Called: This weekend, we hear Jesus say, “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few, so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” We often think of only priests with these words. But the truth is that we are ALL called to labor in the Lord’s vineyard by being a disciple and witness of Jesus in our daily lives. There is nothing better than bringing someone to encounter the saving love of Christ!
Junipero Serro: Today is the optional memorial of St. Junipero Serra. Known as the apostle to California, Serra’s life as a missionary priest in the Golden State reminds me of how many cities in California were named after saints or other Catholic names by the Spanish missionaries: Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego, San Bernardino, Saint Monica, Saint Rose, Santa Clara…the list goes on and on!
Very Important: One month to go until the very, very important August 2 primary in which we vote on the Value Them Both Amendment. The whole country and world will be watching to see what the people of Kansas will do. Please vote “yes” for life and love and invite your friends and family to do the same.
Pray: We’ve done a great job of putting Value Them Both signs out. However, the battle is the Lord’s, and we have a way to the heart of Jesus by prayer. Please spend some time in your local parish on August 1 and/or August 2 praying for the “yes” decision. I read a very disturbing statistic that stated that the number of abortions in Kansas would dramatically increase if the Value Them Both Amendment does not pass. The opposition to life is fierce. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we need you!!!
Overturning Roe v. Wade: We knew this was coming, and we knew the protests would come too. I found it fascinating that the decision happened on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A friend told me that she thought the decision was a gift of Jesus to his Mother, whose Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was the next day.
Heart issue: Speaking of hearts, the whole issue of Roe v. Wade is an issue of the heart. How do we change hearts? The answer is love and prayer. We need to pray for the conversion of hearts. The Dobbs v. Jackson decision sparked a lot of protests. Please, if we encounter those who protest, respond with love.
Flame of Love: The Flame of Love is a movement that began with the apparitions of our Blessed Mother to Elizabeth Kindelmann. It’s spreading throughout the world, even to our diocese. One of the prayers from the Flame of Love is the Unity Prayer: “My adorable Jesus, May our feet journey together. May our hands gather in unity. May our hearts beat in unison. May our souls be in harmony. May our thoughts be as one. May our ears listen to the silence together. May our glances profoundly penetrate each other. May our lips pray together to gain mercy from our Eternal Father.”
Saints of Love: Saints are saints because they loved. On May 15, our Holy Father, Pope Francis canonized ten new saints. One of the newly canonized was Saint Titus Brandsma, who died during World War II. There is a reflection of his life in a little booklet that I have on the stations of the cross: “In the Dachua concentration camp, Fr. Brandsma gave his poor Rosary beads to the nurse hated and scorned by all the prisoners because she injected them with phenic acid. “I don’t know how to pray!” replied the woman with irritation. He answered gently, “You don’t have to say the whole Hail Mary, only ‘Pray for us sinners.’ And she never again forgot the face of the elderly priest to whom she had brought death. She said afterwards: ‘He took pity on me!’ She had killed him, but he had begotten her in grace.”
Saints of Love part II: Fr. Brandsma’s witness to love amid conflict and death reminds me of what St. Maximilian Kolbe said to his companions before he was arrested during World War II: “however they treat you, don’t forget to love.” There is a lot of division and hatred in our world, but it’s a great time to be a saint! We are called to do what St. John of the Cross emphasized, “where there is no love, put love and there will be love.” I recognize my failures in this endeavor, and I pray that I will love others as Jesus loves them.
Eucharistic Revival: We recently began the Eucharistic Revival in our diocese and all across the US which we will celebrate for the next three years. As we begin this journey, I want to encourage you to attend a daily Mass during the week and spend time in prayer at your parish—even for a few minutes. Perhaps you can ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you and simply have a discussion with the One who loves you more than anyone. As we encounter Jesus in the Eucharist may we bring His presence to others.
Our Youth: So proud of our young people participating in the Prayer and Action and Totus Tuus programs this summer. I got wind of an email from a woman who benefited from a Prayer and Action crew in Manhattan. She wrote: “I wanted to let you know how wonderful the team of youth were who worked at our place. They had to come for two days to cut out all the cedar trees that had grown up in our fence line. The work was hard and hot, yet they were so good natured, and upbeat. They even asked if we would like to join them in prayer. Thank you so much for all you do!”
Nigeria: I have a priest friend, Fr. Augustine Deda, a fellow Missionary of Mercy, who is from Nigeria but currently serving in New York. A few years ago, he visited and said it was some of the best days of his life. He hopped on a combine during the corn harvest, and we played football with the school children at St. John’s in Beloit. (I still needle him that he dropped what would have been the game winning touchdown pass that I threw to him). Fr. Augustine is really hurting. His brothers and sisters are being persecuted for their faith through bombings and other forms of violence at their churches. Priests are kidnapped. He mentioned to me that the healing process will take a long time. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.
Ukraine: The war in the Ukraine keeps going and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Millions of people have been displaced from their homes. What would that be like? Most of the people are relocating to countries near Ukraine. In a meeting for the churches in Eastern and Central Europe, a bishop from Ukraine told us that 120,000 people from Ukraine have immigrated to Canada, but only 20,000 to the United States. He said that the process to immigrate to the U.S. is difficult and tedious, but he also mentioned that many of the people don’t want to move too far away with the hopes of returning to their homeland and to remain close to their family members who have stayed in Ukraine to fight the battle.
Prayers: Please join me in praying for peace in the world, and please don’t forget our brothers and sisters in Myanmar (Burma) who are also being persecuted for their faith. We have two priests, Fr. Henry Saw Lone and Fr. Vincent Thu Laing, from Myanmar. They haven’t been able to return home for a visit for years.
Seminarian dinner: There is a good chance that there will be nine seminarians studying for the priesthood this fall for our diocese. We are blessed by their courageous “yes.” If you would like to meet them and support them, we are having two fundraising dinners for them.
August 10: 5:15 p.m. – Salina Country Club, Salina. To register, click here.
August 11: 5:15 p.m. – The Strand, Hays. To register, click here.
Or you can call Corrina at 785.639.2100. Tickets are $60.
Nephew: Speaking of seminarians, I will be spending July 4 with my nephew, Charles, a seminarian for the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan. He is spending the summer at the Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha.
France: In early June, I went with a couple of priests and seminarians from our diocese and the Diocese of Dodge City on a pilgrimage to France. We stayed at the seminary in Ars. The highlights included celebrating Mass with St. John Vianney’s chalice; visiting Paray-le-Monial, where Jesus revealed to St. Margaret Mary Alocque his desire to start devotion to his Sacred Heart; and also visiting Nevers, where Saint Bernadette lived after the apparitions in Lourdes.
Conference: Our Annual Men’s Conference is scheduled for August 13 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Hays. Our guest speaker is Mario Enzler, who was the lead Swiss Guard who served under Saint John Paul II. To register, click here.
Catholic Charities: I recently attended a Catholic Charities Board meeting. Their goal of reaching out to everyone throughout the diocese is coming to fruition. They are even moving the Hays office to a new location so they can better minister to the people. If you want to help support Catholic Charities, please consider attending their annual fundraiser dinner, the Green Tie Celebration, on Saturday, July 30. To register, click here.
Sisters of St. Joseph: Speaking of charity, I recently met with Sr. Jean Rosemarynoski. Hats off to their order, who continue to serve the least among us and have deep concern for justice. One of their sisters is going to present to our chancery staff on human trafficking, which seems to be increasing steadily in America. I am eager to learn more about what we can do.
Institute: Speaking of the Sisters of St. Joseph, they are hosting a Theological Institute titled “Healing Divisions: The Experience of Interculturality” being held at the Motherhouse in Concordia from July 14 – 17. For more information call 785.243.4428.
Three Bald Guys: Geoff Andrews, our superintendent, Bill Meagher, our Director of Youth and Religious Education, and Fr. Jarett Konrade have started a podcast on a variety of topics. They call their show, “Three Bald Guys.” I would fit right in! I hope you can listen. Their podcast is hosted on our diocesan “From the Heart” podcast.
Healing Podcasts: Speaking of podcasts, I want to strongly encourage you to listen to these podcasts regarding healing. One is Restore the Glory with Dr. Bob Schuchts and Jake Khym, MA, who are both experienced Catholic therapists, who understand the keys for people to experience and live a restored life. The other is Abiding Together with Sr. Miriam James and two of her friends. These podcasts are a tremendous gift to the Church! Please listen sometime.
Wheat Harvest: I thoroughly enjoyed being with a few farmers during the wheat harvest. Obviously, the bushel per acre is down a bit this year, but I think overall it’s better than what most farmers thought it would be. Blessings to all the farmers and their harvest.
Czech Festival: One of my favorite parish festivities is the Czech Festival. It’s held on the last Saturday in July (this year July 30) at St. Wenceslaus Parish in Wilson. The meal is fantastic!
Grandparents: Please don’t forget to celebrate Grandparents Day on July 24. I remember talking with a family in Dodge City, and they said the toughest thing about moving from Mexico is that their children don’t get to see their grandparents very often. Our grandparents are a blessing!
Have a wonderful month of July! With my love and prayers,
Inspiration from the Saints:
“He loves, He hopes, He waits. Our Lord prefers to wait Himself for the sinner for years rather than keep us waiting an instant.”