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December 25, 1987     The Message
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December 25, 1987

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, The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 1 1 December 25, 1987 Hi , 00Vlew Point By FATHER JOSEPH L. ZILIAK Associate Publisher Reflecting quietly on th,,. feast of Christmas Some of the year's most emotionally laden hours come on Christmas eve. The vast majority of our people do try to emphasize the spiritual dimension of the fe.3st. After all, we are celebrating the birth of the Savior! There is no greater blessing during those hours than to be able quietly to reflect on the feast. We hope and pray that you have some blessed quiet time to prepare very directly for the celebration of Jesus' birth. 2 How do we do this? Each of us will find our own ways to be with the Lord. The time and the kind of time available will certainly vary with the family and circumstance. Afternoon Masses designed for children may be the beginning of an evening more closely attuned to the Lord. Older ones waiting for the celebration of Midnight Mass may find the late evening hours to be ideal for centering their thoughts of the presence of the child Jesus. Those planning Christmas morning celebrations may retire early while reflecting on the Lord God who would send his son to be our savior. Rather than theologize this year on this special event, I would like to share some of the prayers i that appear in the Liturgy of the Hours, the official prayer of the church. The first is a hymn that begins today's prayer for Christmas. "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given. Eternal is his sway. The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light; for those abiding in the land of death, a new splendor has appeared; to them you have brought abundant joy; before you they rejoice, as with joy at harvest, as people re- joice when dividing spoils. "For the yoke of his burden and the bar on his shoulder, and the rod of the oppressor you have broken, as on the day of Madian; for every boot that tramped in battle, for every cloak that rolled in block, will be set aside, will go to feed the blaz- ing fire. "For unto us a Child is born, to our race a son is given; his shoulders will bear the scepter of his reign, and his name shall be called: Counselor of marvelous deeds, Mighty Warrior of God, everlasting Father of nations and royal Prince of Peace. "Ever wider shall his dominion be over his kingdom; upon the throne of David, in a peace that never ends. He has established it and made it firm, based on justice and on right; both now and forever the Lord of hosts will do these mighty deeds." And yet another hymn of the liturgy is part of our well known repertoire of carols. "What child is this, who laid to rest, on Mary's lap is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping? This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing; haste, haste to bring him laud, the babe the son of Mary. "Why lies he in such mean estate, where ox and ass are feeding? Good christian, fear, for sin- ners here the silent Word is pleading. Nails, spear, shall pierce him through, the cross be borne for all, for you; hail, hail, the Word made flesh, the babe, the son of Mary. "So, bring him incense, go.ld and myrrh. Come, peasant, king, to own him. The king of kings salvation brings, let loving hearts enthrone him. Raise, raise the song on high, the virgin sings her lullaby; joy, joy, for Christ is born, the babe, the son of Mary." May yours be a beautiful and meditative Christmas feast. ii i Vatican study cites aging of world's priests VATICAN CITY (NC) -- The older for every one under the decline in the number of worldwide ratio of older age of 35. Nine years earlier the priests. diocesan priests to younger numbers in the two age groups Europe and the Middle East ones more than doubled be- were nearly identical -- 103.7 had the highest older-younger tween 1976 and 1985, accord- in the older group for every 100 ratios. In 1985 there were about ing to a study released by the in the younger. 5.1 older priests for each ; Vatican's Central Office of The office said this "aging in- younger priest in those regions, Church Statistics. dex" showed an "extremely the study reported. Nine years In North America the ratio high ... direct linear relation" earlier the ratio had been less more than quadrupled in those to declines in the total number than 2-to-1 in both areas, it nine years, it said. of diocesan priests working in said. In 1985, according to the areas around the world. It called the European study, North America (ex- In other words, the higher the statistics "the least comfor- cluding Mexico) had 4.5 ratio of older priests to younger ting." diocesan priests who were 65 or priests, the faster the rate of Between 1976 and 1985, the office said, "the mean age for four (European) nations sur- passed 60: France (from 56.4 to 61.8), Luxembourg (from 54.1 to 62.2), Switzerland (from 54.8 ii FAMOUS BRANDS FOR LESS. FURNITURE - CARPET - APPLIANCES HOME OUTFITTERS "'=J ""JASPER - LOOGOOTEE - WASHINGTON WE DELIVER ALL OVER SOUTHERN INDIANA ' i FAMILY i PHARMACY Medical Arts Pharmacy PAUL'S Pharmacy Paul Mayer, Owner 2170 W. Franklin St. 425-7141 Plaza Pharmacy Newburgh Plaza Shopping Center Fast Prescription Service Ken and Rebecca Hacker 853-7141 Oak Hill Pharmacy Prescription Specialists Hwy. 62 and N. Weinbach Ave. LARRY SCHULTHEIS, Prop, 425-22 Stratman's Pharmacy City-Wide Delivery 413 Locust Street John and Judy Stratman 425-5293 3700 Bellemeade Avenue Phone 477-1532 Donald Gutzweiler City-Wide Delivery Duncan's Riverside Pharmacy Prescflptlon Service D rugs-Sundfle.s-Cosm,Ics Magazlne - "We Deliver" Corner Riverside and Governor Evansville 422-9981 Newburgh Pharmacy BILL REINE, Pharmacist Complete Prescription Service and Health Supplies Phone 853-6166 to 60.1) and Holland (from 56.7 to 62.2)." The office said the mean age of priests in Canada -- 53.3 in 1976 and 57.3 in 1985 -- was about four years higher than in the United States, where the mean age in 49.8 in 1976 and 53.1 in 1985. The study was published in the Nov. 16 issue of the English-language weekly edi- tion of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. It listed only three regions of the world -- Africa, Southeast Asia and Asia -- where the "ag- ing index" showed fewer older priests than younger ones. In Africa, where new voca- I-V COACH LINES CHARTER MOTOR COACH SERVICE 829 CANAL STREET EVANSVILLE, IND. 426-1423 HOFFMAN PLUMBING 1400 Fountain Avenue Evansville, Indiana 425-0165 Jim Hoffman, President tions have been steadily in- creasing, there were only 42.7 priests over 64 for every 100 under 35. In Southeast Asia the older-younger ratio was 71.9 percent, and in Asia it was 81.3 percent. The study did not attempt to compare priest's ages with general demographic data in different regions, such as average life span, increase in life span, or age distribution of the general population. It was therefore impossible from the study to make weighted comparisons that might indicate how priests' ages in any area were affected by general population data such as shorter life expectancy or high percentages of young peo- ple in a country's overall population. - :_ ____ _ - -- -.... - ........