Thomas Church, Knox Co. falls before the power of modern machinery. Texas executes Johnny Frank Garrett for rape, murder of nun AUSTIN, Texas (CNS) -- Johnny Frank Garrett, con- victed of raping and murder- ing a 76-year-old nun in her convent room, was executed by injection Feb. 11 as his family members watched and sang "Amazing Grace." The execution took place despite pleas from Pope John Paul II, the Catholic bishops of Texas and the order of Franciscan nuns to which the victim belonged, all asking that Garrett's life be spared. The Supreme Court re- jected three appeals Feb. 10, paving the way for the execu- tion. Garrett, 28, was declared dead at 12:18 a.m. at the state prison in Huntsville. His execution brings to 44 the highest of any state -- the numbers of convicted murderers put to death in Texas since the state resumed the death penalty in 1982. As the injection began, Gar- rett's relatives sang the gospel song, "Amazing Grace" for about four minutes. Outside the prison, about 70 people supporting the exe- cution cheered as family members and witnesses de- parted. A smaller group of Amnesty International mem- bers was present and voiced opposition to the killing. Garrett had come within an hour of execution Jan. 6 be- fore Texas Gov. Ann Richards issued a 30-day reprieve at the request of the pope and Texas bishops. On Feb. 5, the Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 17-0 against commut- ing the death sentence. Bishop Leroy T. Matthiesen of Amarillo, in a letter to the board, had said he had per- sonally observed Garrett growing up in a "thoroughly dysfunctional family." He urged board members not to execute him. Bishop Matthiesen had said earlier that he, Garrett and Garrett's victim, all had lived within two blocks of each other and had known each other prior to the murder. Bishop Matthiesen said Garrett was sexually abused as a child, introduced at an early age to alcohol and drugs, and that he suffered brain damage, In his letter, the bishop said that Garrett, who was 17 at the time of the 1981 slay- ing, had "often .slept under the stands of the Alamo Catholic High School Foot- ball Stadium (in Amarillo) and in the bushes to avoid the cursing, drinking, fighting and abuse in his house." St. Thomas rectory demolished, Golden Jubilarians new rectory to be built in Spring By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message Editor "Had I been aware of the condition of the house, I would have gone to the base- ment on a few occasions," said Father Francis Allega, in remarks at the end of Mass on the weekend of Feb. 1 and 2. Father Allega was reporting to his parish, St. Thomas Church in Knox County, on the demolition of the old rec- tory, a five-bedroom home al- most 100 years old. The rec- tory was demolished in about two hours, Thursday, Jan. 30. A new rectory will be built at the parish, which is south of Vincennes, with construc- tion starting in March or April. A one-story brick building with two bedrooms and offices is planned to re- place the two-story frame structure that was built in 1896. The old building was not as solidly built as many houses Bill and Bettye Lee (Kuntz) Wagner of Evansville will cele- brate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, at the VFW Post 1114 on Wabash Avenue in Evansville. The couple was married Feb. 14, 1942, at Assumption Rectory. They are the parents of nine children, Patricia Debes of Indianapolis, Nancy Schaum of Newburgh, Carolyn Lane, Susan Culiver, Mary Myers, Kathy Loveridge, John Wagner and Ronald Wagner, all of Evansville, and William Wagner Jr. of Oklahoma. They have 21 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Wagner re- tired from Sears in 1984. of this type, said Father AI- lega. He said Louis Rusch and his son, Louis Jr., used their track hoe to flatten the old rectory in one-hour-and-a- half. "There were no supporting timbers in the walls and no braces in the attic," said Fa- ther Allega. "There was no insulation in the walls and only a thin strip of insulation under the vinyl siding," he continued. "John Lane be- lieves that a hard wind such as hit nearby a few years ago would have caved in the roof." Father Allega said there had been a few occasions during his 14 years at St. Thomas that "I thought while lying in bed that the house was moving a little." He con- vinced himself that it was his imagination -- until he saw the condition of the structure when it was demolished. "It is our hope that those who favored remodeling the rectory will . . . a have made the ri and support it," Allega. After the Rusches down the building,: Worland and his so gory, used their help crush the load it on trucks Joseph Yochum Rusch employees. rial was dum trench and supervision of Bill The old rectory ceilings in the first floor. Five woq were formerly the building, but ev! newer methods, the was never adequate winter, according to: Allega. Many items from ing were salvaged b( demolition. Doors, rugs, an antique and a staircase the items sold at auction' The First Place We'll Encourage To Look For Answers Is Here. The decision to pursue a life as a member of Sisters of St" Benedict isn't something that is going to be made lightly. The toughest questions you will face are the ones you ask yourself "Who am I?" "What is the reason for my life?" ,,w/t is important?" And a thousand more. But, as a Sister of St. Benedict, you'll have 259 cornpa" ions who will help you get to know yourself and to know Gad. We believe that our seeking God through prayer, corar#" nity life, and ministry transforms our lives. And the world. Since 1867, we've ministered in schools, parishes, care institutions, and social service agencies throughout . In&ana and m e ht th r ountrzeS ' , " ig o e states and three foreign c ' r5 For two hundred and fifty-nine women, fulfilling aaS to timeless questions come to them as Sisters of St. Benedict" t Please write to us in care of: Vocation Director, Sisters o] St. Benedict, 802 E. 10th St., Ferdinand, Indiana 47532. Or telephone us in  We can help Y u  Ferdinand, indiana  cover if yoU, by dialing ) meant to (812) 367-1411. Number 260. SISTERS OF ST. BENEDICT FERDINAND, INDIANA