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June 14, 1996     The Message
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June 14, 1996
 

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 op's Forum--- was one year, of many, Fathers' Day in of Canada in June. oaeI will never forget. most of you know that SUmmer vacation of two in the wilderness of to do that in June a bishop has the possibility of going e annual National Conference Bishops. For that rea- lg the northern late July. that I recall much like our local "spring" this .cold. cannot carry fresh eggs on canoe of the warmth and lack of refrigera- are "marginal." On this particular did gamble in our planning. Little did ;the eggs could have frozen. On Fa- year, I recall most vividly attempting fire on an unprotected island We had to put up a wind-break to the I wore gloves (to keep for breakfast. They were n the air diminished the ordinary good food. r trip included fathers and sons. Ad- olation those sons had was their "old" fathers were shar- that wilderness experience. They "father of a son" but I too was miser- chill with them, I understood. in a common circumstance. The By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER Fathers' Day 1996 wilderness minimized our options. I admired those fathers who dared to share a less than comfortable expe- rience to grow with their sons. Oh, how lonely it must be for a son not to have a father knowing that he is still living! Even more difficult it must be for a son who does not know who his father is! What I can fathom is the loss of a .father. I can share that with all those whose fathers have died. In 1971, as I had done in 1970, I went on a canoe trip in Canada with Scout Troop 174 of Immaculate Heart Parish in Indianapolis. I left information about our trip with my dad in the case of emergencies. I provided numbers to cll. He, duti- fully, locked them up in his desk. He would have en- joyed so much such a canoe trip to a wilderness he had never known, especially with a son who wanted to do such an adventure. (He is my inspiration for risk taking.) My Dad and I ( with my brother-in-law Mike Swank) had canoed the Blue River of Southern Indi- ana from Fredericksburg to the Ohio River at Leav- enworth, Indiana. We did it in three days. On one day of our trip, July 20, 1970. we heard the news of American Astronauts landing on the moon. It was a trip I will never forget, a trip with my dad. I was his son. I am his priest-son. I was with my Dad! In June 1971, I was on my second annual canoe trip with Scout Troop 174 from Immaculate Heart Parish in Indianapolis. It was a happy trip and an adventuresome trip for me. There were no problems. When we emerged from the wilderness on scheduled Tuesday morning after Fathers' Day, the outfitter was there to meet us as planned. He took my priest- companion, Father John Ryan, the former chaplain of Troop 174, aside. He was to inform me that my fa- ther had had a stroke and was not expected to live. The rest of the day was to be a very long jour- ney from Ely, Minnesota, to Corydon, Indiana, trav- eling from a wilderness campsite to the bedside of my dying father in a hospital over a thousand miles away. By car and plane, I arrived back home by late evening the same day. My Dad had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on the previous Thursday. I got to the Harrison County Hospital before my father died. At his bedside my memory of joyful times with my Dad and Mother kept me awake all through the night for we did not expect him to live. In those quiet moments of deep night, I cherished all the love I had known from my father, most of it was unspoken but expressed in myriad other ways. I chaffed at my personal regrets for what love I had not spoken to him in a lifetime. He died two days later without recovering conscious- ness, one week from the day he had suffered the stroke. I shall never forget those special three days I spent with him in the canoe from Fredericksburg to Leavenworth the previous summer. We had planned it for over a year. He had purchased a canoe to pur- sue a personal dream of his. I was privileged to share that dream fulfilled. Those were special mo- ments. I will never regret being in the wilderness when my Father was stricken. I was where he wanted me to be -- and where he would loved to have been. There are many sons out there. My wish is that you can love your father as I loved mine! And still do! Office of )ment how much " Your money Parish? Let's bur pay- of $10 ,ack yard into out: "Here, need." the ground ia the collec- when or Your so did his Pride in the continuing L. spouse if Prayerfully review your twice each give back for the gifts God Only when How much should I give back? your pastor convinces you the parish has a particular need (new roof, air conditioning, sealing the parking lot, etc.) assuming, of course, that your pastor has not said or done something.you didn't like. 5) You are paying a sizable tuition to send your children to Catholic school, so you fig- ure you're already doing your part for the Church. 6) What you put in the col- lection basket depends on how you feel at the time -- and what bill denominations you happen to have in your wallet or purse. You must be having a really good day to let go of one of those $20 bills! We Catholics are hearing more and more these days about stewardship. The U.S. Bishops' 1992 Pastoral Letter on Stewardship defines the Christian steward as: "one who receives God's gifts grate- fully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and ac- countable manner, shares them in justice and love with others, and returns them with increase to the Lord." Stewardship is about three things: A) acknowledging God as the source of all we have, B) feeling grateful for God's many gifts and blessings, and C) returning a portion of God's gifts and blessings through our offerings of Time, Talent and Treasure. Jesus was quite clear about stewardship: it's not an option for a Christian: it's a require- ment. But the true good stew- ard does not feel coerced; he or she, overwhelmed with gratitude, freely and joyfully returns a portion of God's gifts and blessings. Consider for a moment how much of your treasure you presently return to God. It's probably unreasonable for many families  particularly families with children to raise and educate -- to give a full ten percent back to God even though the tithe is the biblical standard for good stewardship. A feasible alternative is "proportional giving", which is summarized by Number 3 above. At least once a year, as part of your personal budget- ing, you predetermine what percentage of your income you will give to your parish and other charities, then you ad- just your giving accordingly. If your income increases, so does your charitable giving. What if every family in your parish chose propor- tional giving as the way to de- termine its stewardship of treasure? Here is an example of the financial impact it would have on a real parish in our diocese: St. Facetious (real parish, fictitious name! is in a middle class urban-suburban neigh- borhood. The average annual household income is $51.000. There are about 1,800 parish- ioners t600 households). Last year's Offertory collections to- taled $530,000 or about $883 per household $17 per week). In other words, on average, St. Facetious parishioners are giving less than 2r of their annual household incomes to the parish. If the St. Facetious parish- ioners would increase their average giving to 3c of house- hold income (an additional $12.40 per household per week on average over their present level of giving), total annual Offertory collections would increase by $388,000 or $7,461 per week. If parish- ioner giving would increase to 4% of income per household (an average total of $39.20 per week per household), weekly collections would in- crease by $13,346 for a whop- ping total of $1,224,000 annu- ally! ............................................... You don't have to be a mathematical wizard to real- ize that a modest one or two percent annual increase in St. Facetious parishioners' stew- ardship of treasure would in- sure St. Facetious Parish's fi- nancial future forever! So how do you determine your stewardship of treasure? Washington Continued from page 4 by the bishops of Spain and Portugal and is under consid- eration in France, the Avvenire article said. Whatever the final transla- tion, the Civilta article said, "understanding the depths and tasting the riches of the Our Father, as with and perhaps more than any other biblical passage, is possible only with the study and reflection which flow from daily recitation." Letter I Continued from page 4 ther that he is a Catholic from St. Philip I thought that at last here is a Democrat I can vote for. Though my family were Democrats from "way back" I ha voted for more and more Republicans because of my strong pro-life convictions. However, Mr. Weinzapfel states that he "would not vote to repeal Roe v Wade and would prefer to keep abortion, as President Clinton said, 'safe, legal and rare." Would not vote to repeal Roe v Wade, the law that has done more to devalue respect for IIII III human life than any law since the days of slavery?!! "Safe, legal and rare" is not enough. The abortion evil needs to he abolished form our country. Doesn't Mr. Weinzapfel know that his own church teaches "Human life must be respected and protected abso- lutely from the moment of con- ception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person  among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church). III i Those who believe in the ter- mination of human life by abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide are usurping our cre- ator's role. "God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life." (Catechism of the Catholic Church) No, Mr. Weinzapfel will not get my vote. My thought has always been: How can we trust the safety of our country to those who believe in the de, struction of babies, born, par- tially born or preborn? Bernice Wahnsiedler Evansville