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September 19, 1997     The Message
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September 19, 1997

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September 19, 1997 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 i! I i1[ iii i The second social sacrament By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER What seems like many months ago, I began a series on the two social sacra- ments, Matrimony and Holy Orders. For several weeks I attempted to highlight the elements of mar- riage. The sacrament is not just for the spouses pledg- ing a lifelong commitment of fidelity to each other. It is also for the community. The new family serves as the basic unit of the community and takes on the responsibility of serving the community. In turn, the community has a responsibility of providing appro- priate support and protection to the family. Hence it is called a social sacrament. It is not merely a person- al act with merely personal benefit. Holy Orders is the second social sacrament. It is a sacrament of priestly service to the community of believers. Such priestly service is not unique to Roman Catholicism. It is as ancient as our ancestors in Judaism. There are parallels in most major reli- gions. Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders the individual priest is fortified by God&apos;s grace to serve. To paraphrase the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, the priest is called from the community of believers and is ordained to act on behalf of the com- munity of believers in relation to God. Who is responsible? Where is a calling nur- tured? How does one know he is called? Who does the calling? If the family is responding to its responsibility in serving the community, parents will be most generous in encouraging one of their own to enter priestly service. To place this in focus, consider how many generations of twenty-years your family has had the benefit of priestly service. Some family somewhere was the source of that priestly voca- tion. Who is to provide priestly service in genera- tions to come? My priest uncle, Father Fred Gettelfinger of the Archdiocese of Louisville was blunt about his expec- tations. He stated simply that every parish, not mat- ter how small, should provide at least one priest every generation. It was his conviction that a parish that does not respond to this need does not deserve to have the services of a priest. Larger parishes should provide more priests proportionately. It is an opinion worth consideration. Where is a calling to priestly service nurtured? Parents have insights into their children even at a very early age. Mothers, particularly, can sense in a son or daughter a special desire to be helpful to oth- ers both inside and outside the home. It is this spirit of generous service that parents should encourage and nurture. When children know and understand a need to help, they are most generous in giving it all. When children know and believe that God calls men and women to marriage, they can also understand that God calls men and women to service for the community. When children and young people are not given the opportunity to learn what the need is, then there will be no response. The opposite results when they are presented the opportunity. Until boys and young men come to realize that there is a need for priestly service, they will not be lis- tening for a call. That attentiveness can be initiated by parents, teachers, and in a special way by priests themselves. It does not require a complicated proce- dure. It can be as simple as the question: "Have you ever considered being a priest?" When the answer comes back, whatever it is, encourage them not to be hasty in their response but be open to whatever God is calling them to do whether it be marriage, priest- hood or single life of service in the world. Openness to God's call is first. It does not require a decision at a young age. God's grace bring clarity over time. We believe that God is really the one who calls a young man to priestly service. However, there is an important step that involves the community of believers. A young man may aspire to the sacrament of priestly service, however, it is not up to him alone. The community, through the bishop, establishes the requirements that must be met before issuing a call to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders. After a candidate has fulfilled all the require- ments for Holy Orders, he presents himself, with the support of the community for Holy Orders. The bish- op makes a final inquiry of the community leaders as to the worthiness of the candidate. When it is affirmed that he should be called, the bishop then, in the name of the community calls the young man forth. By the mysterious intervention of Almighty God through the instrumentality of the bishop, a young man is then ordained to serve the community in ministry, as a priest. He does not do it alone for he serves in union with brother priests and the bishop. Pray the Lord of the harvest for worthy servants in the vineyard. Reflection for Catechist Sunday: You are God's echo During a confirmation inter- view, 15-year-old Mike was sharing his experience of church, God, family with the Director of Religious Education in his parish. Mike was a quiet sopho- more, struggling with questions of faith. God is "someone I talk to when I walk through the fields at night," he revealed with an awkward shyness. COMMENTARY By SISTER GERALDINE HEDINGER, O.S.B. Office for Adult Formation Mike walked through the fields at night to escape because life in the house was "noisy, lots of yelling, morn and dad argu- ing about money." Some of the guys at school kept pressuring him to join their gang-which was involved in "little petty robberies" to feed drug habits. Church was a building where people went to pray. Mike prayed in the field at night. Peo- ple coming together to support and pray with him is a non-exis- tent experience. Toward the end of the inter- view, he blurted out with strong emotion, "I don't want to go on with this confirmation stuff! I believe in God, but I don't know if I believe in the Church!" When the Director of Reli- gious Education relayed to Mike's catechist his desire to delay celebrating confirmation, she wondered if his relationship with GOd would ever extend to the community. Mike now has a job, is single, is still searching for his place in the Church com- munity. The catechist in this story is a faith-filled person who is quite serious about her faith develop- ment and those of the adoles- cents she encounters each year in the parish religious education program. Being "God's Echo" describes her position with her class. A catechist is a person who is God's Echo in word and action. In the second reading for this Sunday's liturg]6 James reminds us that professing faith without practicing it makes faith lifeless. To proclaim GOd in speech and deed requires a relationship with God that is both personal and communal. Cultivating this relationship takes.a lifetime of care and nourishment. Opportunities abound in the parishes and on the diocesan level for anv of us to participate in Sunday liturgies, classes, workshops, prayer groups, scripture study groups, various support groups to develop and strengthen our spiritual, pas- toral and professional develop- ment as adults. If adults in our families, churches, schools, reli- Catechetical Sunday, when we affirmand pray for those who commit to being "God's Echo." gious education programs are committed to persevere in their commitment to study.and prac- tice the Catholic faith, we will not need to worry about the children. This weekend is designated as .Catechetical Sunday, when we affirm and pray for those who commit to being "God's Echo" in a more formal setting. In the Diocese of Evansville there are approximately 1,500 catechists who teach and share the Catholic faith in Religious Edu- cation Programs, the Catholic Schools, and the Rite of Christ- ian Initiation of Adults. Thank you for accepting this public commitment to proclaim and model the Catholic faith for children, adolescents and adults in our di. Be pastoral; be competent; be onfiden be God's Echo. :Do-it-yourselfer offers catechists tools of the trade ByBILL#RITT cation at St. Mary of the Plugging into the Power of That training, Partid, is NewWorld, Chicagoarchdioce- Catholic News Service CHICAGO (CNS) -- Joe Paprocki has just finished his first book. It's a do-it-yourself book with chapters rifled "The ,B,eprint," ' ,'_,,Tle_, Tape Measure, ta'o C1 .... ' p oths and Primer. Paprocki isn't a carpenter, painter, electrician or roofer. He is a catechetical consultant at the Chicago archdiocesan Office for Religious Education and his book is titled "Tools for Teaching: Classroom Tips for Catechists." Paprocki, who was a religion teacher for nine years at Quigley South Preparatory Seminary ""arrdr a "director of retious-edu.- Assumption Parish, said the impetus for writing the book was unexpected. "I was refinishing my base- ment and I, not being a real handyman, borrowed a home improvement book from a friend," Paprocki said. "Not long after that I got a call from a parish asking me if I'd be inter- ested in speaking on the topic of 'tools for parish life."' The con- cept for the book then became apparent, he said. The book does have the le, ok ,rod feel of a home improvemtt book, including chapters titled "A Do-It-Yourself Approach to Improving Your Catechetical ' SkiH,;'-"The ,Extension Cord: Prayer" and "Sandpalxm Smooth- hag Out Discip Problems." Included in each of the chap- ters are sections on "Warnings," "Troubleshooting," "Dos and Don'ts," "The Catechist's Quote" and "A Prayer for the Catechist." Paprocki said he felt it was important that the book be laid vital to quality catedaetiol work, and his book is not meant to be used as a substitute but only as a complementary cot. "Nothing can take the place of the quality training catechists receive," he said. "The problem is that these good-hearted, God- loving people who want to get out like a home improvement  ,into catechetical work are asked book. "A friend of mine who is a computer nut said that ,this book is a lot like the 'teaching for dummies' series of comput- er books out there," he laughed. "t don't mean to suggest that catechists are dummies, but it is laid out to help supplement to begin that work flow, but their training isn't scheduled until November. The book is meant to help them." Concentraring on preparation and instruction, Paprocki said his book offers realistic answers to some common problems. "I've had bad experimcL gi- their (orma} tining," ..........  prt<,senations.:' b,- trldThe san newspaper. "One time I gave a Lenten presentation to 70 seventh- graders that just went terrible. They asked me back the next year, but this time I made the focus on the students and their catechists instead of me. I kept them interested and it was a wonderful presentation." When you do run into a prob- lena, Paprocki said it is important to analyze it. "You may have good content, but you may need a different teaching tool," he said. "You have to be open to try a new ay of doing something. The power of C,t's word is there. It is up to you to figure out t-,b4 t,av to ptcseJ'd JL"