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May 13, 1994     The Message
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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana :: I'll bet you can't wiggle your ears Most of us have observed -- and probably participated in -- the childhood version of that musical standard: "Anything you can do I can do better." It's when children stand toe-to-toe challenging one greater consequence than wiggling our ears. Where do these abilities come from? Some are inherited; some are learned. But, as Chris- tians, we say we believe that they are gifts from God who is the good listener, allowing others to tell you feel. You may be a "detail" person, takes or faulty logic -- or a "big picture" with a vision of how everything can You may be a critical realist who tions and foresee pitfalls -- or a another to demonstrate insignifi- cant, sometimes crude, physical feats. Child 1: "I can wiggle my ears." Child 2: "I can roll my tongue." Child 3: "I can raise one eyebrow." Child 4: "I can get dirtier than all of you put together!" (a particular parental fa- vorite). Then there's the eye-crossing eontest which triggers one of the most popular "Mom-isms:" "Keep doing that and your eyes will stay that way!" And sometime about age 9 or 10, there's a brief fascination with spitting as far as possible between one's front teeth, featuring that one kid with the competitive edge because of missing in- cisors. And in every school or neighborhood we can find those physically contorted, double-jointed youngsters who astound their peers by touching their noses with their tongues or bending their thumbs back to touch their wrists. My personal childhood favorite was the peculiar talent of a grubby kid in our neighborhood we called "A.J." A.J. could swallow his nose -- he would bring his lower lip all the way up to the top of his nose, covering his upper lip and entire nose; what a pretty picture that was! Each of us has his or her own distinctive array of talents and skills, most of which are of much Source of all our blessings. And, again as Christians, we have a re- sponsibility to be good stewards of our God-given talents including giving a portion of them, in grati- tude, back to God. Unfortunately, many people have trouble recog- nizing or acknowledging their own giftedness. How often do we hear people in our parishes say: "I don't have any special talents;" "or."I really can't do any- thing very well;" or "I'm not that smart." Such statements frequently stem from a narrow under- standing of the words "talents" and ,skills." One dictionary defines "talent" as: "a natural endow- ment of a person; an ability," and "skill" as: "the ability to use one's knowledge effectively in doing something." A person does not have to be an artist, musician, carpenter or plumber to have talents and skills. There are several questions you can ask yourself to help you uncover your unique set of talents and skills: "What do I do well?" "What do I like to do?" "What comes easy for me?" "What do others say I'm good at?" You may, for example, have a talent for working with other people -- or you may be most creative and productive working in isolation. You may be able to put things into some kind of order -- or be able to follow instructions given by another. You may be good at expressing your feelings -- or a who only sees opportunities and And what about those talents think you possess? Have you never said: "I would like to be able to (fill in your own "I've always wanted to (add your never could find the time." Have others for their particular abilities could be more like them? How will you what you are capable of if you never take try? : : No matter what kind of person something to offer your parish and our your parish needs more from you than just that fills a few square feet of Sl weekend. As disciples of Jesus, you and I ties and obligations because has given us. Jesus admonishes us not to light under a bushel basket, but to let all to see. A recent hit tune by star Garth Brooks entitled Fire" says it well: "Life is not lived, it is! rived, if you're standing outside As Christian stewards blessed and treasure gifts from God, "get into the fire" -- to parishes -- to Share our talents in for the greater honor and glory of God. Hear God in your belly, lay missionary tells Heartland con By KEVIN KELLY Catholic News Service KANSAS CITY, Me. (CNS) -- "We have made a God of the head, but we need to get in touch, with the God who lives in our bellies," lay missionary Edwina Gateley told some 500 Catholic leaders gathered in Kansas City May 3-5. "If we can't be hot for the Gospel, if we can't be a blind- ing light for the kingdom of God, then let's go home," she said. Ms. Gateley, English-born founder of the International Lay Missionary Movement and of Genesis House, a Chicago center for ministry to prosti- tutes, gave one of the main speeches at the Heartland Conference. The conference is a biennial gathering of clergy, religious and lay leaders co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan., and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Me. In her talk, titled "Becoming Church: One Woman's Faith Journey," Ms. Gateley de- scribed much of her life as by- passing human obstacles by following God through back doors -- as a lay missionary in Africa, as founder of a new missionary movement and as founder and head of Genesis House. She made no reference to the controversy that has sur- rounded her since last October, when a published photo showed her standing near the altar, wearing a stole, at a eu- charistic celebration during a Call to Action conference in Chicago. Since then four Catholic organizations in three states have canceled her speaking engagements. "Our common ground is to be activists for the Gospel of Jesus .... The God in our bellies is repressed when we say, 'I can't do that. I'm so puny," she said. She said she felt that hap- pening when, as a young woman, she approached her bishop about becoming a mis- sionary. "He said, 'What congregation (religious order) do you want to join?" she said. "I wanted to go as a laywoman. But we have a box for everyone, and we have to fit in our own boxes." As she prayed about it, she said, "I heard God calling, 'I am the God of the back door. Tell the bishop you will be a volunteer. The church loves volunteers." She said she went to Africa expecting to introduce its peo- ple to the white, male, Catholic, British God she had grown to know and love. "My biggest shock in Africa was that God had gotten there before me .... It was the African people who taughtme the no- tion of God who is all things and no thing," she said. Returning to England after two years in Africa, she pre- sented a plan to organize Catholic lay missionary work. The church- approved Interna- tional Lay Missionary Move- ment that resulted now spon- sors some 1,200 lay men and women doing missionary work in 26 countries. After she moved to Chicago, she said, she made a list of seven things she felt qualified to do and "GOd chose No. 8 -- work with the poor and with prostitutes." So she opened Genesis House 10 years ago. At Genesis House, she said, many of Chicago's 65,000 pros- titutes are able for the first time in their lives to hear that someone cares about them. Last year 7,000 women were Director of Providence Center Providence Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, that seeks to address the spiritual needs of home and family. The director has overall responsibility for strategic plan- ning and programming for the Providence Center. Pro- grams include: National Shrine of Our Lady of Provi- dence, marketing of tours and pilgrimages, facilities rental and sponsored programs. Ideal candidate should be a person grounded in a spirit of Providence who is an administrator with broad experience with the ability to relate to staff and in multi- departmental settings. Individual should be a planner and organizer who can design, market, implement and evaluate programs and activities. Immediate opening. Send resume and letter of appli- cation to: Sisters of Providence Providence Center Search Committee Owens Hall Saint Mary of the Woods, IN 47876 I I I guests. "As I walked with these women, little by little they took off the masks of violence and hatred, and I found the child within them who had been beaten and abused," she said. In a keynote address May 3 Sister Teresita Weind, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur from Saginaw, Mich., sounded the same theme of allowing God to lead on unexpected paths. She want to Saginaw in 1991 to become pastoral ad- ministrator of a poor parish on the east side. In early 1992 it was merged with four other central city gle parisli. For two years, e stood at a croSJ knowing take her. Then, vivid dream early this .founded a former parish, The Sacred hood House ministry of presence, there" in PRINCIPAL POSITION St. Monica Parish, an active nity located on the northwest s anapolis, is seeking an admi school, K-8th grade, of students. With a reputation for cellence, the school provides meet the individualized learning n its students. The administrator will be respOn education and spiritual school, and become part of a cated faculty, an involved and con ent organization, and a parish pastoral team. The ideal be certified in Elementary Sc tion in Indiana, a practicing mended by the Office of of the Archdiocese of IndianapO experienced administrator .... Send application Office of Catholic c/o Margaret Otte P.O. "Box 1410 1400 Meridian Indianapolis, IN Phone: (317) 236-'