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June 26, 1998     The Message
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June 26, 1998

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998 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 Pittsburgh, Sunday, June 21, 1998 By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER Fathers' Day has come again. I remembered all of you at the celebration of Holy Mass :. This is a day of the family. It is a time recall our love for our parents and to filial devotion to them. National Conference of Catholic Bishops met annual spring meeting. The Was full and there were some significant used at Holy Mass should now be The body of bishops accepted well as the second part of the Lec- the final approval of the Holy See, 11 soon be replaced with new have already been apprised of the the Holy See. also gave an overwhelmingly posi- on a statement toward a renewed commit- living the mandates of the Gospel as we face statement is entitled: "Sharing Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions." of concern shared by all parents as is sex and violence in media. The the matter in a statement on over- loitation of sex and violence in com- munications. Each of us must accept personal responsibility by withholding support of those media that use sex and violence. There is no market if there are no "buyers." Some may recall some very distorted publicity about the use of funds gathered for the Campaign for Human Development. To insure that no funds are made available to programs unworthy, the bishops have now specified clearly moral guidelines for approving funding projects by the Catholic Cam- paign for Human Development. This should clarify any doubt that the Church is committed to fund pro- jects that do not violate the mandates of the Gospel or teachings of the Church. Following the regular meeting of the bishops, there was a special symposium on vocations. Cardi- nal Pio Laghi, former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States and now head of the Congregation for Catholic Education gave the keynote address yesterday (Satur- day) afternoon. This morning the symposium fea- tured Bishop Robert Carlson of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He has developed a dynamic program for encouraging vocations to the diocesan priesthood, religious life and a single life of service to the com- munity, all of which flow from a richness of the voca- tion to marriage. As I listened to both Cardinal Laghi and Bishop Carlson, I was most conscious of the fact that there are three openings in our own diocese that remained unfilled. Sacred Heart, Schnellville, is without a pas- tor. In Eyansville, the Nativity and Holy Spirit "clus- ter" is without an associate pastor. The Benedictine pastor of St. John Chrysostom, New Boston, is leav- ing with no permanent Benedictine pastor available. Vocations are the responsibility of every bap- tized Catholic. Parents and family life must provide the rich soil in which vocations take root. Not only must priests and religious be "inviters" of young peo- ple to be conscious of God's call to a vocation, every member of the parish must be alert to potential can- didates to priesthood, religious life, marriage or the single life of service in the world. This symposium has encouraged me to ask some questions: How many vocations to the priesthood and religious life has your parish produced in the last generation, the last 20 years? Have you personally encouraged anyone to consider the possibility that God is calling him or her to priesthood or religious life respectively? How is it that the celebration of marriage has become a "private affair" instead of a parish or com- munity occasion to support marriage and family life? Finally, why should a parish expect that a priest or religious be appointed to serve them when it has not provided priests or religious from its own fami- lies? These are the tough questions facing all of us. sees millennial rebirth for religious orders CINDy WOODEN News Service i I The should be "a renewal and even ous orders in and through- Pope John Paul With a group of U.S. the Midwest, the bishops have a to the religious Women who work in who are living he value of the great of love of God his address from Mis- Iowa and making their "ad limina" visits to Rome. Bishops make the visits every five years to report on the status of their dioceses. (Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfin- ger was among the bislops who completed their "ad limina" vis- its just prior to the bishops men- tioned in this report.) "Consecrated persons are at the very heart of the mystery of the church, the bride who responds to Christ's infinite love with her whole being," the pope told the bishops. He said the period of change and reform of religious commu- nities following the Second Vat- ican Council "has not been an easy time, since a renewal of such complexity and far-reach- ing consequences, involving so many people, could not take place without much effort and strain." For many religious orders, he said, the pain and struggle brought new insight and renewed commitment, although some individuals were left dis- enchanted or discouraged. The pope said bishops have a responsibility to engage in a dialogue with the religious in their dioceses, to support them and to offer them guidance as they seek to live their vocations to the fullest. While bishops must know and respect the specific role and unique identity of religious communities, religious must recognize .that their mission in the universal church is lived out in collaborative service to the local church, he said. "This is an important point, for many errors of judgment can result when a sound ecclesiolo- gy gives way to a concept of the church too marked by a civil and political terms or so 'spiritual- ized' that the individual's sub- jective choices become the crite- ria of behavior," the pope said. Pope John Paul also said bish- ops should encourage the reli- gious in their dioceses to be liv- ing signs of the value of community life. While not every member is suited for the same task, the general apostolate of the community must be clear and a candidate's willingness to engage in that work should be part of the process of discern- ing, he said. When the community's pri- mary apostolate is clear and its ions must be "sign of hope,' says Cardinal Laghi FRANKO News Service I Cardi- the former papal the United States, works in the VOcations is, by deft- who hopes. essential promotion be Sign of hope and influence of the he said. now prefect for addressed bishops, clergy, laity June 21 at a on voca- Cardinal Laghi root of the vocation ity through view earthly hori- SOil Where the seed of the vocation falls is the human heart," he said. "It is there, in the most sacred and intimate center of the person, that the Lord makes his voice heard and calls whom he wills. When the heart is not open and willing, the seed cannot take root and bear fruit." The cardinal noted that young people cannot easily find reliable points of reference or favorable environments that would help them discern their vocations. Cardinal Laghi said families, schools and parishes must be truly revitalized and recover their mandate of fostering vocations. "Then, they can become favorable settings for identify- ing, welcoming and encourag- ing vocations, of showing that life is not some random, mean- ingless, nomadic wandering but rather a pilgrimage.with a beginning and an end, Jesus Christ," he said. Cardinal Laghi said vocations begin with prayer. He quoted Pope John Paul II, who said, "Fervent prayers must con- stantly rise from parishes, monastic and religious commu- nities, Christian families and places of suffering." The cardinal said discernment efforts should no longer be aimed at certain vocations, but should promote all directions and choices. "In this way, the pastoral care of vocations will not be a race toward recruitment or a compe- tition, but rather a service ren- dered to people enabling them to discern God's plan for their lives," he said. Cardinal Laghi noted the church must reclaim its identi- ty, "namely, that sacraments are central to what makes us unique," he said. "Ordained priesthood is a sacrament that brings a very special and essen- tial gift to the life of the com- munity, the church." The cardinal added that all faithful should take seriously the responsibility to call forth people to serve as ordained priests and as members of reli- gious communities. Cardinal Laghi encouraged his brother bishops to make vocations an integral part of their ministry, reminding them that vocation ministry cannot be left solely to the vocation direc- tor of an office. "If vocations are a priority in your ministry, it wiU send out a pos- itive signal to your priests," he said. The cardinal noted vocation awareness is'best nurtured and developed in the context of both the biological and the parish family. He also spoke of .the issue of encouragement and morale among clergy and vowed religious. "Priests who feel good about themselves and about their priest- hood will, naturally, want to invite others to share in and con- tinue their work," he said. commitment stable, it also becomes easier for the commu- nity and the diocese to engage in long-range pastoral planning, he said. "Sensitivity tonew needs and to the new poor, however nee- , " -: essary and laudable, should not entail neglect of the old poor, those in need of genuine Catholic cKlucation, the sick and the elderly;" the pope said. The renewal of religious life in the United States, he said, will not occur without careful attention to attracting new voca- tions by tmderlining the ideals of total consecrafi9n to God. "A presentation of the evan- gelical counsels merely in terms of their usefulness and conve- nience for a particular form of service is not enough," he said. "It is only a personal experi- ence, through faith, of Christ and of the mystery of his king- dom at work in human history hich can make the ideal come alive in the minds and hearts of those who may be called," the pope told the bishops. Pope john Paul also said the time of preparation for the year 2000 might be an occasion for religious orders "to set up and support new communities of their members who are seeking an authentic, stable and com- munity-centered experience according to the spirit of the founders and foundresses." The Pope asked the bishops to remain ck to the religious men and women in their dioceses, encouraging them to persevere in their commitment and witness even when the going is rout. "qaere is a way of living the cross with bitterness and sad- heSS, but it breaks our spirit," he said. "There is also the way of carrying the cross as Christ did, and then we perceive clearly that it leads 'into gloD:'"