Bishop Jackels hopes the faithful come to better understand our connection with each other and with our church family in heaven By Christopher M. Riggs Bishop Michael O. Jackels hopes the celebration of three events for the next 12 months will bring the faithful of the Diocese of Wichita together as one church family. Recognizing the anniversary of the creation of the diocese or the completion of the cathedral is what families do, he said. “Most families will come together and celebrate a wedding anniversary … because when this man and woman were married, a new family was begun and normally that new family then buys or builds a house or rents one and that becomes the family home.” The day of the wedding and the family home are very important, Bishop Jackels said, because they are symbols of who they are and they are points of identification that unify people. “I think you can see the truth of this when you look at what happens to the family when parents, when both parents, pass on to glory, or when the family home is destroyed or sold,” he said. “It puts the family and unity at risk. It weakens it a little bit.” The diocesan celebration can be compared to a family’s celebration, he said, adding that on Aug. 2, 1887, “a new family” was created – a diocesan church family.
“A bishop was named to this new church family, who is referred to as the father of the church family, Bishop Jackels said. “At the same time a church is designated as the cathedral, the church home for the diocesan church family.” St. Aloysius Church was designated as the cathedral, the home church of the diocesan church family, Bishop Jackels said, until 25 years later when the present cathedral was completed. The recognition and celebration of the cathedral strengthen the sense of family within the diocese, Bishop Jackels said. How do these celebrations connect with the way forward? Bishop Jackels said when he spoke to the faithful at the numerous visits he made to parishes throughout the diocese during his TOGETHER Vision tour, he made it clear that even after the requests for contributions to help renovate the Cathedral campus, to help educate seminarians, or to help schools through the St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School Fund, he “wanted to make it clear that even though that’s over, it’s not over.” Instead, he added, the celebrations highlight the importance of “together.” “I am not a single, solitary, individual, autonomous Christian,” Bishop Jackels said. “But every parish belongs to a larger church family – a diocesan church family. I like to say that ours comprises everyone from Bushton to Baxter Springs and from Fort Scott to Zenda and all points in between.” Even the diocese belongs to the wider, universal church family, he said. “And we can take it even further. Our universal church family is directly connected, we are related to our church family, the elect, the blessed in heaven.” What can people expect during the year of celebration? Several activities are planned to celebrate the two anniversaries and the Year of Faith, Bishop Jackels said. One will be his Jubilee Tour, from August 2012 to February 2014, where he will visit every parish and preach at every weekend Mass. The Jubilee Tour is planned to help Bishop Jackels thank everyone for their participation in the TOGETHER Vision and to call attention to the important symbols of church family unity: the founding of the diocese and the completion of the cathedral renovation. “There will be different pilgrimage sites inviting people to make a pilgrimage as a way of renewing faith,” he said. “There are going to be different educational offerings, especially related to the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism.” The activities will be published in the Catholic Advance and at the diocesan website. How do you feel about this year of celebration? Bishop Jackels said he is excited and that it is by God’s grace and providence that he is the father, the bishop of the church family, the spiritual husband of this church family, at the time the diocese is celebrating the anniversaries. “I look upon it as a cause for rejoicing. I think the observance alone will also help to strengthen an already strong unity in our church family,” he said. “I think it’s an occasion for us to renew our faith, to deepen our participation at Holy Mass on Sunday or on the weekdays.” He said it is also a great opportunity for the faithful to learn about the documents of Vatican II and to become more familiar with the Catechism. “There’s just untold blessings and opportunities afforded us,” he said. What would you ask of the faithful of the diocese throughout this year? Bishop Jackels said if he were to ask anything of the faithful of the diocese, it would be that they embrace their parish as their family, not just as the place where they receive the sacraments or take their children to school. “Whenever we celebrate an anniversary – whether it’s of our diocese, or the cathedral, or the Year of Faith or the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, or the Catechism – these are occasions for us not to just look back, but to look back in order to clear our vision of the future, to look forward, the way forward to strengthen our unity, to strengthen our quality of worship … and to strengthen our service to those who might need a helping hand to make the world a different place a better place,” he said. “This is an occasion to make that more a part of our lives and I hope that’s something that we all try to do.”
Celebration story at-a-glance The Diocese of Wichita will be celebrating three events in the next 12 months: • 125th anniversary of the founding of the diocese, Aug. 2, 1887 - Aug. 2, 2012 • 100th anniversary of the completion of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sept. 19, 1912 - Sept. 19, 2012 • Year of Faith, requested by the pope to recognize the anniversaries of the Second Vatican Council and the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Pilgrimage sites designated for celebration Nine churches have been designated as pilgrimage sites for the diocesan celebration More information about the year may be found on pages 10-11. You may also visit www.catholicdioceseofwichita.org/celebration.
Year of celebration pilgrimage sites Sept. 2, St. Anthony, Garden Plain Sept. 9, Our Lady of Lourdes, Pittsburg Sept. 16, Sacred Heart, Colwich Sept. 30, Saint Patrick, Parsons Oct. 7, St. Francis, St. Paul Oct. 21, St. Anthony, Wellington Oct. 28, St. Patrick, Kingman Nov. 4, St. John Nepomucene, Pilsen Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the spring
Nine churches designated as pilgrimage sites for the diocesan year of celebration
Father Jason Borkenhagen has been coordinating for the last few weeks with his brother priests to set up pilgrimage sites to celebrate the quasquicentennial, otherwise known as the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Wichita. Father Borkenhagen, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Parsons, scheduled nine pilgrimage sites for the diocesan celebration. “None of these parishes were parishes designated in 2000 when we did this for the jubilee,” he said. “This seemed like a good way to get people to see some of the other historic churches in the diocese so that they can make a pilgrimage, which is typical in jubilee years – and hopefully have a spiritual experience.” The parishes are pilgrimage sites the entire year of celebration but were asked to set aside a day for a special event to commemorate the pilgrimage, such as a Mass or Evening Prayer with Veneration of the Blessed Sacrament.