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December 16, 1994     The Message
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December 16, 1994
 

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2 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Retrouvaille The following information was provided by Karen and Tom Heilers coordinating cou- ple for Retrouvaille. Divorce statistics tell only part of the story. Over sixty percent of all marriages in America fail. Another hidden reality is the quiet, or perhaps turbulent, desperation of many couples who appear to be suc- ceeding. However, many couples who had given up hope, and some who had even separated or di- vorced, have been jolted from m weekend available for troubled the depths of despair and apa- thy and have found help and healing for their failing mar- riage through a church min- istry called Retrouvaille. Retrouvaille (Ret-ro-vi), a French word meaning "redis- covery," began in Quebec, Canada, in 1977 by the Catholic Church to fulfill the need to minister to couples ex- periencing pain and disillu- sionment in their marriage. In 1982, the program was first of- fered in the United States and has since grown to include over 114 communities in the U.S. Another study shows U.S. Church giving on decline CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (CNS)- U.S. Christians continue to give less money to their churches, a new study says. In 1992 the average Ameri- can spent three times as much on gambling as the average U.S. church member gave to church, it says. In an analysis of lifestyle costs, it suggests that one of the big reasons for a decline in church giving is that Ameri- cans are spending ever bigger chunks of their income on ma- terial comforts and luxuries. The study, "The State of Church Giving Through 1992," analyzes 25 years of giving trends in 29 Christian denomi- nations with a combined mem- bership of 30 million. It was released Dec. 9 by Empty Tomb, a nonprofit Christian research and service organization in Champaign. Funding was provided by the Lilly Endowment, which gives extensive support to research in religion. The Catholic Church was not among denominations ana- lyzed, but several other studies in recent years have shown that the typical Catholic gives considerably less to the church than the typical Protestant and that Catholic rates of giv- ing have been declining more rapidly than Protestant rates. According to the new Empty Tomb report, per-member con- tributions to the churches studied dropped, in figures ad- justed for inflation, from $368.79 in 1991 to $366.39 in 1992 -- a decline of more than half a percent in the last year of that period. To eliminate the effects of inflation, the study adjusted all figures to constant 1987 dollars. In unadjusted figures the actual per-member giving in 1992 was $445.16, but the dollar in 1992 was worth just a little more than four-fifths of its 1987 value. Study authors John and Sylvia Ronsvalle said the churches have not developed a positive agenda for dealing with a half-century of increas- ing affluence in America, and lure of other things to spend money on may be one of the major obstacles to church giv- ing. In a chapter on lifestyle costs, the study pointed out that between 1970 and 1992 the average size of a U.S. household dropped from 3.14 people to 2.62 people. But the average number of square feet and eleven other countries. Lo- cally, Retrouvaille Weekends have been presented twice each year at Mount St. Joseph Center in Maple Mount, Ken- tucky, since October 1989. Res- idents from western Kentucky and surrounding states are welcome to attend. Retrouvaille is a peer min- istry of help and hope. Week- ends are led by couples who have salvaged their own mar- riage as a result of their own Retrouvaille experience, and who have participated in addi- tional leadership training. Along with a team priest, they share their own very painful stories and offer presentations on many aspects of marriage which provide the spark for private reflection and discus- sion. For many couples, it is a relief to realize that they are not alone in their misery. The fact that the .team members were able to work through their problems and not only survive, but actually thrive in their relationships, provides help and hope for those couples participating in the program. Confidentiality is strictly en- forced, and spouses are not re- quired to discuss their rela- tionship with anyone but each other during the Weekend. Couples have an opportunity to "rediscover" many qualities in each other and many strengths in their marriage as they learn skills for communication, growth, forgiveness and healing. in new homes rose from 1,500 to 2,095. In that same time the per- centage of homes with central air conditioning more than doubled. The percentage with 2.5 or more bathrooms nearly tripled, from 16 percent to 47 percent. Nearly twice as many households had two or more motor vehicles. According to figures in the lifestyle analysis, if Americans were to start giving as much to their church as they spend on eating out, contributions would nearly double immediately. If they were to give as much to church as they spend on amusements, crafts, toys, cos- metics, candy, soft drinks and other luxuries and leisure ac- tivities, contributions would more than quadruple. The study broke church con- tributions into two major cate- gories: congregational finances, or the funds for internal opera- tions of the congregation, and benevolences, or funds given for other purposes from local social service and charity to the denomination's seminaries, national offices and national and international charitable and missionary activities. It found that giving declined in both categories between 1991 and 1992. When giving as a percentage of per capita income in 29 de- nominations was tracked over a quarter-century, the study found that: -- In 1968 members of those denominations gave an aver- age of 3.14 percent of their in-- come to their church. By 1992 that figure dropped to 2.52 per- cent. -- The percent of income going to congregational main- tenance in those years declined from 2.48 percent to 2.08 per- cent. .-- The percent of income going to henevohnces declined from 0.66 percent to 0.44 per- cent. The authors said that if the decline in benevolent giving were to continue on the same track into the next century, it would bottom out at zero in the year 2050. They said they showed that projection not to suggest that it would actually happen, but to highlight the need for churches to give more attention to the stewardship attitudes of their members. During a short telephone in- terview prior to the Weekend, each spouse is asked for a com- mitment to work on the mar- riage; assurance that if there is chemical dependency, it is being addressed through a re- covery program; that any third-party involvement has been terminated; and that those in counseling have ap- proval of the therapist. Team members are quick to point out that they are not pro- fessionals; therefore, they en- courage couples to seek coun- seling, if needed. Retrouvaille clearly does not replace marriage counseling, but can complement it by helping develop skills for rebuilding relationships. Because the Weekend is not a quick and easy "miracle cure," a series of six Post-Weekend ses- sions help review concepts pre- sented during the Weekend and introduce new ones. The Post-Weekend phase is consid- ered more important than the Weekend itself because it en- ables the couples to experience positive changes in their rela- tionship over a period of time. These sessions are held approxi- mately every other Sunday af- ternoon. Couples have the option to continue their growth and en- richment by becoming active in the ministry and by attending a monthly support group after completing the Post-Weekend phase of the program. A Although Catholic in origin tion, members (f nations and church affiliation The next weekend of JanUaJ 1995 at Mount ter in Maple tional in cations for the Weekend may be contacting the Heilers, 1829 Asb wensboro, K( 686-1967. A accepted through  1995. to & Coffee Shop or that cheon Holiday Party from the Bakery! Or try fresh-baked nut loaves..-. Fresh-Baked Pies 9" Apple $5.95 9" Pumpkin $4.95 9" Pecan $7.95 holiday Holida Co 1 1 lb. gift 2-1/2 lb. ] $14 Rum $5. Fruitcake Century-old recipe German 1 lb. $7.95 Sprin  2 lb. $14.95 Pfeff 2128 First Avenue ....... 426-2311 5 N. Green River Rd ...... 479-0511 1031 Diamond Ave ...... 426-0011 210 N. St. Joseph Ave .... 426-1011 1950 Washington Ave .... 477-2711 Mon.-Sat. 5 am-8 pm Sun. 5 am- 1 pm Nut D Gingerbread Orange-  Boy & Girl Pumpk it, Cookies $.89 $2. "'Something good is right on your way