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Evansville, Indiana
March 4, 1988     The Message
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March 4, 1988

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,al Faith Today Supplement, The Message, CatholicDiocese of Evansville, March 4, 1988 Faith Todav A supplement to Cotholic newspapers published by NATIONAL CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE 1312 Massachusetts Ave, N.W., Washington, D.C, 20005,  grant assistance fTom The Cathohc Church EXTENBION soc,ety 35 East Wcx Dr., Chicago, Illinos 60601 All contents copyright 1988 by NC News Serce. 9 By Jane Wolford Hughes NC News Service W idowed for 14 years, Helen had sold linens at Sears and was retired. She had a modest, predictable, tidy life. Near- ly 18 months ago, she took her elderly Aunt Mary into her home. What happened after that helps to illustrate the vast number of ways parishes are a support to people -- a "resource," you might say. Mary had been hospitalized for depression and could not care for herself. The two women have no other relatives and Helen could not stretch her income to cover a nurs- ing home. At first, Helen says, she was amused at having "my little shadow always at my side, almost always silent." But before long Helen beg?n to feel she had "relin- quished something necessary fi)r my own balance -- privacy and freedom." Helen went out, but always with Mar)' because she was afraid to leave her alone. Attempts to in- terest Mar), in television or sewing alone were resisted. Then, during Lent, Mar)' sudden- ly said she had to make her Easter duty. "I think it was the good Lord intervening, for what happened brought new life to my life," Helen said. During the sacrament of penance, Helen spoke with the priest of her anger at her "captive situation." He listened sym- Where do Christians turn when they become interested in learn- ing more about faith or in renewing their lives as followers of Jesus? This week, Faith Today's writers explore the different kinds of resources available to help Christians delve deeper into faith. Not to be overlook- ed are the people in a parish -- pastors, counselors, lay ministers, small groups -- who are serving as a resource to one another in untold ways. pathetically and said he thought the parish "could help me in doing God's work," Helen said. Before long she had a call from a member of the parish Christian ser- vice commission who listened to Helen's story and came to the house with Brenda, Evelyn and Ed. After several visits, the three gained Mary's confidence. Brenda, a former beautician, spends a half day each week with Mary doing her hair and nails and sometimes a facial. Evelyn and Ed, contemporaries in age to Mary, come to "gamble" each Friday evening. They even get Mary to laugh when she wins t Hearts. "Mary will not likely ever recover and I am still confined but the bonds do not cut now," Helen said. "I am able to be tender, for I am seeing the wounded Jesus in- stead of a shell of a woman Bren- da, Evelyn and Ed have taught me that a good deed is never ex- hausted. It whispers its life into others." D[3E] Sally and Carl had been attending marriage preparation classes for a short time at Sally's parish. Chuck and Kit Murray were working with them along with Father Ed. In this setting, the engaged couple would begin to see with new eyes and come to know each other in a new way. Sally and Carl, in their late 20s, were successful, bright and a bit cool during the sessions. Father Ed sensed an underlying current of tmrest, perhaps unrevealed by Sally and Carl even to each other. The three leaders continued without pressing the couple un- comfortably. But when Kit said "marriage is a leap of faith, letting (;od take over," Carl leaned for- ward and said, "I can't do it. I'm not ready!" Then Carl dragged his feelings in- to the open. "I love Sally, but I'm not sure I love her enough to live with her success. I don't want to lose her but I can't risk causing our .marriage to fail." The wedding was postponed, but Sally and Carl continued their rela- tionship and continued to see the three leaders. Once Carl had voiced them, his fears did not hover like vultures over him. He was encouraged by Sally's obvious love of him for - himself and not for his present or potential success. The Murrays and Father Ed were healthy influences on the couple, and in a year -- five years ago -- Sally and Carl were r0arried. DNTq Jim became a eucharistic minister, partly because Peg, his wife, was often confined with ar- thritis. He felt it was his respon- sibility and privilege to bring the Eucharist to her. As he made his rounds, Jim felt he needed something more to share with people. So he joined a Bible study group in an effort to bring new dimensions to his ministry. Now retired, Jim is one of the parish's busiest eucharistic ministers -- a means by which the strength of the parish, greater than the sum of its parts, reaches people. The homebound eagerly await Jim's arrival. He prays and reads Scripture with them. And he tries to be a friend, joining the family in its celebrations and sorrows. "l looked foward to retirement with reluctance, for the future }'awned with meaningless tasks. Now 1 experience life with a capital L," Jim said. "To me, reading Scripture daily and caring for others, I have transcended the man I was." (Mrs. Hughes is a religious education consultant and a free- lance writer.) 1 \\; ! t ! ! i