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April 30, 1993     The Message
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April 30, 1993

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130, 1993 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 ishop's Forum-- First Holy Communion It was about three weeks ago :I celebrated the Sacraments tion and Holy Eu- in the new church of St. so quickly! Hopefully the mem- ory will last a lifetime. Since then, I have recalled that tender moment almost daily tist in Newburgh. _ After administerin the Sacrament of Confirmagion we continued as usual with Holy Eu- charist While giving out Holy Cmm"unin at the head of the as I hear from parish to parish the announcement about First Com- munion at this time of year. I also observe at Eucharist after Confir- mation other very young boys and girls who are approaching to re- Center aisle, I noticed in the line ceive Holy Communion maybe for approaching me a young lad By BISHOP the second or third time. Their ab0ut 15 yards back kept step- GERALD A simplicity of faith and the rever- lng out into the aisle to observe GE'I=rELFINGER ence they have is so very trans- u0th rne and what I was doing, parent and beautiful. :he man behind him repeatedly To be a part of that sacred .ugged at him to get back into moment for them is like a "little line. ( We chalk these up to 'holy' distractions.) retreat" for me. It urges me to reflect on the It was not long until the youngster was next meaning of the Eucharist in my life and that of receive Holy Communion. At that moment the placed his hand on the boy's shoulder as a Stood next to him. He addressed me: are proud to present to you our son Holy Communion." (Now, it was .why the boy had been so curious.) Although caught a little by surorise, I con- gra o _ _ , tulated the lad and gave to him his first Holy ^-..a.union. He beamed as he reverently re- elved the Eucharist in his hands. It happened the church. It releases a flood of fond memories: my own first communion, my solemn commu- nion, completing the novena of "first Friday" that first time; serving at Mass; the special place the Holy Eucharist held during the seminary years; the first time I gave communion as a dea- con (at that time there were no extraordinary ministers); concelebrating the Eucharist at Ordi- nation, and then the first time I presided at Eu- charist. Holy Eucharist is central to our life in the Church. The ministerial priesthood makes it pos- sible for us through the Sacrament of Holv Or- ders. I am of the conviction that the place Holy Eucharist had in the life of our family had an un- told influence on mv vocation to priesthood. It is "untold" because it is not clear. I do know, however, to "go to communion" as often as pos- sible was central to the spirituality of our family. More than that. because it was so sacred, great care was taken on the part of our parents to impress on us eight kids that we be properly dis- posed to receive. To that end, approaching the Sacrament of Reconciliation was part of our growing up. To be reconciled was not only life renewing for us, but gave reassurance that we were taking care to prepare well for Holy Com- munion. It is the responsibility of all families to pray that young men, including their own sons, will be open to consider the call to the ministerial priesthood. It is a call to be the servant leaders of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, thereby nurturing the community. It is an awesome call- ing to which none of us has the right. We all, nonetheless, share the need for the Eucharist in our lives. Cesar Chavez dead at age 66, led farm labor struggle BY JERRY FILTEAU Catholic action for social jus- throughout the 1970s, was to tional grape boycott that by hired goons, saying he atholic News Service rice, was found dead April 23 preside at the funeral, lasted from 1965 to 1970. would risk the appearance of :INGTON {CNS) Workers leader , whose leg- les to unionize in the 1960s a new generation of , American tional Bank BiCknell. Sandbom - Vincennes t'V'in Facilities. Member F.D.I.C. A Full Service Bank at a home in San Luis, Ariz. He was 66. Police said he apparently died during the night of natu- ral causes. His funeral was scheduled for April 29 in Delano, Calif., where he founded the union that he led for the past three decades. He is survived by his wife, Helen, and eight children. Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, who knew Chavez since 1965 and worked closely with him or} t-ape. nqm00 Je, s,s. JIMMY AND KEVIN MIET JISUS Cnoution to The Catholic Communication Campaign .... children  Jimmy and lenin to see Christ-ctmtered he cathotic Communication Camgn  in your .ish. C Diocese of Evansville atholic Communications Campaign May 15'16 'rill CATHOLIC COMMUNICATION CAMPAIGN "No farmworker has im- pacted the fields and corpo- rate board rooms of Califor- nia's agriculture like Cesar Chavez, and the nation's farms will never be the same .... Cesar's commit- ment to Gospel-based justice for farmworkers sparked all his pioneering efforts," he said. Of three great social battles that wracked America in the 1960s  civil rights, Vietnam and the farmworkers' struggle it was the farm labor battle that was uniquely Catholic. In its first, most important phase it pitted Catholic His- panic migrant laborers against Catholic grape grow- ers in California. It was a committee of Catholic bishops that medi- ated the dispute and brought the two sides to the bargain- ing table after a strike and na- A devout Catholic who never got a high school diploma but could quote Pope Leo XIII at farmworker strike rallies, Chavez lived austerely and took only $5 a week in pay. Masses marked the begin- nings and endings of strikes. Union pickets often carried the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and knelt to pray on the picket line. "What {Chavez} is for me is another Jesus Christ. He lived his faith .... I think he was a saint," said Jesuit Father William Wood, head of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference's board and for- mer California Catholic Con- ference director. Like Mahatma Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Chavez insisted on nonvio- lence. He once called off pickets after attacks on them I I PRAYER FOR THE SYNOD Diocese of EvansVille LET US PRAY God of life and love, You nt Your Son to live among us, that we might know and love You, that we might serve and worship You as Your faithful people. Assist us in living holy lives as faithful disciples of Jesus, Your Son, so that Your presence may be known and felt in our midst, that others too may come to know and love You so they may begin to serve and worship You. Empower us with Your Spirit to use fully the many gifts You have given us. Increase our faith. Help us to see Your plan for the Church. As we look to the future, may our plans be faithful to Yours, so that we, the Church of Southwestern Indiana, may further Your kingdom through preaching and living Your gospel. All praise be Yours through Jesus Christ Our Lord! AMEN! [ I I I IIII II I IIIIIII II IIIIIIIII caving in rather than give up on the principle. His leadership not only in- spired farmworkers  who until then had never suc- ceeded in unionizing over the long haul, in large part be- cause of the almost insur- mountable obstacles posed by their exclusion from the pro- tections of the National Labor Relations Act. He also inspired hundreds of Catholic priests, nuns and seminarians who gave up summer vacations or took sabbaticals to help picket, or- ganize or promote his boy- cotts of grapes and lettuce. Some of the bitterest at- tacks against him also came from Catholic leaders, Daniel Lyons, a conservative Jesuit priest who was later laicized, regularly used his newspaper, Twin Circle. to accuse Chavez of communism. Chavez himself frequently credited his success to the backing of churches -- and especially the Catholic Church. "I doubt that any- body has done as much for us as Msgr. (George G.} Higgins," he often said. Msgr. Higgins, long the Catholic Church's loading na- tional figure on labor issues, said it was Chavez himself who had the insight to form not just a union but a "com- munity organization." "For three years {in the early 1960s} Chavez gathered the Mexican-Americans in Delano, a little town in the heart of the vineyard area, into a closely knit group," Msgr. Higgins said. "He estab- lished a credit union .... His members also found that by banding together, they could pool their resources and buy the things they needed at dis- count prices. "In short, the Delano work- ers learned what outside union organizers had never been able to teach them. They learned the lesson of solidarity. "