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

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'" -  - The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana December 25, 1987 P_00lq00e Going to Bethlehem to try and reawaken the wonder of Christmas that would take us southwest to their small city. It was a hot August morning. For them this was a daily trip for physical sustenance; for me it was. a journey for spiritual renewal. As the bus wound through dusty roads, past olive groves and adobe huts, alongside men riding donkeys, I looked into the faces of those women and By MONICA CLARK NO News Service My pilgrimage to Bethlehem started at a crowded bus station just outside the walls of Old Jerusalem. Several Palestinian women, most balancing bundles of groceries on their heads while their hands held onto a small child or two, were waiting to board the rickety bus i Organ concert Karen Schneider will present a classical and holiday organ concert at St. Joseph Church, Vanderburgh County, on Epiphany, Jan. 3 at z p.m. The daughter of Jerome and Estella Schneider, she received a bachelor's degree in organ performance from Ball State University in May, 1087. Cur- rently, she is pursuing a master's degree in organ at Yale Insititute of Sacred Music in New Haven, Conn. Schneider has received second prize in the National Undergraduate Organ Competition and won the Ball State Undergraduate Concerto Competition last year. She has served as organist at St. Joseph and St, Boniface churches, Evansville, The oc- casion of Schneider's concert at St. Joseph parish will also include the blessing of the church's pipe organ by Father Francis Schroering, pastor. The 55-year-old organ was recently renovated by the John Wolford Pipe Organ Service, Inc. ii II b PRODUCTS [ %,,/  AND SERVICES... I=m=l I1 I ' PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES FOR THE AMATEUR & ],z.] I'='d'1 I PROFESSIONAL a PHOTO FINISHING ' AUDIO VISUAL a REPAIR *   | RENTAL * TAPE RENTALS I 24 HOUR DROP BOX- ALL LOCATIONS "dcw tell'" I WESTSIDE EASTSIDE WASHINGTON SQUARE I 424-8203 473-0245 473-5477 I 516 W. Franklin . 4847 Plaza East Blvd. Washington Square Mall i IAII-KEI. Qui='k I'rinl Hwy 66 & 261 Busier Complex Newburgh. Indiana 47630 (812) 853-6133 SEE US FOR ALL YOUR PRINTING NEEDS... Letters & Letterheads s Envelopes Resumes. Business Cards Flyers Booklets Brochures, Forms NCR Paper, Post Cards Wedding Invitations Socia/ & Business Announcements IN-HOUSE TYPESETTING HOURS Men. to FRI. 9-5 SAT. 9-12 NOON wondered how the mystery that immortalized their tiny village and changed the fabric of the world affected them. Because I don't speak Arabic, I couldn't ask, but I suspected that they, like many of us, might be taking it for granted. I was going to Bethlehem to try and reawaken some of the wonder of that mystery -- that Jesus became one of us, walked our earth, felt human joy and human pain, fished and even cooked breakfast for his friends. It was the wonder I felt as a small child when my mother led me down the side aisle of our parish church to view the nativity scene on Christmas morning. On that day our mus- ty church was filled with the strong scent of freshly cut pine. The statues of Mary and Joseph were faded and the infant Jesus had a chipped toe. But who noticed? Here was a tiny baby, lying in a manger, reminding us that God so loved the world that he sent his only Son to show us how to love. My bus ended its journey several blocks from Bethlehem's main square and the imposing Church of the Nativity. I walked past cafes and souvenir shops, produce markets and taxi stands until I stood before the church's tiny entrance. The doorway, I was told, had .d been lowered centuries earlier to prevent raiders on horseback from pillaging the site. For me the humbling act of bending low to enter was the perfect symbolic gesture. The tiny Christmas lights strung across the ceiling sur- prised me as did the barrenness of this Orthodox church. I found the stairs behind the main altar that lead to the spot where tradition says Jesus was born. A large silver star is inset on the floor to mark the site. I wanted it to be a silent place, but tour guides were talking and cameras were click- ing. Where was the hushed wonder? How could I renew my faith in the midst of this cacophony? During the ride back to Jerusalem, I found my answer. It was in the daily activity of the people I passed -- the father i working to provide for his fami- ly, the nurse tending an elderly woman, the teacher instructing her class, the policeman direc- ting traffic, the couple discuss- ing their wedding. I realiTe d that the Christmas event is about love and involvement. The Lord inserted himself completely into life; I'm to do the same. The message of that mirac]e reverberated within me as I sat that August night at an outdoor cafe. The stars above me were tiny, but as bright as the one I'd touched that morning in Bethlehem. They are, I thought, the me stars that shone here 2,000 years ago. They will be shining too this Christmas, linking me and the women who rode the rickety bus with me earlier that day and the Lord. That, indeed, is wonder-full. 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