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May 23, 1997     The Message
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May 23, 1997

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 409 Catholic high school seniors will receive 1997 di ADAM SANDEFUR ALENA STRANSKY KATHLEENCANNON ANN WEBER By MARY ANN HUGHES Message staff writer Four-hundred seniors will receive their high school diplo- mas this year in the four Catholic high schools operated by parish- es in the Diocese "of Evansville. Another nine seniors will gradu- ate from Marian Heights Acade- my, a private Catholic high school operated by the Benedic- tine Sisters at Ferdinand. Graduation ceremonies in the diocese begin at Washington Catholic High School, Washing- ton, on May 24. Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger will be conferring diplomas to the 27 graduating seniors. Gradua- tion begins at 7:30 p.m. in the WCHS gymnasium. Abigail Durnil is Washington Catholic's 1997 valedictorian, and Michael Strange is salutatorian. This year's graduation cere- monies for the 195 seniors at Memorial High School, Evans- ville, will be held at 1:30 p.m., May 25, at Vanderburgh Audito- rium in downtown Evansville. Bishop Gettelfinger will hand out diplomas, and Father Brian Holtz, associate pastor at Holy Rosary Church, Evansville, will be guest speaker. Adam Sande- fur and Alena Stransky are class valedictorians. One-hundred-fifty-seven senibrs at Mater Dei High School, Evansville, will receive their 1997 diplomas on May 25, at a 4 p.m. ceremony in Vander- burgh Auditorium. Bishop Gettelfinger will confer the diplomas. Mark Freeman will be the guest speaker. Ann Weber is Mater Dei's vale- dictorian, and Niki Hemmer is salutatorian. In Vincennes on May 30, 21 seniors will receive their diplo- mas from Bishop Gettelfinger. Graduation begins at 7 p.m.. at St. John Church. Rivet's valedictorian is Kath- ABI leen Cannon. On May 31, Marian HeightS nand, will diplomas. B* Mary Cheryl handing out the at 2 p.m. an, and Gretchen saluatnrian ,  .___ Popemeets with Mother Teresa, blesses new su By CINDY WOODEN Catholic News Service prayed for you." The new superior, who had been head of the contemplative branch of the Missionaries of Charity, asked the pope how he was feeling. "I am well," he answered. In 1996 he had several bouts of stomach ailments and under- went an appendectomy in early October. "God bless the new superior general and all the sis- ters," the pope said as the women left his private library. Vatican television showed pic- tures of Mother Teresa in a wheelchair at one of her order's Rome convents earlier in the day. However, at the Vatican she walked into the papal library and stood talking until the pope offered her a chair. Mother Teresa has had heart problems and was hospitalized in serious condition earlier in the year. She was given oxygen upon her arrival May 16 at Rome's airport. The doctor who cared for her at the airport told reporters that although she was tired, there was no cause for worry. After two days of rest at the Rome convent, Mother Teresa met May 18 with Francesco Rutelli, the mayor of Rome. He called her "an unstoppable little motor" who had "the same energy she always has had." Mother Teresa was able to secure the mayor's promise that restoration work would be done on her order's facility at the his- toric St. Gregory Church on the Celian Hill, and he also said he would try to help the Mission- aries of Charity expand their homeless shelter near Rome's central train station. Rutelli presented Mother Teresa with a thick pile of city transportation passes, which will allow the 100 or so sisters in Rome to ride the buses, sub- way and trams for free for the next year. VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II personally blessed the new superior gener- al of the Missionaries of Charity May 20, but he gave the place of honor to the order's founder, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. After lighthearted greetings, the 77-year-old pope offered the 86-year-old Mother Teresa the seat directly in front of his desk, the same seat occupied by visit- ing cardinals, bishops and heads of state. Sister Nirmala Joshi, the 62- year-old nun elected head of the Missionaries of Charity in mid- March, sat nearby during the half- hour meeting. "She is now superior general," Mother Teresa told the pope, introducing her successor. "I am completely free." Sister Nirmala told the pope, "when you were very sick we Mother Teresa was scheduled to preside over ceremonies May 23 and 24 for members of her order If her health permits, she was to fly to Poland May 25 or 26 for vows and to Eucharistic planned,, to go States Father Gregory to move to North By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message editor ICC priority issues included in state budget Father Gregory Spencer, pas- tor of St. Joseph Church, Bram- ble and of St. Mary Church, Shoals, has been released from the Diocese of Evansville. Father Spencer, ordained May 19, 1989, will move to the Diocese of Raleigh in North Carolina. "The primary reason for the change is that my parents are in Raleigh, retired there since 1991," said Father Spencer. "I just feel that, at this point of my life, especially on my days off, I want to spend time with them,,' he said. A brother and a sister also live in North Carolina, he said. And two classmates from St. Meinrad are priests in the Dio- cese of Raleigh. Father Spencer plans to leave southwestern Indiana in late June. He said he has been assigned to St. Mark Church, Wilmington, N.C., effective July 8. Father Spencer told the peo- ple of his parishes at Bramble and Shoals that, "after a long and prayerful time, I'd like to be close to my mily. They are my biggest supporters." He said the they ul saying "I being "It hood." Ir with the his than diocese, : i welfare recipients and the work- ing poor to make a better life for themselves. These accounts which are formed by state, private and an individual's money help eligi- ble participants accumulate assets. These assets may be used to buy a home; to pay for a college education; or to start a business. Medicaid Hospice payment rate. Requires the Office of Med- icaid policy and planning to establish a payment rate to a hospice program. ':Stand for Children' activit take place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia June 1 w the anniversary date of last year's march in Washington or during the weekend days pre- ceding it. In Evansville, a program including a "parade, speakers and fun" is scheduledto start at Children's health will be the focus of what could become an annual series of Stand for Chil- dren rallies around the nation Marian Wright Edelman, who organized the first Stand for Children last year, said in an April 15 conference call with reporters that at least 200 the Main! domS and 9:30 a.! The, Churches evertt, " " By BRIGID CURTIS Indiana Catholic Conference INDIANAPOLIS -- Can you say Special Session? Although the Indiana General Assembly has not officially adjourned for the year, its members have complet- ed their most important task to pass a two-year state budget. The budget not only contains all the operating expenses for state programs, but it often holds bills that would not other- wise pass because of their con- troversial nature. Two important issues to the Conference would not have passed if they had not been placed into the budget. They were a $600 stipend for non-public school teachers who serve in the mentor teacher pro- gram and a $63 testing fee to be paid by the state for students attending non-public schools who imrtidlmte in the advanced place- meat pmgr=n. Another meam ,which found a home in the budget is funding to extend the farm counseling pro- gram for low income farmers. Other ICC priority issues which survived this year include: A ban on partial-birth abor- tions in the state of Indiana. A ban on recognizing same- sex marriages solemnized in another state or country also passed. Indiana currently bans same-sex marriages from taking place in Indiana. An earned income tax deduc- tion will allow families with one or more dependents who earn less than $12,000 a year to receive a larger tax deduction. A bill to provide a $500 increase for dependents'as an income tax deduction for all tax- payers. A measure to benefit home owners by allowing them to receive a tax credit of 10 percent. An innovative plan called Individual Development Accounts .i another attempt to help former events had been scheduled to 9 a.m..on Saturday May 3t in