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Evansville, Indiana
November 27, 1987     The Message
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November 27, 1987
 

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November 27, 1987 00View Point The Message - for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana By FATHER EUGENE HEERDINK Missionary, A voice from South America tells of one missionary effort The "systematic formation of small Christian communities should be the key pastoral priority in Eastern Africa in the years to come." So declared the Bishops of Eastern Africa 11 years ago. The Bishops of South America in their meetings at Medellin, Colombia, and Puebla, Mex- ico, have been saying the same for 20 years. Since June I&apos;ve been working with Sister Joan Gerads, a Franciscan nun and Father Tom Maney, a Maryknoll priest, forming neighborhood church <tommunities. These two have been working together in this apostolate for twelve years in Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and the USA. Most of the people of South America are Catholic, but the scarcity of priests and religious to care for them causes a lack of attention, encourage- ment and instruction for the great majority. Some parishes have 40 to lO0 thousand people with only one or two priests. In my experience, less than 10 percent attend Mass regularly. In forming the neighborhood church com- munities, the Church, i.e. our group, goes to the people where they' are. We invite them to attend a five night Mission in a home in their neighborhood. Our team of two or three plans and leads the first Mission in a parish. Thereafter we gradually insert members of the local parish into the conducting Mission. The last week (6th week) that we are in a parish, the members of the parish team do everything in the Mission while we, the missionary team, only attend the Mission, praying, observing and encouraging. On our leaving the parish the pastor has an experienced team which continues to conduct the neighborhood home mis- sions monthly until all areas of the parish are touched. On the fifth night of the Mission, the people attending always want to continue so they choose three or four leaders to plan the weekly hour-long meetings in the future. These meetings, along with the hour and a half nightly mission or five nights which went before, are filled with singing, sharing life, reading and applying three short Bible passages to their own lives and then praying for the needs of all. Many people testify to the joy, to the love and unity formed in the family and neighborhood and to cures that come during the mission. A home Mass is an integral part of the final night of the mission. Like the 72 disciples that Jesus sent ahead of him, we, with members of the local parish, visit some 5O homes in an area, blessing each home, praying for their needs and inviting the whole family to attend the mission the next week. Sometimes 50 percent of the people invited come. The people begin to feel the presence of God in their lives and that they are Church. Their faith, hope and love become alive and active. The Neighborhood Church Communities, like the first Christian communities, are the vision, the hope and the joy of the Church in Latin America for the present and the future. What about the Church in the USA? For more information on this work in the USA and in South America or ff you care to support this work, contact PARISH NEIGHBORHOOD RENEWAL MINISTRY (Our USA title), 1950 E. , 25th St., Hibbing, Minn. 55746. St. John00 FROM COZY CONDO TO MAGNIFICENT MANSION... COMFORTMAKER ADDS SALES APPEAL Whatever you're building, Comfortmaker has top-quality central heating and air con- ditioning systems to match it exactly. And the Comfortmaker name means a great deal to your homebuyers. It tells them you care enough to install the very best. So it speaks well of you and the home you're selling. We'll behappy to discuss your plans with you. We can design a Comfortmaker system to match your plans-and your construction budget-precisely. Then we'll handle the installation neatly, professionally.., on time and on budget. Call us for an appointment at your convenience. Comfortmaker Air Conditioning & Heating Call Your Nearest Heating & Air " , Conditioning Dealer Or " .  / TRI-$TA TE ENVIRONMENTAL Wholesale Distributors For Comfortmaker Products IN EVANSVILLE CALL IN INDIANA CALL OUTSIDE INDIANA CALL 425-4337 1-800-852.3978 1-800.457.3749 Continued from page 9 operating in every parish area from fundraising to spiritual life. Father Ackerman cites the commitment to Catholic educa- tion as another good quality in the parishioners. Father Merz, who had enlarged the church building also started the first parish school. It was a brick house, with two small rooms for the teacher and one school room for advanced students. It was torn down in 1872, and replaced with a larger school building. The new parish school was built in 1953; since 1977 it has been operated as part of consolidated Catholic schools, named in honor of Bishop Flaget. Organizations in the parish include the St. Anne's Altar Society, the St. John's Benevolent Society and the Teutonia Society -- all dating back to the 19th century; the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were founded in 1938, and the Vincent de Paul society in 1946. Funeral Homes Four HIGHLAND CHAPEL ! Convenient Locations 6300 FIRST AVE. "SINCE 1913" INSURANCE -- REAL ESTATE 464-5993 AUTO * HOME a FIRE LIABILITY ## CONTINU00C_00RE CENTER ,l. 479-4