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May 3, 1996     The Message
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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 op's Forum- about to celebrate another of our mothers, ad. It is a time ; an annual moment of joy- Reflecting on Mothers' Day notice the capital and one day be- ordained a bishop I am hat she "knew" that I "one day." seven children I acknowledge position in the is little em- little) about my my Mother. let me go at 13. She and my fa- go to a place they did not know. They I was going to a place that prepare the vocation of priesthood. They did implications. a stroke at the age of 50 years. It ByBISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER was six months before my ordination to the priesthood. She had antici- pated that glorious moment for 11 years. In November, before the scheduled ordination in May, she was perma- nently and completely paralyzed on her right side. Her speech was gravely impaired. Happily, her mind remained crystal clear. It was in sharp focus to the very end of her life at 78 years. My Mother -- although she could not put a complete sentence together for 28 years of life -- communicated in an unmistakable and clear man- ner. I will never forget her phone calls. They were in- dicative of her inimitable ability to communicate. One day, for example, I accepted a phone call from my Mother. Her message was simple. It was clear: "Mary Ruth; one-two-three-four-five-and a half- o'clock; baby girl; one-two-three-four-five-six-seven- and a half pounds! (Mary Ruth is my eldest sister.) My Mother could, in her incapacity of speech, com- municate more with her expressions than you and I do with chapters of books. She loved each one of us so much that it was never in question. We love her in return. Oh my, how we love her! Every time I go home, I stop to visit Mom and Dad in the cemetery. Oh, I know that it is my need, not theirs. I need to be in touch with those who, in their loving cooperation with each other and ixith God, gave me life. As a boy in the seminary, I anticipated with long- ing the weekly letter from home. (Little did I realize their desire to receive a letter from me.) You must know that I still have the last letter my Mother was able to write in November 1960, days before she lost the ability to write. She had a devastating stroke on November 22,1960. Mothers' Day is a joyous day for me. On that day in 1961, with Morn and Dad and my seven sisters and brothers, I celebrated my first Holy and Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving at our parish of St. Bernard, French- town, Indiana. That was 35 years ago, May 14, 1961. on essay contest, winner: I'll bring the Soon as I finish .Vaaterial for the at the other says. reply, "see to tell the a mental arrangements In preparation carnival. Preparing for a essay, written Saturday of 25-cent games, a a high bake sale, a small raffle table, Mount Saint and arts and crafts. For the past in Flourtown, 10 years my family has held a Place winner similar celebration, organized to of raise money for a missionary for high friend of ours servingin Sudan, Africa. In addition to raising funds for Father Ed Brady, S.J., this backyard festival has al- ways been a unifying experi- ence. It brings the members of my family closer together, pro- vides neighborhood children such as Carolyn and other friends with the opportunity to do some fun service, and re- unites some long-time fr'iends and supporters of Father Ed Brady. Ed Brady entered the Society of Jesus' missionary program in 1946, right after his graduation from high school. He studied at a seminary in India and then went to Sri Lanka after his or- dination. While Father was in Sri Lanka, he contracted a par- asite which forced him to come to the States for a 10-year re- covery. During these 10 years, Father Brady worked with var- ious organizations including Hunger for Bread. His affiliation with Hunger for Bread involved him in the 1975-1976 Eucharis- tic Congress; it was at the Eu- charistic Congress that my par- ents first met Father Brady. Even to this day, the Eucharist remains the person of all that Father Brady believes and preaches. After his recovery, Fa- ther Brady went to Thailand to work with refugees; eventually, he was stationed in Sudan, Tribute to missionary Africa -- his present position. The struggles that Father Brady has encountered in the Sudan are often beyond belief. His monthly letters tell of the oppressive government, bull- dozing the houses of the refugees and killing the poor. One can sense the compassion Father Brady feels for these peo- ple. I imagine him working in the sweltering heat of the desert, often in unsanitary con- ditions. Yet in the midst of these struggles, Father Brady contin- ues to live out his vocation. Even as the aging process has taken its toll on Father Brady's health, his spirit has never suffered; he continues to be a Moses for the people in the desert. To hae, Father Brady is a hero -- he is a source of inspiration and encouragement. His unfal- tering faith and trust in the will of God never cease to amaze me. Father's work in the Sudan and in other countries has broad- ened my international perspec- tive and has encouraged me to share his story with others. Even though my family's back- yard carnival is just a small way of supporting Father Brady's work, it is a means of unification with my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. Missionaries seek to unite the world through their heroic witness to the will of God; specifically, Father Brady is a unifying source in the world. It is truly amazing to re- alize how the life of one person can touch and inspire so many others. officials study ramifications of Nebraska bishop's (CNs) _ A bishop excommu- belonging Vatican of- the ications the is right to the or- al problems to indi- - lack of con- bishops collegiality. to interviews Service in Fabian W. # 1- minimum Years the I think ng," .on 1- 25 Voted rais- action Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., said Catholics in his diocese would face automatic interdict April 15 if they continued their member- ship in any of 12 organizations he termed "perilous to the Catholic faith." If they persisted, a month later they would be ex- communicated, he said. The groups included those supporting legal abortion or eu- thanasia, some that are opposed to church reforms since Vatican II and some affiliated with the Freemasons. The Vatican has had no offi- cial reaction to the controversial action. But in interviews, offi- cials expressed moral support for Bishop Bruskewitz and cautioti about the wider effects of his move. Those wider effects were re- ceiving careful study. Among the ing the minimum wage to the floor. In a written statement issued after the vote, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R- Texas, said they would propose their own legis- lation, probably this summer, that would "increase take-home pay, stimulate economic growth and raise the standard of living of hard-working American fam- ilies." material being examined by Vat- ican doctrinal officials was an unsolicited report by several U.S. civil lawyers, including Supreme" Court Justice Antonin Scalia, one informed source said. In Washington, a spokeswoman for Scalia said he had no com- ment on the report. Bishop Anthony M. Pilla of Cleveland, president of the U.S. bishops' conference, discussed Bishop Bruskewitz's action in meetings with Vatican officials in late April. He said he shared the U.S. conference Position that it had no competency or author- ity over a decision of the local bishop in his own diocese. One highly placed Vatican of- ficial said he considered Bishop Bruskewitz's action a "first warning" to his faithful. In effect, he said, the bishop was not setting new conditions for automatic excommunication, but simply pointing out condi- tions that already exist: that Catholics who persist in apos- tasy, heresy or schism place themselves outside the church. "I see (the bishop's statement) as a generic affirmation that must later be applied to each person, according to the situa- tion of each person," the official said. How it would be applied indi- vidually seems unclear at this point, he added. He noted that the targeted groups represent a wide range of positions on vari- ous issues. One of the groups, Call to Action, claims about 15,000 Catholic members and advocates ordination of women and married men. It also opposes church teaching on birth control. 'That is certainly a dissenting group, a critical group, and one that is detached from the mag- isterium of the church. But that they are now automatically out- side the church, this is harder to say," the Vatican official said. Noting that Bishop Bruske- witz had made the decision on his own, the official suggested that "it would be better for such a decision to be agreed upon, at least in the same region" of bish- ops. - The resulting variety of posi- tions or penalties regarding these groups in the United States could strike some as strange and lead to problems, he said. Bishop Pills said in Rome that this variety "clearly is not a good thing" and added: "One would hope for consultation, but clearly we can't demand that." Another Vatican official said the lack of consultation could make things awkward for other U.S. bishops -- including those who may be sympathetic to what Bishop Bruskewitz did, and who may now come under pressure to do the same. The Vatican officials said they were aware of the different opin- ions about the pastoral effec- tiveness of Bishop Bruskewitz's action. On the one hand, a bishop's main duty is to build unity in his diocese, and there is the question of whether in this case the bishop has alienated people instead, they said. But they also expressed re- spect for the bishop's resolve to act on his belief that these orga- nizations are placing the faith in danger. The bishop has a re- sponsibility to make it clear to his faithful that some teachings are non-negotiable, and are not simply one opinion among many, they said. One Vatican official pointed out that Catholics who believe they have been wrongly penal- ized by Bishop Bruskewitz can appeal the decision in church courts. Stewardship by the Book "The one who has faith in me will do the works i do, and far greater than these," Jesus tells his disciples, That's quite an assignment for us as Ch stewards! , i ill, H. I I i i