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July 3, 1998     The Message
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July 3, 1998

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Taking some time, alone By PAUL R. LEINGANG Editor "You almost have to go it alone," he said. A friend and I were talking about some similar experiences on vacation. He was telling me about the time he was in a small resort town on a lake in north- ern Italy. He said he was leaning up against a railing, enjoy- ing the view of the lake and some postcard-pretty islands. It was a bright, sunny morning. The air was clean and the temperature comfortable. In short, it was as perfect a day as there could be on any vacation. Slowly, my friend said, he became aware of some people who were walking along the lake side. As they were approaching, he began to notice that they were speaking English. As they drew nearer, he could hear their speech clearly enough to conclude that they were speaking American English. So that's when he decided to say hello to them and ask them were they came from. But instead of a friendly conversation with some people "from back home," the two women and two men continued to walk past him. They were deep in their own conversation, and at least in the judgment of the man who was watching them, they were quite literally unaware of everything around them. It seemed to him, at least, that they did not see the lake or admire the islands; they did not enjoy the sunshine or the ideal resort weather; they did not acknowledge, or even notice the friendly greeting of another vacationer. In fact, he said, here were four people physically in Italy -- four people who had never left home. To have a real experience of another part of the world, "You almost have to go it alone," said my friend. I remember listening to my son Ben recount his experience at a soup kitchen one day when he was in his teens. He had gone with a group of people to work in the kitchen. Some members of the group pre- pared sandwiches, others helped with various clean- ing chores, and everybody seemed to be involved in the group activity in some way or another. Ben's job was to serve food to people who came, one by one, for their allotted portions. That's when Ben met each person, face to face, alone. Some were shy, some embarrassed, some insis- tent that they needed more, and one man "didn't even say thank you." Ben was no longer part of a "youth group activi- ty" -- he met hunger face to face, one on one. The thought struck me that even if you are an apostle, you can fall asleep in the comfort of the group outside the garden. Only Jesus faced the future, alone, Jul' IP ; in that garden on the night before he died. ,b n. When have you been alone in unusual fortable circumstances? Ask a friend or a member that same question. If there are children in your home, about their experiences of adventure. Examine your attitudes toward need. Are you more apt to see them as a group? We read in the gospels that Jesus fed of people and cured 10 lepers. But he face with the woman caught in adultery and promised paradise to one good thief Help a child experience something Take the time to meet -- and get to person in need. Examine social service providers in your nity. Consider the efforts best performed and those best accomplished on an individual and then do what you can to help. Unite your efforts with other be afraid to accept the challenge and ty of being alone and making a difference. Comments about this column a or the Christian Family Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. Independence day? Would-be citizens wait, study, wait By PATRICIA ZAPOR Catholic News Service despite his inability to commu- nicate. There also are nearly a million people whose fingerprints -- used for background checks were taken so long ago that they'll soon no longer be valid, according to Jeff Chenoweth of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the U.S. bishops' immigrant legal services arm known as CLINIC. Those applicants will have to follow a new procedure requir- ing that they be fingerprinted again at an Immigration and Naturalization Service office, pay another fee and start wait- ing once more, Chenoweth said. Those are just a couple of the types of hurdles in the path toward citizenship. The 1.7 mil- lion people awaiting decisions on their applications have already filed detailed affidavits about their political activities, residences, marriages, children, any arrests, drug, alcohol or gambling involvement and membership in any organiza- tions in the United States or their homeland. Before their applications can be approved, they will have been photographed, finger- printed, investigated, inter- viewed, tested on U.S. history and government, asked to write a flawless sentence in English and signed a statement agreeing to all the elements of the oath of allegiance they'd take at a citi- zenship ceremony. And the civics test they take probably would challenge mil- lions of native-born citizens. Along with relatively simple questions such as "what are the colors of our flag?" a sample test provided by INS asks: -- How many representatives -- Who becomes president if the president and the vice pres- ident should die? -- Can you name the 13 orig- inal states? -- Who has the .power to declare war? -- In what year was the Con- stitution written? The son of Chong Ho Kwok believes that having already gone through those steps before a robber's gun left him unable to communicate makes his father deserving of U.S. citizen- ship. "I think he deserves it maybe more than some other people," said the 19-year-old, who goes by the Americanized name Shawn. After coming to the United States from South Korea in 1990, the elder Kwok applied for citizenship just about as soon as he was eligible, five years after arrival. Even though it's unclear whether his father even under- stands what's happening around him, Shawn thinks his father's condition makes more important than ever that he be granted cit- izenship, considering what he went through to qualify. The INS hasn't seen it that way. The agency ruled in Sep- tember 1997, more than 18 months after the shooting, that Kwok was now ineligible for naturalization. According to the Kwoks' CLINIC attorney, an appeal hearing was supposed to have been held by now, but there's been no sign of it. In the meantime, Rep. George Gekas, R-Pa., is sponsoring an attempt to grant Kwok his citi- zenship through a special, indi- vidual law. The bill was due to be considered by the House Judiciary Committee after the July 4 congressional break, according to a Gekas staffer who also said it was likely to be approved. In the last 15 months, CLIN- IC has helped more than 24,000 immigrants become citizens with legal advice, naturalization classes and other types of assis- tance, Chenoweth explained. For most applicants, the process of becoming a citizen isn't quite so bureaucratic as the tangle the Kwoks have had to maneuver. But several bills moving through Congress would make the process even tougher. They include proposals for a longer residency requirement before naturalization, a three- year probationary period for new citizens, and the elimina- tion of birthright citizenship for children of noncitizens born in the United States. In a May statement, Bishop John S. Cummins of Oakland, Calif., chairman of the bishops' Migration Committee, said fur- ther restricting access to U.S. cit- izenship is particularly disturb- ing considering evidence that "the overwhelming majority of immigrants and refugees in this country are of good moral char- WASHINGTON (CNS)- Amid the fireworks, patriotic anthems and speeches of the Fourth of July, 1.7 million peo- ple will watch and wonder when they will have reason to celebrate Independence Day as full-fledged Americans. They're the immigrants who have filed applications for nat- uralization as U.S. citizens, caught in a backlog that takes two years or more to clear. Their number includes people like Chong Ho Kwok, of Camp Hill, Pa., who had successfully completed every part of the process except the swearing-in ceremony when he was shot and incapacitated during the robbery of his store more than three years ago. His family is awaiting appeals and an effort to pass a special law that would allow him to become a citizen 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evans:,Alle, IN 47711  Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Pute wee/dy except /aM week/n December .by the Catho/' Press of Evansville ..................................... PaR.Leaag ................................. P Ne.W Address al| communications to P.O+ Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $18.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Errtered as petca+ matter at e post office in E,,-a-ce, IN 4770t Publicaon numbe 843800. P0ct: Return PO0 krs 3579 t00ff:e o PoUCan  t99  Press ot Ev' some acter, enrich our are grateful to their homeland and eager full-fledged He warned that criteria for cit ficult "would be us all. Citizenship value to the our nation as well." 1he citizenship plays role in nity of those who take advantage Bishop CumminS In addition to the congressional process, the fee for tion applications will i October from the cost of having and photographs Chenoweth said for naturalization it daunting, waits, the stackS documents, and for the civics test. "If you were to they might say it's trating  the delays and the knowing Englisl testing," he said. Mass at St. Thomas, Vincennes, Sunday, July Ceremony of Blessing, Tuesday, July 7, School at 10:30 a.m.; Memorial High School at Bishop's staff meeting, Catholic Center, Thu 9a.m. Mass at the Outpost, Friday, July 10, 6:30 p.r Installation of Prioress, Monastery Irnmacu tion, Saturday, July 11, 2 p.m. Dedication of Spiritual Life Center, St. Ferdinand, Sunday, July 12, 10:30 a.m. Depart for Philmont Training Center, Boys America, Cimarron, N.M., Sunday, July 12. . i '