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Evansville, Indiana
February 18, 1994     The Message
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February 18, 1994

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Message staff writer 4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Magazine editor will be Youth Day spea By MARY ANN HUGHES again. Six years later,, his magazine St:TeenagersJOan of Arc atneedage]i When Paul Lauer talks about his Catholic faith, he speaks with the fire of a con- vert. And he sort of is. He was raised Catholic, with a Catholic mother and a Jewish father, until he was 11. Then, his entire family fell away from the church. When he re- turned in his 20s, he says he had to learn everything over PAUL LAUER Evansville native, Jesuit missionary dies in India Xavier's in Jaipur, but most of the time, he has been a Jesuit Mr. Chips. However Father Bert has also found time to wander through the back al- leys of the town, searching out abandoned souls, young and old, who needed a shoulder to lean on. He has helped a num- ber of down-and-out children to get through school and find their niche in life. "During the occasional nat- ural calamities in India, famines and floods, Bert as- sisted in directing the social service program. In the good times, he continued to lead the St. Vincent de Paul Society in its efforts to assist those in need. "But his greatest contribu- tion to the life of the mission, may, perhaps, be his spiritual direction. He has, at various times, been the spiritual father to the young Jesuits in Jaipur, for a secular institute, and for the missionary Sisters of Char- ity of Mother Teresa, "With an energy that belies his years, Father Wilzbacher continues these many min- istries to the students, the sis- ters, the parishioners, and to the poor in the hospitals, and in gullies of Jaipur. This Hoosier Jesuit missionary is a rare one indeed." Father Wilzbacher is sur- vived by three sisters, Elsie Getty, Bernice Wahnseidler and Bettye Barber, all of Evansville, and nieces and nephews. As a college student at UCLA, Lauer began searching for answers through religion. He studied Eastern and other non-Christian religions, got in- volved in born-again Christian- ity and then Judaism. One day, he was approached by a buddy from junior high. "He started telling me about Catholicism, about the lives of the saints and the apparitions of Mary. It was attractive to me and I started reading." What Lauer discovered was that "the saints had a powerful influence on the world. Even as young people, they made an impact on the world." tie saw the "image of people in religion. I saw how they be- came holy in Christ and that led me to Catholicism. Mother Teresa will tell you her accom- plishments are because of her faith and that drew me to Catholicism." He was working with a rock band during his reintroduction to the Catholic faith, and soon began to feel conflict between the band and his beliefs. "I felt God wanted me to do some- thing, that God had something else for me to do." He headed for the desert out- side of Los Angeles, and spent two years there, living like a monk. "I took a crash course in Catholicism and was rooted in knowledge of Church, in knowledge of Church doctrine and in the history of the church." When he returned to L.A., he started attending prayer groups. He seemed to gravitate toward students and "always seemed to end up sharing my faith with them." Despite a lack of, experience in journalism, he decided to start a youth magazine. Tak- ing a $3,000 inheritance, and an assurance in God's will, he started his publication. "I felt God's will. I felt God was say- ing, 'you are going to do this.'" He studied other magazines and began writing about things that impacted him, pri- marily his conversion. You! has a circulation of 45,000 and is published in English, Spanish and German. Lauer also publishes Youth Beat, a one-page insert cur- rently published in 45 diocesan newspapers around the United States. On Sunday, Feb. 20, Lauer will be the guest speaker at a diocesan Youth Day in Wash- ington. He believes it is impor- tant for teenagers to know that "they are the church, that God is calling teenagers to change the world." And when he speaks to teens, he reminds them of Mary, at age 15, and how important they they don't hear often," he to feel they He hopes through ing engagements his magazine to teenagers "into a ation c ments, the MasS, Our Lady, the Poi things that make Lauer will to parents Fe Joseph Church, topic will be "Ke! Young People MILLER & M "Funeral Since COMPLETE Auto! Home! Fire & Life! : Your Personal Service James L. Will Ins. 1925 W. Franklin Street I v4NSVILLE . SHOPPING FOR THE BEST PLUMBING SERVICE RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL (FREE ESTIMATES) GRANT PLUMBING CO. 484 S. GOVERNOR AT CANAL Ph. 424-2441 Carpet Cleaning SERVICE MASTER For Free Estimates Call 428-0900 Evansville Wet Heat & Piping Co. Inc. New & Used Boilers, Furnaces Repair & Replacement 424-0991 800 E. Oregon Sales 1916W.! where the Fire & Jesuit Father Albert Wilzbacher, a native of Evans- ville and a missionary to India, has died in Jaipur, India. He was 75. Father Wilzbacher, the son of Alois and Matilda Wilzbacher, graduated from Memorial High School, Evans- ville, in 1935. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1935 and was ordained to the priesthood on June 16, 1948, at St. Joseph Church, Evansville. He began his missionary work in India in 1949. In a newsletter published about the missions, the follow- ing was written: "Father Bert Wilzbacher is the only Hoosier in Patma Mis- sion, but that is not the only thing that distinguishes him He is one of those rare, re- silient kinds, still carrying a full load of high school classes, as well as a number of social and spiritual ministries, four years after celebrating his golden jubilee in the Society of Jesus. "Father Wilzbacher also has 40 years of missionary life to his credit. He went to India in 1949 as a young priest. Before his ordination, he taught for three years at the University of Detroit High School. Educa- tion, excellence of education, has remained his main voca- tion throughout his missionary life, practically all of it spent in the beautiful pink city of Jaipur in Rajasthan. "For a few years in the 50s, he was the principal of St. Every Sunday - 6:30 - 9:00 PM $3.00 Per Person Laddie Rust Instructor (Head Instructor- C]marron Club) Nativity 3635 Pollack Ave. Between Green River & Vann HAUBSTADT ELECTRIC Licensed Bonded Insured Industrial, Commercial and Residential P.O. BOX 405 TONY NAZARIO Haubstad, IN 47639 8! 2-768-5207 1-800-766-2787 D'O'W'N'T.O-WN 301 MAIN ST. - VINCENNES, IN 4759 is pleased to annou ROBERT J" '&NJ has becOme partner zzz t  Attorneys and :::;221ors 313 Main Street Evansville, Indiana (812) 425-8101 (800) 622-3604 in.In( (800) 327-0182 Outside Charles L. Berger. Sheila M. Corcoran