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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
May 10, 1996     The Message
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May 10, 1996

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 's Forum-- Wabash Valley Correctional Institute 29, 1996, I and an awful ex- and the same day satisfying mo- Priest's ministry is the r of the it is an infant or it is more exhila- an adult who has the gift of a long search to it. was mine on .... ByBISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER I baptized Bryan in the fellow Catholics from the onal Institute. Also present Chaplain and three members De Paul Society of Vincennes. It for Bryan too! and made his in the context of the Liturgy which I was most pleased to  Present shared Bryan's joy. He de- scribed for me his deepest emotions when I consecrated him on his head with Sacred Chrism just after the baptism. As he spoke of his feeling tears welled up in his eyes. It was an awful day. After the joy of the sacred moments of human joy preceding, the stark re- ality of a maximum security prison was stunning and numbing when brought to life for me in a tour of the "facility." The assistant superintendent of the prison was generous and kind enough to provide a tour of the prison. It gave me the chance to see and sense the environment of the differing levels of "secure housing" in this state-the-art facility. "Max- imum" is an inadequate adjective to describe what "maximum security" is really all about. Making the tour together with me were Paul Leingang, the editor of the Message, Chaplain William Hunter of WVCI, and Father Kenneth Graehler, the pastor of St. Mary, Sullivan. Father Graehler has the pastoral care of the prison which is located in his parish. I am certain that Paul has his own story to tell. Father Graehler has so many more, as does Father Robert Nemergut of St. Francis Xavier in Vincennes. (Father Graehler regularly visits the prison as does Father Nemergut.) I have been haunted by the sights and sounds of that visit. My visual and auditory memories have provided all too much material for unhappy dreams. I am perplexed with a troubling question. How is it that a country blessed with such great talent and unfathomed ability can get men to the moon and back and be unable to find a more creative way of righting wrongs, of punishing those who have violated other human beings, of obtaining retribution for those guilty of "civil" crimes, of pro- tecting the rest of us from those who are violent and for whom there is no cure? I wish I could devise a solution. I regret that I personally do not have the creative talent to devise a better way to punish my brothers and sisters who have done wrong. There must be another way! I am convinced that together we could do it. I suggest the flaw is in our lack of will to do so. I am convinced that we can find the way. I am not convinced that we have the will to do it. I pray I am wrong in my assessment. vs cows: Who is the best steward? : i t re COnvers_ pig con- ling de- of alned that king in the never had kind to that but more. ham People even "I held for a too- "Per- are stew- in- a raost n said he to ecially 'Primarily Central po- when ties to se. As lncreas. important four-letter word: give. God has given us many blessings. In gratitude, the good steward joyfully gives a portion of the gifts he or she has received back to God. What we return to God is some of our God.given time, talents and treasure. In a society that is more in- tent on getting rather than giving, why would anyone choose to live a life of Christian stewardship? The short answer is because of discipleship. A person who has consciously chosen to be a disciple of Jesus Christ lovingly accepts Christ's mandate to be a good steward. Stewardship and discipleship for a committed Christian are fnextricably intertwined: one cannot exist without the other. A faithful disciple of Jesus strives to be a good steward to help spread God's kingdom on earth and, ultimately, to find a place in God's heavenly king- dom. According to Christian teachings and our Catholic tra- dition, it's those things we do or fail to do during our lifetime (like the cow) that will deter- mine our final judgment, not the legacy we leave after we die (like the pig). Or, as an anony- mous author has written: "When we come to the end of life, the question will be: "How much have you given? not: "How much have you gotten." (One enterprising bank in Cali- fornia that is located across the street from a cemetery recently had this sign on its marquee: "Put your money in our bank. ingly wary of accepting priests with unfamiliar backgrounds, he said, he has been asked to list and explain every arrest on his record. "Some of them I had trouble remembering," he said. "One consideration is when applying for visas," he said. Sometimes the country you apply to will ask for your 'rap sheet.' Though the one time they checked my record it was clean." You can't take it with you, but you can keep it close!") Christian stewardship is simple to explain, easy to un- derstand, but, oh, so difficult for many people to accept as a way of life. Why? The reasons are too numerous to explore in this short column. But here is a clue: many of us unwittingly and consistently confuse the words "need" and "want." Think about this first list of "I need" statements: "I need a new car, all new furniture, a cellular phone, a Barbi doll, cable TV, a remote control for my car radio, (yes, there are such things!) a new outfit for Easter, a pair of the latest Michael Jordan super-pump, glow-in-the-dark, jet-assisted-take-off, zebra-striped, big-foot, velcro- and-laced, aerodynamic sneak- ers." Now compare this second list of"I need" statements with the first list above: "I need food, heat in winter, open heart surgery, an education, a job, a drink of water, someone to care about me." If you don't see any differ- ence between these two lists, you need not continue reading this article! We want many things we certainly don't need. And, when we acquire things we only want, but don't need, any "happiness" we experience is short lived. We've all felt a tem- porary "happy rush" when we get something we've "always wanted" only to realize a few hours, or a few days, or a few weeks later that the "happy rush" is over. So we begin our search for the next "thing" that will really make us happy. Advertisers spend millions of dollars to make us think we need things we only want. We parents are particularly vul- nerable to their wily ways. Watch one hour of Saturday morning TV to find out what your children will browbeat you into buying for them for Christmas or for their next "birthday! Teenagers are espe- cially skilled at manipulating their parents into spending ob- scene amounts of mon,-y for certain items that "everyone else has!" And, of course, many adults measure their value and importance by such superficial things as a zip code, clothing labels, type of automobile. Yes, it's difficult to adopt a life of Christian stewardship in a culture that often values "getting" more than "giving." So when Jesus says things like: "don't worry (about) what are we to eat or drink or wear," or: "Go and sell what you own, give the money to the poor... then come, follow me," He is reminding us how easily we can be seduced by material things and completely miss the inner peace and joy so charac- teristic of the cheerful giver who has chosen a stewardship way of life. Mothers" Day Thoughts By MARY KIRSCH Happy Mothers' Day, Mom, it,s still your day, I have a few things I'd like to say! I know I can not see you any more, ,, But my love for you continues to soar! Remember the Mothers' Days way back when, To the store dad would send! He liked the colors, underwear the most, His gifts to you, he would indeed boast! Then homemade gifts to you I did give, My childhood years, what memories I do live! And what about the many breakfastsw in bed, Or the song that made you turn red! Special treatment and love existed all day, With joy and happiness that made each of us gay! Oh how close it brought each one of us, That we all still keep in touch! Now I know how much I treasured, All these times, the love couldn't be measured! So morn let me tell you once again, You will remain my very best friend! I need once more to say "thanks", you see, For all that you did for little ole me! But especially for the love and memories so true, I think of them on Mothers' Day, when I become blue! But let me tell you, I love you more than ever", The mother-daughter ties will never be severed! I continue to hold deep in my heart A love that is true, upon death we did not part! As my life continues to help me grow, Pray for me, that I may never again be low! Ask God to help me, and love HIM the most, That some day you and I will again be close! !:  i