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Evansville, Indiana
July 10, 1998     The Message
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July 10, 1998

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JIM and ANNCAVERA Anumber of years ago, a college teacher had a ap of students keep a daily journal for one semes- The] Les were simple. They had to make notes in r j0urnals every day and they were not allowed to . these to anyone He believed that people who tt ' " their personal feelings and thoughts on paper Petien d more satisfaction in their lives than those 0 did not. At the end of the semester he used a taber tests to compare the journal keepers with a p of non-writers. The results confirmed his 00ef. : The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Letters to Go less and of having no control over our lives. Perhaps this is why diaries, journals, and letters were so much a part of our ancestors' lives. In today's world of instant communication with cell phones, fax machines and e-mail, I still relish opening a letter and taking in all the words. For a brief moment, it seems I am getting a glimpse of the writer's soul. We still have a postcard with a cryptic message that our old- est daughter sent from camp some years ago. She " wrote: "Dearest Mom and Dad, We have one girl in our group who is really mean. I will tell you what we did to her shorts when I get home. Love, Katie." No child ever said so much in so few words. Some notes can be prophetic. When this same daughter was still in high school, on a whim one day, Ann made a list. In no particular order, she wrote down all of the qualities she wanted in the man this child would someday marry. Ann slipped the list into a certain Bible and forgot about it. Several years later this daughter married a true soulmate who was not quite what we expected. Some time after the wedding 13 ters, the first quality on the list was "Sense of Humor." Today Katie lives in Hollywood with her truly terrific husband, who happens to be a comedi- an/magician. Writing can be as intimate an experience as pray- ing. Vv'hat better way to communicate with God dur- ing those times when we find ourselves unable to "say" a prayer? Some years ago during a particularly dark time in my life, I wrote a letter to God. He answered my written prayer. Our God is most patient and, like us, he enjoys hearing from.someone, even if it's been years since the last real contact. Why not jot down a note to him? You don't even need a stamp. Be assured that he will get your message, give it careful consideration, and then reply. It's a relief to know that God takes our prayers seriously. He answers with wisdom ancL perhaps now and then, even with a sense of humor. By JIM CAVERA i'. Something about the act of putting our thoughts when we rediscovered the list, we could almost hear Jim and Ann Cavera live and work in Evansville. on paper frees us from feelings of being power- the good-natured laughter of our Lord. In large let- Their colurmz is a regular feature of the lvlessage. By JERRY FILTEAU Catholic News Service :ly finds links between parish life, priestly vocations !owing is another in a series of 's about "Parish Future, nt." CNS reporter Jerry examines the source of !s for parishes, and dis- : , m many cases, the parish 4SFIINGTON (CNS) -- hes with a Catholic ele- try School and at least one lnt pastor are far more like- Uce new priestly voca- parishes with no and no assistant priest, ng to a study released study also found that ith no priestly voca- the past 20 years are Smaller and less likely regular Marian or devotions, youth ady, youth groups, or or service projects for People. that pastors in multi- )n parishes were more o say they frequently on vocations, speak priesthood to parishioners nally invite others to e priesthood. rags "show that the :Parish life has a direct on a Vocation decision Igest that personal atti- ut VOcations originate context," said the )r Applied Research in tolate. ', an independent Washington, conducted the study for the Committee on Vocations of the National Con- ference of Catholic Bishops. For its data, in late 1997 and early 1998 CARA obtained 1,012 responses to a questionnaire mailed to a national sampling of pastors and 2,103 responses from a similar questionnaire mailed to all diocesan priests ordained from 1992 to 1996. Of the pastors surveyed, 204 reported three or more vocations from their current parish in the past 20 years, while 424 report- ed no new vocations from the parish in that time. The median size of parishes reporting three or more voca- tions in the past 20 years was 1,300 families, while the median size of zero-vocation parishes was 500 families. The study found that among pastors who reported multiple vocations, 58 percent said the parish had a parochial vicar, or assistant pastor, for all or most of that time, and 64 percent had an elementary school. Sixty-six per- cent reported regular parish eucharistic devotions and 77 per- cent Marian devotions. By contrast, among pastors who reported zero vocations, only 26 percent had a parochial vicar and 28 percent an elemen- tary school. Forty-six percent reported regular parish eucharis- tic devotions and 62 percent Marian devotions. In response to a series of ques- tions about opportunities for youth involvement in parish life, said the parish offered Mass roles; 69 percent, service projects; 67 percent, youth groups; and 39 percent, youth Bible study groups. Among zero-vocation parish- es, 62 percent of the pastors said the parish offered Mass roles for youth; 49 percent, service pro- jects; 49 percent youth groups; and 25 percent youth Bible study groups. "Parishes producing multiple vocations differ from those that do not," CARA said. "Further, many of these differences are ones over which parishes have some control." In its report CARA did not break out separately the findings on parish life and youth oppor- tunities in those parishes whose pastors reported one or two vocations over the past 20 years. .But its summation of all 1,012 responses to the questionnaire indicated that the remaining 384 parishes with one or two voca- tions fell somewhere between the other two sets of parishes on all indicators. In the survey of recently ordained priests, who were asked about characteristics of the home parish in which they spent most of their life up to the age of 16, CARA found results similar to those given by pastors. Compared with priests who were their home parish's only recent vocation, those priests who said their home parish had multiple vocations were more likely to report that the parish had an elementary school, at least one parochial vicar and more opportunities for youth involvement. Those from multiple-vocation parishes were also slightly more likely than those from on, voca- tion parishes to report that the "example of a priest I knew, or a "personal invitation from a priest" had been a very impor- tant factor in their own vocation decision. German moral theologian Father Bernard Haring dies BONN, Germany (CNS) Redemptorist Father Bernard Haring, a German Catholic moral theologian and author whose work influenced major changes in the church through the Second Vatican Council, died following a stroke at the age of 85. He was found July 3 on the floor of his hospital room in Haag, Germany, with an open Bible and a pile of papers on his desk, said Anton Dimpflmaier, director of a Catholic teachers' training institute in Gars am Inn, where Father Haring had lived in retirement for the past several years in a monastery. "Obviously he worked and read the holy Scriptures 'til the end," Dimpflmaier told Catholic News Service. "He was He noted that Father Haring focused much of his attention on the renewal of moral theolo- gy on the study of the Bible and Christ. The author of more than 100 books translated into several languages and more than 1,000 articles, Father Haring has been praised by admirers in the Unit- ed States as the "most signifi- cant moral theologian in this. half of the 20th century.." His funeral was July 7 in Gars am Inn with the head of his worldwide Redemptorist order, Father Joseph Toben of Rome, and Father Hans Rehmet of the Munich Redemptorist province among the concelebrants. Father Hating was born Nov. 10, 1912. in Bottingen, Germany. He joined the Redemptorist in the German army during World War II as a medic in Rus- sia. He was captured and held prisoner of war in the Soviet Union until the war ended. He received his doctorate of theology from the University of Tubingen in 1947 and went on to teach at a dozen Catholic institutions and secular univer- sities in Europe and the United States. He was a professor of moral theology at the Alphon- sian Academy of Lateran Uni- versity in Rome from 1957-81. His three-volume "Law of Christ," published in 1954, took an approach to moral theology that was more biblical than other standard texts of the time. It emphasized responsibility over obedience to law and initi- ated a movement for church C researchagencybased among the multiple-vocation a very humble, modest man, order in 1933, was ordained a reform that was formalized "getown University in parishes 70 percent of the pastors and in a good sense, pious." priest five years later and served through the Second Vatican  , ..... Council. i At the council, he served as . L. Lee = [ I Dr. Jane A. 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