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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
July 25, 1997     The Message
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July 25, 1997

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10 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana i:ill Jul Youth and young adult ministry: More than 'prog In the early 1990's, a Catholic college sent a prospectus to prospective students encourag- ing them to consider their school. On the cover of the prospectus was found a "typical" collegian. COMMENTARY By MIKE EPPLER Diocesan Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry The cover was a potpourri of pictures depicting all of the activities one might encounter at this school. The composite picture was of a student; how- ever, for one arm there was a picture of a basketball, on ,the other arm hung several books. One of the legs was draped in soccer garb and on the other leg was hung the "Sunday bests" of a college student -- wrinkled tan Dockers. The shirt was a blend of casu- al sporting clothes and pocket- ed short sleeves, armed with the tools of academia: a pencil and pen. At the penultimate apex of the picture was a smiling "aver- age boy next door." Strewn about the cover were religious artifacts and icons. The composite was developed to demonstrate the many com- ponent parts of the typical stu- dent. The picture intended to demonstrate the many aspects of a holistic formation. Unwit- tingly, however, the picture gave the image that there are many parts of the person and that it was impossible to unite and integrate the various aspects of this concoctedperson. In many ways, this program- matic approach to "wholiness" is exactly the major pitfall of many ministers as they begin their work with young adults. The major task of young adulthood is the appropriation and integration of intimacy and belonging. "Success" with young adults cannot be complete with- out first approaching young adults with the presumption that they are whole individuals or individuals seeking to be whole. Focus on the goals. The recipe for disaster in young adult ministry would be to devel- op a shotgun approach to (over) programming for young adults. This approach begins with the assumption that if we, as a parish, offer many and varied programs -- particularly social ones, we will attract young adults and mediate for them the mission and ministry of the Church. In this manner, we assume that young adults are interested in and will grow through our gathered pro- grams. This is a partial piece of the truth. But if we take the time to focus on the goals of our work with and through young adults, then the programs that we employ will bear greater fruit. The primary goal of our min- istry with young adults should begin with the becoming of the person. The task of the Christ- ian is to be fully human, just as Jesus showed the fullness of his humanity. Being human is not a task to be taken lightly. It is rooted in the salvation and grace offered through the love and covenant with God and mediated through Jesus. As we seek God, we find that we have already been sought. It is in questioning that we find that we are the ones who are being ques- tioned. Being human is a process of conversion and deter- mining the best way to live out of that conversion for the bene- fit of the community. We are all mixed bags of grace and sin. Within this, the human person comes into contact with the deep recesses of his or her being. As a community of believers, when we offer an authentic expression of our being which is rooted in Jesus and lived in the concrete reality of the sacraments, we invite the young adult to an expression of love that was first shared with the Hebrews through Abraham and Sarah. The process of becoming is developmental and holistic. It does not exist in a vacuum. The we invite them into our faith communities. The second goal of young adult ministry is belong- ing. Do we invite the young adults in our communities to something more? Do we wel- come our young adults in such a way that they feel connected to the mission and ministry of our parish? My wife Mariah and I steward our time for young engaged cou- ples at the Pre-Cana days each year. We are always amazed at how receptive the couples are when we speak about how we are 00-00grough the formation of peer roups and small Christian communities, young adults learn the skills to be leaders .... human person is rooted in a time and culture. Our young adults are bombarded by the messages of media, the influ- ences of their peers, the forma- tion which occurred in their family of origin, and the plural messages which are present in society. Our ministry should point out these contexts to our young adults and focus their journey so that, as they appro- priate their faith, they do not shy away from culture, but rather live within it, transform- ing it with their personhood and being. Indeed, Jesus showed us the power of transforming cul- ture by living out of his Being. Our young adults, indeed, our community, is called to the same transformative expression of our being. If we minister with young adults in such a way that they cannot help but see our authen- tic relationship with God, then developing our spirituality as individuals and as a married cou- ple. Inevitably, we find that young adults, as they prepare for the public ministry of marriage are interested in and care about their spirituality. In our young adult ministry, do we care about the spiritual growth of couples after the vows have been spoken? The third goal of young adult ministry should be the transfor- mation of society through the witness of the believer. I see transformation as a competen- cy and literacy about the many messages that are transmitted daily and a pro-active posture to effect change where one is able to do so. This is a caI1 to on, going conversion and to living out in the concrete the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Transformation comes about best through the guiding and healing nature of community Eucharist. At Saint Evansville, the "usher left," Herbert A., to, "take this to the you this week!" Young groups and should make tion to its constituents go out into the work f0rcei homes, the college and every place influence. The final goal ministry is to adults in a peer the formation of small young adults learn t to be leaders, and for working in parish support The Christian always be nected to the life, I and ministry of the best way to root anchored is through ship: the Eucharist. major pitfall ofyoungl istry is to isolate estranged from the a close eye t connectedness to the parish community. Parishes 'and consultative putting on these goals office at (812) me at Keep an site: http: the National Catholic htt adult/in( months, will be offered Parish staffing plans take shape, clergy assignments take in the number of priests avail- able. A diocesan task force pro- jected that only 44 priests will be available in 2005 to serve the people who now gather at 73 parishes. Meetings have begun in the Evansville East Deanery, to develop a plan for future parish staffing. Clusters and parish pairings are among the recommenda- tions made for churches throughout the diocese. In the Washington Deanery, two clus- ters are currently being shaped, in accord with recommenda- tions made by the Future Parish Staffing Task Force. Father Leo Kiesel, dean of the Washington Deanery and pastor of St. John, Loogootee, met early this week with Father Kessler, to discuss arrangements for the Loogootee cluster. Father Kiesel and Father Kessler plan to alternate, each of them at two of their four parishes each weekend, cele- brating a total of seven Masses, keeping the'current schedules. The parishes in the cluster are St. John in Loogootee, St. Joseph in Bramble, St. Martin in Whit- field, and St. Mary in Shoals. Father Kessler said the two priests will also share baptisms and funerals, unless there are specific requests from parish- ioners. They also plan to do a lot of sacramental celebration together, but details will have to develop as they work out the new arrangements. Details for the Montgomery- Cannelburg cluster are still to be determined, to some extent, according to Father Will. He will celebrate the last weekend Mass- es at St. Patrick on Sunday, July 27 at 7:30 a.m., and at St. Michael that same day at 10:30 a.m. The schedule of Masses has not yet been finalized for St. Peter and All Saints, the two parishes in the care of Father Will, effective July 30. Decisions about the use of the buildings and facilities of St. Patrick and St. Michael have not been determined. Father Will said he told the people that "we can't make deci- sions in the emotion of the moment. After they become chapels, then we'll take a little time to think through what is best." Father Will said the parish- ioners had a hard titne when the announcements were first made, but they are "very good at accepting now." Father Frank Renner said that the parish council at St. Mary, Barr Township, will meet in August to make some deci- sions about their buildings and facilities. Father Renner, who is moving to Bicknell, will cele- brate his last weekend Masses this Saturday and Sunday at the two parishes he has been serv- ing in the Washington Deanery. The latest developments mendations Staffing Task reported last ings at all of diocese. Bishop each of- the church chapels, to make ments and to Bishop a chapel as a place are no BaptismS Blessed reserved. Weddi als may be sions may be , bishop's approval, At that time, tel finger the future will be with several ples. First and access to reception He also laity will have laborative waY, pie of the ways will the ple of with decisions local level parish assetS By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message editor Most clergy assignments which were made in early or mid-July will take effect Wednesday, July 30. Some details about the use of three church buildings in the Wash- ington Deanery, however, are still to be determined. Seven priests were named to new assignments, Or given addi- tional responsibilities. Three parishes in the Washington Deanery learned from Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger that their church buildings were to become chapels. The seven priests named in recent announcements include the following: Father Leo Kiesel was named as temporary adminis- trator of St. Mary Church, Shoals. Father Kiesel, dean of the Washington Deanery, will continue as pastor of St. John Church, Loogootee. His appoint- ment was immediate. Six other appointments are effective Wednesday, July 30, at noon. Father Thomas J. Kessler, current pastor of Holy Spirit Church, Evansville, was named to two parishes in the Washing- ton Deanery. Father Kessler will be pastor of St. Joseph Church, Bramble, and administrator of St. Martin Church, Whitfield. Father Kessler will be living in the rectory at St. Mary Church, Barr Township. Father Frank G. Renner, current pastor of All Saints Church, Cannelburg, and of St. Mary Church, Barr Township, has been appointed pastor of St. Philip Neri Church, Bicknell, in the Vincennes Deanery. The church building in Barr Town- ship will become a chapel. Father Lowell Will, current- ly pastor of St. Peter, Mont- gomery, along with St. Patrick, Corning, and St. Michael, Daviess County, has been named Temporary Administrator of All Saints, Cannelburg. The church buildings currently used by St. Patrick and St. Michael will become chapels. Father Timothy A. Ten- barge, current pastor of St. Philip Neri Church, Bicknell, will be the new pastor of St. Anthony Church, St. Anthony, in the Jasper Deanery. Father Joseph F. Erbacher, current pastor of St. Anthony Church, St. Anthony, will be the pastor of St. James Church, Haubstadt, in the Princeton Deanery. Father Michael Madden, current pastor of St. James Church, Haubstadt, will be the new pastor of Holy Spirit Church, in the Evansville East Deanery. The Washington Deanery is first to plan for the future staffing of parishes, as the dio- cese faces a significant reduction