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February 16, 1990     The Message
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February 16, 1990
 

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February 16, 1990 Editorial The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana ;:::::: By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor Nelson Mandela: a symbol of hope and f:00eedom The live television picture spoke thousands of words. Nelson Mandela walked with dignity out of prison on a sunny Sunday afternoon in South Africa. His walk was deliberate, his head held high. It was hard to look at him and realize that he was at that very moment ending 27 years of confinement, physically separated from his family for 27 of his 71 years. In a statement issued Monday, Southern Africa's bishops said that Mandela's release was a key to racial peace in South Africa, and that they hoped Mandela's freedom will end a sad chapter in the country's history. Catholic News Service reported the bishops statement about Mandela. "His release hopefully signals the end to a particulaly sad chapter in South African history in which many lost their lives and countless others suffered detention, im- prisonment and exile in their struggle for justice," the bishops said. The bishops said they rejoiced that Mandela is free, "able once again to exercise his rights and undertake his responsibilities within his family and society." After his release from prison, Mandela headed toward his single-story house in Soweto, the black township of more than two million people outside Johannesburg. Crowds in Soweto were singing a new freedom song with the chorus, "Mandela is coming, Mandela is coming." All of the words written and spoken about Mandela did not describe the moment when Mandela walked quietly from prison beyond the barriers of his confinement. Inadequate are all of the songs which have been sung, all of the praise and all of the criticism. My words, too, fall short. It seems, though, as I watched the man who remained calm in the midst of joyous throngs of dancing supporters, that he was never really a man confined. He was never really a man who was not free. Physical barriers had separated him from the society he worked to change, yet he was and is the man who brought about great change. Concrete and steel could not isolate him from those who rally with him to end injustice. Is there something for us to learn from the Struggle in South Africa? Is there a prison which separates us from family? Have we allowed others to control us, to keep us from what is right? Do we bow down to the pressures? I see Mandela walking in dignity, calm and quiet. And I have to ask if I can walk out of my prison, past the locks on my mind and my heart, past the closed doors of all the judgments I have made in haste, past the walls I have built to separate myself from everything I do not want to see or hear. I see Mandela as symbol of hope and freedom. Prisons had contained his body, but not his soul. Not his mind, not his heart. Not Mandela. Washington Letter The Church and the 1990 census: st,0000nd up and be counte00 r lly LAURIE HANSEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Two hundred years after this fledgling nation first surveyed itself, the 1990 census is at hand and church groups have joined in the numbers game. For good reason, agree government and church of- ficials. "It's the only numbers game in town," said Ray Bancroft, a U.S. Census Bureau spokesman. "Forty billion dollars in federal money alone is distributed based on census information. A similar amount is distributed by states based on the same information." "Say a city gets $150 per per- son from the federal govern- ment each year. You just have to multiply that by 10 to see the loss there would be if one per- son isn't counted," he told Catholic News Service Feb, 8 Census numbers are used for lO years until the next count is taken. Church leaders, especially those who work with the urban poor, have come to realize that Census Bureau numbers dictate Th'bi ESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47724-O169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published week/), excep: ast week in December by the Cath.hc Press of Evansville. Publlaher . Bishop Gerald A. Gettelflnger Associate Publisher.. Ray. Joseph Ztliak Editor ................ Paul Leingang Production Mgr ............ Phil Boger Cir./Adv. Mgr .......... Paul A. Nawland Address all commumcations to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville,. IN'47724-0169. Phone (812) 424-5536. Subscription rate: $17.50 per year Single Copy Price: 50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post of- rice in Evansville, IN 47701. Publication number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to the Office of Publication. = Copyright 1990 Catholic Press of Evansville where needed schools and social service programs are located and how well they are funded. In addition, the count determines the number of members of Congress a state is allocated and the way state and local districts are drawn. The Census Bureau has eager- ly accepted involvement by churches because of the inroads they have among the poor, especially recent immigrants and African-Americans, said Joe A. Cortez, chief of census awareness at the Census Bureau. Illegal aliens, newcomers who do not speak English and families living in garages and vans are those the government has traditionally found it most difficult to reach. Laurie Vega, director of the Spanish Apostolate for the' Archdiocese of Baltimore, said that a "serious undercount" of Hispanics in Baltimore in the last two census counts meant a "lack of awareness of the Hispanic population here. Politicians felt they didn't have to deal with Hispanics." She said she tells local Hispanics "if you don't let yourself be counted, you won't count. ' ' Baltimoreans seem to be tak- ing her words to heart. Every other Wednesday some 20 Hispanic women belonging to the archdiocese's Hispanic Women's Self-Help Group pound the pavement in southeast Baltimore to alert their Spanish-speaking neighbors of the need to par- ticipate in the upcoming cen- sus. In addition, Ms. Vega's office will become a census assistance center for people who have pro- blems filling out census forms because they don't speak English. Father Jaime Soto, chairman of the community outreach committee of the Complete Count Committee in Santa Ana, Calif., said participation there is crucial because the statistics will confirm the "very serious shortage of low-income hous- ing" in Orange County, known for its high cost of living. The count, he said, will reveal that three and four families are forced to reside in many one- family homes. At the national level too, the church is taking action. The U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs has sponsored two workshops in the past year -- one in Arlington, Va., and the other in Albuquerque, N.M. -- to develop strategies to assure the counting of as many Hispanics as possible. To spread the word, the church is working through its immense network of Hispanic Catholics developed during the Third Na- tional Hispanic Pastoral En- cuentro process, in which small groups of Hispanic Catholics met to establish a national pastoral plan. Beverly Carroll, director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Black Catholics, said she has encouraged pastors of predominantly African- American parishes to make their churches available as cen- sus training sites. "The parish is one of the few institutions seen as an advocate for the people. People are still skeptical about giving personal information to any non- community person (because) they have so many problems with (the departments of) hous- ing and social services," com' mented Ms. Carroll. It appears Hispanics, in par- ticular, could benefit from an accurate count in 1990. Preliminary census statistics show a 39 percent increase in the Hispanic population nation- wide from 1980 to 1989, five times greater than the increase among non-Hispanics. Projections for the three states where eight in 10 persons of Mexican heritage reside show that by 1990 there will have been a 55 percent increase among Hispanics in Texas and Arizona and a 73 percent in- crease in California. Those three states stand to gain as many as 10 new congressional seats in the reapportionment process to follow the 1990 cen- sus, according to the Southwest Voter Research Institute in San Antonio. Such high stakes stir con- troversy. There were nearly 40 lawsuits filed to contest the way the census was conducted in 1980. A House and Senate con- ference committee agreed in October to use illegal aliens counted in the 1990 census for congressional redistricting. The move to bar illegal aliens had been initiated by northern states that stand to lose congres- sional seats. Father Nicanor Lohato, direc- tor of the Spanish-Speaking Apostolate of the Diocese of Venice, Fla., said Feb. 8 that many undocumented migrant workers in his dioceses are reluctant to fill out census forms for fear the action will lead to deportation. To alert newcomers to the ex- istence of the census and assuage any fears, the Census Bureau has taken to the air- waves in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Cambodian and Thai. Radio and TV messages assure recent immigrants that information collected will be kept confiden- tial. "We don't even ask for Social Security numbers," Bancroft told CNS. To encourage participation, the Census Bureau even plans to send out "suggested homilies" to be used by priests, ministers and rabbis during religious services, said Cortez. i Letters to the editor [ Evangelization To the Editor: I am one person who ap- preciates Father Ziliak's article which appeared in last weeks Message. We need a remember- ing and evangelization cam- paign. This is something I have wanted to happen in my parish, Nativity, for years. It is now becoming a reality out of necessity. Our enrollment has See LETTERS page 13 Bishop's schedule The following activities and events are listed on the schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: