Salina — For the first time in 55 years, three priests were ordained on the same date in Sacred Heart Cathedral. Father Leo Blasi, Father Ryan McCandless and Father Justin Palmer were ordained as priests June 3 in a filled Sacred Heart Cathedral. The last time three were ordained to the priesthood on the same date was June 2, 1962 in the cathedral.
Bishop Edward Weisenburger likened the men to prisms. “It dawned on me often times we see clearest into the light when it is refracted by a prism,” he said. “I think each of you as a refraction of that light gives us a little more insight into the light of priesthood itself.”
The bishop spoke first to Father Leo Blasi. “May each of us take from your wonderful example that there is no time of life that we are truly finished,” Bishop Weisenburger, said referring to Father Blasi’s entry into the seminary following a military career. “For those who are open to it, God has something in store for us at every step of the journey.”
Dubuque, Iowa — Archbishop Emeritus Daniel Kucera, OSB, died May 30, 2017, at Stonehill Care Center in Dubuque, Iowa. He was 94 years old.
Archbishop Kucera was the bishop of the Salina Diocese from March 5, 1980 until Dec. 20, 1983 as the eighth bishop of the diocese. During his three years as bishop of the diocese the Diocesan Office of Planning, the Bishop’s Council for Catholic Education and the Office of Youth Ministries were established. The chancery and other administrative offices of the diocese were moved into The United Building in downtown Salina.
Archbishop Kucera was born May 7, 1923, to Joseph and Lillian (Petrzelka) Kucera of Chicago. He attended St. Procopius College in Lisle, Ill. and was professed a Benedictine monk on June 16, 1944. He completed his theological training at St. Procopius Seminary, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 26, 1949. He earned masters and doctoral degrees from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and held several positions in addition to teaching at St. Procopius College. In 1959, at the age of 36, he was named the youngest president of St. Procopius College, Lisle, Ill.
He was elected abbot of St. Procopius Abbey in 1964, and in 1971, was called again to be president of the college, now renamed Illinois Benedictine College. He remained in that position until 1976. In 1977, he was ordained auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Joliet, Ill. He was named bishop of Salina in March of 1980 and served there until 1983, when he was appointed archbishop of Dubuque. He welcomed Archbishop Jerome Hanus, OSB, as coadjutor in August of 1994 and retired in October of 1995.
Archbishop Kucera also served on several committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and was elected treasurer of the Conference from 1987-1990 and 1992-1993. From 1992-1996 he was the Grand Prior of the Northern Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Funeral Mass was June 6 at St. Raphael Cathedral in Dubuque, Iowa. Burial was in cemetery of St. Procopius Abbey, Lisle, Ill.
He is survived by one brother, Father Edward Kucera, OSB of Lisle, Ill.
Salina — One quarter of the seminarians for the Salina Diocese are leaving, Father Gale Hammerschmidt told a crowd of more than 200 at the fourth annual “An Evening with Our Seminarians” June 1 at St. Mary, Queen of the Universe Parish in Salina.
“I’m talking about the quarter of our seminarians who are leaving because they’re going to be priests,” the co-vocation director said in reference to the upcoming of Father Leo Blasi, Father Ryan McCandless and Father Justin Palmer. “That’s an amazing thing. It’s been a long, long time since we’ve had three guys ordained on the same day. “We will have more priests ordained this decade than we have had since I think the 1950’s,” Father Hammerschmidt said. “Keep praying.”
He said in talking with other chaplains from around the country, the consensus is that men lack courage on college campuses. “I can stand here with these guys who are loaded with courage,” Father Hammerschmidt said. “To say yes to entering the seminary is a scary thing. Maybe they’re not being called, maybe they are, but to just go and figure it out is an incredible thing.”
The evening began with Vespers, also known as evening prayer, in the church. Following the time of prayer, cocktail hour, dinner and a recognition of the seminarians followed in the parish hall.
Each seminarian introduced himself, as well as any family and pastor who was in attendance. “Hello, my name is Andy Hammeke and I’m from Hays, Kansas,” Deacon Andy Hammeke said. Father Hammerschmidt interrupted: “What’s your name?” “Deacon Andy,” he corrected himself.
The others who were deacons at the time also chimed in about the support of the diocese. “I went to school at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, but I’m not going back,” said Father Justin Palmer. “I’m going to be ordained a priest in two days.”
Junction City — Nearly 300 Catholic youth from across the Diocese of Salina gathered May 27-30 at Rock Springs Ranch for the annual Junior CYO Camp. This is the second year Anna Hegarty has attended as a counselor, primarily because of the influence of the college students who were her counselors as a camper.
“I think that as a camper that is one of the things I always found so cool … these older kids are super cool people, have an awesome faith life and a strong belief in God,” said Hegarty, a Manhattan resident who just completed her freshman year at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.
The camp is for students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. Counselors are college youth from across the diocese. “It’s rewarding because you get to see your girls grow and make new friendships,” Hegarty said. “(Being a counselor) is a little bit more challenging because you’re focusing on nine other girls’ faith journey, not just your own. You want to make sure each of them get something out of the weekend and have a great time.”
Because she attended camp four times as a youth, Hegarty said she thinks a diocesan-wide camp is important. “I think it’s really good to start them young … for them to know that they aren’t the only Catholic teenager in Kansas,” she said. “I think a big part of it is us counselors not being afraid to show our love for Christ and our faith. I hope they see that and find it refreshing and super cool to know that being Catholic and having a faith life can be a fun thing.”
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.