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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
April 14, 1995     The Message
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April 14, 1995

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Part one: The Profession of Faith "I believe in tlhe Holy Catholic By DAVID M. THOMAS AND MARY JOYCE CALNAN A Moment From Life Juanita couldn't wait for Roberto to come home. This was the best news ever! Fi- nally after months of hoping and praying, his parents were coming. And she would be the one to tell him. She ran out to greet him. " Tengo sorpresa, Roberto! Your mama and papa are coming! They finally got permission!" "Que maravilla!" he ex- claimed. "Oh Juanita, how did you find out? When willthey get here?" "This week!" she replied. "Maria called to tell me. They'll arrive at the airport Saturday. Oh Roberto! I can't believe this myselfi" It had been not months but years since his parents had started working on plans to leave their poverty-stricken country. Never, ever, had they given up hope. This wasn't just' a dream; it was going to hap- pen. The rest of the week, the young couple could hardly sleep. So much excitement, so many arrangements to make. The entire neighborhood was going to be in on the • celebra- tiOn.r Many people from the church were coming too, in- cluding the priest. Iota of fam- ily members and friends were even going to the airport... The moment finally arrived. There they were! "Mama! Papi!" he shouted. The parents melted in the arms of their children. Friends and relatives cried with joy, all talking at once, all feeling with one heart. Time stood still. Hope was fulfilled. Then the older man raised his arms up high, calling for si- lence. When it came he simply said, "Gracias a Dios. Gracias a Dios. Gracia a Dios." A Connection With the Catechism Even at the very beginning, Christianity was a communal happening. It was the best thing to dot All relationships Even at the very begin- ning Christians gathered to celebrate, to give thanks and praise to God for the life they shared. were importanL Christians gathered to celebrate, to give thanks and praise to God for the life they shared. In their own languages they said, over and over, "Gracias a Dios" ("Thanks be to God"). From the days of the first disci- ples to our own time, Chris- tians everywhere have been saying, singing, joyfully pro- claiming these words, giving thanks for being with God and with one another. Last week we saw those early disciples taking off for the highways and the byways, on fire with news they couldn't wait to share. The prophecies had been fulfilled! No longer did anyone need to wait- the Messiah had come! As the disciples proclaimed the Good News, people throughout the land were con- vinced, converted, and then baptized-- the same as what happens today when people come into our faith community. Whereas people today join a local "church," a "parish," there were no parishes (as we know them today) in the early days. So what did these new con- verts do? They formed their own churches. People gathered together to learn more about Jesus, to sup- port and pray for one another, and to give thanks during a meal (which today we call the "Mass," or "Eucharistic Liturgy"). Historians and biblical scholars tell us that the first • churches were households. Families gathered around the memory of Jesus. They shared their food; they held their goods in common and tried to live a life filled with love for one another. (Just like most families today.) The First Structuring... The first sma|l church com- munities concerned themselves with people's needs. Within a • very short time, these so-called primitive Christian communi- ties organized themselves to care for the needy. Those who were in charge of this work of the church community were called "deacons." (The word deacon had a nonchurch de- rivation; its original meaning was "who waits on table.") As the church grew, still oth- ers in the community were given special tasks. Some members of the community were needed to oversee the total life of the community, es- pecially in the large cities. These leaders were eventually called "bishops." And some members were needed to orga- nize and lead the local group in prayer, especially in the cele- bration of the Eucharist. These were called "priests." Jesus Was Remembered... The most cherished con- scious feature of church life was the way Jesus was remem- bered. It was as if he had not left. The early Christians re- called his presence, especially in the eucharistic meal, and they continued his work through the good they accom- plished. Most valued were the works done in love, the works of caring for others. Families... the Core... The Second Vatican Council (a series of church leadership meetings in 1962-1965) offered us a wonderful description of the church and its place in the modern world, stating basi- cally that the church today still makes God present in the world through its life and ac- tivity. I The first churches were [ r households. Families gathered around the • memory of Jesus. "Where two or three are gathered in my name" is the most important biblical state- families. We need to keep in ment in support of both the mind that it was within family Eucharist.  : need for and the value of the life that Christianity took root. church. Catholics are accus- The same holds true today. We tomed to thinking of"church" In fact, in recent years the , ' ' church lsn t. 's in terms of a parish gathering. Catholic Church recaptured on Sunqmays; it But the same important spiri- this fundamental insight by the rest tual event happens when the calling the Christian family church gathers on a diocesan, the "domestic church," or the we've national, or worldwide level, "church of the home." The lan- again. Good especially when the pope is guage may be new in terms of do help us present: expression, but it is very an- ter This event also happens on a cient in terms of accuracy. We smaller scale- in family gath- Here we have the Christian better church erings, or when Christians of vision of family. Family is in it- But it is different denominations come self something holy, a commu- folks we're together insmall groups for nity of faith. Family activities the week, prayer, support, learning, and (those done out of goodness service of others. There also we and love) are holy in and of m.;i .... find the presence and activity themselves. of God--"church!" And then each family (each church? It should never be forgotten domestic church) gathers to- Copyright that the first Christian com- gether with other families to lishing. Allen, munities, or "churches," were be with other believers, espe- Bishop Shea emphasized role of : • Phyllis Elliott, associate dent, director of Campus Minister," tion. University of Evansville. • Beth • Beulah Evans, director, Retreat I-Iouse' Catholic Education Founds- . tion. • Louise Ewers, Director of sistant to the Family Life. tary and notarY,' • Lois Fink, circulation man- bunal. ager, the Message. . Sister By PAUL IL LEINGANG • Sister Shells Mary Griffin, SPRED directOr' Message editor Campus Minister. • An article in the Message, • Jo Ann Jackson, coordina- and notarY, March 24, was entitled "Dioce- tor of Supportive Services, Of- • Sister san staff: Comparison over 20 • rice of Catholic Education. Adult years shows changing times." • Sister Joella Kidwell, asso- ordinator, That article examined dioce- elate director, Vocations Office Education. san yearbooks of 1975 and and Programs. • Marylou 1985, and compared the staff • Sister Mary Terence listed in those two editions Knapp, director of Religious tor of with the current staff. Education, Office of Catholic Lay persons held few posi- Education; contact person, . Sister tions, as listed in the 1975 Spanish-speakingApostolate. VerkamP, book. The 1985 yearbook • Sister Patricia Larabell, bishop. showed that deacons, lay per- director, Catholic Charities Women sons and vowed religious had Bureau. as secretaries, been appointed to many of the • Sister Mary Celestin positions held by priests 10 Mauer, associate director, and ceptionistS, years earlier. Evansville area superinten- gram Among current staff mem- bers, priests hold few positions.  _, The article listed 1975 infor- J' We mation and 1985 information, but did not include a complete Following is a feature in the draw together the People of God in . listing of persons in various Readers are invited to submit inf°rm-at"'-"tion'-- '-- ,r,, leadership positions through- out the year. For example, may benefit by some extra prayers and au • Providence Sister Shells Mary Griffin was diocesan director of Campus Ministry, according to • Prayers are requested for Mary the 1981 yearbook. Church, Evansville, who is recovering Sister Griffin said Bishop Clinic. Francis R. Shea had taken def- Get well cards may be sent to her at 1312 inite steps to include women in Evansville IN 47720. diocesan leadership, and that .... Bishop Shea's actions have had a lasting impact on the Please send information for Catholic Church in southwest- ABOUT to Mary Ann Hughes, ern Indiana. Bishop Shea was 4169, Evansville, IN47724. the Third Bishop of Evansville, serving from 1970 to 1989. The 1981 yearbook includes the following: MILLER & • Sister Mary Sarah Brigge- "A man, executive secretary, Sec- retariat on Worship. • Sister Suzanne Buthod, assistant to the Officialis, Ad- vocate, Diocesan Tribunal. • Sister Catherine Doherty, Hi-Tech Sheet director, Department of Justice Residential, Industrial & and Peace. Installation • Liz Effinger, assistant 422 treasurer. Operated by Michael and Patricia Koch