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May 26, 1995     The Message
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May 26, 1995

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f26, 1995 The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 Bishop's Forum m The inconsistent community I SUppose there are many, for it, but we mem- Catholic Church are not Consistent about living the of "community." Maybe we t excuse ourselves because we in are an "immigrant" closely tied to our lan- and cultures. The fact that Mass was in Latin did to make us feel at home in :fever parish we attended. with the uniform liturgy, by law, the language have been the only that made us feel welcome home. However it should be community making others feel welcome and at home the table of the Lord. coolness, not noticing a stranger in preoccupation with our own personal s and problems, use of vernacular language but a few of the attributes that tend to appear as unwelcoming Catholic Chris- meet the demands of being a welcoming uires work on the part of each mem- ty of a parish, not just the pas- i ByBISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER tor, pastoral associate, secretary, janitor or specially assigned Sun- day morning "greeters" or "minis- ters of hospitMity." The last two positions should be unnecessary in a welcoming community for all be- come greeters of familiar members and strangers alike. A few acid tests of an ideal parish community at work are: Does everyone who comes to liturgy on Sunday feel at home? Does ev- eryone who belongs to the parish community recognize and accept personal responsibility for every other member of the community? Does every member accept the challenge to reach out to the poor and needy? Does each one exercise the same spirit of community beyond parish to the civic community? Do those in your parish understand that your community is one of a larger number of communi- ties that form a diocese? Do they act accordingly? We are not an exclusive community. Each parish, therefore the diocese, must never appear to be a social club or membership organization. There are no dues. Each is called to be stewards of all God's gifts. Our Church must consistently act as a living organism known aa the Body of Christ. Every one who believes in Christ has an important pa,-t to play in the life of the Christ-centered com- munity. Everyone must consistently welcome oth- ers as if they were Christ himself. During the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation this spring, I have challenged those being confirmed to recognize that service projects completed in preparation for the Sacrament are only a taste of the service they are to render as full members of the Catholic community. After com- pleting a few hours, l ask them directly: "Now, what are you going to do in service of the commu- nity for the next 75 years of your life?" Service to the community must be a consistent practice for all of us. We have much work to do. To practice consis- tently the mandate of Jesus after washing the feet of the apostles is a challenging and unending task: "When He had washed their feet . . . he said to them: 'Do you know what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one an- other's feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do as I have done to you." page 1 Uild Poland on the of justice, solidar- love." Pray that the spirit e and cooperation igh the spirit of COnfrontation," he pray for respect of each person, of mutual coexis- pray for Polish affected by prob- employment and all who are ex- and frustrated, I ask h0pey e said he regretted short, adding that thoughts and feelings" on seeing the "beauti- ful region" and its mountains. "We should move the Holy City to Zywiec," he added to loud applause. The pope's late-afternoon talks with Walesa and Oleksy lasted three times their ex- pected length and caused a 45- minute delay in the day's re- maining schedule. Church . sources also said Pope John Paul had to rest before contin- uing his itinerary. It was the pope's 11th meet- ing with Walesa, whom he first met during the former Solidar- ity leader's January 1981 visit to the Vatican. It was his first meeting with Oleksy, a former member of the Polish Commu- nist Party's Central Commit- tee, who became the country's sixth post-communist head of government in February. Both men also met briefly withthe pdpe at thestart of" the morning Mass in Skoczow,. at the end of which Walesa presented the pontiff with the White Eagle, Poland's highest honorary' medal. Walesa said he had been pleased to find the pope in "very good condition" and said the two men had talked about the current situation in Poland. He said he had assured the pope that his homeland "will not disappoint him." Oleksy said his talks with the pope had been "very inter- esting and moving." He added that the two had discussed %'cry important matters," but declined to give details. - Addressing local inhabitants at Bielsko-Biala, the pope said he was well aware of current social and economic problems in the region, listing unem- plo,ment and a "wideniflg sphere of poverty among peo- ple, which is painfully affecting many families." He added that the church, "now as before, is close to you and not forgetting you." He recalled that Bielsko- Biala was the birthplace of his father, Karol, as well as the town in which his older brother, Edmund, worked as a doctor before dying of scarlet fever in 1933. Meanwhile, government spokesman Aleksandra Jakubowska rejected criticism that the pope had not received an official invitation from the Oleksy government for his one- day visit, : ....  ':"; !": :: ..... "As a Pole, the pope does not need an invitation to visit his homeland and can come at any time," Jakubowska added. rhis time, he was coming pri- vately as a pilgrim, rather than as an official guest." , state legislatures take up school choice bills (CNS) -- s in Connecticut were consid- VOucher bills in members of Proposed a school program families around time, the Chris- tian Coalition included a pro- posal for school choice in its "Contract with the American Family." Citing "unprecedented social problems in schools" that are "worst in poor, inner-city com- munities," Rep. Dave Weldon, R- Fla., May 16 announced his "Low-Income School Choice Demonstration Act of 1995." Co-sponsored by Rep. Frank Riggs, R-Calif, the bill would authorize $30 million for 10 to 20 demonstration projects in fiscal year 1996, and "neces- sary" but unspecified funds for fiscal years 1997 and 1998. A similar bill was previously in- troduced in the Senate. 'Grandma's Cookies' ' hapPen that parents become so busy in raising their children that they have enjoy them; and so that is then reserved for grandparents. provide an important and helpful func- which is sometimes overlooked. Hav- t' "'.i own children,they are able to step back a enjoy their grandchildren, as well as help them ,: interest. La's cookies" anti'Grandpa's - stories" are for the real love that exists for the little ,' know when they are loved. minimized either is the effectiveness demonstrate in correcting. Even a is a loving expression of deep will usually accept such and grandpa. it, grandparents have an advan- Iatigue sets in, or the 'kids' get rest- Usually be sent back to their par- God continue to bless and guide and grandparents too! Msgr. Clinton Hirsch Under the proposal, parents whose children are eligible for subsidized school lunches could apply for educational vouchers, which could be used at public or private schools including those with religious affilia- tions. School districts would have to apply to the Depart- ment of Education to partici- pate in the demonstration pro- grams. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, Republican Gov. Tom Ridge May 9 unveiled education re- form legislation that included proposals for parents to choose among public and private schools and the creation of in- dependent public charter schools. The proposal was sup ported by Philadelphia Cardi- nal Anthony J. Bevilacqua. Ridge said his plan is guided by three simple ques- tions. Will it help our kids learn? Will it improve the qual- ity of our schools? Will it give parents more options for their children's future.T" Under the legislation, for which the governor allocated $38,5 million in his 1995-96 budget, eligible students would receive a state voucher to at- tend a school of their choice. Vouchers could not exceed 90 percent of actual tuition, but could total $I,000 for high school, $700 ior elementary school and full-time kinder- garten, and $350 for half-time kindergarten. Eligibility would be deter- mined by income and by school district of residence, with all districts in the state phased in over three years. A six-year phase-in would limit vouchers to families with a taxable in- come of $15,000 in the first year, $20,000 in the second, and $25,000 in the third. At $25,000, 60 percent of Pennsylvania families with children would be eligible," said Charles Zogby, adminis- tration policy director for the governor, at a May 8 briefing in Harrisburg. The income limit would gradually rise to $70,000 over the six-year phase-in period. In Connecticut, Bridgeport Bishop Edward M. Egan voiced his support for a school choice bill. The proposal would give Connecticut's 166 school dis- tricts the option of establishing a public school choice program and/or an "empowerment scholarship  program. The Christian Coalition in- eluded school vouchers in its 10- point Contract With the American Family" released at, a May 17 press conference.