Catholic schools are worth every dime

By Bob Voboril, Superintendent of Schools
Summer, more than any other time of the year, is when I hear screams of agony about the cost of Catholic schools. The fiscal year has ended. Expensive repairs are being made. Pastors already know the biggest expense for the next school year: salaries and high school support.
As the one with the financial responsibility for the three diocesan high schools, I share every groan that comes from the heart of a pastor. There are no two ways about it, Catholic schools are expensive.
Sometimes the pressure gets so great that the Catholic school becomes only a cost. A very dedicated pastor once said to me, “Sometimes I think of each high school student only as an expense.” Outside of our diocese, most parishes provide little support for Catholic high schools. A large parish in the Midwest with an excellent school recently completed a strategic plan. As I searched through the plan, I found only one reference to the school, and it was a budgeting reference. Shortsighted? Yes, but I sympathize.
Nor is this anything new. When I was a new Catholic school teacher in 1972, my starting salary was $5,900, and when I became a principal/grade 7-8 teacher three years later, my salary climbed all the way up to $6,200. Catholic school finances are not for the faint of heart.
Globally, there have been two major efforts to address the problem of school cost. The first was to close schools. The second was to make the parents pay most of the cost. Both efforts failed.
In the 1970s and 1980s schools were closed so that the money could be diverted to other important works of the church. Father Charles W. Regan of Wichita, who would later be named monsignor, warned against robbing Peter to pay Paul. He said at a press conference in 1965, “I am convinced that dropping grades or closing schools will plunge us into a disaster from which we will not recover in our lifetime.”
He was right. Mass attendance plummeted. Parish involvement declined. Parish finances dried up. The number of priests, sisters, and seminarians dropped dramatically. In a time of rapid change when society needed more students with a moral compass, the church produced fewer.
Recent years have seen a second approach. Dioceses are utilizing a model that replaces parish support with tuition as the primary source of funding. The results are also obvious.
In the last 25 years – roughly my time as a superintendent – Catholic school enrollment in the U.S. has dropped by 700,000 and 1,300 more schools have closed then opened. As tuition goes up, enrollment goes down, and the trends listed above continue.
Thankfully, the Diocese of Wichita went against the national trend. Instead of putting the financial burden on families when their children are the youngest and their pocketbooks the lightest, the parishes of our diocese agreed to shoulder the financial burden. Instead of bragging about being college prep, we opened our doors to all active Catholics. Our brand became “Catholic first…” and our mission is to form disciples.
Consider the remarkable fruit of our parish-based system. Mass attendance in our diocese is twice the national average. Average Sunday giving is about four times the national average. Our schools have 50 alums studying to be priests, brothers, or sisters. School attendance defies national trends and remains steady. Our Catholic schools are considered a national model for Catholic culture.
Even with our overriding focus on mission and discipleship, our Catholic schools are still respected for superior academic performance. ACT test scores are a full two points above the state average. More than twice as many high school seniors graduate from college than the state or national average. State assessment results, especially for low income and minority youth, far exceed the state average. The Catholic school focus on personal relationships, stewardship, and the whole person produces true scholars who make a difference in this world and give glory to God by the lives they live.
Let’s not kid ourselves, however. Catholic schools continue to be an expensive investment requiring on average, 70 percent of parish income, or about $40 million a year in the Diocese of Wichita. In comparison, the State of Kansas also commits 70 percent of its revenue to education.
Yet Catholic school leaders still struggle to pay competitive salaries and staff schools adequately. This is not a problem that is ever going to go away.
Nevertheless, it is worth it. Because beyond the financial challenge and the personnel nightmares, Catholic schools remain the best way to form adult Catholics. There is simply no replacement for 35 hours a week spent in the shadow of the church.
Catholic schools are the best way to engage families. Catholic schools give parishes a noble mission. Catholic school graduates are far more likely to attend Mass weekly, marry in the church, stay in the church, come back to the church, support the church, and work for the church. Jesus meant it when he gave the church the Great Commission: “Go and Teach.”
On Sept. 7, 1972, Father Arthur Busch penned an editorial in The Catholic Advance entitled “Never Been Finer.” Father Busch praised his education in a two-room Catholic school in Chase, and how its four graduates were successful at Chase High School and beyond. Father Busch summed up his article with these words: “Catholic schools are worth every dime we spend on them.”
I know that in my 45 years as a Catholic educator I have never been as proud of any work I have done as I am of the Catholic school system of the diocese and the pastors, educators, and families who make it possible. The financial headaches are real, but Father Busch was right: our Catholic schools are worth every dime we spend on them.

Bishop: Diocese committed to the protection of children and youth

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
One of the most important responsibilities of the Catholic Church is to provide a safe environment for everyone who seeks the grace of Almighty God through the various ministries offered by the church. This commitment is paramount as we continue the loving ministry of teaching, governing and sanctifying begun by Jesus Christ over two millennia ago and now entrusted to us in our day and time.
What is a safe environment? It is a context in which every person’s dignity is protected, honored and valued. This is especially essential for children, youth and all those who are vulnerable and need the extra diligence of the church and her ministers, be they bishops, priests, deacons, or members of the laity.
For this reason, the diocese goes to great lengths in training priests, seminarians, teachers, coaches, parents, and volunteers in helping us maintain truly safe environments for everyone who comes within our sphere of influence through ministry. We also do extensive background checks on those individuals who are employed by the diocese or who volunteer in ministries which serve the more vulnerable of our people, such as children and youth. We will remain diligent in our efforts to provide a truly safe environment.
This year, I will conclude my service as a member of the Bishop’s Committee on Child and Youth Protection representing Region IX of our conference. The work of this standing committee is to ensure that on a national level we do all we can to protect children and youth in every ministry in our church by a diligent implementation of the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Therefore, I Carl A. Kemme, bishop of the Diocese of Wichita, pledge my support to this national effort by diligently enacting policies which safeguard minors in our diocese. The Policy on Suspected Abuse of Children, which has been in effect since 1992 is regularly reviewed and revised thanks to the good work of the Office for Human Resources which oversee the policies and procedures for Safe Environment as well as the Diocesan Review Board. I wish to thank my staff and the members of the Diocesan Review Board with whom I meet on a regular basis, for this important work.
We as a diocese will work with parents, educators, civil authorities and various organizations in the community to provide the safest possible environment for children and youth. Additionally, diocesan officials will respond promptly to any allegation where there is reason to believe that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred, whether recently or many years in the past, observing norms that ensure justice for the alleged victim as well as for the accused.
Thank you for your kind attention to this important part of our diocesan life.
+ The Most Reverend Carl A. Kemme, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Wichita

$600,000 grant designed to help St. Anne School’s challenges

Like many other center city schools, Catholic and otherwise, St. Anne Catholic School in Wichita has some challenging demographics. Class sizes are large with 23 students per classroom.
Seventy-four percent of the children qualify for free- or reduced-priced hot lunches. Seventy-three percent come from homes where English is a second language. Recent academic achievement ranks below average.
Thanks, however, to a partnership with Catholic Charities, St. Anne has received a five year $600,000 21st Century Community Learning Center grant to create learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities to help the children meet state standards in core academic areas, literacy and other education services to the families.
St. Anne Principal Pam Stead said, “Students are not only showing an increase in reading and mathematics, they are also blossoming as they learn about the world of work, crafts, or skills.”
The grant provides for two sets of activities: it funds 23 weeks of after-school activities, and six weeks in the summer.
The after-school program lasts for two hours. It begins with snacks and exercises followed by an hour of oral reading and academic tutoring. The final 50 minutes are spent with enrichment activities such as art, piano lessons, sewing, engineering, etc. Foster Grandparents from Catholic Charities provide one-on-one literacy tutoring during the summer. Youth development activities include drug and violence prevention, counseling, art, music, recreation, technology, and character education.
During the second year, the grant will also provide workshops for parents designed to improve parenting skills and age-appropriate communication with children.
A Family Reading Program is being instituted to support family literacy. Other topics have included internet safety, responsive discipline, nutritional activities, budgeting, and English instruction.
Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools Bob Voboril is particularly grateful for the assistance of Catholic Charities in obtaining the CCLC grant.
“Since the Catholic schools cannot accept government money, St. Anne Catholic School would not have this grant without the support of Wendy Glick, executive director of Catholic Charities, who arranged for Catholic Charities to oversee, manage, and administer the grant. Catholic Charities is a good friend of Catholic education, and we thank them.”
St. Anne is the third school to receive the 21st CCLC grant. Holy Savior and St. Patrick, Wichita were previous recipients. DeAnn White of Wichita wrote the grant for St. Anne’s.
Stead, added, “It has been so much fun to watch our youngsters become more proficient in their school work, and also blossom as they discover new interests and talents. Because of the 21st CCLC grant, St. Anne is better able to form lifelong learners who realize the need to better themselves and everyone around them.”

Teachers honored for long service in Catholic schools

Sister Rosemary Sieg, of the Congregation of St. Joseph, was honored last week for completing 60 years of teaching in the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Wichita.
Sister Rosemary, an alumna of St. Mary School in Newton, has taught there since 1984. She began her teaching career in 1955 at St. Mary School in Parsons and has taught at St. Anthony, Wichita; St. Anthony, Wellington; St. Mary’s Cathedral; St. Jude and Blessed Sacrament, Wichita; and St. Mary’s, Derby. She also taught in Texas for four years.
At the diocesan Teacher’s Sectional, Aug. 10 in Wichita, Sister Rosemary said she had taught every grade, kindergarten through eighth grade, and that even after 60 years, she still feels the same enthusiasm and anxiety for the first day of school.
Along with Sister Rosemary, 106 other teachers were honored for five year increments up to 40 years of service to the Catholic schools of the diocese.
Annette Dinkel Clutter, kindergarten teacher at St. Anne, Wichita was honored for 40 years of teaching in the diocese. After an initial two-year stint at Blessed Sacrament, she has taught kindergarten for 38 consecutive years at St. Anne’s.
Five teachers were honored for marking 25 years of teaching:
• John Barber, English department chair at Bishop Carroll, has taught all 25 years of his career at Bishop Carroll. In addition, he has served as a soccer coach and debate coach.
• Mary Jo Hunninghake, 25 years at Blessed Sacrament, Wichita. She currently teaches second grade.
• Michael Laubhan, 25 years at Bishop Carroll, after eight years in public education. Laubhan has taught history, geography, and physical education while serving as an assistant football coach.
• Mike Skaggs, now at Bishop Carroll. He previously taught elementary school at St. Francis of Assisi and St. Elizabeth Seton. He is a former assistant principal at St. Thomas Aquinas and for five years served as principal of St. Jude, all in Wichita. Since 2013, Skaggs has taught social studies and coached soccer at Bishop Carroll.
• Janet Walsh has taught in four diocesan schools since 1980: St. Joseph, McPherson; and three Wichita schools, St. Jude, St. Francis of Assisi, and, since 2013, Resurrection. She is also the mother of Fr. Andy Walsh, a diocesan priest.

This year’s stewardship poster challenges us to choose Jesus or the world

This year’s stewardship poster challenges modern lifestyles.
The poster features a silhouetted Jesus, St. Peter, and a third figure, an anonymous person looking at a cell phone, that represents the person looking at the poster.
In front of a sunset scene that could have been taken at any lake in Kansas is the phrase: “Who are you following?”
The poster depicts St. Peter, one who chose to follow Jesus, and an anonymous figure who seems to be focused on the many distractions the world offers.
Father Ken Van Haverbeke, director of the diocesan Stewardship Office, said the poster challenges us to see how every choice, no matter how small, can have an eternal significance.
“The poster and the theme are designed to help us understand that ultimately we all choose to follow someone or something,” he said. “The world – like no other time in history – offers distractions that can lead us away from Jesus and his invitation to follow him.”
The poster is an invitation to follow Jesus and to respond to his invitation of discipleship by our stewardship of all of our choices and gifts, Father Van Haverbeke said.
“Stewardship is gratefully recognizing and receiving God’s gifts,” he said. “How will the anonymous person in the poster respond? Will he recognize the distractions and the traps of immediate gratification he is being offered? Or will he, like Peter, drop everything, nets and cell phones, and follow Jesus?”
There is nothing wrong with a hand-held electronic device or any other modern convenience, Father Van Haverbeke added. “On the poster both silhouettes are holding something: for the boy the telephone perhaps represents relationships with friends; for Peter, the fishing nets perhaps represent work. Both are gifts from the Lord, but even God’s gifts sometimes have to be released in order to fully embrace Jesus.
The poster reminds us how every choice can have an eternal significance, he reiterated.
A copy of the poster will be included in the Sept. 1 edition of the Catholic Advance.

Sr. Mary Lucia makes perpetual vows as an IHM

Sister Mary Lucia Stuhlsatz made her perpetual profession and solemn consecration as a Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Saturday, June 24, at St. Mary Church in Aleppo.
The daughter of Perry and Janet Stuhlsatz, members of St. Mary Parish, Aleppo, Sister Mary Lucia grew up as the third oldest of 10 children. Many members of her family served for her profession Mass.
Bishop Carl A. Kemme was the main celebrant during which Sister Mary Lucia once again professed the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience – this time perpetually. She made her first profession three and a half years ago, during which she grew in her relationship with God and the community and deepened her understanding of the vows.
As is customary for the IHMs, Sister Mary Lucia signed her vows on the altar. The vows were then placed under the corporal that would be used for the Eucharistic celebration, thus uniting her act of perpetual profession with Jesus’ loving sacrifice on the Cross.
Following the profession of vows, she knelt before the bishop for a solemn consecration, whereby she would forever be set apart by God. In the prayer of consecration, Bishop Kemme, with hands outstretched over her, prayed, in part “...Father, we earnestly pray you: send the fire of the Holy Spirit into the heart of your daughter to keep alive within her the holy desire he has given her.” She then received a wedding band to symbolize her perpetual spousal relationship with Christ.
In reflection, Sister Mary Lucia said, “The morning of my profession found me in a state of nervousness, as any bride would be; by the evening, my heart was overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s goodness and His calling of me to a deeper union with Him and a life of service with and for Him.”

Catholic conference draws large crowd

About 4,500 attend regional event
This year’s Midwest Catholic Family Conference drew many more souls than conferences in the last few years.
Kevin Regan, director of the event, estimated the numbers at about 4,500, with exact numbers yet to be determined.
“The bottom line is that if you bring in the big names, you’ll get the crowds,” he said last week.
One of those names, Scott Hahn, one of the most popular Catholic speakers in the country, packed Convention Hall for his three talks Friday night and Saturday morning.
The convert and professor of theology at Steubenville University in Ohio, talked about how Italian Cardinal Carlo Caffarra received an unexpected reply from Fatima visionary Sister Lucia after writing her asking for prayers. She replied, in part, that the “decisive battle” between the Lord and Satan would be regarding marriage and family and that the battle is being fought today.
The battle is not a modern one, he said, adding that the battle was initiated at the dawn of history when Satan tempted Adam and Eve. “We need to recognize the importance of this,” he said.
Hahn, whose talks centered on the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, said he first heard about Our Lady of Fatima on his fifth wedding anniversary. On the day they were planning a dinner celebration, Hahn said his wife, Kimberly, went into labor and instead of going to a five star restaurant, they drove to the Grove City, Pennsylvania, hospital.
To pass the time he turned on the television and heard the distinctive voice of Ricardo Montalban narrating a documentary about Our Lady of Fatima. “I was transfixed, but Kimberly was having contractions and said. ‘Would you help me and quit watching TV!’”
In the documentary, Montalban talked about the miracles of Fatima and how they were witnessed by thousands, Hahn said. “I had never heard of any of it.” It was published in the Lisbon newspaper. “Nobody could deny the miracle of the sun!”
That turn of events led Hahn, and later his wife, to become Catholics.
After his conversion, discussed in his book Rome Sweet Home, Hahn said he began thinking about ways to build bridges to the church for “our separated brothers and sisters.” Mary was one of the challenges.
But, she was the perfect follower of Jesus, Hahn said, she is the perfect model, adding that the faithful should follow Mary as she follows Jesus.
“When we behold the Blessed Virgin, we behold the masterpiece of Jesus,” he said. “Jesus is the light of the world, but she is the perfect prism‚ she is Jesus’ most perfect work.”
The Blessed Virgin Mary was his last impediment to him becoming Catholic, Hahn said, taking years of study and struggle to overcome. And today the rosary is his favorite prayer. “I studied the Bible but I didn’t really know it until I read it through her eyes.”
On Saturday Hahn talked about the Holy Family, how Jesus is common in the earthly trinity with Mary, and Joseph, and the eternal Trinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. “Jesus is the earthly image of God the Father,” he said.
“God takes his place in the (earthly) holy family and invites each of us to find our place in it as well,” Hahn said.
When Jesus cried out on the cross to his Father, he said, he gave us the spirit of sonship so that we, too, can cry out ‘Abba!’, he said.
“Nobody looked in the mirror this morning and said, ‘Finally, I’m holy!’ he said. “On earth all of us are saints in the making.”
In fact, Hahn added, we are on “probation,” working to stay in a state of grace and using the Sacrament of Confession to return us to that state of grace when we sin.
“Heaven is not another denomination,” he said. “There aren’t two churches…the angels and the saints above are united to us.
“This is why we’re here, this is the reason we were made. Heaven right now is thriving, it’s not some kind of retirement community. They’re asking us to look up to them.”
The love that our friends and family have in heaven is what God has perfected, he said. “They understand in ways that we can’t. They have moved on, moved up, and moved in. Talk about having friends in high places!”
Hahn said we on earth are the Church Militant because we are in a battle. Those in heaven, “you might say, are the high command.”
“The church on earth is not a nursery, it’s more like a boot camp, like a field hospital,” he said. “The saints are simply those who graduated from the school of suffering. Those in hell are those who chose to drop out.”
“We are members of one body,” Hahn said, “they are members of the same body.”
“God loves us more than we can possibly imagine. He’s given us families to give us a foretaste of what it will be.”

Rachel Balducci
Rachel Balducci, after opening with a prayer, looked out to those seated in front of her and joked that she was told she would be speaking at the same time Scott Hahn was speaking and said, “I’ll take one for the team!”
The mother of five boys and a girl from Augusta, Georgia, talked about the trials of young motherhood for her topic about ways to become a saint. “Mass was torture for all of us. Adoration was out of the question.
She said despite the challenges Mass presented, she understood she needed to train her children to love church.
In one of her attempts she thought it was time to try adoration and told those attending her talk how she drove to an old church in downtown Augusta, unloaded her children, and before she had a chance to sit in a pew a fight erupted and she immediately gathered up her children and ushered them out.
“The idea of being a saint is something I have aspired to but life’s circumstances have conspired against me,” she said.
Why should we try to be a saint? “Everybody has a chance to be a saint,” she said, explaining that to be a saint is to be holy and to be holy is to follow God’s will and to will the good of others.
“The saints were humans just like all of us,” she said. “The path to sainthood is our own path.”

Steve Ray
Apologist and convert Steve Ray opened his talk by recommending families eliminate television and use that time for family time and for books.
He said his father didn’t allow television in the house and described how books and family time took its place. He said he was sure his father, a Baptist, was in heaven, but was probably surprised that he had to make a stop in Purgatory.
Ray said his father worked the same job at Ford for 35 years. “I asked my dad why he was never promoted,” he said. His father explained that he had been offered a promotion many times but when he asked if the promotion meant he would have to work weekends, he turned down the offers because they would have interfered with his role as a father to his three sons.
While talking about early Christianity and why it took root and changed the world, he asked those attending, “What if I said I’m going to start a club in Wichita and within three years you’re going to be dead, who would join?”
It was the way Christians died that helped Christianity grow, he said. “Justin Martyr was converted because he watched the Christian die.”
Romans died very poorly, Ray said, but they saw how Christians were noble in death, and when being executed helped one another to the last minute. “Pagans started watching the Christians and realized they had something they didn’t have.”
How are we going to share the Gospel today? he asked.
Ray said the first thing the faithful should do is start with a clean slate – confession, something he initially hated, and talked about consulting a thesaurus before confession to find words that made his sins sound less bad.
“I have to swallow my pride, I have to humble my self,” he said. Now I love to hear ‘Your sins are forgiven!’”
Ray told those attending to stop being fearful, stop being embarrassed, and to stop being self-conscious, that it was time to carry out the New Evangelization.

Raymond Arroyo
Raymond Arroyo, Catholic television host and author, talked about how fiction can save the culture.
“I believe we’re in the predicament we’re in today…because we stopped telling stories,” he said. “We allowed others to whisper stories into the ears of our children.”
And then we’re shocked when they acted accordingly, Arroyo said.
He asked those attending what stories influenced them as children. After several titles were called out from the audience, Arroyo shared that one woman, at another conference, answered: “Curious George Goes to the Hospital.” The impact the book may have had on her life was apparent when Arroyo explained she he was the head of nursing at the local hospital.
“They set the internal compass in each of our lives,” he said. “It is critical we give good, nourishing stories to read. Stories are a window to the larger world, a way to make sense of what we’re about to encounter.”
Stories are the most underutilized tool we have today, he said. “Good stories come out of lives well lived.”
Arroyo said everyone in the room has a good story to tell and began talking about a sickly man who didn’t have many human friends, but had many animal friends. “He found it easy to channel his thoughts through animals,” Arroyo said.
The man, E.B. White, would later closely observe a spider on a farm that would lead him to write the book, Charlotte’s Web.
“We need stories of salvation,” Arroyo said. “The lesson of White is that there are stories all around us.”
Passing good, healthy fiction is critical, he said. “Show me what people are reading, what people are watching, and I’ll show you the future.”
Ray Bradbury, who wrote Fahrenheit 451, said to destroy a culture you don’t need to burn books, just get people to stop reading them, Arroyo said.
He also talked about how modern education is failing and how a poor education is connected to prison rates.
“If a parent can’t read, they can’t pass that skill onto their children,” he said. “If people can’t read, they can’t be free. We can’t have a vibrant society if people can’t read.”
“The most staggering thing I’ve discovered in the last few months,” he said, was when he visited Princeton with his son. He said he learned about a study in which 400 people read a chapter of Charles Dickens inside an MRI. Their brains engaged the same way at the same time.
“Jesus had this figured out 2,000 years ago and we’re just catching up,” Arroyo said. “The world is wider and more wondrous than we can imagine. It’s important we remind our children about that.”
Good stories transform us and they’re needed he said. “The world is starved for wonder and joy.”

Want to hear one or all of the talks?
Audio of nearly all of the talks presented at this year’s Midwest Catholic Family Conference are available until Aug. 31 by visiting gotruth.com/wichita.

Catholic Charities program ends service

The Mount grew from 14 to 38 bedrooms, but other programs in the community reduced the need for the transition to permanent housing
The Mount, a diocesan “family enrichment complex,” that opened in 2015 at Mount St. Mary’s Convent in Wichita is now closed.
Shutting the doors on a venture is usually associated with a degree of mourning, but for Catholic Charities the recent closing of the transitional housing is a reason to celebrate: those in need were finding permanent housing.
Wendy Glick, executive director of Catholic Charities, said when you’re serving the homeless and hungry, “it’s a joy to be out of a job – and this is one of those situations.”
Of course, Jesus said, “the poor will always be with us,” Glick added, “but it’s nice to know that this continuum of care work is successful.”
She said a combination of church, community, and federally-funded programs resulted in a diminished need for The Mount, which was founded to temporarily house and to educate the chronically homeless and others to find and retain permanent housing.
“The model and the program that we designed was to be able to give families some extended time in order to save up money, and maybe find a better job in order to access permanent housing,” Glick said.
In 2013 and 2014, when Catholic Charities was researching the needs that would be addressed by The Mount, individuals and families whose crises had passed were taking up room in two of Charities emergency shelters, the St. Anthony Family Shelter and Harbor House, because they had no where else to go.
“The Mount was designed to provide them that extra time in addition to freeing beds in our emergency shelters,” she said.
The need grew from 14 bedrooms in October of 2015 to 38 bedrooms during the summer of 2016, when The Mount, located near Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph, was at capacity.
“Things were going well,” she said, “we were transitioning people out of The Mount into permanent housing. It was so joyful to be able to provide that for the families we were serving.”
By November, though, Catholic Charities began to see the numbers dwindle, fewer people were needing help at their emergency shelters, which resulted in fewer individuals and families needing housing at The Mount.
Although the need for housing is always low at the first of the year, partly because those in need have received income tax returns, Glick said the downward trend continued into March.
After inquiring with other agencies Catholic Charities learned that related community efforts such as changes in programs at the Salvation Army and the Union Rescue Mission, federal Section 8 housing vouchers, and transitional housing programs, such as the Congregation of St. Joseph’s Bluffview Place, were able to accept those in transition to permanent housing, thus eliminating the need for The Mount.
All of those programs and changes resulted in a decline from needing 38-bedrooms to only about seven bedrooms a few months ago.
Glick said they learned from their experience at The Mount to better collect data, an experience they are now applying to other Catholic Charities’ programs.
“We found out that nearly 80 percent are still in permanent housing,” she said. “We’ve begun using the same procedures and structures and collecting data for both Harbor House and St. Anthony Family Shelter.”
The educational programs offered through The Mount have had long-term benefits, she said. “One woman told us that she had $900 in savings and that was the first time she’d ever had that in her life, and that was a result of her experience at The Mount.”

40 Days for Life set for Sept. 27-Nov. 5

The faithful of the Diocese of Wichita or invited to take part in a prayerful presence from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 27 to Nov. 5 at the abortion clinic in Wichita.
The campaign, 40 Days for Life, will be held at 5107 E. Kellogg. Those who wish to participate may sign up online at 40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/Wichita.
Bonnie Toombs, director of the diocesan Respect Life Social Justice Office, said her office is coordinating the effort to end abortion in Wichita as part of the coordinated, international mobilization for life.
The 40 Days for Life campaign is firmly rooted on a foundation of prayer and fasting, she said.
“To help maintain focus on the Lord and stay in tune with his guidance, we will prepare and distribute a series of daily devotionals – one for each of the 40 days of the campaign,” she said. “We fervently believe that prayer and fasting will end abortion, and your prayers will be very much needed and appreciated.”
During the 40 days, individuals, churches, families and groups will be asked to join together in prayer for a specific request so the entire Body of Christ can unite around a common focus.
These specific prayer requests are for the mothers and unborn babies at risk for abortion, those who have participated in an abortion, abortion clinic workers, political leaders, and for repentance and healing in the United States.
Toombs is also calling for the faithful to fast during the 40 days.
“Christ said there are demons that can only be driven out by prayer and fasting,” she said.
“A fast is not a Christian diet, it is a powerful means of drawing closer to God by blocking out distractions. Fast from certain foods. Fast from television. Fast from apathy and indifference. Fast from whatever it is that separates you from God.”

Have some time to give for life?
Those who wish to participate may sign up online at 40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/Wichita. For more information call or email 316-269-3935 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Pope Francis Build needs hands

Build dates open in September and October

Pope Francis Build has several open dates that need filling
Five construction dates are open for this year’s Pope Francis Build.
“I am in need of at least 10 people each day to say, ‘I’d love to help with this!’” said Bonnie Toombs, director of the diocesan Respect Life and Social Justice Office.
She said it was important that the September dates be filled as soon as possible for construction to stay on schedule.
“It is so much fun to come out and work and learn,” she said. “You don’t have to have great skills, just a willingness to learn and find joy in helping others!”
The building dates that are open are Thursday and Friday, Sept. 7 and 8; Friday, Sept. 22; and Thursdays, Oct. 5 and 19. Those who wish to help with the build may visit CatholicDioceseofWichita.org/rlsj.

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