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September 6, 1996     The Message
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September 6, 1996
 

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana September 6, 1! Taking the time to make a difference- Consider the tomatoes on the seat... I was alone in the car, except for three ripe tomatoes and one pearnext to me in the front pas- senger's seat. They added up.to a real incentive to drive carefully. I turned carefully, I acceler- ated slowly and perhaps with the greatest care of all, I eased on the brakes long before a stop sign to make sure the tomatoes would not roll offthe front edge of the seat. The tomatoes were a gift from an office co-worker, provided to anyone who wanted to share in the abundance of her garden. The pear was also a gift from a co-worker who planned to be away from the office for several days. Neither the tomatoes nor the pear -- in their current state of ripeness -- could survive rough handling. I did not have a bag or other appropriate container for them -- so there they were, free to roll and tumble. If everyone would drive as if there were three ripe tomatoes on the front seat, the world of daily highway travel would be a much safer place. Jesus spoke about the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, and how God takes care of them. Are we not more important than they are? Jesus asked. Surely God will care for us. Think about the children and the people of all ages in other cars and along the streets and road- By PAUL It. LEINGANG EDITOR Sides of our daily lives. Are they not more important than three ripe tomatoes and a pear? Now that school is back in ses- sion, perhaps it is time to take a look at travel safety. But let us not limit travel safety to school-related matters. If there are school-age children in your home, talk with them about the path they take to school, by car or bus or bicycle. Discuss any fears they may have, and find out if there are any opportunities for reckless behavior along the way. Examine school crossing procedures. Volun- teer, or help find volunteers to assist at crossings near schools, if that is a need that you discover in your investigation. Examine the travel needs of other people in your neighborhood or your community, from infant to elderly. Some hospitals and community organizations help families by loaning or giving them infant seats for safe automobile travel. What is the situation in your community? Is there an established program with a need for donations or volunteer time? What are the particular travel needs of the el- derly? The handicapped? Some parishes and church communities organize groups of volunteers to help people travel to stores, doctors' offices, and other places. Such needs are ordinary, the kind that most members of the mobile society take for granted unless someone takes the time to look carefully, thoughtfully and respectfully at the daily lives of those who are not quite so mobile. Are there individuals who are put into risky travel situations because of their physical condi- tion? Take a good look at public and private trans- portation systems for the handicapped, for special education students, for persons going to sheltered workplaces. Perhaps the best way to learn about the successes and failures of such systems in your community is to learn it first hand: get on the bus and find out for yourself. Travel safety has changed a lot in 2,000 years, but the ordinary virtue of Christian concern for the traveler must continue. There were no cars along the road to Emmaus. But as Jesus was recognized then in the break- ing of the bread, shared with his friends, perhaps we can find a parallel in our lives. Take the time to take the action which will help give life -- and protect life -- alOng our com- mon journey toward greater union with our Lord Jesus. Comments about this column are welcome at prleing@cfm.org or the Christian Family Movement, P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. ----- Washington See you in September: Congress scrambles for election adv= By PATRICIA ZAPOR Awaiting action longest, but In addition  the expected dis- protracted fight over federal gov- ments to appropriations Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- With just a few weeks to work before closing up shop again for cam- paigning, members of Congress will be intent upon making their September session count -- espe- cially in the voting booths in November. Going into the heart of election season, both Republicans and Democrats will have plenty of po- litical fodder in bills already passed this term. Welfare reform, a health care bill and an increase in minimum wage will stand out in candidates' rhetoric, whether they support or oppose what the 104th Congress did. And there's even more poten- tially divisive material left on the table for the short session before the campaign recess. A massive immigration reform measure awaits, as does a bill meant to dis- courage states from recognizing same-sex marriages and a plan to override President Clinton's veto of the ban on partial-birth abor- tions, probably as close to Election Day as possible. i i The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Pub#shed weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville . Publisher ............. Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger Editor ...................................... Paul R. Leingang Production Technician ............. .Joseph Dietrich Advertising ................................... Paul Newland StaffWnter ............................ Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0t69 Subscription rate: $17.50 per year SingleCopy Price: $.50 Entered as periodical matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms,3579 to Office of Publication Copyngr. t 996 Catric Press of Evartwlile still not guaranteed of an airing in September, is immigration reform. Back in March, the House passed an immigration reform bill, fol- lowed by the Senate with its own version in May. Many of the dif- ferences between .them will not be easy to work out in a conference committee. For instance, the House version would allow immigrants to be de- ported for receiving 12 months of government assistance within seven years of beginning U.S. res- idency; the Senate bill sets a five- year limit. The biggest obstacle  and the most likely peg for a possible veto by President Clinton -- is a pro- vision in the House bill that would permit states to deny public edu- cation to children whose parents immigrated to the United States illegally. Sponsored by Rep. Elton Gal- legly, R-Calif., the education amendment has been roundly con- demned by churches of various de- nominations, civil rights activists and politicians from both sides of the aisle. agreement from Democrats, ob- jections have been voiced by prominent Republican leaders Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato of New York, retired Gen. Colin Powell, and Govs. George Pataki of New York, Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey and George W. Bush of Texas and his father, former President George Bush. Shortly before the August recess, more than 50 senators signed a letter or voiced their opposition to the Gal- legly measure. The U.S. Catholic Conference's Migration and Refugee Services and Government Liaison offices have been in the thick of efforts to diminish the severity of the immi- gration proposals throughout their two-year progression in Congress. Besides the Gallegly amend- ment, the USCC is concerned about the bills' requirements that immigrants have a higher income level before they may sponsor fam- ily members to come to the United States. One thing voters are unlikely to see before Congress calls it quits to campaign is a repeat of last year's Youth: 'A marvelous expression of Church' To the editom I wanted to send a letter of thanks to the great youth and youth ministers of the Diocese of Evansville for their Youth Day 33, "Smile, Pass it on!" The Sisters of St. Benedict and the Marian Heights Academy were gracious and splendid hosts and provided a great celebration space. Thank you, "Youth Team" (youth and adults of the diocese who plan youth events! for all of your hard work and hospitality. I think everyone fblt welcomed and invited to the events of the day. The highest point of the day for me was your full involvement and singing during the Mass. The choir and all of the assembled lifted their voices in praise and community. I look forward to praying with the youth of the dio- cese because, as the bishop noted. you are a marvelous expression of Church! Keep up the great work! Michael H. Eppler Director Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministr3: ernment operations budgets. Remember the federal shut- downs of fall and winter? Re- member the series of last-minute, short-term continuing resolutions passed to keep the government operating a few more days? Re- member how Republicans and Democrats haggled endlessly over which agency's budget had to be pared before anyone in the federal government got approval to spend-money for postage stamps or cleaning the visitor center bathrooms? It won't happen again this year. In letters, phone calls and dur- ing members' visits back home after last year's budget battle, vot- ers made it abundantly clear that they thought it was going too far to shut the government to make par- tisan points. "they'll probably pass a contin- uing resolution to keep the gov- ernment running into March," said Tom Shellabarger of the USCC's Domestic Social Develop- ment office. 'qobody's going to use appropriations to push their agenda this year." Jesuit Father Fred Kammer, president of Catholic Charities USA, listed five areas of concern that Congress may get into in September. the immigration bills; possible further cuts and attach- sures; a proposal to create charitable tax credit; bills to housing funds into block states, and igate some aspects of the reform law signed by 22. The tax credit proposal Sen. Daniel R. Coats, would provide a $1,000 tax for charitable contributions 'are now taken as tax meaning the donation onb as a percentage deduction on! come tax, taxes financed by an additional 5 cent cut in already sharply duced welfare spending, Kammer said. Nancy Wisdo, director of USCC, said her office is trating on seeing Catholic agencies understand work with new regulations posed in the welfare reform rather than worrying about t short September session. Despite his list of ries, Father Kammer Wisdo that this session to keep his lobbying staff busy. "the question is, how more bad things can the said. "We hope not much." Bishop's schedule The following activities and events are listed on the sched" ule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: Stl Meinrad, Mass, .. WNIN Directors, Meeting, Evansville Sept. 9,t p.m. Mass, breakfast with volunteers, St. Mary's Med- ical Center, Evansville, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 9 a.m. Bishop's staff meeting, Catholic Center, Thursday, Sept. 12, 9 a.m. to noon. Evansville West Deanery Youth Mass. Resurrec- tion Church, Sunday Sept. 15, 6 p.m.