After ending a silent retreat on March 1, I was very sad to hear that Russia had invaded the country of Ukraine several days prior. I was hoping that all the talk of war was simply talk. I think all of us have a desire to help the people of Ukraine. A few suggestions as we place all our trust in the Lord:
On Ash Wednesday, the first reading from the prophet Joel invites us to, “return to the Lord with all your heart.” Deep down, isn’t this what we desire? It’s also the Lord’s desire for us. He wants our inner peace and joy. Amid all that is going on in the whole world, it’s a great time to be a saint!
We join Jesus in the desert for 40 days and nights in this Sunday’s Gospel. When Adam and Eve were tempted by the devil in the beginning, they saw that the tree was 1) good for food 2) a delight to the eyes and 3) desired to make one wise (Genesis 3:6). The devil wanted Adam and Eve to doubt God’s love and care. In a similar way, the Israelites doubted God’s love and care in the desert after being set free from slavery in Egypt. In the desert, Jesus is tempted to grumble against God for food (see Exodus 16:1-13). Jesus is tempted to doubt God’s care, just as Israel doubted God’s care at Massah (see Exodus 17:1-6). And when the devil asks for his homage, Jesus is tempted to do what Israel did in the desert by making a golden calf (see Exodus 32). Jesus faced the temptations that Adam and Eve and the Israelites faced. He put his trust in his loving Father. Perhaps we can ask the question of whether we put our trust in finite things or in the One who is infinite?
I am super excited to meet all those people who are entering the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil through the Rite of Election this Sunday in Salina and the following Sunday in Hays. There is a family of five (almost six) from Plainville that are all entering the Church at Easter Vigil. Their story will be featured in the upcoming faith magazine.
In the midst of Lent, we rejoice in celebrating the Feast of St. Joseph on Saturday, March 19, as well as the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25. And of course, even though it is not a solemnity, many will celebrate on March 17 for St. Patrick’s Day!
All are invited to attend the Chrism Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina at 11:30 am on April 7. During the Mass, the priests of the diocese will renew the vows they made at their ordination. Please attend if you are able. A luncheon will be served afterwards. If you are not able to attend in person, the Mass will also be live streamed on the Diocesan Facebook page.
If you have not already done so, please attend one of the synod gatherings if you are able:
Just as we are on a pilgrimage toward Easter during Lent, we are also gearing up for a Pilgrimage to the Polls in August for the Value Them Both Amendment. Look for more information in the months to come.
I was looking at my calendar and noticed the many Confirmation Masses I have this month throughout the diocese (and some in the Diocese of Dodge City, too). I thoroughly enjoy celebrating the sacrament of confirmation and seeing the young people excited about their faith and all that God is doing in their life.
Speaking of seasons, in our Catholic schools, winter sports are winding down, even with some still playing basketball, and spring sports are gearing up and beginning their first practices. Many blessings to those still playing winter sports and to those preparing for spring!
I am happy to announce that all of our schools have completed the necessary documents and presentations for the 5-year accreditation process. The Accreditation Visitation Team, which consists of education professionals from across the state of Kansas, will complete our review the week of March 22nd. I am thankful for all of the work done by our school administrators, teachers and staff.
I am excited to be shooting free throws on behalf of Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas in the Greater Salina Community Foundation’s annual Match Madness fundraiser on March 24. In addition to Catholic Charities, there are several other Catholic institutions participating. To find out how you can support their causes, visit www.matchmadnessgscf.org.
On March 27, I will be attending the 27th Anniversary of the St. Joseph perpetual adoration chapel in Manhattan. I am looking forward to being with the people who not only helped get this chapel established, but have faithfully kept the devotion going for many years.
We are excited for our upcoming CYO Convention on April 2nd and 3rd. We are expecting hundreds of high school students from around the Diocese to attend this year. The Theme of this year’s convention is Come, Holy Spirit. Please pray for the success of the convention and for all the high school students in our diocese.
I am celebrating the 12:05 pm Mass on Fridays during Lent at the Cathedral in Salina. After Mass, there is a soup and salad lunch along with Fr. Fred Gatschet’s delicious bread. Additionally, I give a short Lenten presentation. All are invited.
Thank you to the many people who have already responded generously to our appeal. Your kindness funds our mission to be disciples of Jesus who go out and make disciples through witnessing by faith, hope and love. To view our appeal video and online appeal magazine or to make your gift today, click here. I appreciate your prayerful consideration.
I had a wonderful retreat this past week and experienced God’s love in a very special way. You were in my prayers. It’s good to be back.
Today, I celebrated the funeral Mass of Fr. Beryl Gibson in Phillipsburg, Kansas. He was a late vocation to the priesthood, but still celebrated his 25th ordination anniversary in 2021. Fr. Gibson had a wealth of life experience. As a young man, he served as a special agent in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps and held a top-secret security clearance from 1954-1959. He held degrees in Chemistry, German and German History. Prior to his ordination as a priest for the Diocese of Salina, he spent a brief time in the 1960’s discerning with the Jesuits, was a member of the Creighton University German Faculty where he taught six years, spent time as a Nursing Home Administrator, and finally in his retirement taught Physics, Chemistry and German at the college and high school level for a salary of $1 per year.
The funeral liturgies for Fr. James Grennan were also recently celebrated. Fr. Grennan was the oldest priest in the diocese at the age of 97. He was also the longest serving priest of the Diocese of Salina celebrating this 70th ordination anniversary in 2021. He was last living priest to be ordained in the old Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina. He was responsible for many building projects in the diocese during his priesthood.
Love and prayers,
Pope Francis’ Prayer for Peace
Lord God of peace, hear our prayer!
We have tried so many times and over so many years to resolve our conflicts by our own powers and by the force of our arms. How many moments of hostility and darkness have we experienced; how much blood has been shed; how many lives have been shattered; how many hopes have been buried… But our efforts have been in vain.
Now, Lord, come to our aid! Grant us peace, teach us peace; guide our steps in the way of peace. Open our eyes and our hearts, and give us the courage to say: “Never again war!”; “With war everything is lost”. Instill in our hearts the courage to take concrete steps to achieve peace.
Lord, God of Abraham, God of the Prophets, God of Love, you created us and you call us to live as brothers and sisters. Give us the strength daily to be instruments of peace; enable us to see everyone who crosses our path as our brother or sister. Make us sensitive to the plea of our citizens who entreat us to turn our weapons of war into implements of peace, our trepidation into confident trust, and our quarreling into forgiveness.
Keep alive within us the flame of hope, so that with patience and perseverance we may opt for dialogue and reconciliation. In this way may peace triumph at last, and may the words “division”, “hatred” and “war” be banished from the heart of every man and woman. Lord, defuse the violence of our tongues and our hands. Renew our hearts and minds, so that the word which always brings us together will be “brother”, and our way of life will always be that of: Shalom, Peace, Salaam!