By The Register
The four bishops of Kansas collaborated to make a joint statement regarding the upcoming Nov. 8 election.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann began the video greeting with a message.
“Voting is ... a crucially important part of citizenship, one that should always be taken very seriously,” said Bishop Carl Kemme, bishop of the Diocese of Wichita.
In 2014, each bishop made an individual video, and in previous years, the bishops issued joint written statements. This is the first time the four made a statement in one video.
“When we vote, our choices must never be reduced to a mere calculation of self-interest,” Bishop Edward Weisenburger said. “Each of us has a moral obligation to work towards the common good. Our vote should always be cast in favor of what is best for society.”
Pro-life issues are important, the bishops said.
“In our country, over one million unborn children are killed by abortion every single year,” said Bishop John Brungardt, bishop of the Dodge City Diocese. “All Catholics have a moral obligation to keep this human rights catastrophe at the forefront of their minds when voting.”
Hays — “It’s a great time to be Catholic in America!” stated Al Kresta, President and CEO of Ave Maria Radio and host of “Kresta in the Afternoon,” in his opening comments to more than 150 attendees at the KVDM Divine Mercy Radio Station’s annual banquet on September 17.
In his keynote address, “The Absolute Necessity of Catholic Radio,” Kresta explained the significant differences between Catholic radio and mainstream media, and offered hopeful commentary on the importance of Catholic radio in American culture.
Why Catholic Radio?
According to Kresta, the mainstream media does not “get” the Catholic story; people have lost faith in those reporting the news. He cited several surveys indicating Americans’ trust in the mainstream media has plummeted to an all-time low.
“Accuracy and balance is not what we’re getting, and Catholics feel especially ill-served by the mainstream media,” Kresta said.
While many Catholics view the media’s coverage of Catholic issues with skepticism due to a perceived bias against the faith, Kresta believes most journalists are not inherently hostile to Catholicism. Rather they are ignorant of the true teachings of the Church and this ignorance breeds disrespect and misunderstanding.
“The goal of any good journalist is to try to repeat the person’s point of view back to him in a way he recognizes as fair and accurate,” he said. “Most journalists don’t do that with Catholicism because they are not well-versed in it to be able to accurately reflect the truth.”
Manhattan — Being perceived to be on the outside might not be a bad thing, Bishop Edward Weisenburger told about 400 gathered for the Jubilee of Mercy celebration at St. Thomas More on Sept. 11.
Bishop Weisenburger said one overriding theme from Luke’s gospel is the reality that those who we think are on “the outside” are often on the inside, and those who we think are on “the inside” are often on the outside.
“Those pharisees and scribes who pray 23 hours a day, surely they’re on the inside,” the bishop said. “Tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes … surely they’re on the outside.”
But Jesus often turned expectations on their head, as was the case with the story of the Prodigal Son.
“I was set up,” the bishop told the crowd, who gathered for the final of four Jubilee of Mercy events. “There are no better readings for a Mass about the mercy of God than the story of the prodigal son.”
Each Jubilee of Mercy consisted of Confession, praying the Rosary and participating in Mass.
“The father’s treatment of the two sons helps us understand the relationship between justice and mercy,” Bishop Weisenburger said. “At the end of the parable the older son is furious. He wants justice. He can’t go into the celebration; his heart wouldn’t permit it.
“He wants justice because this spoiled younger brother took half of the estate to which he had no right at all and in Jewish custom he basically told his father to drop dead.”
By The Register
Salina — The annual fundraiser for Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas had many firsts on July 24.
It was the most successful fundraiser in the organization’s history, raising nearly $300,000.
Eric Frank, director of development for Catholic Charities, said that the 2016 fundraiser was the most successful in history, with nearly $300,000 raised. He added that the money raised from the annual fundraiser will bring important services and necessities to families in crisis.
“Poverty is not seasonal,” he said. “People come to our doors all year long and because of our donors, families and individuals can find relief from the emotional and financial stresses they face.”
Another first was the location: The Salina Country Club. The evening included a cocktail hour, dinner and live auction.
By The Register
God’s mercy is open to everyone.
On Oct. 9 across the Diocese of Salina, the sacrament of Confession will be offered from 2 to 4 p.m. and is coined the “Day of Mercy.”
The event is in conjunction with the Jubilee Year of Mercy, said Father Steve Heina, director of the Office of New Evangelization.
The sacrament of Confession will be held at parishes across the diocese from 2 to 4 p.m. CST.
“It’s meant to be a component of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. It’s meant to complement the corporal and spiritual works of mercy,” Father Heina said. “This has more to do with the spiritual reality and sacramental reality of the gift of mercy.”
All Catholics are welcome to attend the sacrament, but Father Heina said he wants to extend a special invitation to those Catholics who might have been away from the sacraments for an extended period of time.
Parishioners are encouraged to contact their local parish to confirm details. If a priest has a “cluster” of several parishes, it is important to verify at which church the priest will be hearing confession.
Each parish has access to the diocese’s advertisement, inviting people to join in the afternoon.
“The heart and foundation of the entire Jubilee Year of Mercy is that Pope Francis has expressed his desire that all people will come to recognize the graciousness of God’s mercy,” Father Heina said. “Our efforts of repentance can more fully open our hearts to God’s redeeming mercy. God can take even our most difficult struggles and the most discouraging brokenness of our lives and — through his grace — reshape them as only God’s grace can do.”
For more information about the Day of Mercy, pdf click here (1.16 MB), or see the ad on p. 16 of this issue of The Register.
Special to The Register
Manhattan — More than 100 students gathered Sept. 1 at St. Robert Bellarmine — St. Isidore Catholic Student Center to participate in the first Source and Summit of the fall semester.
The Source and Summit event is held the first Thursday of every month. Students gather to sing praise and worship music, listen to a guest speaker, adore Christ in Eucharistic adoration, and participate in Mass.
September’s guest speaker was Father Gale Hammerschmidt, the co-vocational director for the Diocese of Salina. He talked to the students about how their environment will shape them and their decisions. He was trying to make sure that the students change their environment instead of letting it negatively change them, and to question whether their environment would “make them a saint or not?”
Father Hammerschmidt said he was impressed by how many students gathered together to listen and learn about God’s love.
“With this being my third time speaking at Source and Summit, I continue to be impressed with the desire of the students to come to a deeper knowledge of the truth, and deeper love of God,” he said. “If somebody would have told me that this event would have grown to be so large, I would have laughed at them. This turnout was very impressive.”
Colby — In order to begin the celebration of the Year of Mercy Mass, Bishop Edward Weisenburger announced that confessions would need to be suspended until after Mass so that the priests could get ready. Eight priests were hearing confessions in different locations throughout the church and even outdoors before the Mass and during the Rosary, which was led by the Bishop. Lines were long with young families, elderly and all ages in between waiting to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the Aug. 28 Jubilee of Mercy event.
Sacred Heart Church, Colby, was filled to capacity, with only a few seats available in the back of the entrance of the church.
Before Mass, while the Bishop was waiting for the concelebrating priest, he caught the eye of a young child looking toward the back of church. The Bishop smiled and sent a small wave, receiving one in return.
Voices blending in harmony began the Mass that included scriptures and liturgy focusing on God’s mercy.
During the homily, the Bishop noted that in Genesis, early people worshiped angry, vengeful gods that they feared.
“They couldn’t understand the Jewish God or that the Jewish people had a relationship with God,” he said, relaying that the Jewish people loved God and didn’t quake in fear of their merciful God.
He spoke about how Abraham was old and childless, yet believed God’s promise that he would have a child. He was obedient and was going to sacrifice that long-awaited child until God said, “Not only do you not owe me your first born son … I’m going to give you mine,” the Bishop said.
“Jesus doesn’t deny Judaism, He intensifies it. Jesus flips the normal invitation in today’s Gospel to people who can’t repay you.”
Hoxie native, Chelsey Weber, joins Wichita sisters in teaching apostolate
Colwich — With joy, Sister Rose Marie Weber made vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the hands of Mother Mary Magdalene O’Halloran Aug. 20 as she completed the final step in joining the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Wichita.
A Hoxie native, Sister Rose Marie , 29, grew up in St. Francis Cabrini Parish. She was baptized as Chelsey Weber, and is the daughter of Leonard and Donna Weber of Hoxie and the late Rose Weber. Her grandparents are Albertine Rajewski of Victoria, Katherine Weber of Oakley, and Robert and Alverda Moellering of Hoxie.
While the prairies of Kansas are a world away from the streets of Kolkata, India where St. Mother Teresa began the simple ministry of the Missionaries of Charity, the Diocese of Salina has almost a dozen priests with direct experience with the newly-minted saint and her religious community.
“I shook hand with a saint. That is tremendous experience,” Father George Chalbhagam, C.M.I., said.
He met St. Mother Teresa in October of 1995 when he and a group of priests visited the order’s headquarters and said Mass for the sisters. Following Mass, she greeted each priest and spent about 15 minutes with the group.
“I am so excited now as Mother is a Saint,” Father Chalbhagam said. “Saint Teresa had great respect for priests and priesthood.”
Father Gnanasekar Kulandai, H.G.N., said the order’s reverence for Holy Mass still leaves an impression on him today.
“In their sacristy I always saw a board hanging that read: ‘Priests of God,celebrate this Mass as if it is your first Mass, your last Mass and your only Mass.’ Until today I remember this prayer and pray before every Mass I celebrate,” he said.
Father Kulandai said St. Mother Teresa has a universal appeal.
“People of all religions respect and admire her. Even other religious people like Hindus and Muslims donate food and other charitable things to her communities,” he said. “The canonization of Mother Teresa will have a strong impact on the Catholic Church in India. It will help Christianity grow in the multi-religious country and it will encourage everyone who selflessly live a life of service.”
Salina — Catholic high school students in the Diocese of Salina continue to improve ACT college exam results, outperforming both Kansas and national averages.
Figures released Aug. 24 indicate a continued trend upward for Salina Catholic Schools.
This year, the diocesan high schools’ average composite was 24.3. Scores for Kansas schools were 21.9 while the national average on the 36-point scale was 20.8.
“The most important thing is to look at the trend,” said Dr. Nick Compagnone, Superintendent of Schools for the Catholic Diocese of Salina. “We have been slowly increasing the scores each year.”
In addition to providing composite scores on the exam, the ACT measures performance toward college readiness benchmarks in English, reading, math and science. The benchmarks represent scores that would indicate a level of preparation needed to have at least a 50 percent chance of getting a B or above in entry-level college courses.
Less than a third of Kansas students – 31 percent – met all four readiness benchmarks in 2016, while the national average of 26 percent.
“Many schools in the diocese, like schools across the nation, have been trying to improve college readiness,” Compagnone said. “ACT college entrance exams are just one indicator of our academic success of our Catholic schools. It is a testament to our teachers in grades PreK through 12 for their dedication in adhering to the mission of education our students’ mind, body and spirit.”
Catholic high schools in the Salina Diocese include Sacred Heart Junior/Senior High School in Salina, Thomas More Prep-Marian High School in Hays, St. John High School in Beloit, Tipton Catholic School in Tipton, and St. Francis Xavier in Junction City.
By The Register
Beloit — When St. John Catholic High School was awarded the 2015-2016 Kansas Department of Education Governor’s Award in April, it was the smallest of the award recipients, with 42 pupils.
“I was shocked,” Principal Marcy Kee said. “We’ve never qualified before. I thought it was a big honor.”
St. John was one of four Catholic schools on the list, but the only in the 1A division.
The list of 11 winners is impressive, she said. It includes eight Kansas City-area schools and Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Wichita. The only other rural recipient was Hillsboro High School.
“We were the smallest,” Kee said. “Just because we’re a small school doesn’t mean we can’t excel.”
She is quick to highlight the importance of academics to their students. Their Scholars Bowl team won two back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2016. The school also participates in the Fort Hays State University Math Relays, where they are five-time champs.
Russell — “Put on your spiritual armor” and pray daily for pro-life causes, Amy McInerny, Executive Director of Human Life Action, told about 50 people at the Respect Life Conference Aug. 27 at St. Mary, Queen of Angels Parish.
McInerny said the pro-life battle is as much a spiritual battle as it is a political one. She highlighted the need to pray for strength to fight for cultural change, as well as praying for legislators involved in these issues first hand, and parish priests who are responsible for teaching Catholics the importance of respecting life.
The morning session was presented by McInerny, Executive Director of Human Life Action (HLA), a Washington D.C. based pro-life education and lobbying group. The goal of HLA is to provide a simple way for the average pro-life American to easily become educated about and involved in the legislative process. HLA also works closely with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
McInerny emphasized the importance of not becoming fearful of the “culture of death” or intimidated by becoming involved in the legislative process. “Christians are a hopeful people,” said McInerny, calling listeners to move past their fearfulness and become involved in the legislative process. “Leaving policy and legislation to those who are interested is a luxury we cannot afford,” if lasting changes are to be made in American culture.
By The Register
Hays — Broadcaster, journalist and author Al Kresta will be the featured speaker at Divine Mercy Radio’s annual banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 17 in the Little Theatre of Holy Family Elementary, 1800 Milner in Hays. His talk is titled, “The Absolute Necessity of Catholic Radio.”
Kresta was a Protestant pastor when he began working in radio. His radio program “Talk from the Heart” was aired in the 1980s and ’90s in the Detroit area. Questions from callers came in during the show which Kresta could not answer. In addition, Kresta’s life and spiritual journey took on a new dimension when he lost his left leg to necrotizing fascistis, a virulent infection often referred to as “flesh-eating bacteria.”
After an extended recovery, Kresta returned to broadcasting, this time as a Catholic radio broadcaster. Currently, Kresta is the host of “Kresta in the Afternoon,” heard from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday on Divine Mercy Radio, 88.1, KVDM in Hays and KRTT in Great Bend.
Tickets for the banquet are $50 and includes hors d’oeuvres with wine or beer as well a full meal and dessert. Tickets are available online at dvmercy.com, by calling the studio at (785) 621-4110 or going to Divine Mercy Radio at 108 E. 12th St. in Hays during office hours, which are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.