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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
November 3, 1995     The Message
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November 3, 1995

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Taking the time to make a difference- Talk at the table, more than a meal Statistics don't usually bother me. But these do: Only one-third of families with children sit down to eat to- gether every night. One-third of families with children eat together four nights a week or fewer. One family in 10 eats to- gether twice a week at most. The statistics come from a 1992 study, quoted in a Chicago Tribune story which was syndi- cated in October 1995. "Even when the family gath- ers, it's not a leisurely affair," ac- cording to the story. "The study found that in more than half the households, dinners lasted 20 min- utes or less." What bothers me about these statistics is that I remember meals together, and I realize how im- portant they were. Much of what I remember from my childhood has to do with the family dinner table. Actually, it was the kitchen table, and we ate "supper" in the evening. "Dinner was what we had at mid-day. The evening meal was an important time. Ev- eryone was expected to be there, except on very rare occasions. For many years, Morn would time the cooking preparation so that it would be com- plete at 6 p.m., when one or more of my sisters would arrive home from their jobs. By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR The time at the table was much more than just a time to sat- isfy the needs of the body. It also satisfied the needs of the soul. The evening meal provided us all with an opportunity to learn about the significant and insignifi- cant events of the day -- what hap- pened at school for me, what hap- pened at work for the older members of the family, and so on. According to the newspaper ar- ticle, my own family experiences and conclusions are supported by a lot of current research. "Besides actually being occa- sionally enjoyable, the regular practice of parents and kids sitting down to a meal and conversation is one of the simplest, most effective means of raising well-adjusted children," continued the Chicago Tri- bune article. Such rituals as the family meal help give chil- dren a feeling of stability, according to a psycholo- gist quoted in the story. "Those findings take on new resonance in light of a recent report from the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, which found that 10- to 14-year-olds today need more attention and nur- turing than ever before, and they're not getting it," concluded the writer. Describe a "family meal" in your household. How have circumstances changed since the meals of your childhood? When do you and others in your home casual conversation? When do you tant" conversation? How -- and when -- do you about such things as when you will be work or school, or what events will cause i'n the household schedule? If there are children in your home, they have a chance to talk about matters schedules and facts? When do they talk with about what made them happy or sad? Evaluate the opportunities in for conversation. Perhaps the various your family make a regular evening meal an sible situation, but perhaps you may find portunities for spending time together. Consider changing your household make it possible to eat a meal together is Sunday brunch or a Wednesday supper. Take the time to establish a family ritual at the table. Be faithful to it. It will make ence. Questions and comments are welcome at the Christian Family Movement, P.O. Box Iowa 50010. Washington Letter Friend or foe? Religious groups argue value of first amen By CAROL ZIMKERMANN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Bring back the Founding Fa- thers. Maybe they could set the record straight and explain what the 16 words in the Es- tablishment Clause of the First Amendment really mean. According to some people, questions just continue to pop up in schools and courts across the country about the appropri- ateness of public praying, Bible reading or religious holiday cel- ebration in a country mandated by the Constitution's First Amendment "to make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Representatives from a broad spectrum of religious groups debated the validity of those words during two Senate Judiciary Committee hearings in October. The First Amendment is ei- ther misunderstood or just The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Publisher .............. Bishop Gerald A. Gettenger EOtoe ..................................... Paul R. Leingang Pfoductmn Techmoan ............... Joseph Dietrich Advertising .................................... Paul Newlancl Staff Wnte ............................ Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $15.00 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post off;e in Evansville, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Offm'e of Publication  1995  Press of EvanswUe doesn't say enough, say those who want to develop a new amendment guaranteeing reli- gious freedom; others argue that more words are either to- tally unnecessary or would only further muddy the already murky waters of how people can express their religious be- liefs in a pluralistic society. Forest Montgomery, counsel for the National Association of Evangelicals, says a proposed Religious Equality Amendment will make the difference. During an Oct. 19 Senate hearing he claimed a new amendment would clarify the often misconstrued Establish- ment Clause, end religious dis- crimination and secure freedom of religion in one fell swoop. And in the hope for more re- ligious freedom, he quoted Reader thanks many churches Dear Editor, mention, we would like to Although we live in a com- munity with literally dozens of churches and varying beliefs, a recent act, city at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Mont- gomery demonstrated that we are all capable of rising above our own prejudices and biases to work together toward an im- portant goal. St. Peter's parishioners re- cently embarked upon a fundraising effort to raise suffi- cient funds to replace the church organ-which is now more than 56 years old. As the chairpersons for that effort, we have come up with several fundraising activities to reach our goal. On October 14, one of those activities was a sausage and pancake breakfast. Our expec- tation that day was to attract enough parishioners to move us further along toward our goal. We could also see the benefit of church fellowship that would certainly result. Our expecta- tions were far exceeded by the outstanding support from indi- viduals and local businesses that contributed in so many ways to our success. Although there are far too many of you to thank each of you for donating various items that day. With- out your help, we would not have been able to hold the event. What we did not necessarily expect that day was the tremendous outpouring of sup- port from our neighbors from nearby communities and churches. The attendance that day exceeded 350 persons and the representation from numer- ous other denominations brought a smile to everyone's face. We would like to again ex- tend our sincere thanks to ev- eryone that attended and con- tributed toward our organ fund. More importantly, how- ever, we would like to publicly acknowledge the support from persons from other churches and communities. We appreci- ate their willingness to help us in our effort and to join us {n fellowship without regard to the church walls that may sur- round us. The friendships and support of all of you that were involved with our success that day are an inspiration to everyone. Greg and Angle Taylor Montgomery Thomas Jefferson: "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secured when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?" He emphasized that for Americans to get back on track, they need to reaffirm a recogni- tion of God; but they would never be able to do so through current interpretations of.the First Amendment. As he and representatives from the Traditional Values Coalition, the Family Research Council and the Christian Legal Society's Center for Law and Religious Freedom see it, people are continually discrimi- nated against for publicly prac- ticing their beliefs because judges and administrators mis- interpret the Constitution. Among examples they gave were lower court rulings that upheld a school's order that a fifth-grade school teacher re- move a Bible from his desk and illustrated Bibles classroom library, teacher who gave a zero for a research life of Jesus Christ. Steven McFarland, of the Center for LaW gious Freedom, said only prove that the ligious alive and well in and courts through country." But Elliot tive vice the American We: Catholic News claims about the crimination cases "Trojan horse" for more .government! ship of religion, and reform. Jesuit Father Robert! law professor at Ge University in likened the em cific cases to "a See Bishop's sched The following activities and events are listed schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: 8:30 a.m: 8taff noon to 5  and Sounds of ( , Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m.