The Register


November 10, 2017

     In this issue.

  • Farewell, bishop.
  • Army veteran turned priest blesses the groundbreaking at Eisenhower Memorial.
  • Register brings news to diocese for 80 years.


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Farewell, bishop

Crowd gathers Oct. 29 to say thanks, farewell to bishop

The Register

Salina — To a crowded Sacred Heart Cathedral on Oct. 29, Bishop Edward Weisenburger summed up his years in the diocese simply: “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”  “It is bittersweet, but truly a joy to celebrate this Mass with you,” he said as Mass began.  “It’s hard to leave a happy home,” Bishop Weisenburger continued during his homily. “When I got here, I began going around our diocese that I knew somewhat from my childhood. What I saw was beautiful churches — and I love beautiful churches — what I found behind those beautiful structures that dot the countryside was equally, if not more beautiful communities of the faithful. Good women and men who continue to live that law so beautifully spelled out in our Gospel today.”  The reading for the Oct. 29 Mass of Thanksgiving and Farewell was Matthew 22 where Jesus tells the scholars “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. … You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  “It sounds initially like two things: God and neighbor,” Bishop Weisenburger said. “But it’s really three: love and God and neighbor.”

Love is the root, and both God and neighbor flow from love, he said.  “You have to shake the stuff out of your head you’ve gotten from Hallmark cards and schmaltzy music,” he said. “That’s not love. That’s saccharine sweet and it’s tempting, but it’s not the kind of love that Jesus is talking about. The kind of love he’s talking about is given its most beautiful expression on the cross.”  Bishop Weisenburger highlighted the support of Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas, which opened a new headquarters in Salina on April 3.  “I am humbled when I look at your concern for the poor,” he said. “Catholic Charities certainly comes to mind and the way the ministries their have grown and done such wonderful things to impact Christ as Christ is found in the poor.”

He also highlighted the youth programs.  “I think the future here is nothing but bright,” he said, pointing out that Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller will take more than 800 youth to the National Catholic Youth Conference Nov. 16-19.  “Not only will they be revved up, but they will come home and rev up their communities,” Bishop Weisenburger said.  He also praised Prayer and Action, the summer program where youth provide missionary service to a community within the diocese.  “When you take young people and give them half a day digging in and doing real work for people in need and link it to theological reflection and prayer, the Gospel comes alive in our young people,” he said. “You can see how it flows into vocations … fine young women going into religious life, young men into seminary and many fine young people going out into the world.”


Michelle Martin, Executive Director of Catholic Charities, spoke after Mass about the bishop’s time in the diocese. She summed up Bishop Weisenburger’s tenure with three words: wisdom, integrity, compassion.  “He’d often  have an answer before I could get everything out,” Martin said. “It can be a little intimidating, but it can also be relieving when he gets the big picture.  “It’s not just his IQ. It goes beyond that. The wisdom of seeing the big picture and never losing sight of why we’re here, what the purpose is. This is just a temporary life and we should all be living examples of our faith. We should all lead as many souls to heaven as we can, including our own.”

Martin said Bishop Weisenburger led by example when it came to integrity. Early into her tenure with Catholic Charities, the or­­ganization opted out of an existing federal grant.   “It was a lot of money — a big portion of our budget,” she said. “Bishop Weisenburger stood strong that the money wasn’t worth it. We would lead by example. We would find another way to make up that difference. He stood by us when we gave up the grant and walked away.”

Martin said compassion can be equated to the message of love that the bishop referred to in his homily.  “One of the blessings of this position has bene to be able to see inside the pulpit to get to know the priests better and of course Bishop Weisenburger,” she said. “He keeps one of the most hectic schedules I’ve ever seen, yet he still took time to care about others.  “I asked him if he would agree to add one more thing — a new project — an angel Mass for mothers who had lost children. Without hesitation he said yes and delivered the most amazing message of hope and comfort.  “He has shown so much compassion and taken so much time as I’ve walked this journey. I will never forget it. I know his skills are a wonderful match for Tucson Diocese and I know he will do great things, but I’m sad to see him go.”

Father Keith Weber, finance officer for the Diocese of Salina, spoke on behalf of the clergy. He said when Bishop Weisenburger was appointed, there was much speculation about how he would lead the diocese.  “There were many questions about what kind of leader he would be, what kind of vision he would have and what kind of person he would be,” Father Weber said. “From a priest’s perspective, over the last five-and-a-half years, we’ve been amazed at his leadership, vision and the many things he has accomplished within that vision.”  He’s grateful for the leadership provided by Bishop Weisenburger.  “His care for  his priests knew no bounds,” Father Weber said. “ As priests, we can never say thank you adequately. Our thanks you to you is to offer you our prayers. We pray God continues to give you the grace, strength, wisdom that you need to be the same leader, the same visionary and the same friend to your new presbyterate that you have been to us.”

Bishop Weisenburger s­aid while it is the mission of a priest and bishop to serve his congregation and diocese, “We always have to admit we receive more than we can give,” he said. “I’ve been so blessed to have been here for five and a half years because you have given me so much.  “I’ve witnessed love of God and love of neighbor. My own love of God has grown because of you.”

He said he was grateful for the crowd gathered for the Mass and reception.   “I look out and see so many of the faces that mean so much to me and to this wonderful diocese,” he said. “Continue being the Church of the Diocese of Salina. Pray a new bishop will be given you quickly. He will be a blessed man.  “Have faith first in God, for he will sustain you, but also have a little faith in yourselves. The Gospel is alive in you. You are a blessing for many, especially the man standing in front of you today.”