I will do it!: The exchange between the leper and Jesus in this Sunday’s Gospel is powerful. The leper says to Jesus, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus is moved with pity at the man, stretches out His hand, and says, “I do will it, be made clean.” Jesus knows the pain we are experiencing, and He desires to heal us. The stretching of the hand of Jesus toward the leper is like Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel depiction of God creating life by stretching out his hand toward Adam. At Jesus’ touch the leper is given new life and becomes a new creation. May we be bold in asking Jesus to bring us healing, give us new life, and create us anew.
Suggestion: One of the best ways we can prepare for Sunday Mass is to read the readings beforehand. Perhaps we can do this as a family during Lent.
Our beloved Sick: This Sunday marks the 32nd annual World Day of the Sick, an observation introduced by Pope John Paul II as a way for believers to offer prayers for those suffering from illnesses.
Relic: This Sunday I will be at St. John the Baptist Church in Beloit for Mass at 10 am. During the Mass, a first-class relic of St. Padre Pio will be placed in the Church. The relic comes from the Saint Pio Foundation. They are placing five relics of St. Padre Pio in the United States—one each in California, Texas, New York, North Dakota—and one in Kansas—much like a cross. I know many of you have a special devotion to St. Padre Pio so we are happy that many of you will come and pray asking for his intercession.
Elect: We will celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for those coming into the Church at the Easter Vigil. The ceremonies will be held on February 18 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina and February 25 at St. Nicholas of Myra in Hays. At this gathering the Catechumens and Candidates publicly express their desire to continue their journey toward for full communion with God and the Church.
Ash Wednesday: With Lent beginning on Ash Wednesday, February 14, I pray that all of us may experience a deep conversion with the hope of knowing Jesus’ love for you and our growing in love with Him too.
Desert: Pope Francis earlier this month released his Lenten message to the faithful on the theme: “Through the desert God leads us to freedom.” I encourage you all to read it as we begin our Lenten journey through the desert.
St. Valentine: Blessings to all married couples as we celebrate World Marriage Sunday this weekend, and St. Valentine’s Day on Wednesday too.
Farmers: On February 29 we will have a Centennial Celebration of the Catholic Rural Life organization with a conference to honor the occasion titled Rural Life: Tending the Land, Mind & Spirit. This is a FREE event that all are encouraged and welcome to attend! RSVP is requested by February 22.
Family: The Natural Family Planning Office is hosting its first FertilityCare Services Practitioner Education Program for educating and training new FertilityCare Practitioners to provide instruction to women and couples of the Salina Diocese and local communities. It is a blessing to have this opportunity available locally! If you are interested in learning more about becoming a practitioner, or know someone who is, please contact Lindy Meyer, Program Director at 785.614.0831 or email@example.com or visit https://salinafertilitycare.org/education-program.
Synod: We are in the final stages of the global Synod on Synodality, and I encourage you to participate in the listening sessions that are happening across the diocese in the coming months where we are asked to reflect on two specific questions:
Listening sessions are scheduled as follows:
Looking ahead: Everyone is invited to attend our Chrism Mass on March 21. It will be held at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina beginning at 11:30am. An RSVP is requested but not required. Please join me and the clergy of the diocese as we bless the Holy Oils that will be used throughout the diocese over the next year, and the priests renew their vows. It was a great blessing to have so many of you with us last year that I hope to have a full house again!
Looking ahead II: Additionally, everyone is invited to attend the transitional diaconate ordination of three seminarians—Jesse Ochs, Adam Urban, and Kade Megaffin—on April 6 beginning at 10am at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina.
Catholic Schools: Last week I was able to spend time with our Catholic Schools for Catholic Schools Week. What a blessing! There is so much love, joy, and peace in our schools. I am so grateful to all the teachers, staff and parents for their dedication and service.
Young adults: By all accounts, I heard the first gathering of young adults in our diocese was a huge success with more than 120 people attending. It’s all about bringing young adults across our diocese together. The next gathering will be a pitch tournament and game night in Manhattan on February 17 at St. Thomas More Church beginning at 6pm.
Eucharistic Conference: We are planning our own diocesan Eucharistic Conference on the campus of Fort Hays State the weekend of August 9 – 10. Bishop Joseph Espaillat from the Archdiocese of New York, who spoke at the National Catholic Youth Conference, has agreed to attend. More pertinent information to follow soon.
Appeal: This weekend we kick off the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Thank you in advance for your generosity to our beloved diocese and her mission to support our seminarians, clergy health and retirement, publications, young adult ministry and so much more.
With my love and prayers as we begin this Lenten season,
Inspiration for Lent:
“Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.” ~ St. Francis de Sales
“As Lent is the time for greater love listen to Jesus’ thirst… ‘Repent and believe’ “ ~ St. Teresa of Calcutta
“O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.” ~ Henri Nouwen
“During Lent, let us find concrete ways to overcome our indifference.” ~ Pope Francis
“God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.” ~ Pope Francis