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Evansville, Indiana
September 25, 1987     The Message
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September 25, 1987

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 'Oh, dear God, thank you' Newburgh couple cherishes papal encounter September 25, 1987 By MARY ANN HUGHES the attendants said, "There are touched Don at the same time. Message StaffWriter two empty seats on the stage. "It was one of the most mov- Why don't you take them?" ing times in my life." Clare Lahay flew to Detroit "I thought, 'Oh, this is As the pontiff moved down last weekend to see Pope John unbelievable -- to be that the stage to greet the other Paul II and she's still walking close,'" said Mrs. Lahay. The bishops, cardinals, deacons and on air. couple was seated in the second wives, Mrs. Lahay said she felt She went hoping to catch a row on the stage, six feet away "so humble." glimpse of the pontiff and came from the papal chair. "I thought, "Oh dear God, away cherishing one of the best Prayers were said and thank you. But why me?" experiences of her life. speeches were given while the After the pope left the She and her husband, Don crowd waited for the pontiff's auditorium, the audience who has been co-director of the arrival. Finally, the people in stayed and watched him on Permanent Diaconate Program the packed auditorium were giant screens as he gave his for the Diocese of Evansville,: told the pope would be coming Peace and Justice Speech across went to Detroit to hear the pope "very soon." the street. Address 2,800 American "All ofasudden, the whole Throughout their visit to deacons and their wives, auditorium burst into ap- Detroit, the Lahays met peopler The Newburgh couple had plause," she remembers, who shared the same feeling been given special tickets en- "I thought, 'I don't believe about the pope, "that he was a titling them to seats on the this. Oh my God, there he is, CLARE AND DON LAHAY very special man," Mrs. Lahay stage. However, after waiting he's here. And he's real!"' and such a humble man." THE MOST TOUCHING me- said, "and this was regardless outside the Detroit auditorium. She remembers the pope In his speech to the deacons ment for Mrs. Lahay was when of their religion." for an hour-and-a-half, they wearing Italian loafers and and their wives, the pope was the whole auditorium "rocked" The Lahays are now back in were informed they were get- white silk stockings. She was "very affirming of the work as the audience sang the song, Evansville but their feet still ting "bumped" from the stage surprised at the "tiny-ness of they are doing -- for the elder- "Here I Am Lord." haven't hit ground. She corn- because "more bishops had the man. He doesn't have a lot ly, the poor and the sick." He "There were tears running pares the special feeling they come," Mrs. Lahay said. of breadth on him. He is a small also complimented the down my face. I looked over at shared in touching the pope to man, with small hands and deacons' wives for being so the pope and he was sitting the happiness of their wedding The couple showed their small feet -- but such a big supportive of their husbands' there with his head on his hand day. stage tickets to a volunteer and man." diacooal commitments. He and he actually had tears in his "Just to know we touched they were escorted down the ai- She felt "just by looking at received a standing ovation eyes." him and he touched us was  sle of the auditorium. One of him that he is a loving man -- from the audience. After the speeches were over, marvelous. I felt a special bless- there was a special song sung in ing from the Holy Father -- and Pope meets deacons in Detroit turned to his left and walked get that?" over to greet the two bishops She said she and her husband sitting in front of the Lahays. have often talked about travel- By PAT WINDSOR people." "sacramental sign of ser- Then he turned and walked ing to Rome to perhaps catch a NC News Service Deacons, the pope said, have vice" deacons should be a back to the couple and took glimpse of the pope, but as the a threefold ministry: the Word, "catalyst for an expanding no- Mrs. Lahay's hand. parents of seven children, a trip DETROIT (NC) -- Pope John the altar, and charity. Of the tion of church and ministry." "I could only say, 'Oh, your never became a reality. Paul II affirmed permanent three, the pope emphasized He added that "empowerment holiness," Mrs. Lahay "I knew we'd never go to deacons as "living signs of the charity, of the laity" is one of the remembers, with tears in her Rome, but he came to us," she 1 servitude of the church" and "Today's world," he said, deacon's prime respon- eyes. "I looked and he had smiled. called their wives collaborators "is not lacking in opportunities sibilities. in their ministry when he met for such a ministry, whether in Like the pope, Taub affirmed with them Sept. 19 at Ford the form of the simplest acts of the role of deacons' wives who Auditorium inDetroit, charity or the most heroic give by "sharing husband and The meeting, which included witness to the radical demands father, their own lives, conve- some 2,800 deacons and their of the Gospel. " nience and needs as they an- wives, was marked by several The pope commended the courage, heal and sustain the emotional moments. Before and deacons' "direct service to the husband's diaconal commit- after the pope spoke, deacons needy," pointing specifically to ment." shouted "Viva el Papa." And, various areas including the ill, during a videotape featuring those in difficult marriages, Afterward, several deacons deacons in a variety of "victims of substance abuse," and their wives said they felt af- ministries many wept as they and victims of racial and ethnic firmed by the pope's words. spontaneously joined in sing- discrimination. Bob Ovies, a deacon at the ing its theme song, "Here I Am, Shrine of the Little Flower in Lord." A MINISTRY OF charity also Royal Oak, Mich., said "the After listening to Samuel "obliges us to be a positive in- meeting itself was more impor- Taub, a permanent deacon and fluence for change in the world tent than the (pope's) talk" in executive secretary of the U.S. in which we live ... to be the supporting the deacons. "Just bishops' Committee on the Per- soul of human society, so that the fact that he had the meeting manent Diaconate, the pope society may be renewed by went far beyond the talk as far had encouraging words for the Christ and transformed into the as sign value." nation's 8,000 deacons and family of God," the pope said. Bob Goetz, a deacon at Vista their wives. Addressing married deacons Maria, a home for teen-age girls specifically, Pope John Paul in Dearborn Heights, Mich., "I give thanks to God for the called on them and their wives called the meeting with the call you have received and for to be "a living example of pope "a totally tremendous your generous response," the fidelity and indissolubility in spiritual experience." pontiff said. "For the majority Christian marriage before a "We felt that the pope said of you who are married, this world which is in dire need of exactly to us what we feel is the response has been made possi- such signs." essence of the diaconate. He ble by the love and support and The pope also challenged was reaffirming us." collaboration of your wives," deacons to "constant reading His wife, Judy, agreed. "The he continued to a burst of ap- and diligent study of the sacred wives were happy to know that plause. Scriptures" and to be "steeped he acknowledged the wives as At the heart of the diaconate, in the spirit of the liturgy." part of the diaconate," she said. said the pope, is "to be a ser- Before the pope spoke, "The pope understands exactly vent of both Christ and other Taub said that as a ' what we feel inside," she said. Dioceses tie evangelization projects to papal visit By NC NEWS SERVICE northern Virginia paid for more the pope's visit to that city than 400,000 copies of a Sept. 15-16. 16-page, full-color brochure to Bishop John R. Keating of At least two U.S. dioceses be inserted into The Arlington, in a letter in the h a v e 1 a u n c h e d m a j o r Washington Post Sept. 13. brochure, invited inactive Listening evangelization projects in con- And in Los Angeles, the arch- Catholics "to consider coming junction with the visit of Pope diocese had 1.1 million copies home to your spiritual family" Pope John Paul II listens to speeches during his visit to Detroit. John Paul II to the United of a tabloid version of the and asked non-Catholics "to The pope addressed 2800 American deacons and their wives at States. brochure inserted into the Los discover the traditions and Ford Auditorium in Detroit. The Diocese of Arlington in Angeles Times to coincide with spirit of Catholicism." -- Message Photo by Don Lahay