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.

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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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Predatory lending unfairly targets the poor

Kansas bishops launch video project

(Leading up to the November elections, the four bishops in Kansas are reaching out to voters with videos highlighting a key moral issue for them to consider.

• Bishop Edward Weisenburger of the Diocese of Salina talks about usury and payday loans. A story about usury was featured in the Sept. 12 Register.

• Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan., addresses marriage.

• Bishop John Brungardt of the Diocese of Dodge City speaks on life. It was featured in the Sept. 26 Register.

• Bishop Carl Kemme of the Diocese of Wichita discusses religious freedom. It was featured in the Oct. 10 Register.

The Catholic Church in the United States does not tell people which candidate or political party to vote for but has the responsibility to attempt to form the consciences of Catholics as they prepare to make well-informed decisions.

The YouTube videos can be found at salinadiocese.org and at the Kansas Catholic Conference’s website at www.kscathconf.org and its Facebook page. People are encouraged to spread the messages by sharing the videos and “liking” them on Facebook.)

Salina — Bishop Edward Weisenburger said it is the Catholic teaching of concern for the poor that prompts the Kansas bishops to speak out against predatory lending, or payday loans.

“Our concern for the poor must have a real impact on our personal decision making, as well as our politics, our economics and our culture,” he says in one of four election-year videos prepared by the four bishops of Kansas.

“There are some practices that are plainly harmful to the poor and simply contrary to the teaching of Christ,” he said.

Usury — the charging of an unjust interest rate on a loan — is condemned throughout the Scriptures, and until recent decades, there was an almost universal agreement that predatory lending was unjust, immoral and should be illegal.

“In recent years, however, things have changed,” Bishop Weisenburger said. “The teaching on usury has been forgotten or ignored, and laws regulating it have been watered down or quietly repealed.

Predatory lending is permitted in Kansas and “in towns across Kansas we see the result: an explosion of payday loan establishments that thrive in the poorest parts of town.”

People who find themselves short on funds to pay the bills often turn to payday loans because they lack good credit to obtain a conventional loan, the bishop said.

Most are unable to repay the short-term loans, so they become caught in a vicious cycle, where they take out more short-term loans to repay the original loan.

“Those of us who have never been in such dire financial straits can have difficulty relating to the despair of people trapped by spiraling interest,” he said.

A person who can’t repay the loan within a couple of weeks and can only pay the interest ends up paying 390 percent in interest on the loan in a year’s time. A typical $500 loan that is rolled over repeatedly results in an interest payment of $1,800 for a year.

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Voters must act to protect the sanctity of marriage

(Leading up to the November elections, the four bishops in Kansas are reaching out to voters with videos highlighting a key moral issue for them to consider.)

Kansas City, Kan. — Marriage as a covenant of love between one man and one woman is not an arbitrary contrivance of humans but an important part of God’s plan for humanity, says Archbishop Joseph Naumann in a video message for Kansas Catholics.

“I never imagined when I was ordained a priest almost 40 years ago that the definition of marriage as a covenant of love between one man and one woman would become controversial,” said the Kansas City, Kan., archbishop.

“Over the last several decades, a culture that supported strong marriages as the foundation for vibrant family life has suffered a catastrophic breakdown. Like falling dominoes, our society has lost respect for the sanctity of marriage, for its permanence, for its openness to life, and now for complementarity of the sexes being an essential component of authentic marriage.”

The breakdown of marriage hurts the most vulnerable — children, the poor and single mothers — as well as the lives of individuals and society as a whole, he said.

Family is the building block for society and marriage is the glue giving families stability and holding them together, he added.

Men and women are different for a reason, he said, with each bringing something different to a marriage and a family.

“Men and women are not interchangeable, while both are indispensable for human life and human flourishing. This is especially true in family life. No man can be a mother to a child, and no woman can be a father. Every child needs and deserves a father and a mother,” the archbishop said.

“I was raised in a single-parent home. I have nothing but the highest respect for single parents who strive heroically to provide for the needs of their children,” he continued. “Similarly, I have the highest esteem for birth mothers who make one of the greatest human sacrifices because of their love and desire for what is best for their child. Adoptive parents are also modern heroes as they provide a loving family life for an adopted child.”

However, he said, the best environment in which a child can grow and mature, he stressed, “is in a family where the child’s mother and father love each other and together love the child that is fruit of their love.”

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