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July 25, 2014

In this issue

Annual Catholic Charities event raises key funds
Couple take over reins as coordinators
Bishop asks for support of collection Aug. 9-10
Humorist, director will speak at convention

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Annual Catholic Charities event raises key funds PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:59

Salina — Staff members were busy counting the donations Monday morning, but Catholic Charities executive director Michelle Martin was hopeful that the annual fundraiser met or exceeded last year’s record.

“We are praying really hard today,” she said. “We were pretty close to being on track to where we were last year.”

The annual fundraiser, which included dinner and entertainment Sunday at the Ambassador Hotel in Salina, supports 14 programs provided by Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas.

Last year’s fundraiser netted more than $204,000.

Another important part of the agency’s revenue comes from the annual collection, which is Aug. 9 and 10 in the diocese’s parishes.

This year, anonymous donors agreed to match up to $60,000 in personal contributions and any new corporate sponsorships.

Eric Frank, director of development for Catholic Charities, said it was too early to tell if that goal was met.

“My overall feeling is that I think everything went really well,” he said Monday morning.

Key sponsors were Rocking M Radio Inc. of Manhattan with a $15,000 donation and 24/7 Travel Stores of Salina with $10,000.

Other major donors included Citywide Self-Storage of Salina, $5,000; Father John Wolesky of Solomon, $5,000; and the Robert E. and Patricia A. Schmidt Foundation of Hays, $5,000.

Bishop asks for support of Catholic Charities’ annual collection Aug. 9-10 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:58

Dear Friends,

On the weekend of Aug. 2-3, you will hear a tape-recorded message from me about Catholic Charities. That recorded message will be played at all the Masses of all our parishes throughout the Diocese of Salina on that weekend.

I am writing now to inform you of the upcoming annual Catholic Charities Collection, which will be the weekend of Aug. 9-10. Catholic Charities will be mailing a letter and a self-addressed return envelope directly to parish households, which should arrive around Aug. 2, the weekend before the actual collection. Please use the envelopes by returning them in the collection baskets during Mass the weekend of Aug. 9-10 or mailing them directly to the Salina Catholic Charities office.

Individuals and families throughout our diocese continue to struggle with poverty and fall between the cracks of our social services’ system. Catholic Charities is one of the safety nets for those individuals. The staff of Catholic Charities assists with the Church’s ministry of serving the poor and vulnerable members of our society by providing emergency assistance, adoption services, counseling, food and diapers, family strengthening workshops, financial literacy classes, pregnancy maintenance initiatives, immigration services, financial assistance with rent and utilities, and help in escaping from the trap of predatory lending (known as payday loans).

There is still much work to be done in this ministry and so I urge you to support the Catholic Charities Annual Collection. By partnering with Catholic Charities, we can reach more of our brothers and sisters in crisis throughout our diocese. For all who are able, it is truly a privilege to respond generously to Christ who is found most wonderfully in the poor. Please join with me in this effort so that together we can carry out the mission Jesus has given our Church.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Rev. Edward J. Weisenburger
Bishop of Salina

Couple take over reins as coordinators PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:56

Salina — Eric and Jaclyn Brown have hit the ground running as the new Respect Life coordinators for the Diocese of Salina.

The Hays couple are taking over for Gil and Carol Otter of Norton, who have served since early 2009.

The Browns already have organized a conference, “Special Families, Special Blessings,” on Sept. 13 in Salina.

As coordinators, they will be working with Father Henry Baxa, moderator of the Office of Respect Life, and a commission that includes JoAnne Balthazor of Clyde, Jim Fenton of Greenleaf, Joan Gienger of St. Francis, Norbert and Marlene Hermes of Salina, Bill and Albie Kuhlman of Grinnell, Kathy Martin of Clay Center, Lester and Donetta Robben of Hays, Mary Selensky of Hays, Wallace Severson of Gem, Liz Sites of Chapman and Peggy Waldschmidt of Ellis.

“I am pleased that they have accepted this ministry,” said Bishop Edward Weisenburger.

The Browns have been involved in pro-life activities for a number of years. Jaclyn served on the board of directors and was president of the Mary Elizabeth Maternity Home in Hays. Eric said he has been involved in pro-life work since he was a teenager.

Jaclyn and Eric have participated three times in the March for Life that takes place each January in Washington, D.C.

Each had attended as college students, then as a couple they twice have chaperoned a group from Thomas More Prep-Marian Junior-Senior High School in Hays.

Humorist, director will speak at SDCCW convention PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Register   
Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:51

Salina — The biennial convention of the Salina Diocesan Council of Catholic Women will be Saturday, Aug. 23 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.

It begins with Mass celebrated by Bishop Edward Weisenburger at 9 a.m..

Humorist and author Patricia Lorenz will be speaking on the theme “Listening to the Voice of God.”

Lorenz is the author of 13 books, including “Life’s Too Short to Fold Your Underwear,” and “The Five Things We Need to be Happy (and Money Isn’t One of Them.)” She has contributed to Daily Guideposts for more than 20 years, and her stories have appeared in 25 “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and in magazines, newspapers and two dozen anthologies.

Jolene Schuster, an SDCCW board member, said she is looking forward to hearing Lorenz speak.

“She’s very down to earth and clever,” she said. “You can really see the importance of family in her writings.”

“I was surprised how much of her stuff I had read online without knowing it was her,” said Father Damian Richards, SDCCW moderator.

Rural Life Day is Aug. 17 at Sacred Heart, Park PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:50

Park — The Diocese of Salina’s Rural Life Day will take place here, the home parish of Msgr. John George Weber, who led the diocesan Rural Life Commission for 27 years.

Rural Life Day will begin at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 17 at Sacred Heart Church in Park. Father Richard Daise, moderator of the Rural Life Commission, said the day would include special remembrances of Msgr. Weber, who died in 2010.

The day includes the presenting of the Msgr. John George Weber Century Farm Award to families in the West Central Vicariate who have owned or operated a farm for 100 years or more. The award honors Msgr. Weber, who also served as executive secretary of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference from 1960 to 1976. The vicariate includes parishes in Ellis, Graham, Norton, Osborne, Philips, Rooks, Russell Smith and Trego counties.

Families wanting to apply for the Century Farm Award can obtain an application from their pastor. Awards are presented in a different vicariate each year.

Deacons completing final year before ordination PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:47

This is the second of a three-part series about the Diocese of Salina’s 11 seminarians. Featured here are Deacons Kyle Berens, Andrew Rockers and Chad Stramel. All three were ordained to the transitional diaconate on May 31 and will be ordained to the priesthood next spring. They are completing their final year of studies at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis.

• • •

Berens, 28, is from Salina and said this past school year was focused particularly on his ordination as a deacon.

“What a truly blessed and grace-filled day. I must say that I am very thankful to God for the opportunity to serve him and his Church in this capacity and very thankful to all those who made the whole occasion possible,” he said.

“I want to thank all of the great people in the diocese and outside of the diocese who have supported my brothers and myself year in and year out through so many ways,” he added. “We truly appreciate the support, and I can most definitely say that I am ready to come back to the diocese and give my life in order to repay them and God.”

Berens also asked parishioners for their continued support.

“Please continue to pray for vocations, for seminarians and especially for Chad, Andrew and myself as we approach the sacred ordination to the priesthood next May 30,” he said.

Future priests take summer break from studies PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Tuesday, 22 July 2014 14:17

This is the first of a three-part series about the Diocese of Salina’s 11 seminarians. Featured here are Jeffrey Albers and James Sulanka, who are attending Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo., and Omar Davila Garcia, Andrew Hammeke and Ryan McCandless, who are studying at St. Meinrad School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Ind.

• • •

Albers, 20, is one of two new seminarians for the diocese. He was born in Colby but grew up in rural Oakley and is a member of St. Joseph Parish in Oakley.

“We moved into the country when I was 2, so I spent my boyhood playing outside in the dirt and mud and other various things we got into,” he explained.

He has an older sister, who lives in Lincoln, Neb., with her husband, and a younger brother who will be a sophomore at Kansas State University this fall. His mother, Jennifer, is a social worker for St. Francis Community Services, working with foster children. His father, Fred, works part-time at a truck shop after retiring from 27 years with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

“In May I finished my third year at K-State majoring in agronomy. I am one of the few people that loved exactly what I started college studying. I have been working as an intern this summer for Crop Production Services and I have really enjoyed it thus far,” he said.

“When I began my discernment process, which led to my decision to enter the seminary, I was not discerning the call to seminary,” he continued. “I was trying to understand where God was calling me within the agronomy field, where I should work and what I should do. Within that discernment the Lord made it abundantly clear to me that I should enter the seminary.”

Albers said he is most intrigued about the formative aspect of seminary.

“That is because the seminarians I have talked to have talked about how much they learn about themselves and how much they grow from that. God knows I need to grow and learn, so I am quite excited about that aspect of seminary. I am not yet nervous; I am sure that I will be nervous when I am on the way and once I get there, but I know many guys there and I know they will be welcoming and help me any way they can.”

He said his family and friends were surprised but supportive of his decision.

“The most reassuring thing that has come from my decision was, first and foremost, the peace I experienced when I made the decision, but also the support and excitement that has been the reaction of most everyone I have told.”

Albers met with the diocese’s other seminarians at a gathering in late May and said they, too, were supportive and welcoming.

“I very much enjoyed the seminarian gathering. I can’t be around those men and not have a good time. I am getting excited to go to the seminary and learn what they have and experience the growth in my life and relationship with God that they each have.”

Last of Sisters of St. Agnes to leave Diocese of Salina PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Friday, 11 July 2014 16:06

Salina — When Sister Rose Walters and Sister Donna Marie Kleinsorge move to Wisconsin this summer, they will bring to an end a 135-year legacy.

They are the last Sisters of St. Agnes in the Diocese of Salina. Their community was the first to begin serving here, eight years before the diocese was founded.

“We followed the Capu­chins, to New York, Pennsylvania and Ellis County,” said Sister Rose. “Our history is phenomenal.”

The community was founded in 1858 in Wisconsin, but it nearly didn’t survive. The arrival of 16-year-old Mary Hazotte in 1863 gave the order new life and leadership; she was elected general superior just a year later.

As Mother Mary Agnes, she asked Capuchin Father Francis Haas to become spiritual director of the community in 1870. Eight years later, when German-speaking immigrants from Russia began arriving in the Hays area, Bishop Louis Fink of the Diocese of Leavenworth — which covered the entire state of Kansas — asked the German-speaking Capuchin Franciscans to help. The Sisters of St. Agnes followed.

The women religious opened their first school in 1879 in Victoria, and as their community grew, they expanded to the parishes served by the Capuchins — which at that time extended into western and northwest Kansas.

In addition to teaching, the sisters also opened hospitals in Hays and Colby.

From the time the first Kansas woman joined the community in 1884 until the last one professed vows in the 1980s, 166 women from Kansas became Sisters of St. Agnes.

Past participants urge attendance at Catholic Men’s Conference PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Register   
Friday, 11 July 2014 16:01

Russell — Participants at previous men’s conferences hosted by the Diocese of Salina speak of the importance of fathers and sons learning more about their faith.

The third annual Catholic Men’s Conference, “Shepherd Me O God,” is Saturday, Aug. 9 at St. Mary, Queen of Angels Parish in Russell. Registration is now being accepted online at, or registration forms are available at each parish.

“As a father and coach, I understand the importance of helping parents instill character within their sons while teaching them the Catholic faith,” said Pat Martin, a parishioner at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina.

“This conference is a good way of gaining more knowledge, while increasing our faith, values and morality as Christian men in our society,” he added.

This year’s speakers are Matt Fradd and Deacon Ralph Poyo.

Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court and how to cook a frog PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doug Weller   
Friday, 11 July 2014 15:59

Recently one of our better-read priests recommended a novel that he enjoyed, “All the Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr. The novel is about various characters and what they go through in occupied France during World War II.

In the midst of the novel, a turn of phrase caught my eye and captured my imagination. An ordinary, elderly French woman concludes that she must do her part for the sake of her community and her country, and so she decides to join the French underground resistance. She urges her dearest friend to join her, but he is very hesitant to risk being caught and punished, possibly killed. He would rather remain silent and endure the degradations of the Nazis.

At that point our elderly heroine looks at her friend with great frustration and reminds him that if you drop a frog in boiling water, it will hop out, but if you drop a frog in a pan of cold water and then set it on a fire, the frog will slowly cook.

The image is clear. Sometimes we are all too willing to tolerate small amounts of the very thing that will ultimately kill us. Do we not see this phenomenon repeated all around us? Consider the epidemic of illegal drugs in Western culture. Did not most of those whose lives were destroyed not start out tolerating well, in small amounts, the very thing that eventually killed them?

Do we not see this equally in the life of sin and grace? The small, perhaps venial sins that we give ourselves over to so easily can actually cascade until they control us. And do we not see this as well in the weakening of our nation’s values and ethics?

When I sat down to my computer to address you on the topic of Hobby Lobby’s recent Supreme Court victory, I initially thought my words would be entirely encouraging. Of course, there is much in the Supreme Court’s decision that is indeed encouraging. The justices have concluded that religious employers, in certain and rather narrow circumstances, are not required to violate their religious beliefs and pay for the lifestyle choices of their employees. This was a wonderful victory for the free exercise of religion.

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