E-News to the Faithful | February 3, 2023

Bishop's Office, E-News to the Faithful
Feb 6, 2023

Salt and Light

This weekend, Jesus reminds us we are called to be the “salt and light of the world.” Similarly, a poem attributed to St. Teresa of Avila reminds us we are Christ’s Body in the world, that we are called to be “salt and light” by bringing the presence of Jesus to others:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

St. Blaise

Today is the optional memorial of St. Blaise. As many of you know, we traditionally bless throats on or around this day in honor of St. Blaise, who healed a person who was choking. One of my memories of blessing throats happened when I was a deacon several decades ago. As I said the prayer of blessing, I lightly put my right hand on a grade school student’s head. As I did, the young person said aloud for all to hear, “hey, you shouldn’t be touching my hair, I have lice.” Yikes!

Visiting Schools

I had a wonderful time visiting all our Catholic School students and staff during Catholic Schools Week. As I mentioned before, there is a lot of love and joy in our schools. I am very grateful for all the students, families and staff who support our Catholic schools.


Speaking of our schools, I am happy to announce that four religious sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters of Wichita will be teaching at our Catholic Schools in Hays beginning next year. The Sisters’ charism is teaching.


One of the most interesting things that happened during Catholic Schools Week was a question from a young girl, probably in 3rd or 4th grade, while I was visiting students during their lunch hour. She asked me, “where is purgatory in the Bible?” I was taken aback by the question from someone so young. She told me that she was not Catholic and that there were only two places we could go: heaven or hell—not purgatory. I first mentioned the Book of Maccabees and the Letter to the Hebrews, and then tried explaining how the Church teaches based on Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium, but that wasn’t going anywhere either. So, I tried to explain purgatory the best I could, by telling her that if we go through purgatory we are going to heaven. I compared it to a child getting dirty while playing outside. The child’s mother invites her child, whom she loves, to take a shower to get clean before going to bed. Similarly, God loves us and wants to purify us before being in heaven for all eternity. I think it finally made some sense to her!


Wow, last weekend was exhilarating! We had two Church dedications: the first at St. Isidore in Manhattan and then Christ the King in WaKeeney. I am so thankful for all who made this happen. Perhaps the biggest surprise of joy was presiding at 8 pm Mass last Saturday at St. Isidore and seeing the Church packed with college students. It certainly brings a lot of hope for the future. Their joy and love for the faith is contagious!


Speaking of dedications, I am hoping to attend the dedication of the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine in Oklahoma City on February 17. The farmer turned clergy was killed by serving the poor in Guatemala. Blessed Stanley once said, “Pray for us that we may be a sign of the love of Christ for our people, that our presence among them will fortify them to endure these sufferings in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom.”


Ash Wednesday is February 22 and so we begin soon the season of Lent. I encourage you to ask yourself, “What does God desire for me?” Perhaps we can reflect on the fact that God lives in us, that we are the Body of Christ. Do we live our lives in accordance with this?


We begin the Year of Mercy in our diocese on Ash Wednesday. I will be visiting all our 86 parishes during this time. Each pastor is working with the parish council, to plan the day for my visit. My first visits will be to the parishes in Norton and New Almelo on February 22 and 23. To learn more about the Year of Mercy and find out when I am coming to your community, please watch the video and read the information on the diocesan website HERE. I have been quite impressed with some of the schedules. Some have me visiting the jail, others celebrating Mass at the local nursing home, and others spending time in the confessional. I am open to wherever the Holy Spirit leads them.


Pope Francis has been visiting Africa. One of the most moving moments was when Pope Francis listened to the survivors of violence in eastern Congo. Many of the survivors were children whose families were killed. The children laid down machetes and knives used to kill their families at the foot of the cross. Please continue to pray for peace, for the end of violence and for the respect of all life.


The 2023 Bishop’s Annual Appeal kicks off the weekend of February 11-12. Thank you in advance for your generous support of our diocese in the past, present, and future!


I am going home for a few days next week to see my family. May God bless you and your families.

With my love and prayers,
Bishop Vincke

Inspiration from the Saints:

“Father of mercy and God of all consolation, graciously look upon me and impart to me the blessing which flows from this holy Sacrament. Overshadow me with Your loving kindness, and let this divine Mystery bear fruit in me.”
~ Saint Blaise (Feast Day February 3)

“I do not promise you happiness in this world, but in the next.”
~ Our Lady of Lourdes (Feast Day February 11)

“Do not be depressed. Do not let your weakness make you impatient. Instead, let the serenity of your spirit shine through your face. Let the joy of your mind burst forth.”
~ Saint Peter Damian (Feast Day February 21)