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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
December 25, 1987     The Message
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December 25, 1987

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..... i d The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana December 25, 1987 Our Daily Bread The poor and homeJe,0000s find true Christmas spirit at Baltimore cat'e By DONNA HISLOP and a few children, black and regular meal of casseroles and infection" that spreads at hosted the Christmas meal for NC News Service white, young and old. Some are bread. Instead they will feast on Christmas time, an infection seven years. She says many In Baltimore, 17 W. Franklin St. is a tiny, turn-of-the-century storefront that used to house a music shop. Today it is a modest cafe. Unlike many of the other eating establishments in its neighborhood, it is open every day. And it charges nothing for the sumptuous dinner it serves on Christmas, or for the hearty but less fancy midday meals it serves the other 364 days of the year. The little care, called Our Daily Bread, is open because Associated Catholic Charities and more than 3,000 members of 60 Baltimore churches believe it is important to feed the poor. The guests are men, women unemployed, some homeless, some mentally ill, some bitter and angry, and some highly spirited. But in one way or another all are having trouble making it on their own. In many ways, Dec. 25 will be just like any other day for the "regulars" at Our Daily Bread. As Angelo Boer, administrator of shelter programs for Associated Catholic Charities, points out, there still will be questions about where people will spend the night or how they will cover the month's rent. They still will worry about their children and where the next meal will come from. But volunteers at Our Daily Bread will do their best to try to make the day a happy one for their guests. At Christmas din- ner, guests will not receive the turkey with stuffing, hot vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, rolls, hot tea and homemade cookies, pies and cakes. Tables will be decorated with Christmas greens and carols will be playing in the background. Each guest will receive a gift or two, something practical like gloves, long underwear, an um- brella or a toiletry kit. There are toys for the children and decorated jars of candy. Members of the church that serves the Christmas meal pro- vide the gifts. Terry Kenny, director of Our Daily Bread, describes Christmas as "one of the few relatively good days of the year, if there is such a thing, for peo- ple who are on the streets." He says there is a "wonderful that attracts so many volunteers that some have to be turned away. In fact, when people call and ask Kenny what they can do to help during the holiday season, he asks them to pledge to bake a casserole or serve a meal on, say, March 20. Kenny finds it a "heartening surprise" that so many people, especially so many who work full time, want to help out. "It would be easy for them to prop up their feet and take the day off," he says. The volunteers' Christmas in- fection spreads to the guests as well. Kenny says there are always a few "Bah, humbugs!" but there is an "astounding lack of cynicism" at Christmas. Mary Labor is volunteer coor- dinator at Our Lady of the Chesapeake, the parish that has guests' dispositions change visibly "from anger to brightness" on Christmas. They express more appreciation thole usual for the meal and most are delighted that someone thought enough of them to give them a gift. Ms. Labor says the families at her parish find sharing Christmas morning with those in need "a beautiful way to begin the day." Although the number of peo- ple interested in helping sur- prises him, Kenny can unders- tand their enthusiasm. q thinks the Christmas season is "a natural time to serve. The season, the day, have to do with love .... It's a time when folks tend to realize we are all called to reflect" on what it means to be givers. Fairy tales can come true at Christmas By FATHER ROBERT KINAST NC News Service A peril of the priesthood is that nephews often ask ques- tions that they hesitate to put to their parents. So it was, shortly after I was ordained, that a nephew caught me offguard during a Christmas visit. "Uncle Bob," he began, with a tone that sounded more serious than his 8 years should have allowed, "is there a Santa Claus?" My first impulse, being fresh out of seminary and full of new polished theology, was to tell him no and then guide him effi- ciently to see that everything Santa Claus represents is fulfill- ed and surpassed by the true meaning of Christmas. But when I looked into his begging eyes, my strategy melted. He really did believe in Santa Claus and was looking to me to confirm his belief. "What makes you ask?" I hedged. He recited the family tree of know-it-alls who had been telling him Santa Claus was a fairy tale. The weight of their testimony was bending the strength of his own convic- tion. "What do you think?" I ask- ed, applying my person- centered listening skills. "There has to be a Santa Claus," he confessed, as if on the threshold of a great truth. "Otherwise who will know what I really want for Christmas?" "Surely your folks know what you want." "Only if I tell them," he answered. "Well, what's wrong with that?" I asked naively. "You shouldn't have to tell them everything," he answered. At that moment I knew why he believed in Santa Claus. And I think it was then that I started to believe too. There is within each of us some hidden part that we ea- gerly want someone else to know about, to share, to delight in. But we don't want to have to tell them. We want them to discover it, to figure it out on Pope has spiritual e00dvice for families byJOHNTHAVIS VATICAN CITY [NC) -- Pope John Paul II said families should make sure a "spiritual atmosphere" reigns in their homes before Christmas. The last days before Christmas should be a time of simplicity, friendship and pa- tient waiting, the pope said in remarks at the end of his weekly general audience at the Vatican Dec. 16. The end of the Advent period "should stimulate you to main- tain in your souls and in your. homes the spiritual atmosphere of that central event of history, accomplished in Bethlehem -- in other words, the virtues of humanity, simplicity, reciprocal affection, courageous patience and calm faith," he said. In remarks to young people, the pope suggested they build nativity scenes in their homes during the Christmas season, as a help to "make you feel the real and deep joy that comes from the supreme certainty" that God became man at Bethlehem. The ill and aged, the pope ad- ded, might also meditate on the Christmas creche to make their faith stronger and for spiritual Fr. Egler dies Father Raymond Egler O.S.B., 91, died Dec. 14, at St. Joseph Abbey, St. Benedict, La. Father Egler was ordained at St. Meinrad in 1923. He was the last surviving member of the Joseph and Rosa Ernst Egler family of Ferdinand. comfort. Sick people in par- ticular "feel the real meaning of Christmas" and its "mystical and interior solemnity." their own, to get to know us so well that they can surprise us with a gift that says exactly who we/Ire. A friend of mine had faced a series of painful setbacks but maintained a spirit of trust in God, nourished by daily Scrip- ture readings from the pro- phets. On her birthday one year, another friend, who had worked in the Middle East, gave her a small, unadorned rock which came from what is believed to be the birthplace of Isaiah the prophet. 'Tm not sure why," said the giver, "but every time I see this rock I think of you. And I want you to have it." My friend had been discovered by another who knew her well. Of course, God knows us this well, but God communicates with us most of the time through other people. And they have to be in touch with us often enough and sensitively enough so that when God pro- Peace and Good Will Toward Men t Along with our best wishes of the season go thoughts of thanks to our many friends. mpts them, they know just what to do and how to do it. As many priests do, I had go(i" ten very close to one particular family in our parish. One even- ing while I was visiting them, the husband said that when he and his wife had been married 15 years ago they had been given a bottle of Scotch which they had never opened. He wanted to open it now. When he did, he made a single toast, looking directly at me: "To our family." What I had been feeling privately, he had put into words. I had been known by him that well. I haven't talked with my nephew about Santa Claus for a long time. But I suspect that every year when we both settle into the meaning of Christmas, we are able to believe that there is Someone who knows us well enough to realize what we real- ly want without having to be told. And then a lot more than fairy tales come true. r b, . A HFLECKINSURANCE THEHERALD OF DUBOIS COUNTY Dubois One DCB Plaza, Jasper 6th & Mill Sts., Jasper Sunset Terrace, Jasper Northside, Jasper Ferdinand Haysville St. Anthony Celestine MEMBER FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION