Thirteen to be ordained by Bishop Kemme to diaconate, priesthood

Two ceremonies set — Three will be ordained to the transitional diaconate at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 19, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. Ten will be ordained to the priesthood at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 26, in the Church of the Magdalen in Wichita. (Advance photo)

Bishop Carl A. Kemme will soon ordain 13 men for the Diocese of Wichita. Three will be ordained to the transitional diaconate at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 19, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. Ten will be ordained to the priesthood at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 26, in the Church of the Magdalen in Wichita.
Magdalen is being used because the church is able to accommodate the larger number of friends and family expected for the ordination to the priesthood.
Those to be ordained to the diaconate are Andrew Dellasega, Kurt Pauly, and Matthew Siegman. To be ordained to the priesthood are the Rev. Misters Michael Brungardt, Garett Burns, Isaac Coulter, Matthew Davied, Nicholaus Jurgensmeyer, Michael Kerschen, Chris Martin, James Schibi, Todd Shepherd, and Derek Thome.
Those to be ordained replied via email to questions about their upcoming ordinations.

Transitional Diaconate

Drew Dellasega
Drew Dellasega, a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Pittsburg, said joy fills his heart as his ordination draws near.
“I am grateful to the Lord for his call and this opportunity to take this concrete step forward toward service to the church as a priest,” he said. “Likewise I am profoundly grateful for all those who have supported me, first and foremost my parents and family, along with the priests of our diocese and faculty members of the seminary who have each played a unique role in my preparation.”
He is the son of Douglas and Julie Dellasega of Pittsburg.
He said he has learned a lot in the past eight years while preparing for ordination and is eager to share that with the faithful of the diocese.
For those who believe God is calling them to the priesthood or religious life, Dellasega said the first step is being open to God’s call. Then they should pray: Jesus, what are you calling me to?
“We should make this simple prayer repeatedly and in time, through persistence and a true desire to God’s will, what he desires for us will be made known to us. We should never be afraid of what God wants of us, for he will give us the grace to persevere in whatever it is he calls us to.”

Kurt Pauly
Kurt Pauly, a member of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Garden Plain, said during the first few years of seminary it seemed like ordination was so far in the future that the day would never arrive.
“But then, before I knew it, it was only a few weeks away. As the day draws near, I grow increasingly excited and I thank God for all the blessings he has given me over the years. I am eager to have the opportunity to serve the Wichita diocese as a transitional deacon.”
Pauly, the son of Jerrold and Cindy Pauly of Cheney, said the time he has spent in the seminary has been some of the most blessed years of his life.
“One of the most important decisions I made while discerning a vocation to the priesthood, prior to entering the seminary, was to meet with a spiritual director,” he said. “He helped me to see more clearly God’s will in my life. My advice, then, for anyone discerning a religious vocation would be to meet with a spiritual director or their parish priest. Discernment should not be done alone.”

Matt Seigman
Matt Seigman, a member of All Saints Parish in Wichita, said one word comes to mind: “Finally!”
That’s a common reaction from someone waiting five years, he said.
“I’m thrilled that I’m getting ordained, and I feel impatient to get started with the ministry,” he said. “I’m surprised at how fast the years have gone. It seems like only yesterday I was leaving my engineering job at Learjet to enter seminary.”
He said he’s a little nervous about ministry. “I’m being entrusted to preach the Word of God at Mass, to baptize children into the Church of God, to witness marriages, and even more. This is an awesome responsibility! I’m comforted by my trust in God, knowing that he will provide when I lack.”
Seigman, the son of Alan and Julie Siegman of Wichita, said he is grateful to God for his vocation and the graces he has received to follow his will.
“I’m grateful to the bishop for calling me to orders. I’m grateful to the seminaries in St. Louis and Chicago for forming me into a holier, happier, and better person. I’m grateful to the priests of Wichita who have helped me grow, who have supported me, and who have given me good counsel.”
He said he is also grateful to the faithful of the diocese for their support and especially his family for raising and educating him in the faith.
Anyone who believes they may have a religious vocation should discern that call with a priest.
“All of the priests I know are happy to help a man discern his vocation, even if it isn’t a call to the priesthood,” he said. “You don’t have to be perfect to enter seminary.”
Siegman said it’s the seminary’s job to help a man be the person God wants him to be. “Always work to grow into that person God wants you to be: never be anything but yourself. Whatever your vocation, God is calling you to it!” He said.

Priesthood

The Rev. Mr. Michael Brungardt
Deacon Brungardt said he is thinking of those who have helped him as his ordination draws near.
“First and foremost, it is the Lord himself,” he said. “I remember as a young teenager feeling his presence and inviting me down a path I was not yet ready to walk,” he said. “But his gentle guidance, his gratuitous mercy, and his unending patience guided me to where he always wanted me to be.”
Deacon Brungardt said his family – the first to form him in the faith – never left his side and were quick to call him out regarding anything in him that needed work.
He also is thinking of the people of the Diocese of Wichita, he said.
“I remember during my first summer teaching Totus Tuus how struck I was at the faith and vibrancy which existed here in our diocese. It was then that I knew that I could lay down my life for these people,” he said. “I often think of that summer, and find great comfort in knowing that these are the people I will get to spend my entire life with.”
Deacon Brungardt, the son of Jerry and Cas Brungardt of Wichita, said he has one statement for those considering a vocation to the priesthood: “Risk everything on the Lord!”
“I know the fear and trepidation that surround that tugging in your heart, that gentle whisper, that feeling you cannot seem to shake. I remember all that was laid out before me that I could have taken up: the careers, the opportunities, the relationships. And yet, none of these seemed to satisfy.”
He said as soon as he had any one of those other options within his grasp, it failed to give him what he had expected.
“It wasn’t until I took that first step, that first risk, that life opened up to reveal a whole new horizon,” Deacon Brungardt said. “In sending his Son into the world, the Father risked everything on us! And all the Son, Our Lord, asks in return is, ‘Come, follow me.’”
What that will be, only God can reveal, he said. “But I know for certain, risking our idea of what we think our future should look like on what the Lord has in mind – this risk will not leave you empty.”

Garett Burns
The Rev. Mr. Garett Burns, a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Wichita, said although he is excited about becoming a priest, he is probably just as excited to not be a student.
“Above all, I am humbled and grateful to God for this call and to the people of Wichita for their endless prayers, love, and support,” he said.
Deacon Burns said a vocation to the priesthood is meant to be received more than achieved.
“Begin the process of receiving this gift by growing daily in prayer, humility, and acts of selflessness. Certainty will be near impossible to find, but it comes down to trust in Jesus. If he has called you, be not afraid and cast out into the deep!”
He is the son of Pat and Jackie Burns of Wichita.

Isaac Coulter
The Rev. Mr. Isaac Coulter, a member of Church of the Resurrection in Wichita, quoted Adam in the second chapter of Genesis as his ordination to the priesthood nears: “At last!”
Deacon Coulter said those discerning a vocation should shut-up, listen to God, and throw themselves into the “waters of life.”
“You desire adventure, risk, and crazy joy,” he said. “That’s found in recklessly doing the will of another – or else life is boring chaos. Don’t over complicate things.”
Deacon Coulter, the son of Bryan and Jodi Coulter, said God will let a person know about their vocation in quiet of one’s heart.

Deacon Matt Davied
The Rev. Mr. Matt Davied, a member of Church of the Resurrection in Wichita, said seminary formation prepares a man for one thing: ordination to the priesthood.
“After all these years of preparation, I am excited to fulfill the vocation, the purpose, that the Lord has placed before me!” He said.
Men who believe they may have a vocation to the priesthood should stay close to the Lord, frequent the sacraments, Davied said. “He will lead you where you are designed to be, and that is thrilling, truly thrilling, to lead the life you are meant to live.”
He is the son of Greg and Kelly Davied of Wichita.

Nicholaus Jurgensmeyer
Nicholaus Jurgensmeyer said he is excited to serve the people of the Diocese of Wichita. “I know this is what God is calling me to do and that gives me a great peace,” he said.
Jurgensmeyer, a member of St. Joseph Parish in Baxter Springs, and the son of Terry and Debbie Jurgensmeyer of Miami, Oklahoma, said he is looking forward to “serving the people of the diocese in a capacity I have never been able to before. I am also excited to see the different ways in which God will work through me after ordination.”

Michael Kerschen
Michael Kerschen, a member of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Garden Plain, said “it’s a bit surreal” knowing his ordination to the priesthood is so close.
“Who knows what is waiting on the other side? Not me,” he said. “The mystery of it all scares me, but I know that seminary formation has prepared me well to embrace this new mode of living with the hope and confidence of a Christian.”
Kerschen, the son of Martin and Lila Kerschen of Garden Plain, said anyone interested in the priesthood should know the Lord is faithful to his promises.
“If he is calling you to the priesthood, he will give you all you need to be happy there,” he said. “You are the Father’s joy! No doubt about it, it can be scary. And there are moments when it will feel impossible, but your yes to his call causes the heavens to rejoice and the earth to be glad.”

Christopher Martin
Christopher Martin, a member of Church of the Holy Spirit in Goddard, said as his ordination nears he is grateful for the faithful of the diocese.
“I keep on reflecting how much kindness and support I have received from others. I am truly blessed,” he said.
“My second thought would be to express just how much I am yearning to be in a parish, to be ‘in the trenches’ with the people that I know and love. After all of these years of preparation and prayer, I am willing to do whatever God wants me to pursue; to serve all of you in our diocese, as a reflection of Jesus Christ.”
Martin, the son of Don and Shirley Grimm of Goddard, said he would tell a man considering the seminary that it is not going to be easy, but formation will reveal how special God has made him.
“Seminary is there to help a man form himself to Christ, but your formators are with you all the way if you let them be,” he said. “Be truthful, reveal yourself in prayer and all other aspects of your life.”
Martin said a friend once told him that if anyone has any inkling God is calling him to the priesthood – give it a shot. “I have remembered this throughout all of my years in the seminary. Well, give it a shot, and God will let you know his plan for you along the way.”

James Schibi
James Schibi, a member of St. Patrick Parish in Parsons, said he is overjoyed about his ordination and grateful for all who supported him and prayed for him: the faithful of the diocese, the seminary faculty staff, and family and friends.
“I am also relieved and excited that my years of seminary are done and I can now be a priest for the people of the Diocese of Wichita,” he said.
Schibi, the son of Vince and Mary Schibi of Parsons, said a priest once told him that following God’s will, especially a priestly vocation, is the surest path to get to heaven.
Men considering the priesthood should, “pray every day for your vocation,” Schibi said, “and don’t be afraid to take the next step and go to seminary. I thank God, every day that he gave me the courage to do just that.”

Todd Shepherd
Todd Shepherd, a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Wichita, said as his ordination nears he is grateful to God for his calling, for his parish, and for Catholic education.
“I am equally grateful for going to great seminaries that have helped give me all of the tools I need to be a good priest,” he said. “At this point, I recognize that I have received what seminary has to offer, so now I am ready to fly away from the nest. After eight years of concentrated preparation, I can confidently say that I am ready to be a priest to live my life in sacrifice in order to help lead others closer to Christ.
Shepherd, the son of Thomas and Sheila Shepherd, said a man considering the priesthood should listen to the stirrings of his heart in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
“If in silence the idea of seminary or the priesthood gives you joy and excitement, God is calling you to go to the seminary,” Shepherd said.
“If doubt or fear enter in, ignore it for it is not from God. Do not let discernment be a roller coaster of joy one day and fear the next, but rather keep your gaze on Christ and his will for you.”

Derek Thome
Derek Thome said he’s glad to be finishing his 11th consecutive year of college but humbled by what lies before him.
Thome, a member of St. John Parish in Clonmel, said,
“To finally serve as a priest of Jesus Christ is a remarkable gift that has been given to me,” Thome, a member of St. John Parish in Clonmel, said. “At a recent baptism, it struck me that this was a moment where the young child received her vocation. This thought not only resonated with me in terms of how I preached at the baptism but on the significance of my own baptism and the many years of formation that have happened since Christmas Eve 1988.”
He said it had been a privilege during the last six years to grow closer to God and the heart of his son, Jesus Christ, under the maternal protection of our Lady at Mount St. Mary’s.
“The different assignments I have had in the diocese have helped to develop a priestly heart, a heart that will surely need continual growth in the priesthood,” he said. “I look forward to celebrating the Mass, being present in the confessional, and ministering to the various different needs of our diocese.”
Thome, the son of Howard and Jean Thome of Viola, said he also looks forward to – as St. John Marie Vianney said – bringing to others the joy of the priesthood, the love of the heart of Jesus Christ.
He said many men can’t believe or won’t embrace the idea that they are being called to be priests and reminds them that God will “equip” those he calls.
“This was part of my story, and it wasn’t because I thought I was one of the equipped,” he said. “We can run from God’s voice or from discerning God’s call for us for a number of reasons.”
Those reasons may include an aptitude for success in the world, past sins or inadequacies, and not recognizing God’s gifts to live out a vocation to the priesthood.
“God desires us to fall deeper in love with him regardless of what vocation we are called to – we are called to holiness,” Thome said. “Fostering a prayer life allows your relationship with God to grow and it allows you to more easily hear his voice. Our relationship with Christ makes us more free, free to hear his voice, free to fall deeper in love with him, and more free to say yes to the vocation he has called us to.”

Both ordinations will be streamed at YouTube.com/DioceseOfWichita.

Bishop Kemme announces new priest assignments

Bishop Carl A. Kemme has announced changes in assignments for diocesan priests.

Retirement
The Rev. Douglas Campbell - Retired Priest Status, effective September 1, 2018
The Rev. Thomas Stroot - Retired Priest Status, effective June 19, 2018

Pastors
The Rev. Brian Bebak – Pastor, Holy Family Parish, Florence, Marion, Pilsen and Tampa, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Ned Blick – Pastor, Saint Margaret Mary Parish, Wichita, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Devin Burns – Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Newton, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Juan Garza – Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Hutchinson, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. John Hay – Pastor, St. James Parish, Augusta, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. David Michael Htun – Pastor, St. Paul Parish, Wichita State University, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. John Lanzrath – Pastor, St. John the Evangelist, El Dorado, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Hien Nguyen – Pastor, All Saints Parish, Wichita, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Samuel Pinkerton – Pastor, St. Francis Parish, St. Paul, St. Ambrose Parish, Erie, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Michael Schemm – Pastor, Church of the Resurrection, Wichita, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. H. Setter – Pastor, St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Garden Plain, St. Mary Parish, Aleppo, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Benjamin Shockey – Pastor, St. Joseph Parish, McPherson, St. Bridget of Sweden Parish, Lindsborg, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Jerome Spexarth – Pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Pittsburg, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Joseph Tatro – Pastor, St. John Parish, Clonmel, Continuing with Psychological services to Seminarians and Priests of the Diocese of Wichita, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Philip J. Voegeli – Pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Frontenac, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Andrew Walsh – Pastor, St. Patrick Parish, Kingman, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Eric Weldon – Pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Colwich, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. James Weldon – Pastor, St. Patrick Parish, Wichita, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Patrick York – Pastor, Saint Joseph Parish, Wichita, Vicar for Priests, and Member of Bishop’s Leadership Team, Priests Retirement and Education Fund and Presbyteral Council, effective May 15, 2018

Parochial Vicar
The Rev. Edmund Herzog - Parochial Vicar, Christ the King Parish, Wichita and Associate Chaplain, Bishop Carroll Catholic High School, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Jorge Lopez - Parochial Vicar, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Pittsburg, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Zachary Pinaire - Parochial Vicar, St. Paul Parish, Wichita State University, effective June 19, 2018
Parochial Administrator
The Rev. Babu Pinninti - Parochial Administrator, St. Joan of Arc Parish, Anthony, Danville and Harper, effective June 19, 2018

Chaplains and Special Assignments
The Rev. Michael Baldwin - Formation Team, Director of field apostolates, St. Joseph House of Formation, Wichita, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Maximilian Biltz - Priest in Residence, St. Martin of Tours, Caldwell and Advocate Diocesan Marriage Tribunal, Wichita, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Samuel Brand – Completing service as the Diocesan Master of Ceremonies and remaining as Chaplain of Bishop Carroll Catholic High School, Wichita, Effective, June 19, 2018
The Rev. Joseph Gile, S.T.D. - Formation Team, Director of academic formation, St. Joseph House of Formation, Wichita, remaining as Chaplain to the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and Dean of Graduate Studies, Newman University, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Gabriel Greer - Priest Assistant to the Bishop, Diocesan Master of Ceremonies and Associate Chaplain, Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School, residing at the Priest Residence, Spiritual Life Center, Wichita, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. John Jirak, J.C.L. - Formation Team, Director of spiritual formation, St. Joseph House of Formation, Wichita, remaining as Pastor of Church of the Magdalen, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Darrin May – Sabbatical, effective June 19 – December 31, 2018
The Rev. Michael Peltzer – Chaplain, Discalced Carmelite Community and Coordinator for the updating of the History of the Diocese of Wichita and Priest’s Necrology with residence at the Priest Retirement Center, Wichita, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Dominic Potnuru – Chaplain, Ascension Via Christi, Wichita, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Benjamin Sawyer - Director of Clergy ongoing formation, while remaining as Pastor, Christ the King Parish, Wichita, effective June 19, 2018
The Rev. Andrew Seiler - Associate Chaplain, Catholic Care Center, Wichita, effective May 1, 2018

Bishop asks for prayers about upcoming Irish referendum

Bishop Carl A. Kemme has sent a memo to all of the priests of the Diocese of Wichita regarding the upcoming Irish referendum that could end the Emerald Isle’s ban on abortion.
“I write to you now with an urgent spiritual appeal. As many of you know, on May 25, 2018, the people of Ireland will vote to retain or repeal their eighth amendment, which guarantees life to both the mother and the baby. If repealed, Ireland will have abortion on demand.”
Bishop Kemme said the priests of the United States have been asked by their pro-life brothers and sisters in Ireland to offer Masses and fast in anticipation of the referendum.
To promote their efforts, Irish pro-lifers have initiated a “Mass and Fast for Ireland Campaign.” Details are available at www.Mass AndFastForIreleand.com.
The bishop is asking priests of the Diocese of Wichita, from now until May 25, “to offer at least one Mass for this intention and to invite your parishioners to lift up their hearts in prayer for the unborn of Ireland.”
He also asked that a prayer of intercession regarding the referendum be added at Masses and asked the priests to invite their parishioners to offer their holy hours in adoration for the intention.
“I would also ask that the people of the diocese voluntarily choose one day between now and then to fast for this intention using the traditional Ash Wednesday/Good Friday guidelines for fasting,” Bishop Kemme said.
“Let us unite spiritually with our pro-life brothers and sisters in Ireland so that the unborn there will know the protection of law for succeeding generations. Thank you and God bless you.”

Spiritual Life Center news, May 18, 2018

Father Van Haverbeke to lead monthly program on Nouwen
Fr. Ken Van Haverbeke will lead a monthly reading club on the writings of internationally renowned priest, professor, and author Father Henri Nouwen beginning Wednesday, May 23, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The course will meet once a month through August to discuss a different book written by Nouwen.
Father Henri Nouwen speaks a language which touches the hearts of many. His thoughts, reflected in his writing, help a person draw closer to the heart of Jesus as the beloved Son of the Father.
Nouwen’s books are easily accessible to every Christian, and the reading group will offer the opportunity for community, hospitality, reflection, and spiritual nourishment. The club will meet on evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on May 23, June 20, July 18, and August 22.
The first meeting will be to review the life of Henri Nouwen and to discuss the impact of his writings. The following months the group will discuss Reaching Out, Can you drink the cup?, and Adam: God’s Beloved.
Participants may attend one or all of the sessions. The cost for the entire summer group is $25. Register at www.SLCWichita.org or by calling (316) 744-0167.

Reading group soon meeting at the SLC
The Spiritual Life Center will hold its first Good Books meeting of the summer Thursday, June 7, about Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter. The course meets monthly throughout the summer to learn more about the novel and how it relates to Christians.
Kapaun Mt. Carmel teacher Angie Etheredge leads the summer sessions which will take place on June 7, July 12, and Aug. 2. The study meets from 7 to 8:30 p.m. each of these evenings. The cost for the summer course is $30 and the book will be available in the Center’s bookstore.
Please go to www.SLCWichita.org or call (316) 744-0167 to register. Pre-registration is requested but walk-ins are welcome.

May 25-27 a weekend of silence at the Spiritual Life Center
The Spiritual Life Center will offer a truly silent retreat on Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-27.
There are few weekends in the year when our Diocesan Retreat Center is not bustling with many retreats and programs, but that particular weekend is one of those rare times of quiet. The center invites all who are interested to enjoy a truly silent retreat.
Beginning 7:30 p.m. Friday evening and concluding Sunday Morning with 10:30 a.m. Mass, that weekend participants will be enveloped in silence. There will be no conferences, but participants will have the opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration, individual spiritual direction with Father Ken Van Haverbeke, and confession.
With very few staff scheduled that weekend, retreatants are asked to bring their own food, or plan to eat locally. Pricing reflects bedroom rates and programming only; no meals are included.
Want to attend?
Register online at www.SLCWichita.org or call (316) 744-0167. Single occupancy room rates are $120 for the entire weekend; double occupancy, $100.

Christendom Academy begins June 9 at SLC
Dusty Gates, Howard Clark, and Matthew Umbarger will team teach a new program the Spiritual Life Center this summer called “The Christendom Academy.” The academy will meet once a week for eight weeks from June 19 through Aug. 7, focusing on one cultural epoch each week.
The program highlights the unique contributions Western Civilization has made to our understanding of philosophy, theology, spirituality, morality, and citizenship.
Students will be invited to learn new ways to answer perennial questions like who am I? Where have I come from and where am I going? What contribution am I called to make for my own salvation, for the good of my family, and the good of the world?
Course content will be drawn from a handful of writings essential to the development of Christian culture. The modules are The Greeks, The Romans, The Hebrews, The Evangelists, The Fathers, The Early Medievals, The Late Medievals, and The Moderns.
The class will meet from 9 a.m. to noon each Tuesday, and will include lunch. Tuition is $165, which does not include the optional textbooks. For more information or to register visit www.SLCWichita.org.

A few spaces remain in iconography workshop this summer at SLC
The Byzantine Iconography Workshop scheduled for June 25 to June 30 at the Spiritual Life Center is nearly full. Master iconographer Theodore Papadopoulos from Larissa, Greece, will lead the intensive six-day course during which he will guide participants through the ancient techniques of Byzantine iconography.
As part of the course, students will “write” the icon of Christ Pantokrator, which is inspired by one of the most admired artworks of Byzantine iconography.
Beginners and professionals are welcome. The workshop offers an opportunity to learn and refine techniques in the sacred art. The goal is to provide to students a complete training in the sacred art of Byzantine iconography through clear concise teaching. The course will be taught daily, Monday through Saturday, June 25 to June 30, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pricing includes expert instruction, course materials, daily lunch, and lodging.
Space is extremely limited for this course, so all those interested are encouraged to sign up soon. Pricing and registration are available at www.SLCWichita.org.

Culture conference at SLC in June
The Spiritual Life Center will host the Fourth Annual Catholic Culture Conference June 1-3. The theme of this year’s event is “Catholic Thought in an Age of Confusion.”
Three national speakers, Dale Ahlquist, Bradley Birzer, and Joseph Pearce, will attend. Ahlquist is one of the most respected G.K. Chesterton scholars in the world, is the creator and host of the popular EWTN series “The Apostle of Common Sense,” and is the author of three books on Chesterton.
Birzer holds the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in American Studies and is Professor of History at Hillsdale College, Michigan. He is author of books about St. Augustine, J.R.R. Tolkien, and others. Pearce, who presented at the Center last November, is an internationally acclaimed author of many books including bestsellers such as “Tolkien: Man and Myth” and “C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church.”
It begins Friday evening, June 1, with an opening lecture by Joseph Pearce at 7 p.m. followed by a reception. Saturday features talks by Joseph Pearce and Dale Ahlquist and a banquet dinner. On Sunday, Bradley Birzer will join for the closing session.
Want to attend the conference?
Space is limited, so sign up early by calling the Spiritual Life Center at 316-744-0167 or visiting us online at slcwichita.org. Overnight full weekend rate (includes bedroom Friday and Saturday, and all meals, socials, and lectures): Early bird, $145 per person (single) or $120 per person (double).
Commuter full weekend rate, includes all lectures, meals, and socials: $100. Partial weekend attendance options: Friday night only, $20; Full Saturday, $65; Saturday, daytime only, $45 (includes breakfast, morning and afternoon talks, and lunch); half day: $25; banquet only $25; Sunday only: $20 (lunch and lecture).

Marriage getaway June 16 at the SLC
Married couples are invited to a Marriage Enrichment Day Saturday, June 16, at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
This day is designed to draw couples closer to God and closer to each other so that their marriages thrive. Couples will spend the day looking at ways in which they can be more united in love by uniting their marriage to Christ.
Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. The event begins at 9 and ends with Mass at 5 p.m.
The cost is $60 per couple and includes materials, lunch, breakfast items, snacks, coffee, and water. For more information contact Jake Samour at 316-685-5240. Register by visiting slc.retreatportal.com/events.

Youth and school news, May 18, 2018

Kitty Michot

St. Jude teacher retires after 46 years
Kitty Michot originally considered cytology, the study of cells, as a college major. But, because she has a form of dyslexia, which interferes with mathematical calculations, she went into music – much to the joy and benefit of the hundreds of students she taught in her 46 years.
Michot is retiring this year after 24 years with St. Jude Catholic School in Wichita.
A reception in her honor will be held at 6 p.m. this evening, Friday, May 18, in the St. Jude Parish Hall.
She started teaching applied voice part-time in 1972 at Newman University. She also taught music, voice, and choir at Butler Community College; and later taught at All Saints and St. Joseph schools, and Holy Savior Catholic Academy, before taking the job at St. Jude.
“My favorite thing about teaching is my students,” Michot said. “They are fun to be with. They’re fun to be with, adventurous, sometimes frustrating, but always wanting to learn – even the old ones.”
She said she plans to join a quilting group after her retirement and has three wishes for travel: Ireland, Rome, and a train ride across Canada.
“My parents were always my best fans,” Michot said. “My family has always been in my corner and now they are all in heaven, I hope, where they have the best seats to watch over me.”

Saint James Robotics Club places in WSU robotics competition
The Saint James Catholic School and Parish Robotics Club of Augusta placed in several categories April 21 at Wichita State University’s 18th annual Shocker Mindstorm Robotics Challenge.
The club’s advanced team took first place overall in the Intermediate Division, while the novice team won third place overall and first place for display in the Beginner II Division.
The competition includes designing and programming Lego-style robotics to complete specific challenges, documenting the progress in a team notebook, creating a display and participating in an interview or presentation. Thirty-seven teams from the Wichita area participated in this year’s challenge.
The 2018 club is made up of 18 students ages 8 to 14, one teen mentor and 18 adults from the parish.

Diocesan news, May 4, 2018

Carmelite makes profession April 8 — Sister Maria Philomela of the Blessed Sacrament professes her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience before Bishop Carl A. Kemme Saturday, April 8, at the Discalced Carmelite Monastery of Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Guadalupe, located at 7445 N. Woodlawn, in Valley Center. Sister Maria, Analia Bandiera, is the daughter of Martin and the late Teresa Bandiera of La Consulta, Mendoza, Argentina. Bishop Kemme was the principal celebrant at the Mass. Sister Maria received visitors immediately afterward. A lunch was served to the faithful attending. (Photo courtesy Wayne Mikols)

Bishop Kemme’s calendar
Here is Bishop Carl A. Kemme’s calendar for the next several weeks.
May
May 4-5: Knights of Columbus State Convention in Overland Park
May 5: Confirmation Mass at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral
May 6: Confirmation Mass at 3 p.m. at the Cathedral
May 8: Confirmation Mass at 6:30 p.m. at St. Catherine of Siena in Wichita
May 10: Senior Adult Appreciation Mass and Luncheon at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral
May 11: Pastor/Principal Appreciation Mass and Luncheon; Newman Baccalaureate Mass at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral
May 12: Holy Family Home Educators Catholic Group Mass and graduation; Confirmation Mass at 2 p.m. at St. Patrick in Kingman
May 13: Trinity Catholic High School graduation at 2 p.m. in Hutchinson
May 16: St. Mary Colgan graduation at 7 p.m. in Pittsburg
May 19: Ordination to the diaconate at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral
May 20: Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School graduation at 1:30 p.m. at Hartman Arena; Bishop Carroll Catholic High School graduation at 4 p.m. at Hartman Arena
May 24: Evening with Seminarians at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral
May 26: Ordination to the priesthood at 10 a.m. at the Church of the Magdalen
June
June 1: Evening with Seminarians at 6 p.m. in Southeast Kansas at Pittsburg State University
June 2: Salina diocese ordination to the priesthood at 10 a.m. at Salina cathedral; Confirmation Mass at 5:30 p.m. followed by blessing of new parish hall for St. Anthony, Strong City, and St. Rose of Lima in Council Grove
June 3: Fr. Kapaun Day Mass at 11 a.m. at St. John Nepomucene in Pilsen; Corpus Christi at 3 p.m. at the Cathedral

Motorcycle pilgrimage to Pilsen on June 16
A motorcycle pilgrimage to Pilsen, Kansas, the hometown and location of a museum about Servant of God Father Emil J. Kapaun, will take place on June, Saturday, 16.
The ride begins at 7:30 a.m. and will leave from Walt’s All American Bar, located just east of I-235 at 5534 W. Central in Wichita. The event ends at noon.
The cost is a $10 donation and includes lunch and a tour of the museum. The event is limited to the first 60 registrants.
To register call Scott Carter at 316-440-1735 or email carters@CatholicDioceseOfWichita.org.
The cause for the canonization of Father Kapaun, who died a heroic death, in a North Korean prisoner-of-war camp is now being considered by the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints.

Fighting for Your Marriage series begins June 7
A six-Thursday “Fighting for Your Marriage” series will be offered from 6 to 8:30 p.m. beginning Thursday, June 7 at St. Patrick Church, 2007 N. Arkansas in Wichita.
The series, sponsored by the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life, is for couples who want to make their relationship work and their marriage last. Newly married couples are encouraged to attend so they can begin working on the life skills needed for a blessed and joyful marriage.
The cost is $50. Babysitting is available. For more information or to register call 316-685-5240.

Chaplain Kapaun High class reunion planned for June
The Chaplain Kapaun Memorial High School class of 1958 is hosting a class reunion June 2-3.
For more information, contact Gary Smith at ggsmith@cox.net or 316-806-9736.

Young liturgical musicians honored
Twelve young liturgical musicians received awards from the Wichita chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians April 22 for their service.
Receiving Certificates of Excellence at a chapter election meeting at St. Jude Parish in Wichita were Emma Bezdek, Maria Collins, Teresa Collins, Marissa Martinez, Carson Mceachem, Georgi Wilhelm, and Raphael Wilhelm, all of Church of the Magdalen; A. J. Hibbs, Sara Maschino, Anna Poelma, and Brady Volkmann, all of St. Jude Parish; and Neva Sanders of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish.
The association will celebrate the third anniversary of the founding of the chapter by participating in a Corpus Christi procession at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 3, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. A potluck will follow in the Pius X Room.

Senior adult Mass, luncheon with the bishop May 10
Senior adults of the Diocese of Wichita are invited to a Mass and luncheon with Bishop Carl A. Kemme at 10 a.m. Thursday May 10, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, located at Broadway and Central in Wichita.
The Mass is in appreciation of how older adults in the diocese have generously given of their time, talent, and treasure to build our churches and schools and to make our diocese what it is today.
A catered lunch with homemade pie and all the fixings will be served after Mass. Door prizes will be given away.
Register before May 3rd by sending $5 to the Office of Marriage and Family Life, 437 N. Topeka, Wichita, KS 67202. Make checks payable to Catholic Diocese of Wichita.

Bike camp for disabled children set for July
A bike camp will be offered this summer to help persons with disabilities learn how to ride a bicycle.
The iCan Bike Camp, for persons eight years and older, will be hosted July 16-18 in Wichita by the Independent Living Resources Center.
To register for the camp or for more information, visit www.ilrcks.org, call Cindi at 316-942-6300, ext. 222, or email her at cunruh@ilrcks.org.

Christian unity focus of Florovsky Week July 10-14 at NU, St. George’s
Newman University’s Gerber Institute and the Eighth Day Institute will sponsor Florovsky Week: Returning to the Sources for Christian Unity July 10-14 in Wichita.
The event, according to the Eighth Day Institute, is a week of prayer, papers, lectures, workshops, and a banquet, “promoting a return to the sources for Christian unity.” The week will be held at Newman University and at St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral in Wichita.
Florovsky Week is named after Father George Florovsky (1893-1979), an influential Orthodox priest who believed modern Christianity benefits from intellectual debates about the patristic tradition of the early, undivided church, as opposed to thoughts arising from the Reformation.
Want to learn more?
For more information or to register, visit EighthDayInstitute.org.
A call for papers
A call for papers has been issued for the event. For details, visit the website.

CSJs elect new leadership team April 7
Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph elected a new leadership team that will take office in August and serve until 2023.
The election took place on Saturday, April 7, at the conclusion of the community’s week-long Chapter meeting in Chicago.
Elected were Sisters Kathy Brazda, Sallie Latkovich, Marie Hogan, Jaqueline Goodin, and Pat Warbritton. None of the newly-elected are from Wichita.
In addition to the election, over 500 sisters, lay associates and other partners in mission both in attendance and participating via live streaming from their home centers around the country.

Janet Eaton will succeed Voboril
Janet Eaton, a former teacher and principal at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School in Wichita, has been named superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, effective July 6.
She succeeds Bob Voboril who is retiring after 25 years as superintendent for the diocese.
Eaton is leaving the Catholic school system of the Archdiocese of St. Louis where she has served as a principal of St. Dominic High School in O’Fallon, Missouri, since 2011. From 1999 to 2011 she was principal at Immaculate Conception School in Dardenne Prairie, Missouri.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Newman University in 1986, a master’s degree in Building Administration from Wichita State University in 1994, and an educational specialist degree in District Level Administrative Leadership from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2016.
Eaton taught at SEAS from 1986 to 1992 and was principal there from 1992 to 1999.
She and her husband, Kevin, have three children, Ryan, Molly, and Cooper.

Chaplain Kapaun High class reunion planned for June
The Chaplain Kapaun Memorial High School class of 1958 is hosting a class reunion June 2-3.
For more information, contact Gary Smith at ggsmith@cox.net or 316-806-9736.

Host families sought for foreign exchange students for next year
Host families are being sought for high school exchange students for the 2018-2019 academic year.
The students will arrive in mid-August and will attend local high schools. The students speak English, are covered by medical insurance, and have spending money for their personal expenses.
Approved families can view online student applications and select the student that best matches their own family. For more information, call Wilma Fast at 316-681-1236.

Planning for a person with special needs presentation May 22
A presentation about financial and estate planning for a person with special needs will be presented from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, in the Assembly Room of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. It is located at 1321 Stratford Lane in Wichita.
Financial advisor Sean DiGiovanni and Travis Pearson, the Planned Giving coordinator for the Diocese of Wichita and a lawyer, will speak.
Reservations are requested. To do so call Sean at 316-266-5074.

Several ‘last chance’ Masses now available
There are now several late Sunday Masses in Wichita, including two in Spanish, for those who hit the snooze button one too many times:
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.

Founder of FOCUS speaks at conference — Curtis Martin was one of the speakers at the diocesan Stewardship Conference Saturday, April 21, at Church of the Magdalen in Wichita. Martin is the founder and CEO of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. Father Jarrod Lies, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, was another speaker. About 360 attended the event. (Photo courtesy Randi Marino)
Bishop Kemme honored — Bishop Carl A. Kemme was honored with a cake Tuesday, May 1, on the fourth anniversary of his episcopal ordination. The corner of the cake listed some of his accomplishments, which includes 183 confirmation Masses, 18 ordinations to the priesthood, 28 ordinations to the diaconate, and 90 parish pastoral visits. (Advance photo)
New rooms at the Mount — Sr. Judith Ann Shimek, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, was happy to move into her new room in Marian Hall, one of 24 rooms in the new, reconstructed skilled care facility. It and Joseph Hall, a two-story building for assisted care, are now open and sisters are moving in. Joseph Hall has 10 apartments on both levels. If the sisters have no need in the future for the rooms or the apartments, they will be made available to associates, friends and family who have been placed on a waiting list. (Courtesy photo)
Premier class graduates — The first Live Like the Saints class ended Tuesday, April 24, at the Chancery in Wichita. The curriculum focused on human sexuality and chastity, with an emphasis on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Instructors were Beth Orth, Christine Ostroski, and Myra Jacobs. Another class will be offered early next year. (Courtesy photo)

Spiritual Life Center news, May 4, 2018

Still time to register for the SLC’s Catholic Culture Conference June 1-3
The Spiritual Life Center will hold the Fourth Annual Catholic Culture Conference, “Catholic Thought in an Age of Confusion,” Friday through Sunday, June 1-3.
Three national speakers, Dale Ahlquist, Bradley Birzer, and Joseph Pearce, have been invited to the event. Ahlquist is one of the most respected G.K. Chesterton scholars in the world, is the creator and host of the popular EWTN series “The Apostle of Common Sense,” and is the author of three books on Chesterton.
Birzer holds the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in American Studies and is Professor of History at Hillsdale College, Michigan. He is author of books about St. Augustine, J.R.R. Tolkien, and others. Pearce, who presented at the center last November, is an internationally acclaimed author of many books including bestsellers such as “Tolkien: Man and Myth” and “C.S .Lewis and the Catholic Church”.
In today’s politically charged media atmosphere, we often look for answers to the biggest questions in the wrong places. Our surest answers come not from a particular school or party, but from our Lord, who teaches us through his church. We don’t as much need so called conservative or so called liberal solutions, as much as we need truly Catholic ones.
The conference will consist of multiple sessions, each geared towards some particular component of Catholic life in our modern age. The talks and discussions will give each participant the opportunity to learn more about how Catholicism relates to – and is intended to positively change – our culture.
The conference will begin on Friday evening with an opening lecture by Joseph Pearce at 7 p.m., followed by a reception. Saturday will feature talks by Joseph Pearce and Dale Ahlquist and a banquet dinner. On Sunday, we will be joined by Bradley Birzer for the closing session.
Want to attend the conference?
Space is limited, so sign up early by calling the Spiritual Life Center at 316-744-0167 or vis slcwichita.org. Overnight full weekend rate (includes bedroom Friday and Saturday, and all meals, socials, and lectures); Early bird, $145 per person (single occupancy) or $120 per person (double occupancy).
Commuter full weekend rate, includes all lectures, meals, and socials, is $100.
Partial weekend attendance options: Friday night only, $20; Full Saturday, $65; Saturday, daytime only, $45 (includes breakfast, morning and afternoon talks, and lunch). Half day, $25; banquet only, $25; Sunday only, $20 (lunch and lecture).

May 25-27 will be a weekend of silence at the Spiritual Life Center
The Spiritual Life Center will offer a truly silent retreat on Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-27.
There are few weekends in the year when the diocesan retreat center is not bustling with many retreats and programs, but that particular weekend is one of those rare times of quiet. The center invites all who are interested to enjoy a truly silent retreat.
Beginning 7:30 p.m. Friday evening and concluding Sunday Morning with 10:30 a.m. Mass, that weekend participants will be enveloped in silence. There will be no conferences, but participants will have the opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration, individual spiritual direction with Father Ken Van Haverbeke, and confession.
With very few staff scheduled that weekend, retreatants are asked to bring their own food, or plan to eat locally. Pricing reflects bedroom rates and programming only; no meals are included.
Want to attend?
Register online at www.SLCWichita.org or call (316) 744-0167. Single occupancy room rates are $120 for the entire weekend; double occupancy, $100.

SLC’s annual Mothers Retreat Day May 12
WICHITA – The Spiritual Life Center will host its annual retreat for mothers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 12. The theme is “Find Rest in the Lord.”
The retreat will focus on helping moms figure out how to enter more deeply into prayer and how to make a Holy Hour. The day includes a talk on prayer, a Mediterranean style lunch including desserts and mimosas, daily Mass, social time, and time for silence with our Lord in adoration to conclude.
The cost for the Saturday program is $15 per person. Register by visiting the Spiritual Life Center’s web page at www.slcwichita.org or by calling (316) 744-0167.

SLC introduces two new free programs to aid prayer life
Father Ken Van Haverbeke, director of the Spiritual Life Center, is launching two programs to foster the prayer lives of the faithful.
The first program, which had its first go this past Sunday, is called “A Nature and Prayer Walk with Father Ken.” The second program is an evening of Eucharistic adoration with a particular saint as the guide.
The next nature and prayer walk will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 6. Father Van Haverbeke will guide participants on a nature walk around the grounds at the retreat center. The walks will integrate both contemplative prayer and wildlife observations. There is no charge, but the center requests guests register in advance so we can limit the size to manageable number. Families are welcome.
The first adoration program of the spring will be “Eucharistic Adoration with Father Damien, the Leper Saint.” On Thursday, May 10, Saint Damien’s feast day, participants will gather in the Chapel of Mary for exposition of the Eucharist, followed by a short conference talk on the life of Father Damien.
The evening will conclude with time for prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament and an opportunity for confession. The program begins at 7 p.m. and goes until 8:30 p.m.
Both of these programs are free of charge. Register at the center’s website www.SLCWichita.org or by calling (316) 744-0167.

‘Parenting a Challenging Child’ May 9 at the Spiritual Life Center
Mika Gross, counselor at The Parent’s Place, will address the struggles that many challenging children have and how parents can learn to manage those struggles at “Parenting a Challenging Child” which will be offered at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
Parents are in the perfect position to observe their children and look for spiritual gifts or charisms, special abilities given to all Christians by the Holy Spirit. Helping your child see their own gifts and learn to put them to work can be a wonderful joy for parents.
Many challenging children will naturally mature through difficult periods, but some have underlying problems that need solved. In either case, children need a calm, observant, and patient parent. Underneath challenging behaviors are amazing gifts. It’s not uncommon for the most challenging children to grow into people who later serve mankind in amazing ways.
Want to sign up for the course?
Learn more about this topic and tactics towards better parenting on Wednesday, May 9 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita. Registration may be found at www.SLCWichita.org. The cost is $10 which includes the program and refreshments.

Marriage getaway June 16 at the SLC
Married couples are invited to a Marriage Enrichment Day Saturday, June 16, at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
This day is designed to draw couples closer to God and closer to each other so that their marriages thrive. Couples will spend the day looking at ways in which they can be more united in love by uniting their marriage to Christ.
Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. The event begins at 9 and ends with Mass at 5 p.m.
The cost is $60 per couple and includes materials, lunch, breakfast items, snacks, coffee, and water. For more information contact Jake Samour at 316-685-5240. Register by visiting slc.retreatportal.com/events.

Youth and school news, May 4, 2018

Spiffing up Ascension Cemetery — Catholic youth from Blessed Sacrament Parish in Wichita pulled weeds for several hours on April 22, Earth Day Sunday, at Ascension Cemetery in Wichita. They cleaned up the Natural Burial Area at the cemetery, located just east of the Spiritual Life Center. Earth Day Sunday, held the day before Earth Day, has religious connotations to raise awareness about the environment. (Courtesy photo)

St. Gianna offering sports physicals
St. Gianna Family Medicine is offering sports physicals from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 5.
The office is located at 2135 N. Ridge Rd., suite 400, in Wichita.
The cost is $20 and no appointment is necessary.
All of the proceeds will be donated to the diocesan Holy Family Special Needs Foundation to support students with special needs.

KMC’s Paladin honored by KSPA
Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School’s Paladin newsmagazine received the All-Kansas Award, the highest possible rating, from the Kansas Scholastic Press Association April 25.
The judge awarded the publication All-Kansas distinctions in each of the five categories: Coverage, Reporting, Visuals, Design and Leadership. The editor-in-chief is Kinta Kail.

Chaplain Kapaun High class reunion planned for June
The Chaplain Kapaun Memorial High School class of 1958 is hosting a class reunion June 2-3.
For more information, contact Gary Smith at ggsmith@cox.net or 316-806-9736.

Thousands venerate relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Rachel Stuhlsatz instructs her children about one of the relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina Friday, April 13, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. The children, from left, are Ella, Will and Gwen. They are with their grandmother, Marian Stuhlsatz. (Advance photo)

By Christopher M. Riggs
The love for one of the church’s contemporary mystics was evident Friday, April 13, when thousands from the Diocese of Wichita and surrounding dioceses venerated relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.
About 4,000 of the faithful stood throughout the day in lines that wound from the front of the cathedral, around the entrance lobby, through the walkway from the gathering space – and at times out into the parking lot. And that figure doesn’t count those who only attended Mass or visited without getting into the line.

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Bishop Kemme’s homily
Bishop Carl A. Kemme told the faithful at the evening Mass that he learned about Padre Pio just seven years after the saint’s death in 1968, while in minor seminary.
“As a young man, his life intrigued me, especially since he lived a life of the priesthood in such a radical way, that he bore the physical wounds of the crucified Lord, that he reportedly was capable of bilocation, and that he spent hours in intense prayer and confessing sinners,” he said in his homily.
Years later, Bishop Kemme said he was able to make a pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotundo, just months before Padre Pio was beatified, on May 2, 1999, by Pope John Paul II.
“How amazing to think that now, even years later, his relics are here with us today in the Cathedral of the Diocese of Wichita, where I am blessed to serve as bishop.”
After discussing how relics are venerated in an act of honor – not worshipped, which belongs only to God, Bishop Kemme said, “Even from Apostolic times, the bones of the martyrs and saints were reverently kept as reminders of the lives they lived. Holy Mass was celebrated in the catacombs, where the saints’ bodies were often taken for burial. Thus we have the tradition, though not required, of placing relics in the altars of our churches.”
Relics are not magical, they are mystical, he said, “windows, if you will, into the life and times of the men, women, and children who lived extraordinarily godly lives.”
Padre Pio’s mystical vision was evidence of the saint’s godly life, the bishop said. “It is said that when looking into his eyes, it was as if looking into a higher dimension of reality, peering into heavenly realms.”
The saint spent long hours daily in prayer, Bishop Kemme added, which gave Padre Pio the supernatural ability to endure the suffering that resulted from his gift of the stigmata and an ability to give spiritual remedies to the thousands who flocked to him.
Bishop Kemme closed by sharing some expressions Padre Pio frequently shared:
“Pray, hope and don’t worry,” “My past, O Lord to your mercy, my present, to your love; my future to your providence,” and “Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart.”

Father Keiter’s homily
Father Adam Keiter, rector of the Cathedral said at the noon Mass that the very center of Padre Pio’s life was the Eucharist, the Holy Mass. “His love for the Eucharist was experienced as a burning fire in his heart,” said.
After giving a brief biography about the saint and about Padre Pio’s stigmata, Father Keiter asked rhetorically, “Why did God give him the stigmata?”
Pope Saint John Paul II said at Padre Pio’s canonization that the life and mission of Padre Pio “testify that difficulties and sorrows, if accepted with love, transform themselves into a privileged journey of holiness which opens the person to a greater good known only to the Lord.”
“The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self,” Father Keiter said, quoting the saint. “There is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection, except at the price of pain.”
Padres Pio’s greatest gift to us is his example of suffering, his words about suffering, he said.
There isn’t a person in the church who doesn’t have some form of suffering,” Father Keiter said.
“Padre Pio says don’t be afraid of that suffering. It’s necessary for us to love Jesus Christ. The only way for a soul to flower, the only way that baptismal Grace truly unfolds, is by uniting our suffering to the suffering of Jesus Christ.”
Those who wish to carry their cross and carry it well, like Padre Pio, Fr. Keiter said, “seek to find your strength in the Holy Eucharist, seek to find your strength in the holy sacrifice of the Mass that takes place every day in our church all throughout the world.”
The Saint Pio Foundation, the tour’s sponsor, sold religious articles with St Pio’s image in the Cathedral gathering space.
The relics are on tour through the Unites States, Canada, and Mexico as part of a 50th anniversary of Padre Pio’s death. The relics included Saint Pio’s glove, crusts of his wounds, cotton-gauze with Saint Pio’s blood stains, a lock of his hair, his mantle, and Saint Pio’s handkerchief soaked with his sweat hours before he died.
St. Pio was born on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy, and baptized Francesco Forgione. He first expressed his desire for priesthood at age 10. In order to pay for the preparatory education, his father, Grazio Forgione, emigrated in the United States in 1899, where he worked for several years.
The future saint entered the Capuchin order at age 15, taking the name Pio. He was ordained a priest in 1910 at the age of 23. Padre Pio was known as a mystic with miraculous powers of healing and knowledge who bore the stigmata. Stigmata is the term the church uses to speak about the wounds an individual receives that correspond to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. They can appear on the forehead, hands, wrists, and feet.
His stigmata emerged during World War I, after Pope Benedict XV asked Christians to pray for an end to the war. Padre Pio had a vision in which Christ pierced his side. A few weeks later, on Sept. 20, 1918, Jesus again appeared to him, and he received the full stigmata. It remained with him until his death on Sept. 23, 1968. Pope John Paul II canonized him in 2002.

A Knight of Columbus helps a woman return a photo of Padre Pio to her bag after she touched the image to one of the saint’s relics. (Advance photo)
Fr. Drew Hoffman venerates the relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina at the morning Mass Friday, April 13, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. (Advance photo)

St. Joseph House of Formation expanding to three-year program beginning in the fall

Father Chad Arnold, left, and Father Michael Simone in front of the St. Joseph House of Formation on the St. Joseph Parish campus in Wichita. (Advance photo)

The St. Joseph House of Formation will expand beginning next school year.
The seminary formation was originally going to be a two-year program for freshman and sophomores who would begin their formation and studies for bachelor’s degrees in philosophy while being housed at a former rectory at St. Joseph Parish in Wichita.
But, Father Chad Arnold, director of Vocations for the Diocese of Wichita, said Bishop Carl A. Kemme has announced an expansion.
“We’re going to expand that to a third year because Bishop Kemme has been very pleased with how the House has been running – as are Father Mike (Simone) and I,” he said.
Father Simone is director of the St. Joseph House of Formation. Father Arnold is also assistant director of the House.
This year’s sophomores, instead of leaving for their junior year to continue their formation and studies, will instead stay at the house of formation in Wichita and continue their studies at Newman University.
Exact class numbers of seminarians are not yet available, Father Arnold said.
The house of formation was established in the Fall of 2017 for several reasons, Father Simone said when the program was announced last year.
“One of them is so that we can have a local program of formation, and also so that they can be exposed directly to parish ministry,” he said.
“There’s a tradition at St. Joseph Parish for hosting religious men and women on campus since they’ve been in existence, so we’re hopeful that this is a natural way to extend that to a diocesan family as well.”