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Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
December 15, 1991     Arkansas Catholic
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December 15, 1991

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PAGE 2 ARKANSAS CATHOLIC DECEMBER 15, 1991 A recent GaUup poll showed that the less affluent are proportionately more gen- erous than the wealthy -- in 1989, house- holds with annual incomes under $10,000 gave 5.5 percent of their income to charity;, households with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 gave 2.9 percent. The same poll showed that those who give and volunteer regularly to their reli- gious institutions are the leaders in doing the same for all other causes. The less you have the more you give? Does this make sense? When a pelv~on whose pay is less than $10,000 a year gives almost twice the per- centage of that salary to charity as does a person whose income is $100,000, it means that the person is making a purchase the affluent one apparently can't afford: soli- darity with the majority of Earth dwellers. To practice charity from a slender purse is to swell the ranks of angels. And it is those angels who watch over and rescue those who hoard when their houses burn down, when their stocks crash, when thieves steal past the gated entrances to their exdusive subdivisions. The castle on the hill is only slightly less accessible to the mass of humanity than the "gated subdivision." Or, in Little Rock, the yachting dub on the fiver in the form of houses whose hackyards are mini-marinas. These, too, are gated. The htest thing in spending money to keep the world out. Even those who would drive by on a Sunday afternoon to gawk at the wealth. Let them eat cake. In this Season of Giving, in this year of a killing economy, the marginal will continue to practice more charity than the wealthy. Nothing has changed since the widow gave her last mite. There were no Christmas trees in Bethlehem, only camels. Neither can pass through the eye of a needle. DKI-I ARKANSAS CATHOLIC CathoEc is pub~shed Weekly (except the firs~ Sun- day in Jeff., July, Aug., and the la~ 8~ in Dec.) foe $15 per year, by 1he GalhoSc D~0oeae oi Lithe Rock, A,-kamms Ce~41c, tn., P.O. Box 7417, 25(~ N. Tyler ~t., L~ttte RQck, AR 72217, (501) 664AT340 [FAX 6$4-9075] PUBLISHER Most Rev. Andrew J. McOonald, Bishop ~.~ MANAGING EDITOR ~_.wwl~l~~ ' Rev. Albert J, Sct.leider EDITOR : lCDOII~ DeborahK. HaRO ,d =e..v,~"~ A CIRCULATION MANAGER Ron M. Hail PRODUCTION MANAGER Rev. Jam~ M. Schratz was ordained in the Cathedral of St. Andrew in 1972. I was the only one or- dained that year and was one of very few ordained in several years in the Diocese of Little Rock. As a result, there were few priests dose to me in age when I first started serving in the diocese. Besides the many lay people who had come to wimess the impressive ceremony of ordination, there were many priests present. I realized that in the next few moments I would be one with them in priesthood. As the many priests filed past me, each imposing hands on me and embracing me with a sign of peace, I realized that, besides God's call, it was largely due to these men that I entered the priesthood. Their ex- ample, encouragement and support helped bring me to this day. There was the priest who literally brought me to the seminary. There were the priests who taught me in the seminary. There was the priest who taught me how to pass a football. There was the priest who took me with him on visits to the sick to bring Communion. There was the priest who taught me by example~ how to feed the hungry and give to theXpoor. There were several priests there who taught me that priests could laugh and have a great time. These were the priests who, though many years my senior, embraced me and made me feel at home and one with them. There was one event that may have been insignificant to many but would have a profound and lasting impression on me. While still in the seminary, I was called to go to the hospital to be with an elderly By Fr. Joseph Correnti priest who During the had to amputate wanted someone to be with him when he woke up and realized he had lost a limb. I stood beside that bed waiting for the inevitable. He would reach down only to find out his leg was no longer there. I didn't know what I would was just coming out of surgery. operation, doctors unexpectedly the priest's leg. They to do it for himself. Eventually, he recu- perated and was given permission to re- fire and say Mass in a wheelchair. The Mass, which is so important to our people, becomes of utmost importance to every priest, myself included. As I enter the newly-renovated Fitzgerald Hall on the grounds of the semi- nary where I and most of the priests of this diocese started the journey of priest- hood, I am filled with the feeling that I am entering the holy. The halls are hal- lowed by the priests who are presently re- fired there and those that will follow them. They are hallowed by the more than 100,000 Masses and millions of miles these His words fin'st uttered were, "I'll never say Mass ~ain=99 say. As he felt the void, his eyes widened. But he didn't say what I expected m "I've lost men have traveled to every church and my leg" or "I'll never walk again." His words mission of our diocese. first uttered were, "I'll never say Mass again." I hope that people from around the We talked for awhile and I returned to diocese will be generous this Christmas in the seminary. Afterwards, I reflected on the their offerings to support these men who experience. This elderly priest had said so have spent their lives bringing the Mass to many Masses before so many people ~ in so many of us. We all owe them a deep chapels, churches, quonset huts, stores and debt of gratitude. As a matter of fact, it is homes. He had driven hundreds of thou- because of them and their example that sands of miles to serve hispeople. Thatday so many priests presently serve the did- he lost what to him had become most pre- cese and stand at the altars of our churches dous, even more precious than the ability and missions saying Mass. I know I owe to walk. After doing this most precious act them that debt. of his priesthood for so many years, he was (Fr.Joseph Correnti is pastor of Our Lady of afraid that he would no longer even be able the Holy Souls in Little Rock.) Antoinette Bosco All of us need a ~acafion now and then, and sometimes even from our children. But I found something hard to understand in an article Robin Marantz Henig wrote about the "whole blissful month" she and her hnsband had when their two :. daughters were away at camp: "I'he :~.~. : . experience, lovely " " ~ as it was, was enough to shake my confi- dence in the fmnily~entered life that we and people like us have chosen. How devi- ous a force is Mother Nature to drive so many of us to the very behaviors that are good for the species -- procreating and nurtm-ing and sacrificing for a new genela- fion -- but run quite counter to the selfish best interests of the individual." Later I was glad to read she wasn't "sony we have children." Yet, she conduded, "Maybe nay fi'iends and neighbors are so strident in their col- lecm,e befief that 'fanfily is evewthing' pre- dsely because they have, as I do, an emo- tional and intellectual investment in justify- ing their choices -- and a nagging suspi- cion that there may be some other ways to live a life that could be just as meaningful." Her article appeared Nov. 3 in the New York Tmaes Magazine. I mulled over what she said and Uied to look honestly at myself. I have, since I was a kid, been a U'ue daughter of my Italian father, parroting what he said so often as I was growing up: "Antoinette, family is every- You can't be self-omtered and still gh e the nurturing required by thing." Catholics are taught from early catechism dasses the beauty and importance of faro- , .ily, starting with the Holy Family. Your family gives you life, values, faith in God and, most of all, your first and perma- nent doses of love. Mrs. Henig, of course, is absolutely cor- rect in pointing out how difficult it is to be a lma'ent. You can't be self-centered mid sill] give the nurturing required by parenting. If ever there was a calling that would put you to the test when it comes to self~udg~ ment about what kind of person you are, it is parenting. " . .. - .. Thanks for reading Arkansas It is a tremendous ,education and self- awakening, for as we help our children grow into their maturity, we are, at the same time, moving always into the next phase of our own growth, much of it propelled by pain and difficulty, along with love and joy. I've often asked myself whether I wish it had been different, that I had had a life where I could have pursued my own dreams, marched to my own drlmamer? The answer always comes back, "Oh, no." AS I have gotten older and seen my children as adults, I have learned sonmthing I coulchCt have believed a few decades ago. It's wrapped in mystery, of course, but I know now that I actually did follow my dreams and march to my own drummer. It's just that now I understand clearly what these were and found them to be different from the dreams and drums I thought I wanted to pursue when I was young. I didn't know when I started out really what family meant. I lemlmd that parenting is hard because it kills the selfish part of us that wants so much to stay in place. But then came enlightenment, as I grasped --- in that core of us that is quiet the wonder of this choice. I didn't gain the careers I might have chosen, the rest I might have coveted, the money I might have liked. But I lived in the school of love linked with immortality that is called family. And I lem-ned why, as my father said, family is eyerything. 199I CNS Catholic.