This Sunday, the Church celebrates the Baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. A voice from heaven cries out, “this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” I hope all of us know that when we were baptized that God the Father said the same thing: “This is my beloved daughter, with whom I am well pleased. This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” This is the truth. I think many people feel they are not good enough for God, that they have made too many mistakes, that God couldn’t possibly love them. Those are lies. Please believe the truth—we are beloved children of our Heavenly Father. This is who we are, our deepest identity.
The committee in our diocese for the Vatican Synod on Synodality will soon present plans for listening sessions. Please stay tuned. I have been conducting listening sessions with various groups throughout the diocese during opportunities when I am with others. Hearing what others have to say is a great blessing and very enriching.
The United States Bishop’s Conference has invited us to participate in a Eucharistic Revival from 2022 – 2024. More information will follow. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the next issue of faith magazine coming out in a few weeks which is on the Eucharist.
Yesterday, Pope Francis issued his statement announcing the theme for World Mission Day which is celebrated every year in October. The theme for 2022 is “You shall be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). I encourage you to read the Popes important message on the Church’s universal mission to evangelize.
A priest friend of mine from Kansas City said that the Value Them Both Amendment is like the Super Bowl—it’s a big event in the cause for life. Please mark your calendar now for August 2 to vote YES on the Value Them Both Amendment in the primary elections. Many people make pilgrimages and make travel plans. Please consider this as a pilgrimage to the polls and invite others to join you.
The priests from the diocese will be at their annual Clergy Renewal Days at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita from January 10 – 13. It’s always great to be together. Thank you for all your prayers for our priests.
Ordinary Time for the Church year begins on January 10. As it’s been said, when we do ordinary things with great love, they become extraordinary.
On Monday, January 17, may all of us especially pray for the end of racial discrimination in our country and that there be peace and justice among peoples.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins on January 18. May we love all our Christian brothers and sisters and be united with them, especially in serving others.
The feast of St. Agnes, whose name means lamb, is on January 21. She was killed for her faith as a 12-year-old during the persecution of the Church in the early centuries. She is one of four virgin martyrs whose stories of love and courage warm our hearts during the coldest months of the year. The others are St. Cecilia on November 22, St. Lucy on December 13 and St. Agatha on February 5.
January 22 is the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision to make abortion legal in our country. I hope to join young people throughout our diocese who will be making a pilgrimage to Washington D.C. to attend the 2022 March for Life. Additionally, please join me in attending the Ignite for Life: Kansas youth rally, Mass and March for Life in Topeka on January 25.
The Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (January 23) is designated as Word of God Sunday. We are called to celebrate, study and disseminate the Word of God. The Word of God changes our lives. Perhaps you have been called to join a Bible study group. Maybe you can start one! Fr. Reggie Urban, a retired priest from the Diocese of Dodge City living in Hays, is having a presentation on the Word of God on Sunday, January 23, at Holy Cross Church in Pfeifer beginning at 2 pm. I hope you will be able to attend.
The Feast Day of the Conversion of St. Paul is January 25. Isn’t it fascinating that of all the people in the world at that time, God chose Paul, the one who persecuted Christians, to spread the Gospel? Who knows whom God may choose? Maybe it’s someone against the Church now. Maybe it’s you! We pray for the conversion of all people, but especially our own conversion.
The wind and the fires that happened on December 15 were something, as one person said, “an end of the world experience.” Some people died. Many people lost animals (it has been estimated that between 2,500 and 3,000 cattle were killed by the fire in Ellis and Russell counties), farm machinery, straw, homes and sheds. Many farmers had to kill their cattle because the fire had damaged them too much. One farmer mentioned that he saw a mother cow trying to protect her baby calf, but both were lost. How you can help: Right now, financial donations to the Catholic Charities local disaster relief fund are most helpful as needs are assessed. We want to help as many families as possible throughout the diocese and know that needs will continue to arise in the weeks and months to come as lives are rebuilt. Donate online or Mail donations to:
Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas
c/o Disaster Relief Fund
PO Box 1366
Salina, KS 67402-1366
The first Diocesan Choir Festival featuring choirs from all 5 of our Catholic High Schools will be held on January 30 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina. I hope you will come out to listen to some beautiful music and show your support for our Catholic High School Choir programs at 7pm that evening.
Catholic Schools Week is from January 31 – Feb. 4. I will be celebrating Masses at our Catholic schools throughout the week. I look forward to seeing our students and staff throughout the week.
Interviews took place this past week for the Prayer and Action and Totus Tuus summer programs. All those who met the 24 young people who interviewed for positions were very impressed with every one of them. As Sr. Barb used to say constantly, “we have some wonderful young people in our diocese!”
This past Monday, Fr. David Hudgins, a priest from the Diocese of Lansing who was ordained a year after me, was killed when his car flipped over after hitting a patch of black ice. He was a wonderful priest.
Please stay warm and careful during these winter months.
In Christ’s love and prayers, Bishop Vincke
“Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually: ‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in Him and I am helped. He is not only with me but in me and I in Him.’”
~ St. Francis DeSales, whose feast we celebrate January 24
“Do not try to excuse your faults; try to correct them.”
“Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book.”
~ St. John Bosco, whose feast we celebrate January 31