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March 27, 2015

In this issue

Seminarian to be ordained a transitional deacon
Easter liturgy a symbolic taste of an unseen future of hope
Catholics urged to help support Middle East Christians
CCAA pledges reach 66 percent of 2015 goal

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Seminarian to be ordained a transitional deacon

Salina — Seminarian Luke Thielen will be one step closer to the priesthood when he is ordained a transitional deacon on April 11.

The liturgy will begin at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Bishop Edward Weisenburger will ordain Thielen, 27, before his fellow seminarians and in front of priests and the faithful of the diocese.

Next year, Thielen will be in his final year of studies at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver.

The son of Tom and Esther Thielen of Quinter, he graduated from Quinter High School and Conception Seminary College before beginning his studies in Denver. The Thielen family are members of Sacred Heart Parish in Park.

“It seems like a week ago that I graduated high school and started my collegiate journey at Tabor College,” Thielen said. His intent was to major in biochemistry

“If you would have asked me 10 years ago where I saw myself in 10 years, preparing for diaconate ordination would never have crossed my mind,” he said. “I wouldn’t have even known what ‘diaconate ordination’ meant. Now, almost 10 years later, here I am, preparing for ordination to the diaconate.”


CCAA pledges reach 66 percent of 2015 goal

Salina — One-third of this year’s goal for the Catholic Community Annual Appeal focuses on Catholic education and formation.

From subsidizing Catholic schools to funding youth and adult programs, the CCAA helps to educate young and old about their faith.

The annual appeal seeks to raise $1.125 million to help fund the day-to-day operations of the diocesan church.

The 16 Catholic schools in the diocese receive support through a per-pupil subsidy from the CCAA. This year’s allotment is $175,000.

Another $150,000 will fund the Catholic Education and Formation office, which oversees youth ministry, parish religious education and adult education programs across the diocese.

CCAA also provides $50,000 in funding for the Family Life office, $7,000 for the Respect Life Commission and $5,000 for Natural Family Planning.


Catholics urged to help support Middle East Christians

Vatican City — Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have fled persecution in their homelands and the Palestinian Christians struggling to survive in the land of Jesus deserve the prayers and material support of Catholics around the globe, a Vatican official said.

Catholics can “become promoters of dialogue through peace, prayer and sharing of burdens” with Middle East Christians, said Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.

In a letter sent to bishops around the world, Cardinal Sandri asked for continued support for the traditional Good Friday collection for the Holy Land.


Diocesan responses forwarded to Vatican

Salina — Bishop Edward Weisenburger has forwarded responses to a family life survey from the Diocese of Salina to the Vatican.

The survey sought Catholics’ responses to 46 questions, and a summary of those answers were compiled by Msgr. James Hake, vicar general emeritus. A total of 40 people submitted responses.

The bishop’s summary, plus all of the answers submitted, are available at Click on the box that says "Family Life Survey."


CYO Convention one of several youth events this year

Salina – High school youth from across the Diocese of Salina will gather here March 28 and 29 in the first of a series of youth-focused events this year.

The annual Diocesan Catholic Youth Organization Convention, which takes place at Salina South High School, will bring between 500 and 600 members of local CYO groups from across the region for a weekend of presentations, skits and worship.

The theme developed by the Diocesan Youth Council is “Loading Christ,” which will focus on the use of today’s technology.

“They’re talking about our communication on the Internet,” said Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller, director of youth ministry for the diocese. “So many times young people write things on Facebook that they would never say to a person. We need to be very careful in using modern technology as Christian men and women.”

Youth Council members will expand on that theme as they make various presentations during the conference.

Doug Brummel of Lighten Up Ministries, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., is the featured speaker. The comedian and story­teller has presented at CYO conventions in 2004 and 2010 and uses a multitude of characters to touch upon faith issues that connect with everyday life.


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.


Lent / Cuaresma

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 18. Easter Sunday is April 5.

Both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of abstinence from meat and fasting, as well as self-denial and mortification. Other Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat, although Bishop Edward Weisenburger has asked the people to observe Friday abstinence year-round. Weekdays of Lent should be considered days of penance.

The obligation of abstinence begins at age 14. Fasting means eating only one full meal a day with the other two meals being without meat and together not equaling a full meal. The obligation of fasting begins at age 18 and ends at age 60.


Sacerdote quiere extender la pastoral hispana por toda la diócesis

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.


Priest seeks to expand Hispanic ministry across diocese

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.


Agency prepares to help with immigration changes

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.

• • •

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.