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Evansville, Indiana
May 3, 1996     The Message
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May 3, 1996

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana ' --- Taking the time to make a difference-- A window, a tree, a sign of your presence The paint on the window woodwork is chipped. There is a small gap in the branches of the trees outside the window. I am describing what I see as I sit at this desk. This desk is in a room on the second floor of our home. It was one son's bedroom not very long ago. Now it is a combination office and guest room, with a bed by the south window and this desk on the north wall, near the west window. A book case and a dresser complete the furnishings. Sitting at the desk, I can con- centrate on the computer screen. If I turn to the left, [ can see the sun-lit leaves of two large Holly trees, blue sky above, and green grass below. It is spring time. The view is distracting, in some ways. Or re- freshing, in other ways: At times, my eyes are drawn to what I can see through the window. At times my eyes are drawn to the window itself. The woodwork had been painted white by a previous owner. Some attention to the painted fin- ish is needed, now. We have not re-painted it since we moved here. Now that our son has moved to basement quarters, and his old room has a new use, we plan to give the room some of the attention it By PAUL It. LEINGANG EDITOR needs. My eyes are drawn to the com- puter screen, and drawn away to the view through the window, and then back to the small areas of woodwork where paint is chipped away. Here is a family story, I realize. Here is evidence of an event known only to those who live here. This is the window which our son used a time or two as an exit to the world outside. The paint is chipped from the board that was braced across the opened window, and from the rope which was tied to the board. The small gap in the holly tree marks the spot where the other end of the rope was tied. I remember my surprise when I first discovered this window exit, some years ago. My surprise was not that a son would do something like that, but that he and I had so much in common.When I was his age, I used to leave my parents' house by way of a bedroom window, too. Not to escape or to deceive, but only for the simple pleasure of going out the window instead of the door. Some neighbors of ours planted a tree at the birth of each of their children. Each tree is known by the family as this one's tree, or that one's tree. A stranger in their home would never know that each tree had such a connection. A would never read the complete story of woodwork. , Take a look at the evidence of your home, in your parish, in your community, What signs do you find? What t planted? What stories are told by the paint windows to your world? ,' What is different about the because of your presence? If there are children in your tell you how they have made home life different because of them? have they made at school? In your church communit3 Take the time today to notice about to leave home and enter tion to the presence of neighbor, a stranger, someone who her mark on the world. Take the time to investi church. Find a way to help plishments, a child's individuality, a :,,: bution to the neighborhood or commUm:: : Comments about this column are 4 Christian Family Movement, P.O. Iowa 50010. In.ternet Washington Letter Minimum-wage debate having maximum impact in elect By NANCY HARTNAGEL Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The minimum wage has become a hot issue this election year. Congressional Democrats are threatening to attach a proposal for a 90-cent increase over two years -- from the current $4.25 to $5.15 per hour -- to every bill in sight. And Republican congressional leaders, while opposing any in- crease, are trying to rein in mod- erate Republicans who have pro- posed phasing in a $1 increase over 15 months. But according to Thomas Shellabarger, an adviser to the U.S. bishops on urban and eco- nomic issues, "it's not a political issue or an ideological issue, it's a human issue.". "In our shelters and soup kitchens, in our parishes and schools, we see working families who can't make ends meet be- cause they work at minimum- wage jobs," said Shellabarger, a policy adviser in the U.S. Catholic Conference Depart- ment of Social Development and The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 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 R Leingang Production Technician ................ Joseph Oietnch Advertising .................................... Paul Newland Staff Writer ............................. Mary Ann Hughes World Peace. "For the Catholic bishops this is not a new or a difficult issue," Shellabarger told Catholic News Service in an April 25 interview. "It is one of the basic principles regarding industrialized work," he said, that workers "should be paid enough to meet the basic necessities." Last year, in its quadrennial statement on "Political Respon- sibility," the USCC Administra- tive Board said: "The most ur- gent priority for domestic economic policy is to create jobs with adequate pay and decent working conditions .... The min- imum wage should be raised to help workers and their families live decent lives." The average purchasing power of a $5.15 minimum wage in 1997 would be 15 percent below what it was in the 1970s, after adjustments for inflation, according to an assessment re- leased March 28 by the non- profit, independent Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington. In order to match the 1970s' level, the minimum would have to be increased to $6.07 an hour. A current minimum-wage e,ner, working 40 hours a week for 52 weeks, makes $8,840 a year. "A family of two hits the poverty line at $10,200," said Shellabarger, adding that a full-time working mother earning the minimum wage who has one child makes only 80 per- cent of that figure. To make ends meet, low-income families rely on the Earned Income Tax Credit to relieve their tax bur- den, and more directly, on such government programs as Medi- caid and food stamps. Shellabarger called the pro- posed increase modest. "If we were raising the floor to $6 or $7 an hour, you would price out labor," he said. "But this situa- tion is identical to 1989, when the last minimum-wage in- crease was passed. Studies sup- ported by peer review say there was little loss of jobs resulting from that increase." With all the talk about bud- get cuts and welfare reform, he said he found it "ironic that we're not asking employers to pay a wage that will get (people) off welfare." Robert L. Woodson Sr., presi- dent of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, op- poses a minimum-wage in- crease. The center is a nonprofit Washington organization work- ing to help low- income Ameri- cans achieve self-sufficiency through grass-roots leadership training, networking and pilot projects. "What it would cost the pri- vate or the public sector is not the critical issue," he told CNS April 25 in a telephone inter- view. "My concern is that low- income people will suffer." Woodson said a New York telephone company recently had Message policy regarding political activity The Message is the official newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Evansville. The policy of the Message is to observe the rules forbidding 501 (c) (3) organizations from engaging in partisan political activity. The Message continues its long-standing policy of publish- ing news reports and commentary about political candidates and issues, and about their relationship to morality and Catholic social teaching. Political advertising is accepted at the Message from all bona fide candidates on an equal basis. Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $17.50 per year Si,gle Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2rid class matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication 1995 Cath Press of Evansvine to screen 2,000 people to get 150 for simple entry-level jobs. "Even businesses operating in low-income neighborhoods have to go outside the neighborhood for employees," he said, "often turning to immigrants because of the poor work ethic in the neighborhood." "Given that reality, the prob- lem is not low wages when they are working, but that they can- not get entry-level jobs," he said. Woodson, who often works with former hard-core addicts, gang members, welfare mothers and troubled youths, said they "need an opportunity to prove they can perform, some even need to volunteer for a time." "If McDonald's is forced to charge more for will have to cut technologY or Woodson said. Raising the not only but also ca seek higher skills,. ,f need to "The pie who start over the son. "The is not by wage, E See Bishop's sched The following activities and events are schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinge Diocesan Saturday, May 4, 8 a.m. Confirmation at Saturday, May 4, 6 p,m. Confirmation at St. day, May 5, 10 a.m. Confirmation at day, May 5,, 2 p.m. St. Mary's 8, 1:30 p.m. Bishop's staff day, May 9, 9 a.m. Thursday, May 9, 7 p,m. Senior Class visitation, Senior Class Evansville, Frida Confirmation at urda.v, May 11, 5 p.m. Diocesan Finance Center, Wednesday, May 1. Vigil of Ascension, Poseyville, Wednesday, May 1