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July 12, 1996     The Message
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July 12, 1996

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1996 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 Bishop's Forum m Father Kenneth J. Steckler Father Kenneth Steckler was born and 8 raised in the parish of t. Henry, Indiana. The parish is located about three miles west of Ferdinand and about east of the Hunting- road. Its location was to ac- mmodate the families who had to travel to and from church either foot, m a wagon, on horse or in n buggy when the c fast did not allow even rater from midnight prior to re- Holy Communion. r Steckler is indeed a soil. That soil not only ByBISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER each member of the family. Of course, chores were assigned on the basis of age and maturity. How- ever, the daily grind of these chores accelerated the maturing process as it does for most farm kids. Prayer was a daily occurrence in his life. It was not only a per- sonal matter, it was a family mat- ter, a community matter. Simple faith rooted in genuine trust of Almighty God was the hallmark of his upbringing. In our diocese, due to the ab- sence of a Cathedral Church, ordi- Produced abundant crops, but provided food for the aay families who have farmed it. He is also a son of his parents and sibling to His family is a Catholic family of Ger- raaa ancestry. He received his faith in Baptism but formed in it primarily at home. He learned the required to be a responsible member of a arm family. Family responsibilities were )arcel of his everyday life throughout his years. Chores did not have to be manu- they were for real. Fidelity to them, or of it, had a direct and immediate impact on nations usually take place in the home parish of the ordinand. St. Henry Church is hardly large enough to hold all the members of Father Kenny's immediate family. For this reason, it is my privi- lege to ordain him at St. Mary Church in Hunting- burg. He will celebrate a Mass of Thankgiving, his "first" Mass, in his home parish. It will be a joyous moment for him and all his family. Father Kenny's ordination is a most poignant similar, cold and wet. I am a farm kid from a fam- ily of eight. My family, as depicted by nine stars on my coat of arms, reflects how much I cherish them and their support throughout my preparation and 35 years of priestly service. In those days, ordinations for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis always took place at St. Meinrad, the Archdiocesan Seminary. The Sunday we were ordained, it rained five or six inches. I recall that the Anderson valley and surrounding streams were so flooded that Archbishop Schulte had to stay overnight at St. Meinrad. The rest of us were required to remain since the ordination was not concluded until 6 p.m. My home parish of St. Bernard, Frenchtown, is even smaller than St. Henry. On Mothers' Day, May 14, 1961, I returned there for my "first" Mass. It was a Solemn High Mass -- a celebration now no longer part of our liturgical practice. It was a glorious day in my life. Father Steckler will continue to look to his im- mediate family, his parents who gave him life and his sisters and brothers who had a hand in his for- mation. That is good and most proper. However, he now belongs to all families and thereby deserves moment for me. Thirty-five years ago, May 7, 1961, the prayers of us all. Let us pray for him and all is the date of my ordination. There so many simi- those who helped to prepare him for this ministry larities to the year. The spring weather was very of service to all families. S. Church celebrates 35 years of relationship with Latin America annual collection for the O lic Church in Latin is scheduled this d, July 13 and 14, in of Evansville. The was provided zt for Latin ca, at the National Con- !holic Bishops. Secretariat for Latin of the National Confer- Bishops is cele- anniver- to develop a between the Church in the United and Latin America, the riat has strengthened of the Church across B- ,.,tt 0fl Bishop Manuel Lar- CceJ rst vice-president of y l at I, the association of ou a raerican Bishops, spoke geyo saitl | Vork that lay ahead. "We ls..,lit| Pass from a level of na- ;he ),| isolation to one of inter- %4. er: 0000;,';[00ashtngton ed from page 4 more likely to favor Vere Democrats (34 26 percent). Udy by the Pew Re- also looked at of religious be- the views of responded to the of seven issues, re- Were asked whether influence on your on this issue" came experience, and friends, the beliefs, one's n or something lity of 37 percent belief was the on their po- Same-sex marriages, said religion rain factor in their al experience was major factor in the thinking about VOmen (45 percent) (26 percent), while American cooperation... Latin America is on the threshold of imminent and radical reform." The United States re- sponded by forming a Latin American assistance program that for 35 years has provided millions of dollars in grants for programs designed to build strong communities of faith that can work together on re- gional problems. More than $70 million has been allocated for thousands of projects in 33 countries. In addition, many diocesan priests and religious from the United States have served in Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands. Sister- parish relationships built be- tween North and South Amer- ica have strengthened the Church's work across the hemisphere and provided an opportunity for personal ties to develop between parishioners. A study to be released in the a plurality of 35 percent cited the news media as their main influence on Bosnia. On the death penalty, 21 percent each named their own education and the media as the chief factor influencing their stand. Eighteen percent said they were primarily influenced by religious beliefs and 13 per- cent said personal experience was the main factor. But when political stands are shaped by religious beliefs, the bishops said in their state- ment on political responsibil- ity, that makes them no less valid than positions taken for other reasons. "Religious groups should ex- pect neither favoritism nor dis- crimination in their public roles," the bishops say. "The national debate is not en- hanced by ignoring or ruling out the contributions of citi- zens because their convictions are grounded in religious be- lief." In her day-to-day work as di- rector of domestic social devel- summer of 1996 will explore the impact of these programs 0n U.S. parishes, religious or- ders, and Catholic colleges and universities. So much has happened in these 35 years," said Father James J. Ronan, director of the Secretariat for Latin America. "Yet in the light of the Gospel and of our years of experience, we realize that their needs con- tinue to outpace our resources. It is a sad fact that poverty and human suffering through- out much of Latin America have increased, accompanied by all the evil that creates these injustices." Catholics in the United States are encouraged to con- tinue their generous support for Latin America. Last year the Collection for the Church in Latin America gave grants to al- most 300 programs, including in-depth training courses to de- velop pastoral leaders in Peru, I opment in the U.S. Catholic Conference's Department of Department of Social Develop- ment and World Peace, Nancy Wisdo helps shape policy posi- tions on a wide range of issues and works to bring those posi- tions to political reality. "Not every political issue has the same moral significance," she says. "But most issues have a moral dimension, and that's what we try to bring to the public debate." Rev. Brooks of the Episcopal Church argues that when "we limit the concept of morality" to issues like abortion and ho- mosexuality, it promotes "a view of God that doesn't really have any presence in the politi- cal process." Criticizing a "very narrow concept of moral issues," he asked, "Why does religion not inform the broader issues?" It's time, Rev. Brooks added, "to let God out of the bedroom, and to let him walk down the stairs, and out the front door, and into the world." the Dominican Republic, Colom- bia, Guatemala and Nicaragua; a project to print catechetical fiaaterials in El Salvador; sev- eral youth training courses in Brazil; and a lay leadership training program for working Women in Chile. In Santo Domingo in 1992, Pope John Paul II called for a deepening of unity throughout the hemisphere. "On the thresh- old of the third Christian mil- lennium and after the fall of many ideological harriers and borders, the Church feels that it has an inescapable duty to unite even more closely all the peoples that make up this great conti- nent," he said. Unity is evident in the pro- grams supported by the Secre- tariat. "We all belong to the same Body of Christ," explains Jesuit Father Ernest Sweeney, organizer of workshops in Ar- gentina to strengthen faith in the barrios. "It is the total Christ, the total Church that we are serving::  that is why it is important that we in the United States support these programs. This Church is our Church; it is our body." The call to hospitality Much has been written lately about the call of each of us as baptized Christians to be hospitable. Indeed, hospitality was listed as one of the "essen- tials" of parish life by the Fu- ture Parish Staffing Task Force. Commentary By DEACON JIM CAVERA iJ= On June 26, a group of 25 of us were reminded that this call applies to lesbian and gay Catholics in a Building Bridges Seminar at Kordes Enrichment Center. School Sister of Notre Dame Jeannine Gramick and Francis DeBernardo are traveling around the country presenting the teachings of our church on homosexuality. Sister Gramick is involved in full-time min- istry to gays and lesbians for her religious community. De- Bernardo is program director of New Ways Ministry. Beginning with an excellent video featuring Cardinal Ma- honey of Los Angeles, our lead- ers challenged us to examine our biases and our ignorance about gays and lesbians, We learned that the church's teach- ing on homosexuality deals with more that homosexual acts. The Church teaches respect for gay people, support for their civil and human rights. their need for pastoral care, and the evil of prejudice and homophobia. Through honest discussion of case studies and personal shar- ing, we came away with an ap- preciation of the struggle for personal spirituality that many gay and lesbian Catholics face. We were further challenged to find new ways to demon- strate that we are truly a hos- pitable church. II . I II II I r I .... Stewardship by the Book May our stewardship of time, talent and treasure show us to be among those who have heard the message of Christ and taken it in, yielding a hundred- or sixty- or thirty-fold! iiii i Iii N I urH ,, .............