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May 26, 1995     The Message
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May 26, 1995

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2 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana May l Part two: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery The Sacraments of Christian Initiation" Baptism By DAVID M. THOMAS AND MARY JOYCE CALNAN A Moment from life Dewey had come home to die. He was 82. years old; his Sister Ruth was 91. They hadn't lived under the same roof for over 50 years. But they were family, and family comes home -- especially to die. The young family next door knew he was there. The kids soon met him, as did their mother when she came to visit. Ruth had buried her hus- band 30 years before. So hav- ing a man in the house again felt strange. She was used to just being around her quilting group, her kids and grandchildren, and the family next door, espe- cially the four- year-old. "Hi, Mickus Haley," the four - year-old would say as he called on her or saw her outside in their shared yard. The child had brought new life to her as soon as he was born. And she was his favorite sitter (along with his elevenyear-old sister). Now Dewey was there. And he needed her attention. Dur- ing the last two months before Dewey died, his body quickly deteriorated. Frequently during the night Ruth needed to call the family next door for help to get him back into bed. One night the call was made from the kitchen floor, where his body had gone down in pain from loss of power. Death was near. But every day a knock came at the door. "Mikus Haley, can Dewey play?" the boy asked. God is not indif- ferent to our suf- fering. Jesus went out of his way to encounter people who suf- fered whether in body or in spirit. And every dayl Dewey awaited his playmate. The old man forced his wracked body to the back door and joined his friend for their daily encounter. Out they went -- the wrin- kled old man and the little blond boy. Not really to play but simply to walk . . . as far as Dewey could go that day. Around and around the yard they went, talking, laughing, holding hands. A Connection with the Cat- echism The loving touch of a family member can bring the allevia- tion of pain. But even more, it can heal old wounds of hurt or indifference. Serious illness can be an op- portunity for serious family reconciliation. Recall the little boy with his dying friend. The sim- ple fact of being with a person who is sick speaks for itself. But add the gesture of holding hands and you have the stuff of what life is all about. Bodies were touched, but so were souls. Both were sancti- fied -- made holy -- by the ordinary experience of being friends. Sickness of the soul is called sin and calls for the sacrament of Reconciliation. Sickness of the body, especially if it is life- threatening, calls for the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. God is not indifferent to our suffering. Jesus went out of his way to encounter people who suffered, whether in body or in spirit. Many Catholics will re- member that this sacrament used to be called "Extreme Unction." In those days, this sacrament was simply viewed as the sacrament that pre- pared a person for death. Vatican II (a series of meetings in the 1960s) recov- ered a broader tradi- tion in the church community when it reconnected this sacrament with sick- ness as such. Now, for example, one can request the sacra- ment before any seri- ous surgery. The sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick connects us with our com- passionate and heal- ing God. While this sacrament is not intended to be an alter- native to medical procedures, it has been known to bring about physical as well as spiri- tual healing. We are anointed with off at the be- gining of our Christian life, and again at the end of our life on earth. A beautiful circle of meaning is established. Healing the Whole Person The Sacrament of the Sick, as this sacrament is sometimes called, awakens hope in the face of difficulty. It reminds us that our God is a God of the living. Part of being human is to carry the weight of our limita- tions. We are not God. We are mortals who live in this world under the fear and threat of death. Our lives could end at any moment. We are reminded of our mortality especially when we encounter illness. We want to run from it. Fear overwhelms us. We realize our bodies are failing to serve us as perfect machines. We experience breakdown. The experience of vulnerabil- ity is an opportunity for spiri- tual growth. We can adopt a more trusting attitude toward God. We can become more seri- ous about our life, knowing that life cannot be taken for granted. We can be called to a change of heart. Quite often this sacrament and the sacrament of Reconcil- iation join hands with the per- son. The recep- tion of the Eu- charist may also be joined to its celebration. When we are in difficulty, the church commu- nity offers us a full range of sacramental love. People who live with suffer- ing (or have been with some- one who suffers) know what a profound effect suffering can have on a person. Furthermore, it cannot be said that God enjoys our suffering. Like Jesus in the garden, we may ask that our suffering be taken away. Yet, also like Jesus, we can submit to God's will, whatever that might be. Believ- ing in the essential goodness and love of God, we trust that God wills only what is best for us. That includes coming home to God -- dying. The Final Journey While the pastoral use of the anointing of the sick has broadened during the last twenty years, this sacrament also still retains its meaning as a "last sacrament." When we enter the church through baptism, we are anointed. We are strengthened for our journey by our anointing in the sacrament of Confirma- tion. And we begin the final part of our journey in the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Seven abbots have led St. Meinrad By PAUL IL LEINGANG Message editor Benedictine monks from St. Meinrad have served in parishes of the Diocese of Evansville throughout its 50 years, and for many more years before the diocese was established. A new archabbot is being elected at St. Meinrad on Fri- day, June 2. He will succeed Archabbot Tim(,thy Sweeney, who was elected in 1978. The monastery has had only seven abbots in its history. Abbot Martin Marty was the first. Born in Switzerland in 1834, he made his monastic pro- fession in 1855, was ordained a priest in 1856, and was ap- pointed abbot of St. Meinrad in 1870. He was later named Vicar Apostolic of Dakota (1879), and consecrated as a bishop in 1880. He was appointed Bishop of Sioux Falls in 1989, and Bishop of St. Cloud in 1895. He died in 1896. Abbot Fintan Mundwiler, also a Swiss native, was elected as the second abbot of St. Meinrad in 1880. He be- came the first president of the Swiss-American Congregation in 1881, and continued to serve at St. Meinrad until his death in 1898. Abbot Athanasius Schmitt, a native of Bavaria, was the third abbot. He was elected in 1898, and died in 1932. Abbot Ignatius Esser, the first American-born abbot also became the first archabbot. He was born in Ridgeway, Ill., in 1890. He made his monastic profession in 1914, and was ordained a priest in 1919. He was elected in 1930, and named archabbot in 1954. Archabbot Bonaventure Knaebel, a native of New Al- bany, Ind., was elected in 1955 and served until his resigna- tion in 1966. Archabbot Gabriel Verkamp, a native of Ferdinand, served from 1966 to 1978. He worked in parishes and various min- istries after his resignation, and died in 1989. Archabbot Timothy Sweeney was born in Indianapolis July 24, 1935. He made his profes- sion Aug. 15, 1956, and was or- dained a priest May 7, 1961. Archabbot Timothy plans to return to the community as a monk, and serve at the direc- tion of the new archabbot. AUTO RATES INCREASING? TEENAGE DRIVERS? Call us today for discounts Good student discounts Auto/Home discounts Good Driver discounts INSURANCE AGENCY DENNIS IC FELDHAUS 464-5993 Mater D Cof 70 ,, i i customers "Where . send their friends" _ Open mghtly til 9 p.m. l,Tc]bc']h,e Son ou). nt som - in,.,., - "  c G-TOTOTA Did YOU Know: 1-800-937-USA1 OLDS CIERA is most !rouble free car made in America J. D. Powers . We are the beginning of our life, and again at the end 0 life on earth. A beautiful of meaning is The Family Journey The role of the celebration of this can be quite powerful. ever one family member fected by something thing), the whole system is affected. A in that way, like s body. When one hurts, others hurt When one member others also rejoice. Sickness affects family system. It family closer together' can bring fear and it can also make come to the surface in sions of empath), care, compassion. i! Consider This. Have you ever someone who has for a long time? often an unwraPP ing of needs  even bodily and a sense of saying Lord to the next life. There can be a about our dying that we are not trate. However, we affected  jc them for our own ward death and new .... Copyright lishing, Allen, with permission 00Ed. L. 101 North Mer Washington, FIR Reel 36" coy. #I white #2 #3 me tal'''''''= 5V and I o oVERH 9 x 7 insulated. Any size--" 4 fill.