Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Concordia, served as host in 2023.
The Rural Life Office sponsored St. Isidore Day on Monday, May 15. Our Lady of Perpetual Hope Parish in Concordia served as this year’s host. The celebration of St. Isidore, patron saint of farmers and ranchers, began nine days earlier with an online nine-day Novena.
Each night’s prayer session was led by one of the following: Frs. Brian Wirth, Brian Lager, Quentin Schmitz, Bishop Vincke, Srs. Sr. Janet LeDuc and Marilyn Wall, Deacons Ed Souza and Walt Slingsby. The Novena began each night with a Rosary followed a different prayer theme. Between 20 to 35 people, including many from the Sisters of St. Joseph in Concordia, participated each night of the Novena.
On Monday, Our Lady of Perpetual Hope hosted the 11:00 AM Feast of St. Isidore Mass. Bishop Vincke presided over the service. He was assisted by Frs. Rich Daise, Hays; Steve Heina, Clyde; David Metz, Concordia and Jerome Morgan, Ret. There were approximately 50 people present for the Feast. During and after Mass, there was a blessing of seeds, for a bountiful harvest, and a blessing of animals.
Following Mass, a meal was served by the Altar Society of Our Lady of Perpetual Help for all of the attendees. During the meal, a brief history of the parish was presented. Having been the original home of the Diocese (of Concordia, established in 1887), the Parish has an honored place in Diocesan history. It served as the Cathedral for the Diocese until the Diocesan See was transferred to Salina in April of 1945.
After the meal, Candy Thomas, Salina, Kansas, a regional soil health specialist in the Kansas state office of USDA-NRCS, performed a demonstration on how different farming practices affect the soil using a rain simulator. It was quite illuminating to see how differing farming techniques can dramatically affect soil health.
Thomas concluded the demonstration by reading from a USDA publication entitled “Conquest of the Land Through 7,000 Years.” The passage, written by Dr. Walter Clay Lowdermilk in 1953, concerns the “Eleventh Commandment.” “Thou shalt inherit the Holy Earth as a fruitful steward, conserving its resources and productivity from generation to generation. Thou shalt safeguard thy fields from soil erosions thy living waters from drying up, thy forests from desolation, and protect thy hills from overgrazing by thy herds, they thy descendants may have abundance forever.” A fitting end for the demonstration that unequivocally demonstrated how good stewardship of the soil can enhance farming operations.
The next stop on the St. Isidore’s Day celebration was the motherhouse for the Sisters of St. Joseph. Here participants were treated to a very informative tour of their organic garden. Lyle Pound, the Motherhouse gardener, spoke about the three aspects of organic gardening: ground cover, composting, and mulching. The motherhouse is home to an impressive array of organically grown foods that not only help to nourish the Sisters but also other residents in Concordia.
A tour of the Motherhouse followed. Built in 1884, one of their first tasks was to build a Motherhouse, which would serve as their convent and as an “academy” for students of all faiths. The original Motherhouse was next to the Catholic Church, at the corner of Fifth and Olive Streets in what is now the Manna House of Prayer. But the congregation was quickly outgrowing that building and Mother Superior Stanislaus Leary purchased land on the south edge of Concordia for a larger convent and academy. The cornerstone for what would be a massive five-story brick and native stone building was laid in 1902, and the congregation moved to the new Nazareth Convent and Academy 13 months later. The tour included a brief history of the Convent and Chapels.
The day was a fitting tribute to St. Isidore and his wife St. Maria. The qualities found in the lives of Isidore and Maria: commitment to family, social justice work, love for the land, service to the poor, and a deep spirituality are qualities that exist in rural America.
St. Isidore’s Day, Wednesday, May 14, 2024 will be held in the East Central Deanery. Please check back for more information as it becomes available.
St. Isidore’s Day 2022
Catholic Rural Life celebrated St. Isidore’s Day on Monday, May 16, 2022, in Hanover, KS. St John the Baptist Church served as the host for this year’s event. Prior to the Monday event, participants from Lincoln, NE and Salina, KS Dioceses Catholic Rural Life Offices and the Kansas City Diocese participated in a very successful nine day Novina for St. Isidore via video conference. A day by day breakdown of the Novina can be found on the Salina Diocese’s Catholic Rural Life web page.
Approximately 70 people attended the Mass which was officiated by members of the Kansas City, Salina, and Lincoln, NE Dioceses. Officiating the Mass were Fr. Quentin Schmitz (St. Gregory’s of Marysville, KS), from the Kansas City Diocese; Fr. Loras Grell, Wymore, NE, Fr. Brian Wirth from the Lincoln Diocese; Fr. Joe Kieffer, Hanover, KS, Fr. Rich Daise, Hays, KS, Fr. Jerome Morgan (Retired), Fr. Soosai Rathinam, Smith Center, and Deacon Ed Souza (Seven Dolors Church, Manhattan, KS) KS all from the Salina Diocese.
Fr. Brian Wirth provided the Homily which was centered on the blessings of rural life and the rich tradition of spirituality in the farming communities in the Great Plains. Fr. Wirth made this point clear when he stated “Farming takes an amazing amount of faith (to help produce) the most perfect and bounteous gift of all; the growing of wheat and grapes to produce the products that will be transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.” He also emphasized that the depending upon faith for a successful crop the farmer, and those who support farming, must work together, not only in faith, but in a spirit of community cooperation and love to survive the ups and downs that are innate in farming.
Activities after the celebratory mass included blessing of animals. A group of Hanover area farmers and ranchers brought their animals to St. John the Baptist Church for blessings. Fr. Rich Daise provided blessings for goats, cattle, and horses.
Emma Brungardt brought her horse, Guy, to be blessed. Guy is a mustang rescued from the 2019 Nevada wildfires and brought to Kansas. Emma, as part of the Kansas Wild Horse Youth Program, trained him in 100 days. Guy participates in high school rodeo and attends as many parades and celebrations as possible to teach people about mustangs. Emma added “He’s truly a great horse.”
Fr. Rich also blessed the Lazy J Longhorns, Greenleaf, KS, brought to the event by Joe Sedlacek. Lazy J has been raising Longhorns for 26 years. Sedlacek stated, with a broad smile, “They are fun to raise.” Lazy J, at one time held the world record for horn length at 10 feet. Now, they have the number two record of 11 feet. Sedlacek, his wife and five children run the ranch of about 160 Longhorns. This is an example of how family comes together to run a farm.
Following Mass and the blessing of the animals, the Alter Society of Hanover provided lunch for the attendees.
The blessing of fields occurred while visiting Rick and Jane Samland, Hanover, KS farmers, butchers, and metal fabricators. They are known as Hired Hands. This family farm demonstrates how our farming families must be prepared and adapt to do whatever is necessary to maintain the family farm.
The Samlands led those participating in the event of a tour of their butcher shop and metal fabrication shops. Samland gave a very interesting presentation on the changes in not only butchering meat but metal fabrication over the years of family farming. Some of the techniques used during the butchering and metal fabrication (blacksmithing) processes of the 1800’s can still be found in use today. During the tour of his fabrication operation, Samland mentioned that his current shop was completed in 2011 “with the help of plenty of neighbors…good people…without their help, none of us could survive.” Once again showing the theme of the day; families, farms, and businesses joined in faith and hard work to keep the family farm thriving.
The group also visited Landoll Corporation, Don Landoll, founder. Over 55 years ago Landoll and a partner purchased a small welding company. Since then, the Landoll family has turned a small Marysville, KS welding shop into a manufacturer of farm and industrial equipment with world-wide distribution. With a vision that includes family, both blood and work families, Landoll has been an innovator in design, manufacturing and marketing of quality products.
Landoll stated: “We have shared our success with the community by being good stewards to the area community, renovating and putting into operation several vacated properties. We have led the revamp of the now completed Catholic school and playground, airport, Library Park, and a reading garden at the elementary school. We have the largest donor while leading fundraising efforts for the area’s new hospital and is now completing work on the Catholic church.”
The group was able to tour a one million square foot state of the art facility. This included areas for shipping & receiving, equipment manufacture, and equipment assembly. Landoll utilizes local labor in conjunction with automated fabrication and welding machinery to produce a quality product. Many of the robotic systems Landoll and his engineers designed and manufactured in order to meet the changing needs of the farming industry.
His business is family oriented; employees participate in a profit-sharing plan. This helps to foster an environment of ownership and pride in workmanship. This also keeps with the theme of the day…family, faith, hard work and pride in a job well done.
The Catholic Rural Life office of the Salina Diocese would like to thank all who came to Hanover and Marysville to celebrate this event. Without the cooperation and involvement of our parishioners and clergy, an event like this would not be possible.
St. Isidore, pray for us!