Pope focuses encyclical on Catholic social teaching
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Salina — The 10th anniversary fundraiser for Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas seeks to raise $200,000 to help “your neighbors in your community and in the diocese.”
The fundraiser on July 12 already has raised a $60,000 match from 10 groups of donors.
“They are the shining stars to get us to this point,” said Eric Frank, director of development for Catholic Charities, the social services agency of the Diocese of Salina.
“The match came together really well,” added Michelle Martin, CEO and executive director. “It will help us save lives, change people’s lives and make a difference in the struggles they are facing.”
Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas provides a wide range of services, and the annual fundraiser supplies much of the money to continue that work.
Last year’s fundraiser brought in nearly $188,000 after expenses, which was down slightly from the previous year’s amount.
People can donate from now through July 12 and see their contributions matched up to $60,000, Frank noted.
Salina — The annual Seminarian Recognition Dinner May 28 introduced three new seminarians. Alex Becker, Cole Johnson and Brian McCaffrey will be enrolled this fall at Conception Seminary College in Missouri.
The event began with the chanting of vespers and was followed by dinner and a short program.
Father Gale Hammerschmidt, associate vocation director, said this was the first year that vespers was chanted. He said chanting is the traditional way that most priests and seminarians say evening prayer, “so it was great that those in attendance could join us in our chanting.”
He said people said they appreciated the opportunity to meet the men that are in formation for the priesthood. Also in attendance were the men’s parents and many of their pastors.
The diocese has 13 seminarians, including one transitional deacon. Another transitional deacon, Deacon Chad Stramel, is on staff at St. Thomas More Parish in Manhattan and anticipating ordination.
Father Hammerschmidt noted that if the diocese ordains as many men this decade as are scheduled, it will be the most in any decade since the 1960s.
Salina — Lay ministry has a long history in the Diocese of Salina, preceding the 2005 U.S. bishops’ document by at least 30 years.
“We’ve had lay ministry since Vatican II and in some ways before then, but this really kicked it into gear,” Father Frank Coady said of the bishops’ statement on lay ministry, “Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord.”
Father Coady, who is diocesan director of adult faith formation, liturgy and deacons, said the bishops’ document formalized the idea of lay ministry.
“It was needed to give lay ministry some focus and direction, which was brilliant. It was much-needed,” Father Coady said. “Lay ministry had come to mean anything that wasn’t ordained.”
The statement defined lay ecclesial ministry as something “that has Church authorization, usually by a bishop or a pastor, and is done for the Church. What those roles were were left up to the local bishop,” he said.
It also generally involves payment for their work, he added.
“Fairly often lay ecclesial ministers get some kind of remuneration. So they’re salaried instead of volunteers,” Father Coady said.
In the Salina Diocese, just two positions are officially recognized as lay ecclesial ministry: parish life coordinators and pastoral associates.
“We’ve had lay ministry here in the diocese since the 1970s. Much of it has centered around catechists,” Father Coady said.
Salina — Two new priests ordained for the Diocese of Salina were charged by Bishop Edward Weisenburger to be humble servants of God.
Father Andrew Rockers and Father Kyle Berens were ordained May 30 before an overflow crowd at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Dozens of priests and deacons, from the Salina Diocese and from elsewhere who have come to know the two men, concelebrated the Mass and witnessed the ordination rite. Auxiliary Bishop Edward Rice of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, where the two attended Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, was among them.
Bishop Weisenburger told the two that the Church sets apart priests, just as it sets apart the bread and wine or a church or cathedral, to help the faithful recognize God.
The priest consecrates the bread and wine, setting it apart, “so that with time we can recognize Christ in every meal,” he said. A church or cathedral is set apart, sacramentally and liturgically, “so that with time finding God in that space, we can begin to find God everywhere.”
“Exactly the same way in the theology of our Church, we set apart, we consecrate men, so that through your lives all the baptized can come to recognize and be reminded of all that they share with us: the call to love generously and selflessly and completely,” Bishop Weisenburger said.
Salina — Work is underway at Sacred Heart Cathedral to clean and repair the limestone exterior.
The project is funded in part by a $25,000 grant from Catholic Extension, and Bishop Edward Weisenburger sought donations from several parishioners in the Salina Diocese to match that.
The original structure, completed in 1953, was showing its age. The mortar had deteriorated in places, and oxidation had discolored some of the cut stones. Additionally, lawn irrigation had stained the lower portions in places.
“This repair work will give the building a nice, clean look but will also preserve the stone from further weather damage,” Father Frank Coady explained to cathedral parishioners in a recent bulletin.
“There will be no cost to the parish,” he added. “The bishop took a leadership role in this endeavor. We are grateful to him for extending the diocese’s help on the cathedral church.”
In seeking the grant from Catholic Extension, Bishop Weisenburger described the building’s unique architecture, designed to reflect the large grain elevators that can be seen in nearly every town in the diocese.
“Our ancestors sacrificed to leave us a magnificent Cathedral,” the bishop said. “It is now our responsibility to provide the ongoing care that keeps it a sacred space where we, along with the generations to come, can nurture and celebrate our faith.”
Built at a cost of about $1 million, Sacred Heart was the first structure actually built as a cathedral. When the Diocese of Concordia was created in 1887, the existing Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church there became the cathedral church.
When the see of the diocese was moved to Salina in 1945, again, the existing Sacred Heart Church became the cathedral church.
Soon after diocesan operations moved here, efforts were underway to build a new cathedral church. Once Bishop Frank Thill determined enough money had been raised — about equally by the Sacred Heart Parish and the diocese at large — bids were let to begin construction.
It was Bishop Thill who proposed the idea of building a cathedral reflecting the diocese’s farming heritage. Initially, concrete was suggested but the bishop was able to raise the necessary $70,000 to upgrade to limestone quarried near Junction City.
Bishop Thill blessed the cornerstone June 4, 1951, and dedicated the cathedral June 6, 1953. It opened for worship on the first Sunday of Advent in 1953.
Bishop Frederick Freking consecrated the cathedral on June 19, 1962, while marking the 75th anniversary of the diocese.
A $30,000 project in 1989 saw the exterior cleaned and tuck-pointed by Mid-Continental Restoration of Fort Scott, which is in charge of the current exterior work.
“It was simply time again to give some serious attention to this magnificent structure,” Bishop Weisenburger said. “Pollution, along with the effects of weather and time, have left their marks. Discoloring from pollution has to be removed by water-blasting, some of the stone work has to be repaired, and mortar between the stones has to be restored.”
An addition to the cathedral completed in 2000, at a cost of about $1 million, included a new gathering space and baptismal font, parish hall and kitchen and other remodeling. Stone from the same quarry used for the original construction was used for the new exterior.
Salina — Bishop Edward Weisenburger is hosting a pilgrimage to Italy the last week of October.
The tour will spend eight days in Rome and the vicinity. The group leaves Wichita on Oct. 22 and returns Oct. 31.
“After my arrival in 2012, I was asked by several people to consider leading a diocesan pilgrimage to Rome,” Bishop Weisenburger said. “Now after almost three years as your bishop, I feel this is a good time to host one.”
“I believe that this pilgrimage will share several cities in Italy that we, as Christians, have a desire to visit,” he added.
I can get close but regrettably I cannot tell you exactly where my grandparents’ farm was located in Ellis County.
It wasn’t far from Catharine. Their small, wood-frame home was moved to Hays when my mother was a teenager and still stands, just a few blocks from St. Joseph Church. The lot where it originally stood in Catharine is now empty, leaving no evidence that a house once stood on this plot of earth facing the parish cemetery.
But that lot, that home and that community are all fundamental to my family origins, and the thread that weaves my heritage together with that of the people of our diocese is the livelihood that most all of us can trace our roots back to: farming.
St. Paul, Minn. — A national organization devoted to Catholic rural life didn’t come about just recently.
Catholic Rural Life is in its 91st year, and while some of the issues have evolved over the decades, the institution remains devoted to supporting rural communities and the Catholic faith.
“Why be concerned about rural? We are concerned because 50 million people live in rural America,” said Jim Ennis, executive director.
“Food is essential to life, and therefore all Catholics and Christians should be concerned about our farms and way of living and continuing to support that way of life because that way of life ultimately sustains all our lives,” he said.
The Salina Diocese Rural Life Commission seeks to “serve the mission of the Church by promoting the care of God’s creation and the welfare of the people who depend on it.” We answer to the bishop and support the national Catholic Rural Life organization.
Pope Francis recently stated there is no humanity without farmers. New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the shepherd of one of the most urban dioceses in the country, is a native of Missouri who said, “As the countryside goes, so goes the Church.”
Bishop Edward Weisenburger, a member of Catholic Rural Life’s national board of directors, noted at a recent Mass for Catholic Schools Week that the majority of Catholics in the diocese either grew up on a farm or their ancestors were farmers. Bishop Weisenburger’s grandparents farmed near Catharine.
The Rural Life Commission dates back to the 1920s and 1930s, when Msgr. Arthur Luckey and others expressed concern about the decline of family farms and rural communities. Seminars and workshops provoked public interest and thought about spiritual, social, economic and environmental issues affecting rural America.
Trego County — Fifty years ago, the standard farm family in Kansas featured father and mother both at home. They worked side by side, rearing their children to do likewise.
Six days a week they cared for the land, then worshipped on Sundays. It was a time when the rural school bus route made three stops and the bus was full, thanks to the large farm families.
That is not the norm anymore, but neither has that lifestyle vanished.
Marvin and Arlene Riedel, who live near Ellis in Trego County, are one of those couples whose lives still exemplify that model of long ago.
One of 10 children and a twin to his brother Melvin, Marvin was already helping on the farm along side his parents and siblings at an early age. By seventh grade he was driving a tractor, much like every other boy his age. They worked the land and lived off it as well.
“We ate chicken all the time and sometimes turkey or fish,” Melvin said, adding that they never butchered beef because it had to age and they simply did not have the facilities for that particular process.
For Catholics in western Kansas, appointing a committee to promote Catholic rural life seems a mite unnecessary.
For many people in the diocese — like Father Richard Daise, pastor of St. Mary Church in Ellis — it really is a way of living.
“It’s the only life I know,” Father Daise said, explaining that even though he had a career in the military as a veterinarian before being ordained a priest, his rural roots never left him.
“I grew up going to Mass every week. The one-room schoolhouse I went to, the kids took turns saying grace at lunch,” he said.
His rural background comes into play as moderator of the Salina Diocese Rural Life Commission.
Colby — Tony Horinek wasn’t even sure he’d have the opportunity to farm when he finished college, let alone see that his sons would be farming with him or that perhaps, one day, a grandchild might take over the operation.
“It’s just been wonderful,” he said. “When I started college, I didn’t know if I’d be a farmer because I didn’t have a farm to go to. The Lord directed us. We’re so blessed to have grown to the size we are. I didn’t figure the boys would come back, and I didn’t need them, but then the farm grew. It worked out so beautifully in God’s plan.”
Tony and his wife, Anita, married in 1980 and began farming in 1981 west of Colby.
“Neither of us had a farm to move on to,” Tony said. His father was a mechanic and farmed on the side. Anita’s grandfather had farm ground, and he wanted a grandchild to farm it, but he also wanted them to live on it.
“Our home was out in the middle of the wheat field,” Tony said.
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan says one of the virtues of rural life is the number of priests who come from country parishes.
The Diocese of Salina would seem to confirm that.
Of the 53 active and retired diocesan priests, 26 grew up in a parish of fewer than 150 families. Of the current seminarian class of 14 men, four are from rural parishes.
That shows that half of the current priests in the diocese are from small parishes that make up about one-fifth of the total Catholic population in the diocese.
You could look at the Diocese of Salina to learn how Catholic Extension supports the Church in rural America.
“The Diocese of Salina is a great example of the variety of things we support,” said Rob Anderson, director of mission for Catholic Extension.
In fact, Catholic Extension was founded in 1905 in part because of the Salina Diocese.
Father Francis Clement Kelley, a priest from Michigan, visited Ellsworth in 1905 during a tour of Catholic parishes in the Midwest.
Pawnee Rock — When it comes to the mission statement of Catholic Rural Life — “to apply the teaching of Jesus Christ for the social, economic and spiritual development of rural America with responsibility for the care of God’s creation” — the Dominican Sisters of Peace take it seriously.
The community was concerned about the effect agribusiness was having on small family farms and the distance that was steadily increasing between city and rural people. They began to focus on holistic health, spirituality and organic farming.
In 1987, the community purchased an 80-acre farm in Rush County 13 miles west of Great Bend and named it “Heartland Farm.”
At the time, they were the Dominican Sisters of Great Bend. In 2009, the community merged with six other Dominican congregations from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Louisiana.
At Heartland Farm, located just south of the Diocese of Salina’s border, Sister Betty Jean Gobel began creating a lifestyle of sustainability with Sister Rosalita Weber and Sister Imelda Schmidt. A family soon joined them to live and work together.
Twenty-five years later, four Dominican Sisters live and minister at Heartland Farm. It has four homes; two straw bale structures, one a hermitage and the other an art studio; and the original three cabins that are used as a residence, gift shop and art studio. The silo, next to the 100-year-old barn, has been converted to a place of meditation and reflection.
Angelus — Farm families living along an eight-mile stretch of road near here have produced five vocations in the last four decades.
And while they all have taken different paths in service to the Church, one thing in common binds them together.
“I really think the vocations are a tribute to the faith of the people and the good, wholesome lifestyle,” said Mercy Father Anthony Stephens.
“Father Brian and I have talked about it, how interesting that there are five of us. It’s either that faith or it’s something in the water,” Father Stephens added, laughing.
He, Father Brian Lager and Capuchin Father John Lager are the most recent priestly vocations from St. Paul Parish in Angelus. Growing up just east of them along what historically was known as Red Line Road were Sister Rose Marie Weber, a Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Wichita, and Sister Mary Beata Ziegler, a Sister of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George of Alton, Ill. Both are vocations from St. Francis Cabrini Parish in Hoxie.
Salina — A Catholic in the Diocese of Salina would be hard-pressed not to be directly affected by one of the ministries supported by the Catholic Community Annual Appeal.
The 2015 drive seeks $1.125 million to support diocesan and parish ministries, seminarian education, priests’ health care and retirement and Catholic schools.
“Our annual appeal funds the day-to-day operations of the diocesan church for the coming year,” Bishop Edward Weisenburger says in an audio message shared with parishioners. “Those ministries affect people in every corner of our diocese.”
He continues, “The ‘Lift Up Your Hearts’ appeal is your opportunity to contribute this year for the immediate needs of the Church. I am asking you prayerfully to consider a gift to the annual appeal. Every gift, regardless of its amount, makes a difference, and every gift is truly appreciated.”
Although the goal for this year remains the same as 2014, “we would really like to see an increase in participation,” noted Syndi Larez, director of stewardship and development for the Diocese of Salina.
St. Francis —El padre Carlos Ruiz Santos quiere trabajar basado en los logros pastorales actuales en favor de la población hispana de la diócesis de Salina.
Como el nuevo encargado de la Oficina de Pastoral Hispana en la diócesis, dice que todavía hay mucho por hacer.
Ya hay comunidades católicas hispanas presentes en Manhattan, Salina, Hays y Goodland; pero, como dice el padre, aún hay familias hispanas viviendo en las parroquias que todavía no se integran a las comunidades parroquiales.
“Mi primer objetivo será establecer una relación con las parroquias que tienen familias hispanas católicas para ayudar a esas familias a que formen parte de la parroquia”, dijo el padre desde su parroquia de San Francisco de Asís en St. Francis. El padre es también párroco de San José en Bird City y vicario parroquial de la parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro en Goodland.
St. Francis — Father Carlos Ruiz Santos wants to build on the successes in reaching out to the Hispanic community in the Diocese of Salina.
As the new Hispanic ministry coordinator for the diocese, he says there is still much to do.
There are vibrant Hispanic Catholic communities in Manhattan, Salina, Hays and Goodland, but he said there are Hispanic families living in every parish who have not made that transition.
“My primary goal is to have an outreach to all parishes with Hispanic Catholic families to help those families transition into membership,” he said from his parish, St. Francis of Assisi in St. Francis. He also is pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Bird City and parochial vicar of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Goodland.
A native of Mexico, Father Ruiz was ordained for the diocese in 2003 and spent the next nine years at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina. He moved to St. Francis in 2012.
Even though there are concentrations of Hispanic Catholics in four parishes, he knows there are families all across the diocese.
“These families are there, but they don’t go to church. Others are going but aren’t becoming active. They need to be invited, welcomed and energized,” he said.
Washington — A federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction Feb. 16 blocking the Obama administration’s deferred deportation program known as DACA.
In a 123-page memorandum released by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, District Court Judge Andrew Hanen granted the request of Texas and 25 other states to temporarily block a planned expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to certain people who were ineligible for the original 2012 program.
The expansion of DACA was to be rolled out Feb. 18, but Jeh Johnson, secretary of Homeland Security, said Feb. 17 that the implementation would be delayed while the administration appeals.
Meanwhile, organizations that have been helping people prepare to apply for the programs said they would continue that work, in anticipation of what they hope will be a reversal of the injunction.
“The news regarding Texas v. United States is deeply disappointing, but our efforts will not be averted,” said Michelle Martin, CEO and executive director of Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas in Salina. “The ruling from the Texas District Court is not the final word, and it will most definitely be appealed.
“I would urge clients to gather necessary documents to prepare for filing but do not pay any filing fees or proceed with any filing at this time. Have everything ready so when a window of opportunity does open, you may act quickly,” she added.
More information about how to prepare the required documents will be offered by Catholic Charities at a free presentation from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 30. Call (785) 825-0208 for more information.
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Salina — Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas is gearing up to help people apply for immigration relief under new rules announced Nov. 20 by President Barack Obama.
But Catholic Charities has a few words of advice: It’s too soon to apply, and beware of scams.
It likely will be February before some of the federal applications will be available, said Maria Triana-Jones, an immigration specialist at Catholic Charities in Salina.
“Anyone who says you can apply now or that you can pay to reserve a spot is fraudulent,” stressed Michelle Martin, the agency’s executive director. “We’ve heard rumor of several already making such claims.”
Because the application process is complex, nearly everyone who can apply under the new guidelines will need some assistance, Triana-Jones said.
Catholic Charities is certified by the Board of Immigration Appeals under the U.S. Department of Justice to assist people in the application process. Martin stressed people should use only BIA-certified organizations or a knowledgeable attorney.