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Evansville, Indiana
July 11, 1997     The Message
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1,1997 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 3 I Stevens ng the path from hatred and revenge to forgiveness HUGHES staff writer the 1960s, Paul no opinion about Philosophical for and against it" t him. busy holding down two his family on westside, where he -- in just an instant--:" he was propelled down a path which took him to a dark place of hatred and revenge, and then on to a place where he learned about forgiveness. Final- ly, when he found himself visit- ing prisoners on death row he realized that he had developed a very strong opinion about the death penalty -- and he was against it. One day back in 1969, Stevens' life was changed forever when his and he will dwell in your house t 20-year-old daughter, Cynthia Ann, was murdered. Instantly, he found himself in a world of hatred and revenge, armed with a new belief in the value of the death penalty. Those dark emotions festered in him until 1978, when he made a Cursillo. He says he came away from the weekend with one . prayer which he prayed con- stantly. It was "Jesus, I love you." "I would say it over and over and over. I came out of the Cur- sillo with that -- along with no more hate and revenge." By the mid-1980s, he had retired and moved to Dawson Springs, Ky. When he learned that his pastor was ministering to prisoners at nearby Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville, Stevens asked if he could go too. "I was retired and I wanted to do something with my idle time. We are told to visit the prisons, and my pastor was really wrapped up in that work." From his first visit, Stevens said "I took Cindy with me. I talked about her." The prisoners were "sympathetic" about the loss of his daughter. "They were sad, but I told them that I know where she is, and that's how I had gotten over it." When the inmates asked Stevens if they should ask their victims for forgiveness, he told them, "Absolutely. Yes." During his visits to Eddyville he talked with the prisoners about "their lives, their fami- lies and their religion." When he starting making visits to death row, he was surprised to find it "very peaceful. I felt really at home. I felt like that was where I needed to be. I felt very close to them, and I know they need help." By the time he began his prison ministry, Stevens had re- evaluated his opinion about the death penalty. As he realized "I really can't kill somebody" he discovered that he "couldn't ask somebody else to do it" either. He also questions the think- ing of fellow Catholics who sup- port the death penalty while holding pro-life stances. "If they are against taking life, then why are they for the state doing it?" Nearly two weeks ago, Stevens saw first-hand what the state can do as he sat with convicted mur- derer Harold McQueen the night that McQueen faced the electric chair. "He (McQueen) was one of the first ones to ask me if he should ask his victim for pardon. He was able to do that during the last two to three weeks, through the media." During his fmal hours, McQueen carried Cynthia Steven's rosary. "It was her rosary that he was holding. He handed it back to me" before the execution. Stevens said McQueen "want- ed people to think of him as good and not bad. He asked that there be no protests for him." For the 10 days before the exe- cution, "absolutely nothing went on. They (the other inmates) had so much affection for him, that they did nothing." Stevens' pastor wrote a final prayer for McQueen based on Psalm 23. "I gave each one on death row this prayer and asked each one of them to read it after midnight. I told them we would each read it. After the execution, I went to minister to them, and some were still reading it." Stevens plans to continue his prison ministry "as long as the Lord will let me." He says he's grateful for the gift of forgive- ness that he received so many years ago at the Cursillo week- end. "It makes a different per- son out of you. When you are under a lot of hate and revenge, you are different." Of his prison ministry work he says, "IfI can change people's ideas against the death penalty, then I will be satisfied that I am doing something. And I think I've changed some." He added, "It's a question of morals, and morally, it's wrong.  Bishop appoints seven new DPC members It. LEINGANG editor a rew members of the an t astoral Council have LPP: ated by Bishop Ger- 0e ,telfinger The new ers rill join 18 current l'a Corn throughout the Vansville. to welcome you body and willingness to on behalf of the Bishop Gettelfin- of appointment. are the new mem- serve three-year council: C. Burch a member Loogootee, Deanery. and the father a bachelor's degree ' m 1980, and his doc- Medicine in Eucharistic minis- in the Cursillo his wife team dur. of 1997. of the Lions' the biggest ng the diocese is faith remain face of declining Coleman, from St. Princeton, in the bachelor's and and of the parish coan- also a lector, rainister, Sunday Cantor and Priest- He is also involved in Leader- ship Evansville, Leadership Gib- son County, Evansville Youth Guidance and the Kiwanis Club. He believes that the greatest challenge facing the diocese is "How to embrace change." Diane Fehrenbacher, from St. Wendel Church, in the Evansville West Deanery. She is married and the mother of four children. Fehrenbacher attended Rex Mundi High School in her fresh- man year and graduated from Cen- tral High School, Evansville. She is a para-legal and owner of a small business. She is a Eucharistic min- ister and a minister of hospitality at her parish. She also serves as a music ministerat various church- es, and is a member of an ecu- menical musical group, "Voices of Praise." She is active in Cursillo and TEC (Teens Encounter Christ). "I am a lover of my Roman Catholic faith," Fehrenbacher states. "I have a great rapport with others. I work hard at being a listener, investigator and problem solver." Shirlie Holton;a member of Sacred Heart Church, Schnel- lville, in the Jasper Deanery. Holton is married and the moth- er of three children. Holton has a degree in business administration, and is a supervi- sor at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center in Jasper. She is active in her parish, on the parish council and the social concerns committee. She is a lec- tor and a Eucharistic minister, a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and active in youth ministry. Her civic involvement includes service on a hospice-wellness committee, and as a member of the site selection committee for Habitat. Among the gifts she expects to bring to the Diocesan Pastoral Council are her abilities to organize, solve problems, listen, cooperate, gather facts before making a decision and she is "willing to serve in order to make a difference." Daniel R. Miller, a member of St. John the Evangelist Clurch, Daylight, in the Evans- ville East Deanery. He is single. Miller graduated from Memo- rial High School in Evansville, and has his bachelor's degree from DePauw University where he majored in German and eco- nomics. He received his doctor of law degree from the Indiana University School of Law, and is currently serving as a deputy prosecuting attorney in Vander- burgh County Miller is chairman of the parish council in Daylight, and secretary of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He is a catechist, choir member, cantor and mem- ber of the education commission. He is president of the Sub- stance Abuse Council of Vander- burgh County, a 4-H leader, and a member of the beard of direc- ters of the Vanderburgh County 4-H, and a member of the Indi- ana State Bar Association. "The greatest challenge our diocese faces is leadership,  Miller said. %Vho will guide our parishes in worship, in teaching, in activism, in works of mercy? Can the laity be persuaded to take on these roles.  Earl E. Ruppel, a member of St. Thomas Church in Knox County, in the Vincennes Dean- ery. Ruppel is married and the father bf four children. Ruppel graduated from St. Meinrad High School. He is a farmer, His parish involvement includes service as a Eucharistic minister at church and to shut- ins, music coordinator, president of the parish cemetery board, Priestless Sunday designate, member of the Marian Move- ment and teacher for CCD in the Vincennes area. His civic involvement includes membership on the board of the Soil and Water Conservation District of Knox County, and membership in the County Office Committee. He sees three challenges fac- ing the diocese: addressing the shortage of priests, encouraging more involvement of laity in the Church, and promoting more prayer and faith in all people. One member was appointed for a two-year term: * Marlene A. Obert, from St. Bernard Church, Fort Branch, in the Princeton Deanery. She is single. Obert has a bachelor's degree in business education from the University of Evansville, and a master's in business education from Indiana University. She is chairman of the Business Department at Gibson South- ern High School. Obert is a Eucharistic minis- ter and a member of the pariah council at St. Bernard Church. She is also in the parish choir. She chairs the parish Centenni- al Committes and is editor of the parish history, She is past pres- ident of the St. Anne Altar Soci- ety and a  team member. Obert's civic involvement includes membership on the Beard of Directors of Farmers and Merchants Bank. She is a past president of South Gibson Dollar for Scholars, and state recording secretary for the Kappa Gamma Teachers' Soci- ety. She is a past president of the Evansville Branch of the Anerican Association Womeri,  a member of the Gibson County Zoning and Planning Board, and a delegate to the National Edu- cation Association convention. "The greatest challenge to the Church is to keep young people interested in the Church because this is our future, and to encour- age vocations to the priesthood and religious life," she said, The seven new members replace Jim Schmitt from Evans- ville East, Joe Crowdus from Evansville West, Dan Harpenau from the Newburgh DeaneD', Sylvia Rose from the Princeton Deanery, Chuck Gillie from the Vincennes Deanery, Jim Bate- man from the Washington Dean- ery and Mike McColmell from the Princeton Deanery Council members whose terms expire next year include the following: Chuck Froehle, Washington Deanery; Margaret Wallace, Newburgh Deanery; Bernie Kemker, Jasper Dean- ery; Benedictine Sister Geral- dine Hedinger; Jim Krodei and Mike Beshears, members.at. large; and Fathers John David- son and Francis Schroering. Terms end in August 1999 for the following council members: Helen Boettcher, Evansville East; Gertrude Howard, Evans- ville West; Pat Koch, Newburgh Deanery; Sarah Burke, Vin- cennes Deanery; Providenco tor Mary Mundy; Daughter of Charity Sister Catherine Kelly, and Deacon Dave Franklin. Ex-oflido membem are bgr, Kenneth R. Krmpp, vicar gener- al; Ken Krasavage, executive director of diocoun serviees, and Bishop Gettelflnger. Stave Borkowaki and Joe Riepenhoff, both of Newburgh. have nerved the  as fadl. itator