Matt Maher to perform March 1 in Wichita

Matt Maher, originally from Newfoundland, Canada, has been living in Nashville, Tennessee, for the last six years. But the Nashville music scene has not affected his music, he says.
“I think being in a city full of music creators, though, has fostered and encouraged creativity,” he said last week from Phoenix. “You get into a rhythm of life with your peers, and your spouses don’t feel as crazy for marrying a musician – which is always nice!”
Maher, who is married with three young children, is maturing as an artist, he said.
“I’m a guy in my 40s, so I don’t think I’m necessarily trying to prove myself, but I think there is an element of you’re still ‘kingdom building…not castle building,’” he said. “Hopefully you’re contributing to a larger narrative that is building up the body of Christ and not just building up your own story or your own kingdom.”
The nine time Grammy Award nominee will present a concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at the Cotillion Ballroom in Wichita as a fundraiser for the Midwest Catholic Family Conference.
Maher, a 2015 GMA Dove Award and 2015 Songwriter of the Year winner, said the many awards he has received are an “encouragement to the creative endeavor.”
“But over time you learn that they really don’t change who you are,” he said. “The affirmation for who you are as a human, as a child of God, can only come from God himself.”
He said his Catholic faith is all-encompassing effect on his work. “it presents a comprehensive worldview that informs every facet of existence,” he said. “Faith is not meant to be dusted off or broken out one hour a week on Sundays, it’s the lens with which we are called to view the whole world.”
As a songwriter and as an artist, he said, his faith is informing him constantly and challenging his views on everything: from how he handles money, how he parents his children, how he and his wife communicate and love each other, and what kind of a boss he is to his band members.
Maher said as he moves forward in his career, he hopes to continue “to provide a sound track for peoples’ faith lives and their journeys.”
“That’s what a big part of my music is,” he said. “That’s what contemporary modern music is… and hopefully my music is pushing them toward the Lord.”

Want to attend the Matt Maher concert?
The Matt Maher concert will begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at the Cotillion Ballroom in Wichita.
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. They may be purchased online at Table reservations are available by calling 316-722-4201.

Encuentro to foster evangelization

By Jake Samour
The V (fifth) Encuentro will be held this year at St. Andrew Parish in Independence.
One of the reasons and objectives of the V Encuentro process is to encourage the Catholic faithful to listen with deep attention to the needs, challenges, and aspirations of the growing Hispanic population all over the United States. Above all, it prepares us as a church to better recognize, embrace, and promote the many gifts and talents that Hispanic people share in the church and in society.
The Encuentro process is a national initiative conducted for the first time in 1972, and most recently in 2000. Each event has had the objective of discerning how to serve the Hispanic population in the United States. Today, however, many Hispanics are not taking their faith seriously, and they constitute a large percentage of Catholics in the United States.
There are a number of parishes where the majority of parishioners are Hispanics who did take the initiative seriously. The process, which included five meetings, ended with much success, both in Wichita and in Southeast Kansas.
The V Encuentro has given participants the opportunity to prepare themselves to be true Missionary Disciples: witnesses of God’s Love. It has been an excellent process of listening and of consultation. At the same time, folks experienced the need to unite in prayer to reach the peripheries of our diocese to attract those who have not had a personal encounter with Christ and his church. It also helped remove fears and lent support to families and young people.
The five central themes of the consultation process conducted last year were born out of a desire to have more clarity on how to reach people in the peripheries, find out how they view the church, and how people find Jesus Christ in their daily lives.
The process has taken into account that one can reach people and talk to them about Jesus, only if they first listen to their hopes and aspirations, their sufferings – what breaks people’s hearts today, especially among the young. We also challenge these same people to ask how God wants us to commit ourselves and be witnesses to the Kingdom of God that he is building in our midst.
The Encuentro will be a culmination of all the meetings. At the same time, it will be a preparation for the regional Encuentro in April in Kansas City, and the national Encuentro, in Grapevine, Texas, next September.
We continue on our way in the spirit of Emmaus, with our hearts burning within us, to evangelize, to proclaim the Good News and to take Jesus Christ to an encounter with others.
As we prepare for the diocesan Encuentro, we recognize that we are not an island; we are not a different church. We are one family in Christ and together, through the holy Eucharist, proclaim one church, one faith and one Jesus Christ. We invite all our brothers and sisters in our Diocese to join us in prayer for the success of the Encuentro process.
Samour is the director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life.

Want to attend the Encuentro?
The Diocesan V Encuentro, which will be conducted in Spanish, will take place Saturday, March 17, at St. Andrew Parish in Independence. For more information, call the Office of Hispanic Ministry at 316-269-3919.

Stewardship: heading Jesus’ call to follow

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from Salvador and Erica Zurita's Stewardship Lay Witness Talk. The Zuritas are converts and have been parishioners of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Wichita for 14 years.
When we were first married, we had not formed a spiritual life, and within a few months, our first child was on the way. Suddenly, we found ourselves feeling the need to care for the new life that God was blessing us with, and not knowing where to begin – or even how to begin.
We wanted to create a home that fostered the spiritual growth of every member of our family. Eventually, we became part of the Episcopal Church.
God was providing us with so many blessings that instinctually we felt the need to share these blessings with others around us. We became involved in helping with the children’s program, which gave us many opportunities to start experiencing some of the gifts of what stewardship really means.
Through many circumstances and events in our lives, we came in contact with some Catholic friends who were unafraid to talk about their faith and share their gifts with us. Ultimately our journey brought us to the Catholic faith and to Blessed Sacrament, where we have continued to experience in many ways the stewardship way of life.
When we reflected upon this year’s stewardship renewal poster and theme “Who are you following?” and put ourselves into the scene, it came alive for us. Suddenly, we were that boy on the left who is on his smartphone and is hearing Jesus’s voice saying, “Come, follow me.” Wow! Now, it was different. It was we, not somebody else, who had to respond and who had a decision to make. It became personal. It became real.
That is what stewardship has been like for us at Blessed Sacrament and in the Catholic Church. It has been standing in that moment of decision: Do we look up and heed Jesus’s call, or do we let the busyness of life keep calling the shots?
This is Christ’s church. He is truly here. If we take the time to stop and listen, he is always calling us forward. Receiving the gift of the Eucharist and experiencing Christ’s real presence in the Catholic Church has changed our lives.
We were so fortunate to have witnessed firsthand and to have been the beneficiaries of people who generously shared their gift of the faith with us. Because of their generosity, we are now a part of a community, the ecclesia, which is built upon the rock of Peter.
The truth is no longer shifting and moving like sand under our feet, as it was before. Having this new-found stability has allowed us to focus on discovering what is truly meaningful in life – God’s divine gift of life and love – and has allowed us to pass this gift onto our children and to others, sharing with them all that is good, true, and beautiful. And for this, we are so thankful and grateful.

National and world news, February 16, 2018

Sisters from Minnesota Catholic schools play on separate Olympic teams
ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) — Few schools can claim an Olympic athlete among their alumni base.
Even fewer schools have more than one, especially from the same family. But Hill-Murray High School in Maplewood and St. Odilia School in Shoreview — both Catholic schools — are proud to make this claim.
That’s because Hannah and Marissa Brandt, graduates of both schools, play on women’s Olympic ice hockey teams competing in this year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Hannah Brandt, a recent standout with the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team, is a forward for the U.S. Olympic team, which defeated Finland 3-1 on Feb. 11 and played Olympic Athletes from Russia Feb. 13. Marissa Brandt, who was adopted as a baby from South Korea, used her birth name, Park-Yoon Jung, for the Olympics and plays defense for the combined Koreas, which lost 8-0 to Switzerland Feb. 10.
Hill-Murray and St. Odilia recognized the sisters’ achievements in the weeks leading up to the games. The St. Odilia school office has a display of the Brandts’ successes.
Brian Ragatz, St. Odilia principal, said students are encouraged knowing that these athletes sat in the same desks as they do. He said it “really inspires them a little bit more to go out and reach their goal, because it seems a little bit more attainable.”
Students at Hill-Murray held a red, white and blue dress-up day during National Catholic Schools Week. They wore the colors to raise funds for parents of Olympians to attend the games.
Hill-Murray had T-shirts and sweatshirts made to celebrate the Brandts. The school will also televise their games in the commons area.
Principal Erin Herman said the Brandt sisters excelled on and off the ice in high school.
“Not only are they great athletes, both Hannah and Marissa were outstanding students and all-around wonderful young women,” Herman said. “They are both humble and kind; you would not have known they were Olympic athletes when you met them in the hall.”
At St. Odilia, music teacher Carrie Northrop told the elementary school students about the schools’ two Olympians, whom she taught.
“This had been a goal of Hannah’s since she was a little girl. This was something she talked about when she was going through elementary school,” Northrop said.
Northrop said Marissa Brandt originally was more of a figure skater but chose hockey because of her closeness to her sister. Marissa Brandt had a standout career at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter before making the Korean team.

Update: Report shows NGOs follow policy barring use of aid for abortion
WASHINGTON (CNS) — A Trump administration report on its reinstatement of the “Mexico City Policy” shows that nongovernmental organizations “are willing and able to comply with this policy,” said the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee chairman.
“That compliance does not appear to undermine delivery of appropriate health services,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York in a Feb. 8 statement.
The cardinal, who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, made the comments in reaction to the administration’s release of a six-month report on implementation of the policy, now called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.
The policy ensures that U.S. foreign aid does not subsidize foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform or promote abortion on demand.
In a Jan. 23, 2017, executive memorandum — issued three days after his inauguration — President Donald Trump, reinstated and expanded the policy, which his predecessor, President Barack Obama, rescinded Jan. 23, 2009, three days after his inauguration for his first term.
In May 2017, the U.S. State Department put the reinstated policy into effect. Trump’s memorandum directed the U.S. secretary of state “to implement a plan to extend the Mexico City Policy to “global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.’”
“Global health assistance” includes funding for international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, and family planning and reproductive health.
Cardinal Dolan said the Trump administration has restored “our foreign assistance to its rightful goals of promoting health and human rights.
“Abortion undermines basic human rights, certainly for the child, and it also can wound the mother emotionally and physically,” he continued.
“U.S. tax dollars have no business going to organizations that are unwilling to pursue health outcomes for every person and instead insist on promoting and imposing their abortion ideology on women and children.”
He said the six-month report “provides early evidence” that 729 out of 733 NGOs are complying with the policy.
The Mexico City Policy was first put in place by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. It was named for the city that hosted the U.N. International Conference on Population that year and where Reagan, then in his first term as president, unveiled it.
It was in place until President Bill Clinton took office. He revoked it in 1993, doing away with it so quickly following his inauguration that some participants in the March for Life, conducted two days after the inauguration, carried “Impeach Clinton” signs.
In 2001, President George W. Bush reinstated it in two days into his presidency, expanding it to include all voluntary family planning activities, then Obama rescinded the policy.

Church leaders decry situation in Syria
ZAATARI REFUGEE CAMP, Jordan (CNS) -- As Syria’s war soon enters its eighth year, many decry the recent dangerous escalation in the conflict, whether in the country’s north, between Turkey and the Kurds, or in the south, between Iran and Israel.
Speaking from the sprawling Zaatari Refugee Camp housing 80,000 Syrians near Jordan’s border with Syria, the head of the U.N. refugee agency condemned the recent Israeli-Iranian confrontation over Syria, which threatens to open a new and unpredictable front in the war.

Pope, Melkite patriarch formalize full communion
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Formalizing their unity in the intimate setting of the chapel of the papal residence, Pope Francis and Melkite Patriarch Joseph Absi concelebrated Mass together in the presence of members of the Melkite synod of bishops.
Instead of giving a homily at the early morning Mass Feb. 13, Pope Francis explained the special nature of Patriarch Absi’s visit.
“He is the father of a church, a very ancient church, and he comes to embrace Peter, to say, ‘I’m in communion with Peter,’” Pope Francis said during the Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The Melkite church, one of the many Eastern churches in full union with Rome, “has its own theology within Catholic theology, it has a marvelous liturgy and a people of its own.”
“At this time, a large portion of that people is being crucified like Jesus,” the pope said, referring especially to Melkites who, like Patriarch Absi, are from Syria. “We offer this Mass for the people, for the people who suffer, for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.”
The 71-year-old patriarch, who was elected in June, told Pope Francis, “I cannot describe how beautiful this moment is,” but he said he was “very moved by your fraternal charity, by the gestures of fraternity and solidarity you have shown our church.”
At the end of the Mass, Pope Francis asked the patriarch to join him in giving the final blessing to the few dozen people invited to the morning Mass.
The pope, patriarch and bishops also had met Feb. 12 in the papal library.
“At this difficult time, many Christian communities in the Middle East are called to live their faith in the Lord Jesus in the midst of many trials,” the pope told them. He prayed that the patriarch, bishops and priests of the Melkite church would live in a way that would encourage all the faithful “to remain in the land where divine providence wanted them to be.”
Pope Francis urged them to be “pastors — like the Lord with his disciples — who reanimate the hearts of the faithful by staying close to them, consoling them, reaching down to them and their needs; pastors who, at the same time, accompany them up, to seek what is above, where there is Christ, and not the things of earth.”

Bishop Kemme hopes to unveil vision statement at Chrism Mass March 27

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This past fall, as you may know, I conducted 10 listening sessions throughout the diocese, gathering in various places and with various groups of our diocesan family. These listening sessions were intended to give me an opportunity to listen to the Holy Spirit truly at work in the hearts and souls of the people I and my brother priests are honored to serve.
I can say with all honesty that I was deeply inspired and moved by so much of what I heard, reflecting on three simple but profound questions: What do we do well as a diocese?, What could and should we be doing better?, and, What priorities should we focus on for the next three to five years?
The responses we received were substantial. Among the many themes that emerged from the listening sessions are these: stewardship, evangelization – especially for our youth and young adults, increased Mass attendance, Catholic education, diocesan and religious vocations, increasing needs of those with disabilities, sacred liturgy and reverence, adoration, outreach to the poor and vulnerable, ongoing formation of the clergy, discipleship, tithing, and a host of many other worthy and interesting subjects. In many ways, we do most if not all of these well, recognizing of course that there is always room for improvement.
So, where do we go from here? What is the next step in this important process? I’d like to tell you. Recently, the 15 diocesan delegates who joined me for last summer’s “The Joy of the Gospel in America” national convocation in Orlando, Florida, met over two days and discerned what our vision should be and what priorities we would establish for the next three to five years.
Again, this time was dynamic, engaging, and indeed challenging. We found that there is so much to focus on, but we realized that we would be wise to limit our priorities to only a few so as to ensure success and excellence. We will continue to discern this question for the next several weeks.
It is my hope and plan to unveil our vision statement and the set of priorities at or near the Chrism Mass in March. After that, I will look to our pastors and the directors of our curia offices and other related ministries to take this vision and the priorities and to discern with their various constituents the strategies that they will use to address our diocesan priorities in their particular context of parish life and ministry. I hope this will prove to be a time of renewal for all our parishes, diocesan offices and related ministries.
It is an exciting time for our diocese. As someone said at our recent visioning meeting, we are at a crossroads in our history. Looking back over the past 30 or more years and, indeed, reviewing the entire history of our diocese, we now look to the immediate future. In the spirit of Pope Francis, let us endeavor to bring the Joy of the Gospel to a new generation with renewed vibrancy, enthusiasm and life.
Please know of my profound thanks to all who participated in the listening sessions either in person or through the website of the diocese. Your contribution to our mission is a great gift.
Please continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will give us wisdom, fortitude, understanding, right judgment, piety, courage and fear of the Lord. The Holy Spirit has gifted the church since the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit will never fail us if we seek wisdom from above.
God bless you and may God bless the Diocese of Wichita.
+ Bishop Carl A. Kemme

Abortion survivor captivates pilgrims in Topeka

Melissa Ohden kept everyone spellbound.
She shouldn’t have been there. She shouldn’t have been speaking to the 1,300 – mostly youth and teens – attending the rally. And they hung on to her every word.
“I was not supposed to be born alive,” she said, explaining how her grandmother was the driving force behind her mother acquiescing to abort her baby, the grandmother’s first grandchild.
“I am so thankful that whatever decision my grandmother was making about my life that day, there were nurses on staff who defied her very orders.”
Years later Ohden was contacted by a nurse who explained she had been following the abortion survivor on social media. “I always wondered if you were the baby that I remembered from all those years ago. I bought your book and I know it’s you.”
The nurse said she was in the neonatal intensive care unit the day of the attempted abortion. “I’ll never forget, the door of the NICU came flying open that day and a tall, blonde nurse rushed you in,” the nurse said, adding that the blonde nurse carrying baby Melissa explained – using an expletive – that the abortionist had “messed up.”
The neonatal intensive care unit staff nursed baby Melissa, who had been chemically scalded by a saline solution in an attempt to poison her in her mother’s womb, miraculously back to health. Medical personnel estimated that the 2 lb. 14 oz. Ohden was born at 31 weeks of gestation, about nine weeks short of a full-term pregnancy.
Now in her fourth decade of life, she told the nearly full auditorium about how her adoptive mother and father watched her fight for her life in an incubator. “My parents often tell the story about how the very first time they laid eyes on me, they fell in love with me,” she said. “And I want that for every child in our world. Every child deserves the opportunity for someone to fall in love with them.”
When she was 14 years old a circumstance involving her sister prompted her to ask her mother about her adoptive situation.
“My mother spoke words that no parent should ever have to say. She said, ‘Missy, your biological mother had an abortion during her pregnancy with you. And you survived it.’”
That prompted Ohden’s long search for her medical records. She explained that she was working on a master’s degree in social work, coincidentally, in the city where she was born, Sioux City, Iowa, where she met her husband – the same city she later discovered her biological father lived, although he died before she had an opportunity to contact him. They later moved to Kansas City, Missouri.
After discussing her search and discoveries about her biological family, including two half-sisters, Ohden said she uncovered something shocking: her mother was told that her daughter had died, not that she had lived and was adopted.
“It’s hard for me to put into words what it was like to meet my biological mother,” she said, “except everything I could have ever wanted, and then some.”
Ohden said her mother understood how blessed she was that her daughter was alive and that her daughter was sharing her story in an attempt to change the world.
“My biological mother is truly one of my greatest supporters in this world,” she said, adding that – not so coincidentally – her biological mother also lives in Kansas City.
“Nobody but God could have directed the steps of my life,” she said.

Bishop Kemme’s homily
Bishop Carl A. Kemme and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann were the principal celebrants at a Mass after Ohden’s talk in the Topeka Performing Arts Center.
Bishop Kemme gave the homily where he talked about his parents’ 60th wedding anniversary and the homily he delivered at a Mass celebrated for them.
“At that Mass… I reflected with them at their ‘yes’ to God and to each other. It’s a simple word, yes, but it makes all the difference in our lives,” Bishop Kemme said, adding that that simple word expresses a willingness to cooperate with God’s plan and for the church.
“You see, whenever we say yes to God, something big happens. New life comes about,” he said. “In no way could my parents have ever imagined all that their yes could have entailed.”
To say yes to God is to enter into a new reality, Bishop Kemme said. “And when that is done, with God’s blessing, life spills out and heaven and earth are forever changed. “God is the author of life, both human and divine. God is the creator of all and we are the created. And God has a plan for life – for yours and for mine.”
The Catholic pro-life rally in the Performing Arts Center began with music by Wichita Adore Ministries.
The event ended with a march to the Capitol where Gov. Sam Brownback was honored for his pro-life efforts and where pro-life legislators were introduced. Kansans for Life also held public rallies at the Capitol.

About Melissa Ohden
Ohden, who lives in Kansas City, Missouri, is the founder of The Abortion Survivors Network. She was the speaker before a Mass in the Topeka Performing Arts Center and at a pro-life rally Monday, Jan. 22, on the south steps of the Capitol in Topeka. More about her and her organization may be found at

Record number from diocese march in D.C.

The theme for this year’s March for Life was “Love Saves Lives,” and there was a lot of love and passion for life from the record number of pilgrims from the Diocese of Wichita, Bonnie Toombs said.
Sixteen buses carried 750 pilgrims, including 21 priests, from the diocese to the 45th annual March for Life that marks the 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
Toombs, director the diocesan Respect Life and Social Justice Office, said the number of priests who endured the bus trips to and from the march and who provided spiritual direction was an inspiration to the laity.
“What a gift the clergy are!” she said. “Each pilgrimage is somewhat unique. This year the youth impressed me with their desire to learn how they can bring the message home to their families and parishes.”
Also this year, for the first time in march history, a sitting president addressed participants, Toombs said.
“He had a great line that highlighted the reason we go, and also why we work throughout the year in our own schools, towns, cities, and state, “ she said.
“Because of you,” President Trump said, “tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full, God-given potential – because of you.”
Stephanie Nemechek, a member of St. Mark Parish in Colwich, said the teens of the diocese who participated in the march truly understand the importance of standing up for the right to life.
“It was very moving to be in a large conference room filled with teenagers on fire about their faith, enthusiastic during the pre-march rally, and reverent in prayer during Mass and adoration,” she said.
Many of the teenaged pilgrims told her that praying the rosary in front of Planned Parenthood in Washington, D.C., moved them.
“Watching young women and men entering the facility where abortions take place brings to reality the need for our prayers,” she said.
The 21 priests attending from the Wichita diocese brought incredible energy to the March for Life pilgrimage, Nemechek said. “It was a great opportunity for teens to interact with Bishop Kemme and the priests.”
Jason Creed, a member of St. Joseph Parish, McPherson, said it was inspiring to watch youth from throughout the diocese gather as one voice to stand up for the unborn.
Although the purpose of the march is to stand up for the unborn, he said, “it becomes more than that as all the participants take part in a spiritual journey through daily Mass and Liturgy of the Hours. These experiences foster the opportunity for both the youth and adults to grow in their faith as they participate in prayer – while sacrificing comfort and sleep during the trip.”
Suzette Sponsel, a member of St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Schulte, said she was impressed by the large number of pilgrims who sacrificed to make it to the March for Life.
Bishop Kemme, the number of priests who accompanied the pilgrims, and the hundreds of thousands of fellow pro-lifers at the march, also impressed her.
“It was an amazing experience,” the Bishop Carroll Catholic High School student said. “You could feel the energy in the crowd, especially when President Trump expressed his support to us.”

Fr. Kevin Weber to speak and sing at the annual Night of Romance on Feb. 10

This year’s Night of Romance Saturday, Feb. 10, is especially timely. It will be held during National Marriage Week, is just a few days before Valentine’s Day, and will help prepare anyone planning to attend the World Meeting of Families Aug. 21-26 in Dublin, Ireland.
Father Kevin Weber, pastor of St. Mary Queen of the Universe Parish in Salina, will be the keynote speaker and will sing at the 18th Annual Night of Romance Saturday, Feb. 10, at Church of the Holy Spirit in Goddard.
Father Weber plans to talk about the importance of prayer and sacrificial love in the marriage relationship.
“My music background is fairly simple,” he said via email. “I have been singing since I could talk. My mom said that at age 2 I used to walk around the house singing commercial jingles and songs I had heard my older siblings listening to on the radio.”
He used his voice as a cantor at church when he was 15 and majored in music performance at Fort Hays State University, he said, “only because it was the only thing I had any interest in, to see if I could make it in college – I didn’t think I had a chance, as I did not see myself as a very good student before I went to the seminary.”
After his sophomore year at F.H.S.U. he transferred to Conception Seminary in Conception, Missouri.
Father Weber said he uses music when he hears lyrics that can be incorporated into a homily.
“I will explain how the lyrics accentuate a point from the scriptures for that weekend,” he said. “It seems to work pretty well. I have had people tell me about a homily I gave years before and they never forgot the message because when they think about or hear the song, they remember the point.”
He said comments like that give him confidence that his technique works.
“If a person comes out of Mass and says, ‘Father, I loved the song.’ I will always say, “Great, but did you get the message?” I have never had a person who has not been able to tell me what the message was. If that ever happens, then I know that I failed, because I was just entertaining and not giving a homily.”
The theme for the 18th annual Night of Romance is “The Glory of Love.” It will be held from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at Church of the Holy Spirit in Goddard. Those attending are invited to a vigil Mass at the parish at 5 p.m.
The evening, whose theme is “The Glory of Love,” is part of National Marriage Week Feb. 7-14.
Jake Samour, director of the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life, recalls that St. Pope John Paul II once said the future of the world and the future of society passes by way of the family.
“And so when we see families being torn down, struggling and of course, a lot of children are growing up in broken homes. We have a society that does not value children, it doesn’t value the things that are good for them…to help them thrive.”
One way the Night of Romance will help couples and families is to celebrate the glory of life, Samour said.
“We’re bringing Father Weber who will not only give us a reflection on the beauty of love but also through the beauty of music,” he said. “He will sing a few songs to entertain the couples.”
Marriage and family are meant to be a sign of God’s love, he said. “We can speak of the glory of love because married and family love are an image of the glory of the God, who is love.”
Samour added that the Lord is present in families, even in the midst of their daily struggles, in good times and in bad.
“The glory of family love is made up of thousands of small gestures. God makes his dwelling place in each of these encounters which deepen communion,” he said.
“The triune God is a communion of love and the family is its living reflection. This is why the love shared is glorious since it is filled with the love of God.”

Want to attend?
To register, visit

McKnight ordination Tuesday in Jefferson City

Bishop-elect McKnight to be the fourth bishop of the Missouri diocese
The Rev. W. Shawn McKnight, bishop-elect of the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, will be ordained Tuesday, Feb. 6, as the fourth bishop of the northeast Missouri diocese in St. Joseph Cathedral in Jefferson City.
Pope Francis appointed Bishop-elect McKnight, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, in November to succeed Bishop John R. Gaydos, who is retiring after leading the Jefferson City diocese for 20 years. At the time of the appointment, Father McKnight was pastor of Church of the Magdalen in Wichita.
“As space in our cathedral is limited, the installation Mass must be a ticketed event for invited guests,” said Fr. Joseph S. Corel, pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Holts Summit and transition coordinator for the Jefferson City diocese.
He said three representatives from every parish and mission in the diocese will be among those invited, along with all of the priests, deacons, and religious sisters and brothers serving in the diocese.
“At the same time, we want it to be a universal celebration for the people of God throughout these 38 counties and beyond,” Fr. Corel said. “We urge people to tune-in on any of the media outlets that are offering coverage and join us in asking God to fill our new bishop with grace and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
“We’re also encouraging people to make this a communal event, gathering with family, friends and fellow parishioners and taking in the experience as local manifestations of the church,” he said.

Feb. 5 evening prayer service open to the public
A prayer service on the evening before the installation will be led by Bishop Emeritus Gaydos and Bishop-elect McKnight. It will begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 5, in the Cathedral of St. Joseph, 2305 W. Main St., across from Memorial Park in Jefferson City.
They will lead church representatives from throughout the United States, other Christian leaders from the area, state and local dignitaries, out-of-town guests, and the faithful from throughout the Jefferson City diocese. Bishop Emeritus Gaydos is scheduled to preach the homily. Bishop-elect McKnight will make a public pledge of fidelity and obedience to Pope Francis and his successors during the service.
The public is invited to the evening service. Afterward, Bishop-elect McKnight will greet guests during a reception.
Overflow parking will be available in the Memorial Park parking lot across West Main Street from the cathedral.
(This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in the Catholic Missourian, the newspaper of the Diocese of Jefferson City.)

Want to watch the ordination?
The ordination is scheduled to be broadcast online and via cable by EWTN, between 2 and 4 p.m. CST Tuesday, Feb. 6. Father Michael Nolan, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, will provide commentary.

Catholic institute founder to speak at Blessed Sacrament on topic of disciples

Catholic author Sherry Weddell to speak next Saturday at workshop
Sherry Weddell, founder of the Catherine of Siena Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will lead a one-day workshop about Forming Intentional Disciples Saturday, Feb. 10, for this year’s Winter Summit, sponsored by the parish and the diocesan Office of Faith Formation.
There isn’t a recipe for forming disciples, Weddell said earlier this week in a telephone interview from her office in Colorado Springs.
“It depends on where they’re coming from, their situation, how God is leading their lives,” she said.
“And it also depends a lot on their background. Increasingly we’ve got people who have heads filled with anti-Christian ideas and those have to be ‘dismantled’ first before they can move ahead.”
To be a good disciple one must be personally engaged in a relationship with Jesus Christ, she said.
“It isn’t just showing up at Mass,” Weddell said. “There’s a distinction the church makes in her teachings between the capacity, or the power to have faith, and the personal act of faith. All of us who are baptized have been given the power to have faith. The question is whether we have exercised it.”
The personal act of faith, she said, is a person making a personal, intentional, free “yes,” to the invitation of Jesus to follow him as a disciple.
“Now, how people get to that place and make that, does vary,” Weddell said. “And I’ll be talking about that journey at considerable length.”
Catholics need to get over the “culture of silence” regarding talking about Jesus, she said, adding that the culture can be understood as “somehow we just don’t talk about where you are and your loving relationship with God and you will never ever have to talk about that with anybody else, we’ll just presume that’s all been taken care of. Meanwhile we’ll keep you busy at the parish.”
Wendell said a friend of hers says lay Catholics treat Jesus like Voldemort is treated in a Harry Potter movie. “Jesus is he who must not be named in Catholic culture.”
Part of her talk will involve how to end the culture of silence on a personal and parish level, she said.
The elements of a fruitful parish will be discussed at the workshop, Weddell said, and how disciples of Jesus affect the parish and the diocese.
The result is that gifted leaders start emerging, she said, “and they undertake new initiatives that we haven’t even thought of. All this kind of stuff is very typical of a community where lots and lots of disciples are emerging and maturing and starting to bear fruit.”

Want to sign up?
The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at Church of the Blessed Sacrament, 124 N. Roosevelt, in Wichita. The talks, in English, will be translated simultaneously into Spanish.
The workshop is free. To sign up, call 316-440-1709, email, or visit