Salina — While a white dusting of snow lightly covered the exterior of Sacred Heart Cathedral April 7, inside, Mike Leiker knelt in front of the altar, amidst the white Easter lilies, and was ordained a transitional deacon. “Do you promise respect and obedience to your ordinary?” asked Bishop Carl Kemme, from the Diocese of Wichita. “I do,” Deacon Leiker affirmed.
Typically during an ordination, the deacon pledges “obedience and respect to me and my successors” to the bishop of the diocese. Because Salina has no bishop, the pledge Deacon Leiker made to Bishop Kemme from Wichita was one to the “ordinary” (a fancy term for a diocese’s bishop). “(The vow to the ordinary) was something I was prepared for because at my retreat, that was one of the things I talked about with my retreat director,” Deacon Leiker said. “(The director) said ‘You’re not attached to a bishop your vow is to the whole Church.’ “So in a way, it made it a much larger scale. It doesn’t matter who my bishop is, I’ll still have that promise of obedience.”
During the homily, Diocesan Administrator Father Frank Coady told Deacon Leiker the diaconate is a ministry of word, altar and charity. He said the early apostles acted on behalf of Christ “… to put themselves at the service of the Gospel. At the service of humanity. Then they get out of the way of Christ. They reveal Christ, not themselves.”
Father Coady said the ministry of the word is an important one. “You’re going to preach (the Gospel), you’re going to evangelize,” he said. “You’re going to introduce people to Christ through the word. Then you’re going to get out of the way. You’re going to disappear, because it isn’t about you. It’s about Christ. It’s about the way they’re going to experience that themselves.”
We have just celebrated the Sacred Triduum, those three days that most solemnly commemorate the Paschal Mystery of Christ. Those liturgies give honor and glory to God but, just as important, they help us remember what God did for us in Christ and they help us to identify with his death and resurrection. The Paschal Mystery is Christ’s but it is also ours. We have been baptized into his death so that we might also have a share in his resurrection and glory. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory (Col 3:3-4).”
The celebration of these liturgies becomes for us an invitation to enter personally into the mystery of death and resurrection. They remind us that the two are closely related. It is precisely in the anguish and aloneness of his death that the son is glorified by the father. And the resurrection follows. The scandal of Jesus’ words, “My God, my God, why have your abandoned me?” actually gives us hope. In our darkest moments, brought on by loss, failure or pain, God is most powerfully with us. There we discover that the greatest honor we can give to God is not by our spiritual perfection but by having all our certainties stripped away from us so that there is nothing to offer but our barest selves. It is precisely then that we can commend our spirit into the hands of our loving Father. And resurrection follows.
If we are fortunate enough to have risen from one or even several of these deaths, we stand a good chance of being rid of the fear of death. We trust resurrection.
May we celebrate this trust for the 50 Days of Easter. May these days strengthen our hope.
Father Frank Coady
Salina – There was an empty seat in Sacred Heart Cathedral during the annual Chrism Mass March 22. The bishop’s cathedra remained unoccupied, because the Salina Diocese has no bishop. Bishop Carl Kemme presided over the Mass, and sat toward the front of the sanctuary, but not in the bishop’s cathedra. “Brothers and sisters, my name is Bishop Carl Kemme from the Diocese of Wichita and I now belong to a new program in the Church called ‘rent a bishop,’ ” Bishop Kemme quipped.
During his homily, Bishop Kemme addressed the diocese’s absence of a bishop. He said he often thinks of the Advent song “Soon and Very Soon” when he thinks of the vacancy. “Perhaps no one is praying that more fervently than Father Frank Coady. I can hear it resonate from his heart every time I see him,” Bishop Kemme said. “Yes, let it be soon so that your diocesan community of faith can once again have an apostolic shepherd as the Lord envisioned for the Church when he sent out the apostles on the day of pentecost to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the world.”
Canon law requires each diocese to hold a Chrism Mass annually to bless and dispense new oil for sacramental use throughout the upcoming year. “(Jesus) left us the mission, the charge to heal the sick, to comfort the broken hearted, to set captives free and to announce a year of favor from the Lord,” Bishop Kemme said. “The oils that will soon be blessed and consecrated will soon be used in this very ministry entrusted to us by Jesus.”
The three oils blessed during the Chrism Mass are: Oil of the Sick, Oil of the Catechumens and Sacred Chrism. The Oil of the Sick is used in the sacrament of Anointing of the sick. The Oil of the Catechumens is used in preparation for Baptism. Sacred Chrism is used for Confirmation, is used to anoint a priest’s hands during his ordination, is used to anoint a bishop’s head at his ordination, and also is used to anoint the altar and walls of a new Church.
Salina — Dressed as the proprietor of The Upper Room, Doug Brummel took the stage April 7 at the annual CYO Convention to enjoin the youth that they were made for more. A lone violin played as he began his monologue. Brummel narrated the events of Holy Thursday as the manager of the Upper Room, where Jesus dined with his disciples, might have seen it. “Jesus spoke to them as friends. It’s like Jesus knew each of those apostles were made for more than just being a fisherman or a tax collector or other occupations,” he said, referring to the weekend’s theme “Made for More.” “Somehow, Jesus knew more about them than they knew of themselves.”
He addressed more than 225 youth at the annual convention, which was April 7-8 at Sacred Heart Jr./Sr. High School and St. Mary Grade School in Salina. The narration continued, highlighting the revelation that one of the disciples would betray Christ. “Jesus gave this man the gift of free will,” Brummel said. “This man was made for more, but would he choose more money or more of God?” He continued with Jesus’ words: “I remember that night. He said ‘If you want to be a leader, if you want to lead, you must serve.’ “I saw him do something I’ve never seen anyone do before. He got down and washed their feet.”
Brummel, in turn, invited 12 adults to join him on stage, and invited youth to have their feet washed by the adult sponsors. “To live out your life as a disciple of Jesus, the first step is you must be like Jesus and humble yourself to wash the feet of another,” he said. “To pour water on their feet. You kneel before them and you take new invention called paper towels and you wipe their feet and you pray for that person, that wherever they walk, they will be like Jesus.”
Julien Illo, a senior from St. Agnes Parish in Grainfield, is a member of the Diocesan CYO Council. He said he enjoyed the variety of Brummel’s characters, and how relatable the messages were. “I thought (the washing of the feet) was a really impactful moment,” Illo said. “He did a good job of showing how Jesus became humble to serve his disciples to show them how to serve others.”
Salina — As one of 90 mission diocese in the United States, the Salina Diocese benefits from the annual Catholic Home Missions Appeal, which is April 28-29 in parishes throughout the diocese. In 2017, the diocese received $50,000 to assist with seminarian education, hispanic ministry; a pontifical S.T.L. degree and a Canon Law School for clergy members.
The Catholic Home Missions Appeal was established in 1998 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to support missions in America. There are 90 mission dioceses in the U.S. “The Diocese of Salina must continue to plan for the future by insuring we have a pool of priests ready to assume leadership roles in key ministries,” said Beth Shearer, Director of Stewardship and Development for the diocese. “Because of this need, the diocese asked Catholic Home Missions to support the education of two younger priests.”
Shearer said the median age for a priest in the diocese is 63. Some of the priests who are in leadership roles could potentially retire, and in order for a smooth transition to occur, new clergy needed to be educated and trained prior to any retirements. The advanced education for Father Peter O’Donnell and Father Nick Parker was partially paid for via a grant from Catholic Home Missions.
As a canon lawyer, Father O’Donnell assists with the marriage tribunal, which deals almost exclusively with the validity of marriages. “I’m one of the judges for the marriage tribunal,” he said. “This education has allowed me to be part of the team for the tribunal, to examine and process and decide nullity (CQ) cases.” Before Father O’Donnell completed his degree, the Salina Diocese had two tribunal judges, Shearer said. “To follow best practices we need three judges,” she said. “Ideally, that priest should be younger to insure continuity for the tribunal ministries.”
With Msgr. Barry Brinkman on sabbatical, Father O’Donnell said he has extra responsibility in keeping the cases moving through the annulment process. Yet the canon law degree, which he completed in June 2017, deals with more than marriage. It gives him the knowledge and background to give insight relating to specifics of Baptism. He’s also received practical questions from clergy members regarding endowments for parishes or schools. “Canon law helps to navigate what can be a potentially tricky situation, trying to understand the role of the bishop and pastor in a parish endowment,” he said.
Based at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Herington, Father O’Donnell also serves St. Philip in Hope and St. Columba in Elmo, in addition to his weekly duties at the marriage tribunal office in the chancery. As someone who deals with the end of marriages, Father O’Donnell said his background in canon law assists with marriage formation. “I’m trying to strengthen my approach on marriage preparation — teaching in terms of the canon law perspective of what marriage is,” he said.
The Rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina, Father Parker completed his Sacred Theology Licentiate in May 2016. He is currently completing his dissertation for the doctorate in sacred theology. “The things I hopefully will participate in is permanent diaconate formation as well as continuing education for catechists and other religious education formation,” he said. There is currently not a class of permanent deacons in formation, but the plan is that Father Parker will assist Father Frank Coady in the education of the next group.
“The permanent diaconate is very much a call. It is a call to holy orders. It is an ordination,” Father Parker said. “Therefore, we need permanent deacons who are very well educated themselves, and very well formed in the life of the Church. If we are going to have a permanent diaconate program, there needs to be good formation and resources put into it so we can properly form those who are called to that ministry.” Shearer said Father Parker will also assist with other formation programs throughout the diocese, including assisting formation of those who teach within the parish.
“Now, our average person is much more literate and educated. People have become more advanced, as the world advances, so to does the priest need to advance, in order to help the average person keep growing in their faith,” Father Parker said. “That’s why further education is so important, so we can continue to provide furthering of faith to a much more advanced society.” Money from the Catholic Home Missions Appeal also assists seminarian education, which runs the diocese about $400,000 per year, said Father Kevin Weber, Co-Vocations Director for the diocese. It also helps to fund Hispanic Ministry programs throughout the diocese.