• 2018 CCAA

    The 2018 Catholic Community Annual Appeal has begun. This year’s themes are “We, though many, are one body in Christ”

    Read More
  • 2018 Men's Conference

    The 7th Annual Diocesan Men’s Conference, “Men of God” will be held on Saturday, August 11, 2018 at Immaculate Heart

    Read More
  • TOTUS TUUS 2018

    Parish registration for the Totus Tuus program is now open. Totus Tuus (Latin for Totally Yours) named after St. John

    Read More
  • Junior CYO Camp 2018

    General Information: Is your child looking for something different this summer? At Rock Springs 4-H Ranch opportunities abound. Your son

    Read More

Deacon Hammeke to be ordained June 2

The Register

Salina — As his June 2 ordination nears, Deacon Andy Hammeke said he is looking forward to beginning his service to the Salina Diocese.  “I’m really excited for priesthood and am ready to get going,” he said. “I love my time at St. Meinrad. I’ve made a lot of good friends., but I’m preparing to say goodbye to all that and begin what I’m called to do.”  He will be ordained at 10 a.m. June 2 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina. All are welcome. A light reception will follow in the Hall of Bishops.

The focus of his last year of seminary at St. Meinrad in St. Meinrad, Ind., has shifted from academics to the practical side of the priesthood, Deacon Hammeke said.  “More classes are practicums,” he said. “Baptism practicums and Mass practicums. I’ve enjoyed the academics, but I’ve enjoyed practicing things you will do as a priest.”  He spent last summer immersed at St. Thomas More Parish in Manhattan, learning about parish life within the diocese.  “I learned a ton from Father Frank (Coady),” Deacon Hammeke said. “He showed me the ropes. I did a lot of baptisms and preached every weekend and several times every week. I also helped with funerals and weddings. That was a great start to my diaconate.”  During his seminary studies, he was also assigned to assist at local parishes.  “I would go to parish events and help with RCIA, parish formation and Knights of Columbus,” he said. “I learned a lot from my experience in those parishes as well.”

Deacon Hammeke said he is looking forward to the fraternal aspect of the priesthood. During the ordination, he said he is looking forward to what is called the “kiss of peace,” which is when every priest hugs the newly ordained.  “I’m excited about the brotherhood that comes with the priesthood, knowing we are all on the same team with the same mission, leading people to Christ,” he said. “I look forward to hugging all those guys I love and look up to. I’ve come to know and love and respect a lot of priests in our diocese. I look forward to being the newest member of (the presbyterate).”

Bishop Carl Kemme, from the Diocese of Wichita, will preside at the ordination. Deacon Hammeke said he has met Bishop Kemme several times because he has friends from the seminary who are from the Wichita Diocese.  “As much as you come to know and love the bishop you have, bishops move on,” Deacon Hammeke said of the fall assignment of Bishop Edward Weisenburger to Tucson, Ariz. “As long as it’s a bishop (who ordains me), a descendant of one of the apostles, I’m joining a presbyterate that will stay. I’m getting ordained for our diocese.”

Deacon Hammeke, 29, is a native of Hays and grew up in Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.  He is the son of Curtis and Annette Hammeke, and the grandson of Dennis and Arlene Stastny, of Dwight, Neb., and the late Norman and Joleene Hammeke of Great Bend.  He has a brother, Nick, and sister Alicia Knight and husband Kegan, who have two daughters, Emery and Kollins.


Two priests celebrate 25th anniversary

The Register

Two priests for the Salina Diocese will celebrate silver anniversaries: Father Fred Gatschet and Father Mark Wesley.  Father Gatschet, 56, attended Kansas State University, earning degrees in Spanish and Milling Science. He then attended at St. Meinrad Seminary in Meinrad, Ind., and was ordained May 22, 1993, at Seven Dolors Church in Manhattan by Bishop George Fitzsimons.  Because he’s fluent in Spanish, Father Gatschet said he often assisted with translation during his seven-year tenure at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina.  “There would be days when I’d say 6:30 a.m. Mass (in English), and then the phone and doorbell would ring and I would got o bed at night and think ‘I don’t think I spoke English all day,’ ” he said, adding he spent much of his time working with the Hispanic community.

The connection with the Hispanic community is something he strives to maintain as the parochial administrator of St. Joseph in Hays. He said he works to find Bible studies and other ways to catechize the Spanish-speaking population, in addition to those who speak English.  One of his primary — and unexpected — roles was that of a teacher at Thomas More Prep-Marian Jr./Sr. High School. He describes the 12 years he spent in the classroom as “a blessing.”  “Due to the breakdown of catechesis over the last 50 years, people know nothing about their faith,” he said. “Being able to go in and provide classes and instruction … watching people have that ‘aha’ experience is very satisfying.”

As a child, his family often invited the clergy over for meals, and he would help around Seven Dolors parish where he grew up in Manhattan. So not much of the daily life of the priest was a surprise to Father Gatschet. He said Father Damian Richards summarized the most surprising aspect of the priesthood the best.  At the priest gathering to commemorate his 25th anniversary in 2017, he said: “ ‘When I look at my life as a priest, how interesting and rewarding it is, I cannot understand why we don’t have guys banging down the door to become a priest.’ ” Father Gatschet quoted.

He then expanded on Father Richards’ statement.  “People complain about their jobs, that it’s a dead end or not rewarding,” he said. “The priesthood, when you talk to any of us, is the antithesis of all that. It’s a career with never the same thing twice. When i get up every morning, I never know what I’m going to encounter. You have to learn how to think on your feet and be creative. It’s not boring or the same old, same old.”  Father Gatschet said he doesn’t have any formal plans for his anniversary.

His assignments have been:

  • June 1993: Parochial Vicar at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina.
  • June 1999: Comeau Catholic Campus Center in Hays.
  • 2001 - 2012: Add reaching religion class at Thomas More Prep-Marian Jr./Sr. High School.
  • July 2013: add Parochial administrator at St. Joseph Parish in Hays, while continuing at CCCC.
  •

Deacon Mike ordained

The Register

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.”


Featured Events

Catholic News Headlines

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler OrsburnBy Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON (CNS) -- The executive director of the U.S. bishops' Migration and Refugee Services gives credit to a group of moderate Republicans in Congress trying to revive interest in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals legislation, or DACA, by their efforts to bring not just one bill, but four, to the House floor. "They are surfacing the issue forcefully and making the House deal with it," said William Canny. Although he believes the bills could bring about a "path forward," he said he is not fully convinced it will happen because of the extent of anti-immigrant sentiment in Congress and the White House.A current proposal, led by Reps. JeffDenham, R- California, and Will Hurd, R-Texas, along with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is tapping into an obscure House rule called "queen of the hill" which would bring four immigration bills to the House floor for a vote and the bill with the most votes would pass. But for Congress to even consider these multiple bills, there needs to be enough signatures on a discharge petition. As of May 21, 20 Republicans and 176 Democrats have signed the petition, which needs signatures from 25 Republicans and all 193 Democrats. If the "queen of the hill" procedure gets the go-ahead, there will be debate on each of the four bills in the course of one day, followed by votes. Another technicality of this procedure is that discharged bills can only be brought to the House floor on the second and fourth Monday of each month, when the House is in session, which narrows the window for this to happen to June 25 and July 23. In the meantime, it's a waiting game, Canny told Catholic News Service. He said the U.S. bishops want Congress to help Dreamers find a path to stay in this country and become citizens "without the fear and stress" they currently live with daily. He also called it "tragic" that DACA recipients -- who have been here since childhood and have been educated here -- are currently left "to the whims of various courts." When President Trump announced last September that he was terminating DACA, he asked Congress to pass a permanent legislative solution for DACA participants. His March 5 deadline has passed and now the DACA battle is in the courts with multiple lawsuits challenging Trump's decision and seven states filing a lawsuit to try to end DACA. The four DACA bills that could come up for vote are: Securing America's Future Act, also known as Goodlatte Bill, written by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia; the DREAM Act; the Uniting and Securing America Act (USA) Act; and a fourth bill that will be chosen by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin. The Goodlatte Bill would grant temporary status for DACA recipients with renewable three-year visas and would include stronger border enforcement and legal immigration restrictions. The DREAM Act primarily offers a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other Dreamers. The USA Act, sponsored by Reps. Denham and Pete Aguilar, D-California, would grant permanent legal status to qualified Dreamers and border improvements. If the four bills do not come up for House vote, Securing America's Future Act could come to a floor vote in mid-June but it is said to have little chance of passing in its current form. Canny said the U.S. bishops have supported the DREAM Act and the USA Act, which have narrow immigration reform, but they are against the restrictions within the Goodlatte Bill, and of course they don't know what Ryan bill would look like. Three California bishops placed an ad in a local newspaper May 18 asking House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, to allow a debate and a vote on DACA, specifically the USA Act. The ad, in the form of a letter, urged McCarthy to recognize: "The time to act is now. We have to do what we can to protect these blameless people who were brought into our country when they were only small children." In late April, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin Texas, stressed his support for USA Act, saying he hoped Congress would "find a humane legislative solution for Dreamers." He said the USA Act would provide qualifying Dreamers with protection from deportation and give them a path to citizenship while also augmenting border security at the U.S./Mexico border, increasing the number of immigration judges and Board of Immigration Appeals staff attorneys. A May 21 editorial in The Los Angeles Times by Denham, said: "Immigration policy is the responsibility of Congress, and this may be our last chance for a legislative fix before DACA recipients' lives are upended; if we leave DACA in the courts to languish (or be dismantled) and fail to act in Congress, then program recipients will be left in limbo or, worse, deported to a 'home' they never knew." - - -Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim - - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Although it is not unusual for a pope to set aside temporarily the limit of 120 cardinals under the age of 80, Pope Francis has done so in a way that could last for more than a year. The pope announced May 20 that he would create 14 news cardinals June 29; 11 of them are under the age of 80 and would be eligible to enter a conclave to elect a new pope. In early June, Cardinal Angelo Amato will celebrate his 80th birthday, which will drop the number of electors to 114. Three weeks later, the batch of new cardinals will raise the number of potential electors to 125. Cardinal Amato is the last cardinal to turn 80 in 2018. And it will take until July 31, 2019, for another five cardinals to age out. Confirming the limit of 120 electors set by Blessed Paul VI, St. John Paul II wrote in "Universi Dominici Gregis," his rules for a conclave, that "the maximum number of cardinal electors must not exceed 120." That led one major news agency to report, "If a conclave has to be called before any other cardinal turns 80, the electors would have to draw lots to see which five men would be barred from the gathering." Conclaves don't happen that often and none in recent history took place when there were more than 120 eligible electors. But the idea of a lottery for entrance into the Sistine Chapel, where the voting would take place, led many people to scratch their heads. After all, "Universi Dominici Gregis" and the changes made to it by Pope Benedict XVI in 2013 both strongly state: "No cardinal elector can be excluded from active or passive voice in the election of the supreme pontiff." A pope, as the supreme legislator of the Catholic Church, can set aside the limit of 120 potential electors. But doing so does not change the no-exclusion clause. And while a year may be a long time to exceed the 120 limit, exceeding it by five cardinals is minor compared to what St. John Paul II did in February 2001. Creating 44 new cardinals -- the biggest batch ever at one consistory -- the pope raised the number of cardinal electors to 135. St. John Paul created another 30 cardinals in 2003, bringing the number of electors back up to 135 once again. But, by the time he died in 2005, only 117 were under 80, and two of those were too ill to participate in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict. The Polish pope's mega-consistories broadly expanded the international -- in other words, the catholic -- identity of the College of Cardinals. It is a process that continues. Pope Francis' latest cardinals-designate include churchmen from five countries not currently represented in the College of Cardinals. But each of those countries -- Bolivia, Pakistan, Japan, Madagascar and Iraq -- has had a cardinal in the recent past. With the addition of the new cardinals, the group of electors will represent 67 nations. The cardinals who elected Pope Francis in 2013 came from 48 countries. The number of Italians with a red biretta, the cardinal's three-cornered hat, still far exceeds those of any other nation, and Pope Francis is about to add three more to their number. The day before the consistory, 18 Italians would be eligible to enter a conclave -- 19 if you count Cardinal Mario Zenari, the Italy-born nuncio to Syria, who Pope Francis made clear was chosen to represent Syria. Still, in the 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis, 28 were Italian. The country with the next-highest number of cardinal electors is the United States, which has 10 cardinals under the age of 80. At a Mass with the College of Cardinals in 2017, a Mass marking his 25th anniversary as a bishop, Pope Francis said that the Catholic Church is not a "gerontocracy" ruled by old men; "we aren't old men, we are grandfathers." But his choices for the June consistory do very little to lower the average age of the group of electors. Only one, Cardinal-designate Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, is still in his 50s. He is 54. Cardinal Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui, Central African Republic, is 51 years old and still will be the youngest cardinal once the consistory is over. On June 28, there will be 114 electors with an average age of 71 years, 11 months and one day. After the consistory the next day, there will be 125 electors with an average age of 71 years, eight months and 20 days. The cardinals who elected 58-year-old Cardinal Karol Wojtyla -- St. John Paul II -- in 1978 had an average age of 67. - - - Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Jonathan Bachman, ReutersBy HOUSTON (CNS) -- In response to the May 18 school shooting at a Houston-area high school, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said the archdiocesan community would "unite to support and offer healing to those affected." "As a society, we must strive for a way to end such acts of senseless gun violence in our schools and communities," he added in a May 18 statement. The cardinal said he was "deeply saddened" and that his prayer and the prayers of Catholics in the archdiocese are with the "victims and families of those killed and injured in this horrific tragedy."In a separate statement as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal DiNardo said: "Our community and our local church joins an ever-growing list of those impacted by the evil of gun violence. I extend my heartfelt prayers, along with my brother bishops, for all of those who have died, their families and friends, those who were injured, and for our local community." The school shooting, occurring just three months after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, took place when a male shooter opened fire at a Santa Fe High School the morning of May 18 killing 10 -- eight students and two teachers -- and injuring another 13 people. A suspect taken into custody was identified as 17-year old Dimitrios Pagourtzis and another person of interest also was detained and questioned. Explosive devices also were found at the school and off campus. At a late-afternoon hearing May 18 before a magistrate judge, Pagourtzis acknowledged that he understood the murder charges against him and was ordered held without bond. Authorities offered no motive for the shootings. The shooting was the deadliest in Texas since a gunman attacked a rural church late last year, killing more than two dozen people."Sadly, I must yet again point out the obvious brokenness in our culture and society, such that children who went to school this morning to learn and teachers who went to inspire them will not come home," Cardinal DiNardo said in his statement at USCCB president. "We as a nation must, here and now, say definitively: no more death!"He prayed that "the Lord of life" would be "with us in our sorrow and show us how to honor the precious gift of life and live in peace.""We experienced an unthinkable tragedy at our high school this morning," Santa Fe Superintendent Leigh Wall said in a message posted to Facebook. "As soon as the alarms went off, everybody just started running outside," 10th-grader Dakota Shrader told reporters, "and next thing you know everybody looks, and you hear boom, boom, boom, and I just ran as fast as I could to the nearest floor so I could hide, and I called my mom." Another student told CBS News he ran behind some trees, heard more shots, jumped a fence and ran to a car wash. He said he saw firefighters treat a girl who had a bandage around her knee and may have been shot. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, said in a May 18 tweet: "Please keep the victims of the Houston-area school shooting in your prayers. Pray also for their family members and friends who now begin a tragic grieving process. For those killed, grant eternal rest unto them, O Lord, and bestow grace and strength to all in their community." Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the assault "one of the most heinous attacks that we've ever seen in the history of Texas schools." He called for a statewide moment of silence the morning of May 21 and announced a series of roundtable discussions to be held about school safety and ending school shootings.White cross with the names of those shot at the Santa Fe school have been put up along a memorial outside the school. Churchgoers offered prayers for the shooting victims at Sunday services May 20.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic StandardBy Norma Montenegro FlynnWASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Catholic Church needs to walk with and accompany Hispanic and immigrant families, reach out to youth and young adults, and strengthen faith and leadership formation. These were the recurring themes voiced by participants of the episcopal Region IV encuentro held May 19, at The Catholic University of America in Washington. As part of the National Fifth Encuentro process, nearly 100 regional participants -- lay and religious leaders from seven dioceses -- from Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia, gathered for the day to "encounter," as the word "encuentro" suggests, each other and listen to the voices from parish communities and organizations within the region. They discerned priorities and strategies on Hispanic ministry and how to better answer Pope Francis' call to become missionary disciples reaching out to those on the peripheries. "It's important for us to get to know the drama, the anxieties of our people to bring the peaceful presence of Jesus Christ into their lives," said Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington and lead bishop for the Region IV encuentro. "We have to be able to speak the same language from soul to soul in order to be able to connect them," he said in an interview with Catholic News Service, noting that such accompaniment doesn't change through the years. Participants sharing in small groups and at-large, widely spoke about the ways Hispanic families need the Catholic church community to accompany them in their struggles, their desire for a better and more accessible faith formation, on outreach to youth and young adults, on family values and on keeping families together. In a region with high numbers of recent immigrants, Central Americans who were Temporary Protected Status recipients and others covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, many voiced fears of deportation that breaks families apart. TPS was recently terminated by the Department of Homeland Security leaving over 300,000 Salvadorans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans and Haitians facing possible deportations. About 690,000 DACA recipients are in a similar immigration limbo. "Over and over, we saw that specially youth are feeling overwhelmed with the many stresses that they have, stresses because of immigration issues that affect them directly, especially those with DACA, those under TPS, and those whose parents, relatives or friends are undocumented," said Lia Salinas, director of Hispanic ministry for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Region VI encuentro co-chair. "That is a voice that needs to be heard and that needs to be addressed." Proposed strategies to accompany families include: nurturing families through each stage, helping families integrate into their communities and following up with pastoral care. They also proposed to provide support for families who suffer separation and be involved in advocacy. As part of advocacy efforts, many participants signed letters to their senators seeking a legislative solution for TPS recipients. The letters are part of the Catholics Confront Global Poverty initiative led by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services. Throughout the day, participants shared priorities and strategies in the ministerial areas of evangelization and mission; vocations and leadership development; youth and young adult ministry; family ministry; immigration and social justice; faith formation and catechesis; intercultural competencies, stewardship and development; and Hispanics and public and professional life. Priorities across the different areas of work included: the need to prepare catechists, priests, deacons and lay leaders to be multilingual and multicultural to reflect the universal church, placing greater emphasis on cultural integration and competencies. "We have to develop the competencies, they're very important, but I just want to stress the importance of developing an open heart," noted Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore to participants. He noted that although more needs to be done in the different areas, the church is headed down the right path. Other priorities addressed were: finding ways to strengthen Hispanic ministry by strengthening the formation of Hispanic leaders; making available training in Spanish and scholarships to assist those who want to further their formation but lack the resources to do it; supporting and build up leaders, particularly among youth and young adults; access to Catholic education for youth, and providing a greater support for families, single parents and women. In the afternoon, a group of bishops or their representatives joined the small group conversations and later exchanged views and answered questions with the participants. We're called to proclaim and live the joy of the Gospel, we come here today very much aware of the real struggles that so many immigrants, people, families experience in their lives, and struggles are difficult," said Father Thomas Ferguson, vicar general of the Diocese of Arlington, who represented Bishop Michael Burbidge. "But even in the midst of carrying the cross or embracing the struggle and the sorrow and the suffering, it is radiated in this room joy, because we've been called by Jesus to carry out his work." Other panel participants were: Archbishop Lori; Bishop Dorsonville, Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Mark E. Brennan and Msgr. John J.M. Foster, vicar general for the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, representing Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio. Episcopal Region IV includes the dioceses of Arlington and Richmond, Virginia; Wilmington, Delaware; Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia; and the Washington and Baltimore archdioceses; and the U.S. military archdiocese. Participants came from all walks of life including immigrants and nonimmigrants; ministry leaders from city, suburbs and rural communities; and leaders of Catholic ecclesial movements, organizations and institutions. "We want to in some way continue the encuentro process in the parishes and the diocesan teams to prepare and ignite that fire that it's still there," said Gabriel Garza, a delegate in the Archdiocese of Washington, voicing the desire of many to continue being engaged in the process of leadership, consultation and discernment that the Fifth Encuentro has begun. Military spouses and active duty members stationed in Japan, Italy, Hawaii and the eastern and western U.S., also participated in the meeting as part of the delegation representing the U.S. military archdiocese, which is based in Washington. The military archdiocese facilitated access to the encuentro process for Catholics in the military services who wished to participate. Zack Mackeller is a senior airman in the Air Force and became involved after attending a Catholic conference in Chicago. He represents the voices of young Catholics in the military and embraces the call to be a missionary disciple. "I try to engage people as they are, where they're at. Just that very basic, person to person connection, that's really all you can do. Then the Holy Spirit will unite people in its own way," he said. Recommendations will be included in a final report, which will form part of the working document for the National Fifth Encuentro, or V Encuentro, to be held in Grapevine, Texas, Sept. 20-24. The Region IV participants will be part of over 3,000 delegates from across the country who are expected to convene during those four days to discern priorities and develop strategies for the "Pastoral Hispana," or Hispanic ministry, in the United States, including seeking ways to better respond to the call to be missionary disciples. "Evangelizacion y alegria," or evangelization and joy, were the two words of encouragement that captured what Archbishop Lori wished for the delegates who will attend the National Fifth Encuentro. The day concluded with a sending-off Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, with Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl presiding and Bishop Burbidge, Archbishop Lori and Bishop Dorsonville concelebrating. - - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Chaz MuthBy Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON (CNS) -- A group of current Trinity Washington University graduates are proud of what they've accomplished but also very anxious about the future. These emotions could ring true for almost any graduate, but for this group of 21 graduating Dreamers -- among the hundreds of thousands in the U.S. protected, for now, by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA -- these feelings are even more intense. That's because many of these students who came to the United States as children when their parents immigrated here without documentation, never imagined they would be able to afford to go to college or graduate in four years. And now, like other graduates across the country, they worry about financing grad school or getting good jobs all while fearing the worst: possible deportation for themselves or their family members as immigration laws remain in flux. Two of these Dreamer graduates who spoke to Catholic News Service May 10 -- in between finishing final exams and awaiting their May 19 graduation ceremony -- asked that their last names or the states where they came from not be used to protect their families. They are among the 20 DACA recipients who started at Trinity four years ago and the first group of Dreamers to graduate from the school. The term "Dreamer" is coined from the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act. One student from the initial group left Trinity and two others joined later as transfer students. The students were among 100 Dreamers who attended the university this year. All of these students are recipients of scholarships from TheDream.US, a scholarship program for DACA students that partners with colleges. Trinity was the first Catholic college to partner with the program when it started in 2014 and two other Catholic colleges have since joined: Dominican University, just outside Chicago, and Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago. Brenda, who came to the United States from Mexico with her family when she was 6, said she will probably cry when she gets her diploma mainly because when she was a senior in high school, she didn't think she'd be able to even go to college, let alone finish in four years. She said her mom found out about scholarship program and urged her to apply, but Brenda was skeptical because as she put it: "No one even knew about Dreamers" or DACA four years ago. Which means they didn't know immigrants without documentation don't have access to Pell grants, federal education loans or work-study programs and that many of them have to pay out-of-state tuition to go to college in their home states. Brenda, who is graduating with a double major in business and international affairs, said she wants to get her master's and doctorate degrees, but she knows it won't be easy. "It will be a challenge. I might have to work even harder to get financial support to figure out how I'm going to get there, but I will," she said with the confidence of someone who has already worked pretty hard. Brenda disputes a misconception that DACA students are just looking for handouts, noting that everything she and fellow Dreamer students have attained is through hard work. The scholarship program, for example, is only for top academic students. "We're competing for a spot and what we do has to be two, three, four and five times better than everyone else," she said. "We have to earn it." Yarely, a graduating senior majoring in biochemistry with a minor in math, similarly stressed the pressure to work hard and the weight of not knowing what the future holds. The 22-year-old who came to the United States from Mexico with her mother and sister when she was 8, said: "Sometimes I feel like there really is no choice for me, no path, but then I stop and think about my family, my friends and I just keep going because that's the only thing I can do." In the days before graduating, she kept her eyes on the ceremony itself. "I feel that is a win -- no matter what -- that is definitely a win," she said. She doesn't focus on the fact that her mom won't be able to attend her graduation. Yarely is used to having to face challenges on her own. Like Brenda, she didn't do college tours nor did family members help her move in. She simply came to Trinity on her first airplane ride, moved on campus and got to work, literally, holding down two jobs as a student, often tutoring both college and high school students. A big unknown for her now is the future of DACA, saying she needs it to work and to keep going to school, which she hopes will eventually be medical school. "Not knowing if I am going to even be able to finance that it is definitely something that makes me really scared; it makes me terrified," she said. Senior year for these students has been a particular roller coaster starting last September when the Trump administration announced the government was terminating DACA. Multiple lawsuits have since challenged that decision and a recent court ruling issued an order to strike down the end to DACA and reinstate the original program while still giving the government 90 days to explain its decision. In early May, seven states filed a lawsuit to try to end DACA. Yarely and Brenda have seen both sides of the immigration battle. Neither of them are immune to anti-immigrant rhetoric, but they also are grateful for support from their families, teachers and administrators at Trinity, the scholarship program and the Catholic Church at large. Yarely said she has had nightmares of "being out on the streets and people yelling to me and to my family, just yelling things that I know aren't true," but she also said there are "so many great people out there. ... I know people who yell or say incredibly hurtful things are the minority so I feel like that helps me get into perspective that America is not that way; America is not place of hate and ugliness." Brenda said she is thankful "for all those who have seen there's a gap, there's injustice leaving us out of opportunities just because of our status." She has hope from those who advocate on behalf of immigrants, especially the Catholic Church, which she saw firsthand during an internship with U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. "Knowing that the church is involved and wants to be involved does give me hope," she said, adding that church leaders "won't be quiet about it and are willing to stand up for us and with us." Brenda, who has spent most of her life in this country, considers herself to be American and said she is thankful for the opportunities here that she knows she would not have had in Mexico. "I love this country," she said, adding: "I do want to stay here and I have all the faith in God that that will be the case." Pat McGuire, president of Trinity, compared the first class of Dreamers to graduate from the university to Trinity's first graduating class in 1900 because both had "vision for how a great college education can change the fortunes of their children and families." In an email to CNS, she said the Dreamer graduates were a "force for solidarity" as students of all backgrounds, faculty, staff and alumnae offered personal support and did advocacy work. She said the immigrant students were role models for other students coping with discrimination and setbacks. The Dreamers' presence also helped the entire school community to sharpen its "sense of mission and commitment to challenge injustice," she said. - - - Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.