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September 30, 1994     The Message
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September 30, 1994

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_ September 30, 1994 The Message n for Catholics of Southwestern Indians 5 I I _ III I --- Bishop's Forum -- ., Anticipating Respect Life Sunday It was very fitting that a small but representative group of our diocese anticipated "Respect Life Sunday" by blessing a beautiful monument in St. Joseph's Ceme- tery. The prayerful gathering heard painful words of scripture recounting the bitter sorrow of Rachel at the loss of her children. They were also reassured in the same reading by the word of the Lord ther'e is reason for hope since he has loved us with an everlasting love! Respect for life must not be a moment or a Sunday, but it should be the hallmark of every Christian. "See "now they love one another" was the description of the early Christians who were living in a pagan world. Our world is no less pagan. Abortion is a deadly sin. We know it. Equally, ByBISHOP GERALD A GETTELFINGER violation of human life in any form is a sin. We must not allow ourselves to become calloused with the barrage of stories of the slaughter of innocent persons, the wanton killing for polit- ical reasons, the murder of another for personal gain. My mind is too small to comprehend the full impact of photographs and reports of mass slaughter; of brothers and sisters of ours clubbed to death out of bitter hatred nurtured over centuries. These enormous tragedies I must entrust to the Lord. What I cannot entrust to the Lord is the conduct of my own life," nor can you. God has given us the freedom and responsibility to be in charge of it. Each of us should carefully and daily examine the God-given conscience that is ours. Have I today failed in any way to respect life -- that of everyone I meet as well as my own? Respect for life must be ever present in our conversation, in our attitudes toward others, in the stories we tell, in the way we treat one another, in- deed, in every aspect of our conduct. We must be caring and compassionate of oth- ers. We must forgive others, and ourselves when there is personal failure to respect life. Nonethe- less, we must never permit our consciences to be dulled by such failures or allow ourselves to be tempted to reduce another to the status of an ob- ject or thing so as to easily dismiss him or her. Tragically, sin has empowered us to kill; to kill both body and spirit. It is an awesome power that unless checked at every turn will take control of us. God's love for us is the only antidote to such power. God loves us with an everlasting love. Through baptism God has given us the ability, the power, to love each other, body and soul as He loves us. That is reason for hope. The rest is up to us. What can we learn from Catholics in Seattle? COMMENTARY Iy JUSTIN CLEMENTS Stewardship and Development &re Catholics in western State different Catholics in southwestern Keep this question in ad as you read the rest of article. planning and Research Lhe Archdiocese recently published results of an extensive of the giving and parish Pation habits of the people who comprise locese of Seattle. rne of the research results expected; some were sur- SOme were disturbin . Were interes, , g' t .... ,,,. riere are mghhghts: .Useholds with more give raore absolute dol- their parishes (no sur- but Wealthier parish- ioners give a lower percentage of their income to the Church. Here are the actual findings: Households with median an- nual incomes less than $25,000 give an average of 1.6 percent of income to their parishes. Households with median annual incomes ranging be- tween $25,000 and $40,999 give an average of 1.2 percent of income to their parishes. Households with median annual incomes in excess of $41,000 give an average of 0.75 percent of income to their parishes. (NOTE: Protestant denomi- nations report that their mem- bers give an average of more than 2 percent of income to support their churches.) 2. Parishioners in smaller parishes give more dollars and a higher percentage of income to the church than do parish- ioners in larger parishes. AUTO TOPS. SEAT COVERS. BOAT COVERS STEREO SALES & INSTALLATIONS 254-3943 HWY 50 EAST, BEHIND UPS CENTER EUGENE WELP, OWNER E CTOR OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION Xperienced Director of Religious Education is ;ought for a large 1800 family parish in NE =lianapolis. Duties include Total Religious dUcation Programming, Sacramental :rxePelration, and Adult Faith Formation. 'wtent ent communication, volunteer recruit- ,n,,,='_ and management skills required. :leian! must be Catholic with a Master's , o He Jn Theology or Religious Education. oend r.--- ume, cover letter, and professional references by 15 October 1994 to: DRE Search Committee St. Lawrence Catholic Church 6944 East 46th Street E.O.E" Indianapolis, IN 46226 3. Parishes with a high per- centage of parishioners attend- ing Mass also have the highest contributions both in absolute dollars, which would be ex- pected, and, more significantly, in percentage of household in- come. The highest giving in ab- solute dollars and percentage of income is found in parishes with at least 60 percent of their parishioners present for weekend Masses. For compari- son purposes, the U,S. national average for weekly Mass atten- dance is about 43 percent. 4. The single most powerful factor influencing parishioners' participation and satisfaction is the quality of the homily and, although not expressly measured by the research, the overall quality of the liturgy that flows from a good homily. 5. There is a positive relation- ship between the number of bap- tisms and marriages in a parish and the participation rate of all parishioners. More baptisms and marriages mean more people at- tend Mass regularly. 6. Highly visible ministries,, including Catholic schools, rd- sult in higher contributions. Are western Washington Catholics different from south- western Indiana Catholics? Would the same research in the Diocese of Evansville pro- duce similar results? Perhaps; perhaps not. But the Seattle study deft- TREASURE , , , ,,, , , , nitely underscores some of the major challenges facing most U.S. parishes today: a need for homilies and liturgies that en- courage, console and inspire; a need for hospitality and evan- gelization initiatives that reach out, engage, show appre- ciation and make lifelong parishioners and newcomers feel welcome; a need for min- istries that touch and enable all parishioners; a need for ways to bring parish families closer together; a need to ac- cept our discipleship responsi- bility to give proportionately of our time, talent and treasure to God's work in Our parishes. In summarizing the Seattle ATTENTION!!! TV VIEWERS No Money Down Receive 50-200 T.V. Channels Cinemax, Showtime, HBO 1-800-347-4331 1-800-680-6770 1-800-484-9281 III |11 I II I I Jill I III II IIII1[ I I I I II I report, the researchers make a very important point: Catholics are not stingy. But Catholic giving and participation do ap- pear to be negatively affected by the size of a parish, a parish's lack of visible min- istries, poor homilies and litur- gies, and a lack of invitation to participate. Several parishes in our dio- cese are actively engaged in a Stewardship conversion process that addresses the issues raised by the Seattle study. These parishes are guided in their ef- forts by this beautiful Vision Statement for Total Stewardship Parish that was created by pio- neering stewardship committee members: A Total Stewardship Parish is ALIVE! It is a prayerful, welcoming, eucharist-centered community with a common vision: GOD IS THE SOURCE OF ALL. Its members are committed to furthering the word and work of Christ by caring for each other and all of God creation. In gratitude, they joyfully give back a por- tion of their God-giten gifts of Time, Talent and Trea. sre. We pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire all of our parishes to move toward this vision: Thank you, Seat.tie,