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Evansville, Indiana
August 2, 1991     The Message
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August 2, 1991

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ThoM/00 S S AGE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF EVANSVILLE VOLUME 21 NUMBER 46 Catholics in town and country: A hidden giant ity is not a characteristic of the typi- ors. Of course, here in the Midwest cal rural parish, he said. "Things get done, but they get done informally. The important thing is, they do get done." "We do all the same things, but we do them on a smaller scale," said Fa- ther Patric Riley, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in the little town of Paxico, 25 miles west of Topeka, Ken. "We still have adult education, we still have CCD, we still have mar- riage preparation. None of that is missing." Burkart said the Notre Dame study found that Catholics in rural parishes have both a strong sense of church tradition and a flexible attitude to- ward the future. "There is a greater tendency (than among urban Catholics) toward strict- ness about the faith. Rural Catholics are much more likely to be in line with the pope in their views," he said. At the same time, he said, despite "an initial relnctance to change ... these parishioners expect a lot of change down the line .... Rural parish- es do eventually react favorably and easilv to change." With rural areas especially hard hit I)y the priest shortage and growing number of parishes without a resi- dent pastor, Burkart predicted in- creased lay leadership in rural parishes. But he said there is already a strong tradition of lay involvement and influence in rural parishes that has prepared them for it. The typical rural Catholic goes be- yond the Mass-and-sacraments rela- tionship with a parish and is in- volved in at least one church- related organization, he said. Burkart said it would be a mistake to assume rural parishioners are farmers. "Only 9 percent are farmers, and the vast majority are non-farm- the percentage of farmers is much higher." Among the main differences be- tween urban or suburban and rural parishioners that emerged from the Notre Dame study, he said, are: Rural parishioners are more likely to do volunteer work for their parish. They tend to approach social justice issues in terms of hands-on, grass-roots activities rather than try- ing to change social structures. For their priests they place more importance on "a holy person who says Mass and performs the sacraments," while urban and subur- ban Catholics put greater emphasis on "a good administrator and ther- apist." -- They are less likely to have See CATHOLICS page 11 By BOB HART Catholic News Service 'KANSAS CITY, Kan. (CNS) -- ['hey rarely get a lot of media notice, tt America's town-and-country Catholics form one of the largest reli- gious groups in the nation. "Catholics of the small cities, towns and countryside exceed even the combined memberships, urban d rural, of the Lutherans, Presbyte- rians, Episcopalians and the United Church of Christ," says Gary P. t3urkart, chairman of the sociology department at Benedictine College in Atkinson, Kan. In an interview with The Leaven, lansas City archdiocesan newspaper, turkart suggested that the strength and vitality of Ainerica's town-and- COuntry Catholicism are often under- Stimated and misunderstood. He is co-author with sociologist avid C. Leege of Parish Life in OWn and Countryside," one of a se- ries of reports in the Notre Dame tudv of Catholic Parish Life, an in- depti:l study ot' lhe life and attitudes of Catholics in t)arislms in the United Stales. " ' ...... "Town and country" refers to those "Who live outside the nalion's medi- hrn and large cities and suburbs -- those in rural areas, towns and small cities of less than 50,000 people. . "Between 25 and 40 percent of all , /U.S.) Catholics live outside the cities uf greater than 50,000 or their incor- POrated suburbs," Burkart said in the ePort. "Between 40 and 50 percent t all parishes are located in these arae areas." Rural parishes are often criticized ur ..... not having the range of programs at large, complex urban and subur- J Parishes have, he said. Tliis overlooks the fact that formal- August 2, 1991 29 teens, young adults complete 1st TEC weekend Twenty-nine teens and young adults completed "TEC Number One" in soutwestern Indiana, Monday, July 22. The three day retreat was held at St. Mary Church, Ireland. "Teens Encounter Christ" is a na- tional movement. Although there have been TEC weekends in the past in the Diocese of Evansville, the lat- est weekend was under the direction of a newly organized board. Ed Zoglman of Jasper. is the presi- dent of that board. Rick Etienne, diocesan director of youth ministry in the diocese, serves as diocesan lia- son with the board. Father Joseph Kirsch, pastor of St. Joseph Church, Dale, and pastoral moderator of St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, was appointed by Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger as chaplain for TEC. The TEC movement in the Diocese of Evansville has been assisted by TEC boardmembers and participants from the Diocese of Owensboro, Ky., and Belleville, Ill. Co-lay leaders for the first TEC were Jane Leingang from Evansville and Kenny' Buckman from Bowling Green, Ky. The spiritu- al directors were Father Mark Kurzendoerfer of Evansville and Fa- ther Larry McBride of Murray, Ky. .... Those who made the TEe weekend were Kathy Bennett, Jeff Burress, Lynn Dippel, Jill Ficker, Margo Jahn, Holly Jerger, Beth Jerger, Michelle Luegers, Steve Lukemeyer, Cara Mitchell, Laura Schuler and Gina Shroeder, all of Jasper; Erin Bledsoe, Karen Bledsoe, Jennifer Lunsford and Jackie Williams of Loogootee; Vallee Bowen, Kimberly Butler, P.J. Halter and Julie Wilsbacher of Newburgh; Julie Cook, Erica Engelland, Maureen Flynn, Fred Hillenbrand and Amy Lutz of Evansville; Stephanie Keepes of Petersburg, Kory Klem and Mark Lueken of Huntingburg, and Greg Stockier of Ferdinand. In addition to the 29 young per- sons, seven adults participated in the weekend as observers. Among them was Father Fred Englert, associate pastor of St. John Church, Newburgh. Other observers were Jim Egen, Debt Ziemer and Barb Butler of Newburgh; Marilyn Ward and Rick Weber of Evansville, and Bernie Etienne of Princeton. "TEC #2" is planned for early Octo-