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June 18, 1993     The Message
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June 18, 1993
 

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana n mQ .--- rerspecrwe--- On Father's Day: What I wish I could say "When do you have to be at work tomorrow?" Dad would ask, on a Sunday afternoon when I was visiting. Feeling that he should have remembered, I would answer with a non-communicative, "Same time as usual." During the last years of his life, Dad would ask that same question every time I came to see him. We called our visit "going home" but everybody came to un- derstood more and more over the years that our home was not with parents but with our own family. We lived almost 300 miles from "home" -- close enough for the holidays and an occasional weekend drive, but far enough to make frequent trips too much of a burden for our young family. A typical weekend trip would usually involve a six-hour drive late Friday night or early Satur- day morning, a visit with my wife's parents, a visit with my parents, and a six-hour return trip late Sunday before a long day's work on Monday. At times, we would even try to spend some time with a hometown or college friend -- but 3 PAUL R. INGANG EDITOR those visits grew less and less fre- quent as the center of our own growing family drifted farther and farther from the lives of friends and acquaintances. Only a few friendships sur- vived. The really important ones did. Family connections were stretched by distance, but they survived, and changed, and grew. In many ways, I believe, I feel closer to my brother and sisters now than in earlier years. I am the youngest, and they looked after me much more than I ever knew or acknowledged, or could offer in return. As my parents' health weakened, visits "home" began to include more time with a sister or brother, along with a Sunday afternoon at my parents' home. And always, Dad would ask as our weekend time was drawing to a close, "When do you have to be at work tomorrow?" During the first year or so of each new job, I would always tell him. My broadcasting jobs varied in starting hours from 4:30 in the morning to 1:30 in the afternoon, and at some odd times in between. During the last few years of my dad's though, my own working life seemed to stable, and my job was almost normal -- b business if not by broadcast standards -- around 8 a.m. to almost 7 p.m. It was so foolish of me not to answer Dad, when visit after visit, he would lead up to good-bye with that same question: "When you have to be at work tomorrow?" I know now that what he said was a .... ment as much as a question. He was of his concern for me, his hope that I safe on the trip, and that tomorrow would be ai;: good day at work for me. '" My response was petty -- non-c tive for someone who was supposed to ing in communications. My father never said that he loved me, did I ever use the word, love, in talking wi him. Just because we didn't talk that hot a sign that we didn't mean it. We different words and phrases. His were, do you have to be at work tomorrow? : I wish I could tell him, "Around 8 Washington Letter Churches and the -soci00t] deficit'- Thy political will be By MARK PAITISON are in danger of collapse," religious community de- "How can I help the USCC do Catholic News Service noting how he watched the mands staff and resources, its work today?" WASHINGTON (CNS} -- Now that the United States' foremost religious bodies are joining forces to fight what they call a "social deficit," how were the issues chosen that: constitute such a deficit, and how will the churches get this deficit out of the red and into the black? The last time the U.S. Catholic Conference, the Na- tional Council of Churches and the Synagogue Council of America got together to press a common agenda, it was more than a quarter-century ago. The cause then was civil rights. Unlike civil rights, "there's no one piece of legislation that's going to address avery- thing," said Msgr. Robert N. Lynch, USCC secretary gen- eral. Civil rights was a relatively easy target compared to the myriad and diffuse issues on this agenda: poverty, home- lessness, hunger, health care reform, welfare reform. Msgr. Lynch said, "We have seen the safety nets that line at one feeding program near his Washington resi- dence "stretch around the block," from 100 in the 1980s to between 800 and 900 today. Nor can Catholic hospitals provide the health care their historic mission mandates due to soaring health care costs. "There are institutional interests, yes. We can't deny that," Msgr. Lynch said. "But faith interests as well." Missing from the agenda are two topics that generate lots of attention from Catholic leaders: abortion and educa- tional choice. "We had to agree to dis- agree," said the Roy. Joan B. Campbell, National Council of Churches general secretary. Added Rabbi Henry Michel- man, secretary general of the Synagogue Council of Amer- ica: "'We put aside that which divides us .... There are just things we can't touch." Even without these hot-but- ton topics, there's still plenty left on the religious groups' plate. Clearing the plate is an- other matter. Rabbi David Saperstein, di- rector of the Religious Action Canter of the Union of Ameri- can Hebrew Congregations, said churches are most effec- tive in the legislative arena when three things happen at the same time: A consensus within the -- The churches' focus is "not scattershot. Single-issue lobbies are generally more ef- fective." Those outside the reli- gious community :are also "particularly concerned" about the issue. Rabbi Saperstein cited three instances when the reli- gious community had major impact: 1974, when "we 'dis- covered' the world hunger crisis"; 1978, when human rights became a condition for foreign aid; the early 1980s, when the nuclear freeze be- came an issue. John Carr, USCC director of social development and world peace, said churches are "specialists in how not to put across your case in a big book, with small type, put a big price tag on it, and expect everyone to buy it." Rather, they can "put a face on" the issue, humanize it, Carr said. To mount a effective cam- paign, he said, the churches must move "from strong words in our communities to effective action." Can" acknowledged that he represents "an organization that is committed to human- ism, but in practice tends to be isolationist .... This kind of collaboration is easier to talk about than to do." Nor, he observed, are priests and bishops waking up each morning asking, Father Fritsch appointed Father Michael Fritsch, currently serving as associate pastor of St. Joseph Church, Jasper, has boon assigned as associate pastor of St. Jude Church, Indianapolis. His ap. , pointment is effective July 7: oTather Fritsch was or- dnad for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 1985. He re- turns to his home diocese after being on loa_n to the Dio- cese of Evansville. Ha was as-  satiate pastorof St. Simon Church in Washington from 1988 to 1990, and of St. Joseph Church, Jasper, since 1990. The details of Father Fritsch's new assignment were officially released this week from the office of Arch- bishop Daniel Buechlein, O.S.B. in Indianapolis. Parishioners of St. Jude Church learned of the new appointment over the week- end of June 12 -- 13. Rabbi Saperstein said churches should start with their clergy candidates. "Leak into the seminary curricu- lum," he said. "They're not trained to be social justice leaders. We need to remedy that." Skills training for congrega- tion leaders, empowering the people who would benefit from the issue -- "the poor, the disenfranchised in this country do not have PACs" finding a cohesive image of the moral message and new ways to sell it, and speaking "directly to the people with power in America," from the White House to the local chamber of commerce, are musts to get such a broad pro- gram through, Rabbi Saper- stein said. Ruth Flower, legislative secretary for the Friends Committee on National Legis- lation, said that since "Con- gress does a pretty good job of representing the people," the goal should be to change the attitudes of the people Con- gross represents. The technique of Washing- ton religious lobbies telling members across America what to do based on the latest developments doesn't work, she said. " r "There's a crisis. I an action alert. I going to write a not!" Flower you already kno' heart it's wrong, ready know the when you write gressman." : Close contact stituents, Carr getting the agenda In today's cated gen wouldn't work, called a classic on the civil Senate hearing Sen. James Miss., after ness' asked, "Who do sent and when w time you Each witness, fully terrogation. : But when Carthy, now Austin, Texas, fi his witness Eastland to the fore you ask me, said, "I'm goil who I re time I "I represent last time I this ! The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weeidy newspaper of , Diocese of Evansville PulMt'wd rummy except/oat week/n ,kJdrem d  eo p.o. Bat 4tm, , IN 47724-01 rate: $12.00 pet yw, r s cow P.. s.so sma as cmm mattw at t pore ofice m EvKNwitle. IN 47701. Po,mmtec Rmtum POD forum 357B  tmo Pmm ot E-rea Bishop's sch The following activities and events are schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger.