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September 12, 2014

In this issue

Countering the ill effects of payday loans
Diocese meets $50,000 seminarian challenge match
Seminarian back after a year away from studies
Diocesan, Capuchin priests celebrate jubilee milestones

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Into Gaza PDF Print E-mail
Written by By Bishop Edward Weisenburger   
Sunday, 14 September 2014 18:11

Eight months ago, long before the recent 50-day war between Israel and Gaza, the bishops on our pilgrimage applied for visas to enter Gaza.  While they were granted at that time, in recent months we did not expect to be able to use them.  I was greatly surprised and pleased to discover that Catholic Relief Services was able to get five of our bishops into Gaza, including me. Our visit was greatly anticipated and desired by the tiny Christian presence in Gaza. Our goal was to have Mass with the Catholics of Holy Family Church in Gaza, visit with the people, and see first-hand the damage from the recent conflict.

A little necessary background:  Gaza is about 24 miles long and two to four miles wide, with a population of about 1.8 million people — making it one of the most densely populated places on Earth.  It is built on an almost unusable aquifer, meaning drinking water is brought in!  It is sealed up on three sides with solid barriers (a wall) and faces the Mediterranean on the fourth.  The Oslo Accord determined that for their fishing industry a minimum of 20 nautical miles off shore in the Mediterranean was both normal and essential. They were limited by the Israeli government to three miles for many years.  Recently it was expanded to six miles but the area has been so over-fished it has little meaning.  Electricity ran typically 8 to 12 hours per day before the conflict.  Following the conflict it runs 4 to 8 hours per day.  The citizens of Gaza have long referred to their situation as "the world's largest open air prison."  A great many would love to leave but they cannot get an exit visa and the border is strictly controlled.  Even with my pre-approved visa it was a lengthy process and involved three passport checks, an interview, X-rays and long waits.
Now I don't pretend any great expertise in the relevant political background but am 100 percent certain that anyone who has a simple answer to so complex a situation is going to be wrong.  Still, there are painful facts we cannot dispute, foremost among them: over 2,000 dead in Gaza from 52 days of fighting with Israel, and 70 percent to 80 percent of the dead were civilians with a disproportionate number of the dead being children.  

We heard of how Gaza homes shook through the night — for nights on end — glass shattered, buildings would collapse, and they couldn't answer their children's questions about why they had to live in Gaza or why their family members and other little children they knew were dying.  Children were traumatized and there was nowhere safe to take refuge or hide.  UNICEF indicates that more than 200,000 children are in need of urgent counseling, suffering from the trauma of what they experienced and saw.  Today (Sunday) was the first day of public school, and educational endeavors have been suspended as their school system has determined that the children have to deal with the emotions and try to heal a little before they can learn.

I was a chaplain at the Murrah bombing site in Oklahoma City. Gaza today was Oklahoma City a great many times over.  I snapped pictures with my iPhone.  The two stories of rubble from a collapsed (bombed) 14-story building was startling.  The rebuilding dollar amount is in the billions, and the time it would take to rebuild the territory's damaged buildings, if I recall correctly, was set at 20 years or more.  At one point we had a view of devastation lasting for several blocks.  Some of the people in the streets were going about their business.  Others seemed still shell-shocked, in front of the burnt ruins of former homes or businesses.  I could only pause and share a little in their grief.

Clearly we didn't see all of Gaza in one day; a main goal was to see what the devastation looked like.  We felt we owed it to be in solidarity with those who were suffering.  From taking it all in one cant help,but ask "where is it all going, and how will it all end?"  

One of our goals is to do our best to hear the different sides of this conflict as there is truth found in both sides.  On our way home from Gaza we stopped a few miles away on the Israeli side of the wall and were met by a representative of the Sederot village.  As it is so very close to Gaza it was a prime site for the crude and largely inefficient missiles hurled out of Gaza by Hamas and others.  While there was no devastation to be seen in Sederot we were told — and it was covered on national news — that these rockets did do some damage in Israel and some Israeli lives were lost.  Yes, both sides of this conflict have an important story to tell, and both peoples deserve to live unmolested in peace.  In that spirit, a common theme emerging from some of the people on both sides of this crisis is that there is a growing desperation among the innocent victims of this violence.  The devastation wrought in Gaza and elsewhere may not be in Israel's long-term best interests.  Increasingly it is clear that a two-state solution, where all human beings have the potential to live freely and safely, is the only realistic hope.

Despite all the damage, trauma, and death recently experienced, the people of Gaza, and most especially those we met at Holy Family Church, would want us to know that Gaza is not a refugee camp.  They have lives to live even if it's in this small, badly scarred, and densely populated  place.  They still have their children, who they love as do all parents, and they will not let hope for their children be taken from them.  They do not want our pity but they do want us to understand their suffering.  If our voices can help bring about positive change for all the peoples of the Holy Land, then we must raise our voices in truth and justice.

In closing for today I would note that the Mass in Gaza was celebrated by the people with great zeal.  The presence of five bishops from America meant a lot to them. They insisted on hosting us for coffee and cookies after Mass.  I had been warned on my first day in Israel to avoid taking pictures of people's children.  I took a risk and asked the school principal, a Sister from elsewhere in the Middle East, if any of the parents present with children would let me take one picture with them.  I was startled at the volunteers!  They want us to know about the children in Gaza.  

Actually, each parent wanted you to know about THEIR children. They are beautiful.  I have hope for them, and I pray that we can help them to grow up in a better world.

 
Church of the Flagellation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bishop Edward Weisenburger   
Saturday, 13 September 2014 09:46

With today being the Jewish sabbath (Saturday) our schedule was less packed than yesterday's marathon.  After a quick breakfast we headed to the famous Church of the Flagellation — a famous site on the Way of the Cross, walked by a great many Jerusalem pilgrims.  The church is actually located at the site known from archeological remains to have been the location of the Roman fortress near the temple.  We were indeed at or very near the place our Lord experienced humiliation and brutal violence. The homilist for the Mass, Bishop Paul Bradley (bishop of Kalamazoo, Mich.) reflected on the great suffering of Christ at this site.  The Son of God's own redemptive suffering, which came to fulfillment on the cross, is a mystery that has moved many to embrace their own crosses with patience and hope.

From there we were received by the Armenian Apostolic Patriarch of Jerusalem, Nourhan Manougian.  His Beatitude actually served in several Armenian Apostolic church parishes in the U.S., and his English is perfect.  His comments focused largely on the immense suffering of the remaining Christians in the Holy Land, the decades long exodus of Christians of all denominations from Jerusalem, and his growing fear that peace was growing out of reach.  His words echoed those of so many others.  Efforts for peace are critical.  The success or failure will have ramifications that could affect the entire world.

Over lunch we had a presentation by Father David Neuhaus, a local Catholic priest, whose ministry focuses largely on asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants.  As Israel's economy is quite strong there is a huge market for the cheap labor provided by undocumented persons.  In this respect I feel Israel shares much in common with America!  There's no shortage of labor for these people who are paid a fraction of what a citizen would earn in their stead.  The more critical issue he deals with involves providing care for the asylum-seekers (largely from Somalia, the Philippines, and Africa), especially their children.  He spoke of mothers working 14-hour days and children left in large numbers with a sole caretaker during the day.  Many, after years of inactivity and poor nutrition, cannot use their limbs like ordinary children when they show up for school. Israel requires education for all children, age 6-18 and regardless of documentation (a huge blessing!), but educational success for these children is chaotic at best.  Too, many are literally without a country as Israel does not grant citizenship to the children of non-citizens.  The situation is incredibly unstable for them as they have fled horrible destitution but now live in complete uncertainty about their future.  In addition to Father David I also spoke with a religious sister at my table who received a major commendation from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her efforts related to combating human trafficking in Israel — a problem all over the world.  Again, the situation is profoundly complex.  The bright side of this picture is that the Church stands out among those making a difference.  The Catholic schools and daycare programs for the small children of the destitute are making a huge difference.  Our Catholic faith, especially our social teaching derived from Jesus' gospel, is alive in the Holy Land.

Just a few blocks from the Temple Mount of Jerusalem, on the Via Dolorosa, is found a Franciscan complex that includes a monastery, a chapel referred to as the Condemnation Chapel, and the famous Flagellation Chapel (or Church).  The Flagellation Chapel, according to sacred tradition, is the site where the Roman soldiers flogged Jesus after he was convicted and sentenced to death.

You might recall that in 1342 Pope Clement VI authorized the Franciscan Order as the “official custodians” of the Holy Places — an appointment that remains in place to this day.  The first Chapel built on the site of the Flagellation Church was built in 1839 and rebuilt from 1927 to 1929.  The current structure was designed by the famous Italian architect, Antonio Barluzzi, who built a great many of the great churches of the Holy Land (Mt. Beatitudes, Basilica of Agony, etc.).  Upon walking into the Church one is immediately struck by the three massive stained glass windows.  Behind the altar is a depiction in glass of the flogging of Jesus and the placing of a crown of thorns on his head.  On one of the side walls the window shows Pontius Pilate washing his hands from the sin, and on the alternate side window there is a depiction of Barrabbas rejoicing upon his release instead of Jesus.

It is worth noting that the Church of the Flagellation is at the second stop on the Via Dolorosa, a title that might be translated “way of grief.”  We associate it today with the Stations of the Cross.  For many who visit the Holy Land walking the Way of the Cross is a pilgrimage within a pilgrimage.  It is interesting to note that the way of the cross marked out through Jerusalem has varied greatly through the centuries.  By the 15th century pilgrims were mostly following the Franciscan route, which began at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and included eight stations.  At this same time the tradition of the fourteen Stations of the Cross was developing in Europe.  Six more stations were added to the Franciscan’s original eight in an effort not to disappoint the European pilgrims!  I would note that for most pilgrims the exact location of each event along the way is of little importance.  The pilgrimage has great meaning because of its proximity to the historical events as well as our prayerful reflection upon them along the way.

Today, each of the fourteen stations is marked by a plaque but in many locations they are quite difficult to find as they are on busy streets and the actual sites are not always impressive.  In his excellent book "Jesus, a Pilgrimage" (by Jesuit Father James Martin, published by HarperOne, which I heartily recommend to all), the author notes that of all the sites in the Holy Land this was one where he found it most challenging to pray.  He is quick to note, however, that many find it exceptionally moving.  Again, a pilgrimage hits different pilgrims in a great variety of ways.  What seems universal is the need for all who follow Christ to ponder deeply the meaning of Jesus’ suffering and the redemptive manner in which he embraced his cross.

 
The Patriarch of Jerusalem PDF Print E-mail
Written by By Bishop Edward Weisenburger   
Friday, 12 September 2014 13:41

We began our second full day with a whirlwind tour of Jerusalem. The city is divided and the historical districts were pointed out to us. It was only a year or two ago that Palestinians and Israelis felt secure walking through each other’s territories, at least during the day. That has ended as recent months have seen increasing violence and fear on both sides.

One of the most challenging moments of a very full day was visiting “the wall,” which runs through the Palestinian section of Jerusalem, effectively severing 300,000 Palestinians from their family members, terminating employment for them, commerce, etc. While no credible person questions Israel’s right to security, it nevertheless should be recalled that the United Nations condemned Israel’s building of the wall, and the general consensus is that the devastation and resentment it caused has only (and greatly) deepened the enmity of those good people who are walled off from much of what was their life. It is a gaping wound in the Holy City. It has not increased peace.

From there we visited the Patriarchate of Jerusalem — a patriarchate is like a diocese but headed by a patriarch, in this instance, His Beatitude Fouad Twal. He spoke movingly of our brother and sister Catholics under his care and the desperate efforts of his clergy and people not only to provide sacramental life but also, in many instances, basic social services. Their main mission is to run a great many schools in Palestine, Jerusalem and Jordan — schools which are open to children of all faiths. In some instances certain schools have more non-Catholics than Catholics. The good will, understanding and sense of universal brotherhood being fostered is their great hope for a better future. Incidentally, I have been a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre for many years. Knights and Ladies who make pilgrimage to Jerusalem receive the formal “pilgrim’s shell.” I was deeply honored to receive it from the patriarch himself. The Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre provide much of the funding of the patriarchate and its schools. It’s an exceptional order in the Church.

After lunch we met with the “custos” (custodian) of the Holy Sites of the Holy Land. For almost two centuries the churches and sites here have been entrusted to the Franciscan Order. The custos had exceptional insights into the pilgrimage sites as well as the general situation unfolding. He, along with the patriarch, would seem to concur that we are going through a time of great suffering. Everyone’s efforts to achieve a two-state solution are greatly needed.

Late in the afternoon we attended a Sabbath service in a reformed synagogue and met some wonderful parishioners there. It helps to immerse oneself in the culture from as many perspectives as possible. Over dinner we had a presentation from Michael Ratney, the U.S. consul general for Jerusalem. He has been in office here for two years (the 50th consul general from the U.S. — a long history). His understanding of the politics as they are unfolding and America’s role confirmed much of what we have learned from the senior religious authorities.

In essence, the two-state solution, which is endorsed strongly by the Holy See and the U.S government, is probably the only realistic hope for a lasting peace built on any semblance of justice. But as Israeli settlements are continuing to be built on Palestinian land, the window of opportunity seems to be slowly shutting. The Holy Land, and the world, needs the two-state solution to happen. One of our best speakers today noted — after decades of living here — that the uneasy coexistence of Jews, Christians and Muslims was really what Jerusalem was all about. Hearing an Imam chant prayers as Orthodox Jews visit the Western Wall and Christians are making the “Way of the Cross” — all that blended together is what this city is all about. To think that two of the world’s great religions can be removed or relegated to museum-like insignificance is not realistic. Renewed efforts for a peaceful coexistence are necessary, and fortunately there are men and women of good will in all three religious groups who see this truth. The key is not letting their good efforts be sabotaged by those who refuse the notion of coexistence in peace.

Prayer. Prayer leads to hope. Hope makes it possible to envision other/better possibilities.

For those interested, a little history on the Jerusalem Patriarchate and His Beatitude, Patriarch Fouad Twal. His Beatitude, Fouad Twal, is a man of great devotion and faith. He was born in Jordan, entering the seminary in 1959 and being ordained a priest of the Latin Patriarchate in 1966. He obtained his doctorate in canon law in 1976 and began working in the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1977. He then served in the Vatican’s diplomatic posts in Honduras, Cairo, Berlin and Lima until 1992 when he was appointed Bishop of Tunis. He then succeeded Patriarch Michel Sabbah as Patriarch of Jerusalem, only the second Arab Patriarch since the office was reestablished in 1847.

The title “patriarch” is not common to our vocabulary. The term “patriarch” refers to the father or chief of a clan, family or race. The word is found throughout Scripture as well as in secular texts. By the eighth and ninth centuries the word became a formal title, signifying a rank in the hierarchy. It was the patriarchs who watched over the metropolitans (commonly referred to as archbishops), just as the metropolitans watched over the bishops of the dioceses in their region. In the Western world it was viewed as the rank immediately below the bishop of Rome.

It might interest some to note that in the earliest centuries of the Church there were five great patriarchs found in the following centers of civilization and faith: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. While it is greatly oversimplifying very complex matters, I would note that the relationship between the patriarch of Rome and the other four patriarchs was a major part of what resulted in the division between the Roman Catholic (Latin) Church and the “Orthodox” Church.

In looking specifically at the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, we must begin by noting that the Church of Jerusalem came to life on the day of Pentecost. It was recognized as a patriarchate by the Council of Chalcedon in 451. There was relative harmony until 1054 when the Churches of the East (Orthodox) and those of the West (Latin/Roman Catholic) separated from one another. When the Crusaders arrived in 1099, the Greek Patriarch Simon fled to Cyprus, leaving the See of Jerusalem vacant. The Crusaders installed one of their own as the first Latin Patriarch, a situation that remained somewhat stable until 1187 when Jerusalem fell to Saladin. It was actually 1847 before the Latin Patriarch was restored by Pope Pius IX, who sent Patriarch Giuseppe Valerga to Jerusalem as Latin Patriarch in 1848.

 
Countering the ill effects of payday loans PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Friday, 12 September 2014 09:26

Salina — Predatory lending has emerged as a concern of the Catholic Church in Kansas.

In one of four election-year videos issued this week by the bishops in Kansas, Salina Bishop Edward Weisenburger asks Catholics to urge their state lawmakers to consider stricter regulations to protect vulnerable citizens. (To see all four videos, go to http://salinadiocese.org/home/religious-liberty.)

Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas has been working to help victims of predatory lending since 2007. It launched a new program last year, the Kansas Loan Pool Project, that offers a structured loan to qualified participants to help them escape extreme high-interest borrowing known as “payday” or “paycheck advance” loans.

Those lenders have moved aggressively into Salina, Hays, Manhattan, Junction City and Concordia. Online lenders can reach anyone with access to the Internet.

Catholic social teaching doesn’t prohibit the charging of reasonable interest on loans. However, it does consider exorbitant interest — usury — as wrong.

In the video, Bishop Weisenburger says usury is one of the practices “that are plainly harmful to the poor and simply contrary to the teachings of Christ.”

“It’s always been a Church teaching, but we never talk about it anymore,” added Michael Schuttloffel, executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the four Kansas bishops.

“Charging an unjust interest rate as being wrong was universal,” he said, but that has changed.

Even Pope Francis weighed in on the topic earlier this year, calling usury “a dramatic social ill.”

“When a family has nothing to eat, because it has to make payments to usurers, this is not Christian, it is not human,” the pope said. “This dramatic scourge in our society harms the inviolable dignity of the human person.”

Kansas is among 35 states that have few or no regulations on payday lending.

Read more...
 
Ayuda ofrecida para el préstamo ‘día de pago’ PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Friday, 12 September 2014 09:25

Salina — Préstamos depredadores ha emergido como una preocupación de la iglesia católica en Kansas.

En uno de cuatro videos del año electoral que se publicará este semana por los obispos de Kansas, el Obispo Edward Weisenburger pide a los católicos a exhortar a los legisladores del estado que consideren regulaciones más estrictas para proteger a los ciudadanos vulnerables.

Caridades Católicas del noreste de Kansas han estado trabajando para ayudar a las víctimas de préstamos depredadores desde el año 2007. Lanzo un nuevo programa el año pasado, el Proyecto Asociación de Préstamos en Kansas, que ofrece un préstamo estructurado a los participantes que califican, para ayudarlos a escapar los préstamos con extremamente altos intereses, conocido como “pago de sueldo adelantado”.

La enseñanza social católica no prohíbe el cobro de interés razonable en préstamos. Sin embargo, sí considera como malo, interés exorbitante — llamado usura.

En el video, el Obispo Weisenburger digo que el usura es una de las practicas “que claramente perjudican al pobre y el sencillo, contario a las enseñanzas de Cristo.”

Incluso, el Papa Francisco hablo de este tema llamando usura “un mal social trágico.”

Cuando una familia no tiene nada que comer porque tiene que hacer pagos a los usureros, esto no es cristiano y no es humano,” dijo el Papa. “Este flagelo en nuestra sociedad daña la inviolable dignidad de la persona humana.”

El estado de Kansas está entre 35 estados con poca o nada de regulaciones sobre el pago de préstamos adelantados.

Read more...
 
Seminarian back after a year away from studies PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Friday, 12 September 2014 09:23

Salina — After taking a year off to discern whether he was being called to religious life, Justin Palmer returns to the Diocese of Salina’s class of seminarians.

Palmer, who just turned 30, will spend this next year participating in a parish immersion program at Sacred Heart Parish in Colby. He then will have two years of theology school remaining before being ordained to the priesthood.

His year away from seminary was valuable, Palmer said, because it helped him realize where he should be.

“I had more certitude that I was being called to the diocesan priesthood,” he said.

There were numerous aspects of religious life that he felt drawn to, he said.

“During seminary, an idea kept coming into my mind that I should serve God as a monk, since monks spend much time in prayer, study and silence, three things attractive to me,” he said.

He also likes the fraternity of religious life.

“I think communal life is helpful to grow in holiness,” he said. “I learned the real importance of good fraternity.”

But after a year of searching, Palmer said he believes God answered his questions.

“I felt God working in me, this interior sense of calling me back to where God wants me,” he said.

Read more...
 
Diocese meets $50,000 seminarian challenge match PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Register   
Friday, 12 September 2014 09:21

Salina — The Diocese of Salina has met the $50,000 match for the Seminarian Endowment Challenge and has nearly reached its goal of raising a total of $100,000 locally.

Catholic Extension selected the diocese for one of its matching grants this year. To qualify for $50,000 in matching funds, individual donations toward the challenge had to be a minimum of $1,000. Any formal event related to the challenge, such as the Seminarian Recognition Dinner in May, could accept any donation toward the match.

Syndi Larez, director of stewardship and development for the diocese, said that as of Sept. 2, $97,000 had been donated, more than surpassing the $50,000 needed for the match.

The total amount will be endowed “to provide a future stream of funding” for seminarian education, Larez said.

The diocese has 13 men preparing for the priesthood. It costs about $35,000 a year per student to attend seminary, and it can take up to eight years of schooling before ordination.

Read more...
 
Catholic women hear legislative update PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Friday, 12 September 2014 09:19

Salina — The head of the Kansas Catholic bishops’ public policy arm gave a grim assessment of key causes championed by the Church.

Michael Schuttloffel, executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference, gave an update on legislative matters Aug. 23 for the Salina Diocesan Council of Catholic Women biennial convention at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Salina.

But even though he had little good news to share, he urged Catholics to continue to press lawmakers to support pro-life, traditional marriage and religious freedom issues.

“We’re not completely helpless,” Schuttloffel said. “There are things we can do.”

He urged staying in touch with legislators.

“Your elected officials need to hear from you, and they’re not,” he said. When lobbying on behalf of the Kansas bishops in Topeka, he said legislators tell him they’re not hearing from their constituents on these issues.

“Voting for the right people still makes a huge difference,” he continued.

And, he said, “we need to strengthen our Catholic institutions. There are hopeful signs of a renewal in our Church; a whole generation of young people have a new appreciation of family. This could change the culture.”

He focuses on three key issues for the Church.

Read more...
 
Catholic Rural Life seeks to spread its message PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Friday, 12 September 2014 09:17

Victoria — After more than 90 years of work, Catholic Rural Life is updating its mission, using a new name and working from a new location.

Matt Mamura, manager of major donor development for the non-profit advocacy group, spoke to members of the Salina Diocesan Rural Life Commission, priests and guests at a conference Aug. 28 in Victoria.

Formerly known as the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, the shortened name is expected to resonate better as the organization seeks to spread its message to a new generation.

Additionally, CRL’s office were recently relocated from Des Moines, Iowa, to the campus of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

Founded in 1923, CRL has focused on Catholic rural life issues, which have evolved as society has changed.

With only 16 percent of the nation’s population now living in rural areas, that means reaching out to urban and suburban Catholics to explain the importance of rural life to them, Mamura said.

That can be as basic as explaining how food is produced, noted Bishop Edward Weisenburger, who now is a board member of CRL.

“We are so separated from the earth today that we’ve lost contact with where our food comes from and how we treat the earth,” the bishop said in his homily at a Mass celebrated mid-day at the Basilica of St. Fidelis.

When Archbishop Edwin O’Hara founded CRL, he was seeking the same things for rural Catholics as urban Catholics had: credit unions, health clinics and family programming. At the time, he was a priest in the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore. He later was bishop of Great Falls, Mont., and then Kansas City, Mo. He was named an archbishop in 1954, two years before his death.

Today, CRL seeks to support rural Catholics by advocating for public policies and education that shore up rural life, Mamura said.

Read more...
 
Diocesan priests celebrate jubilee milestones PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Friday, 12 September 2014 09:14

Two diocesan priests are celebrating jubilee anniversaries of their ordinations, as are two Capuchin priests with ties to the diocese.

Father Roger Hough, who retired to Leawood in 2005, was ordained to the priesthood 50 years ago.

Father Mark Berland, pastor of the Oberlin, Selden and Leoville parishes, was ordained 40 years ago.

• • •

Father Roger Hough, 78, retired from parish ministry in 2005 and lives in Leawood, where he has seven nieces and nephews.

“They’ve been a great help to me,” he said. “I’m still able to live independently because of their help.”

Chronic pain issues keep him from being active, but he takes it in stride.

“I tell people I spend half my day in prayer and the other half taking care of myself,” he said, chuckling.

“I view it as being a time to be able to prepare for crossing over,” he added.

Father Hough had 14 assignments during his 41 years of active ministry. His longest tenure was his last, when he served St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish in Osborne and St. Mary Parish in Downs for 11 years before retiring.

He said he didn’t question the frequent moves, only doing as his bishops requested — he served five bishops during those years.

“I kept my suitcase handy,” he said, laughing.

“But I found I was always happy to meet the people in the various parishes. It was a privilege to be able to be their spiritual leader,” he said.

Family and friends helped him celebrate his jubilee with a Mass and luncheon on June 1.

Father Hough was born Feb. 29, 1936, in Abilene to William and Ruth (Morgan) Hough. He attended local schools, then earned a bachelor’s degree from Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Mo. He then attended Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo., and did postgraduate studies at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Frederick Freking on May 28, 1964, at St. Andrew Church in Abilene.

His appointments:

• 1964, associate pastor, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Concordia

• 1964-66, associate pastor, St. John the Baptist Parish, Hanover

• 1966-68, associate pastor, St. Mary, Queen of the Universe Parish, Salina

• 1968-70, pastor, St. Paul Parish, Delphos, St. Mary Parish, Glasco, and St. Peter Parish, Meredith

• 1970-72, pastor, St. Theresa Parish, Mankato, and St. Mary Parish, Jamestown

• 1972-73, pastor, St. Thomas Parish, Stockton

• 1973-75, associate chaplain, St. Isidore Catholic Student Center, Manhattan

• 1975-78, pastor, St. Ignatius Loyola Parish, Kanopolis, St. Mary Parish, Holyrood, and St. Joseph Parish, Brookville

• 1978-80, pastor, SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Clay Center

• 1980-82, pastor, St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, Clifton, and St. Michael Parish, Kimeo

• 1982-87, pastor, St. John the Baptist Parish, Clyde, St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, Clifton, and St. Joseph Parish, St. Joseph

• 1987-93, pastor, St. Agnes Parish, Grainfield

• 1993-94, pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Selden, and Immaculate Conception Parish, Leoville

• 1994-2005, pastor, St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish, Osborne, and St. Mary Parish, Downs.

Father Hough also served as director of the Propagation of the Faith office, 1969-84.

• • •

Father Mark Berland, 65, said he remembers being in second grade when he told his father he wanted “to be like Msgr. Dickman.”

“He inspired me,” he said. Msgr. Bernard Dickman was pastor of Father Berland’s home parish of St. Ann in Zurich throughout his entire youth.

And it didn’t matter to his dad that the young Mark, the only boy in a family that had six daughters, wanted to be a priest.

“He was all for it,” he said of his father, Fred Jr. “He was always supportive, as was the whole family.”

So after finishing the first eight grades in Zurich, he attended high school at St. Francis Seminary in Victoria.

Although the minor seminary was operated by the Capuchin Franciscans, many of those who attended went on to become diocesan priests. The school was one of the few places that taught Latin, a necessity if you expected to go on to a major seminary, Father Berland said.

During his 40 years as a priest, Father Berland has served in two parishes once attended by Msgr. Dickman: Immaculate Conception in Grainfield and Sacred Heart in Oberlin, where Father Berland is the current pastor.

Father Berland also served at Sacred Heart in Colby, where a distant cousin, Msgr. Edmond Arpin, had been pastor.

In his seven assignments, Father Berland said one thing has been constant: “The support of the parishioners … their prayers and concern for me,” he said.

“I think the thing I’ve really enjoyed is the educational part, from teaching the little ones to adults and converts,” he said.

He jokes that he also enjoys being a “grandparent” — ministering to children whose parents once were youngsters in his parishes.

He has served in western Kansas since 1982.

“That’s what I wanted to be: a pastor in a rural community,” he said.

His three parishes hosted a celebration of his 40th jubilee on May 22 at Sacred Heart in Oberlin.

Father Berland was born Dec. 14, 1948, in Zurich to Fred Jr. and Eunice (Balthazor) Berland.

He graduated from Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo., and Kenrick Theological Seminary in St. Louis.

He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Cyril Vogel on June 1, 1974, at St. Ann Church in Zurich.

His appointments:

• 1974-79, associate pastor, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Salina, and assistant editor of The Register

• 1979-80, pastor, St. Phillip Parish, Hope, and St. Columba Parish, Elmo

• 1980-82, associate pastor, St. Mary, Queen of the Universe Parish, Salina, and full-time religion teacher, Sacred Heart High School, Salina

• 1982-85, pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Colby

• 1985-96, pastor, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Norton, and St. Joseph Parish, New Almelo

• 1996-2009, pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Park, and St. Agnes Parish, Grainfield

• 2009-present, pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Oberlin, Sacred Heart Parish, Selden, and Immaculate Conception Parish, Leoville.

 
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