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July 24, 2015

In this issue

Summer mission in its 10th year
Charities fundraiser nears goal
Catholic Charities’ annual appeal is Aug. 8-9
Century Farm Awards to be presented

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Charities fundraiser nears goal

Salina — Donors rose to the challenge and exceeded the $60,000 match during the annual fundraiser July 12 for Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas.

And Catholic Charities’ staff are hopeful they also meet their goal of netting $200,000 overall.

“We know we met the $60,000 match, but the totals are still coming in,” said Michelle Martin, CEO and executive director of the Diocese of Salina’s social services agency.

Ten groups of donors had raised $60,000, providing it was matched by other contributors up to and during the fundraiser.

Last year, Catholic Charities netted nearly $188,000, and Martin said this year’s effort had reached that.

“We’re still waiting on some sponsorships that haven’t come in,” said Eric Frank, the agency’s director of development.

The live auction of 12 items brought in the most money — $16,100 — in the fundraiser’s 10-year history, he noted.

“We did better than any year before,” Frank said.

A private dinner for six with Bishop Edward Weisenburger garnered the highest bid of $2,500.


Century Farm Awards to be presented

Bird City — The Salina Diocese Rural Life Commission will host its annual Rural Life Day on Aug. 16 at St. Joseph Parish in Bird City.

Beginning at 3 p.m. Central time, the commission will present the Msgr. John George Weber Century Farm Awards to families living or working on the same farm in the West Vicariate for more than 100 years. The West Vicariate comprises parishes in Cheyenne, Decatur, Gove, Logan, Rawlins, Sheridan, Sherman, Thomas and Wallace counties.

Msgr. Weber was diocesan director of rural life from 1958 to 1960 and from 1977 to 2002. In between, he was executive secretary of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, based in Des Moines, Iowa, from 1960 to 1976.

He died in 2010 after serving as a diocesan priest since his 1943 ordination.

Application forms for the Century Farm Award can be found under Rural Life at Forms must be submitted by Aug. 5 to the Rural Life Commission, 703 Monroe, Ellis, KS 67637 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Following the Aug. 16 presentations, there will be refreshments and closing remarks.

All are invited. Call Father Rich Daise, moderator of the commission, at (785) 726-4522, or Father Brian Lager, a member of the commission, at (785) 243-1099, for more information.­

Supreme Court decision on marriage “a tragic error,” says president of Catholic bishops’ conference

June 26, 2015
Washington — The U.S. Supreme Court decision, June 26, interpreting the U.S. Constitution to require all states to license and recognize same-sex “marriage” “is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops .
The full statement follows:
Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.


Statement of Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger, Diocese of Salina

Today the Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a right between persons of the same gender. Today’s decision reflects the opinion of five appointed justices who have overruled 41 million voters across the country who have approved 31 state marriage amendments. Kansas’ own marriage amendment, which was approved with a 70% majority, has been struck down. I respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision and would assert that the notion that a Supreme Court decision is absolutely definitive is not entirely true.

By its very nature the law evolves. New laws sometimes lead us into greater unity, stabilize society, and ensure the rights of those who have no voice. At other times our laws are flawed, even if established with the best of intentions. For instance, “Roe v. Wade” has most certainly not settled the matter of abortion in the minds of most Americans. Too, in recent years we have witnessed laws enacted to permit capital punishment, euthanasia, predatory lending, and other activities which fail to call humankind to its true dignity.

Regrettably, flawed legislation has far-reaching consequences for society. Legal abortion terminates the innocent lives of untold millions and victimizes women. Legal capital punishment, which sometimes takes innocent lives, demeans the image of God in every human being. Proponents of legal euthanasia all too often encourage people to suicide instead of offering the compassionate care and presence the dying most often desire and need. Legalized usury preys on the poorest and least-educated, plunging them and their children further into poverty while making millions for the owners of the so-called pay-day loan shops. In the case of legalized same-sex marriage, the greatest victims will be children. In truth, every child wants to know his or her mother and father, to be with them, and to be loved by them. Sometimes, tragic circumstances make this impossible and we have great admiration for single and adoptive parents who heroically face difficult circumstances. But the Court’s decision today rejects the very principle that every child deserves a mom and a dad, and encourages arrangements where children are deprived of mothers and fathers by design. This is an extraordinary injustice.

There are those who say that the timeless religious teachings about human sexuality are out of date and hostile to people who experience same-sex attraction. In fact the opposite is true. All people, regardless of their attractions, are equally children of God and equally deserving of respect and just treatment. The fundamental dignity of each and every human person derives not from the approval of popular culture or the politics of the moment, but rather from the fact that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. It is by turning our back on the truths of human nature that we put people’s dignity at risk.

While government controls the issuing of marriage certificates, marriage is unchangeably a coming together of the male and the female for their good, the good of children, and the good of society. This reality cannot be altered by legislator or judge.

— Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger

Kansas bishops' statement

We the bishops of Kansas are deeply disappointed by today’s Supreme Court decision, though sadly not surprised.  While the government may control the issuing of marriage certificates, marriage remains unchangeably a coming together of the male and the female for their good, the good of children, and the good of society.  This reality cannot be altered by legislator or judge.  We encourage all people of good will to pray for our country and to support a culture of marriage that will help restore respect for God’s plan for the family.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Kansas City, Kan.

Bishop John Brungardt, Dodge City

Bishop Edward Weisenburger, Salina

Bishop Carl Kemme, Wichita

Men's conference speakers hope to inspire, encourage

Salina — The keynote speakers at this year’s Salina Diocese Men’s Conference say they hope to show men that God has a plan for them and that part of that plan is sharing their faith with others.

The diocese’s fourth annual men’s conference is Aug. 8 at St. Mary, Queen of Angels Church and Parish Hall in Russell. To register, go to; the cost increases after July 28.

Two well-known Catholic evangelists will speak at the conference.

Peter Herbeck is vice president and director of missions for Renewal Ministries and co-hosts two shows on the Eternal World Television Network.

Tom Peterson is president and co-founder of Catholics Come Home and Virtue Media and also hosts a show on EWTN.

“Only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will evangelization take place. Each guy is called to greatness in Christ and to experience that in mission,” Herbeck said in a telephone interview.

“Pope Francis said each of us is a mission in the world. I want to help these men lay hold of the mission Jesus has for each one of them,” he said.

Peterson said it was a men’s retreat “that changed my life and caused my mission.”

“Until then, I was living in a gray area. I went to Mass on Sunday and pretty much did it my way the rest of the week. I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” he said by telephone.


Priest reflected on final days of his life

Father Lawrence Grennan, who died May 22, spent the final six weeks of his life as a resident of Good Shepherd Hospice House in Manhattan. Christina Nolte, director of development for Homecare & Hospice in Manhattan and a former parishioner of Father Grennan’s at SS. Peter and Paul in Clay Center, wrote this story about his time spent there.

By Christina Nolte / For The Register

Father Larry Grennan was a well-known priest in the Salina Diocese who was ordained in 1966 and served in many parishes the past 49 years.

During that time, he was been many things to many people: a priest, adviser, supporter, friend, son, brother and uncle. On April 10, Father Grennan took on yet another role: hospice patient.

As a former parishioner of his, I expected to see a steady flow of visitors from the many people who’ve come to know him over the years, but what I did not expect when he arrived at Good Shepherd Hospice House in Manhattan is that he would come to serve as one of the best ambassadors of hospice care I have ever known.

The hospice philosophy is about quality of life and dignity in our final days. At Homecare and Hospice in Manhattan, our own personal mission is simply “to honor every moment in life,” words that were exemplified each day of Father Grennan’s time at the hospice house by himself and the countless visitors who journeyed to see him.

But beyond his actions, I wanted to know his thoughts and his feelings as he entered this final stage of his life. Knowing that he devoted his life to the service of God and the Church family, I hoped he would be willing to share those thoughts in order to better understand and relate to those who are dying.

So I sat down with Father Grennan and did what most of us will never have the opportunity to do. I asked him to tell me what it’s like to know you are dying.


Reflexiones del obispo Weisenburger acerca de la encíclica

Por Obispo Edward Weisenburger

Es algo raro que un documento tan esperado, haya captado nuestra atención, como lo ha hecho la encíclica Laudato Sí. Después de haberla leído detenidamente, me doy cuenta que esta encíclica supera mis expectativas porque ofrece a la comunidad humana verdades para nos harán reflexionar mirando hacia el futuro.

Intentar resumir el contenido del documento es hacerle una injustica, por ello, solo señalaré algunos puntos importantes que espero animen a muchos a leer la encíclica, la cual se puede encontrar fácilmente en el internet:

El primer punto que me gustaría llamar a su atención es que Laudato Sí es ante todo un documento teológico. De hecho, el título en italiano Laudato Sí fue tomado de un verso del “Cántico de las Creaturas de San Francisco”: “Alabado seas mi Señor”.


Bishop to host pilgrimage to Italy in October

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.


Farming and rural life have played a sacred role

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.


Farming, faith bound together, says national director

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.


Local commission seeks to care for creation, its people

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.


Life, then and now, revolves around farm, parish

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.


Rural members maintain active role in Ellis parish life

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.


Second generation part of Colby area operation

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.


Rural parishes have been a source for vocations

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.


Catholic Extension has deep roots in Salina 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.


Dominicans focus on sustainability at farm

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.


Vocations spring from Red Line Road

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.

The land.

“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.


Annual appeal is underway

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.