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Evansville, Indiana
July 17, 1992     The Message
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,.T2. .....  ' ..... ' :'"; The Message -- for CatOl of Southwestern Indiana l I Lay administrators have parish support says author of new book INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) Catholics whose parishes are run by a waman not only support the administrator but tend to call her "pastor," a title usually reserved for priests, according to the au- thor of a newbook on women parish administrators. The church is on the threshold of major changes, said Ruth Wallace, a profes- sor of sociology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a for- mer nun. She studied 20 priestless parishes in the United States for her book, They Call Her Pastor: A New Role for Catholic Women." The acceptance found by women parish administrators is a sign that the church is transforming from within, Wallace told an audience at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Indianapolis. Most Catholics she ques- tioned supported women in those roles because they don't want to see their parishes closed due to a shortage of priests. In each of the parishes studied, parishioners used the word "pastor" in referring to the woman whose job title was parish life coordinator, pastoral associate or parish administrator, Wallace said. "Not only were these women doing the work of priest-pastors, but they were often referred to as the pas- tor," she said in her book. "At least three of their bishops in- troduced them as pastor in public, and the mail they re- ceived from diocesan admin- istration offices often ad- dressed them as pastor." In each of the priestless parishes, the keys to main- taining a close-knit faith com- munity were a collaborative leadership style that gave power to parishioners as well as a personal characteristic she described as the pastoral .Ed L. Lee  ] i I Mortuary 101 North Meridian Street Washington, IN 254-361; I i ill HAUBSTADT ELECTRIC --'--'--'---- Licensed Bonded o Insured Industrial, Commercial and Residential TONY NAZARIO P.O. Box 405 812-768-5207 , Haubstadt, IN 47639 ill ii  D'O'W.N'T.O'W'N 301 MAIN ST. VINCENNES, IN 47591 I Buehlers I.G.A. "THE THRIFTY HOUSEWIFE'S SOURCE OF SAVINGSS QUALITY FOODS and MEATS Also Pluntingburg and Oakland City i Compliments of Nass & Son Inc. FUNERAL HOME Huntingburg, Ind. I i heart." Wallace told of one bishop who accepted an invitation from a nun who serves as a parish administrator to visit a family whose child was dying of cancer. "Yesterday 1 had the oppor- tunity to visit a family and a little girl," the bishop told a gathering of priests. "I could tell, as I was there, the inter- action between Sister and the family, how much love and care there is between them and how much support they are to each other. That's what I mean when I talk about hav- ing a pastoral heart." During another visit, Wal- lace said she watched a nun in a rural parish distributing Communion. "She called every single one of the parishioners by name," she said. The bishop had come for confirmation and he too was surprised. "You mean she knows everyone by name?" he asked. "Hardly any priests I know have ever done that." Wallace said it was clear that parishes headed by women administrators were healthy communities. "In almost every single case, as parishioners started to practice collaborative lead- ership with these women to take responsibility for the parishes, they got much more active on committees, atten- dance increased, the liturgy was sparked and contribu- tions went up," she said. There were problems as well, notably low salaries for administrators and tensions created by restrictions on laity in celebrating sacra- ments, she said. Wallace sees the shortage of priests as a long-term cri- sis, in which lay involvement in parishes is a sign of hope." Raising their voices DeVonna James, Carol Smith and Father Paul Roos, all_frr!,c St. Martin Church, Chrisney, sing during a prayer set-, which began a religious education training seminar sPl" sored by Silver Burdett and Ginn Publishing Co. The sei nar, which was held at the Catholic Center in Evansville, w attended by 140 Catholic school and parish progra teachers. -- Message photo by Susan Hirsch winiger PICNIC i i i lllll Rockport, Indiana SUNDAY, JULY 19, 1992 HANDMADE QUILTS BINGO- NOVELTIES GAMES- DRINKS FOOD & FUN ARTS & CRAFTS $1500 CASH TO BE GIVEN AWAY! l Oth annual money hunt for kids! Delicious Chicken & Dumplings and Roast Beef Dinners Served 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. St. Bernard's Famous TURTLE SOUP By the Bowl or Gallon Beginning at 11:00 C.D.T. $10 ATTENDANCE PRIZE EVERY HOUR (For those who register) , I I I I I I I Illl I I I ST. BERNARD'S