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April 24, 2015

In this issue

Clergy changes involve 29 locations
Father Letourneau made history with ordination
Thielen ordained a transitional deacon
Hill City parish to host St. Isidore Day events

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Clergy changes involve 29 locations

Salina — New or changing assignments will affect 15 priests in the Diocese of Salina as of July 1.

In addition, Father Larry Letourneau will retire after 15 years of priesthood, and two Dominican friars will be assigned to campus ministry at Kansas State University.

In all, the changes will affect 29 of the 87 parishes and campus centers in the diocese. The official notification appears on page 3 of this week's Register.

The most notable change, perhaps, is at St. Robert Bellarmine-St. Isidore Catholic Student Center in Manhattan.

Dominican Father Michael Demkovich and Dominican Father Robert Barry will serve as pastor and parochial vicar, respectively.

Bishop Edward Weisenburger celebrated all five Masses at the student center the weekend of April 18 and 19 after the change had been announced.

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Biographies of reassigned priests, deacon

Heralds of Good News Father Joseph Asirvatham has been parochial vicar at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Hays since arriving in the diocese last August from India.

He was ordained in February 2009 after attending the Heralds of Good News minor and major seminaries in India. He has served as a retreat preacher, assistant pastor and administrator of the order’s minor seminary.




Msgr. Barry Brinkman has been pastor of St. Mary, Queen of the Universe Parish in Salina since 2013.

Ordained May 17, 1991, for the Salina Diocese at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Wichita, he was named parochial vicar at St. Mary in Salina. He was named pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Clyde and St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Clifton and co-pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Concordia in 1993; pastor of Concordia in 1994; parochial vicar of St. Mary in Salina in 1999; and pastor of Concordia in 2003, with added responsibility as administrator of St. Edward Parish in Belleville, St. George Parish in Munden and St. Isidore Parish in Cuba in 2007, then becoming pastor of the three parishes in 2012.

He earned a degree in canon law in 1999 and was named vice chancellor of the diocese the same year. He served as chancellor from 2001 to 2014. A member of the diocesan tribunal, he became judicial vicar in 2012.

He was elected diocesan administrator to serve between the terms of Bishop Paul Coakley and Bishop Edward Weisenburger and was conferred the honor of monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI in 2013.

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Other clergy changes detailed

Full name to be used for Manhattan center

The Catholic campus center in Manhattan has been known informally for years as St. Isidore’s, but references in The Register now will include its formal name.

The St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Student Center was dedicated in 1963, along with its St. Isidore Chapel.

A Newman Club had been active at Kansas State University since 1912, and plans were started in 1957 to build a student center separate from Seven Dolors Parish.

The new center was named for St. Robert Bellarmine, an Italian Jesuit priest who was named a cardinal in 1599. He was canonized in 1930 and named a doctor of the Church a year later.

His choice as patron for the Manhattan student center likely was due to the fact that Jesuit Father E.J. Weisenburg of St. Mary Theological Seminary in nearby St. Marys had served as advisor to the Newman Club since 1933.

Bishop Edward Weisenburger, in studying the history of the center, asked that the original name be reflected in future references, so the center will be called St. Robert Bellarmine-St. Isidore Catholic Student Center.



New priests’ locations to be known in May

Deacon Kyle Berens and Deacon Andrew Rockers will be ordained to the priesthood at 10 a.m. May 30 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina, and their assignments as new priests will be announced at that time.

They and Deacon Chad Stramel are completing their theological studies at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis.

Deacon Stramel has opted to delay ordination and will spend the coming year in diaconal ministry at St. Thomas More Parish in Manhattan. He also will assist Father Joseph Popelka with Hispanic ministry at Seven Dolors Parish in Manhattan.



More priests from India are expected

Two additional priests from the Heralds of Good News in India are expected to arrive in the diocese later this year, and they will be assigned to parishes once they have completed an orientation for international priests.

The missionary order of priests currently has four priests working in the Salina Diocese.

Pastoral hispana / Hispanic ministry

Los cambios de los sacerdotes para este el verano en la diócesis de Salina, también traerán algunos cambios a las parroquias que tienen programas de pastoral hispana.

El padre Carlos Ruiz irá a la parroquia del Inmaculado Corazón de María en Hays como vicario parroquial. Monseñor Barry Brinkman será el párroco. El padre Ruiz sigue como director diocesano de la pastoral hispana.

El padre Ruiz deja las parroquias de Bird City y St. Francis, las cuales serán atendidas por el padre Norbert Dlabal, quien celebra misas en inglés y español en la parroquia del Perpetuo Socorro en Goodland. El padre Dlabal atendió por cinco años una misión en Perú.

El padre Donald Zimmerman será el párroco de la Catedral del Sagrado Corazón. Él ha tenido contacto con la pastoral hispana desde finales de los setentas y celebró su primera misa en español en la parroquia de los Dolores de María en Manhattan. El padre Gale Hammerschmidt seguirá como vicario parroquial en la catedral y celebrará las misas en español.

En Manhattan, el diácono Chad Stramel ayudará al padre Joseph Popelka con la pastoral hispana en la parroquia de los Dolores. El diácono Stramel residirá en la parroquia de Santo Tomás Moro en Manhattan. Diácono Stramel estudió español el verano pasado en la Universidad de Pittsburg. El padre Popelka domina el español y hasta ahora ha contado con la ayuda de las Madres Misioneras del Corazón Eucarístico de Cristo Rey que vienen del D.F.

• • •

The reassignment of priests in the Diocese of Salina this summer also brings some changes to parishes that have Hispanic ministry programs.

Father Carlos Ruiz Santos will move to Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Hays, where he will be parochial vicar. Msgr. Barry Brinkman will be the pastor. Father Ruiz is also diocesan director of Hispanic ministry.

Father Ruiz leaves parishes in Bird City and St. Francis. Those will be added to the responsibilities of Father Norbert Dlabal, who has celebrated both English and Spanish Masses at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Goodland. Father Dlabal spent five years as a missionary in Peru.

Father Donald Zimmerman becomes pastor of Sacred Heart Cathedral. He has been involved in Hispanic ministry since the late 1970s and celebrated the first Spanish Masses at Seven Dolors Parish in Manhattan. Father Gale Hammerschmidt, as parochial vicar, will continue to celebrate Spanish Masses at the cathedral.

In Manhattan, Deacon Chad Stramel will assist Father Joseph Popelka with Hispanic ministry at Seven Dolors Parish. Deacon Stramel will be based at St. Thomas More Parish in Manhattan; he studied Spanish last summer at Pittsburg State University. Father Popelka is fluent in Spanish and is assisted by the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharistic Heart of Christ the King from Mexico City.

Hill City parish to host St. Isidore Day events

Hill City — The Diocese of Salina Rural Life Commission will host a St. Isidore Day observation on May 15 with Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Hill City.

Bishop Edward Weisenburger will celebrate Mass at 11 a.m. in the education center next to the church at 10th Avenue and U.S. Highway 24.

St. Isidore is the patron saint of farming and agriculture and one of the patrons of the diocese.

Participants are invited to bring soil from their fields or gardens along with seeds to be blessed following Mass.

After lunch, there will be a tour of the Goddard farm west of Hill City, conducted by Mary Goddard. The farm focuses on hunting and agri-tourism. The group also will visit a restored barn on the way back to Hill City.

Refreshments will be served and participants are invited to a short meeting of the commission at the parish.

For more information, contact Father Richard Daise, moderator of the commission, at (785) 726-4522, or Father Henry Saw Lone, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary, at (785) 421-2535.

Diocesan youth gather for annual convention

Salina — Meeting other Catholic youth and renewing friendships are key reasons for attending the annual Catholic Youth Organization Convention, said two members of this year’s Diocesan Youth Council.

The convention, which took place March 28 and 29 at South High School in Salina, drew CYO groups from across the diocese.

“You get to meet kids from all over the diocese who have wonderful stories to share, along with a wonderful faith,” said Alex Stenberg, a member of CYO from St. Thomas More Parish in Manhattan.

“It’s one thing to have friends, but it’s a whole different thing to have Catholic friends — friends you can ask questions about your faith, challenge each other and encourage each other to grow in God and connect on a whole new level,” he said.

Patrick Eilert, a CYO member from St. John the Baptist Parish in Beloit, agreed.

“It allows us to meet new people in this Catholic universal family and compare notes. It gets us excited about our Catholic faith in fun and interesting ways,” he said.

Both Stenberg and Eilert spoke about their faith during the convention.

“What I take from the convention is that no matter what your situation is, who you are or what decisions you’ve made, you will always have a Catholic family trying to get you to heaven because they love you,” Eilert said.

Connecting with peers and sharing struggles and inspiration are important, Stenberg added.

“The stories they share are so motivating and they are role models that are your own age,” he said. “They are kids who go to high school and know the struggles of the teenage years and have been where you have been.”

He’s attended the convention all four years of high school, he said, culminating with serving on the Youth Council, which helps plan the convention.

“Being on the Youth Council just made my enjoyment of convention grow — being able to play a part in making a great weekend for so many high school students,” Stenberg said. “I don’t know where I would be without the wonderful memories and experiences I have received from CYO Convention.”

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.

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Catholic Home Missions strengthens the Church at home

Salina — The Catholic Home Missions Appeal supports dioceses in the United States and its territories that lack the resources to provide basic pastoral ministry to their populations.

Through annual grants, Catholic Home Missions provides funding for catechesis, seminarian education, lay ministry training, Hispanic ministry and other pastoral programs for dioceses in need. As a result of parishioners’ generosity, Catholic Home Missions effects the lives of nearly nine million Catholics. The dioceses funded by the appeal comprise nearly 45 percent of all U.S. dioceses. The Diocese of Salina benefits significantly from grants funded through this appeal.

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Bishop Edward Weisenburger: Easter blessings

By Bishop Edward Weisenburger

The Gospel text for the Easter Sunday Mass tells of Mary of Magdala coming early in the morning after Jesus’ burial. Finding the stone rolled from the tomb, she ran to tell Simon Peter as well as his unnamed companion, referred to throughout John’s Gospel as simply “the Beloved Disciple.”

Many scholars believe this beloved disciple was actually John the Gospel writer, and that he used this phrase when referring to himself, a little hesitant to tell his own story. Regardless, the passage ends with Peter and this Beloved Disciple sprinting to the empty tomb, seeing the burial linens and believing.

I am always struck by a central point of the passage, namely that they believed before they understood.

Understanding is important. Indeed, many of us have studied for years in Catholic schools, religious education programs, college classes or seminary studies. Growing in know­ledge of Jesus and coming to a deeper understanding of what we treasure is important. But the Scriptures remind us: Understanding is not the same as belief.

Belief is what we will find as the Easter season’s Scriptures unfold at Mass for the next seven weeks. Belief in Jesus will give humble, ordinary men and women the strength to remain joyful in the face of hatred and persecution. Belief in Jesus will motivate them to leave family behind and travel to distant lands to tell the story of his resurrection. Belief in Jesus will bond them not to the rich and satisfied, but to the poor and suffering. And finally, belief in Jesus will enable them to grow quickly in numbers, even as they show forth love and forgiveness to those who persecute them.

Friends, my prayer for us all throughout the coming Easter Season is that we might deepen our belief. Like our first ancestors in the faith, may we find the strength to reveal joy even in the midst of persecution, to tell his story to all we meet, to embrace anew the poor and needy and to reveal his mercy and love in our lives. Perhaps as we open our hearts to the grace of Easter, we might find ourselves standing in the sandals of the Beloved Disciple, quick to believe and anxious to share Jesus’ story and love with all.

May you know every Easter blessing.

Obispo Edward Weisenburger: Bendiciones de Pascua

Por Obispo Edward Weisenburger

El evangelio de la misa del domingo de Pascua nos dice que María Magdalena fue muy de mañana a la tumba donde estaba el cuerpo del Señor, pero viendo que la roca que la cubría había sido removida, corrió a avisarle a Simón Pedro y al otro discípulo, aquel que el evangelio de Juan menciona como “el discípulo amado del Señor”.

Muchos biblistas concuerdan al decir que este discípulo es el mismo que escribiera el Evangelio según San Juan, y que él se refería a sí mismo de ese modo quizá para no centrar toda la atención en su persona. Como haya sido, el evangelio continúa diciéndonos que Pedro y el otro discípulo fueron apresurados hacia la tumba vacía, vieron los sudarios y creyeron.

Siempre me siento maravillado al reflexionar en el punto central de este pasaje, que es como ellos creyeron antes que haber entendido.

Entender es importante. De hecho muchos de nosotros hemos estudiado en escuelas católicas, programas de catecismo, clases en colegios, o estudios de seminarios. Crecer en el conocimiento de Jesús y tener un entendimiento más profundo de lo que valoramos es importante. Pero la Sagrada Escritura nos recuerda que entender no es lo mismo que creer.

Creer es lo que escucharemos en las lecturas de las misas del Tiempo Pascual en las siguientes siete semanas. Creer en Jesús dará a los humildes y sencillos, hombres y mujeres, la fortaleza para permanecer alegres aún ante la persecución y el odio. Creer en Jesús los llevará a dejar su familia y viajar a tierras lejanas para anunciar el mensaje de la resurrección del Señor. Creer en Jesús los llevará a unirse no a los ricos y satisfechos de bienes materiales, sino a los pobres y los que sufren. Finalmente, creer en Jesús hará que muchos se les unan y crezca rápidamente el número, mostrando perdón y amor aún a aquellos que los persiguen.

Durante el Tiempo Pascual, mi oración por ustedes será para que todos nosotros profundicemos en nuestra fe. Así como nuestros padres en la fe, que también nosotros sintamos la fortaleza necesaria para mostrarnos alegres aún en medio de la persecución, para anunciar a todos la resurrección del Señor, y dar la bienvenida de manera renovada al pobre y necesitado mostrando así la misericordia y amor del Señor en nuestras vidas. Quizá si abrimos nuestro corazón a la gracia propia de la pascua, nos encontremos calzando las sandalias del discípulo amado, para que seamos rápidos al creer y con ansia anunciemos el amor del mensaje pascual del Señor con todos.

Deseando que la bendición de la pascua llegue a todos.

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.

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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 salinadiocese.org. Click on the box that says "Family Life Survey."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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