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December 15, 1995     The Message
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December 15, 1995
 

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,1995 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana " 5 "-'Bishop's Forum-- Announcing the Bishop Shea Memorial Endowment Bishop Francis Raymond Shea was a stately southern gentleman of Irish descent. When he and I had the opportunity to spend consid- erable hours in the car, he would often reminisce about his childhood ted his leaving home to study for priesthood The bishop of Nashville sent the St, Charles Seminary in Minor Seminary the bishop sent him American College in his theology. He was in War clouds grew over He was ordained on March go the outbreak of the Second World He related that his iournev to the priesthood :nUcledeverhave been possible without the assis- --me Diocese of Nashville. By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER His story has been multiplied many times over in the lives of most priests. I would never have been able to enter the seminary without as- sistance from the Archdiocese of In- dianapolis. My parents could not af- ford the $600 anual tuition for the Minor Seminary at St. Meinrad. Our diocese, too, assists our seminary students through finan- cial aid as it always has. Funds are made available through the Catholic Parishes Campaign. Last year our expenditures for seminary education were in excess of $169,000. This figure does vary from year to year, depending on the number of seminary students. It has been my hope that we could establish an endowment for the specific purpose of assisting stu- dents to prepare for the priesthood. Bishop Shea, consistent with his spirit of gen- erosity as evidenced through his life of service to God and the church, at his death, left the Diocese of Evansville with $218,000. He did not put any re- strictions on how this was to be used. What more appropriate tribute could there be than to establish with his gift "The Bishop Francis R. Shea Memorial Endowment" for the preparation of students for the priesthood? Bishop Shea's gift is now a living memorial to him. Its fruits will make possible for others what he himself had experienced. The Bishop Shea Endowment is an invitation to others to unite their gifts with his to assist in preparing students for the priesthood. The legacy of Bishop Shea is one of the greatest love for the priesthood and respect for the priests who shared it with him. That memory will live on with us. The third Stmda :was ,.... y of Advent :: GaUdete u.z tz n ally called " unclay Gaudete zs !he Latin word f , , and the  - or rejozce, unciay was na tae:c:hefi, rst Word of them:: auPllon in the Latin rite. Joy is the theme of t the ,, . Cnentary " a'r]ER FRANCIS T. "'_C, S.d. ;0g0f,  it is an integral as- vent We re ar receive  . P p e to t Chr'nrist into our hearts lstmas, to When h" - meet him to Go, COmes to welcome us ebr.  s presence a . .elzi sL. , ndtocel. ,00sars ' mrth Some 2,000 las ale. And since Christ acly Come take thi-" , no one can x JOy away" Qliie:dings" Suggest several -' joy in God The Third Sunday of Advent: Joy, joy, joy! first reading is from the Book of Isaiah (35:1-6,10). These two chapters, striking in their con- trast, express Yahweh's activ- ity in history. Chapter 34 is a vindictive, venomous oracle of blood and destruction pro- nounced against Edom, Israel's age-long enemy. Chapter 35 is an oracle of restoration for Is- rael, an exultant outburst of joy and confidence. The im- agery evokes the picture of a second exodus, once the people have tapped the well of the life-giving resources of their God. The physical infirmities listed in the second portion of the reading represent spiritual weakness. And the words fa- miliar to us from Handel's Messiah, "Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing," envision a day when faith will open peo- ple's eyes to see the power available through a right rela- tionship with God. The Gospel reading is a story from Matthew (11:2-11) that, when John the Baptist was imprisoned by King Herod Agrippa, he sent some of his followers to Jesus to ask if Jesus was the Messiah. There is no evidence that John ever thought of Jesus as the Mes- siah. But the answer at- tributed to Jesus implies that his role is not to be mistaken for that of a fiery apocalyptic judge come at the end of time to punish and reward; rather, the author shifts the definition of Messiah to the role of bring- ing good news and healing. Jesus is pictured answering questions of John the Baptist's followers by appealing to these same activities as criteria of his mission. This is how John and all people -- may recog- nize Jesus as Messiah. When John's messengers leave, Jesus asks his audience, "When you went out from Jerusalem to hear John preach, why did you go  to see a reed blowing in the wind?"  that is, a symbol of an opportunist, a political com- promiser, a religious hypocrite. No. "What did you go out to see, a man richly dressed?" -- that is, a Messiah figure in the worldly sense, a regal or priestly figure in fine vest- ments. No. "Then why did you go out  to see a prophet?" Yes, and precisely that prophet who was to announce the com- ing of the Messiah. He was to be the messenger of salvation, who would prepare the way for tle Messiah. His message was change of heart, sharing with others, justice and charity. This is the message of John; this Jesus gives as the sign of his messiahship. The second reading is from Chapter 5 of the New Testa- ment letter attributed to James. Here, the sufferings of the righteous at the hands of the rich is meant to remind Christians of their own suffer- ing. They are encouraged to be patient, not only in the face of injustice but also toward the ordinary trials of life. And even though we have rather spiritualized the con- cept of Christ's second coming, as described in this letter, it remains an event to be awaited with joy and prepared for with Knights of Columbus: On welfare reform fo,, elfare' "OWzng statement on the le: reform Was issued aaatg: f Columbus, in by OUncil. In 1882 )ur llich .... founder F zl "'t  . _. , ather eed to - " vlctnley saw a of his -" p the less fortunate ejr thP: '.From this con- . as for - grits of Columbus Knight  a, Since then, the hat 8a. aVe.grown beyond [tateraa Parish to become a ate4 ,.  rganization de thQ  service to th- .di- _ ,a ^ . e country, aeed. u'a anc[ persons xn the Knights Church and nate through: Olympics; assistance to mental retards. the deaf, the the of the Holy ties (Vicarius studies and the family; SUpporting the art, service has to the Indiana the public the Church in Zting a political Znsert in the t in 1992 and again in 1994; funding the printing of a resource hand- book: "There's Help for Preg- nant women in Indiana" in 1989, 1992 and 1995; holding "Meet the Candidate" forums in 1994; funding and distribut- ing of the U. S. Catholic Bish- ops' Resolution: A Framework for Comprehensive Health Care Reform: Promoting Human Life, Promoting Human Dignity, Pursing the Common Good; and sending a representative to quarterly meetings of the diocesan pro-life directors and the Catholic Conference staff. As leaders of the Catholic Church in Indiana, the bish- ops, through the Catholic Con- ference, have issued a call to all believers and others con- cerned with the welfare of the less fortunate. The call: help individuals and their families break the vicious circle of poverty and free themselves from total dependence on gov- ernment aid. Most recently, His Holiness Pope John Paul II challenged all to bring the Gospel message of concern for the less fortu- nate at a moment in history when the mood of the public is moving in another direction. In a speech in New York city, with the leadership of the Knights of Columbus present, Pope John Paul II reminded us that "America's sometime ex- travagant affluence often con- ceals much hardship and poverty." Then, in Giants' Stadium, the Pope asked: "Is present day America becoming less sensi- tive, less caring toward the poor, the weak, the stranger, the needy? It must not!" Our tradition of allegiance to the church and the Pope and our history of charitable con- cern and action puts us in readiness to assist our faith community in becoming active in the shaping of welfare re- form from" a set of basic moral principles: The first and most basic principle is that true reform must always respect the dig- nity and inviolability of all human life from conception to natural death. Also, public and private in- stitutions and individuals have a duty to promote the well being of all persons, particu- larly the poor. True reform must address both the rights and responsi- bilities of individuals and insti- tutions. The measure of welfare re- form should be how it will pro- mote meaningful work while enhancing the lives of children and their families. As outlined in the Indiana Catholic Conference statement entitled, "Indiana Public Policy and the Critical Needs of Low-Income Persons", follow- ing these principles we support efforts that: Seek to help people leave behind not just the welfare roles but also to leave behind poverty with all its tragic con- ditions. Help families move from welfare to work without losing health coverage, satisfactory day care, and an income essen- tial for their well-being, includ- ing the federal IMPACT pro- gram. Reward work by letting AFDC recipients retain a larger share of their income and exclude educational loans, grants, and scholarships from countable unearned income. Offer AFDC recipients ed- ucation and job training that lead to real jobs. Assist unmarried, preg- nant women with alternatives to abortion. Include very strong child support enforcement. No one should help conceive a child and then walk away from the responsibility of supporting that child. Affirm and reward the val- ues of strong, intact families and basic morality for all peo- ple. The Knights stand with His Holiness and also with the leadership of the Catholic Church in Indiana who call for reforms that will strengthen families, promote employment, reduce child poverty and re- duce teen pregnancy without hurting children or encourag- ing abortion. We will assist this call by: disseminating the summary statement of Indiana Public Policy and the Critical Needs of Low-lncome Persons" throughout Knight families; encouraging forums within our councils where local private and public leaders are invited to discuss reform efforts; using our alert networks to pass on Indiana Catholic Conference public policy action alerts; and let persons seeking our votes know that we stand firm in our belief that public officials must respect the dignity of all human life and must put chil- dren and families first when they work to shape public pol- icy in Indiana and in Congress.