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November 4, 1988     The Message
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November 4, 1988

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t t It P i November 4, 1988 The Message -- for Catholics O f Southwestern Indiana Question Corner Q&A By FATHER JOHN DIETZEN NO News Service Columnist I i ii i ii i i iiiii ii i ii Baptism when a child is plao00(t for adoption 13 Q. My daughter recently gave birth to a child out of wedlock. She came to the very painful, yet wise, decision to place her baby for adoption through a Catholic agency into a Catholic home. "Wanting to experience as much of her newborn's life as possible during her two-day hospital stay, she asked the chaplain of this Catholic hospital if he would baptize her baby. He refused, saying the archbishop requires that unless in danger of death adopted babies must be baptiz- ed in the parish where the family and parishioners can welcome them into the household of the faith. I cannot think of a better person to welcome a child to. the faith than her own mother. My daughter endured nine months of emotional and physical pain and hurt because she felt it would have been wrong to terminate thepregnancy. You'd think the church wouldtake a more compassionate view toward the needs of the birth mother and not just ',the parish community." "Ohio i, A. I'm sonny for the hurt you and your family have suffered. The pain involved in the situation itself and in the uelfishness required for such a decision is enormous. Having said this, however, I only can agree totally with your local church policy, which by the way is common elsewhere. First. no priest is permitted to baptize a baby unless and until he has some strong assurance that i i i ii i u ii IH ill the child will be raised in tle Catholic faith, an assurance which normally comes from the parents who will bring up the child. Both canon law and the Rite of Baptism stress this "condition for baptism. Perhaps you feel your adoption agency provides this assurance, but the requirement is clear. Something more needs saying, however, and I hope I can say it without seeming insensitive to you and your daughter. I admire your daughter's courage, goodness and generosity in the decision she has made. You can be proud of her for .that. The fact remains that the adoptive parents will accept {perhaps already have as I write} an awesome physical and spiritual burden in taking your grandchild as their own. For one thing, they will need all the inspira- tion and strength they can get to do that job well. The ceremonies of baptism are intended among other purposes to give them that grace and. support to which they have a right. It may help to recall that several times during the baptism ceremony the parents commit themselves explictly or implicitly to share their faith with their children and to model it for them by word and example. Of course, your daughter cannot make such a commitment. The adoptive parents can and will. The community of faith your priest spoke Of is not an abstract idea. It is the concrete group of H i i warm bodies, your grandchild's permanent family and parish, which will have the continuing heavy responsibility to bring to maturity what begins at his baptism. What it comes down to is that for your grand- child the sacrament of baptism will have much larger significance than to be a consolation for your daughter, however much that consolation might understandably mean for her. By this time I suspect the following recom- mendation is too late for your daughter. I strongly suggest, however, to other women and girls Who find themselves in her situation that they ask their hospital chaplain or parish priest to pray over and bless them and their children with all those deep concerns in mind. Some parts of the baptism ritual itself might be included, along with appropriate Scripture passages and invocations from the church's book of blessings. . _ This solution would help recognize the spiritual and emotional needs of both the birth mother and the parents who accept the respon- sibilities of adoption. A free brochure outlining mart&go regulations in the Catholic Church and explaining the pro- raises in an interfaith marriage is available by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Father Dietzen, Holy .Trinity Church, 704 N. Main St., Bloomington, Ill; 61701. i i i iii i St. John ........ Continued from page 9 center, again without boun- St. John Church has ex- daries, with the mission to perienced many changes in the serve people from any and all relatively short span of its geographic areas. Father Pat years. It was begun as a parish Foster was appointed ad- for black Catholics; but in May ministrator after Msgr. Mootz 1953 the parish was given was transferred. The school was boundaries to serve a certain, closed. geographical territory. Marian Day School moved in- In -September 1967, St. to the school building, and re- John's became an apostolic mained until 1983 when the I00Dubois County Bank CLOSE TO YOU WITH 8 CONVENIENT LOCATIONS CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR VIEWS ON ABORTION JOHN MUTZ Supports the Right To Life Position EVAN BAYH Does Not Support the Right To Life Stand DON'T SUPPORT ABORTION ATTHE BALLOT BOX! Paid for by the Indiana Federation of Right To Life Political Action Committee, Mary Jo Wichman, Treasurer. facility was moved to St. Theresa Church, Evansville. Home Masses and block clubs were among the important developments in the changing style of the parish. In 1968, Fathers Charles Meny and Earl Rohleder were named co-administrators. A 1971 newspaper account de- tailed the staff as including the priests and also "two Holy Cross Brothers, a providence nun, a seminarian, and, on most days, a motley crew of volunteers." In 1973, Fathers Sylvester Loehrlein and Clark Field were appointed co-adminstrators. In 1976, Father Loehrlein was named administrator, and in 1978, when members of the parish successfully petitioned for a return to territorial boun- daries, he became pastor. Father Loehrlein is quoted as describing the parish founder as an "ideal priest" -- a feeling obviously shared by others in the parish who formed the "S.O.M.M. Committee" in 1977. The initials stand for "Spirit of Msgr. Mootz." Father Bob Nemergut was named pastor June 16, 1988. "In this short time, I've been blessed to see people who are concerned about their Christian community," he stated. His first week was eventful and instructive. He accidentally locked himself out of the rec- tory, and he was called on to preside at a funeral. "The way people pitched in for the liturgy at this funeral as well as the meal afterwards spoke loudly to me of the talents and gifts of my I I parishioners." The parish needs a few things, he said. A ramp for the handicapped is one of the pro- jects of the present. As for the future, he said, "My hope is for a Christian community that sees its talents and gifts to be shared. My dream is a Christian community that shows its faith in the Lord through our actions. Finally, my vision for St. John's parish is a worshipping community where parish and neighborhood become one in growth through sharing." II II _ EWTN CATHOLIC CA'BLE"NETWoRI( III I I I I II "Permanent Federal Was Our Choice, Natun ! The Hendricks chose Permanent for their mortgage loan. But we're the natural choice for a variety of products including; checking, savings, personal loans, and consumer loans. If you want to bank where only the highest quality products are offered, make the natural choice. Make the Permanent change to better banking. r "::=: ----3 F VAN.";V;L I E NEWBURGH OAKLANO CITY FORf BRANCH JASPER I