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April 1, 1994     The Message
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?:Y 4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana --:Perspective -- A warm welcome to our new relatives My brother and his wife reor- ganized their lives during the past few weeks, to help a son and daughter-in-law through the busy times following the birth of their second child. The family with the new baby lives several hundred miles away. You probably could tell me similar stories in your family, of how a new addition to a young fam- ily has had an impact on the lives of other members of the extended family. The birth of a child changes the life of a family forever -- and not only the life of the baby's immediate family. A new baby changes the relationships of others who suddenly become grandparents, aunts and uncles, or cousins. New members of families get a lot of attention and that attention is not only limited to new peo- j PAUL It. INGANG EDITOR pie who enter a family by birth or adoption. Most weddings also bring a lot of attention to the new person coming into the family. Suddenly, everybody in the family and extended family has a new set of relationships when some- one gets married. We spell out such new connections with such terms as mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister- in-law, or brother-in-law. Family members, friends and relatives gather at weddings, to cel- ebrate a family feast day. Some peo- ple travel great distances to attend a wedding. Some buy expensive gifts. A lot of attention is given to the newly mar- ried couple -- but the celebration often spreads far beyond the two people who are committing them- selves to the formation of a new family. As we celebrate Easter this year, many parish families in the diocese will welcome new members. @. Hundreds of people will become Catholic ate monies on Holy Saturday. ! The Church pays a lot of attention Catholics, and to those about to lievers. We learn each year a chumens -- those who have z and the candidates for full have already been baptized but who are i bers of the Catholic Church. The catechumens and the candidateS'! in front of the parish community at various ! during their preparation period. We have J names for our relationship start to call them, "the elect." On Holy Saturday, the new will become fully-initiated members family -- and all of us will suddenly new set of relatives: It should be a time of great us. To all the members of our a warm welcome. And Happy Easter! .---- Washington Letter Although some fast, getting rid of hunger is slow p By MARK PATrISON Catholic News Service A report released last year by Second Harvest, a nation- wide network of feeding pro- grams, shows that church- sponsored programs account for more than 70 percent of all pantries and kitchens in its network. Second Harvest projects that 21,043 church affiliates are supplying food, while only 998 government agencies do the same. Churches also provide 9.5 percent of the food distributed in all kinds of programs, below only food banks and outright purchases. While governments provide more than half of total funding for food programs, churches provide 6.4 percent, making them the second largest source outside of fund raising. Perhaps the most dejecting statistics in the Second Har- vest report come from a survey of people who receive food as- sistance. Nearly one-third of survey respondents said someone in their household works yet they still need food aid to make it through. Close to three-fourths of all households had annual in- comes of less than $10,000, and 92 percent had total household incomes at or below 150 percent of the poverty level m the typical cutoff point for most food programs. Of all respondents who re- ceive food stamps, 82.1 percent said the food stamps don't last the entire month. Children have missed meals because of a lack of food and money in 10.7 percent of the respondent households. Asked if they thought three months ago that they would need food assistance, more peo- ple said no than yes. And asked if they thought they would need help three months from no'w, 47 percent said yes while another 26 percent said "I hope not." "Hunger is at epiclemic pro- portions," said J. Larry Brown director of Tufts University's Center on Hunger, Poverty and Nutrition Policy in a statement accompanying the report. Brown suggests that "well over 30 million Americans are going hungry today." The Sec- ond Harvest network serves only 26 million. "The study declared what we already know: There's a lot of hunger out there," said John Carr, director of the U.S. Catholic Conference Depart- ment of Social Development and World Peace. Carr said the Second Har- vest report shows that hunger, although given a lower priority in Congress, is intertwined with the high-profile issues it is tackling. Hunger has to be "discussed in the context of welfare re- form," he said."There's a broader discussion, but hunger is part of the bigger political and moral force behind it." Heiney-Gonzalez suggested hunger eradication has a role to play in health care reform, as hungry people are more sus- ceptible to diseases and condi- tions brought about by poor nutrition. Heiney-Gonzalez is part of the Medford Group, a network of 30 social activists updating themselves monthly on hunger issues and solutions via confer- ence calls. "The Medford Group is very concerned about the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program," he said. "We have never had full funding for the program." Full funding, it is estimated, would add 3.5 mil- lion more children to the pro- gram. "Children are a very, very large percentage of people served through food pantries," Heiney-Gonzalez said. The Medford Group is one of the newer voices in the anti- hunger fight, bringing together such allies as Second Harvest, Bread for the World, the Food Research and Action Center, Catholic Charities USA, World Hunger Year and the Congres- sional Hunger Center. The jury is still out on whether a more coordinated voice in the movement will match the effectiveness of the House Select Committee on Hunger, which Hall chaired until Congress cut off its fund- ing last year. Key provisions of the Mickey Leland Childhood Hunger Act and the Freedom From Want Act are now law because of its work. Hall himself has said Con- gress has done better on do- mestic hunger issues in the year since, but that is has fal- tered on overseas hunger re- lief. But in the absence of the committee, Carr said, the hunger issue still has its advo- cates. WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Over the past 10 'years, Ameri- cans have on average reduced their body fat content and cho- lesterol intake yet still man- aged to gain 10 pounds. It may come as little sur- prise, then, that they may not be as keenly aware of the con- tinuing problem of hunger in the United States and abroad. Members of the Catholic Charities Directors Association were among those joining U.S. Rep. Tony Hall, D-Ohio, in a three-day fast to heighten hunger awareness. But a lot of awareness is needed to cut into the persistent problem. Jose Heiney-Gonzalez, deputy to the president of Catholic Charities USA, said 150 diocesan social action di- rectors had pledged to join the fast during February's social ministry conference in Wash- ington. That pledge included pitching the fast to their staff. The final action, though, rests with Congress in getting rid of hunger, activists say. Churches are already doing plenty. "We know services are overtaxed," Heiney-Gonzalez said. In some cases, churches- are doing more than govern- ment. The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Publisher .............. Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger Editor ........................................... Paul Leingang Productol Manager ........................... Phil Boger ct,n ................................... Amy Housman AoefW ................................. ..Paul Nexl Sta writer ............................ Man/Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $15.00 per year Single Copy Pdce: $.50 Entered as 2rid class matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701, Publma- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication Last year USCC for tion of the se but the bishopS' a policy of intra political "Tony's vo listened to very said, and the Hunger CauCU formed to tee "gives . platform." Bishop's The following activities and events schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger,