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June 5, 1998     The Message
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June 5, 1998
 

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4 | The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana A race to the door, a tough decision By PAUL R. LEINGANG Editor Bad luck, I thought. Terrible timing. I was rushing back from a lunch-hour errand, when I realized that I had done everything I wanted to do over the lunch-hour, except get lunch. It was a warm day. My car is often unhappy with long waits in traffic and frequently lets off a little steam, so I decided against going through the drive- up window of a fast food store. Most of the mid-day crowd ought to have come and gone, I reasoned to myself, so I can park and run into the fast food place and still not waste any time. I did just that, and that's when they appeared in the parking lot near the sidewalk. Two elderly people were moving toward the same door that I wanted to use. Both of them had canes, the kind with four prongs at the bottom for greater stability. I had only a few seconds to chose. Should I be polite and let them proceed ahead of me? They were only a few feet from the door, but I knew I could still beat them if I wanted to. It was a kind of a race at first. In the time it took the old man to step up on the sidewalk, I had closed my car door, walked across the parking lot and had already made several long strides along that same sidewalk. Anyone with even a bit of courtesy would have to say that he had reached the entrance, fair ahd square, ahead of me. But then he turned back to help his wife take that difficult step to the top of the side- walk. I could get around them. I could even use anoth- er door and get ahead of them. After all, I thought, I'm in a hurry. It was a tough decision. What would you do? St. Paul wrote something about running a race,.I recall (I Corinthians 9). He said all run the race, but only one gets the prize. Run so as to win -- that's St. Paul's advice. The Gospel of John has an account of a kind of race between Simon Peter and the disciple "whom Jesus loved." They had just learned (in Chapter 20) from Mary Magdalene that the tomb of Jesus was empty, and they set off as fast as they could to see for themselves. The "other disciple" arrived first, and looked in first, but did not go in first. He deferred to Simon Peter, the one chosen by Jesus for leadership, arrived later but went in first. Take the time today to reflect on the times when your need to get someplace in a hurry has brought about a conflict with someone else. Talk with your family or your friends about your experiences. Juno 5;1 ..... i If there are children in your home, about the two examples from the New and about your own reflections on the  Take the time to let another get ahead of it out of respect for another brother or sister Hold a door open for someone who is not asl as you. Then hold the door open for Do what Jesus would do, and let the last oe first. Call up the poor from the last place and 1 them a place of honor. Teach courtesy to a child. Teach Find out about the needs of t canes or walkers or wheel chairs. Find such a person in your church or in and remove it. Help a family in a Third respectable place in line for Some of the good of this Earth. Take the time to make a difference. The ending of my story? I went past the door, then held it open for them. time to decide on what to eat, so they let me gO front of them. Comments about this column are welcome at prleing@cfm.org or the Christian Family Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. Ebbing energy: Pope's mind is keen, but physically he By JOHN THAVIS Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II's energy is visibly waning, but his hopes for the future are not. Even as the pope's public appearances this spring raised new questions about his health, the Vatican announced a packed schedule of jubilee events for the year 2000 -- a program that would tax the stamina of a much younger man. Those who have seen the pope up-close in recent weeks wonder how he's going to pull it off. The pontiff, who turned 78 in .May, has shown increasing dif- ficulty in walking and speaking. At a general audience May 27, he sat slumped in his chair in front of 20,000 people and read his talk slowly, occasionally pausing for breath and slurring some words. 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711  Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Pub#shed wee/dy except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville ................................. Pn.L.a ................................... pa Ne,and ;taft Wrer ............................ Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $18.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Erred as per matter at the post office in Evansle, {N 47701, Putk',.at,0n number 843800, Port: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Pubk:a 19Je Catol Press of Evanstle He has ups and downs, even within the space of minutes. For example, he began his audience remarks in English with a strong and clear voice, but a few minutes later his words were hard to understand for those lis- tening in St. Peter's Square. The Vatican said in 1996 that the pope suffered from an unspecified nervous system dis- order, and it has never denied reports that it is Parkinson's dis- ease, a degenerative illness that affects body motion and coordi- nation. Since then, the Vatican has steadfastly refused to add details, including information on how the pope is being treat- ed and what medications he may be taking. Those who follow the pope closely were somewhat alarmed at his physical appearance dur- ing a two-day trip to northern Italy in late May. The highlight of the trip was a visit to the Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the burial cloth of Christ. When the pope entered the Turin cathedral, he seemed to be carrying his own cross. He walked very slowly up a ramp constructed for the occasion he cannot handle stairs well -- and made his way to a kneeler, where he buried his head in prayer for Several minutes. Then he delivered a talk that would have been considered brief a few years ago; now it required exertion, and he omit- ted ample sections. His expres- sion appeared strained and his voice trembled. At times, the shaking that has affected his left arm for years seemed to have spread to his face. Popes who suffered physical- ly were once stowed away. Not this one, who has always had a special affinity for the sick. At one moment in the Turin ceremony, he reached up an arm and, with his vestment, wiped away saliva from the side of his mouth. It was not an elegant gesture, but it did the job. For those watching in the cathedral, it was difficult not to feel both sympathy for the man and admiration for his determina- tion to remain in the public eye. Pope John Paul has always said he wants to personally lead the church into the next millen- nium, and the year-2000 jubilee Letter to the editor Shame on us To the editor, My husband and I were on our way out of town when we heard on the car radio Father Vogler was appointed Chap- lain to St. Mary's. We were so happy things were finally behind him. Two weeks later when we returned, the story, had changed. Shame on us. I have known Father Vogler for years. I respect- ed him and trusted him with my children. Neither has changed. We live in a throw-away soci- ety, and what a waste it would be to throw this wonderful per- son away. Nina Braun Evansville Please let Father know he has tvo more praying for him. he outlined a few years ago was nothing short of grand: major ecumenical and interreligious meetings, "examination of con- science" on historical issues and recognition of new martyrs. But when the Vatican's jubilee. steering committee issued its schedule of major events in May, gasps were heard. It included no fewer than 120 spe- cial ceremonies in Rome or at the Vatican. The pope may not attend them all, but he will no doubt try -- plus he wants to make historic trips to the Holy Land and other parts of the Middle East. "He's determined to keep going as long as he can go. But he's going to be very tired at the end of it, and there's no way of knowing how the'ill- ness could develop," said one Vatican official. The Vatican also has arranged for the pope to preside over a blessing in St. Peter's Square" every night of the holy year. It's the kind of public appearance that is least-taxing on the pon- tiff, because he can do it from his apartment window. In the past, one could imagine him using these nightly sessions to ad lib with the pilgrims; today, that kind of banter has all but disappeared. In recent months, the pope has continued to cut back on activities. He delegates more special Masses, for example, and often welcomes new ambassadors in groUpS. .... than individually. Unlike previous bishops making na" visits this a final meeting d the pope. Instea , them copies of his private Mass The bishops still meet( one with the pope, emerge with one impression: remain keen, even cal energy In Ma ray of Kalamazoo, he found the " "d ever, but sa the vigor we used with him." George of Chicago clear the pope has .... and bad days." As Bishop of Belleville, Ill., alert and who I was, he served and he Knew tions he wanted to strength that he ago is not the more than had the Roman Curia much more than bishop the pope's downs. Other confirmed that See i  i Ad Limina visit in Rome, with other bishops of VII, from Friday; May 22. Return to Diocese of Evansville, June 14.