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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
May 19, 1995     The Message
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May 19, 1995

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Part two: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery The Sacraments of Christian Initiation: Baptis= By DAVID M. THOMAS AND MARY JOYCE CALNAN A Moment from Life "He'll be here, Ma. I know it!" the young woman assured her anxious mother "No way will he not come. He promised meV Nevertheless, the mother watched out the window. "Will he forgive me? Will he finally understand that even a parent makes mistakes?" she asked herself. It was now over three years since he'd left. Each night she kept hoping that this would be the night that he'd call, or that tomorrow would be the day he'd come home. But days had turned into weeks, and then months, and he never came. She had talked to Father Sorano, and he had as- sured her that her prayers for for- giveness would be answered. But she wasn't so sure. She was afraid she'd die and never know if he'd ever Strong families know what it takes to survive large hearts, open arms, strong desire, and abundant love. forgiven her -- maybe she'd never even see him again. His sister was home when Mrs. Terrell answered the hall phone and came to tell the fam- ily. "You have a call. I think it's your brother." Now he was coming! Every- body was ready. All the neigh- bors knew it. It was a family moment for everyone in the whole building to share in. Many had stayed home just to be there when he at last came home. The anticipation was terrible. His mother was caught between the joy at having her son return, and the fear of rejection. Then they heard him. "Ma! Hey Ma!" he was yelling. "Look out the window!" In panic, the small Italian woman ran to the window. On the street below she saw her son. In his hand was a sack that looked like groceries. "Joey! Joey! " she screamed. "Come up! Come up!" "I'll make you a deal, Ma. You make the sauce, and I'll do the pasta. Okay?" She could not choke back the tears "My Joey is home. My Joey is home." A Connection with the Catechism The young son who returned to his mother knew she would be waiting. It was up to him. Her heart had never left him. Even a parent needs forgive- ness sometimes. Strong fami- lies and close friends know what it takes to survive -- large hearts, open arms, strong de- sire and abun- dant love. (So does God!) Human relationships can be very fragile -- as fragile as deli- cate crystal. They can contain life's greatest moments, but they also can be shattered by misun- derstanding, selfishness, and in- difference. The reality of brokenness is all too apparent in our time. Families know of members who have left its embrace and then long for reconnection. Friendships, too, can feel the pain of separation. A harsh word, an indifferent response can wreck the bond of love that once made strangers into friends. A tempting question lingers in the human heart: What would happen if I pulled away from God? Once baptized and con- firmed, and having been fed by the Eucharist, can a Catholic damage or sever one's personal union with God? The answer is all too obvious. We are given- freedom as an es- sential condition of human life. We can use our free- dom as a founda- tion for love. Or we can use it to foster hatred or indiffer- ence. The choice is ours. It is one thing to forge a new friend- ship, but it is some- thing else to reconnect with someone who was once a friend. The demands of reconnecting are more strenuous on the heart. It takes great love to start over. It is not surprising that so many possible reunions are avoided, sometimes for a lifetime! there is a kind of gravitational pull drawing those on the out- side into God's warm embrace. God is not indifferent to sinners. God hungers for the sinner's re- turn home. The Hound of Heaven Years ago, Francis Thomp- son wrote a dramatic poem called "The Hound of Heaven," which told of a chase up and down the byways of life. The chaser was incredibly persistent in pursuing the flee- ing one. At long last, after what seemed almost an eter- nity, the "hound" caught up with the runner; the one who had kept fleeing was worn down by the perseverance of the chaser. The one doing the fleeing was the sinner. The one doing the chasing was God. So great is God's love! God keeps arms open wide, ever awaiting the return of the wayward. Not only is the door to God's heart kept unlocked, but There is a whole process of returning to God. It Includes a change of heart, a desire to be forgiven, and the giving of forgiveness. Penance and Reconcil- iation No other sacrament of the church has as interesting a history as the sacrament of Penance. Dur- ing the early days of the church, the Roman Empire, intent on crushing the church, threatened Christians with death. Some Christians lost heart, conceded to the wishes of their persecutors, and denied their faith. When the persecution ended, some of these fallen ones asked to be reinstated in the Chris- tian community. This posed a problem for those who had withstood the dangers and re- mained faithful. Reflecting on Jesus and the generous love he portrayed, the faithful concluded that those who strayed could be re- turned to church membership. GOd would want that. But the faithful did require the returning ones to perform acts, called "penance" -- to make retribution to God (to make up to God) for what they had done. The church community today continues to communicate God's forgiveness. The Catechism sees this as an expression of healing. (When people came to Jesus to be healed physically, he went the next step and healed them spiritually.) Providence Sisters' place in history noted By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message editor The Diocese of Evansville, established 50 years ago, in- cludes the city of Vincennes -- formerly the see city of a dio- cese which once covered all of Indiana and the eastern por- tion of Illinois. Among the religious commu- nities serving this territory is the community of the Sisters of Providence at St. Mary-of- the-Woods, which was estab- lished in 1840 near Terre Haute. A recently published book, Marvels of Charity: History of in my West" side hoie Mondays -- Fridays Sl0 per day call Gayle (812} 425-6657. Funeral Homes :u .... t Convenie::Locations ZtEE2"E S ' 500 S HEflRON VE American Sisters and Nuns, by George C. Stewart Jr., pro- vides select details about the congregation. Among other items, Stewart notes the following: * Bishop Simon Brute named the local parish "Saint Mary-of-the-Woods after a town by that name in France. The name continues in its hy- phenated form. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College originated with the es- tablishment of a girls' academy in 1841. Alexander Graham Bell in- vented the telephone in 1876. The first telephone exchange was in New Haven, Conn., in 1878. The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods were among the first Catholic sisters to install a telephone, which cost them $120 per year. THE NEWS PUBLISHING CO. Tell City, IN Proud to be the printer for The Message Growing Strong .... ken Places ..... When broken bones healing process ates bone structure than what was there There is a whole returning to God. change of heart, a forgiven, and the giveness. This last called absolution. In meat of Penance, from sins is through the church, designated as of the The result of is called turning to a ship with God. It is most loving being can experience Our be very God very much wants We are sought cause we are cially because i: great is God's love. : Consider this. Confession a] have words. Rec ever, is a word of' peacefulness. All however, call for a word of love. Those who pain of other re pecially consoling to God never rejects us, separated from us. ways welcome to re waits, with open armS. BUILD POST Complete you to build Excellent Hundreds NobOdy' g Any DAVIESS CO. Hwy. 50 E., 4mi. E.M FOR E I ii I MILLER &.MILLER Bu00t with tt "A family name you to Save yo :,, can trust" Time & ow u " NOUR MOTOR:CO., CHEVROLET SALES and SERVICE ,=, St. Anthony, Indiana Hwy. z3 s. ,,, ..... 326,23200.. ' .