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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
August 14, 1992     The Message
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August 14, 1992

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August 14, 1992 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana H Bishop's Forum 5 By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER Last month there was an event in New Or- leans that will have a far reaching impact on the Church of the United States, indeed in our own diocese in the months and years ahead. The event? The National Black (,atholic Congress. "File Catholic Diocese of Evansville was rep, resented by delegates Latoski McCarty, Harold Jackson, Enid Willis and Joe Peaches, all from St. John Church, Evansville, and Doretha Moore from St. Benedict Churcb, Evansville. Accompa- nying the delegates were Shirley Henderson, Gwendolyn Wagner, ]ames Mc(;arty, Sister Bar- bare ]ames, O.S.F., Father Robert Nemergut and Father John Davidson. At the annual meeting of the National Con- terence of Catholic Bishops in November 1991, the Black Catholic Bishops asked all the rest of us bishops to demonstrate our concern about the problems facing the Black Catholic members of our faith coxnmunity. They challenged us to at- A question about racism is for each of us to ask tend by asking us to make a pledge to do so. I attended the opening liturgy of that congress in fulfillment of the pledge I had made in response to their request. I am most grateful that we, our delegation and I, participated. Many of the problems confronting our Black Catholics along with their brothers and sisters are tragically rooted in a deep-seated racism. This is a good occasion for us to review our own lives and ask the direct question: "Am I a racist':" Those of us who have never known racism against ourselves need to take a look to see if we, in our freedom from such a degrading experi- ence, find ourselves unintentionally denying that it still exists. Or worse, because only a few per- sons might suffer from racism, take tile seemingly innocent position that it is no big deal. For anyone to be a victim of racism is a big deal. It is a big deal if we are serious about being just to one another. It is a big deal if there is to be any hope whatsoever for peace to prevail in our communities. Peace is the first fi'uit of justice. Racism is intolerable. It is a sin against an- other human being. It is a denial that each of us is born equal betore god. Racism is a statement that a person, by reason of race,, is less than an- other before God. We must never dare allow our- selves to be caught in such a trap of evil. Most often, racism is expressed in subtle ways. Quiet prejudice, preferential hiring, hous- ing, perpetuating circumstances that remove all hope for escape from poverty are but a few. Ignorance is the richest seed-bed for racism. Fear rooted in such ignorance is the fuel for mis- trust leading to hatred. The cycle goes on. That cycle must be broken! Each of us nmst do our part to break it. ; : ,,: Black ....... Precious Blood " ".O ::...:.,7 I:_... ,.. ...:. ": "'" " " " '" "" Continued from page,3 ... ,; x.. : -' ." "/ ;,!.'. them to pray. Peter was guilty ::;-.5 ' """ "":: ' Annual Picnic! substituting things for ,'""'" " ' ' prayer, he said. .'.\\;\lt=lui// "Families substitute jobs, ''o'.i'. 'q''k,  activities, at the expense of :'-' family time in prayer," . C,X, .- , ::. Hwy. 56 West Bishop Fisher said. "People ' are too busy to pray which s, JasPer lneans people are too busy." ;:::? "-'__ If ;'r'';" L|""erSair COndi- follows him from a distance.' tioned C "He didn't ,want to got.too '''q ::', ":.'' "' Fried 'h_,_ aterla close," the bishop said, just ..... : '.f DresCsin?ecr  /oast Beef Mass at Christmas or Easter. o,. :o, ,. like families who only attend " ":':':":"::' Darn nicen and 'V "" .". ". "." Ticke _ plings Later, Peter shows his self- Ell ,-,.c  o/3 Sale 10 r ishness when he sits around e, ytnjrl/Servrn :'-'c' .rnUrl,._ the fire to warm himself and 0 Style/re d Co " starts up a conversation with :._ Adultsl Ue :.fl p- 4:3'0  a servant girl. "Fanfily members who love "''q O 'I0-- ,:)#.h ' one another sacrifice for one another," Bishop Fisher said. 4o Families need to reach out /,.  ,k "'A " ,"  -- "'''m ;* "to bring back our brothers ,x5 and sisters afflicted with ,,,, ,#r_ ,, -- 00 'r',f " drugs, in prison, estranged ;'z6. from the church," Bishop ",: :,,-0.6 e- __ ''3'-'  , Fisher said, recalling that .._ Christ, the innocent victim, Z),,. .2.*, reached out to Peter despite ,e,'O0   what he had done. .,::o % %? Over 80 Homemade Quilts Applique Ebraide,T Patchwork and Baby Quilts And just as Peter wept bit- terly when he realized what he had done, families will find "healing and restoration in their sorrow." The church's role should Country Store begin with identifying indi- viduals and families at risk. For his part Bishop Fisher since his ordination as an Games auxiliary bishop in 1987 -- has visited almost 1,000 fami- lies. He said he picks them at " Hamburgers random and visits them in their homes. He asks them about their family life, what Soft Drinks the church can do to help them and what they can do to help the church. "They feel alienated, feel All Activities Start they've never been told what the church expects," he said. by 11:00 a.m. EST use the opportunity to tell them to share more of them- selves to enrich the church." "That's really the solution. Hosp " "ty Hoosier ttah We are not called to be social workers. We are called to be at it's Finestt!! lovers in the name of Christ, to reach out to let them know the church is enriched by them," he said.