Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
December 17, 1982     Arkansas Catholic
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December 17, 1982

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,THEG,[JARDIAN, DECEMBER 1L 1982 PAGE 3 IN our minds and our hearts the week is the suffering of those homes and whose lives have been by violent winds and floods. With faith in God and with rich confidence in people, I have asked for a spon- collection to help those who stand us in need. Again, if you know of or friends who want help, please them and bring them to our local priests. They in turn will be able to !some assistance through the generosity neous collection. evening, after I returned from irmation trip into Western Arkansas, Mena, I was quietly sitting at Suddenly a virus attacked. Throughout Right, I was ill. I felt so bad at one point, I a shame it would be to die feel- this way. I even got up and straightened it would look neat and orderly nex.t morning. Consequently, I spent all of in rest and recuperation. I could not those many people throughout the State traveled to Subiaco on Monday evening Bishop Matthiesen of Amarillo who taken a strong position concerning the of working in the bomb plants near Icommunity. I likewise found it necessary a trip to the Diocese of Fort Worth where I intended to participate in (oiden Anniversary of Priesthood for the Bishop, John Cassata. For the last ten Bishop Casata has been a friend and ' was among the first of the bishops in 8outhwest to welcome me when I came to ISDAY WAS the Feast of the Im- Conception. Word had reached me death of Keith Bursey, a devoted and guidance counselor at Catholic Already the students and faculty have loss of Father DeBosier, a dedicated and teacher. Fortunately, Father {ave me detailed information so that I touch upon this new loss at Holy Mass. (lay began with Mass for the students at Saint Mary's. Father Malone con- with me. I spoke to the young of Mary as the great woman of faith. I went to Catholic High later in the I used the same theme but made a application to the specific losses have touched the minds and hearts of Lted with Catholic High. , Mr. Norman Schmuek and out for the Northeastern part of the the of St. Matthew at Osceola. y is the Pastor even though he beautifully as the chaplain at St. Ber- l's Hospital in Jonesboro. Father Conan the chaplain at the Air Force Base iytheville was also present. We enjoyed at the local restaurant and gladly the one candidate for Con- Both to honor the candidate and to the Immaculate Conception. the parish was on hand. We then drove to lamaculate Conception m Blytheville and the night in the rectory with Father Tllt'RSI)AY morning, it was cold and The children joyfully assembled m the Our dedicated Sister Genevieve led children in song Sister Dolores, so to music for more than fifty years, L Ot been able to play recently because of a hand. After Mass. I called Margaret Phil Johnson to say Hello to their twin Mar.v Beth and Melissa now two' old. These children were born at the that I came for Confirmation and in- to confirm their father Philip. Before l'ing Blytheville. we took a cha!lce_and out to visit Mr. Stemac. now m his the devoted father of our priest Lou Stemac. Pastor at Brinkley. tely the family ,,,,as not home when we called. During the day, we drove west through Paragould, Walnut Ridge, Hardy, Cherokee Village and to the lake. We crossed the lake on the ferry and arrived in Mountain Home in the late afternoon. It was pitiful to see the dreadful effects of the high water upon houses and other buildings. Many roads were washed out. It is estimated that the damages over the State of Arkansas amount to five hundred million dollars. We stayed at the Ramada Inn for the night. We shopped at Wal-Mart after supper. On Friday morning, the rains came once again. We enjoyed lunch at McDonald's. When we called in to St. Peter's, we discovered that many people had spotted us on our shopping tours. In the afternoon, it was a joy to address the Scripture Studies group of St. Peter's Parish. This group is guided and directed by Miss Audrey Fellabaum. Father DeClerk en- courages the Scripture Studies and presented me to the group. Then we enjoyed a potluck supper with those who were to be confirmed along with their families. This reverse order of celebration took place so that people would not have to be out on the roads late at night. AT 7:00 in the evening, a grand crowd of people assembled in St. Peter's for Con- firmation. I think there were eighty six candidates. The church was practically filled with relatives, friends and sponsors. The choir sang beautifully. Priests who are retired in this area of Arkansas came in for the ceremony. Two deacons assisted me. Everyone was very attentive during my homilies, one concerning the topic of peace and war as discussed in a meeting of the bishops in November and the other dealing directly with how to live for Jesus and how to die for Him. A great spirit of enthusiasm gripped our audience. The Spirit descended and empowered these young people both to live for the Lord and if necessary to die for Him. In the late evening, we returned to our motel. When we arose on Saturday morning, we were destined to make history. The day remained overcast and cold. We drove thirty miles from Mountain Home to Yellville where we do not yet have any church facility. We do have a vibrant parish community under the direction of Father Jon McDougal, the associate pastor af St. Peter's in Mountain Home. At 10:00 in the morning, using the hospitality of the Presbyterian Church community in Yeilville, we assembled for Confirnation. Seventeen young people presented themselves for the Sacrament. The small choir sang with joy. Most all of the parishioners assembled for the occasion. For the first time in the history  of the Catholic Church in Arkansas, the gift of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation was administered in the town of Yellville. The people were jubilant and glad. They recognized this sacred moment in their life and in the life of our Church. AFTER A reception, we began the long drive through Harrison and down scenic highway 7 through the mountains to Atkins. Even though the sun was not shining, the sight was memorable and beautiful. In the middle of the afternoon, we drove into Atkins and stopped at the variety store operated by Mr. Jim Carfagno. He is having a clearance sale. That was not the reason for our visit. Part of going to Atkins is an opportunity to visit this family who lost a son in death several ','ears ago. Then we proceeded to the Church of the Assumption a,ld found that Monsignor McKee. the lively and dedieated Pastor of the parish was set for Confirmation. The young people assembled at 5:30, many came also because it was the anticipated Mass. After a moving ceremony in which tile Holy Spirit was let loose upon tile candidates, ,,re went over to tile Parish Hall and enjoyed a very Dolores Curran Talks With Parents On School Prayer "WIIERE DOES an outspoken Catholic member like you stand on prayer in the schools?" a radio interviewer asked as his first question. I sighed and knew it was going to be a long interview. It's a no-win question. How can any good Christian be against prayer, especially one who has written books on family prayer? "I oppose it," I began, "but not for the reasons usually attributed to those who--" "YOU OPPOSE it!" he interrupted in a thunderous tone of disbelief and the interview turned into a defense Of reasons which I was never allowed to present.- His attitude points up the emotionalism that surrounds this issue. It's more than prayer in the schools; it's a whole political package. Anyone who is pro-family and anti-abortion is expected to be pro-school prayer, anti-secular humanism (whatever that means), pro- capital punishment, anti-welfare and anti- ERA. The pros and antis are clearly set up by this group of political and religious fun- good potluck supper. We spent the night at the Holiday Inn in Russellville. Early Sunday morning, we returned to Atkins and I offered Mass with Monsignor McKee for the parishioners at 8:00. We then drove to Center Ridge, now one hundred and one years old. The church was filled with people. Judging from the numbers of children, I do believe that the parish will be in existence a hundred years from now. Once again the young people presented themselves with enthusiasm for Confirmation. Following the Mass, we went to the Parish Hall for still another potluck luncheon. Right in the middle of the festivities, there was a loud rap on the door and in came Santa Claus. We could hardly believe our eyes. The children looed at him with wonder and so did L In the middle of the afternoon, we thanked Monsignor McKee, the people and returned to Little Rock. From Wednesday until Sunday, our circuit covered seven hundred miles within the diocese. LATE SUNDAY afternoon, we ushered in the Christmas season with a party in my home for all of the people bearing the noble name of Kordsmeier. We were almost fifty in number this year. We enjoyed the celebration and were delighted that Mrs. Catherine and Mrs. Mary could be with us again. Assisted by Lucille Kordsmeier, they sang their Christmas carol in German for us. We then sang many carols and ended with the beautiful and solemn carol, "Silent Night, Holy Night." Particularly am I pleased as I made the rounds this week to learn of the enthusiasm See Bishop on Pg. 4 damentalists and woe to anyone who says, "Yes, but..." I oppose prayer in the schools for many reasons, the main one being that it will trivialize prayer. Any prayer that will be acceptable to all must of necessity mean nothing to anybody. And true prayer is never meaningless. What are the kids going to pray that meets the belief of Catholics, Jews, American Indians, Protestants, Scien- tologists, Moonies and guru followers? "'Our Father, Mother, Earth Spirit, Great Idea, Etc., hallowed be your names?'" SECONDLY, ! taught school long enough to know that any formula repeated over and over becomes as meaningless and as ignored as the stewardesses' instructions on plane safety. The kids simply tune out, much as they do when parents repeat stories or when the daily bulletin is read. I would much rather see us set up an opening period of reflective meditation, one in which our over-stimulated children can center themselves and put themselves in the hands of whatever God they choose. Most of them don't know how to do this in our noisy, whirling society. Many schools report success when they offer a five-minute opening period of this sort. The quiet model of teacher and peers with heads lowered may be the finest prayer ex- perience children can have, especially those never exposed to prayerful meditation at home. The teacher may even give non- sectarian suggestions like, "Perhaps some of you will want to ask specialblessings for your family or for you on that big test today. Or maybe others will simply want to sit and feel quietness and peace inside you." If a teacher changes these words daily, he or she is teaching children how to pray, not how to repeat a prayer. I LIKEN it to the period after communion at Mass. People want quiet at this time so they can pray intimately with God/not rote prayers. Some even dislike soft music which, they claim, interrupts their meditation and prayer. Finally, for parents who want school-day prayer, there's nothing preventing them from sharing this prayer with their children before they go out the door to school. It can be a beautiful way for parent and children together to start the day in God. I can't think of a better way of establishing daily prayer than a quiet prayer together at the door as they leave and a period of reflection when they arrive at school. And those, dear interviewer, are my reasons for opposing rote prayer in the classroom. I wish I'd had the chance to present them. x 1982 Blessed to nds and 00rters A Gift for God Bo 'S Sta#