Salina — Stewardship is a way of life — more than just a sign up weekend. However, it starts and continues annually with the stewardship renewal weekend. Stewardship is a choice. Stewardship is a faith response endorsed by the bishops of the United States. This year, the Salina Diocese invites and challenges all members of the Catholic community to accept this faith response and renew their stewardship commitment to their local parish. Stewardship Renewal weekend is September 23 to 24 in parishes across the Salina Diocese.
A Christian steward is someone who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with others, and returns them with increase to the Lord. As stated in the manual, “Stewardship – A Disciple’s Responses – a Pastoral Letter on Stewardship, the Tenth Anniversary Edition:” “Each member of the Church shares in the responsibility for its mission; each is called to practice stewardship of the Church.” The life of a Christian steward is lived in imitation of the life of Christ. They reflect God’s love to all and give out of love. It is challenging. However, both here and hereafter, the life of a Christian steward is filled with intense joy.
The reward is not only sharing in the kingdom of heaven, but also being served and healed by those the steward has served and healed. Remember the parable of the loaves and fishes: Jesus ordered the disciples to distribute seven loaves and fishes among the crowd of many. Everyone ate and was satisfied and seven baskets were left over. As much as was given to others was returned to the giver. Ideally, each person has grown over the year and is in a different place than the prior year. Therefore, every parishioner in the Diocese is given the opportunity to evaluate, update, and renew his or her stewardship commitment. This provides an opportunity to reflect on the many ways God has blessed a person’s life. So many blessings have likely occurred over the year. God’s blessing comes with no expectation in return. However, a person in love with God wants to give back.
God intends each person to play a unique role in carrying out his divine plan. The challenge is for each person to understand his or her role and then respond generously to God’s call. Christian stewardship applies to everything — all personal talents, abilities, and wealth. The Salina Diocese, like many dioceses, refers to this as time, talent, and treasure.
Salina — Listen.
That was the simple task Bishop Edward Weisenburger and Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller, CSJ, undertook during three sessions with youth and young adults throughout the Salina Diocese. “The objective was not for us to give them answers,” Sister Barbara Ellen said. “We wanted to listen to help us and the bigger Church meet their needs.” At the Diocesan CYO convention in April 8 and Aug. 30 in Hays and Sept. 5 in Manhattan, the duo took notes as the youth talked.
“It was very unique to be able to have the opportunity to speak with them on a personal level to talk about the state of the Church and the youth,” said Reese Leiker, sophomore at Fort Hays State University, and president of the Catholic Disciples at the Comeau Catholic Campus Center. “It is important for us to voice our concerns about things happening in everyday life, we’re trying to live out our faith on a college campus. “Culture is hurting the youth and church and creating vice. How the Church and youth will take on these new challenges is one it’s never faced before. It has to go about it carefully and gracefully.”
In November of 2016, the bishop was tasked with getting feedback from the youth. The summary (please see above) was sent to Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill, Associate General Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in advance of the 2018 Synod of Bishops, with the theme of “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” Bishop Weisenburger expressed his great appreciation for what the young people had to tell him. “Their candor, love for the faith and commitment to the Church are wonderfully refreshing,” he said. “Daily the media hits us with news of young people drifting from the Church. To hear the love for the Church as well as the zeal of such fine teenagers, college students and young adults was an experience of renewal for me. Our future is bright.”
The first weekend of October is “Respect Life Sunday” and I ask that all the faithful of our diocese join with me in offering prayers that our nation will come to a fuller appreciation of the sanctity of all human life, from conception until natural death.
Whenever we speak of “Life issues” we must acknowledge that we are speaking of a broad spectrum of related issues, such as legalized abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty. Moreover, our prophetic voice in the world is most compelling when our position on these issues is clear and consistent. We recognize the face of Christ in every human being. Nevertheless, it also must be noted that the topic of legalized abortion, and the millions of innocents who have died, has a primacy of place.
Thirty years ago I laid prostrate in prayer on the floor of a cathedral, just moments before my Archbishop called me forward and laid hands on my head, ordaining me to the priesthood. Next to me on that cathedral floor was my classmate — a friend of almost forty years now and a fine priest to this day. He is with us because his young, single birth-mother chose adoption over abortion. While little is known of her life, it seems she was young, single and troubled. But I would like to think that there were those around her 56 years ago who helped her, encouraged her, refrained from uncharitable judgment and simply helped her make the kind of decisions that resulted in a son whose life is wonderfully dedicated to God and the Church. Of course, even one child lost to such a cruel and unholy death as abortion is too many. And yet my grief is multiplied when I consider how many might have grown up to be your doctor, your teacher, your neighbor, your friend, or possibly your priest.
Let us honor the dignity of their lives by speaking out in clear support of ending the legalized killing of our children. And again, as we lift up our prophetic voice as one, let our message have the greatest possible impact by the consistency of our belief: all human life (the unborn, the criminal, the elderly, the very sick, the mentally ill, the handicapped) — ALL human life, from conception until natural death, is sacred.
Bishop Edward Weisenburger serves as the promoter of justice for the cause for canonization for servant of God Father Stanley Rother of Okarche, Okla. The priest was murdered July 28, 1981, while serving at the mission of Santiago Atitlan in Guatemala.
As the promoter of justice, his role is to help the Church study and examine the life of Father Rother. The promoter, he said, is there to ask not only the “nice questions” but also to “ensure that all the facts are uncovered in the process and that all questions, including difficult questions, are asked.”
That role has included several trips to the mission in Guatemala.
“It’s always a very moving experience,” said the bishop, “especially to spend some quiet time in the room of the parish rectory that still has the marks of the bullet holes where Father Rother was killed.
“It has been turned into an unofficial chapel where people still slip in to pray.”
Having served as pastor of Father Rother’s home parish in Okarche, the bishop said he got to know members of the Rother family personally.
“When the cause began, I was a former pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Okarche, having served there from 1995-2002,” the bishop said. “Those were seven exceptionally happy years of my life. That parish has produced a host of vocations to priesthood and religious life.
“It should not be surprising that such a vibrant parish would produce vocations and now a potentially canonized saint.”
Last December, Pope Francis declared Father Rother a martyr, clearing the path for his beatification. On March 13, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City received word the beatification will take place Sept. 23 in Oklahoma City.
A biography of Father Rother titled “The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run,” was published by Our Sunday Visitor in 2015.
On Monday, Aug. 21, many Americans witnessed an extremely rare astronomical phenomenon, a total solar eclipse. The sun appeared to be darkened for a time as the moon passed between the earth and the sun, casting its shadow over much of the earth’s surface. The last time such an event occurred across the whole of the contiguous United States was in 1918. Thousands of people traveled great distances to experience this extraordinary phenomenon.
Perhaps it was an actual solar eclipse coinciding with the moment of Our Lord’s death that caused the darkness described in St. Matthew’s Gospel: “From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon” (Mt 27:45). An eclipse of the sun is certainly an appropriate cosmic sign for the very moment when sin and death seemed to triumph over light and life. For three days, hope was eclipsed by despair. The Resurrection, however, proclaims Christ’s ultimate victory: the victory of life over death; the triumph of Divine Mercy over human sinfulness. Jesus Christ is the light of the world and this “light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:5).
On July 28, 1981, it must have seemed as if darkness had triumphed in the village of Santiago Atitlan in Guatemala. That morning, thousands of grieving parishioners gathered in the plaza in front of the massive colonial church as word spread that their beloved shepherd, Padre A’Plas had been killed. During the night, intruders had broken into the rectory and murdered Father Stanley Rother, the shepherd who didn’t run.
Hope seemed to have been vanquished by violence, love eclipsed by hatred. But, life and hope were indeed victorious. “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church” as Tertullian wrote in the 2nd century. Father Stanley Rother’s witness of fidelity and pastoral charity have inspired countless Christians and non-Christians in Guatemala, Oklahoma and throughout the United States. Today, the Church in Santiago Atitlan is flourishing. The light of faith continues to shine brightly and the darkness has not overcome it.
The Catholic Church has officially recognized the Venerable Servant of God Stanley Francis Rother as a martyr for the faith. He is the first martyr from the United States, and on Sept. 23 will become the first U.S.-born priest to be beatified. In Oklahoma, this event is even rarer than a total solar eclipse! Are you going?
I invite all who read this to come to the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 10 a.m. to participate in the Mass and Rite of Beatification for Father Stanley Francis Rother. It will be a beautiful and historic event, but more importantly it will be the occasion for an abundant outpouring of grace and mercy upon our Church, our families and community and our nation. There will be ample parking and access. (And I promise that traffic will be far less difficult to manage than for a Garth Brooks concert.)
Come and see!
Speaker shares his story of healing at annual Divine Mercy Radio banquet
For The Register
Hays — “How did I get here?” is a question many ask after hitting rock-bottom.
“How did I get here?” is a question far fewer take the time to reflect on amid success, particularly in an industry that runs 24/7 and is driven every second by happenings the world over. Brian Patrick, a 40-year veteran of radio and television and current host of EWTN Radio’s “Morning Glory,” has asked this question in both extremes at different points in his life. Now, looking back on a path filled with twists, turns and moments of abundant clarity, he answers that question with one word: “Mercy.” Patrick shared his message of “Mercy in Motion” at the seventh annual Divine Mercy Radio Appreciation Banquet Sept. 9 in Hays.
From the years of his youth in Pennsylvania to time spent at Father Edward Flanagan’s Boys Town on the outskirts of Omaha, Neb., and from his years spent addicted to illicit substances to his current work for EWTN in an office and studio overlooking Washington D.C.’s Capitol Hill, Patrick said his journey, while an improbable one, is a lesson of mercy in motion. He said his story mimics that of The Prodigal Son in many respects. “I rejected my Catholic faith because I [thought I] knew better than what I’d been taught. That’s really what I did; I squandered the gifts God gave me,” said Patrick. “Finally, I knew I had to surrender to the power of God and surrender to His mercy. “And surrendering is really joining the winning team,” he added with a smile. That surrender came as part of a 12-step program. With Father Ray, a priest of the Precious Blood as his sponsor, Patrick took the first steps toward a new life — a life in and for Christ.
In their first meeting, “Father Ray asked how long it had been since my last confession,” Patrick recalled. “We started talking and three hours later he prayed the words of absolution, ‘All your sins are forgiven,’ and I realized that God’s mercy was far greater than my weakness.” Patrick reminded the audience that God’s mercy is available for the accepting, but he warned, “Unless it moves through us and out to others, it stagnates. Unless I am willing to show mercy to others, it’s dormant in me. Mercy should flow in and out. “Mercy works like love. The more we show mercy and the more we give it, the more we can take it in. How can we solve the bitterness and hatred in our world? By becoming vessels of God’s mercy.” Patrick’s message to the nearly 200 audience members was that each person was in the room because he had experienced God’s mercy and he was aware of Catholic radio’s role in spreading that mercy to the world. His message to the members of the Salina Diocese at large was one of gratitude. “I want to thank you for being true Americans,” he said. “You are the heart of this country. “As we think back on Sept. 11 and as we respond to other challenges [as a nation], you are an example of how we all can live. This is where Americans shine.”
For The Register
Hays — Divine Mercy Radio celebrated seven years on the air with its annual Appreciation Banquet Sept. 9, in Hays. In addition to keynote speaker Brian Patrick of EWTN Radio’s “Morning Glory,” the event featured an update on the station and its newest expansion ventures.
“This past year we filed with the Federal Aviation Administration to build a 500-foot tower north of Ellis to expand the wattage of KVDM,” reported the station’s Executive Director Donetta Robben.
“Currently, the application is under review. So, we’re waiting. If it’s God’s will that KVDM expand, it will.”
Robben also shared information on a new technology that is increasing the station’s reach.
“Recently Divine Mercy Radio began streaming on the Amazon Echo — a voice-activated device that is quickly gaining ground in the tech world,” she said. “To listen to Divine Mercy Radio on the Amazon Echo, all one has to do is say, ‘Alexa, enable the Divine Mercy Radio Skill.’ After the skill is enabled, anytime you want to listen to Divine Mercy Radio, all you have to say is, ‘Alexa, play Divine Mercy Radio,’ and the familiar voice of our spiritual director comes on the air saying, ‘This is Father Fred Gatschet with Divine Mercy Radio. Thanks for listening.’ ”
According to industry forecasting, it is estimated that by 2020, 75 percent of American homes will have a voice-activated smart speaker like Amazon Echo.
In her message of appreciation to the listeners and supporters of the station, Robben stated, “Because of all of you … Divine Mercy Radio is continually seeking ways to reach more souls with the joyful message that Jesus Christ suffered and died so that heaven can be attainable for us.
“Heaven is real and so is hell. It’s in everlasting life that the real climate change will take place! We need to reach as many souls as possible in our lifetime so that souls choose heaven for their everlasting dwelling place.”
Divine Mercy Radio, an affiliate of EWTN, is broadcast on 88.1 KVDM in Hays, and on 88.1 KRTT in Great Bend. In addition to the over-the-air broadcast and the broadcast through Amazon Echo, listeners can tune in via the Listen Live feature on the station’s website, dvmercy.com, from anywhere in the world.
President Trump’s decision to end the DACA, (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) program is a matter of grave concern. The immigrants in question were brought to the United States at such a young age that a great many have no memory or experience of any home but America. These “DACA youth” currently live and work among us as contributing members of American society. While DACA was never a permanent solution it did provide as many as 800,000 innocent people with a measure of relief from the constant fear of deportation, oftentimes to a foreign country where they have no family, no support, and no personal history. Along with the bishops of our Nation, I stand in solidarity with these youth who have committed no personal crime and are now in grave peril of deportation to a foreign country.
I believe we must acknowledge that immigration has become one of the most contentious issues in American politics. However, many of our Nation’s greatest moments have been revealed when we have risen above contention and chosen the path of justice tempered with mercy. It is in these moments that we have been a bright light for the rest of the world. I believe in America, and I believe in our legislators’ ability to carve out a just protection for these very vulnerable young people. While consensus on many aspects of a comprehensive immigration policy remains elusive, it is my hope that people of different perspectives can agree that immigrants brought to America as children should not be deported and sent back to a place they may have no memory of. It is prudent for us to call to mind the teaching of our Savior, “what you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me.”
I urge the people of the Salina Diocese to call upon our representatives in the United States Senate and House of Representatives to seek a solution that is both fair and generous—a solution that does not punish innocent children for the actions of their parents, but rather one that upholds America’s founding values and highest ideals.
Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger
September 6, 2017
Cawker City — In the cozy rectory behind SS. Peter and Paul Church sits Father Don McCarthy, with a myriad of items relating to his friend, Father Stanley Rother. “It’s kind of like a shrine in here,” he said, looking around. At the window sits a framed picture of Father Rother with Guatemalean children. He has a box dedicated entirely to correspondence from his seminary chum. “He and I were close friends,” Father McCarthy said. The retired priest will be among the throngs gathered Sept. 23 in the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Okla. to witness the beatification of Father Rother, a priest for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. The beatification begins at 10:30 a.m. and seating is open to the public; no ticket is necessary. Father Rother was gunned down in the rectory of his church in Santiago Atitlan in Guatemala. He was considered a martyr by the church in Guatemala, and was formally recognized by Pope Francis as a martyr Dec. 2, 2016. The recognition by the pontiff cleared the way for his beatification.
Originally from Galveston, Texas, Father McCarthy attended seminary in San Antonio. “Stan and I were not in the same class in the seminary, but we got to be good friends, due to working together in the book bindery and visitations at each other’s homes in vacation time,” Father McCarthy said. Father Rother was two years behind him in the seminary. Eventually, Father Rother was asked to leave because of difficulty with Latin. “All of the philosophy and theology textbooks and canon law were all in Latin,” Father McCarthy said. “That was the way things were then.” Father Rother departed during Father McCarthy’s final year of seminary. “There were so many Oklahoma guys in the seminary with us,” he said. “Stanley was from Oklahoma. They were heartbroken when we found out he was asked to leave.” Yet Father Rother didn’t give up on his vocation. Bishop Victor Reed found another seminary in Maryland. “We kept in touch,” Father McCarthy said. “I used to visit in the summertime. I would stay at Stanley’s home and tried to help at farm work, but I wasn’t very good at it. “When I was ordained in 1959, he and his mother came to Galveston for my First Mass. He was thurifer for my First Mass.” In return, Father McCarthy acted as subdeacon for Father Rother’s First Solemn High Mass in 1963.
In 1968, Father Rother went to Santiago Atitlan on assignment from the Diocese of Oklahoma City-Tulsa (which is now the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City). Called “Padre Francisco” and “Padre Aplas,” he helped the locals build a small hospital, school and radio station. Father McCarthy said. He also taught the locals improved methods of farming and fishing. In spite of his difficulties with Latin in his first seminary, Father Rother translated the Mass and several parts of the New Testament into Tz’utujil, the language of his parishioners, Father McCarthy said. “He and I stayed in contact when he went down to Guatemala,” Father McCarthy said. “He was very much a part of the community for years.” The mission was about 10 years old when Father Rother arrived, with a staff of 10, Father McCarthy said. “But gradually over the years, he was the only one left,” Father McCarthy said. The Rother family and his friends knew the continued presence in Guatemala was dangerous. “He knew he was on a death list,” Father McCarthy said. “(His family) encouraged him to stay, but he went back. He always said ‘The shepherd cannot run.’ I was always edified by his attitude. He could have stayed home and been safe, but he said ‘I want to be with my people.’ ”
Racism and bigotry are among the great evils of our age, and the resurgence of neo-Nazi and white-supremacist movements is profoundly troubling. The follower of Jesus Christ can see something of God’s image in every human being. For this reason, people of faith must unite and speak truth to this evil in our midst. Let us renew our firm commitment to truth, equality, and universal human dignity.
– Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger
Most Reverend Edward J. Weisenburger, Bishop of the Diocese of Salina, cordially invites you to celebrate a White Mass.
Wednesday, October 18th at 7:00 p.m.
at Sacred Heart Cathedral
118 N. 9th Street
Traditionally a “White Mass” is celebrated for members of the healthcare profession. Equally welcome are those who do not work or minister in the healthcare profession but wish to gather with us to pray for all healthcare professionals. A reception will follow the Mass in the Hall of Bishops.