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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 11 I Wl00at difference does cremation make? By FATHER JOHN DIETZEN Catholic News Service Question: Your columns are a big help in understanding our Catholic teachings. Now I need to clear my con- science regarding cremation. I'm a 41-year-old mother of three, and wife of 15 years. I want to donate my organs when I die to save the lives of others and then be cremated. My husband and children disagree. His reason- ing is that I should return to God the way he sent me, all in one piece with nothing missing. I say it doesn't make any difference once you're dead. You can have a funeral Mass, even after crema- tion. Are they right to oppose my wish? Does the church have anything to say about this? (New York) Answer:. Let's take the two parts of your question separately. First cremation. For years now, the church has taught that crema- tion is permissible, unless it is requested for reasons opposed to Christian belief. (For a long time crema- tion was seen as a way of rejecting belief in the resur- rection.) Two heavy concerns need to be thoroughly con- sidered, however. First, the Catholic Church strongly the preference for burial of our natural body rather than cremation. The reason is clear. Our bodies are not, as some tend to think, merely the shell of our "real self," our soul, a shell which can be discarded in any way we wish. Christian belief, and the reality, is that our bodies are as much a part of our human selfhood as our souls. Whatever we know and feel comes to us origi- nally through our bodies, our senses and our feelings. These bodies are an essential part of what we are as human beings, men and women. This is so true that, according to traditional Chris- tian philosophy and theology, our soul is not a human soul, even in eternity, without a relationship to a body. St. Paul explains, in 1 Corinthians 15 and else- where, that this is what the resurrection is all about. Our bodies will be transformed, but we will still be ourselves, body and spirit, after we rise to new life with Christ. Obviously, cremation does not make resurrection impossible. As I have explained several times previ- ously, however, it may reflect a serious misunder- standing -- a minimizing m of the truth that "in bap- tism the body was marked with the seal of the Trinity and became the temple of the Holy Spirit," and that this is why "Christians respect and honor the bodies of the dead" (Introduction to the Catholic ritual for Christian funerals). In other words, our bodies are profound symbols of our faith in Christ. Someone recently wrote beauti- fully, "When we touch and kiss and bless and process the bodies of our dead, we are 'teaching' ourselves not only that we will miss this loved one but also that this body, though dead, is still part of Christ's body. "This body, seemingly lifeless, will one day be filled with new life" (Modern Liturgy, September 1997). Nevertheless, cremation is not against the law of the church. A funeral Mass may take place in the pres- ence of the body before cremation. With permission of the local bishop, cremated remains may be present in the church during the funeral Mass. Once again, those considering cremation must think of those left behind, especially children and grandchildren. Discuss the matter thoroughly with them, and be sure they are emotionally and spiritually comfortable with-the arrangements. If we ever lose touch with those larger realities that confront us in death, we will lose something very pre- dous in our Christian lives. Organ donations are another large question. We must hold that for next time. A fiee brochure outlining basic Catholic prayers, beliefs and moral precepts, is available by sending a stamped self- addressed envelope to Father John Dietzen, Holy Trinity Church, 704 N. Main St., Bloomington, Ill. 61701. Ques- tions for this column should be sent to Father Dietzen at the same address. our eff0 qv to ca ,tters C ter  the co ,n sta earn a .r servi i nameSi ipleted! tative ’ ,g, ister " . upcO l (8121 )9. Unity Day to be held at St. John, Evansville The public is invited to the fourth annual Unity Day celebration at St. John the Apostle Church, Evansville, on Sunday, Sept. 21, with Mass scheduled at 11 a.m. Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger and several concelebrants will celebrate Mass, which will be incorporating the heritage of Black Ameri- cans and is consistent with the goals of the National Black Catholic Congress VIII. Divine Word Father Kenneth Hamilton, director of the Bowman-Francis Ministry Pro- ject in Indianapolis, will be the guest homilist. Sister of the Blessed Sacrament Jane Nesmith, pastoral life coordinator, said one of the goals of the Black Congress was to encour- age more opportunities to share the good news with a particular focus oh the family. Bishop Gettelfinger was among the partici- pants at the Black Congress, held in Baltimore, Aug. 28 through 31. Reminder of Convocation plans All priests serving in the Diocese of Evans- ville, along with Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfin- get, will be attending the 1997 Presbyterate Convocation at Lake Barkley, Ky., Sept. 22 through 25. Parishioners are being asked to check their local parish bulletin to determine if commu- mon services or morning prayer have been scheduled on the days the priests will not be available. Emergencies and funerals are to be d:anged through parish staff or through the eacons assigned in-the deaneries' IV • . ashmgton Deanery: Deacon Michael IV[ - -- orris, Washington, (812) 636-4804. • Jasper Deanery: Deacon Thomas Holsworth, Jasper, (812) 482-4956 (home) or 357-6672 or 481-9988 (work). Deacon Charles Seifert, Jasper, (812) 482-6543. • Princeton Deanery: Deacon Stephen Hall, Jr., Snake Run, (812) 753-4222. • Newburgh Deanery: Deacon Thomas Lambert, Boonville, (812) 897-4653 or 897-7239 (work), or 897-3298 (home). Deacon Joseph Seibert, Newburgh, (812) 897-8965. • Vincennes Deanery: Deacon Joseph Stur- gis, Vincennes, (812) 882-2478 (rectory), or 295-3315 (home). • Evansville West Deanery: Deacon Joseph Blankenberger, Cynthiana, (812) 963-5150. Dea- con Richard Grannan, Evansville, (812) 963-3541. Deacon Robert Hayden, Evansville, (812) 422-8914. Deacon Joseph Schapker, Evansville, (812) 963-3121 (parish), or 425-5593 (home). • Evansville East Deanery: Deacon Richard Preske, Evansville, (812) 477-8923 (parish) or 423-4323 (home). Deacon Robert Thurgood, Evansville, (812) 476-7670. Deacon Edward Wilkerson, Evansville, (812) 477-5405 or 477-5408 (work), or 476-4347 (home). Archabbey Church to be dedicated Sept. 30 The St. Meinrad Archabbey Church of Our Lady of Einsiedeln will be dedicated Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 2 p.m. The invitation-only event culminates a renovation begun in spring 1996, at a total cost of $5.2 million. Feeder League Football play under way Holy Rosary/St. John, Newburgh defeated Christ the King/Holy Spirit 15-0, Sept. 14. Scores came on a run by Bryan Croce, a quar- terback sneak by Josh Kemph, an extra point by Croce and an end-zone tackle for a safety by Chad Shoulders. St. Theresa/Good Shepherd shut out St. Benedict/Holy Name, 21-0, in the second game Sept. 14. Daniel Jochim scored a touchdown and two extra points; Ryan Woodward scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery; Tyler Owen threw a touchdown pass to Brad Shoul- ders, and Brent Hagan added the extra point. Fresh Flowers. Silk Arrangements Gi(1 ltoms 207 N.E. 5th Street Indiana 47501 (812) 254-7200 JOHN MANGIN Owner The Decorating Corner 21 East South Washington, IN 47501 Bus|heSs, 254,7794 |hmu: 2.4-30;7 ii i nl nil ii Knights ot Columbus Council 630, Fn. & Sail Evenings OP C) PUBLtC SERVING COMPLETE MENU Steak. Sea Food, Chicken I II j r i. i i Continued from page 10 and the name and number of a neighbor. Also, be sure to know the proper numbers for the fire department, police, and ambulance (911 in most areas), as well as the nearest poison control center. Keep these numbers by the phone • Ask the parents about the child's routine, restrictions and dis- cipline measures that should be , iilmd when the dld should be fed, what bedtime is, what special objects are comfort- ing to the child, what things the child canand cannot do develop- mentally, and whether he or she has any serious allergies or rneci-,' , i ical conditions. • Secure the house. Keep drapes drawn and all doors and win- dows locked. Do not let anyone come inside. If a stranger appears while playing outside, go indoors. If the stranger does not leave, call both the police and the child's parents. • Answer the telephone politely, but never say that you are the "oaby-sitter" or that the parents are not at home. Write down com- plete names, messages and telephone numbers for the parents. Do not answer phone surveys. Hang up on prank callers, and notify the police if such callers persist. • To help prevent fires or bums, do not smoke, cook, pop pop- corn, or use matches or candles while baby-sitting. • Avoid the threat ot drowning accidents. DO not accept respon- sibility for allowing the child to wim. All access to a pool should be blocked. Never baby-sit at a home with a swimming pool unless you can swim. DO not give baths; only wash the child's face and hands. • If you become ill while baby-sitting, call the child's parents, or ask your own parents to relieve you. • Call the police if you hear prowlers. In the event of an actual break-in, cooperate with the robber, and call the police and par- ents as soon as possible. Should a security alarm go off, call the neighbor whose phone number you were given. • Stay inside in the event of a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch. Go to the basement or near an inside wall without windows should severe winds develop or a warning be issued. • In case of smoke or fire, take the child outside immediately. Stay low in smoke, and cover your mouth and nose and that of the child with wet wash cloths. Call the neighbor if the smoke alarm goes off for no apparent reason. • Should a power outage occur, not, the electric company: Turn off all lights and appliances except one (so you will know when the power is restored), and use your flashlight. • Stay away from guns. If you notice any guns lying out when touring the house, ask the parents to lock them up before leaving. • Never ride a bike or walk alone to or from a baby-sitting job after dark. I r I In I  I III r I II It i [£ Hi Tech Sheet Metal Inc Residential. Industrial & Gommercial Heting & Cooling Installation Sales & ,-rvice [ 422-92.42 " l Oprot by Michael aad Patrcia Koch t5 S. ?h.;rd A,,rm,,,L Evav.,,|e • " j IJ  i Ilmn r . ...........