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October 24, 1997     The Message
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October 24, 1997

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Washington Le00er 4 The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana October ,): Seeking shelter from a storm By PAUL R. LEINGANG Editor It must be pretty easy not to notice. At least that is one conclusion you could draw from a recent experience we had, in South Miami. A group of people serving in various roles within the Christian Family Movement gathered recently in Miami. We met to discuss our plKns and our progress, to talk about issues affecting us and other Christian families everywhere. While the working hours of the weekend visit were the main reason for the meeting, the time we spent with families in the area was just as memo- rable. Maybe even more so. Our group included couples from California, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and Virginia. Our host fami- lies picked us up at the airport, gave us transporta- tion to the meeting, and supported us in every way possible. Florida families who had never seen us before opened their homes to us as if we were brothers and sisters. We talked about our children and our church. We traded stories. We looked at family photo albums. Words and pictures quickly drew us to a power- ful and pivotal experience in the lives of the families we met: Hurricane Andrew. The home of our Friday evening dinner meeting had been almost destroyed by the hurricane. Damage had been extensive, too, at the home of the family where my wife and I spent Friday night and Saturday night. Slowly, we who had not experienced the hurri- cane began to understand at least a small bit of its lasting impact. Our eyes became more alert to the places where trees were young and small. We saw sticks against the sky in some places -- sticks that were thin trunks of once-tall pine trees, stripped of all branches, long dead, but still present in the sub-tropi- cal greenery. What we could not see was the impact on fami- lies. Neighborhoods had changed. Some families re- built their homes, but others stayed away. School children had to find new friends. A common reaction from the visiting families could be heard over and over: "I had no idea." We had all seen news coverage of the hurricane. We knew of its intensity, and how it had leveled blocks and blocks of homes and businesses. But we knew a lot less about the devastation that came two months later, when a tropical storm came to damage re-construction work that had begun. We knew even less about the ruthless contractors who took what money they could get for repairs that they promised but never even began. And we had no feeling at all for the on-going impact eight months later, a year later, two years later, as families struggled to return to Once the pictures disappeared from the page and from the top of the television news, quickly lost sight of the suffering. always news. Daily life can be harder on the than a sudden storm. What storms have had an impact on family? Your neighborhood.? Take the time today to look beyond of the day. Your friendship may be just what is ed to help heal a family suffering from a storm. Try to notice the signs of distress in of your brothers and sisters everywhere. Make a special effort to go beyond the doses of crime and violence in the news. It to learn about the events -- the good and the which have influenced a family. Take the time to help another family to a joyful event or to sadness and disruption. As a neighbor, or as a member of a: family find shelter, even after the storm has Take the time to make a difference. Comments about this column are ot the Christian Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. Vouchers vs. tax credits: Is something better than By CAROL ZIMMERMANN from public vs. private schools." with school choice. In 1988, it children in grades seven "blown out of Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- For all the passion that the school- choice debate generates, there has not been a lot of success across the country. So some school choice advo- cates are trying another approach that is softer and gen- tler for educators and legislators to swallow, and it seems to be working. lt's been a shift of emphasis from vouchers to tax credits or deductions, which opponents suspiciously label the "sibling to voucher schemes." But call it what you will, it's making headway in ways voucher initiatives have been unable to. Tim Sullivan, director of strategic planning for Gov. Arne Carlson of Minnesota, says tax credits force the "debate away 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711  Wkly neaper of the Diocese of Evansville Pub#shed  except /ast week/n December by the Calho/ Press of EvansvY, le PVh ............. eop Ge A. Ge'Oer ...................................... Pa R. Lr,gar Pr T ............... Jos Dich ................................... Paul New(and s Wr ............................ Uary n Hughes Address all comrnun..ations to P,O, Box 4169, Evansvfle, IN 47724-0169 SUbSCription rate: $17.50 per year Single Copy Pnce: $50 "It redefines school choice out of the traditional sense," he said during an Oct. 10 school choice panel discussion in Washington sponsored by Empower Ameri- ca. Sullivan's firsthand knowl- edge of school choice initiatives comes from his work in the gov- ernor's office where school reform is a hot topic. Minnesota has been leading the nation, in a limited wa}, became the first state to enact statewide open enrollment for all students, making every pub- lic school open to any student in the state if space is available. And this past summer, Carl- son signed an educational funding bill to increase the current education tax deduc- tion from $650 to $1,625 per child for children in kinder- garten through sixth grade, and from $1,000 to $2,500 for Hunger hurts: An open letter from the Emergency Food Pantry Consortium In the first nine months of this year we have provided enough food to feed 23,151 individuals for three days, three meals a day. Of that figure, 378 persons were handicapped, 1,271 were over the age of 60, 4,090 were not on food stamps, and 1,047 were employed full time. Recently a high school class surveyed local grocery stores to determine who much it would cost to purchase the same food we give through our Emergency Food Pantry System. For two people to eat three meals a day for three days the cost was $9.27 per per- son. This figures out to $1.03 per meal. We can do it for 31 cents per meal. One of the seven food pantries is St. Vincent de Paul on North Elliott Street, Evansville. In fact, they give out the largest percent- age of our food. The Evansville Area Community of Churches pays the bill for all non-donated food given through this pantry and also through the other six, via your donation sent to the EACC. A donation of $100 can provide 322 persons with enough food to fix nine meals each. Help us to continue to feed the hungry. Send your check to EACC, 414 N.W. Sixth Street, Evansville IN 47708-1332. Put the words, "Food Pantry" in the memo space. Barbara Gaisser Director of Church Relations Evansville Area Community of Churches and Grant Hartman, Chair, Emergency Food Pantry Consortium through 12. The bill also expands the list of tax deductible expenses to include academic summer school, camps, tutoring and computers. "The voucher issue so polar- izes people," Sullivan said. What Minnesota sought to accomplish "was something for all parents, tailored for their needs." So in this case, "regardless of where you send your children to school, you get the choice of funds to use" for their educa- tion, he added. Father David McAuley, execu- tive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, was pleascd, but not overjoyed, with the bill. "It's definitely a foot in the door," he said, about the educa- tional tax deductions, "but we're not anywhere near where we want." In particular, the state's Catholic Conference was hoping for a tax credit for tuitions, which was not approved. He said whenever the vouch- er subject comes up with the Legislature, it's immediately hype against it. "We're confident we have now will not be lenged by the courts," Catholic News Service. "Vouchers are not he said, "but they will day." The notion of trying! any kind of help for school children, if aren't ready to fly, is in other states and cussed in Congress. This spring, leg claim an income tax to $500 for their any charitable orgamza provides scholarshi dents to attend And currently gress is the Parent and Savings Account Plus measure to give break annuall) for their The bill, with in late October in both l allows parents to to $2,000 each year See Diocesan Pastoral Council, Catholic Center, 25, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT. Confirmation at Holy Rosary, Evansville, 25, 5 p.m. CDT. 150th Anniversary Mass, St. John the Ba F cennes, Sunday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m. EST. Big Bingo, Gold Room, Vanderbur ville, Sunday, Ot:26, 5:30 p.m. CST. Council of Priests, Catholic Center, Wednesda); 1:30 p.m. CST. USCC Commission on Certification and Milwaukee, Thursday, Friday and Saturda); Oct. Nov. 1.