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March 6, 1998     The Message
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March 6, 1998

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 I i , Almsgiving By BISHOP GERALD A. . GETTELFINGER even though it has seems to me. Ash Wednesday. Then, on the Lent a large number participated in Those to be baptized, the those to enter full communion through Confirmation and First "or chosen to receive these xitiat  on Holy Saturday Night. Rite of Election at St. John, Newburgh, were inspiring Church. [ Lenten acts of devotion us that we have personal The church annually encourages the of prayer, fasting and alms- nent last week. provides many, many opportunities hrot the year. There is perenni- the number of "annual col- 'ps a the national levels and priests locally express their feelings of "intrusion" into the life of the parish and diocese when it comes to collec- tions even though they are for very worthy causes. Many folks oftentimes feel that the church is only interested in money. Annual collections, in fact, are opportunities for almsgiving. Almsgiving is a very personal matter. It is a mat- ter that each of us is called to practice. The voluntary act of generously M letting loose of personal money without expecting an accounting or a return M is the true meaning of almsgiving. That voluntary act is most difficult for us. Weare consumers in a very materialistic world. We expect a return for every penny we spend, or at least an accounting for it. Almsgiving demands only that we be generous toward others less fortunate. How often I have heard the frustration of our priests. It is a frustration I used to share -- until I realized that these causes are worthy of consideration for almsgiving. My suggestion has been and contin- ues to be that we make the collections available as opportunities. I do not expect a heavy promotion, but rather I recognize that these are opportune moments for others to make a choice to share generously for a worthy cause. The choice must be with the giver. The Church serves as an instrument for getting your alms to the cause you choose. During the season of Lent and Easter time we annually have the following collections: Ash Wednesday m Assistance for the renewal of the Church in Eastern Europe following the col- lapse of Communism. The Fourth Sunday of Lent m The Bishops Overseas Relief Fund more popularly known as Catholic Relief Services to assist in areas of disaster and human tragedy throughout the world. Good Friday -- The collection for the upkeep of the Holy Places in Israel. The Second Sunday of Easter, April 26  The new Home Mission Collection to assist missionary dioceses in the United States. Please note that the Second Sunday of Easter which happens this year to be the date nationally established for the Home Missions has been reserved for our own Catholic Parishes Campaign. Though they may seem to be in conflict, they in fact are not. The Home Mission Collection is a moment of almsgiving. The Catholic Parishes Campaign calls upon members of our parish communities to make their annual gifts or pledge to assist the parish to meet its responsibility toward diocesan operations. Lent gives us so many reasons to reflect on God's generosity to us. Lent also reminds us that we should respond in kind. ys 1998 laws to benefit children and families IS first, a long-standing life issue and priority of the Indiana Catholic Conference, rang clear this year with the passage of a comprehensive plan to provide children's health insurance for low income chil- dren. Senate Bill 19, touted as the most significant legislation to pass in 1998, was one of ICC's priority issues. The bill, also known as "CHIP"  Children Health Insurance Program, -- will pro- vide health insurance for 50,000 low income Hoosiers children who are either currently not eli- gible through Medicaid or are not signed up. Indiana is expected to get $70 million dol- lars from the federal govern- ment for the program, while Indiana will have to come up with $26 million. Senate Bill 19 was authored by Senator Steve Johnson (R  Kokomo) and Senator Vi Simpson (D Bloomington.) Children and families will also benefit from the passage of two other proposals which the ICC supported this year min- imum wage and adoption legis- lation. HB 1015, authored by Rep. John Day (D-Indianapolis) raises Indiana minimum wage from $3.35 to $5.15 which will bring Indiana's wage to the fed- eral minimum wage standard. SB 425, authored by Sen. J. Murray Clark (R-Indianapolis), will help expedite the process by which children in Indiana's foster care system are placed in a permanent family. Children who attend nonpub- lic schools remained in the fore- front of issues discussed at the state capitol in 1998. The ICC !ric mggesting Lplis! ed during diana General )eSmond Ryan, )r of the Indiana ference says iakers passed low income ilies. es lal d children te is to and of Jesus Cess ive genera- t tl ds mission :! ! hrough the lS:what make s rant as a faith 00PPiEi nCl YOUng Adul t ,auon ,Word in is We as a of the Jesus and adoles. Jve Work of On'nunity. Viary to the affirmed several nonpublic edu- cation issues which kept legisla- tors thinking about the needs of nonpublic school children and their families. Although a com- promise could not be reached on education tax credits, the issue of helping school children and Senate Bill 94 was authored b), families through education tax ,: to:: ,,:lvtd:5 !:0! credits dominated the session. HarffotdCity.) : :: i Another measure, the "safe ,, SenateBill 184, a measure haven" bill initiated by the ICC, also brought attention to the need for fety programs in nonpublic schools as well as public. Although the measure failed, the bill would have included children who attend nonpublic schools intO the governor fe haven pro- gram a program which pro- vides funding for before and after school programs. Two additional education measures supported'by the ICC passed. Intelenet access, senate Bill 94, a measure to provide access to education technology and com- munication resources through Intelenet for educational purpos- es for students who attend non- public, accrraJited schcxls, passtKL Church takes the whole faith community &v th" hulimm Ga;lk: Conwnce honw pae on the lnternet at Send e-nufil to Altar Societ); to the Men's Club, to the Knights of Columbus, to the Serra Club, and to the assembled Eucharistic community; we are all called to share our witness in an authen- tic and genuine manner to our children and adolescents. This is an aw.oome responsi- bility that we have promised through our Baptism and through our renewal of Baptismal promis- es each Sunda)a As ministers with adolc.cents and childnm, we, as the adult faith community are called to prodm the good news (Kerygma), to offer a love community (Koinonia), to live that community in love ser- vice (D/akon/a), and to put across this a love ritual (leiturgia). This is no easy task In order to proclaim, an adult faith community needs to be in prayer and study. We need to e are all called to share our witness in an authentic and genuine manner to our children and adolescents. spend at least a year in prepara- tion to discover our images of God, who and what the Christ event means in our life, dis- ceming the power and import of the Trinity, and to discover how we can enter into youth culture as it is today in 1998. Through prayer and study, we can discern the members and organizations of our parish who can program events to meet our generative need to impart the faith with children and adoles- cents of the parish. In my own experience, I found adok.,scents to be extremely open to an authentic witness from an adult in the community who has welcomed them, and who has invited the adolescent to open his or her self up to the adult in a spirit of mystery and mission. We have great kids! We have three goals: ,, To invite the adolescent into a transformative relationship with Jesus Christ; To welcome youth and to open for them a relationship with Jesus so that they feel a sense of belonging; and To invite youth into active and responsible participation in the life, mission, and ministry of the faith community. We owe this to our youth and the place that we begin is with ourselves. Where arc you with your faith journey? Sit and journal for two or three pages about the way that Gcl has moved in your life. You'll be glad you did. Continued from page 4 working with the parents about the value of insurance," making . : the enrollment process user: and enn children 'with quality kinds ot care.  According to aameue, quality care means it is accessible, com- prehensive, continuous, child- and famih,ycentered, coordinat- ed, culturally nsitive and accountable. which would include nonpub- lic. accredited schools in the Ambassador for Education Program. also passed. The pro- gram promotes professional development for teachers. The bill was authored by Senator Thomas Weatherwax (R -- Logansport.)