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.”
The Friday event, which will be at Sacred Heart Church in Colby, features guest speaker Jennifer Bentzinger. The evening begins at 7 p.m. and concludes at 8:30 p.m. Bentzinger was a Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) missionary for five years at Hastings College, the United States Naval Academy, Colorado State University and the United States Air Force Academy. Currently a stay-at-home mom, Bentzinger and her husband, Justin, have two children, with a third on the way.
The Saturday event, which will be at St. Mary, Queen of the Universe Church in Salina, will feature guest speaker Father Kyle Berens. The evening begins at 7:30 p.m. and concludes at 9 p.m.
Father Berens, who was ordained in 2015, grew up in Salina. He attended school at St. Mary Grade School and Sacred Heart Junior/Senior High School. He graduated from Creighton University with a degree in Biology and attended one year of medical school at University of Kansas Medical School before entering the seminary. He completed his theological studies at Kenrick-Glennon Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Beginning July 1, Father Berens will be the pastor of St. Francis Xavier parish and school in Junction City.
“As Catholics we know from the Catechism that the source and summit of the Christian life is the Eucharist, which is the real presence of Christ,” Lyon said. “Attending Mass and participating in the Eucharistic Liturgy is the most profound form of prayer we can participate in. Spending time with Jesus in Adoration outside of Mass is a long standing tradition in the Church. Eucharistic Adoration allows us to immerse ourselves in the transcendence of God. In Adoration we can speak to Jesus personally from the depths of our souls and place all our worries, cares and thanksgivings in his most loving hands. These events will give both the opportunity to offer our praise and thanksgiving to God in song and in silent adoration.”
Childcare provided for children 8 and under, advanced registration is required in order to provide adequate supervision. Please register online for childcare prior to July 20 at http://salinadiocese.org/family-life.