Never before have I had so many people ask me questions about how to vote in the upcoming election. If you haven’t seen it, I would encourage you to take a glance at the very brief video that the Kansas bishops produced on this topic (you can see it at www.kscathconf.org). While I am pleased with what my brother bishops and I present there, as the actual election draws closer I would like to offer a few reminders, if not guidelines, on how to approach this election as men and women of faith.
First, neither of the presidential candidates emerge as clear and ethical choices. I fear that unlike never before, a majority of our nation’s population will be voting “against” a candidate instead of voting “for” the candidate in whom they have great faith. Acknowledging this regrettable situation I would ask that faithful Catholics of our diocese spend at least five minutes in quiet prayer for the Holy Spirit’s guidance prior to heading to the election polls. Before you get to that day however, I ask that you consider each of the following ethical issues as you make your choice:
By The Register
Salina — The seminarian collection scheduled for Nov. 12 and 13 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 12 men studying to become priests. The cost to education them is nearly $500,000 this year.
In a letter to parishioners, Bishop Edward Weisenburger asks for their support in the education of our future priests.
“Our seminarians are among our best examples of stewardship – giving God and his Church the gift of their lives,” the bishop writes. “Your stewardship is no less critical.
No single means of fundraising covers the annual educational costs, said 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.
What’s important, Larez said, is continuing to encourage men to consider becoming priests.
We believe that our Church family is comprised of both the living and the dead. Those who have died enter into the spiritual realm, a new way of existing and living; every human person possesses a soul, a soul that continues to live after his or her physical body fades away. However, as Christians death has new meaning for us because of Christ and his resurrection. Our Catechism provides a succinct summary of the meaning of Christian death: “What is essentially new about Christian death is this: through Baptism, the Christian has already ‘died with Christ’ sacramentally, in order to live a new life; and if we die in Christ’s grace, physical death completes this ‘dying with Christ’ and so completes our incorporation into him in his redeeming act” (#1010;2 Tm 2:11; Phil 1:21).
We also believe that we are in communion with those who have died since we share a common life in Christ. Our Catechism reminds us that there are three “states” of the Church; there are those Church members who are still on their pilgrimage on earth, other members who are “being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as He is” (#954; Eph 4:16). The Church then is a community or fellowship of all the Faithful, living and dead, called together by God and given new life in Christ that reaches its fullness in heaven.
By The Register
Salina — Those in the Diocese of Salina will have two opportunities to attend closing events for The Year of Mercy.
The first is Nov. 12 in Salina. Mass with Bishop Edward Weisenburger will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The western event is at The Basilica of St. Fidelis in Victoria. On Nov. 13, Capuchin Father John Schmeidler will preside at the closing Mass at 10 a.m.
Washington — The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, November 6-12.
This annual event is a special time for parishes in the U.S. to foster a culture of vocations for the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life.
Pope Francis, in his homily at the final Mass of the 2016 World Youth Day in Krakow, encouraged the youth of the world to open their hearts to Jesus. “Don’t be afraid to say ‘yes’ to him with all your heart, to respond generously and to follow him!” said Pope Francis. “Don’t let your soul grow numb, but aim for the goal of a beautiful love which also demands sacrifice.”
National Vocations Awareness Week, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, is designed to help promote vocation awareness and to encourage young people to ask the question: “To what vocation in life is God calling me?” Parish and school communities across the nation are encouraged to include, during the first week in November, prayer and special activities that focus on vocation awareness.
“Prayer for vocations is the responsibility of the entire Church. Often times we think that vocations will come from somewhere else, and yet God invites us to consider that he is raising up vocations to priesthood, consecrated life, and the permanent diaconate from within our own communities, even our own families” said Bishop Michael Burbidge, bishop designate of Arlington, Va., chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “Our willingness to invite those within our own communities and families to consider that God may be calling them to Priesthood or consecrated life will bear abundant fruit in the Church and bring great joy and happiness to those called. We want what is best for our children; even more so does God desire their happiness.”
Ellis — Father Dana Clark never considered becoming a priest — until one day the mother of a friend approached him at a gathering.
“She came up to me and said ‘I want you to do something for me,’ ” Father Clark said. “She said ‘I want you to pray about becoming a priest.’ ”
That wasn’t all it took for the young man to enter the seminary, but it was the first step.
“When that lady asked me to pray, I took it more seriously,” Father Clark said. “I knew she was a spiritual woman.”
“I didn’t even think about seminary (until that conversation),” he said. “I always was interested in my Catholic faith and always wanted to do more for my faith, but never thought it would be to become a priest.”
At the time when the older woman approached him, he was developing computer programs and databases in Manhattan.
“I thought God would have called me 20 years before,” Father Clark said.
Prior to applying to be a seminarian, he discussed the vocation of priesthood with Father Keith Weber.
“I was trying to get him to talk me out of it,” Father Clark said. “Father Keith said ‘You need to go in and check it out to be sure. You can’t just look from the outside. ’ ”
Q: Are there age restrictions on entering the seminary?
A: Yes — there are certain restrictions. For example you have to be Catholic and you have to be a man. You also have to show yourself to be psychologically capable of possibly becoming a priest.
Q: Do I have to go right out of high school?
A: You do not need to go to the seminary directly out of high school. Many people enter at a later age. Generally, in the diocese of Salina we do not accept anyone over the age of 50.
Q: Can I transfer to the seminary from my current college/university?
A: Yes. This is done frequently.
Q: Will my college credits transfer or do I need to start at the beginning?
A: It all depends. If you have finished at least two years of college, it will more than likely cut off some of the time you would need to spend in the seminary. For those who have received a college degree, there are times in which certain philosophy or theology courses will transfer as well.
Sometimes a little nudge is all a young man needs to consider discerning the call to the priesthood in the seminary, Bishop Edward Weisenburger said. This is the idea behind the “Answer God’s Call” cards that will be in parishes Nov. 12 and 13.
“I was a member of my diocese’s Vocations Board for almost 20 years,” Bishop Weisenburger said of his time in Oklahoma. “In that time I discovered that being personally asked to consider a vocation to the priesthood was powerful for many young men.”
Father Gale Hammerschmidt, co-vocations director for the Diocese of Salina, agreed.
“A lot of times, people around a young man will see his call before he has the ability to recognize it,” Father Hammerschmidt said. “It never hurts for people who have been praying for vocations to voice their opinion about who they believe is called.”
Seminarian Andy Hammeke said his mom was the first person to plant the idea of a vocation to the priesthood.
“Growing up when I said I wanted to be a baseball player, mom said ‘Maybe you’ll be a priest,’ ” Hammeke said. “As time went on, when I went to daily Mass at St. Joseph, a few ladies after Mass would say ‘Maybe you should be a priest.’