‘Shroud Encounter’ March 22-23 at PSU

Shroud of Turin expert to make presentations to the public, students
Shroud Encounter will visit the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts at Pittsburg State University Sunday and Monday, March 22-23. It will be presented at 7 p.m. in room 109 of Grubbs Hall.
The Sunday event is open to everyone. A free will donation will be collected. The Monday event is open to the Pittsburg State University community and is free. Both are sponsored by the Newman Club at PSU.
Shroud Encounter is a production of the Shroud of Turin Education Project, and will be presented by international expert Russ Breault. The presentation is a fast moving, big-screen experience using over 200 images covering all aspects of Shroud research. A museum quality life-size replica will be on display.
Breault has been featured in several national documentaries seen on CBS, History Channel, and Discovery. He was interviewed last year for Good Morning America to discuss the latest research. He has presented at numerous colleges and universities including Duke, West Point, Johns Hopkins, Penn State and many others.
The Shroud of Turin is the most analyzed artifact in the world – yet remains a mystery. The 14-foot long linen cloth that has been in Turin, Italy, for over 400 years and bears the faint front and back image of a 5-foot, 10-inch bearded, crucified man, with apparent wounds and bloodstains that match the crucifixion account as recorded in the Bible. Millions of people over the centuries have believed it be the actual burial shroud of Jesus. The historical trail tracks back through Italy, France, Asia Minor (Turkey) and may have originated in the Middle East according to botanical evidence.
A team of 24 scientists in 1981 concluded it was not the work of an artist. They found no visible trace of paint, pigment, dye or other artistic substances on the cloth. The blood is type AB with human DNA as determined in 1995.
Skeptics have mounted numerous attempts to show how a medieval artist could have produced the image but all have been inadequate to fully explain how it was formed. If the cloth indeed wrapped a corpse, there are no stains of body decomposition.
Shroud Encounter will cover all aspects of the history, science, art and theories of how the image may have been formed.
Visit ShroudEncounter.com for more information.

Documentary about Pope Francis to air in Wichita on March 22

“The Francis Effect”, a documentary about Pope Francis, will be broadcast at noon Sunday, March 22, on KAKE TV. The 58-minute show, produced by Salt and Light Catholic Media, has been shortened from the original production for television.
The Francis Effect looks at the impact Pope Francis has made and how the Catholic Church is changing under his leadership.
In part of a description shared on their website, Salt and Light Media writes: “Pope Francis has not come to overturn doctrine and age-old beliefs that are the bedrock of our Catholic Christian faith! He wants to make those teachings understandable and part of our lives. He opens doors to a faith that offers attractive, compelling answers to questions deep in the hearts of all men and women. There is something incredibly appealing here not only to Catholics, but to Christians and to all men and women of good will. Is it any wonder then, why the world is listening to him?”
The Diocese of Wichita, The Law Company, Wilson Building Supply, Eck and Eck Machine, Legacy Bank, and Kline Motors in Winfield, are sponsoring “The Francis Effect.”
“It isn’t every day we are offered the opportunity to support a documentary about our Holy Father created and produced by a reputable Catholic media organization,” said Amy Pavlacka, director of Communications for the Diocese of Wichita. “We are excited to be able to do so.”
Pavlacka said that the showing of the film is possible because of many. “We are grateful to KAKE TV for seeing this as worthy programming, and for the incredibly generous sponsors who will make this broadcast possible through a unique act of stewardship.”
For more information on the film, visit SaltAndLightTV.org/thefranciseffect.

March for Justice April 4 at abortion clinic

Marches sponsored by diocesan Respect Life and Social Justice
A March for Justice for all human persons is scheduled at 9 a.m. each first Saturday at the South Wind Women’s Clinic, 5107 E. Kellogg Drive in Wichita. The next event is Saturday, April 4.
The marches are sponsored by the diocesan Respect Life and Social Justice Office. Participants will march in front of the clinic with signs supporting the respect for all human life – including the unborn, and pray together.
Rebecca Maus, a teenager who attended the National March for Life and who with her brother, Anthony, was inspired to take the prayer in front of the clinic into action, said, “Life is to be fought for by every human person. Often times we think, ‘Somebody else can do it,’ and ‘I’m too busy. I have no time to worry about that.’
Maus, a member of St. John Parish, Clonmel, said people don’t think about abortion because it is too sad or they fear to speak out against it.
“This is usually because we do not know enough about the topic ourselves. To be able to explain why we are against abortion and why we fight for life is a necessity in this culture. I encourage you brothers and sisters, to study it yourselves, read about it, talk about it,and think about it. In doing this you will not only see that you can grow to become a better advocate for life, but it will allow others to grow in the learning as well.”
She added that Pope Benedict the XVI said: “The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”
“It is our duty to take the initiative and speak up when lies are being spread and to evangelize when the truth is not being told. I encourage all to take a stand against this silent holocaust which has taken over our nation,” Maus said.
She invited the faithful to participate.
“If we are not doing what we can to help with the respect life movement, then we are silently giving society permission to continue their practice,” Maus said.

Bishop Emeritus Gerber to be honored at Knights event April 11

WICHITA – The Knight of Columbus Fourth Degree Columbia Assembly 0287, established on April 14, 1940, will celebrate its 75th anniversary Saturday, April 11.
Activities for the day include an exemplification – an initiation for new members, a rosary and a Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and a banquet and dance at the Drury Plaza Hotel at Broadview. Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber, a long-time member of the assembly, will be honored at the event.
The assembly is the patriotic arm of the Knights of Columbus, with a mission to foster love for God and country. The Columbia Assembly is comprised of 22 councils as far west as Willowdale, south to Conway Springs, north to Colwich, and east to Magdalen. With its 400 members, it is the largest assembly in Kansas.
In addition to members of the assembly, members of other assemblies and the public are invited to the celebration. The exemplification is open to members and candidates only, but all other activities are open to the public.
A tour of the Cathedral is planned for ladies, with a wine and chocolate tasting at 1:30 p.m. The cost for the tasting is $15 per person.
Those attending the event will take part in the regular 5 p.m. Mass. A rosary will be prayed before Mass at 4:30 p.m. A social hour will follow Mass at the Plaza Hotel with a banquet starting at about 7 p.m.

Want to attend?
Checks may be mailed to Faithful Comptroller LaVern Meier, 11810 Sheriac, Wichita, KS 67209. For more information, contact Faithful Navigator Chris Drum at (316) 761-7165, or e-mail moonlightdj@outlook.com.

Agency fair, Mass, and dinner for persons with disabilities and their families April 11

A community-wide agency fair featuring agencies, services, and supports for persons with disabilities will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 11, in St. Patrick School’s gymnasium, located at 2007 N. Arkansas in Wichita.
Tom Racunas, director of the diocesan Ministry with Persons with Disabilities, said the last such event was held in 2009 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Wichita.
“Many of the agencies, services, and supports designed to assist people with disabilities have changed significantly in the last five years due to changes in federal and state laws and state funding. We hope to provide persons with disabilities of all ages, their families and caregivers with current and helpful information.”
Over 40 agencies will be invited to participate. Attendees can come and go as they please.
“One family may want to talk with only one agency, another may want to visit with several agencies,” Racunas said. “The format allows for persons and families to access information based on their interests and needs.”
Later same day, persons with disabilities, their families, and caregivers are invited to the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, at East Douglas and Roosevelt, for the 5:15 p.m. Mass. At 6:30, a dinner will be served to those attending. The cost is a donation. Activities for all ages will follow dinner, including a quiet, sensory room for children who may need it, and time for parents and caregivers to socialize.
Life as a special needs parent can be isolating says Blessed Sacrament parishioner Sarah DeVries. “You might have a lot of friends, but you rarely have friends who have the same stories and experiences. My hope is that our Mass and dinner will bring special needs families of the diocese together to pray, share a meal, share stories, and form a community.” she said. “In the spirit of the New Evangelization, we encourage all families of special needs and their caregivers to invite other families with special needs to Mass and dinner.”
For dinner reservations, contact Rosemary Brooks at dbrooks66@cox.net by April 8, indicating the number attending, any dietary needs, and if handicap parking is needed.

Diocesan news, March 20, 2015

Bishop Kemme’s calendar
Here is Bishop Carl A. Kemme’s calendar for the next month.
March 21-22: Daughters of Isabella Convention banquet and Mass
March 22: Confirmation Mass at 2 p.m. at Holy Savior in Wichita
March 24: Regional priests meeting for Southeast Kansas; Confirmation Mass at 6:30 p.m. at Holy Name in Coffeyville
March 27: All School Mass and penance service at St. Anne in Wichita
March 28-29: Parish pastoral visit to St. James in Augusta
March 31: Chrism Mass at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral, Wichita
April 2: Holy Thursday Mass at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral, Wichita
April 3: Good Friday service at 5 p.m. at the Cathedral, Wichita
April 4: Easter Vigil Mass at 8 p.m. at the Cathedral, Wichita
April 5: Easter Mass at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral, Wichita
April 5: Pastoral visit to Latin community at St. Anthony Parish in Wichita
April 9: Retired priest regional meeting; Confirmation Mass at 6:30 p.m. at St. Joseph in McPherson
April 10: Confirmation Mass at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary in Derby
April 11-12: Parish pastoral visit to St. Vincent de Paul in Andover; Confirmation Mass at 11 a.m. April 12 at St. Vincent de Paul
April 13-14: Jesus Caritas with bishops of Kansas
April 14: Confirmation Mass at 6:30 p.m. at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Wichita
April 15: Confirmation Mass at 6:30 p.m. at St. John in Clonmel/Viola
April 16: Confirmation Mass at 6:30 p.m. at St. Joseph in Andale
April 18-19: Parish pastoral visit to Sacred Heart in Arkansas City
April 19: Confirmation Mass at 5 p.m. at Holy Spirit in Goddard

Downtown Wichita Way of the Cross on Good Friday
The Way of the Cross will be prayed through downtown Wichita on Good Friday, April 3.
It will begin at 9:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Church, 149 S. Millwood, and end at about 11:30 a.m. at The Lord’s Diner, just north of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
The event is sponsored by the Catholic lay movement Communion and Liberation.
For additional information visit clonline.org.

Good Shepherd catechesis training to be offered soon
Training in the children’s faith formation program, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, will begin soon for adults interested in learning the hands-on program that guides themselves and children in growing in love for the Good Shepherd.
Marcia Helten, a formation leader for level I, children ages 3 to 6, will lead the training. Those interested or those who have questions, may contact Marcia at (316) 722-7205 or ateach93@cox.net.

Rosaries for unborn babies event May 1-3
The faithful are invited to participate in a One Million Rosaries For Unborn Babies, a prayer event that will take place from May 1-3 throughout the world.
To participate, a person must pray at least one rosary for an end to the surgical and non-surgical killing of unborn human persons.
To register as a participant, visit www.SaintMichaelTheArchangelOrganization.org and click on “Registration”.

ACTS to be held in four cities in diocese
The logo for the four ACTS Eucharistic Adoration events to be held in the Diocese of Wichita centers on a monstrance. The first adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. May 3 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. Futures events will be held in Chanute, Conway Springs, and Hutchinson. T-shirts have been designed and will be available through the RLSJ office. They are $15 and may be ordered by emailing toombsb@CatholicDioceseOfWichita.org, or call (316) 269-3935.

Life Run set for May 2
The 2nd Annual Life Run will be held Saturday, May 2, at the Sedgwick County Park.
A 5K chip-timed run will begin at 9:30 a.m., and a 1.5 mile fun run/walk begins at 10 a.m. Family-friendly activities available throughout the event.
Proceeds will benefit A Better Choice Crisis Pregnancy Center in Wichita. To register, visit www.gorunyourrace.com.

Emerald Ball March 28 at Hyatt Regency
The Emerald Ball will be held Saturday, March 28, at the Hyatt Regency Wichita, 400 W. Waterman.
The ball is a benefit for Gerard House, a shelter for pregnant teens, and Via Christi’s Cancer Institute.
The night will start with cocktails at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7. The event will also include performance by Irish step dancers and bagpipers, a live auction, dancing, and music by a local band, “The Source.”
Tickets are $150 a person or $1,300 for a table of 10 and may be purchased at viachristi.org/emeraldball, or by calling the Via Christi Foundation at (316) 239-3520.
Via Christi’s Gerard House provides a shelter for young women during their pregnancies.

Newman U. hosting free Christian rock concert March 27 on campus
A Christian rock and praise band Rush of Fools, from Birmingham, Ala., will perform at Newman University on Friday, March 27. The free concert starts at 7 p.m. outdoors on the Newman’s Founders Plaza and is open to the public.
In case of bad weather, the event will be moved inside Fugate Gymnasium.
Rush of Fools has been touring North America and rising in popularity since the band was established in 2005. Rush of Fools is best known for its hit song “Wonder of the World,” which peaked on the Christian music charts at number seven for a five-week span. While on its journey to the top of the Christian rock genre, Rush of Fools and its members have experienced trials and tribulations as a band, and individually, influencing the band's music. The result is a band whose music reveals intense hardship, but always celebrates God's glory.
A local band, Aviator Worship, will open the concert. The group originally started in Derby and was created from the worship ministry at Aviator Church in Wichita. The band was selected through a poll on the Newman University Facebook page.
Sponsors for the event include The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies, Fugate Enterprises, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, The House 100.1, and Mennonite Press Inc.

Wendy Glick promoted at Catholic Charities
Wendy Glick has been promoted to senior director of Mission Services and Development at Catholic Charities, a diocesan agency. Glick was director of Development and Community Relations.
In her new role, Glick will support and advocate for the 14 programs and projects of Catholic Charities, and will help strategically position the work of the agency to alleviate poverty and build strong families. Glick will also continue to oversee development operations.
“Wendy has passion, compassion and experience in serving the poor, and she has an innate ability to ‘tell their stories’,” said Mike Burrus, executive director. “She has a wonderful connection to our programs, the work we do and the clients we serve.”

Spiritual Life Center news, March 20, 2015

Discovering Christ conference at the SLC trains participants to share about ‘new evangelization’
The Spiritual Life Center’s Main Assembly Room was at capacity Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27-28, with those interested in learning more about the church’s call for a “new evangelization” and how parishes can be more deliberate about inviting people to commit or recommit their lives to Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church.
Representatives from ten parishes from the Diocese of Wichita, as well a parish from Kansas City, Kansas, and one from New Ulm, Minn., took part in the Discovering Christ training conference aimed at bringing people into a life-transforming encounter with Christ. The conference was designed to give participants the knowledge, skills, and practical tools to confidently use the Discovering Christ evangelizing process in their parish.
Discovering Christ is a seven-week process that invites participants to meet Christ in a personal way, to follow him as his disciples, and to share him with others. It is marketed by ChristLife Catholic Ministry for Evangelization located in Ellicott City, Md., near Baltimore.
Dave Nodar, one of the main speakers, proposed a “paradigm shift” in a way the faithful can think about their call as Catholics. Nodar emphasized that evangelization – sharing Jesus Christ with others and inviting them into relationship with the Trinity in the context of the church – is something that is meant to be a normal part of our daily lives as Catholic Christians.
Nodar, along with the other speakers, shared the evangelizing process and how it can transform parishes from “fishbowls” into “fishers of men.” As Pope Francis said, he reminded those attending, the faithful are called and sent personally by the Lord Jesus to be his “missionary disciples” in our homes, neighborhoods and workplaces.
The ChristLife process of evangelization includes three interlocking courses, Discovering Christ, Following Christ, and Sharing Christ, that can be offered to parishioners as well as non-practicing Catholics and others, to invite them to discover, follow, and share Christ and to receive the relational support they need to live out their commitment in their parish community.
Want to learn more about evangelization?
For more information or to inquire about the ChristLife process, contact Joshua Bitting, program coordinator in the diocesan Office of Faith Formation at (316) 440-1709 or at bittingjo@CatholicDioceseofWichita.org.

‘Sacrifice’ series begins at the Spiritual Life Center on March 24
Dusty Gates will lead a series on “sacrifice” March 24 and 31 at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
Consulting biblical, patristic, medieval, and contemporary sources, the two-part class will focus on two unique yet related conceptions of sacrifice: Jesus as the perfect sacrifice (which alone was acceptable to the Father); and Jesus as the correction to sacrifice (meant to change our disordered sacrificial tendencies).
With these concepts in mind, participants will explore the questions “What does my sacrifice have to do with Jesus’?” and “What good could my sacrifice possibly do for me or for others?” Finally, the group will discuss the significance of the Resurrection in teaching us about the type of sacrifice God truly desires from us.
Want to attend?
The series occurs Tuesday evenings, March 24 and 31 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The registration cost is $20. Please visit www.SLCWichita.org or call (316) 744-0167 to register. Pre-registration is requested but walkins are welcome.
Gates is director of adult education at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.

Acts of the Apostles series begins April 7 at the Spiritual Life Center
During the Easter season the first reading comes not from the Old Testament or from the letters of St. Paul, but from the Acts of the Apostles. This liturgical choice reminds us what we are supposed to be doing with our experience of the Resurrection – sharing it with others and making our Risen Savior present to the world.
James Bitting, religion teacher at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School, Wichita, will lead a three-part series at the Spiritual Life Center for participants to learn more about the Acts of the Apostles, considered by many to be a sort of companion volume to the Gospel according to Luke. Participants will discover how the evangelist sheds light on the power of the Paschal Mystery by showing how Jesus Christ, raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, truly remains with his people and working in his church.
The three-part mini-course will explore the teaching and ministry of Christ as it is unveiled in the evangelical ministry of the first disciples.
Special attention will be given to the content and methods used by the Apostles in their work of evangelization. Participants should be equipped with a Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Want to attend?
The series occurs Tuesday evenings, April 7, 14, and 21 from 7-8:30 p.m. Registration cost is $30. Please visit www.SLCWichita.org or call (316) 744-0167 to register. Pre-registration is requested but walk-ins are welcome.

Catholic Culture Conference April 17-18 at the SLC
Chesterton Society’s Dale Ahlquist to speak
The Catholic Culture Conference, an opportunity for faithful Christians to come together for formation and fellowship, will be held Friday evening, April 17, and all day Saturday, April 18, at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
“Our Catholic Faith is not just a notion. It is a concrete reality with the power to open the hearts and minds of all peoples. It can make the societies in which we live flourish in the way God intended,” said Dusty Gates, assistant program director at the center. “We are extremely excited to welcome Dale Ahlquist, president of the G.K. Chesterton Society as our keynote speaker.”
The weekend is designed to promote Catholic values in personal and family life, as well as in society at large. The conference will consist of multiple sessions, each geared towards some particular component of Catholic life in our modern age.
A combination of large group lectures and smaller breakout sessions will give each participant the opportunity to learn more about how Catholicism relates to – and is intended to positively change – our culture.
Want to attend?
Space is limited to the first 150 registrants. Register by calling the Spiritual Life Center at (316) 744-0167 or visit SLCwichita.org.
Registration includes a wine and appetizer social on Friday evening, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday.
Early bird rates are $55 per commuter, $85 per single occupancy, and $75 per double occupancy. Early bird rates end April 6.

Divine Mercy Ministry founder to lead annual Palm Sunday retreat
Karla Salp, the founder of Divine Mercy Ministries, of Olympia, Wash., will lead the annual Palm Sunday Retreat March 27-29 at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
This year’s retreat centers around the Divine Mercy of our Lord. Retreatants will study the Diary of St. Faustina and spend time in prayer and reflection to usher in Holy Week.
As in previous years, the retreat will culminate on Palm Sunday morning with the reading of the Passion at Mass. There will be time on the weekend for personal prayer, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, conferences, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The regular cost of the weekend is $165 for single occupancy or $138 per person for double occupancy. The registration deadline is noon, March 23. The cost for commuters is $100. All registrations include a $50 non-refundable deposit.
Check-in begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 27, with the first conference starting at 7:30 p.m. The retreat concludes at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 29.
Register by visiting www.SLCWichita.org or by calling the center at (316) 744-0167.

Torchlight Way of the Cross March 28 at the Spiritual Life Center
The Spiritual Life Center will host the Way of the Cross by torchlight at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28.
The faithful are invited to a solemn procession around the outdoor stations with torches and flashlights. Participants will gather indoors around 8:15 that evening.
No registration necessary. Dress appropriately for the weather and bring a flashlight.

Youth and school news, March 20, 2015

BC, Kapaun have five finalists in the national Merit Scholarship Program
Two Bishop Carroll and three Kapaun Mount Carmel Catholic High School students were named finalists in the annual national Merit Scholarship Program.
The Bishop Carroll finalists are Rachel Schwindt and Jakob Wulf-Eck.
Rachel is the daughter or John and Jody Schwindt of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. She is active in National Honor Society, StuCo, cheer and the SEAS choir. Jakob is the son of Kirk and Laura Eck of St. Joseph Parish, Wichita. He is active in National Honor Society, Scholars’ Bowl, and is a server in his parish.
The KMC finalists are Thomas Harrington, Maggie Kelly and Elizabeth Pringle.
Thomas Harrington is the son of Robert and Elaine Harrington, parishioners of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. Thomas has been involved in National Honor Society, student council, debate and forensics, KAY Club and Spanish Club.
Maggie Kelly is the daughter of Michael and Kathy Kelly, parishioners of Resurrection Church. Maggie has played soccer and cross country, and is involved in student council, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, and the Cum Laude program.
Elizabeth Pringle is the daughter of Doug and Caroline Pringle, parishioners of St. Thomas Aquinas. Elizabeth in involved in the Cum Laude program, varsity tennis, and volunteer and leadership activities. She is a co-president of the National Honor Society and a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership ambassador.
The nationwide pool of semifinalists, which represents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.

Four Catholic school teachers write winning lesson plans in national contest
Four Catholic school teachers from the Diocese of Wichita wrote winning lesson plans in a national contest sponsored by the Sophia Institute for Teachers.
Awarded $250 for their lesson plans in various subject areas were Don Forester of Christ the King Catholic School, Wichita; Donna Maus of St. Mary Colgan Catholic High School in Pittsburg; Donald Jones of Resurrection Catholic School, Wichita; and Tammy Gipson of St. Joseph Catholic School, McPherson.
The contest, “Catholicism in Every Classroom,” is designed to help Catholic educators create and share lesson plans that join Catholic faith with all subject areas. The winning lesson plans included a physical education warm-up that teaches students about different saints and a math exercise that points to certain Bible verses.
Maus, who teaches science in Pittsburg, entered a lab lesson plan. “I love that I can use something very familiar, like a butterfly or a dandelion, that most people will dismiss as uninteresting, and then watch my students discover the normally unseen, but amazingly beautiful intricacy of that organism” she said.
“What makes this lab perfect for our Catholic school is that the ability to really see the beauty of creation leads a person to more fervently love God, who provides for us all, and be amazed by his marvelous works.”
Gipson, who teaches sixth grade religion at St. Joseph Catholic School in McPherson, said her lesson plan involves making a flip book that looks like Joseph’s colorful cloak and uses it to help students recognize how Joseph in the Old Testament foreshadows Jesus in the New Testament. She said that the element of Catholicism in the classroom is very important.
“When you teach in a Catholic school, it’s a mission and a call. We’re not ordained like priests or sisters, but we’re lay ministers. If they can see our Catholic faith, hear it and do it, then they’ll live it,” Gipson said.
Resurrection’s Donald Jones, said, “I want to help my students understand how amazing the love God has for us really is and how to take that love and shine it back on the world around us. When students see the inclusion of their Catholic faith as a part of each classroom and each lesson hopefully they’ll understand more and more that being Catholic is an amazing gift which they should embrace and live out each and every day.”
For more information, visit sophiainstituteforteachers.org.

Those ‘called by God’ prepare for Easter vigil

By Don McClane
Noah must have seemed absurd to his neighbors, building a huge boat in the middle of a desert, said Fr. John Lanzrath in his homily at the Rite of Election Sunday, Feb. 22, at the Church of the Magdalen in Wichita.
“Imagine how Noah must have been ridiculed and mocked, jeered and laughed at by others,” he said. “Why did Noah build the ark? Because Noah listened to the voice of Yahweh. Those around Noah had forgotten Yahweh, had turned away from Yahweh, making themselves to be their own God.”
The 451 catechumens and candidates from throughout the Diocese of Wichita attending the Rite of Election were there because they, too, had listened to God and responded, he said.
“Today, you are called by name in the midst of the storm of chaos, sin, and disorder that surrounds us in this world to come onto a boat that we call the Catholic Church.”
Fr. Lanzrath, who presided at the event for Bishop Carl A. Kemme, mentioned another ark, the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the commandments given to Moses, and was the place of the Real Presence of God among his people.
He added that there is yet another boat in Catholic churches.
“The earliest Catholic Churches were built in such a way that the place where God’s people gathered for worship in the main aisle of the church was called the nave, coming from the Latin word, ‘naves,’ meaning boat.”
Fr. Lanzrath, who described himself as a cradle Catholic, declared that he stood in awe of the catechumens for choosing to board the ark of the Catholic faith, sometimes despite opposition and ridicule.
“Each of you remind those of us who are cradle Catholics of how blessed we are to be in the ark, the boat that we call the Catholic Church.”
The Rite of Election is one of the last major steps in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults before the catechumens, those who are not baptized, and candidates, those who are to be received in the church, participate in the Holy Saturday vigil to be fully received into the church.
The Rite of Election includes the enrollment of names of all those seeking baptism at the Easter Vigil. At the rite, the catechumens publicly express their desire for baptism to the diocesan bishop, their names are recorded in a book, and they are called “the elect.”
The full text of Fr. Lanzrath's homily is appended below.

Waiting for the Easter vigil
Over 450 catechumens, those who will be baptized, and candidates, those who will be received into the church, participated in a Rite of Election Sunday afternoon Feb. 22 at Church of the Magdalen in Wichita. Father John Lanzrath, vicar general of the Diocese of Wichita, presided at the event for Bishop Carl A. Kemme. At left, parish representatives carry in the parish Books of the Elect that were displayed on a table in front of the altar. Catechumens and candidates will be received into the church on Holy Saturday evening, April 4. (Photos by Justin Folger, Church of the Magdalen, and Travis Price, Holy Cross, Hutchinson.)

Fr. Lanzrath's homily

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Two Books of Sacred Scripture begin with the same three words, “In the beginning.” The Book of Genesis, from which came our first reading on this first Sunday of Lent and the Gospel of John. From Genesis, “In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth — and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters—.” In the creation stories in the first chapters of Genesis, we ponder how God created the universe and created order in the universe: the sea and the sky, the cattle and all living creatures, the plants and trees, the birds of the air, the fish in the sea. And then, in His Divine Image, God created man, male and female. And God saw all that He had made and He found it very good.
In the prologue of John’s Gospel are the powerful words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” By sending the Son into the world to become one like us in all things but sin, God the Father sought to re-establish order in a world that had become chaos.
The chaos, the dysfunction, hatred, violence, religious extremism, greed, envy, jealousy, pride, lust, anger, gluttony, sloth, injustice. This chaos is a result of sin. The goodness of God’s creation became marred by man’s turning away from God. Noah sought to remain faithful to the voice of Yahweh. And after the great flood that destroyed the earth, God established a covenant with Noah.
“See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.”
We know well the story of Noah and the ark. But there is one critical component of the story that I wish to address to you, the catechumens and candidates: you who will be called by name in a few moments in this Rite of Election. Imagine the absurdity of Noah building an ark, a huge boat in the middle of a desert. Imagine how Noah must have been ridiculed and mocked, jeered and laughed at by others. Why did Noah build the ark? Because Noah listened to the Voice of Yahweh. Those around Noah had forgotten Yahweh, had turned away from Yahweh, making themselves to be their own god.
My sisters and brothers in Christ, you are here today because you have listened to the Voice of God calling you by name. Each and every one of you has a particular and unique story that has led you from the beginning to this very day. Today, you are called by name in the midst of the storm of chaos, sin and disorder that surrounds us in this world to come onto a boat, that we call the Catholic Church. Over the years that I have been blessed to serve as a Priest of Jesus Christ, I am always amazed when I listen to the stories of sisters and brothers who journey to the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Many have shared with me how they are ridiculed, mocked, laughed at by others, sometimes even by members of their own family when they make known that they seek to become Catholics. Perhaps, some of you here today are experiencing that ridicule right now. If so, remember Noah. Remember his fidelity to God. Remember the covenant that Yahweh made with Noah and his descendants.
The ark. The Israelite people, chosen by Yahweh by name, recognized the significance of the Ark. The ark of the covenant, containing the commandments given Moses by Yahweh was placed in the Holy of Holies in the Temple. The Ark was the place of the Real Presence of God among His People. “I am your God and you shall be my people.” We read throughout the Old Testament how the Ark of the Covenant would be carried by the People into the chaos of war, to protect and defend God’s People.
And then, the time came for the fulfillment of God’s Promise, the coming of the Messiah. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” From the beginning of the Catholic Church two thousand years ago, the earliest Fathers of the Church recognized the Church as the boat, the ark. The earliest Catholic Churches were built in such a way that the place where God’s People gathered for worship in the main aisle of the Church was called the nave, coming from the Latin word, “Naves,” meaning boat. From that same root word, we get the English word, “Navy.” This is the nave, the boat. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. That Word was named Jesus. On the night before He died, Jesus shared his last meal with his disciples. “Take this, all of you and drink from it. This is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.”
My sisters and brothers in Christ, this Season of Lent that we begin is unique and unrepeatable. The Lenten journey of 2015 is not the same as the Lenten journey of 2014, 2010, or any other previous year. Why? Because each one of us is at a different place in our journey, our pilgrimage to the Kingdom of God. The Season of Lent reminds us that we are pilgrims. We are on a journey. As we read today in the Gospel, “Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” This last week on Ash Wednesday, as ashes were placed on our forehead, we heard those very words, “Repent and believe in the Gospel”
Listen to the Voice of God speak to you during these 40 days in the desert leading to the Easter Vigil. On that sacred night, one of the readings of the Word of God will be taken from the Book of Genesis – the story of creation. “In the beginning…” On that sacred night in the incredible beauty of the Easter Vigil Liturgy, water will be blessed, the water of the Easter vigil. Water, the outward sign of the Sacrament of Baptism. Water, which will be poured over your head or water, by which you will be immersed. Dying to self to become alive as a Child of God. On that sacred night at the Easter Vigil, you Elect of God will come to the Altar of God for the first time to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion. The new and everlasting covenant established by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
On that Easter Vigil, you will hear the invitation, “Behold, the Lamb of God. Behold him, who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the Supper of the Lamb.” Through the Sacraments of Initiation of Baptism, Confirmation, and lastly, the Eucharist, you will enter into the Ark of the new and everlasting covenant.
My brothers and sisters, as a cradle Catholic, I stand in awe and wonder as I see you gathered in this Church. I was baptized 11 days after my birth. I received my first Holy Communion at age seven, the Sacrament of Confirmation at age 10. I count as one of the greatest blessings in my life the family into which I was born and the mother and father God chose to be my parents. They formed me in the life of the Catholic Church by their example. I stand in awe of you because this decision that you are now making, is made by each of you. Whatever the storms of life you have endured to this day, you are now making the decision that you wish to come into the boat, the ark of the Catholic Church. With your sponsor, your catechists, your pastors, your parish families from all over the Diocese of Wichita, you come here today to be entered by name into the Elect. Each of you remind those of us who are cradle Catholics of how blessed we are to be in the ark, the boat that we call the Catholic Church.
May we, as brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, journey together in this pilgrimage of Lent, this pilgrimage of life and when that life on earth is ended, we pray that by the forgiveness and freedom from our sins, that was bought for us by the ransom of the blood of Jesus Christ, we may enter into the Kingdom of God forever. “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” Listen, O children of God, as you are now called by name.

Agency fair, Mass, and dinner for persons with disabilities and their families April 11

A community-wide agency fair featuring agencies, services, and supports for persons with disabilities will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 11, in St. Patrick School’s gymnasium, located at 2007 N. Arkansas in Wichita.
Tom Racunas, director of the diocesan Ministry with Persons with Disabilities, said the last such event was held in 2009 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Wichita.
“Many of the agencies, services, and supports designed to assist people with disabilities have changed significantly in the last five years due to changes in federal and state laws and state funding. We hope to provide persons with disabilities of all ages, their families and caregivers with current and helpful information.”
Over 40 agencies will be invited to participate. Attendees can come and go as they please.
“One family may want to talk with only one agency, another may want to visit with several agencies,” Racunas said. “The format allows for persons and families to access information based on their interests and needs.”
Later same day, persons with disabilities, their families, and caregivers are invited to the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, at East Douglas and Roosevelt, for the 5:15 p.m. Mass. At 6:30, a dinner will be served to those attending. The cost is a donation. Activities for all ages will follow dinner, including a quiet, sensory room for children who may need it, and time for parents and caregivers to socialize.
Life as a special needs parent can be isolating says Blessed Sacrament parishioner Sarah DeVries. “You might have a lot of friends, but you rarely have friends who have the same stories and experiences. My hope is that our Mass and dinner will bring special needs families of the diocese together to pray, share a meal, share stories, and form a community.” she said. “In the spirit of the New Evangelization, we encourage all families of special needs and their caregivers to invite other families with special needs to Mass and dinner.”
For dinner reservations, contact Rosemary Brooks at dbrooks66@cox.net by April 8, indicating the number attending, any dietary needs, and if handicap parking is needed.

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