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Evansville, Indiana
November 11, 1994     The Message
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November 11, 1994

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11, 1994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 -" Bishop's Forum --- Who is the bishop? Vision Statement: Para. graph I: Given life from God through the loving cooperation of my parents; presented by them for initiation into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus through Bap- tra, I.have come to believe .-rough their persistence in teach- gebY Word and example. I have n nurtured in the Catholic faith in Y family, the domestic church, 's:e:m. puny of my parents, five - ann two brothers. En- livened by the Spirit in Confirma- tion and fed regularly at the table of the Lord, I declare and profess ray faith Called to serve as nriestlv minlst r nd shepherd, I b ='' - ,-. ., " e a local Ch,,;,i. umy snare my vision for the life of the ---=--, Lne Uatholic Diocese of Evansville. Bishop Gettelfin er is d columns  .....  evoting a series of 8tatem  "n .n-aepth explanation of his '2Zision Published  [or the Dmcese of Evansville," which was , n ls.etirety Nov. 4. The column below ;:P;nhdsnthed ascontainedinthefirstpara- ByBISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER for the-:Wha Superintendent of Catholic Education cndiocese of Indianapolis, I had the op- Portunity and res o r01e sl'h,l..l.,=  -- p nslbzhty of sup ervmm g staff, a ofCh^Y :y umerent from that of being Princi al =ara Hi  P L . gh School for it was a smaller num- uer Oprofessional s and suvDort staff. . uUring the annual evaluation conference, rou- tsltaa;Yllast question I would pose for each of the oars was: "What can I do that will make The answer of one staffer is the origin of this first paragraph of my vision statement for our diocese. Her answer was: "It would be helpful if you would always give me the first paragraph!" Bettie Amberger's insights were keen and always rich in their content. She had learned from hard experience that when she saw me at her desk seeking information she would always have to ask me the "first paragraph." She had come to know that I would automatically presume that what was in my head was in the heads of my staffbe- cause "I had thought of it" and that anyone, at any time, would know what I was think- ing. So it was in the development of this "vision" statement. Earlier versions were devoid of any "statement of faith" or "family of origin." In pop lingo one could ask: "Where is this guy coming from?!" The substance of this first paragraph is a response to "It would be helpful always to give us the first paragraph." You will note that I am becoming ever more assertive of my strong conviction of the critical in- fluence of family and family life on each of us. I grew up in a rural community which was mostly Protestant, with a collection of different Protestant sects. Each Protestant Church and com- munity was about the size of our own Catholic parish or even smaller, so we all lived as an harmo- nious community of Christians of different persua- sions. The faith of my parents and grandparents eventually became my own as an adult. Had they not shared it as a gift in baptism -- and had I not been reminded by them of personal responsibility to be accountable for it, I would not be the person I am today -- No, not the person.of bishop, but the person of Christian I learned the meaning of Christian community long before I knew the words. My parents taught it, and we all partici- pated in it, with our Protestant and Catholic neighbors. The journey from eighth grade in a two-room public school to priesthood is short of miraculous unless, of course, one acknowledges not only the generosity of parents but also the interest and en- couragement of my pastor and the Benedictine Sisters who gave extra time for summer religious education programs. Solemn Communion was a special moment. Even though I do remember the Sacrament of Confirmation after second grade, the profession of faith at Solemn Communion has been a driving force in my life. It was a special Sunday just be- fore I took the entrance examination for St. Mein- rad Seminary. I was accepted as a student for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. My family prayed for seminarians each day as part of the family rosary, yet it was not until after my sixth year in the seminary that I knew of their daily prayer for seminarians. They did not wish to put undue pressure on me by such a public sup- port of my desire and intention. The nine stars on my episcopal coat of arms represent my parents and siblings. My parents, five sisters and two brothers remain a powerful source of inspiration and support. Their love for me has never faltered, nor mine for them. May every child be privileged to say the same! Visiting Haiti and experiencing holiness had everything. They were IENTARY WILDEM.V,,T happy people who sang from their hearts, living life joyfully, grateful to God for all they had received. It seemed like par- adise, as that was the way God intended us all to be, After see- ing such vibrant faith, I came back radically changed. looked different hOme. I had visited of Haiti for the first and I Came back who had ang, and yet they MILLER & MILLER "Funeral Pre-Planning Since 1940" 424-9274 DUBOIS COUNTY BANK MEMBER OLD NATIONAL BANCORP Member FDIC FIVE STAR SERVICE BANK "LINCOLN MERCURY l JASPER " 482-1200 ] ;heet Metal Inc. & Commercial Heating & Cooling Sales & Service 422-9242 FOur nt Location8 15 S. Third Avenue, Evansville i The people I met in Haiti had something wonderful, and I wanted to share it too. People who had very little were much more willing to give, and they enjoyed doing it! St. Vincent de Paul received all the clothes I hadn't worn in the last year. I started eating simpler, less ex- pensive foods, and gave up eat- ing between meals, in solidar- ity with those who had so little to eat. My priorities were re- considered, and I started using money very differently. Less for me, and more for those who really needed it. I felt inspired to live a new and different life. It's been 10 years since that first visit to Haiti, and I realize now that what I experienced there was holiness. I was touched by a lifestyle that re- flected what it means to be a dis- ciple of Jesus. Those people had it together. They were "living  what I professed to believe. The difference was that their faith came from their hearts. We seem to be more con- scious today of our addictions, not just to cigarettes or caf- feine or alcohol, but even to TV or shopping or people who think like us. Our addictions become our way of life. Arch- bishop Thomas Murphy, arch- bishop of Seattle, Wash., re- minds us that to be free of them we need to ask ourselves, "What do I own and what owns me?" We need to listen to the radical call of Jesus, to leave everything and "come, follow Washington Auto Trim 27 Years Service ZIEMER-SHEARS EASY CHAPEL 800 S. HEBRON E. SHETLER MOVING & STORAGE Evansville's First Family of Movers Evansville, Indiana Kimball International Jasper, Indiana T F s Box 68 Montgomery, Indiana 47558 Donald J. Traylor President Phone: 486-3285 I I II AUTO TOPS . SEAT COVERS, BOAT COVERS STEREO SALES & INSTALLATIONS 254-3943 HWY 50 EAST, BEHIND UPS CENTER EUGENE WELP, OWNER I I II me." We're called to "live" what we believe, to put our faith into practice. Jesus calls each of us to share ourselves  our time, our abilities, our ministry, our relationships. We're called to be holy people. My experience in Haiti was a precious gift. It was a hum- bling reminder of whom I'm called to be, and of how much room I have to grow, but it was also a glimpse of how God in- tends us to be. Jesus has made us his steward and entrusted us with the ongoing mission of serving his people. Steward- ship is a far more radical call that just sharing resources with the Church. It's a funda- mental issue of faith and con- version, of seeing and living and being in a whole new way. Stewardship is a new way of life, a life of holiness. When I returned from Haiti, I felt inspired to change my life. I invite you to do the same thing, to reconsider your own life, your priorities, your call to holiness. Jesus challenges us to dare to dream, to dare to take the risk of living a life of stewardship. Genuine steward- ship is a wy of life, a way of holiness, a way of happiness. Jesus invites us to live our faith with joyful hearts. Let's be on our wayl Father Dick Wildeman is pastor at St. Joseph Church, Vanderburgh County. This col. umn, which was published with permission, is from the St. Joseph parish newsletter. I HAUBSTADT ELECTRIC L - BxJ- Insu PO, Box TONY NAZARIO Ha IN 47639 812-768-5207 1-800-766-2787 i I [ I[I I I III I II I III I I