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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
April 28, 1995     The Message
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April 28, 1995
 

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MESSAGE The Message -- for Catholics of, Southwestern Indiana VOLUME 29 NUMBER 35 April 28, 1995 listen to abortion survivor Gianna Jessen Jessen able to attend urgh banquet in itself. But abortion to sing, she 1,600 pro- m the palm of .!annual spring the theme Falls to the of Which began S, and her DePaul .s biological an abor- was seven ine injection, the death Was born two pounds. working an ambu- Gianna infants abortion Strangled or editor "was the believes. in the hos- Gianna Jessen is accompanied by her mother Diana DePaul at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life banquet. Gianna was the featured speaker at the banquet, which was at- tended by 1,600 pro-life supporters. -- Message photo by Mary Ann Hughes pital undergoing intensive treatment to save her life, and she was diagnosed with cere- bral palsy, believed to be the result of the saline abortion. She was eventually placed in foster care, where she learned to sit up, then crawl, and by age three-and-a-half, walk with the help of leg braces. Her adoptive mother says that the cerebral palsy left her with problems walking, with pro- cessing and in sequencing. Gianna attributes her adop- tive mother with "teaching me about Christ, that he is joy and that he is hope." She developed the belief that "God has spared my life so I can tell people about his son." Along the way, Giarma says she also learned about forgive- ness, and she says she has for- given her biological mother. Al- though her adoptive mother has met with her biological mother, Gianna said she has not felt called to do so. "My biological mother knows I'm alive, and she knows what I'm doing. She knows I've for- given her, and she knows I don't want to meet with her. I really don't feel it's God's will." Gianna said she first learned about her unusual birth when she was 12. It was Christmas morning and she was talking with her mother about her cerebral palsy. When her mother reminded her that the cerebral palsy was the result of her traumatic birth, in that in- stant, she knew she had been aborted. "I believe that God prepared me for that moment, because honesty, I had no clue just a second beforehand.  Her mother encouraged her to focus on the fact that she was given the "gift of life" and soon Gianna began speaking publicly. When she speaks she com- bines the telllng of he0n ::' : ! story with a variety of religious songs. Music, she says, has been an integral part of her life since she was three and learn- ing to walk. Gianna says she plans to pur- sue a career in music, and she hopes to marry and have a fam- ily. I think God places high value on wives and mothers." es react to bombing with prayers, contributions works through me." Fleck said Linda Bicker and Benedictine Sister Louise Laroche helped with the prayer service at Holy Family Church. At Christ the King Church in Evansville, parishioners were asked to pray and students were See CHURCH page 5 Evansville, the connection was made quickly as parishioner Karen Miller learned about the impact of the bombing,from her sister, Cheryl Ortiz, in the suburban community of Nor- man, Okla. Miller said her sister told her that the bomb blast dam- aged buildings as far as 12 miles away. Many homes were e of Evansville receiving Communion on a regular Statewide Catholics * 48%  Extremely impor- tant 31%  Very important 14% -- Somewhat impor- tant 4%  Not very important 2% -- Not important at all were the Diocese the Con- eing col- in south- -ach out to City. ry Church, irnpor- tt at damaged, and many of the oc- cupants are unable to pay for repairs, she said. Miller said her sister s a member of St. Joseph Church, a parish which has quickly tried to help people in need. For short term needs, the parish raised $1800 in the first three days after the bombing, and also located and delivered 2,000 surgical gloves. Early this week, St. Mary Church in Evansville sent a check for $500 to St. Joseph Church in Oklahoma City, to help with emergency relief. Among efforts for the long term is a fund-raising project known as =Help for the Heart- land.  The members of the Ok- lahoma City parish made 2,500 buttons to sell, and Miller's sis- ter sent her 150 of them. The button design features a heart, the outline of Oklahoma, and the words, "Help for the Heart' land." Miller said she would take the buttons to St. Benedict School, Evansville, where her son, Paul, is in the second grade. St. Benedict Church was among the churches where bells were rung on Sunday at 3 p.m., as a reminder to pray for the bombing victims. At St. Benedict, parish busi- ness manager Robert Mehringer also took an addi- tional step to make a collection more personal. He contacted the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Oklahoma City, and learned that the Thu Nguyen family in that parish needed help. A five-year old child, a member of that family, was at the day care center and was critically injured in the bombing. Mehringer planned to publi- cize an appeal for the Thu Nguyen family. He said any money collected will be sent to the Cathedral parish. At Holy Family Church in Jasper, more than 100 people came to participate in an evening prayer service April 20. Deb Fleck, one of the peo- ple who organized the event, said =I guess my heart just went out to the victims." Fleck, who is involved in Christ Renews His Parish, said she "felt such a strong bond- ing" with the people in Okla- homa City. I personally be- lieve in the power of prayer," she said. =I hope that God ....