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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
August 26, 1994     The Message
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August 26, 1994
 

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana August 26, 14 -- Perspective--- Recognizing our Bishop Shea I first met Bishop Shea almost seven years ago. That very first meeting revealed a lot about our third Bishop of Evansville. After learning about the avail- able position in this diocese, I had talked with Bishop Shea on the phone from my home in northwest- ern Illinois. We traded some pre. liminary information. He told me that the job in- volved communications, the Message, and affiliation with CTNA -- the Catholic Telecommu- nications Network of America. I told him that my background in- cluded years of seminary studies and more years in radio and television news. I told Bishop Shea I was planning a visit to my family in the St. Louis area, and I asked if I might come to meet with him to find out more about the diocesan position. He gave me directions to the Catholic Center, which he said would be much easier to find than his house. So my first meeting with Bishop Shea was arranged by him -- at a time which was conve- nient for me. Bishop Shea willing gave up a Satur- day afternoon -- which he could have conveniently spent at home -- to be available. I came to the Catholic Center early. I wan- dered around the parking areas, and wondered By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR how I would find and recognize the bishop I had never seen. A man in a clerical black suit drove up, parked his car near mine, and unfolded his six-foot-six ,or seven frame from his car. "You look like you must be Paul Lein- gang," he said with an engaging smile. The only thing I could think of saying in response was, "You look like you must be Bishop Shea." We talked for much of the af- ternoon. I learned a lot about Bishop Shea, about his family, about his faith, about decisions he had made. I learned about the diocese. He learned about me, about my family, about how I had made my own painful decision to end my studies for the priesthood and pursue a different course in life. I did not learn very much about the job -- but I learned some things that were much more impor- tant. I learned that I could enjoy working with and for Bishop Shea. I felt appreciated and respected. Without any external sign of his hierarchical office, in a diocese without a cathedral, I had met a man who looked like a bishop. He had gone out of his way to meet me. He had made me feel comfort- able and completely at ease. He had shown as much concern about me and my family as he had for my professional communications abilities. What was so evident from that first meeting was not the height of his body, but the depth of his soul. Just three days before he died, on the feast of the Assumption, Bishop Shea was leaving Christ the King Church in Evansville, to go to his nearby' home after the Holy Day Mass. Bishop Shea was using a walker to help support himself during his recovery from hip surgery. Father Robert Deig, parish pastor and next door neighbor, was helping him. Mary Ann Hughes, Message staff member, was also leaving the church building at about the same time. Bishop Shea stopped her, to ask her more in- formation about my mother-in-law, who had died a few weeks ago. Bishop Shea told Mary Ann that he wanted to send a Mass card. That brief conversation, which Mary Ann re- ported to me on the day Bishop Shea died, con- firmed the impression made on me when I had first met him. At a time in his lifewhen a simple walk from church to home required the assistance of a walker and a next-door neighbor, Bishop Shea took the time to show compassion to another. My faith tells me that a tall and compassionate man has entered the eternal companionship of Our Lord and all the saints -- who greeted him with im- mediate recognition: "You look like you must be Bishop Shea." ----- Washington Letter Single parents: As numbers grow, parishes, schools try to respond By CAROL ZII[M]E CathoDic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- No one needs to tell Sister Janet Stolba about the growing num- ber of single parents. As a school principal in Washing- ton, she sees more of them each year. She says that her elemen- tary school, St. Gabriel, with- out question reflects the cur- rent statistic released by the U.S. Census Bureau that one of every three families is headed by single parents. Because of the growing num- ber of single-parent households and households with both par- ents working, St. Gabriel, like many Catholic schools across the country, offers an extended care program. That helps, says Sister Stolba, a Religious of Jesus and Mary, but it's not enough. Her dilemma was voiced by the Census Bureau report's au- thor, Steve Rawlings, who said the tremendous increase in The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Putr,t' .............. I Gatd A. C,lr cutatn ................................... Amy I..lousman l'Wr, .................................... Paul Newiancl Stafff,e ............................ Mary lV Hughes Address all communications to P,O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $15.00 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Enterecl as 2rid class matter at the post office in Eva,.svflte, IN 47701. Pubca- ton number 843800. Postmast':. Return POD forms 3579 to Offtce of Pubcation c_,my 14 Cajole Prom ot Evane I I I single-parent families has "a major impact on the day-to-day life experiences of children, parents, and society at large. These changes have major im- plications for the well-being of children, the demand for day care, and the special pressures placed on institutions and schools." The Commerce Depart- ment's Census Bureau, in its annual analysis of households and families, found that 10.9 million single parents raised children last year, up from 3.8 million in 1970. Of these sin- gle-parent families, 86 percent of them were headed by moth- ers, down slightly from 90 per- cent in 1970. These statistics, released Aug. 10, are hardly just remote numbers on government docu- ments, but are realities in Catholic schools and parishes across the country. "Follow the Way of Love," the U.S. bishops' pastoral mes- sage to families issued for the 1994 International Year of the Family, specifically addresses single parents. "To be faced with all the re- sponsibilities of parenting by yourself is a challenge that touches the very core of your life," said the document. "We bishops express our solidarity with you. We urge all parishes and Christian communities to welcome you, to help you find what you need for a good fam- ily life, and to offer the loving friendship that is a mark of our Christian tradition." Bob Colbert, executive direc- tor of the Department of Reli- gious Education for the Na- tional Catholic Educational Association, said the bishops have consistently emphasized the church's' role in serving single parents. "Wonderful things are being done (for single parents) but more still needs to be done," he said. For starters, Colbert said many parishes across the coun- try, offer their religious educa- tion programs at night to make them more convenient for par- ents. Some religious education programs also have incorpo- rated a curriculum called "Rainbows for All God's Chil- dren," aimed at helping chil- dren cope with the loss of a parent through death or di- vorce. "There is a heightened sensi- tivity at all levels to this phe- nomenon" of increasing num- bers of single-parent families, he added. Colbert wasn't the only one to mention the need for sensi- tivity. Dolores Leckey, who heads the U.S. bishops' Fam- ily, Laity, Women and Youth Secretariat, said pastors need to be especially sensitive to single parents in their parishes. "They have to raise up the value of two-parent families while their congregation may have a preponderance of single families whom they must ac- tively minister to," she told Catholic News Service. On a practical level, she said parishes can help their single parents with child care, "an idea whose time has come," and support groups. Cynthia Morris, a single mother in Washington, said the support of other single par- ents at her parish, St. Augus- tine, has helped her raise her ll-year-old girl, Essence. Ms. Morris, like many other single parents, made the sacri- fice to send her daughter to Catholic school, because she wanted her "to have a reli- gious-based education in order to make responsible decisions." And for this mother, the sac- rifice has paid off, literally. Her daughter was recently named a Seton Scholar by the NCEA and will receive a $1,000 scholarship to apply to next year's tuition. But many single parents choose to send their children to Catholic schools, scholarships or not. Sister Stolba said she has seen grandparents sign over their Social Security checks for tuitions. "We not only have single parents, but single grandpar- ents and great-grandparents," said the school principal. "We have one kindergarten student who is in a family of four gen- erations of single women. That shows me how the situation perpetuates itself." In dealing with these situa- tions all the time, Sister Stolba walks a fine line. "My dilemma is how to break the pattern (of young single parents) and not " s  she be critical of s]tuatmn , said. Her teachers often send home parenting tips, because, as Sister Stolba says, the par- ents often have "no idea what to do." But the notes and the after- school care cannot begin to provide help these parents need, and she knows it. That'S why she wants to form a sup" port group for the single par, ents. Ms. Morris, for one, would certainly recommend it. ,Being a single parent, you have so many things pulling at you. Through the support of oth:r parents and other peep, , you're able to make it every day .... You have the wlOiV community behind yo u. Bishop's schedule The following activities and events are listed on the schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger.