The Gospel this weekend speaks of the importance of loving God and neighbor. This invites us to examine our lives and consciences. Is God first in our lives? Do we see God in our neighbors?
Speaking of loving God and our neighbors, Pope Francis has asked all of us to participate in the Synod. The Synod is meant for everyone, and I am asking you each to participate. You can do so by following the three-step process below. I am very excited that many of our Catholic School students will be interviewing their grandparents and submitting their stories. Also, some parishes will conduct in-person listening sessions.
On Monday, November 1, we celebrate the glorious Solemnity of All Saints. The saints remind us of our ultimate goal—eternal life with God. St. Mother Teresa tells us that to become a saint we must desire to be one. St. Augustine said, “If they, why not I? If these men and women could become saints, why cannot I with the help of him who is all-powerful?” St. Ignatius of Loyola said something similar, “The saints were of the same frame as I. Why should I not do as they have done.”
St. Philip Neri has a great piece of advice for our prayer life. “The best preparation for prayer is to read the lives of the saints, not from mere curiosity, but quietly and with recollection a little at a time. And to pause whenever you feel your heart touched with devotion.”
On Tuesday, November 2, we celebrate the Feast of All Souls. The month of November is a great opportunity to visit cemeteries and obtain plenary indulgences for the Holy Souls. To read more about how to obtain these indulgences I recommend this article. In addition to the indulgences that are regularly available, the Holy See has extended the Decree issued in 2020 for the entire month of November 2021 as well!
Speaking of souls, during the month of November, I will celebrate Masses for the deceased (we will especially remember those who died from COVID or during COVID and were not allowed large funerals). Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend one of these Masses.
10 AM – November 2 – St. Joseph Church, Damar
6 PM – November 2 – Sacred Heart Church, Colby
10 AM – November 6 – Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Concordia
10 AM – November 13 – SS Peter and Paul, Clay Center
Tomorrow I am celebrating the funeral Mass for Fr. Roger Meitl, who died at the age of 86. The Mass will take place in his hometown of Leoville. We also remember Fr. Merlin Kieffer, who died on September 26. There will a special Mass to honor all the deceased priests of the Diocese of Salina on November 11 at 12:05 PM at Sacred Heart Cathedral. All are invited to attend in-person or watch the live stream on Facebook or the Diocesan Website.
On Friday, November 5, I will celebrate Mass at 6 PM at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina in honor of those who have been touched through adoption. The event is hosted by Catholic Charities. A reception will follow, no RSVP necessary and all are welcome to attend!
I celebrated a Marriage Anniversary Mass in Hays on October 24. I am looking forward to celebrating our second Marriage Anniversary Mass in Salina on November 7. It is always a joy to honor marriage and celebrate these special occasions.
On November 8 I will celebrate the annual White Mass at St. Thomas More in Manhattan at 6 PM. This event is hosted by Via Christi Ascension Hospital Manhattan. This Mass, so named by the color worn by those in the healing profession of healthcare, is held in recognition of their dedicated work and to ask God’s blessing upon patients, doctors, nurses, and caregivers. All are welcome to attend to pray and show our support for our healthcare workers.
This past Wednesday, I participated in a ZOOM conference for Hispanic Ministry with other Region IX (Region IX consists of the dioceses in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas) Bishops and those who work in Hispanic ministry. One of their main topics was the Hispanic youth in our dioceses and making sure they are involved. One mom told me recently that in Mexico, the grandparents are very involved with their grandchildren. However, when the families move to the United States, the grandparents stay in Mexico. The children miss out on the wisdom and experience of their grandparents. I am also impressed with how some other dioceses integrate Hispanic Ministry throughout all the other ministries that take place.
The other evening, I could hear the Hispanic youth practicing for Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast day on December 12. These young people practice for months! I encourage you to attend any part of the Feast Day Celebrations planned at Sacred Heart Cathedral on December 12. The schedule is as follows:
On November 12, all the teachers at our Catholic Schools will gather at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Salina. During this in-service, there will be presentations on the Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching.
November 7-13 is National Vocation Awareness Week. This annual event is a special time to actively foster and pray for a culture of vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life. Some resources to celebrate the week are available from the USCCB here. Please continue to pray for all Vocations in the Diocese of Salina!
I will be attending the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops annual fall meeting in Baltimore from November 15–18. The meeting agenda is expected to include discussion and votes on a number of items including:
I am looking forward to attending the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis from November 18-20. Around 600 youth will be participating from our diocese in-person, while others are hoping to join virtually. It is inspiring to see so many young people excited about their faith!
I have heard of people throughout the diocese making pilgrimages to the seven Churches in our diocese named after St. Joseph. Thanks for your love of St. Joseph!
iGiveCatholic giving Tuesday is November 30. Thank you in advance for taking advantage of this opportunity to show your support of our Catholic Schools and Parishes. You can participate by visiting salina.igivecatholic.org. Advanced giving begins on November 15.
I was in the Diocese of Dodge City this past Wednesday and Thursday. Chicago is called the windy city, but wow, driving in western Kansas on Thursday was quite an adventure with the strong winds.
The other day I was corresponding with a farmer in western Kansas about the rains which delayed his harvest. I thought his response was spot on! “Farming is based on faith because very little of what a farmer does is in his control. A farmer wakes up every morning and tackles what is placed in front of him, goes to bed at night thanking God and does it again the next day not knowing what the day has in store.”
I hope all of you are able to enjoy Thanksgiving with your families! As of now, I plan on being with my family for Thanksgiving Day. I am thankful for all of you.
Have a beautiful month of November thanking God for all those who have gone before us, especially our parents, grandparents, children, siblings and relatives.
In Christ’s love,
With All Saints Day on November 1, there are billions of saints to choose from for an inspiring quote, but I decided the following from St. Francis de Sales is apt for our time. It’s called “be at peace.”
“Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life; rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in his arms. Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same understanding Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day. He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”