San Antonio — In a darkened conference room, nearly 13,000 Catholic college students focused on the illuminated monstrance. Thousands of students waited in line for the sacrament of Reconciliation, which was administered by hundreds of priests.
Among those gathered in silence at the SEEK 2017 conference were more than 200 college students from the Diocese of Salina.
This the night of Jan. 5 in the darkened center is what the students say they will remember the most.
“I think the moment I knew it was worth all the planning and fundraising was seeing more than 12,000 people on their knees at adoration,” said Tracie Thibault, a junior from Kansas State University who helped coordinate the school’s three charter busses. “Sitting in the back watching student after student go to confession — seeing 200 plus priests and knowing God’s mercy was present — that’s when I knew it was all worth it.”
“What Moves You” was the theme of the biennial event, which is hosted by Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). The event was held Jan. 3 to 7 in San Antonio.
Among the K-State group was Kylee Mernagh, a freshman from Wichita.
“My favorite part of the conference was the line at Reconciliation,” she said. “We were in a massive conference room and the line for Reconciliation wound all the way around the conference room and doubled back over itself. Then it went into a different room and continued to do that. Seeing all of those souls in line for Confession was amazing to see.”
Adam Urban, a senior at Fort Hays State University, coordinated a bus from the Comeau Catholic Campus Center.
“(Adoration and Reconciliation) were very well done,” he said. “They have great music to draw you into prayer and incense — they engage all of the senses. For our group and myself, the adoration experience is really powerful.”
Both universities took students to the conference via charter busses. The trip allowed the opportunity to develop deeper friendships.
“On the way down there, we know each other, so you see and talk to each other, but on the way back the bus is louder and more interactive,” said Hannah Heinz, a sophomore at FHSU who grew up in Fowler, in the Dodge City Diocese. “It’s beautiful how much a week spent together can transform a group.”
Salina — The desire to deepen the faith draws students into the interactive Pastoral Ministry Education program.
“You’re not going to get this on EWTN, a DVD or television show,” said Ellen Becker, a Junction City resident and parishioner at St. Francis Xavier. “It’s not like anything you’re going to get anywhere else. You’re not going to get to pick the brain of these wonderful people who are taking the time to teach us.”
Becker was the first person to complete the four-year course, which is a collaboration between the Diocese of Salina, Diocese of Dodge City and Newman University in Wichita. She learned about the program while at a workshop.
“I was so attracted to it, so excited about the classes,” she said.“I loved the classes and all of a sudden four years were gone and I had a degree.”
Students may opt to take the courses for college credit, as part of a certificate program or for personal enrichment. If one already has a bachelor’s degree, completing 30 hours from the program will net them an additional bachelor’s.
Goodland resident Fred Hall is the second person in the diocese to complete the program. He became interested in taking the courses because he has served on both the parish council and the finance council at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Goodland.
A convert to the Catholic faith, Hall said the classes were informative.
“I had a lot to learn still,” he said. “The more classes I took, the more questions I had.”
Hall said he opted to take the classes for a certificate.
By The Register
Salina — The Register, the newspaper of the Diocese of Salina, is delivered to all registered parishioners.
To be able to continue to do that, however, requires some help on their part.
Today’s issue includes a donation envelope. Every household is asked each year to donate $25, roughly the cost of printing and mailing the newspaper.
Until three years ago, The Register was mailed only to those who subscribed. In January 2014, the publication model changed, and the newspaper was sent to every household registered with a parish in the diocese.
To accommodate the increased printing and mailing costs — from 5,500 to about 17,500 copies — the decision was made to reduce publication from weekly to twice monthly — on the second and fourth Fridays.
Instead of selling subscriptions, The Register would seek a $25 donation from each family to underwrite the additional costs.
In addition to each household receiving the newspaper, each Register edition also is available online at salinadiocese.org/the-register.