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Youth learn, grow in faith during Totus Tuus

Hill City — Discussing the anointing of the sick, the meaning of “Amen,” and suggestions for discerning a future vocation were just part of a day’s work for the Totus Tuus team that welcomed youth of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Hill City and St. Joseph Parish in Damar to the program in mid-June. “With the younger kids, we cover all the sacraments, but we talk a lot about the Eucharist and about the progression between what happened to Jesus on Holy Thursday night at the last supper and his suffering and death,” said team member Chris Hilger. “With the older kids, we talk about the importance of the sacraments. We give them the basics and then we have the opportunity for a group discussion where they can talk or ask questions.”

The team, comprised of Hilger, Claire Friess, Torrie Gregg and Kenny Snider, spent the week of June 16-21 in Hill City. The team worked with elementary school-aged children from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day and middle and high school-aged youth from 7 to 9 p.m. each evening at Immaculate Heart of Mary’s C.C.D. Center. “This is my second summer with Totus Tuus,” said Friess, a May 2019 graduate of Benedictine College and a native of Hoxie. “I’m amazed to see how much of an impact we can make on these kids’ lives in five days, but I also know we [the team members] may never see the rewards and that we may only be planting the seed.”

Each summer, the academic focus of the program shifts. This year, the program focuses on helping young people develop a deeper understanding of the seven sacraments and the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. Each day of the program the team brought their message of these vital parts of the faith to the students through formal lessons, skits, songs, games and discussions. Courtney and Justin Zohner, parents of Totus Tuus participants Geoffrey, Vincent and Izzy, said they’ve been impressed with the program. “They’ve just received a lot of great information,” said Courtney. “It’s been a good blend of fun and learning,” agreed Justin. “They’ve done a good job of mixing things up.” “We’ve seen some positive behavior changes in a lot of the younger kids,” said Wendy Keith, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish’s RCIA Director and volunteer for the week. “There is an excitement in the kids when they’re doing their review and they’re excited to come back every day.”

In addition to teaching about the sacraments and rosary, daily prayer is also a priority for both groups as well as the Totus Tuus team. During the day, the first through sixth grade students learned and prayed a decade of the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary, attended Mass and prayed The Angelus prior to eating lunch. Their day also ended in prayer. “We learned about the agony in the garden,” said six-year-old Cash Haynes. “I liked it ’cause Jesus was praying. And did you know he was sweating blood? And then he got arrested, but he forgived us and he died for us.” “I’ve really liked going to Mass,” said Rowan Granberry, an incoming seventh grade student. “It’s been kinda quiet and calming.”

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Annual men’s conference is Aug. 10 in Hays

The Register

Hays — Are you ready? This is the question that will be asked during the Eighth Annual Men’s Conference from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 10 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Hays. Peter Herbeck and Pete Burak, both with ties to Renewal Ministries in Michigan, will be the keynote speakers. The conference theme is “Are you Ready? … Engaging the Spiritual Battle.”
“We’ll talk about the universal call to holiness and the universal call to mission,” Herbeck said. “We’ll talk about the great commission, engaging in evangelization. Right now, it’s challenging to do that. People don’t want to identify publically with the Church.”

Renewal Ministries was founded in 1980, with the mission to evangelize. Being Catholic can be challenging, and Herbeck said recently it’s been more difficult. “Many wonder what’s going on in the church and how we respond to it,” he said. “Some are confused, angry and leaving the Church. There is a range of human responses.” Herbeck said men tend to be action-oriented, and often sitting in church on a Sunday can feel passive. “If you’re not engaging Christ on a daily basis in prayer and growing in spiritual life, you can feel disconnected as a guy,” he said. “They don’t know what to do, they start twiddling their thumbs.
“We love to challenge men. Spirituality starts in your home. Do you pray every day? Do you read the scriptures?”

The implications are broader than the personal relationship with Christ, he said. “When boys see their father praying early in the morning or know that dad would never miss Mass, then more boys see religion as a possibility,” Herbeck said. Herbeck said it is essential for the father in a household to set the religious tone for prayer and a relationship with Jesus. “It’s difficult for the boys to engage in their faith if it looks like the father is passive,” he said.

Burak leads i.d.9:16, which was begun by Renewal Ministries in 2011. “i.d.9:16 is trying to form young adults, in their 20s and 30s, single or married, into intentional disciples of Jesus Christ,” he said.

The program, which has 16 chapters across the U.S. and Canada, holds monthly meetings called “Disciples Night” where all chapters watch a live video and tweet in questions or comments. i.d.9:16 works with parishes to identify and form leaders to help facilitate the groups. The program also provides more than two dozen videos for men’s and women’s discipleship groups to watch and discuss at their meetings. Additionally, i.d.9:16 offers mission trips and yearly retreats. “We provide ongoing content and vision to help parishes to reach those in the pews, and more importantly those who are not,” Burak said.

The duo of Herbeck and Burak have presented together in the past, and speaking specifically at a men’s conference is an excellent opportunity. “By pulling the men out, we can highlight the challenges and opportunities specifically to men,” Burak said. “We hope the conference is a place where people can meet Jesus but feel commissioned to fulfill the mission of the Church, which is to seek and save the lost.”

Burak and his wife, Cait, have been married for eight years and have four children. Herbeck and his wife, Debbie, have been married for 33 years and have four children and seven grandchildren. In addition to the conference, which runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, a Friday evening event with the speakers is open to all on Aug. 9. The annual Runnin’ Revs basketball game will be played in the Holy Family Gymnasium at 6:30 p.m. Following the game, pizza will be served to all at 7:45 p.m. in the Little Theatre at Holy Family. At 8 p.m., Burak and Herbeck will give a combined speech to the group. The evening will conclude at 8:45 p.m. with night prayer in the church at Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The annual men’s conference is hosted by the Salina Diocese office of Family Life. The event will feature the speakers, as well as Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, Reconciliation and lunch. Fathers are encouraged to register and attend with their sons. Seminarians, deacons and priests attend for free, but must RSVP.

The cost for the conference is $35 for an adult. Middle school, high school and college students may register for $15. Fathers who bring one son pay $40. There are additional options for multiple sons. After Aug. 1, registration increases by $10 per person; Registration is accepted the day of the conference at the door. For more information or to register online, go to: http://salinadiocese.org/family-life.

Annual Catholic Charities fundraiser is July 21 in Salina

Salina — While this is the 14th annual fundraiser for Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas, the organization is continuing to celebrate its 60th year of service. The annual fundraiser is from 5 to 7:30 p.m. July 21 at the Salina Country Club, 2101 E. Country Club Rd., Salina. This is also the third year for the donors to maximize a $100,000 match grant. Anonymous donors have pledged to match dollar for dollar donations, up to $100,000.

One exciting aspect of the 60th anniversary celebration Jan. 29 in Salina was unveiling a partnership with Long McArthur Ford and 24/7 Travel. The auto dealership is providing three vehicles — one for each office — in order to go out into surrounding areas and serve Kansans in need. The 24/7 Travel store provides fuel for this service. While covering the auto and gas expenses is exciting, Catholic Charities Executive Director Michelle Martin said it is essential to cover the cost of food, hygiene items, diapers and other services. “Unlike in business world, more clients does not mean revenue,” she said. “In fact, it means we have a greater need for funding.”

A continued aspect of the annual fundraiser is that there is no cost to attend. Sponsors are procured in advance and cover the cost of the meals. Drinks are available at a cash bar. “We don’t want people to pay for their dinners, we want them to donate to help people in need,” Martin said. While there is no cost to attend, RSVPs are required. “Last year we had the largest crowd since I started with Catholic Charities, and we almost reached maximum capacity, so we encourage everyone to RSVP early,” Martin said.

Catholic Charities offers assistance throughout the Salina Diocese to those in need, regardless of religious background.
The evening includes a social with cash bar, dinner and live auction. The evening is free, but RSVPs are required; seating space is limited. To RSVP, please go online to CCNKS.org or call (785) 825-0208 x 215.

Organist serves Norton parish for 45 years

The Register

Norton — Nearly every week for the past 45 years, Eloise Hawk has been a fixture behind the organ at St. Francis of Assisi Church. The service to her parish, which included playing the organ and directing the choir, concluded this month when she and her husband, Fred, moved to Wichita to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

Originally from eastern Kansas, Hawk developed her musical talents first by playing clarinet and bass clarinet in her high school band. She had taken a few piano lessons but taught herself to play her parish’s pump organ. The skills she developed on that old organ came in handy when she and Fred moved to Bird City after marrying where Fred worked as a teacher. During their time there, Hawk began serving as a substitute organ player at St. Joseph Parish. “I filled in more and more there, and when we moved to Norton, the word started getting out that I played,” she said.

Over the next four and a half decades, Hawk directed the choir and played the organ for everything from weekend and Holy Day Masses to weddings and funerals. She also provided accompaniment at area churches and funeral homes.
“I only missed one Christmas that I can remember,” she said. “But even then, we recorded the music on a tape player and the choir sang along to that!”

Working with the choir is what Hawk said she’ll miss most about her roles in the parish. “My core choir consisted of about five people,” she recalled. “They were there when I started and then we had others who came and went, but that core group was still there when I left.”

As she and Fred begin a new chapter of their lives in Wichita, Eloise isn’t looking for a new choir director or full-time organist role, but she said she’ll continue to play, perhaps for Masses or events at the Spiritual Life Center, or at a nursing home. Regardless of where she plays, she is confident that her long-time parish in Norton will be in good hands. “We had some junior high and high school girls who started playing and eventually one of the girls and I took care of the weekend Masses,” she said.
“We’ve always had music at St. Francis of Assisi, and they’ll continue to have good music.”

Salina Diocese youth spend summer spreading P&A in other dioceses

The Register­

Since its inception in 2006, the Salina Diocese’s Prayer and Action program has grown both within the diocese itself and to ten other dioceses around the country. This summer, four Salina Diocese-based college students took advantage of the opportunity to serve in the Prayer and Action programs of some of those other dioceses and hoped to leave a lasting impression on the youth they encounter.

Savannah, GA

Brothers Gavin and Corbin Sedlacek joined seminarian Adam Zarybnicky in serving people from the Diocese of Savanna, Ga., for two weeks in mid-June. Growing up attending Seven Dolors Parish in Manhattan, the Sedlacek brothers were exposed to the Prayer and Action program first through their older sister who had participated. “We went to Catholic Schools from kindergarten through eighth grade, but we really didn’t go out and do anything hands-on to help the poor,” said Gavin. “Being able to live the Christian faith out in that way was very appealing to me.” Corbin agreed. “Prayer and Action is so enriching and it’s an experience you won’t get anywhere else,” he said.

Now, with a combined 17 weeks of Prayer and Action experience over the course of almost a decade, Gavin and Corbin hoped their work in Savannah helped deepen the faith lives of the almost 70 students who participated in the city. “It’s Prayer and Action,” Gavin emphasized. “I hope the kids see the value of that.” “Ideally, each person will have had an experience where they had a one-on-one encounter with Christ. At the very least, we hope it showed them what it’s like to have a servant heart and recognize the needs in their own community and how they can help meet those needs.”

For Adam Zarybnicky of Hanover, 2019 marks the fifth time he’s participated in Prayer and Action. Like the Sedlacek brothers, he was introduced to the program through his sister who participated through St. John the Baptist Parish. “She had a significant experience,” he said. “I’d seen a shift in her faith life. She had a deeper joy. She recruited me to participate and it sparked my own faith life, prayer and desire to serve people in any way I could.” Having served with the youth of Savannah for two weeks, Adam said, “I hope they realize [now] that sacrifice and serving others and living the Christian life is more important than having what you want when you want it. I hope it leads them to have a deeper faith life.”

Dodge City

For Seth Hilger, a parishioner at St. Mary, Queen of Angels, Parish in Russell and a junior at Wichita State University, this summer will be his fourth year of Prayer and Action. After participating for three summers in the Salina Diocese, he was given the opportunity to serve on the program’s leadership team for the Dodge City Diocese. The team’s work this summer will span four weeks between June and July. Through Hilger’s previous experience, he said he hopes the students he works with this year will find Christ like he did when he was participating. “We encounter Christ in every aspect of the week which is really cool,” he said. “I hope they find a deeper love for their faith and that they find Christ in the least fortunate of His people. I also hope they find Christ in each other and through the suffering of our week as well as through adoration and confession.”

Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller, CSJ, believes the aspect of serving locally is one of the most appealing aspects of the Prayer and Action experience, and one that perhaps appeals to those dioceses into which the program has expanded. “We have plenty of opportunities to go outside our diocese to get mission experience, but there are opportunities in our own backyard,” she said. “It’s also good for the communities to see these kids having fun. Prayer and Action really connects the young and the old.”

New chaplain to begin in Manhattan

The Register

Father Hoffman

Manhattan — While many new faces will arrive at the St. Isidore Catholic Student Center when school begins, a new face to the diocese was welcomed June 18 when Father Drew Hoffman began as the parochial vicar and assistant chaplain. “I was very much impacted by Catholic ministry as a student, so I have a real heart for that,” said Father Hoffman, who concluded two years as Parochial Vicar at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. He is assigned to the Salina Diocese for two years. “If it’s a young man discerning the priesthood, a young woman discerning religious life or young man and woman discerning married life, it’s a hope the presence (at a college campus) will continue to promote vocations.”

He joins Father Gale Hammerschmidt, who is the co-vocation director for the Salina Diocese. “The Diocese of Salina is very grateful to Bishop Kemme and his personnel board for allowing Father Hoffman to minister at St. Isidore's in Manhattan,” Bishop Jerry Vincke said. “I am also grateful for Father Hoffman’s ‘Yes’ to spend time in our diocese. He will be a great blessing to the many students and others who attend St. Isidore’s.”

Father Hammerschmidt said 13 individuals from K-State departed the campus to pursue either a priestly or religious vocation last year. Father Hoffman said three young men from K-State entered the seminary for the Wichita Diocese last year. “The work of the priests at K-State has been bearing much fruit,” he said. “I pray that continues.” “The Diocese of Wichita is a Stewardship Diocese and as such, we are called to entrust our resources to God, who can never be outdone in generosity,” said Wichita Bishop Carl Kemme. “In sharing Father Drew Hoffman and allowing him to serve at St. Isidore’s on the campus of Kansas State University for two years, we are trying to be good stewards of the many blessings God has bestowed upon us, including the blessings of good, holy and healthy young priests.”

One aspect of evangelization on the K-State campus is the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) missionaries. Father Hoffman said FOCUS missionaries greatly influenced his willingness to explore seminary studies. “My last year at KU was FOCUS’s first year,” he said. “They were instrumental in my discernment of my vocation. Many of my close friends are FOCUS missionaries. I have a debt of gratitude, I’m excited to be a part of them.”

In addition to the FOCUS connection, both of Father Hoffman’s siblings attended K-State. “They loved St. Isidore’s,” he said. “As an older brother, similar to a parent, you hope your younger siblings will practice the faith as they grow. To see both of them go through St. Isidore’s and see them come out as good, practicing Catholics, I owe a debt of gratitude.” Additionally, his brother, Nate, is the Stewardship and Development Administrator at St. Isidore’s.

As a diocesan priest, Father Hoffman said doing work outside of the diocese in a missionary capacity was not on his radar.  “It definitely was a surprise,” he said of his new assignment. “This is not something I thought would be a possibility, but it’s a thrill to learn about it.” Because many students in Manhattan grew up in Wichita, the assignment is a logical one. 

Father Hoffman is the oldest son of Mark and Sue Hoffman. He grew up in Wichita, and attended Bishop Carroll Catholic High School before attending the University of Kansas for two years. He then attended Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo. and Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. He was ordained a priest May 27, 2017, by Bishop Carl Kemme in Wichita.

“I’m very excited about being a part of the K-State community, the St. Isidore’s community and the Salina Diocese,” Father Hoffman said. “My heart is on fire for this opportunity.”



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