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August 7, 1998     The Message
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August 7, 1998

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana August And when I turned the corner, ! saw.. By PAUL R. LEINGANG Editor I was the only one who stopped and stared. I was taking a walk in the neighborhood of our hotel in Bangkok, late one afternoon. The sights and sounds of the city were somewhat intimidating• Bangkok was the location of the latest assembly of the International Conference of Christian Family Move- ments. Our group of delegates and participants had just arrived in the heart of the city following a series of meetings at an archdiocesan facility some miles away. The contrast could not have been more extreme• A view from our meeting site in the morning includ- ed open fields and farms. The view in the city was filled with people packed into crowded spaces, rick- ety sidewalk-stands pressed tightly against skyscrap- ers, and streets jammed with traffic. Our hotel was modern, relatively new, comfort- able -- even luxurious• A few steps away, along a busy street, I crossed a bridge over a waterway which could only be described as an open sewer. I stopped to stare at the unpleasant contrast, and then quickly turned my eyes away and joined the rest of the crowd paying no attention to it. A few more steps brought me to a congested area of shops and stands, where vendors displayed what they had for sale. There were newspapers, maga- zines, cold drinks, shoes, wood carvings and umbrel- las, to name a few of the items scattered on tables and overflowing onto the sidewalk itself. Smoke from charcoal fires hung in the humid air, carrying with it the smell of roasting meat and seafood items avail- able to the crowds of people passing by. I walked through a kind of arcade, a semi- enclosed building where small shops offered printed t-shirts and tailor-made clothing -- more expensive items, in a more expensive setting a few steps removed from the dust and dirt of the sidewalk and the street. An elephant walked by, guided by a man sprawled comfortably on top. I stopped and stared, but no one else paid any attention to such a common sight in Thailand. Back towards the hotel I went, stepping over some of the merchandise on the sidewalk and work- ing my way through the maze of stands and displays. In a semi-sheltered area, between food stands and some leather goods, on a table above the dust and dirt, a computer screen caught my eye. A long extension cord from a nearby building provided the necessary power and the telephone connection, for the vendor selling access to the Internet. • I stopped and stared, but no one else did, so I moved on and returned to the hotel. It is easy to get accustomed to everyday life, even those a visitor from ture would find odd or unacceptable. It is difficult to apply the teaching of Jesus, as we. examine the specks in the eyes of others. home, it is easy for to ignore our own oddities and .:il failings. What makes you stop and stare? Take the time to talk with members of ly or with your friends, about the first time you! homeless person, or a beggar on the street, or a ly living in unsafe or unsanitary conditions. Examine the attitudes of others, and your Have attitudes changed in the years about what is tolerable or acceptable in behavior? Take the time to examine carefully one tude or condition that you found point in your life, but that you have now come accept. If you find your current attitude to be accord with Gospel values, then continue on yo i journey. But if you find your attitude out of Christian values, then stop and stare, and ever action you can to make a difference. Comments about this column are welcome at or the Christian Family Movement, Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. • i/i Bulldozers, hoses employed in pre-jubilee By CINDY WOODEN Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- While Pope John Paul II has emphasized a spiritual cleans- ing in preparation for the Holy Year 2000, both the city of Rome and the Vatican have been mov- ing dirt  with pressurized hoses and bulldozers. Many of the major churches and monuments pilgrims will visit in the Holy Year currently are under scaffolding, including the facade of St. Peter&apos;s Basilica. Jets of treated water are being used to wash away the grime of time and air pollution. But the preparations go much deeper, as seen by the number of roads torn up and the hillsides which are being excavated. Digging into "The Activity of the Holy See: 1997," a yearbook published by the Vatican in early July, the scope of the phys- 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, 1N 47711  Weetdy newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Pubaed wey except /aat week/n Decembe¢ by the Catholic Pre of E scax .............................. P'R.LOa Rodac  ............ mlYa lTw, Addns an communtions o P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $18.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Er-ect as peiod maef at the post off in Ecarve, IN 4770L Pcbatn number 843800 Po,a,e¢: Re'a;rn POD ms 3579 to Off<e of Pvbca ,,gt 1998 Ca Pess ot Evansvi!le ical preparations becomes clear. For example, the book reports that construction of the new year 2000 entrance to the Vatican Museums involved first remov- ing 1.4 million cubic feet of dirt from the side of the hill which will host the new entrance hall. The other big dig within the Vatican walls is the hole on the hill above the back of St. Peter's Basilica. It will become a three-level underground parking garage with spaces for 250 cars driven to work by Vatican employees. The project is in addition to the large public parking com- plex the Vatican and the city of Rome are building on Vatican- owned property on the nearby Janiculum Hill. Before the excavation began behind St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican gardeners moved two 45-feet-tall magnolia trees. With the roots and the attached soil, each weighed more than 2,500 pounds, the gardeners' office reported. The Vatican also had to do some demolition on the site, tear- ing down the building which once housed the Vatican Mosaic Studio. The structure, completed in the 1930s, was judged to be of "modest monumental and his- torical relevance," according to "The Activity of the Holy See." The book, which contains a day-by-day description of Pope John Paul's activity for the year, also has a summary of the pro- jects begun or completed by every Vatican congregation, council, commission and office'. Of course, many of the things reported in the yearbook are simply part of the day-to-day life of Vatican City State and are done whether or not a major event, such as a jubilee, looms on the horizon. For example, the book point- ed out that the cows at the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, produced an average of 130 gallons of milk each day throughout the year and the Vat- ican's employee cafeteria served 79,000 meals during the year. According to the yearbook, even those offices not directly related to pilgrim services and events are updating their equip- ment in preparation for increased activity. The Vatican switchboard, under the direction of nuns belonging to the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, handled more than 3.4 million internal calls, more than 3.5 million calls between the Vatican and Rome and some 770,000 long distance calls during the year. At the same time, the switch- board updated both its comput- er hardware and software for the automatic switching of calls and hooked up more than 1,000 Vatican telephones and modems to high-speed ISDN lines. Another Holy Year project already completed, according to the yearbook, was the construc- tion of a bathroom with nine toi- lets, including one handicapped- accessible, on the rooftop terrace of St. Peter's Basilica. The roof, which is reached either by elevator or by stairs, already had a gift shop selling rosaries, religious art and other souvenirs. Most of those who visit the roof have an even high- er aim: the top of St. Peter's dome with its panoramic view of the Vatican and Rome. Another figure in the year- book destined to increase with the Holy Year pilgrims and vis- itors is the amount of trash col- lected inside the Vatican. In 1997, some 264,000 pounds of garbage were gathered. Of course, spiritual prepara- tion for the Holy Vatican's main concern,. the yearbook offers doze examples of the work underway. The Apostolic headed b) W• Baum, reported letters to religious priests based in help increase the rankS fessors stationed in St. and the other major Rome. "The essential and aim" of the Holy said, must be "the heart and the grace lost or the of grace maintained, the sacrament of Cardinal Baum has the task will be "a sufficient confessors... duration so that the have the ing the sacrament." ., By PATRICIA ZAPOR Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- For a program for Latin American military officers, the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Ga., cuts a wide swath in the United States. Rep. Esteban Torres, D- Calif., equates atrocities com- mitted by some of the school's graduates to the mass murder and other tactics of the Nazis during the Holocaust. Priests, nuns and lay activists in their 60s and 70s sit in federal prisons around the United States, sentenced for protesting the school's contin- ued operation. Meanwhile, hun- dreds of priests and sisters and various religious orders are among those who urge Con- gress to close it. A lawyer whose husband was killed by the Guatemalan military suggests troops trained at the school may have had something to do with the April murder of Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera of Guatemala City, Guatemala. A documentary on the ,, , ,, Bishop's sche Philmont scout trek, through Aug. 20. school narrated Award winner is making the television stations. documentary was for a 1995 The campaign to School of the by Maryknoll geois more than a has grown far man's speeches strikes. The See $ School of Americas opponents facing turning