September 6, 2019

Letters to the Editor

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We must proclaim Jesus’ message of love for all our brethren to see

“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. Don’t ban guns; let’s deal with the root cause of the problem.” That’s the argument.

One response is that semi-automatic assault rifles and high-capacity magazines enable evil men to kill more efficiently and quickly and have no use in hunting other than hunting people, so why legalize them?

But the argument does raise an interesting question: What is the root cause of the problem?

I suggest that the root cause is that Jesus’ message to love one another is being drowned out by the siren song that money or pleasure or power or fame is the road to happiness.

We Christians are not doing a good enough job of proclaiming Jesus’ message. The number of “nones” (i.e., those people with no religious affiliation) is growing. What can we do to deal with the root cause?

First, live our lives as if we truly do believe in Jesus’ message. St. Francis of Assisi encourages us to “preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words.”

Be kind to your neighbors, give to the poor, spend time volunteering. Attract the “nones” with the happiness of our lives.

Second, fight the message of hate that is increasingly pervading our society. Speak out when we see prejudice or hear spiteful words.

Finally, don’t be afraid to speak to others about our values and about what Jesus did for us when the opportunity arises.

Passionist Father Cedric Pisegna suggests that it is important for us to be in touch with our story, and to be prepared to share it in an appealing way in one minute or less so that if someone asks why you are a Catholic or why do you go to church, we can be ready to share our faith.

It would also be good for us to ask ourselves the same question: Are we living our faith out of habit or fear, or are we aware of God’s grace transforming our self-centeredness into an active concern for the welfare of others?

There is a risk that we will be rebuffed, but how else is Jesus’ message going to be proclaimed if we are not the ones who deliver it.

- Mike Walro | Hanover

Inmate offers ‘thank you’ to all who have ministered at federal prison in Terre Haute

I read with much interest the article in the Aug. 2 issue of The Criterion by Sean Gallagher and Natalie Hoefer. I am an inmate at the Federal Prison Camp at Terre Haute.

The work that the Catholic priests, sisters, laity and deacons do is of great service to those of us here. I’m glad you brought the work done by these individuals to your readers’ conscience.

I’ve been at the camp here at Terre Haute for almost five years. I walked in the door well-versed in religion—or so I thought.

After being “tricked” into attending Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults classes on Monday nights with Elizabeth Bormann and Susan Hall, I found the teachings of the Catholic Church much in line with my own convictions. So, much to my own surprise, I entered the Church.

I was fortunate to be confirmed by Archbishop, now Cardinal, Joseph W. Tobin, at our little chapel here. All of this because of the dedication of the volunteers that come here week in, week out—not searching for their own glory and notoriety—but concerned for the men here at the prison.

Attending Mass here each Sunday with Benedictine Father Mark O’Keefe is a pleasure. We are so blessed that this man is here for us. He serves at St. Joseph Monastery near here but makes time for us each Sunday morning.

He, along with Providence Sister Janice, Mrs. Bormann, Ms. Hall and the other Providence sisters and laity that come, have helped each of the Catholic men here through their time.

I’ll be getting out soon, and I’m so thankful that God gave me this “time out” so that I could find the Catholic Church. It absolutely would not have happened if I had not gone to the camp at the Federal Prison Complex at Terre Haute. God does work in many mysterious ways.

So, if you know of a person that spends their time volunteering in prisons or jails, please give then an extra “thank you” for doing the work of Jesus.

Also, a special thank you to Chaplain Roloff, who carves out time for Catholic services and Bible studies. He does a great job.

- K.C. Williams | Terre Haute

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