By Tim Lilley
The Message editor
A large crowd filled the gymnasium of the St. Joseph Parish Center in Jasper for the 2023 Wisdom Day, held Sept. 28.
The theme this year was “Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength,” taken from John 12:30.
The day opened with Mass in St Joseph Church, followed by a presentation on the renovations of the church and a tour. Diocese of Evansville East Deanery Wisdom Day Chair Clara Fromme welcomed about 150 attendees to this year’s event before introducing Pat Koch, who served as Mistress of Ceremonies. Pat has been involved in planning and staging Wisdom Days in the diocese for many years.
After introducing presenters and Diocese of Evansville Director of the Office of Marriage, Family and Life Eric Girten, Pat welcomed St. Joseph Pastor Father John Brosmer, who offered the opening prayer. Veteran Bernie Schaefer then presented the colors as all recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Deacon David McDaniel of Holy Family Parish in Jasper opened the morning session with a presentation on spiritual health. He observed there is always a level of wisdom associated with age that God calls upon. As an example, he noted that it is believed that Moses had reached the age of 65 when he led the Israelites into the desert.
He said, “Wisdom is sometimes confused with other things like experience, intelligence or cleverness.” He added that wisdom and sin generally are thought to be opposites, and he offered a look into the origin of the word sin and its connotation in our world. He explained that the word sin was originally applied to ancient archers, who were trained in a variety of elements for use in shooting their bows accurately.
Deacon David explained, “When an archer missed a target, we was said to have sinned. And repeated missed led to the person being referred to as a sinner. The term was not applied because the archer missed, but instead because they had not followed the training they received, which was designed to assure their accuracy. In other words, sin related to not following instructions.”
He noted that, in the Old Testament, the only sin was disobedience to God. Our Lord provided rules, and those who did not follow them committed sin because they didn’t follow God’s instructions regarding how they should live and treat others.
He then alluded to farming as a way of illustrating God’s ceaseless love and care for us. He said, “Nobody has ever planted a garden - fertilized, watered and nurtured it - then said, ‘I don’t want anything to grow from that.’ We are the seeds God plants. He wants us to grow, especially to grow closer to him on this pilgrim journey, and he provides what need.”
Prayer is an important element of our effort to grow closer to God, and Deacon David closed by suggesting a simple, five-word prayer that we all should know and pray throughout the day: “Jesus, I trust in you.”
After a short break, attendees heard a presentation on health of the heart for seniors from Mike Steffe, Recreation Director of the Tri-County YMCA, which serves Dubois, Perry and Spencer counties. Mike said that, while many seniors are keenly aware of the need to stay active through walking and other activities, strength training also plays a significant role.
Mike said that strength training has been shown to slow down and sometimes even reverse the effects of aging on muscles and bones. Mike’s advice to all in attendance was to-the-point: “Stay active, stay active, stay active.”
The final presenter before lunch was Jill Memmer, Wellness Director of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad. She focused on health of the mind, and offered what she called the “333 Rule” for people of any age to use when they are feeling stressed or anxious.
She explained, “Think about three things you see as you look around. Identify three sounds you can hear. Finally, move three parts of your body. This ‘3-3-3 Rule’ is a really simple way to calm down when you’re stressed.
Following lunch, those in attendance enjoyed chair exercises and entertainment with songs, and they had a presentation on estate planning.