A blessed Christmas to all

“Do not be afraid; for behold I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”(Lk 2:10-12)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Solemnity of Christmas will be upon us very soon. I wish to take this opportunity to extend to all of you, the people of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita my heartfelt wishes for a blessed and joyful Christmas. I pray that you and your loved ones will experience the deeply personal love of God as you gather for Christmas Mass and later with family and friends to continue to celebrate the wonder of the incarnation of God’s only begotten Son.
I encourage you to make Christmas a spiritual time, a time of prayer and worship, a time to rejoice in the seemingly small and sometimes hidden graces of God, a time of reflection on the state of our world, country, communities and families and a time to invite Jesus Christ more fully into your heart as Messiah and Lord.
God chose to enter the world of flesh and blood as a baby, a small defenseless child, born into a very poor family, to be born in a manger, a place where farm animals escape from the cold and eat. These biblical truths remind us that God works in mysterious ways and that he chooses people, places and circumstances in which to bring about his plan, that often defy human logic and reason.
God, who is greater than the cosmos, all powerful and all knowing, chooses to be small, powerless, vulnerable and weak, demonstrating to those with faith that as St. Paul would say many years later, choosing” the foolish of the world to shame the wise, the weak of the world to shame the strong, the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something.” (1 Cor 1:27-28)
Friends, we are among the foolish, weak and even sometimes despised of the world, but God has chosen us, like the shepherds, to announce and proclaim good news of great joy.
Like previous generations, ours also needs and deserves to hear this good news and see it lived out in works of faith, hope and love, so that all will come to know that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”(Jn 3:16)
Will we go forth with this message, proclaimed in word and deed? Will we be missionary evangelists and disciples at home, at work, at school, wherever we find ourselves, proclaiming and living Christmas joy and peace? May God help us to fulfill this mission every day of 2018 and beyond! God bless you all! Merry Christmas! ¡Feliz Navidad!
+ Bishop Carl A. Kemme

Orienting prayer for the faithful

Ministry helps adoration participants get a sense of the transcendent
There are few practices more spiritually fulfilling than Eucharistic adoration, but a group of volunteers is making prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament nearly transcendent.
Jesse Elpers, a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Wichita, said the seed for Wichita Adore Ministries, or WAM, was planted about six years ago with a group organizing Eucharistic adoration.
“And back in 2014 it kind of blew up. Suddenly there were hundreds of people coming to each adoration event,” he said. “Since then we’ve done probably 230 adoration events or retreats and other events around the diocese and the archdiocese of Kansas City and a couple outside of the state.”
Elpers said WAM assists parishes, Catholic schools, and retreats with adoration events, and last year began designing productions for larger Catholic events such as youth rallies and youth conferences that include sound, lighting, photo, presentation, and video. And they do it with just over a dozen or so volunteers.
The ministry was a fruit of adoration, he said, adding that it was clearly the result of inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
“We try to dress up adoration at our events to make it very easy to, one, focus on the Eucharist and two, to start a prayer with Christ,” he said. “A lot of people who come to our events are not regular adorers – people who don’t have a weekly adoration hour. But we’re hoping to provide them with a medium to go through a holy hour, whether that be with worship music or silence during an event, and make it easy to focus on the Eucharist on the altar through careful lighting and setup.”

Want to host a WAM event?
Parishes or Catholic ministries interested in hosting a Eucharistic adoration events with Wichita Adore Ministries’ assistance, may contact Jesse Elpers at jelpers@wichitaadore.com or at 316-295-6805. See related story on page 8 of the print edition.

Is the school the sole mission of a parish?

What we’ve learned about Stewardship
By Fr. Ken Van Haverbeke
“Does this parish exist to run a school? It seems to me, that we are spending too much money and energy on our parish school? What about other activities and ministries? Is the education of our children our only mission?”
These are good questions that came from a middle aged man at a parish town hall meeting. Sometimes we can be so focused on doing something because “we have always done it that way” that we must stop and reassess why.
In the Diocese of Wichita, we have 120,527 individual parishioners. In our 39 grade and high schools, we have close to 11,000 students. If you were to add up the number of students plus their families, one would see that this is a large group in the parish and diocese and hence it would make sense to direct much of our time, talent, and treasure toward this population in the diocese.
However, we would be gravely mistaken to exclude other missions within the parish or diocese. But how do we prioritize the many possibilities?
“I really hate mission statements!” Cody, a long time parishioner told me: “We spend forever creating them, and then they get stuck on the front of the bulletin where no one reads them.”
How true! But “missions” or mission statements help us to focus our time, talents, and treasures. They allow us to gratefully recognize and receive our needs and gifts, and show us where to share our gifts, such as in a Catholic school or a St. Vincent de Paul society. A mission statement allows a parish to intentionally make use of its resources.
Another way of looking at a mission statement is to think about “core values.” A core value is something that is important to you. Most parishes would include the corporeal and spiritual works of mercy as core values.
The corporal works of mercy, based on Matthew 25:31-36, are: feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; clothe the naked; shelter the homeless; visit the imprisoned; care for the sick; bury the dead.
The spiritual works of mercy, commanded or encouraged in many places of Scripture, are: admonish the sinner; instruct the ignorant; advise the perplexed; comfort the sorrowful; bear wrongs patiently; forgive all injuries; pray for the living and dead.
In the Diocese of Wichita, we have learned while Catholic education of the children is seen as very important, other missions are also generously and sacrificially supported.
Some examples: Eucharistic Adoration (three fourths of our parishes have some sort of regular Eucharistic adoration); compassion ministries to the bereaved, home bound, hospitalized, elderly; The Lord’s Diner and the many parish food pantries; mission shops where clothing is distributed; funeral dinners; Mass intentions for the dead and living.
It must be remembered by parishes who have Catholic schools, in placing much energy and resources in one mission, we must not neglect others.

Appeal to help parishes with second priest is about two-thirds funded

Fund helps several financially-strapped parishes with second priest
Blessings sometimes present challenges.
Last May the diocese was blessed with the ordination of 10 priests who were assigned to numerous parishes, a few of which had not had two priests for many years – or ever.
“Bishop Kemme ordained 10 men to the priesthood and 10 to the transitional diaconate in May,” said Michael Wescott, director of the diocesan Office of Development and Planned Giving. “That means, God willing, in June we’ll have 20 young priests ministering to the good people of our diocesan family.”
That blessing also presents challenges – especially to parishes that receive assistance for their schools through the St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School Fund. The unplanned $40,400 needed for the salary and health benefits for a second priest, the blessing of a parochial vicar, stresses the parish’s budget.
The Parochial Vicar Assistance Appeal was created to help four parishes in the Wichita area – Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Patrick, St. Anne and St. Margaret Mary – over a three-year period. The parish pays half of the parochial vicar’s salary the first year, half the second year, and then two-thirds in the third year. The difference will be made up through the generosity of those contributing to the appeal.
“It is intended that at the conclusion of three years, the parish will sustain the cost of a parochial vicar through the generous stewardship of their parishioners,” Wescott said.
The three-year, total goal for the appeal is $175,000. As of last month, $117,000 had been donated to the fund, nearly 67 percent of the amount needed in just seven months.
“I want to express – especially on behalf of Bishop Kemme – the gratitude and great appreciation to the donors for their commitment to the Stewardship way of life in making this initiative successful,” Wescott said.
“The four parishes that have benefited this past year through the additional ministry of a priest are truly blessed by the sharing of the donors’ gifts of treasure.”

Dying is a part of life, a transition to God

Life-prolonging procedures may be rejected if they are burdensome
The dying need not resist death, Pope Francis says, the church doesn’t require that every means available be used to prolong their lives.
But, the dying must be accompanied with the love of family members and care of medical professionals, he told members of the European members of the World Medical Association meeting at the Vatican Nov. 16-17.
Father Thomas Welk, who has been involved in hospice in Kansas since the early 1980s, agrees with the pope. Fr. Welk says he sometimes shocks people when he reminds them that “our mortality rate will always be 100 percent.”
A Missionaries of the Precious Blood priest, Fr. Welk, is director of Professional Education and Pastoral Care for the Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice in Wichita.
There was a time when people believed one should do everything one could to prolong life – no matter what, he said earlier this month. “We’ll, that was easy enough to follow when we had, basically, no curative intervention.”
That’s no longer true, Father Welk said, adding that because medical technology is so advanced, the issue of what one can and what one should do can be confusing.
The U.S. bishops make it very clear in their 2009 document, Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, he said, that this moral obligation to use ordinary means is only to be done when there is a reasonable hope of benefit.
“And then they mention excessive burden goes all the way to what kind of expenses are going to be involved,” Father Welk said.
He said the bishops’ statement can be more easily understood by tying it to the Baltimore Catechism.
The church has two pillars regarding life, he said: Life is sacred from beginning to end, it’s a precious gift of God, and that we are stewards, not owner, of our bodies; the second is related to the question, “What’s the purpose of life?”
“And we know from the Baltimore Catechism that the gift of life is given to us to know, love, and serve God and one another in this world,” he said.
And when our bodies are unable to continue in this world, what are we to do? “We let it go and love and serve God in the next world.”
Our duty to preserve our physical existence, our bodies, is not absolute, Fr. Welk said. “We may reject life-prolonging procedures that are insufficiently beneficial or excessively burdensome.”
Joseph Louis Bernardin, who died from pancreatic cancer in 1996, said death is initially seen as an enemy, Fr. Welk said, adding that the cardinal stated “sooner or later death is no longer the enemy, death becomes a friend.”
Death, Fr. Welk said, becomes “the healer,” the means of our entrance into a fuller, eternal life.

Want to read the bishops’ document about death, dying?
The USCCB document “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” is available for download at usccb.org. Use “ethical religious directives” in the search engine box.

South Koreans visit diocese on tour of Servant of God Emil Kapaun sites

By Scott Carter
Three representatives from a school in South Korea with ties to Father Emil Kapaun visited sites in the Diocese of Wichita, including Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School, Fr. Kapaun’s namesake, Nov. 26-28.
The trio were in the diocese to learn more about the life and legacy of Servant of God Father Emil Kapaun. Father Michael Chang, Gabriel Kim, and Raphael Choi, who used their Americanized first names, traveled over 6,600 miles from Gwangju, located in the southwest corner of South Korea, to visit the home diocese of Father Kapaun.
Father Chang is the principal of Salesian Middle and High School, which was started in Father Kapaun’s honor in 1956. Kim and Choi are teachers. In addition to learning more about Father Kapaun, they hoped to make connections to help bolster the identity of their school and inspire their students.
Salesian was built during reconstruction that followed the Korean War, which ended in 1953 with a cease-fire. As stories of Father Kapaun’s heroism spread, several U.S. Army Catholic chaplains serving in South Korea organized an effort to memorialize him. The chaplains collected money for the school at Masses they celebrated with soldiers in Korea. Donations also came from the Holy See and the Armed Forces Aid to Korea program.
To oversee the school, the bishop of the Archdiocese of Gwangju invited the Salesian Fathers, whose patron is St. John Bosco, and who specialize in educating youth. Over 500 students are enrolled in the seventh through ninth grades, and over 700 in the 10th through 12th grades.
The three visitors were able to travel to Father Kapaun’s hometown of Pilsen, where Father Michael concelebrated Mass at St. John Nupomucene Church with the pastor, Father Darrin May. Afterward they toured the Chaplain Kapaun Museum and heard stories of Father Kapaun’s life from Rose Mary Neuwirth and Harriet Bina, two of the local Father Kapaun guides. They also met with Father Kapaun’s nephews, Ray and David Kapaun. Although the visitors enjoyed trying our American food, they were excited to treat Ray to some authentic Korean food – or at least the closest thing they could find in Wichita.
Their tour included Kapaun-Mt. Carmel High School in Wichita. In 1956, Bishop Mark K. Carroll dedicated the all-boys Chaplain Kapaun Memorial High School using seed money raised by several of Father Kapaun’s fellow Prisoners of War. The school later merged with Mount Carmel Academy to become Kapaun-Mt. Carmel, but it still carries Father Kapaun’s legacy. The visitors toured the school, and with President Rob Knapp discussed the possibilities of the two schools becoming sister schools dedicated to Father Kapaun’s honor.
Before leaving, the South Koreans talked about the work of the Holy Spirit as Father Kapaun’s story continues to spread throughout the world. As Father May put it at the end of Mass at Pilsen, “It is amazing to think of all the good that has come simply from one person following God’s will.”

Maize student fearful about future after decision to review the DACA program

By Savie Hughes and Bailey Birkholz
For a majority of her teenage years, a Maize High School student has stood up for illegal immigrants. Being an immigrant herself and having relationships with other illegal immigrants, she said she felt she was the right candidate to take a stand.
Everything changed recently when her parents told her she was a part of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, instead of being a resident as she thought for 14 years.
“I am good at standing up for other people,” she said. Her name is not being used to keep her anonymous. “But then it became me. I got scared, and I am still scared. But finding out about it kind of made me even more passionate. Really there is nothing to be ashamed of. We are Americans, just not on paper. ”
President Donald Trump ordered a congressional review of the DACA program last September. Congress has through March to decide to keep the program, reform it, or declare it unconstitutional. If Congress decides to end the program, 800,000 immigrants, referred to as Dreamers, would be eligible for deportation.
The Maize student said the United States is the only country she ever wants to know. “I’ve only known America, America is my home,” she said. “I’ve grown up in Maize, Kansas, I’ve lived in the same house since I was 3 years old.”
She was brought from another country on her parents’ visa as a child. However, about a year and a half later, the visas expired and could not be renewed.
“My parents made the decision they would rather stay here and face the challenges of being an undocumented citizen than going back to [my home country] and face the oppression,” she said.
She said her parents raised her to believe she was a resident to protect her from ridicule and fear. When she turned 15, the age of eligibility to join DACA, her parents applied without informing her. It wasn’t until two years after she was enrolled in DACA, and a week before Trump announced the program would be reviewed by Congress, that her parents told her.
“So, when I found out, it was kind of like 14 years of fear flooding into me all at once, which is really overwhelming,” she said. “But they did it to protect me from myself, in a way, because they didn’t want me telling anyone.”
She said people still bullied her for being an immigrant in general and that she is fearful about how people within her community will react to the DACA students.
“I hope that they would be one of those communities that wouldn’t turn their backs on me or the other students,” she said. “There are a lot of people who might be against immigrants now and the undocumented, but if they find out who is undocumented, and find out the type of people they are, it might change their minds.”
Within high school she said she worries about how her peers would view her if they knew who she was.
“If other students at Maize High do find out, you don’t know how they will react,” she said. “You don’t know how they will treat you after it. Right now I am trying to not let fear rule how I live my life. I have never done that before so I am not going to start now.”
This story is an edited version of an online article. The entire article may be viewed at MaizeNews.com/11422/news/a-life-in-limbo.

Married couple don’t let disabilities get in the way of serving the church

Voice of Ability
By Beth and Marvin Patterson
We met through some friends. We were married in May 1987 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Wichita by Fr. James J. Billinger.
We both have a learning disability, and I am hearing impaired – deaf in one ear, limited hearing in the other ear.
We have owned our own home for 21 years. All paid for. We recently remodeled our home in-and-out. We go to St. Joseph Church where we are both Eucharistic ministers.
Marvin belongs to the St. Margaret Mary Council 3677 Knights of Columbus. We like to volunteer for the Ministry with Persons with Disabilities at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference, the Sedgwick County ARC, and Faith and Light.
Speaking of Faith and Light, we are co-coordinators for our group, Light of Christ Faith and Light Group. We meet the first Thursday of the month at St. Joseph Church. Faith and Light started in 1971 by Marie Helen Mathieu and Jean Vanier. There are 1,500 groups world-wide for persons with disabilities and special needs.
I work for First Student School Bus Services as a monitor for Special Education routes, USD 259. Marvin is retired now. He loves it! He loves to garden and mow grass. He keeps very busy.

Diocesan news, December 15, 2017

Bishop Kemme’s calendar
Here is Bishop Carl A. Kemme’s calendar for the next several weeks.
Dec. 16-17: Parish pastoral visit to St. Andrew, Independence; and St. Francis, Cherryvale
Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Mass at 5:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes in Pittsburg
Dec. 25: Christmas Mass at Oswego jail
Jan. 4-11: Region IX bishops annual retreat
Jan. 13-14: Parish pastoral visit to St. John, Clonmel
Jan. 15-16: Kansas Catholic Conference of Bishops in Topeka

Surviving Divorce program begins Jan. 8
The diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life is hosting another 12-week “Surviving Divorce” program beginning Monday Jan. 8.
The event will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School at 3642 N. Ridge Road in Wichita.
The program offers valuable insight to everyone, despite how long ago they were divorced. It is designed to bring hope and healing to divorced and separated Catholics. Topics such as shock, denial, anger, grief, guilt, forgiveness, money, the courts, the kids, the ex-spouse, annulment, dating, sexuality, spirituality, remarriage or staying single, and more, will be discussed.
The cost is $35 and includes a “Personal Survival Guide.” To register, call 316-425-0595 or email clista@saintcatherinewichita.com.
Parishes may request the program by contacting the Office of Marriage & Family Life at 316-685-5240.

Seminarians, Trinity alums basketball game Dec. 29 at Hutchinson
The Serra Club of Reno County will host its annual basketball game pitting seminarians and priests against Trinity alumni Friday, Dec. 29.
The evening, a benefit for the seminarians, begins at 5:30 p.m. with a sloppy joe and hotdog dinner. The game begins at 6:30.
The event will feature performances by the Little Cheer and Dance girls from Holy Cross, assisted by the Trinity Cheerleaders and Dance Team.
A goodwill offering will be taken up to benefit the two Hutchinson area seminarians, Andy Beugelsdijk and Christopher Rumback. In addition, game officials will be “accepting financial assistance” to help them with their officiating.

The Daniel Plan for downtown Catholics begins on Jan. 10
A class on the Daniel Plan, a healthy lifestyle program, will be offered from noon to 1 p.m. beginning Wednesday, Jan. 10, at the St. Joseph Pastoral Center, 437 N. Topeka.
Participants are invited to bring their lunch and listen to a DVD series created by some of the top experts on spiritual, physical, and emotional health. The program is for people who want to get healthy but don’t want to go on a diet. It is based on five areas, incorporating faith, fitness, food, friends and focus.
The cost is $15 for each six-week session and includes a workbook. To register or for more information call the Office of Marriage and Family life at 316-685-5240.

Next Catholic Advance
The next Catholic Advance publication date is Friday, Jan. 5.
To advertise, call 316-269-3968 or visit CatholicAdvance.org.

Pro-life ministry offering ‘pill kills’ DVD free of charge
Physicians prescribe the pill to many young women to regulate monthly cycles, lessen cramping, or to control acne.
But the life and health threatening side effects from taking the pill are not worth it, according to the West Sedgwick County Chapter of Right to Life of Kansas. The pill not only causes abortions but has dangerous side-effects.
The chapter is offering a free DVD, “The Pill Kills Symposium,” that explains the problems associated with the pill.
For free copy of the DVD, send an email jcsfam6@yahoo.com with your name and address, or call Carolyn at 316-531-2227. For more information or to watch the DVD online, visit ThePillKills.org and click on “2012 National Symposium” box on the left of the home page.

Several ‘last chance’ Masses now available
There are now several late Sunday Masses in Wichita:
5 p.m.: Holy Savior
5:15 p.m.: Blessed Sacrament
6 p.m.: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton; St. Anne, en español
6:30 p.m.: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, en español
7 p.m.: St. Paul, WSU; St. Patrick, en español
9 p.m.: St. Paul, WSU

Struggling with pornography?
Those who are struggling with pornography and need spiritual help may contact a priest of the Diocese of Wichita for help.
To do so, send an e-mail to ineedhelpfather@gmail.com. “Our Lord always provides a means to overcome sin!,” the priest says.

The pope’s intention
Here is Pope Francis’ prayer intention for this month:
The Elderly: That the elderly, sustained by families and Christian communities, may apply their wisdom and experience to spreading the faith and forming the new generations.

Parish news, December 15, 2017

WAM hosting evening at Cathedral
Wichita Adore Ministries will host a prayer and social event Thursday, Dec. 28, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.
The evening will begin with adoration at 7:30 p.m. At around 9 o’clock a social and dance will begin in Good Shepherd Hall.
The ministry is offering 12 adoration events in 2018 to parishes in the Diocese of Wichita at no cost. The events are designed to foster faith and prayer. For more information visit WichitaAdore.com/2018.

Event Jan. 20 to feature prayers for life in five languages
A pro-life rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet will be recited in five languages beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, in All Saints Church in Wichita.
The faithful are invited to join as one body in Christ for the event to lift up their prayer to fight the culture of death and to pray for all its victims.
The event is sponsored by the All Saints Respect Life group.

Musicians workshop Jan. 20 in Augusta
A Liturgical Musicians Workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at St. James Church in Augusta.
Christopher Walker from Oregon Catholic Press will be a major presenter. The event is open to all clergy and musicians. Visit npmwichita.org for further information and to register.

Sunday Mass pilgrimage ‘through time’ planned
Lance Reichenberger, a member of St. Joseph, Andale Parish, is organizing an ongoing Sunday Mass pilgrimage to a different church in the Diocese of Wichita, starting with the oldest and ending with the newest.
He plans to visit each church in the diocese. St. Mary, Queen of Angels, in Fort Scott, is the oldest church in the diocese still in use, and is first on the list and is scheduled for Sunday Jan. 21.
Reichenberger said depending on the number of persons interested, they will carpool or caravan. Pilgrims should meet at the Westlink Community Library just west of St. Francis of Assisi in Wichita. They will leave at 6:45 a.m.
No other activities are planned for the pilgrimage, except for an optional lunch, to keep the rest of Sunday open for family.
Those interested may contact Reichenberger at 316-706-1560 at lbreich88@gmail.com or via his Facebook page.

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