What an incredible experience! The nation’s bishops were privileged to interact with some wonderful Catholic people. In my case, not only did I get to know better some of those doing wonderful ministries in parishes throughout our diocese, but I also got to listen to some incredible speakers on the national level.
The background to the Convocation was Pope Francis’ wonderful Encyclical, Evangelium Gaudium. It is there that Pope Francis points out that there are three focuses to evangelization and ministry. The first is that which we typically associate with parish life: Mass and Sacramental ministries, along with parish community events. This focus of ministry grounds the life of practicing Catholics and leads us more deeply into communion with our triune God.
A second focus of evangelization is to those who no longer practice the Catholic faith regularly. They remain a part of our church, perhaps in an imperfect communion, but they are a part of us. Reaching out to them is critical to the wellbeing of the body of Christ — the Church.
A third focus of ministry is on those who have no relationship with Christ. This is what most Catholics associate with the term evangelization. For us to preach the Gospel to them, especially by living joyful lives that witness to God’s love and mercy, is crucial. In one way or another the Convocation spoke to each of these levels of ministry and fruitful ideas for evangelization flowed.
There was a host of different breakout sessions each participant could go to. Like most diocesan representations, our group chose to split up so that the eight of us could cover as many of the topics as possible. I focused on contemporary culture and media, vocations to priesthood and religious life and the concerns of rural life in America.
If there were one significant take-away for me, it would be that I don’t want to face God one day never having invited at least one person into the joys and life that I know as a Roman Catholic. What an incredible blessing it would be for our diocese if every member, in the remaining weeks of summer, invited one person who has no church to consider becoming Catholic. After all, there isn’t one community in our diocese that doesn’t have unchurched people. Our RCIA groups would flourish, our parishes would grow, and the body of Christ would be more complete. Success, however, isn’t the key.
The key is to be an instrument of God’s grace by issuing the invitation. So — if you’re willing — look around, and trust me, you’ll find that person Jesus wants you to invite to the Church. Let go of the fear of rejection or failure. Be the evangelizing Catholic that Christ calls you to be today.
Hays — Catholic men aren’t wimps.
That’s one topic that will be addressed by Dr. Ray Guarendi at the sixth annual Salina Diocesan Men’s Conference on Saturday, Aug. 12 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.
Dr. Guarendi is the father of 10, is a clinical psychologist, author, professional speaker and national radio and TV host. “In my experience as a psychologist, I’ve seen a lot of wimpy men,” he said. “They let their wives carry the domestic load, the discipline load and the Church load. “I can’t tell you how much a wife complains about men not standing up and being men. The women are not happy about carrying all of that load.” Dr. Guarendi will also talk about his reversion to the Catholic faith in his talk “The Logic of Being Catholic.”
The day-long conference will begin at 8 a.m. with the Rosary. Other aspects of the conference include Eucharistic adoration, Reconciliation, Mass with Bishop Edward Weisenburger, lunch, and Q&A. Capuchin Father John Lager, who is the national chaplain of Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), will also present two talks: “Living in Integrity and with Purpose” and “Being a Christian Man in a Secular and Superficial World.”
The theme for the conference, which is open to all men high school and older, is “Men on a Mission.” “My experience is that if there isn’t a clear direction or mission we are called to keep our eyes on, it’s easy to be distracted and manipulated by culture. It’s easy to get lost,” Father Lager said.
In addition to FOCUS, he is the co-founder of Marked Men for Christ, an international men’s ministry. “The whole purpose is how do we continue to deepen our own personal spirituality and prayer life,” Father Lager said. “How can we be leaders in our families and parishes and marketplace in today’s world? Without a clear vision of a mission, that will never happen.”
A native of Angelus, Father Lager attended minor seminary in Victoria. His intention was to study for the diocesan priesthood, but the seminary formation drew him to the Capuchin life.
Salina — He was from a big family; she was from a small one.
Santos Bonilla grew up with nine siblings. Marlene, who he married in 1969, grew up with three siblings. “The family was a joke that he wanted a small family and I wanted a large family,” Marlene said. “We had five kids, so we both got our wish.” In advance of the 2017 Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, which is July 23-29, the Bonillas sat down to talk about the year’s theme, which is “It’s time! Say ‘Yes’ to God’s plan for married love.”
Early in their marriage, Santos said they were introduced to Natural Family Planning (NFP), which is defined as methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. These methods are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
They had three children by the time they encountered NFP while they were living in Topeka. “I thought NFP was kind of crazy because I didn’t know what it was,” Santos said. “I thought they were trying to control me. I thought ‘They’re not going to control me.’ “She started learning it and I was rather resistant because I didn’t know much about my own religion.” The couple was involved with adult education, which is where the concept was introduced to them. “We learned it from other Catholics,” Marlene said.
Wilson — On Sunday, August 20, the Salina Diocese Catholic Rural Life Commission will sponsor the annual Catholic Rural Life Day. Rural Life Day is at 3 p.m. Aug. 20 at St. Wenceslaus Parish.
The highlight of the observance is the presentation of the Msgr. John George Weber Century Farm Awards. Any Catholic family who has been in charge of a farm, owned, or operated a farm for one hundred years or more is eligible for the award.
The 2017 awards are primarily for the parishes in the East Central Deanery, however, any Catholic family in the diocese who meets the criteria for the Century Farm Award may apply.
The plaque is a nice remembrance of our ancestors and a great way to foster our Catholic heritage and faith. The award ceremony will be followed by refreshments and socializing.
The stories of the families for the Century Farm Award reflect the growth of the faith and the Church in our diocese. The family story affects and reflects the story of their local parish as well.
The Rural Life Commission serves the mission of the Church by promoting the care of God's creation and the welfare of the people who depend on it.
For additional information, please visit http://salinadiocese.org/rural-life, or call Father Rich Daise (785)-462-2179 or Father Brian Lager (785)-434-4658.
For The Register
“NFP? That’s just the Catholic Church’s version of birth control, right?”
“You use NFP? You must want a dozen kids!”
“NFP isn’t a guaranteed method of preventing pregnancy, so you might want to consider an additional method of birth control.”
How many times have you heard, or worse, expressed, any of those statements? I’ve been on the receiving end of such comments (unsurprisingly, I heard the last one from my former OB/GYN) numerous times in the 12 years I’ve been married, and even prior to that as my husband and I were learning the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning (NFP) during our engagement. It doesn’t get any easier to hear the tone of incredulity or shock in the voices of those with whom I’m discussing NFP or my husband’s and my use of it, but I have become much more confident in explaining why we use it. I’d like to share three of those reasons with you here in the hope that it will either confirm what you know and already practice or, if you are not currently utilizing this tool, entice you to give NFP a closer look.
First, NFP is empowering and personal in a way that no birth control can ever be. When taught and learned properly, NFP gives the couple knowledge about the woman’s body — the signs and cycles that make her and her fertility unique. For my husband and me, knowing how my body is supposed to work, how God intended it to work, is a powerful tool and brings a different level of intimacy to our marriage. It not only aids us when it comes to planning our family, but it helps us gain a clear picture of my overall reproductive health. I have friends who have credited NFP with helping them discover health problems or with helping their doctor figure out how to treat those issues. Knowledge is power!
It further empowers us by teaching that regardless of what our national culture would have us believe, we really can be in control of our sexual desires and delay gratification! (Bet you’ll never hear that from Hollywood!)
Conversely, conventional birth control methods — pills, IUDs, diaphragms, condoms, etc. — are wholly impersonal and are marketed (dare I say, used?) as a fix for something that isn’t broken or to simply make controlling your sexual desires less worrisome. They take meaning away from the act of love that God designed sex to embody and reduce it to merely a physical act that now has a commercial element. Yes, commerce enters into the birth control picture because you have to pay someone else for a product that will help you gain control over your fertility — a bandaid for something that isn’t broken — or let you give in to whatever your body desires whenever the urge strikes.
Salina — Families are invited to gather July 28 and 29 to join in praise and worship music, Eucharistic adoration and an inspiring message. This is the first year for Prayer and Praise for Children and Families, which is sponsored by the Office of Family Life. “In our rural diocese it is difficult to sponsor diocesan wide events with much success due to the large geographical size,” said Corey Lyon, Director of the Office of Family Life. “Many parishes sponsor family events, but it is important for the diocese to organize family events as well to provide opportunities for the faithful to appreciate their belonging to something beyond just their local community.”
In order to cover a larger geographic region, an event is planned in both Colby and Salina. Mike and Kelley Burns will provide praise and worship music for both events. The Burns’ live in Columbia, Mo., with their four children, ages 3 to 13, two dogs and six chickens.
Married for 14 years, the duo met while singing in the church choir in college. Mike is a pharmacy manager and Kelley is the part-time director of a local non-profit focused on music education. The couple continues to sing and play music at church as well as volunteer with National Marriage Encounter.
“Our hope is to provide an opportunity for families to pray and worship and draw closer to the heart of Jesus together,” Lyon said. “The young people of our diocese who attend Steubenville Conferences, NCYC, the Diocesan CYO Convention, or other similar events have an opportunity to experience Praise and Worship and eucharistic adoration in a large group. Often, adult Catholics do not often have access to this experience. These can be very powerful moments that draw many people to conversion and are often not long forgotten.”
Salina — Supporters have the chance to double their donation for the 12th Annual Catholic Charities Fundraiser. Donations up to $100,000 will be doubled, thanks to a multitude of anonymous donors, said Eric Frank, Director of Development for Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas.
“This is the largest donation match we’ve had to date,” Frank said. “Only God can make things like this happen. Now, more families in crisis can get the help they need to improve their lives.” The annual fundraiser contributes to a large portion of the organization’s annual operating budget. The event will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. July 23 at the Salina Country Club, 2101 E. Country Club Rd., Salina. Seating is limited for the event, and an RSVP is required.
This will be the second year the event is at the Salina Country Club. “We saw many new faces at the event last year,” Frank said. “Some stated we’re advancing the event to another level.” Catholic Charities hit the next level, only in terms of location, but last year’s fundraiser raised the most to date — more than $294,000. This year, Frank said the goal is to hit the $300,000 mark.
In April, Catholic Charities celebrated the grand opening of its new location at 1500 S. Ninth in Salina. An anonymous donor and the “Yesterday, Today and Forever” Campaign paid for much of the facility, Frank said. Yet there are a few items left to pay for, as well as the ongoing general operating expenses.