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Evansville, Indiana
October 23, 1987     The Message
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October 23, 1987
 

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October 23, 1987 0000View Point The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana I I 13 By FATHER JOSEPH L. ZILIAK Associate Publisher A conspiracy: letters were an opportunity to say thanks There was a conspiracy afoot in the diocese in the past few months. The object of that con- spiracy? The priests. Code names and post office boxes were used in the activity that reached throughout the 12 counties that comprise the Diocese of Evansville. The activities were going on for several months before they were recently brought to light. It seems as though not one of the priests was exempt from, being targeted by this clandestine group. Officials indicated that no legal action was contemplated at this time. The threat of such ac- tions continuing seems to be minimal. All of this came to light just this past week. The priests of the diocese, gathered at Kentucky Dam Village lodge for the first convocation in the history of the diocese, were informed of the con- spiracy just prior to the closing ceremonies on Thursday morning. Some of the operating methods of the group were discovered when pertinent documents were found. What was this con,piracy, anyway? Each priest received a large, plain brown envelope at the final working session of the con- vocation. Contained therein were notes and letters from people expressing that the priest's ministry had touched their lives in a special way. A cover letter explained the conspiracy in this way. "These letters of appreciation are in response to an idea that come out of our small women's group in Evansville. During the summer we con- tacted one person in each parish of the diocese and asked them to obtain notes from other parishioners which expressed support, appreciation or affirma- tion to the priest currently in their parish as well as other priests who might have touched their lives in a special way over the years. "Every contact person," continued the letter, "handled the task of informing parishioners according to the time they could give to the cause and the number of other people available to help. "The important thing to remember is that this was never meant to be a popularity contest, but rather it was an opportunity for us, the laity, to say thanks to you on the occasion of this gathering, for all you have given to us through the years." For those who took the time to respond to that conspiratorial request, I want you to know that some tears were shed. In the course of the few days, the gathering of priests had experienced some tense moments in the face of conflicting responses to the material we were given to discuss and ponder. By the end of the convocation we had come to a more amicable ability to deal with the world as we were facing it today. These notes and letters were an additional expression of mutual love and caring that goes on all around us each day here in our parishes and institutions. The organizers of the letter-writing campaign had a post office box in Evansville. The code name was Image. Whoever did this has great potential for a life of crime or a continued life of love and beautiful sharing that this turned out to be. Many thanks and promise of continued love to you all. There were some 94 priests with our bishop gathered together. That was unusual of itself. We almost never have had such a total group of active priests together at one time, much less to be together for several days. The planning group for the convocation had us work until 1 p.m. or so, and then gave us time off until 6 p,m. The evening session then went until 10 or 10:30 p.m. We had, thus a good mixture of work and play time available. What was accomplished? No great issues were resolved. And yet perhaps some very fundamental ones were resolved. Renewed friendships. Sharing through discussion of many issues. We listened to speakers present information on trends in the church today. It was not all upbeat, but it was real and we all heard the same things. Most important- ly for me was the realization again that this is God's world. We cooperate in his work. With our good will and work, together with the help of all our people, we will complete the task of proclaiming His Word to our world. We are in God's hands. We are His hands. We are power- ful in His power. Thanks for your prayers and signs of love and care. St. Joseph VContinued from page 11 Father Father Anthony Deyd- rear of the church, according to The first pastor of St. Joseph dier, Father Charles Opperman the story. was named in 1840. He was and Father Martin Stahl. The present church was built Father Roman Weinsapfel, a In 1851, Bishop de St. Palais in 1888, when  Father Anthony priest newly ordained at laid the cornerstone for a new Schenk was pastor. A new Vincennes. He returned to brick church at St. Joseph, to school, built in 1958 under the Vincennes in 1842, but again replace the log church which direction of Father John Finis was assigned to the St. Joseph- had become too small. The new and Father Roman Heerdink, St. Wendel area in 1846. church was dedicated on April replaces an old school built in In 1842, Father Conrad 27, 1851. It cost $2,200, not 1879, during the pastorate of Schniederjans established counting donated labor and Father Joseph Schuck. Father himself at St. Wendel, and from material. Henry Fein built the rectory, there attended both parishes. The new church was during his pastorate, Other priests who served the destroyed by fire in 1887. 1898-1914. area of German Township in the Shingles on the roof caught fire The sisters' convent was built early days are identified as from a burning brush pile at the "at the cost of five thousand JASPER SER VICE AND SHOPPING GUIDE Buehlers I.G.A. "THE THRIFTY HOUSEWIFE'S SOURCE OF SAVINGS" QUALITY FOODS and MEATS Also Hunflngburg and Oakland City KREMPP LUMBER CO. WHOLESALE BUILDING MATERIAL DISTRIBUTION & GENERAL CONTRACTING YARD CONSTRUCTION 482-1961 482-6838 JASPER I BECHER & KLUESNER FUNERAL HOME Downtown Chapel, 214 E. 7th North Chapel, 33rd Newton ......... -__ j____ = ! 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"New" traditions include the Men's club Burgoo, and parish family picnics. A Stewardship program is now underway at St. Joseph, "to put our priorities in order," says Father Schroering. "I hope that there will be real growth." The parish council helps a lot in decision making, according to the pastor. "They provide the vision." The council is made up of representatives of Worship, Education, Fami- ly/Community Life, Finance, Stewardship, and Spiritual Life committees, along with representatives from the Men's club, the Altar Society, the Knights of St. John, Senior Citizens, Youth, and At-Large members. Concern of the parish is not limited by the boundaries of the parish. St. Joseph has adopted a parish in Haiti, supporting it with a collection on the first Sunday of each month. "It is very direct contact," says the pastor. Money from St. Joseph is used primarily for the religious education program at the adopted parish, "to inform and help growth in the faith." A sesquicentennial commit- tee will prepare the parish for its 150th anniversary, to be celebrated at the end of 1990 and the early part of 1991. Afi'enation cited/or shortage By HENRY LEEN JR. NC News Service BOSTON (NC) -- The voca- tions shortage of the 1980s results in part from insufficient contact between clergy and lai- ty and a growing alienation of women in the church, said speakers at the Oct. 4-9 meeting of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocations Directors in Boston. Other causes cited include lack of parental, encouragement and changes in family and social structures. Dolores Curran, homemaker and syndicated columnist, said the church and family are vic- tims of changes which have fractured the traditional two- parent family and led to fewer vocations to the religious life. But she warned vocations personnel notate blame lack of vocations on ' today's family alone. "When you do that, it's counterproductive," said the author, who writes on the fam- ily in her weekly column which appears in 60 Catholic newspapers. Mrs. Curran said parents thould encourage children who ;how an interest in religious tile. And she said priests should present a positive image of their vocation. "Kids are not drawn to in- See ALIF, NA TION paRe 14