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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
March 27, 1998     The Message
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March 27, 1998

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 Tragedy in the night By BISHOP GERALD A. GETrELFINGER resulted in tragic conse- morning and throughout the day questions. When answers were they fell upon ears that could not hear dismay. i . set m, those whose 1,yes were forever were overcome with a mixture shame and regret. Those affected what they might have done out or what they might have way were apt to comment: SUrprise! .... We've seen this coming for for the tragic events shared reasons; one because he had made and carried them out; another to admit who he was in the face of fear for his own life; yet another was guilty because he was a coward and unwilling to pro- tect the life of an innocent man. When the day was finally over, an innocent man had been condemned and executed. His body rested in the arms of his grief-stricken mother. Benumbed by sorrow, his mother and friends buried him in a borrowed tomb. No one could undo what had been done! In recent days in our community, we have experi- enced a night filled with similar tragedy. One innocent man is dead and another wounded. Three young peo- ple, members of our Catholic family, have been charged with particular roles in these tragic events. Actions such as these may bring a very heavy burden of shame and guilt, not only to those who stand formally accused, but also to their families and to all of u. Actions such as these lead to tragic consequences. The lives of the victims and their families will never be the same. Actions such as these can never be undone, not by those who did them, nor by any of us. We are power- .less to undo what was done, powerless to remove the harm that resulted, powerless to rescue our young brothers and sister no matter how much we would like. We join the company of Judas, Peter and Pilate. For them there was no going back. Their actions could not be undone. On the other hand, we are not powerless to be compassionate. Even if shame is brought to our Catholic family, we are not powerless in our shame to be compassionate. We too have sinned and brought shame to our families and community in less public ways. We are not powerless to seek forgiveness. Nor are we powerless to forgive. Our model and patroness is our Blessed Mother, Mother of God--Mater Def. She has been there. She knows the suffering of our young brothers and sister and their families. She knows how the parish com- munities are affected by this tragic event. Especially, our Blessed Mother knows the suffer- ing of the mother who lost her son and of the bystander who was injured. She held her son's body in death and she knew Malchus, whose ear was severed. We pray for all families touched by the events of this one night. Let us entrust them all to the loving care of the Holy Family, especially to the loving embrace of our patroness, Mary, the Mother of God! Around the table: A prayer of blessing to me as my around our ' sim- how are we BRIAN HOLTZ r rch people around a only six comfort- memories also of around this evening my fam- in 4 because ool might child, it might .to another. in our world is that we range of choices," that 40 percent 1,200 Catholic . with schools years, has been a in the schools ' Unlike 10 years of them reasons. a Sister of Sacred Heart, Stone Ridge Heart in ges in coed rate lly in as some- raegare- )dd Ridge, one-12, t girls thrive and setting. ily sat together for dinner. Being able to have an excused absence was a rarity; however, one could be absent if the reason was suffi- cient. Also, there were simple rules that were dear to everyone. Rules like no singing at the table, no chewing gum, no fighting, and most importantly, proper attire was required for everyone. I suspect these rules were devel- oped to keep peace and harmo- ny throughout the house. If and when the occasional argument or fight broke out, room was always there with her famous words, "Look in your own plate." Not only was the weekday meal An argument she often hears against all-girl schools, is that students don't learn to relate to the opposite sex." On the contrary, she said, "we have empirical evidence that our graduates have no difficul- ty relating to men. But what they're not prepared for is how to cope with a glass ceiling and sexual harassment in the work- place." Sister Dyer, like other school principals, was convinced the association's latest report would not affect Catholic girls" schools because there's so much evi- dence already in favor of them. But she did think it might be an unfortunate setback for public schools considering single-sex options. Sister Nancy Munro, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet and principal at St. Mary's Acade- my, an all-girl high school in Inglewood, Calif., is likewise convinced all-girl schools are invaluable, but said some of their benefits might be hard to prove. Among other things, St. Mary's is a stickler for atten- dance, while her students pri- marily come from Los Angeles' inner-city neighborhoods where the public hools do not take attendance for most classes. important, but we also gathered around this table on Sunday for the noon meal. As before, the same rules were in effect. In our house, the kitchen table served a variety of purposes. Besides the ritual of eating together, many household "meetings" took place around this table. I couldn't even begin to imagine the number of impor- tant decisions made as people gathered in this place. The table also served as a gathering place throughout the day and into the night. The table in our house was like a magnet of sorts. Dif- ferent people, neighbors, family, and friends were drawn togeth- er around this table. Interestingly, enough, as you entered the back door of my house, the first thing that caught your eye was the table. Sitting in the center of the room, it took up most of the space. It was round, with big wooden legs which resembled the daws of some for- eigr animal of old. As I recall, the table was given to us by rel- atives who thought we might be able to use a larger table. In fact, some even said it was an antique; however, antique or not, it served the Holtz Family for practical reasons. This table nourished us in food, in story, and in important decisions. This very simple yet profound personal memory has a place in our Eucharistic cele- brations. As a community, we too, gather around a table. We gather to hear and be nourished by the Word of God as well as to gather around the table of the altar to be nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ. The table of the Word and Eucharist is of great impor- tance and symbolism to our celebration and faith. It is around this table that we gath- er as we are to celebrate how Jesus Christ is made present for us. Around this table, we bring all our hopes, our fears, our concerns, and we unite them with the community that has Blessing of an (Altar) Table ...: Let us Pray: Blessed are you, Lord God, who accepted the sacrifice of Christ; offered on the altar of the cross for the salvation of the world. Now with a Father's love, you call your people to celebrate May this altar, which has been built for your holy musteries, be the center of our praise and thanksgiving. May it be the table at which we break the bread which gives us life and drink the cup which makes us one. Here may we draw close to Christ, gathered to share in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This table too, is a mag- net; it draws us in, deeper and deeper, into the mystery and love of Jesus Christ. In this world more than ever we must gather around the table united as one body, the Body of Christ. Scripture reminds us, "ff you are bringing your gift to the altar, and there you remember that your neigh- bor has something against you, leave your gift in front of the altar; go at once and make peace with your neighbor, and then come back and offer your gift." Indeed, gathering around the table can make us whole, and reconciled to each other. Imag- ine that, a table of ria. a table of hope, of joy, and most especially a table which makes all things new. After my parents' deaths, my family wondered what would happen to the table that had become such an important icon of unity. Fortunately, 0ne branch of my family tree now  this table in their home. My brother, his wife and children now have something to draw them togeth, er. In a sense, the ritual, the his-- tory continues. As Christians, down through the generations, the history con- . lues in each one of us. May we never lose sight of that which nourishes each of us. May we gather around the table to be stren in our urney as : : pilgrims to the kingdom of God. The prayer for the Bk,sshag of an Altar seems to put into prayer that which is important as we gather around the table.