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Evansville, Indiana
July 19, 1996     The Message
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July 19, 1996
 

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The Message --for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana July 19:1998 i. I I s00ayinq he00l!9"00 .,• , Greeters-make visitOrs and members feel at home • By MARY ANN HUGHES notes that the "genuine desire to Message staff writer welcome people is a ministry Many first-time visitors to St. Mary Church, Evansville, "walk in and feel at home." Parish manager Helen Boettcher believes that the com- fortable furniture in the back of church might have something to do with that welcoming feeling. She also believes that the parishioners who serve as greeters add to the feeling of hospitality. "There are always people there, both when people come and when they leave. There is' the sense that people are glad they came to this church." Boettcher hears many visitors say that when they visit St. Mary's for the first time "they feel at home." For her, it's a that people take very seriously" at St. Mary's. That's certainly true for Bill Lawrence who has been greet- ing people there for the past 20 years. "I stand in the back and try to make them feel welcome," Lawrence explained. He sees his role as greeter as part of a larger parish mission that "tries to get everyone involved in some- thing." "It's a voluntary •thing, like being a Eucharistic minister or whatever ministry you choose to volunteer for." He estimates that between 50 and 60 visitors attend Mass at the downtown Evansville parish every weekend, and he's com- fortable in his role of "making "I like to meet people. I'm not too good with names, but I can remember faces." Greeters are a rather new con- cept at Christ the King Church, Evansville, according to Msgr. Kenneth Knapp, pastor• He is convinced that an im- portant part of parish life is hos- pitality and "greeters help ex- tend the feeling of welcome, that someone at this parish knows me and cares about me." Msgr. Knapp noticed that peo- ple began staying around after Mass on the days that greeters had welcomed them. "People were positive and happy to have somebody greet them. People feel good about being here, and that sets a tone, as to what the liturgy is all about." The Evansville pastor said having greeters at every Mass want to look at. I want to do more of it." Father David Fleck, pastor at St. Philip Church, St. Philip, agrees with the importance of having greeters. Although his rural church does not" have many outside visitors on the weekend, he believes it is also important for parishioners, "people who come every week, to be welcomed in the name of the community." Lucy Will is a member of the Outreach Committee at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Haub- stadt. She said her parish is in the process of developing a greeter program, and currently greeters are used on special oc- casions such as Christmas, Easter and holy days. "Our hope is to make that a part of every Eucharistic eele- "hospitality issue," and she people feel welcome." "is one of the ministries that I bration." Will noted that before New marriage program to prepare couples in parish context By NANCY HARTNAGEL Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A Catholic professor who is di- recting development of a new model for marriage preparation hopes to better connect Catholic couples to their parish commu- nities. "When I talk about prepara- tion for a sacramental mar- riage," said Joann Heaney- Hunter, associate professor of theology at St. John's University in Jamaica, N.Y., "I'm not talk- ing about the marriage of a cou- ple, but about the marriage of the couple in the context of a Christian community." Heaney-Hunter said the pro- ject is modeled on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA, which is a four-stage pro- cess leading to full membership in the Catholic Church. It will include five liturgical activities designed, like those in the RCIA, to take place during Sun- day Masses in parishes. The professor spoke with Catholic News Service by phone July 9. The three-year project is supported by St. John's and Foundations and Donors Inter- ested in Catholic Activities Inc., known as FADICA, an associa- tion of 40 private foundations with Catholic interests. "I'm not trying to dismiss what's out there now," Heaney- Hunter said, noting that many marriage preparation programs include mentoring by married couples that "can be wonderful." But current programs "seem to focus exclusively on the cou- ple," she said, instead of view- ing marriage as "an event for the whole church community." "The married couple should be witnesses to the love of Christ for the whole community," she added• The project represents "five or six years of work coming to fruition," the professor said. She and her husband of 17 years, Greg Hunter, were coordinators for Engaged Encounter in the Diocese of Rockville Centre for a few years, she explained, and she has taught and written on the subject• Heaney-Hunter credited her university and her colleagues there, as well as the Diocese of Rockville Centre, for their help. After addressing a FADICA gathering, she submitted grant applications to the foundations that indicated interest• The five FADICA members under- writing the project are: the Raskob Foundation, St. Mary's Catholic Foundation, Trust Funds Inc., the Frank J. Lewis Foundation, and the Komes Foundation• For the past year, Heaney- Hunter has worked with a parish team -- consisting of the pastor, associate pastor, a sem- inarian, and 12 married couples -- from St. Peter the Apostle in Islip Terrace on Long Island, N.Y. They developed seven con- tent sessions and the liturgical activities, testing them earlier this year with 22 engaged cou- Mass marks Gary bishop's commitment, evangelization effort By BRIAN T. OLSZEWSKI Catholic News Service GARY, Ind. (CNS) -- Three cardinals were among 60 bish- ops and archbishops who concel- ebrated Bishop Dale J. Melezek's Mass of pastoral commitment July 2 at Holy Angels Cathedral in Gary. (Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfin- ger of Evansville was among the concelebrants:) The Mass, which celebrated Bishop Melczek's becoming the third bishop of the Diocese of Gary, was also the start of the diocese's preparation for the third millennium, at the core of which is a diocesan evangeliza- tion effort• "This time of grace calls us to make a more deliberate, gen- uine effort to reach out with lov- ing concern to those who do not know Christ and who have no church affiliation," the bishop said in his homily. Bishop Melczek, 57, had been apostolic administrator of the Gary Diocese since August 1992 and coadjutor bishop of Gary since October 1995. He succeeded Bishop Norbert F. Gaughan, who had been ill for several years and retired June 1. Among those at the Mass of pastoral commitment were Car- dinals Edmund C. Szoka, presi- dent of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See; Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin of Chicago; Cardinal Adam J. Maids of Detroit; and Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, apostolic pro-nuncio to the United States. Bishop Melczek said in his homily that "we sometimes of- fend our brothers and sisters and cause them hurt and pain." "Let us welcome back in a special way those whom we have offended, those in need of healing and the many people who have set aside the practice Of their faith for any variety of reasons," he added. "With spe- cial effort, let us invite back to the full practice of the faith those who do not send their chil- dren to religious education, those who no longer interact with the church, those who were once faithful but who have left the church." To coincide with the Mass of pastoral commitment, Bishop Melczek used the June 30 issue of his diocesan newspaper, the Northwest Indiana Catholic, as a tool for parishes in their evan- gelization efforts• Rather than publish an issue that focused on his becoming head of the diocese, he published a 52-page magazine in English and Spanish that invited people to "journey with us." The maga- zine explained irr words and pic- tures the way in which the Catholic Church in northwest Indiana serves the community• Six months in the making, the magazine was mailed to all of the newspaper's subscribers. Another 66,000 copies will be distributed through parishes. plea who are planning to marry at St. Peter's during 1996. Beginning this fall, Heaney- Hunter will train parish teams in 10 parishes in the Dioceses of Arlington, Vs.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Orlando, Fla.; Richmond, Vs.; and Rockville Centre. She will visit or consult by phone, she said, and "would love to have 150 couples participate" in this phase. According to the professor, content sessions will cover: the sacramentality of marriage; communication and negotiation; understanding self and under- standing family of origin; values Day Catholics to mark July 11 prayerfully reflecting "on what you can do to promote respect for life in our society." In a pastoral letter issued June 29, Pittsburgh Bishop Donald W. Wuerl called on all the faithful of the diocese to make July 11 "a day of prayer- ful spiritual public witness." The bishop celebrated noon Mass that day at St. Mary of Mercy Church in Pittsburgh. At another diocesan obser- vance, members of SS. John and Paul Parish in Franklin Park held a three-hour evening expo- sition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Fasting "intensifies your focus on your intention, and that makes your whole day a prayer," Mary Reichel, one of the organizers, told the Pitts- burgh Catholic diocesan news- paper. At a special Mass July 11 at st. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Cardinal John J. O'Con- nor called 800 worshipers to a "deep sense of sorrow for the sins of our nation." He said the country's leader- ship is in danger of accepting "infanticide" under the term "partial-birth abortion," unless Congress overrides the Clinton veto. "Pick up a postcard," he said. "Send a note to a member of Congress .... Let this prayer here today extend into practical action that may make the dif- ference between our country's choosing life or death." people can come together and worship, "they have to feel wel- come•" She believes in the impor, • tance of a "oersonal greeting2: because "it'sa lot of these little things that make us feel like a community, like a church:" Father Patrick Foster, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Jasper, said that his parish uses greeters on special occasions such as Christmas, Easter, con- firmation and for 40.Hours, "anytime we have something we like to hand to people." He explained that gre: were used at the wee?; Masses during the Project llte Postcard campaign. . i He said that the parish pneS "try to be in the area where pe ple come in and to greet them._, The priests also "try to be a,ail; able after Mass." Continued from Pi:#or The Catholic Campa:e;ent America issued a stagy . July 11 in Washington,¢sYt;$ the day of prayer and "-Ie of "erve as an exaP . would s ,   'ci" the 'culture of life and " " ve "' hzatmn oflo • oV/ 'We are nroud that t°°a?_lic • • "- "-'I la  Ca°"" memtmrship anu m  , roL- stand united in prayer at;r rag," stud executive u, Michael A. He said about the parti issue was ira an election year, citiz, an even greater have an impact on • ' S" pohcy proces • Contributing to this was Mike Aquilina burgh and John Burger York City• and conscience and tion; intimacy and se spirituality of married life the holiness of daily sues of career and cially in dual-career families. Among the liturgical ::ie: tins is a blessing service u a ed couples that would be g g ..... saiu part of a Sunday lvlas",^,n Heaney-Hunter. The w adapted it from the RCIA-.: "We ask God to bless th.e to help them remain foc.used,; the sacrament rather ta.I]  • ,, "d, anu  wedding day, she sa : remember that marriage  a lifetime, not a ceremonY'