Joint Statement Issued

Below is a Joint Statement from the Roman Catholic Bishops of Kansas regarding the Nov. 12 Judicial Decision on Same-Sex Marriage.

Wichita, Omaha dioceses offer travel packages to Philly

People who want to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia next September — or attend the World Meeting of Families, or both — can join travel groups from Wichita or Omaha, Neb.

Pope Francis announced Nov. 17 that he would attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, which is Sept. 22-25, then celebrate Mass for as many as 2 million people on Sept. 27.

No other dates or cities have been announced for the papal visit, although he has been invited to Washington, D.C., and New York.

Travel agencies have put together packages for the Diocese of Wichita and the Archdiocese of Omaha, and they have invited people in the Salina Diocese to join them.

• The Wichita package flies participants to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families and the papal Mass for a total cost of $2,600, double hotel room occupancy. It departs Sept. 21 and returns Sept. 28. The price includes the $325 full package registration cost of the World Meeting of Families, as well as airfare, local transportation, hotel rooms, some meals and other activities.

The deadline to register for the Wichita trip is Dec. 15. A non-refundable $250 deposit is required. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no reservation without a deposit.

To register, go to The registration form and deposit are payable to Grand View Tours in Aston, Pa.

• The Omaha package takes participants by bus but does not include the World Meeting of Families. It will take people to the papal Mass, as well as provide two days of tours of sites in the Philadelphia area. The tour leaves Omaha on Sept. 23 and returns Sept. 28. The cost is $999 for an adult, double hotel room occupancy, or $799 for children 11 and younger. The cost includes transportation, some meals, hotel rooms and the tourist sites.

To register, call Legacy Tour and Travel in Fort Dodge, Iowa, at (877) 776-1700 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. A $200 deposit is required.

Legacy Tour also is planning a longer bus trip taking in both the World Meeting of Families and the papal Mass, as well as a shorter bus trip for youth wanting to attend only the papal Mass. Details have not been released.

For more information or assistance, contact Reg and Jan Konrade, directors of the Office of Family Life / NFP for the Salina Diocese, at (785) 827-8746, ext. 40, or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Eighth World Meeting of Families will be held September 22 - 27, 2015 in Philadelphia.  Click here to learn more about the events.

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Pope Francis Announces 2015 Visit to Philadelphia for World Meeting of Families 

Washington — The visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia in September 2015 for the World Meeting of Families will be a “joyful moment,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Pope Francis made his intention to travel to the United States public Nov. 17 in an address to the Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman at the Vatican.

“The presence of Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in our country will be a joyful moment for millions of Catholics and people of good will. Our great hope has been that the Holy Father would visit us next year to inspire our families in their mission of love. It is a blessing to hear the pope himself announce the much anticipated news,” said Archbishop Kurtz.

The World Meeting of Families, sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, is the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families and is held every three years.World Meeting of Families 2015 will be Sept. 22-25, 2015, hosted by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and will focus on the theme “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” emphasizing the impact of the love and life of families on society.

More information about the meeting, including open registration, is available online: People in the Salina Diocese who are interested in group travel options to Philadelphia with neighboring dioceses can contact the Office of Family Life at (785) 827-8746, ext. 40, or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Vatican has not announced additional dates or cities for the 2015 papal visit at this time.

Statement on the Judicial Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

Joint Statement of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Kansas

It is with considerable regret that we acknowledge the Nov. 12 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow a federal judge to strike down the Kansas marriage amendment. By recalling that 70 percent of Kansas voters in 2005 chose to protect the institution of marriage, it would seem clear that this recent social issue is far from resolved in the minds and hearts of Kansans. In addressing this judicial decision we also must note that the Church’s teaching on marriage is not simply a “position” on a political issue, because marriage is not a creation of the state. Rather, marriage is part of the natural order instituted by God, and even well-intentioned, conscientious members of the Legislature and judiciary cannot alter a given reality. Such truth simply does not change with the times.

No statement on marriage is complete without asserting our core belief that all people, including those with same-sex attraction, are beloved children of God. Indeed, a fact oftentimes lost in this discussion is that many homosexual persons find a loving home in the Catholic Church. They encounter among us not only revealed truth but brothers and sisters who are anxious to journey with them on the path of holiness. However, any effort to stretch the meaning of marriage beyond its essential definition, even in a benevolent effort of inclusiveness, does an injustice to all. True happiness comes only when we embrace God’s plan for us. As explained so beautifully by St. Augustine, our hearts are restless until they rest in the Lord.

Beyond our religious beliefs we also would note that marriage is the very foundation of human society. Its value extends far beyond the individual man and woman who embrace it. By its very nature it involves the coming together of a male and a female not only for their own good but likewise for the good of children and the stability of society. Therefore it is equally important to note that every child wants to know his or her mother and father, to be with them, and to be loved by them. Tragic circumstances sometimes render this impossible, and we have great admiration for the many noble and dedicated single parents, grandparents, adoptive parents, and others who nurture children in challenging situations. However, for the state to decide that substantial numbers of children will intentionally go without mothers or fathers is an extraordinary injustice.

It is our understanding that the decision to strike down Kansas’ marriage amendment will continue to be appealed, and it appears that the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately decide the issue for the entire country. We are grateful for last week’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upholding the rights of states to legally recognize and protect the meaning of marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman. It is our hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will affirm the Sixth Circuit’s decision.

We pray for a restoration of respect for the true meaning of marriage in our country. We pray that those individuals who experience same-sex attraction find comfort in the love of God as they strive to live in accordance with God’s will. Finally, we pray for those faithful Christians who will undoubtedly face criticism, ostracism, and even persecution in the coming years for their steadfast adherence to the Gospel’s timeless teaching on human sexuality.

Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas
Most Reverend John B. Brungardt, Bishop of Dodge City
Most Reverend Edward J. Weisenburger, Bishop of Salina
Most Reverend Carl A. Kemme, Bishop of Wichita

What is the ‘Pope Francis Effect’?

Much has been said and written about what is called “The Francis Effect.” My hunch is that the reality those words point to is far more complex than what I can summarize in a few words.

However, there is one small piece of the pie that I believe is worth considering. I would propose that what we are seeing in Pope Francis is the distinction between a “confrontational” stance against our culture and a more biblically inspired “prophetic” approach in relation to the world around us. Let me explain the background and the difference.

There is much in our Western culture that is in dire opposition to our beliefs and our faith. A quick look at our culture reveals that the followers of Jesus Christ are in a position of contradiction on the immense value of all human life, the proper role of money and wealth in our lives, a proper understanding of human sexuality, the just treatment of immigrants and a host of other issues.

Conflict is inevitable between those who struggle to orient their lives to Christ and his Gospel and those who align their lives with the purely secular values of our world. It is my belief that good Pope Francis is reminding us — both in the way that he communicates and in the way he treats people — that the way we Christians handle this conflict makes all the difference.

Is it possible that in looking back over the last few decades, we might see signs of our Church responding to the culture in a way as aggressive as the culture itself? Having oftentimes been challenged by our culture, and very harshly so, have we responded in a very similar manner? If so, then we are embracing what I would call a confrontational stance against our culture. If that is the case, then regrettably much of our holy message is lost in the unholy confrontation.

On the other hand, what I believe Pope Francis is calling us to is what I would term a more prophetic stance in relation to the Western world. The teachings of Christ and the will of God found in Scripture and sacred tradition are timeless, but how we present those truths matters immensely.

Annual request a key part of funding education of future priests

Salina — The seminarian collection scheduled for Nov. 8 and 9 in parishes is a key part of educating the Diocese of Salina’s future priests.

The collection typically accounts for one-fourth of the annual amount needed to pay for the educational costs of seminarians.

This year, the diocese has 13 men studying to become priests, the largest number in several years. That blessing comes with higher costs to education them — nearly $500,000 this year.

In a letter to parishioners, Bishop Edward Weisenburger asks for their support in the education of our future priests.

“In discerning God’s call, these men are doing all that we have asked of them. Please join me in likewise responding well by providing for their educational needs,” the bishop writes.

No single means of fundraising covers the annual educational costs, noted Syndi Larez, director of stewardship and development for the diocese. A combination of other local gifts, endowments and grants are utilized.

The diocese fully pays for seminarian education so that no man declines to consider a priestly vocation because of his inability to pay for the education. It can take up to eight years to complete that education.

Larez said the diocese constantly is looking at new sources to help fund seminarian education.

Sister to leave diocese to work in El Paso

Salina — Sister Esther Pineda is leaving as director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Salina to assume a new role for her congregation.

She will leave at the end of October to move to El Paso, Texas, to oversee activities and programs at the convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. The 10-bedroom house most recently has been used to house volunteers coming to El Paso to help with the influx of children migrating from Central America to the United States.

The sister who was operating the house became ill and returned to Concordia, and the congregation then had to decide if the house should continue to be made available and, if so, who could assume those duties.

“The call to the religious life is a call to be available when there is a necessity to which one can respond, to which one can become available to answer,” she said. “That has brought me to leave the diocese a little ahead of schedule.”

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