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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
December 6, 1996     The Message
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December 6, 1996

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, ' ' VOLUME 27 NUMB ber 6, 19 , ,tAttA I : ,i:  y t Fund for Religious, above, will call attention in many collection for the Retirement which will be held December 7 throughout the Diocese of Evans- 5 Collection "produced a wonderful people of God in the United States, according to Sister Janet Roesener, National Religious Retirement Office dioceses responded '%vith their largest In the history of the appeal," Sister Roe- the distribution of $23,500,000 in 1995 were the Sisters of who received $75,707.65 Fund for Religious. A grant of Went to the Sisters of Providence at ods, and $38,585.65 went to the at St. Meinrad. Like to Know Immaculate Conception. to the Ordo (The Order of Prayer in the Litur- Celebration of the Eucharist 1977) pub- Press, the feast of the Immaculate Con- ated in the seventh century celebration of the of Mary by St. Anne." Pope Clement missi Nobis, established the feast in 1708. atholic Encyclopedia reports that essness of Mary had been taught by the appealing especially to such texts and 1:28. Pope Plus IX declared the te Conception to be Church dogma, of the feast this year is moved from Dee. the Sunday will be celebrated as the See- I preside at two celebrations of the at Mater Dei High School, Evansville, and Conception, Ferdinand. New St. Nicholas Church to be dedicated Sunday at Santa Claus By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message editor Contractor crews and volun- teers were "going like a house afire" at the new St. Nicholas Church in Santa Claus earlier this week, according to Benedic- tine Sister Mary Terence Knapp, pastoral life coordinator. The church building is being prepared for the dedication Sun- day, Dec. 8, at 10 a.m. CST. The new building, is located along Highway 245, near the Santa Claus Community Center. "We need till Saturday evening to finish," Said Sister Knapp, emphatically, then adding with equal enthusiasm, "so that we can celebrate vell on Sunday." Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger will preside at the dedication of the newest church building in the diocese. He noted that St. Nicholas is the newest parish in the diocese. St. Nicholas began as a mission in 1967, and was established at a parish on the patronal feast day, Dec. 6, 1991. The dedication this year was planned on the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Nicholas. On the Tuesday of the last week before the dedication, Sis- ter Knapp paused for several minutes to talk in a telephone interview with the Message from the new building. With the sounds of work crews in the background, Sister Knapp offered an overview of the work being performed. The altar table was assem- bled on Monday. On Tuesday, volunteers were cleaning, trying to stay behind the contractor's crew members who were finishing up some of the interior trim. Tables and chairs were being moved to the lower level. Office furniture was being moved into the upper level wing. The sound system was being installed. The baptistry was scheduled to be installed on Thursday. "We have really worked long and hard and up to the last minute," said Sister Knapp, "and we are still working at it." She praised the eagerness of parishioners who were respond- ing to her calls for work crews, and pointed out that the volun- teers "are having so much fun doing it." The eagerness to work and the fun involved in doing it m To me, that's church!" said Sis- ter Knapp. Survey: Birth of Jesus not Christians' first thought at Christmas ST. LOUIS (CNS) -- When asked what makes Christmas an important day, fewer than half of all Christians surveyed said it is the birth of Jesus. Only 29 percent of the Catholics in the group said the birth of Christ is the most significant aspect of the season, according to a study conducted by Lutheran Hour Ministries and released Nov. 28 in St. Louis. It said 37 percent of all Chris- tians, and 33 percent of all adults Christian and non-Christian identified the birth of Jesus as the most significant factor. The most likely answer in the survey was family time, men- tioned by 45 percent of the 1,006 adults in the survey, conducted by the Barns Research Group. Taken together, the birth of Christ and family time account- ed for about eight of every 10 responses about what makes Christmas important. But that provided little comfort to the researchers. "Americans are more likely to correctly recall the significance of April 15 than they are to connect Christmas with the birth of Jesus," said George Barna of the Barna Research Group in Oxnard, Calif., in a statement accompany- ing the survey results. "We have contracted acute amnesia regarding the spiritual significance of Dec. 25," Barna added. The Christmas question was the only one commissioned by Lutheran Hour in a lengthy omnibus telephone survey of adults within the 48 contiguous states. Surveyors also collected demographic and faith-related data. Barna said the study has a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points, with a 95 percent confidence rate, mean- ing that if the survey were con- ducted 100 more times, the same results would be achieved 95 times. After family time and the birth of Jesus, no answer got more than 10 percent of the responses. "Nothing" and "don't know" accounted for 5 percent each, "day off/holiday" and "presents/parties" got 3 percent each, and other rea- sons accounted for 6 percent. Among the few groups in which the birth of Jesus was mentioned, a majority of the ref- erences were by people who identified themselves as evan- gelical Christians, at 77 percent; born-again Christians, 52 per- cent; and those who said their religious involvement was high, 63.5 percent. Regular churchgoers and those committed to Christianity mentioned the birth of Jesus 48 percent of the time, those attend- ing evangelical denominations did so 46 percent ofthe time, and those in mainline denominations 42 percent. Those who identified them- selves as donors to both church- es and nonprofit organizations mentioned Jesus' birth 46 per- cent of the time, while donors to just churches did so 44 percent of the time. Those who gave only to nonprofit organizations men- tioned Christ's birth 21 percent of the time, and only 20 percent of those who do not donate to any group did so. Thirty-nine percent of married adults and 27 percent ofunmar. ried adults mentioned Jesus' birth. Forty-four percent of respon- dents who cited the birth of Jesus as being the most impor- tant aspect of Christmas identi- fied themselves as belonging to the religious right. Among those who said they were theological- ly conservative, 39 percent list- ed Jesus' birth; among those describing themselves as reli- gious, it was 39 percent; as fun- damentalist, 32 percent; as the- ological liberal, 24 percent. The older the respondents vere, the more likely they were to mention Christ's birth as being most important: among ages 65 and up, 39 percent said so; among ages 50-64, 38 per- cent did; among ages 35-49, 36 percent; and among ages 18-34, 26 percent. J O 3