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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
October 9, 1987     The Message
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October 9, 1987
 

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,. CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF EVANSVILLE VOLUME 18 NUMBER6 OCTOBER 9, 1987 A bit of a miracle Special Care Nursing staff, families are, reunited for 'Homecoming' By MARY ANN HUGHES first 72 hours of their son's life were the Message StaffWtiter most critical. "I was a basket case for Christopher Ryan Ball is a normal six- year-old boy. He collects baseball cards, likes the St. Louis Cardinals and reads books about dinosaurs. He watches turday morning cartoons and plays ie hockey. He's also a bit of a miracle. Just ask his parents, Debt and Richard Ball. Christopher is the' son they almost didn't have. Last Sunday, the Ball family joined about 700 other people for a special "Homecoming" at St. Mary's Medical Center, reuniting the-special care nursery staff with the children who received their care when they were critically ill newborns. Critically ill is exactly what Christopher was when he was born. He arrived 10 weeks ahead of schedule -- blue and bruised -- and his mother caught only a glimpse of him as he was whisked out of the delivery room up to the special care nursery. He was accom- panied by a neo-natalist and a critical care nurse, who were standing by as he was born. "I was frightened to death," remembers his mother. "Nobody ever thinks something like that will happen to them. My first thought was, 'Can he live?'" Mrs. Ball was not able to see her newborn infant for the first three hours of his life and when she finally did see him her first reaction was shock. He was suffering from Hyaline Membrane disease and was having difficulty breathing. "I was hysterical and asked the doctor 'Why .don't you help him?.' He told me, , 'We try to let them breathe on their own as long as possible.'" SOON, CHRISTOPHER -- who weighed three pounds, five ounces -- was placed on a respirator and a heart monitor. He was hooked up to IV's and a machine controlled his body temperature. "It was a shock to see all the equip- ment," said Mrs. Ball, "but once'they explained what it all did, it wasn't so intimidating." The new parents were told that the I Dear Friends in Christ: I am sure that the continuation of the pastoral of Pope John Paul 1I has made us very much aware that the Catholic Church is still a Missionary Church. Not content to communicate with the peoples of the world by the news media alone, this intrepid man of God has emulated one of his patrons, St. Paul, by personally carrying the Good News of Jesus to all whom he can reach. His agenda for each year contains plans for several such visits to THE ENDS OF THE EARTH. Just this year a beautiful and-inspir- ing letter has been published by the Bishops of this country, which bears that very title, To the Ends of the Earth. In imitation of the Holy Father, the Bishops of the United States of America, once a missionary country itself, now dedicate our common efforts the next three days -- until we got over that hurdle. "Then .the constant question on my mind was, 'Is he going to live?'" Over the next eight weeks, while Christophar stayed in the special care nursery, the family faced "constant ups and downs," remembers' Mrs. Ball. At one point, Christopher only weighed two pounds, 12 ounces. "That was the lowest point." During his stay in the hospital, Mrs. Ball said she found her strength through a renewed faith in God -- "something which had been on the back burner." The staff at the special care nursery was also "very understanding and sup- portive. The team became our support group." Finally, when Christopher's body weight hit four pounds, nine ounces, Mrs. Ball begged the doctors to let her bring her son home. That special day, eight weeks after his difficult birth, Christopher came home. "I felt great," Mrs. Ball said. "I don't think I could have felt that great with just a normal delivery. I truly felt he was a gift." The day he left the hospital, Christopher had an "apnea attack" which means he-quit breathing. During his first three weeks at home, Christopher slept "on my chest or my husband's chest -- we were so afraid he would stop breathing." Like every other mother, Mrs. Ball had questions about her new baby. "I called the nurses every day. I was so un- Sure of myself -- partly because I had never had a baby before and partly because I was scared to death. They always calmed me down." As a reaction to the special problems Christopher faced after birth, Mrs. Ball said she felt the obligation "to be the best parent I could possibly be -- to this child who had worked so hard to survive. "I felt very lucky. I had seen several babies die. There was the feeling of obligation to do thebest I could for that child because we were so close to not having him." The Ball family has attended all the "Homecomings" at St. Mary's Medical Center. Mrs. Ball said she's always eager to show off her son and his younger brother, Matthew. She's Six-year-old Christopher Ball and his father, Richard Ball, aitsnded the lOth an- nual Special Care Nursery Reunion at St. Mary's Medical Center. The "Homecoming" reunited the Special Care Nursery staff with children who received care when they were critically ill newborn infants. The event was spos,- sored by St. Mary's Medical Center Auxiliary and the lnfa-Life Seekers. -- Message Photo by Mary Ann Hughes I especially eager for the ,staff to : u, Christopher, who is a perftly norml healthy six-year-old. "It's like a family reunion. There aren't words to thank them for what they helped us through," she said. I From the desk of Bishop Francis R. Shea Bishop of Diocese of Evansville I On October 18, we celebrate Mission Sunday throughout the world. The Society for the Propogation of the Faith once more offers us the opportunity to assist the men and women who work unselfishly in the foreign missions. Your prayerful concern and generous sacrifice helps those missionaries to be the voice of hope to Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania. Not too many decades ago the church in this country was aided by this same society. In gratitude for all God's blessings, let us show that we can be counted upon to do our part to carry the saving words of Jesus -- To the Ends of the Earth. Sincerely yours in Christ, to the continued spread of the Gospel. Jesus' words to the Apostles, "Go make disciples of all Nations" can never be forgotten nor ignored. For us to allow this would strike at the very essential mission of the Church. If you and I really believe that we belong to Christ's Mystical Body by our membership in His Church, we believe Christ to be our Lord and Redeemer. We have no right to keep that fact a secret; it must be shared with others. Our ways of sharing may not be as dramatic and well publicized as the Holy Father's, but our obligation is just as serious as his. We must share, first of all, by witnessing to the teachings of Jesus in our daily lives. We must make those teachings believable to others whose lives we touch by our own good example, the most powerful sermon anyone can preach. Most Rev. Francis R. Shea Bishop of Evansville Priest assignments Bishop Francis R. Shea has made the following an- nouncements, affecting priests and parishes in the diocese: -- Father John Boeglin, current- ly associate pastor at St. John the Baptist Church, Newburgh, has been named pastor of St. Celestine Church, Celestine. The appoint- ment by Bishop Shea is effective October 29. -- The resignation of Father August Busch as pastor of St. Celestine, has been accepted by the bishop, effective October 4. His reassignment will be an- nounced at a later date. -- Priests from St. Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, and Holy Family Church, Jasper, will celebrate parish liturgies at the church in Calestine, and be available for St. Celestine parishioners in the interim.