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September 16, 1994     The Message
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September 16, 1994

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5 fSeptember 16, 1994 The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana "-- Bishop's Forum -- What about deacons? When I firstarrived in Evans- ville as the new bishop, I was asked whether or not I would have "permanent" deacons since the Archdiocese of Incfianapolis does not have them. My response to the question  was another question. "Are there deacons here?" The answer was obvious and I knew it. At that time there were 22 deacons. Because they were not on their way to ordination to priest- hood they are known as "perma- nent deacons." The significant dif- ference between them and the deacon who is looking to be an ordained priest is that permanent deacons may be married. My personal opinion "or feeling about whether or not we have deacons is not important. However, as bishop my recognition of the role of deacon in the Church of today is relevant and essential if deacons are to continue in our diocese. So let it be dear: any man who is willing to give of himself in the role of service to the community is eligible to aspire to the order of deacon. Following an appro- ByBISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER priate period of discernment, study and spiritual formation, the bishop may issue a call of the community to the sacrament of the Holy Order of Deacon. The bishop, as head of the Catholic community issues the for- mal "calling forth by the commu- nity," formalizing the vocation to that order. The bishop, in the name of the community, is the one who decides who is to be ordained Or not. To receive the sacrament of Holy Orders is not a right whether it be the Order of Deacon, the Order of Priest or the Order of Bishop. This sacrament of Holy Orders is a privileged gift of the Church bestowed upon men whose call to an order is rooted both in the individual and the community. The order of deacon in our church should not be looked upon as a solution to the shortage of priests, but rather aft ancient order of service to complement the order of priest, not to replace it. Our deacons certainly demonstrate that their ser- vice is central to the Church. Blessed is the parish community that has a deacon as member and ser- i['B00op Shea: 'Primary parishioner' at CTK ]cBishop'Francis R. Shea died Aug. 18, at St. Mary's Medical ]u:'te:.n.Evansville. Following his retirement in 1989, and .... - als death, Bishop Shea had lived in a house near Christ the King Church the ho s hi -- u e which had been his home since s arrival in Evansville in 1970. Father Robert Deig, pastor of Christ the King Church, re- !cently commented: "While Bishop Shea belonged to the whole ' Clioc we have always considered him our primary parish- ioner, especially since his retirement, and most especially since ms fall" (a broken hip in May). t A covamentary by David Bower is printed on this page. In nat commentary, Bower noted that Bishop Shea had a partic- ular 1 for Mary, Mother of God. In that light, some informa- tion from Father Deig may take on added significance. Father Deig reported that Bishop Shea's last Masses were of- red at Christ the King Church. Bishop Shea celebrated his last on the Feast of Mary's Assumption, Monday, August. 15. HAVE YOU HEARD HIM CALL? DOMINICAN SISTERS OF HAWTHORNE Providing free care and shelter to incurable cancer patients. We seek women who are full of love for Christ, and desire to join a conreeation with a strong spiritual a o o . nd community life. Our Sisters come from all walks of life. Prior nursing experience not required. Sr.Marie Edward Rosary Hill Home 600 Linda Ave., Hawthorne, NY 10532 (914) 769-4794 vant of the community. It is my intention that we continue to support those who are already deacons in our diocese but also to continue to welcome those men who might aspire to the order of deacon. Our program of for- mation will, however, be altered. Following the mandate of the Synod of 1993, we are currently in the process of developing a leadership formation program for lay leaders in our Church. It will be available to men and women and will cover a period of at least two years. Any man aspiring to the order of deacon must have this experience first. Following the lay formation program, aspi- rants to the order of deacon will enter a program of discernment and formation for deacons. This formation program will also cover a period of years as in the past. Men who have indicated their interest in pur- suing a personal internal call to the order of dea- con will be issued an invitation to participate in the lay formation program as a beginning point. Others who are interested may simply write me a letter to that effect. When the time is appropriate, we will contact all who have made their interest known. Bishop Shea remembered for doing the best he could COMMENTARY talk and write about their sue- rest; who you by faith before By DAVID BOWER On Aug. 22, there was gath- ered in that glorious building known as St. Benedict Church, an assembly of believers nearly a thousand strong. We came together to worship God, to honor the memory of Francis R. Shea, D.D., Third Bishop of Evansville, and to commend his life and spirit to God. The Romanesque beauty and splendor of St. Benedict's is al- ways a pleasure to experience. In 1928, when the cornerstone was laid for this cathedral-like edifice, Evansville was a full 16 years away from being named a diocese. Somehow though, the architects and builders knew that our city would need a gathering space in which great throngs of be- lievers could assemble. And so they built large and so they built well. How fitting that Bishop Shea was buried from this ma- jestic worship space. It was the same church in which he had been ordained nearly 25 years before. Fitting too, that his day of burial was also the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. The bishop loved Mary. Somehow ! like to think that he was pleased to be consigned to the arms of mother earth on the same day Mary is acknowl- edged to be Queen of Heaven. Funerals always give us a reason to stop and reflect on death and more importantly on life. When we honor the dead who held important positions in the Church or in society or in the civic community much attention is given to what they did in this world. We analyze, cesses and their failures. The emphasis often though, is on their actions and not on who they were. It was wonderful to hear and to read about many of the attributes of who Bishop Shea was. Over and over he was characterized as a "south- ern gentlemanfl and so he was. He was a gracious man who loved to visit, and if the con- versation could be over a mar- tini and a good meal that was truly an indication of grace. He was one who truly strove to be a man of kindness. During his funeral liturgy I kept wondering about how much better it would be if we all focused on who we are and not so much on what we do. Questions all of us could ask incTude: Am I living or just ex- isting? Am I just going through life or am I joining in? Do I ever take a risk? Do I really love? Do you suppose that God will judge us on our failures? Or will God judge us on failing to try? Scared Scripture is silent in this regard. We know from Matthew's Gospel (25:14-30) that the servant who buried his talent was wrong and we know that the servant who doubled his talents was right. But what if there had been a servant who, over and over and over again tried to double his talents and just never got the job done? I like to think that the blessing is in the attempt; in the trying; in the never giv- ing up. We were singing now and l was brought back: "For all the saints who from their labors JASPER LUMBER CO. COMPLETE BUILDING SERVICE Ph: 482-1125 RT. 4, JASPER ] iii ii i i i i the world confessed, your name 0 Jesus be forever blest. Alleluia, Alleluia. This is a powerful hymn, one that de- mands to be sung with a full and rousing voice. It is a ymn worthy of a faithful Christian a faithful Christian just like Bishop Shea. As we sang, his casket and the Shea family were led out of church by the seemingly endless procession of white-robed clergy, who came to honor their friend and colleague. For some reason my eyes were pulled upward just then. There in the great dome of that venerable church are painted the words God the Fa- ther spoke to his son Jesus as recorded in Matthew 17:5. The artist used a translation we rarely see anymore but it fits that church so very well: "Thou art my beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased." When I saw that inscription I could not help but think that those same words were surely spoken to Francis Raymond Shea soon after he commended his spirit over to God. He was faithful; he was kind; be never stopped trying. Asked once about his role as bishop he said with characteristic simplicity and candor that he was "just a man trying to do a job, the best I can." Thank you Bishop Shea. Thank you for always remind- ing us that even those who hold high office are human be- ings; that they are just trying to do the best they can; and that none of us must ever stop trying. And what about us? What if we keep trying? What if we live and refuse not to just exist? What if we keep attempting to love and never quite make it? What if we keep attempting to love but never quite make it? Won't we hear th same pow. : erful and consoling words, too, when we face God at the mo- ment of our last surrender? : "You are my beloved; in you I am well plea."