Today, we celebrate the memorial of our Guardian Angels. The Church teaches us that “from infancy to death human life is surrounded by their angels watchful care and intercession.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 336). What a blessing!
For this Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 21: 33-45), these are the words that the master of the vineyard thought after his wicked tenants killed his servants whom he sent to his vineyard. The other day I was listening to Catholic Radio in my car. The speaker, renowned Scripture Scholar Dr. Mary Healy, was discussing that there are three general responses to Jesus then and now. The first response is one who desires to follow Jesus; to have a relationship with him and keeps coming back to him even after they fall away from him. The second response are those who want to follow Jesus but keep a distance; one could say they are “fans” of Jesus, but don’t want a relationship with him. And then there are those who reject him, and like in the Gospel, want to get rid of him.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, will promulgate his new Encyclical, “Fratelli tutti” on October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. This new encyclical is on fraternity and social friendship. I hope that all of you will read and perhaps form a study group in your parish.
Thank you for praying the rosary during this month of October. Our chancery staff is praying the rosary together twice a week during this month. All of you are invited to join in a national Rosary for America on Wednesday, October 7, on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, at 2 pm CT. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will be using the hashtag #RosaryForAmerica on its social media and are asking the faithful to share where they are praying from, to post a photo of their rosary, and to leave a prayer intention for our country.
During this Respect Life Month, thank you for your prayers for a Culture of Life. Obviously, we pray for the end of abortion, which the bishops see as the preeminent life cause. At the same time, we are also called to see as equally sacred the lives of the poor, the destitute, the abandoned, the underprivileged, the vulnerable, victims of human trafficking, refugees and immigrants, those who are a different race than us…and the list goes on. God is the author of every human life therefore ALL life is sacred. Charity is the key response to life. An example is our Knights of Columbus, whose cause this year is to make sure that mothers have enough clothing and needs for their babies.
Speaking of charity, since March 2020, Catholic Charities has helped over 3,000 individuals throughout our diocese with food, hygiene items and diapers through our mobile outreach program and from our offices in Salina, Manhattan and Hays. Over 1,000 individuals have received help paying for utilities and over 550 have received rent assistance to help them stay in their homes. Thank you to everyone who supports our wonderful Catholic Charities!
I have visited a few schools lately (even played some football and soccer at recess). Our students are incredibly resilient amid this abnormal time. As I visit the schools I am especially in gratitude to our teachers and staff for their dedication and love given to the students.
I’ve talked to a few farmers this past week (even got to ride on a combine) and the corn harvest in western Kansas seems to be going really well. Last week, Fr. Augustine Dada, a priest originally from Nigeria, visited me. I took him to visit some farmers in the Dorrance area. He was super impressed with the machinery of farmers. He said that most corn in Nigeria is planted one kernel at a time by hand. I know people in Michigan and here in our diocese who are working with people in Africa to improve their farming trade.
This year, I decided not to preside at the anniversary Masses because most of the couples who attend this are those most suspectable to be affected by COVID. As an alternative, some parishes will be celebrating Anniversary Masses locally. Please see the Register or October SDNB for more information about how you can let us know you are celebrating a special anniversary in 2020.
Next Thursday, October 8, we will be launching a brand-new website for the Diocese of Salina. I am especially grateful to the communications team, Colleen Augustine and Matea Gregg, for their dedicated commitment to this project. Please be sure to visit the website and check it out.
I am gathering in Wichita for our quarterly Jesu Caritas gatherings with the bishops of Kansas on October 7 & 8.
Typically, in September all the priests of the diocese gather in fraternity on retreat. Due to COVID-19, we canceled our retreat. Were able to gather for one day in Salina to be together. We practiced social distancing while we joined in prayer and business meetings.
We are blessed to have two great publications within our diocese. The Register is delivered monthly and contains local and national news. Faith Magazine is delivered quarterly and features stories of Catholics within our diocese. In late October and early November, you will receive copies of The Register and Faith with an envelope asking for your support. You can also make a gift online by clicking here. Thank you for considering making a gift in support of diocesan publications.
The presidential election is on November 3, 2020. It is important that each of us reflect and make a well-informed decision when we vote. If you have any questions about voting or would like to receive materials regarding Catholic votes, reach out to Chuck Weber at the Kansas Catholic Conference.
Today I am presiding at the funeral of Jim Balthazor, a beloved teacher at TMPMarian in Hays. Jim died suddenly this past Sunday at his home in Russell. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you, as well, for your continued prayers for the Graf family in Abilene. As many of you know, their daughter, Cecilia was killed while crossing the road to get on the bus for school several weeks ago. She was a 1st grader at St. Andrew’s Grade School in Abilene.
Speaking of funerals, I will be attending the funeral Mass for Louise Naumann, the mother of Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, on Monday, October 5. Perhaps some of you know that Louise’s husband was murdered a few years after their marriage. At that time, they had a two-year old son and a three-month son in the womb, Joseph. Louise went on to earn several degrees and worked in the education field.
During these uncertain times with Covid, social unrest, elections, Catholics like Amy Comey Barret and other Christians being persecuted for their faith, and the many other evils in the world today, we are called now more than ever to be living saints.
May God bless you with much faith, hope and love.
The feast day of St. Francis is October 4. He is the secondary patron of our diocese.
The Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life