Thursday, 04 April 2013 10:56
One of the purposes behind a gathering March 13 at Hartman Arena in Wichita was to help the 5,000 Catholic school students there understand that they are more than members of a parish, they are members of a diocesan church.
That purpose was magnified at the Youth Rally and Mass sponsored by the diocesan Catholic School Office. All 6,000 at the rally understand, in a way that they’ll never forget, that they are members of a faith that crosses all borders, one that goes back 2,000 years.
Cheers erupted after it was announced before the afternoon Mass that white smoke was pouring out of the smokestack at the Vatican. When it was learned that it would be about an hour before the new pope’s appearance, Bishop Michael O. Jackels began Mass.
After Communion – perhaps the result of timing by the Holy Spirit – Pope Francis walked out on the balcony of the Vatican to the thunderous cheers of the crowd watching on a huge screen via an internet feed.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools Bob Voboril gave all the credit for the successful day to Jamie Finkeldei, director of Student Services, and to his committee.
“I have heard nothing but compliments for the entire day,” Vobroil said. “Father Jarrod (Lies) was masterful in orchestrating the day – the 5,000 students were most attentive. The eight religious orders which were recognized seemed most grateful. The veteran teachers and staff members who were guests of honor appreciated the recognition.”
He said it was a great day to celebrate being Catholic. “I rather suspect that those students and teachers will not soon forget where they were when Pope Francis was chosen.”
Voboril said Bishop Jackels gave an extraordinary homily about the church being one family from the Bishop of Rome down to the pastor of a parish.
“However, the Holy Spirit intervened to cap our faith rally with such an historic announcement,” he said. “We had arranged with the camera operators to cut over to the Vatican if an announcement was made. To see bishop and the priests all come down off the stage to watch the announcement highlighted the momentous nature of the announcement.”
Krista Gorman, principal of St. Mary’s school in Fort Scott, said she was overwhelmed and that everyone around her was in tears.
“To celebrate it with all the kids in our diocese, our diocesan schools, and bishop being there and all the priests,” she said, “it made it so much, almost, majestic.”
She said the response by the students and adults at Hartman was as if Pope Francis was a rock star. “It was just unbelievable.”
Gorman, who brought her third through fifth grade students on a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception after the rally, said the three-hour trip to Wichita was something they don’t get to do very often.
“We thought it would be just an awesome day, something they would never forget,” she said, adding that a trip to the Cathedral made the day even more special.
Fey Barles, principal of St. Patrick School in Chanute, said her first through fifth grade students understood how extraordinary the day was. “They even made a comment that it was ‘the best day ever,’” she said, “because not only did they get to visit the bishop with all of the schools and visit the cathedral, they got an extra treat of the papal blessing.”
Barles, who also took her students on a pilgrimage to the Cathedral, said the visit was special for her students because they embraced the TOGETHER Vision.
“Two and a half years ago Bishop Jackels started visiting,” she said. “He visited our school and after that we did a lot of fundraising. So, we kind of feel that were part of all of this that is going on right now. These kids remember that they had bake sales for the TOGETHER Vision and they presented their gift to the bishop. I’m sure they’ll connect that with visiting the Cathedral … and say we were part of that.”
Honorees at the Youth Rally and Mass
Several awards were given at the Youth Rally and Mass Wednesday, March 13, at Hartman Arena in Wichita.
Two persons were inducted into the Catholic School Hall of Fame: Patrick J. Forbes and Sister of St. Joseph Catherine Dreiling.
Forbes served as principal, teacher, and coach in the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Wichita for 45 years, from 1960 to 2005, the longest tenure of any lay educator in the history of the diocese. In his 41 years at St. Mary’s Colgan in Pittsburg, 32 of which were spent as high school principal, he became legendary for commanding excellence, character and fair play.
The late Sister Catherine was a long time mentor, teacher, and administrator in the Diocese of Wichita. She taught in parish schools in Pratt, Independence, Kingman, Pittsburg, and Arkansas City. In 1949 she was the founding principal of Holy Savior Catholic School in Wichita where she served as principal for 11 years. From 1960 to 1972 Sister Catherine served as a diocesan school supervisor, or assistant superintendent. When she died in 1983, she had given 45 years of service to Catholic education.
• The Society of Jesus, for its contributions to the diocese beginning in 1847 with an Osage Mission School in what is now St. Paul; for 100 parishes and missions established in Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, by Father Paul Ponziglione; and for their other contributions to Catholic education including the opening of Chaplain Kapaun Memorial High School in Wichita.
• The Sisters of Loretto, who joined the Jesuit priests and brothers at the Osage Mission in October of 1847 and opened a school for the Osage girls. They also opened St. Ann Academy in St. Paul and served briefly in Parsons and Chanute. They withdrew from Kansas in 1892 after a fire destroyed the academy.
• The Congregation of St. Joseph, which as the Sisters of St. Joseph, arrived in 1883 to serve St. Mary Parish in Newton, a mission they still serve 130 years later. In time, half the Catholic school teachers in the diocese were Sisters of St. Joseph. In Wichita they staffed the Cathedral schools for almost 75 years, Blessed Sacrament for eight decades, and St. Patrick, Wichita, for 90 years. Altogether, Sisters of St. Joseph staffed 90 different schools, chiefly in this diocese, as well as operating St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City.
• The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commonly called the BVMs, where honored for the contributions to Catholic education. For 75 years they owned and operated Mount Carmel Academy in west Wichita and continued to serve after a merger in 1971 that resulted in Kapaun Mount Carmel High School. They served over 110 years before leaving KMC in 1994 and St. Joseph School in 2000.
• The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, who first came to Wichita in 1889, were honored for the contributions to bring health care to the city. They built a failing hospital into St. Francis Hospital, one of the largest in the state. The SSMs also began teaching in Catholic schools in 1892. They continued their teaching ministry until 1970.
• The Dominican Sisters, now the Dominican Sisters of Peace, began teaching in Kansas in 1902 and served in 45 parish schools. Although the motherhouse is now part of the Diocese of Dodge City, their presence continues at All Saints School in Wichita where Sister Eloise Hertel teaches.
• The Adorers of the Most Precious Blood, now the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, were honored for the founding of a boys and girls academy that later closed, but especially for Sacred Heart Junior College, now Newman University. The Adorers have served in many grade and high schools since they arrived in 1902.
• The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary were honored for the contributions to education since their arrival in 1976 from California. They were headquartered at Bishop Carroll High School for nearly 25 years where they served as religion teachers. In the last decade, as the number of professed IHM sisters has doubled, and the sisters have taught in ten different schools.