All are called to evangelize

Papal appointee visits Wichita to talk about the universal call to share the Gospel message
By Christopher M. Riggs
Ralph Martin reminded those attending his presentation Saturday evening, Feb. 7, at Church of the Magdalen in Wichita, that heaven is real – and that hell is just as real.
In his third presentation of the weekend, Martin, the recently appointed consulter to Pope Francis on matters regarding the New Evangelization, said baptized Christians have a universal call to holiness and to evangelization.
“Why is that? Because that is what it means to be a baptized Catholic. Baptism is not just a ceremony…it’s a sacrament that brings us into a living relationship with God.”
He said the union between holiness and evangelization is found in baptism.
“To grow in holiness,” Martin said, “one needs to grow in love. It’s a lot harder to grow in love than to say an extra rosary – although saying a rosary is good.”
St. Teresa of Avila says in order to be holy we need to bring our will in union with God’s will, he said, adding that Therese of Lisieux says holiness consists in doing God’s will and being what God wills us to be.
“Holiness is not a burden God is trying to place upon us,” Martin said. “It’s a blessing he’s trying to give us. He’s trying to give us a share in his own freedom to be perfectly who human beings are supposed to be.”
The problem with many Catholics is that although they know they are called to holiness, they hesitate or procrastinate, using excuses such as financial concerns, health problems, troublesome teenagers, or saying that they’re just a layperson.
“Just a layperson, just a layperson created in the image of God,” he said. “Somebody who is the temple of the Holy Spirit and somebody who Jesus shed his blood for.”
Martin said many say “mañana” to their call to holiness. “We are always tempted to think that there is going to be some better time in the future when circumstances are going to be more conducive to surrendering ourselves to the Lord. We don’t know how many more days we have we don’t know how much time we have.”
He said we should be concerned about people’s needs whatever they are, but we should be particularly concerned about their salvation. Jesus healed the sick, he said, and cast out demons to lead people to saving faith and to help people believe that he was who he said he was and find salvation.
Quoting Matthew 7:13-14, Martin said our culture’s understanding of the narrow and wide gates is backwards. Jesus says: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”
Martin said one of the challenges of our culture is that there is a difference between “knowing about Jesus” and “knowing Jesus.”
“There’s a difference between being in the crowd hearing his teachings and entering into a relationship with him and believing him and trusting him and following him,” he said. “That’s what we need to do to be saved. We need to not only believe in Jesus, but obey him.”
It’s not enough to go to church or to sing in the choir,” Martin said, “We have to believe in Jesus and follow him.”
He warned that some believe God is so merciful that they believe nobody will be lost.
Referring to the writings of St. Faustina about divine mercy he said, “The devil is ready to twist anything to his own advantage and many people jump to the presumption of his mercy. We cannot forget that in order for mercy to become effective in anybody’s life, there has to be a ‘yes’ to mercy. We have to admit that we need mercy, we have to admit that we have sins that need to be forgiven. Otherwise mercy cannot do its work.”
St. Faustina talked about that but hardly anybody says it,” he added. “That mercy is being offered but that mercy must be received.
“There really is a heaven and there really is a hell and what the word of God says is absolutely true,” Martin said. “This really is about people’s eternal destinies. It matters what they believe in. It matters whether they obey Jesus or not.”
God’s mercy is infinite, he said, but there must be a ‘yes’ to it.
“If we love people,’ Martin said in closing, “We should pray for their eternal salvation that they die in friendship with Christ that they die accepting the mercy of God with their sins forgiven.”
Martin, who holds several post-graduate theology degrees, is president of Renewal Ministries of Ann Arbor, Mich, and is the director of the graduate theology programs in evangelization at the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary. He also spoke to the priests of the diocese and a group of about 100 catechists.

Newman to honor Msgr. Robert Hemberger Saturday with Cardinal Newman Medal

WICHITA – Newman University will bestow the Cardinal Newman Medal to the Reverend Monsignor Robert Hemberger at the 2015 Cardinal Newman Banquet and Awards Ceremony. The event will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21, in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center on campus.
The medal – the highest honor bestowed by the Newman Board of Trustees – is conferred upon those who demonstrate in their daily life an appreciation of the spirit and ideals of Cardinal Newman, and who have been instrumental in the growth and development of the university.
According to a news release from the university, Msgr. Hemberger, a former member of the Newman Board of Trustees who retired in 2014, has had a lasting and widespread impact on the Catholic Diocese of Wichita and on Newman University. He is widely known and appreciated for his gentle, congenial nature, his ability to inspire and encourage others, and his gift for bringing out the best in people. He has long been a supporter of Catholic higher education and of Newman University.
In addition to serving as the diocesan representative to the Newman Board, he supported the St. Gianna Catholic Healthcare Academy, the Tom Seiler Teacher Academy at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School, and the Newman Master of Theology program.
Msgr. Hemberger was ordained to the priesthood on May 30, 1970. During his 44-year tenure with the diocese he served in many roles, including assistant pastor at St. Anne and All Saints parishes in Wichita, chaplain at St. Francis Hospital, Halstead Hospital and for the Sisters of St. Joseph, director of Marriage Encounter, assistant chancellor for the diocese, Judicial Vicar of the Tribunal, Diocesan administrator, and vicar general and moderator of the curia.
He also was involved in the development of stewardship, the healthcare ministry, the Catholic Care Center, the Spiritual Life Center, The Lord’s Diner, the synod, and the recent Cathedral renovation. He received a Licentiate in Canon Law in 1985 from Catholic University, Washington, D.C.
Others to be honored
In addition to the bestowal of the Cardinal Newman Medal, the banquet will honor the recipients of the 2015 Alumni Awards:
• Sister Teresita Elna S. Oporta, FSpif, - Beata Netemeyer Alumni Award
• Father Thomas A. Welk, CPPS - Leon A. McNeill Distinguished Alumni Award
• Mark and Ann (Roder) Fox - St. Maria De Mattias Award
• Margaret Weilert - Spirit of Acuto Award
The banquet and awards ceremony is part of Cardinal Newman Week, the annual week-long celebration of the life and teachings of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, the 19th century Catholic theologian and educator for whom the university is named.

Eucharistic adoration events scheduled for four locations

Wichita, Chanute, Conway Springs, Hutch to host ‘countercultural’ evenings of prayer
Four Eucharistic adoration events – focusing on adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication, or ACTS – are scheduled to take place in the Diocese of Wichita this year.
Bonnie Toombs, director of the diocesan Respect Life and Social Justice Office, said the prayer events will be held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, St. Patrick Church in Chanute, St. Joseph Church in Conway Springs, and Holy Cross in Hutchinson.
“The headlines of today are awash in many attacks against humanity and Christianity around the world. What does someone like me do to help counter these assaults?” she asked. “The power of prayer and forgiveness can solve many ills. The power of gratitude, and offering up our sufferings with Christ, are redemptive and can change hearts, souls, and minds and lead them back to Him who can do anything.”
Toombs added that Pope Francis has challenged Catholics to consider allowing their lives to be transformed by Christ’s presence in the Eucharist.
The first opportunity for transformation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at the Cathedral where there will be exposition and benediction of the Eucharist, talks on prayer, confession, singing, and communal and silent prayer. Participants are asked to bring a canned food item, to be used as part of the service. The canned food items will then be donated to a local food pantry.
Dates have not yet been set for the other ACTS events in Chanute, Conway Springs, and Hutchinson.
Toombs added that Pope Benedict XVI said: “In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light, particularly to those who are suffering.”
For more information, contact Toombs at (316) 269-3935 or Sister Loretta Beckius (316) 269-3900.

Parents of children with disabilities info night Feb. 26 at St. Joe Pastoral Center

Parents of children with disabilities, ages 3 to 21, are invited to an informational night from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, in the St. Joseph Pastoral Center, 437 N. Topeka in Wichita. The center is east of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
The event is for adults only. About 25 attended the event when it was first offered in English and in Spanish on Oct. 28. Topics discussed were guardianship, special needs trusts, and services available from Families Together. Those attending were enthusiastic about the evening and said it was helpful for them to learn of programs, rights and benefits they never imagined existed. 
“It is not easy to describe the experience of raising a child with special needs,” said Nora Venzor, a member of the Parent Support Team of the Hispanic Ministry which is cosponsoring the event.
“From the outside it may look like a stressful and challenging task. But at the heart, it is simply a task, as are all of life’s tasks. It is a wonderful opportunity of evolution and growth through love. That’s the feeling that reigns in our hearts. It was a nice experience to have been in a meeting with many parents who share the same situation.”
At the Feb. 26 informational night, attorney Leah Gagne will speak about guardianship; and Raquel Velasco, a parent, will share her experience as a guardian. Three representatives from the Wichita public school district will talk about why children have to be moved from one school to another for special education services. They will also speak about the importance of the Individual Education Plan and when those transitions occur. There will be an opportunity for general questions about the plans and parent rights.
Spanish interpreters will participate to translate in real time using FM systems.
This event is sponsored by the Parent Support Team of the Hispanic Ministry and the Ministry with Persons with Disabilities.
For more information, call (316) 269-3919 or email

Youth and school news, February 20, 2015

KMC presenting ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
Students to perform tonight, Saturday
“Don’t fear Shakespeare!” is the message from Kapaun Mt. Carmel student actors in advance of their production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
It will be presented this evening and Saturday in the KMC auditorium.
Brian Strole, drama instructor and director of the play, admits that “sometimes young people see Shakespeare’s name attached to a production and decide not to go because they fear the language will be too difficult.”
But that didn’t stop freshman Gary Woodburn and senior Antonia Scott from auditioning. Although Woodburn has been involved in theater productions since the age of 10, he knew the language in Midsummer would be tough to master.
However, Woodburn remained undaunted. “People scare themselves with Shakespeare,” he said, “but I looked at it as just another show.”
Scott admitted that she was also concerned about tackling Shakespeare but has found “it’s easier to see it performed than to read it.”
According to Strole, Midsummer is very accessible to the audience. “It’s a charming play,” he said. “It’s a comedy that is upbeat and uplifting.”
Strole also believes the plot is very relevant to teenagers as it centers on the misadventures of four young lovers. “It is concerned with people who have idyllic visions of love, a fairy-tale version of what they want it to be. That’s kind of like high school.”
Want to ‘dream’?
William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be presented Friday and Saturday, Feb. 20-21, at 7:30 p.m. in the KMC auditorium.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students.

St. Jude scouts to host soup dinner Feb. 21
Boy Scout Troop 420 will host its 34th Annual Soup Dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at the St. Jude School Activity Center, 3130 N. Amidon in Wichita.
The dinner will feature all-you-can-eat ham and bean or vegetable beef soups, corn bread, a beverage, and a dessert. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 3 to 9. Children under 3 eat free. Carry out will be available.
The dinner, along with a gift basket raffle, is the troop’s major fund raiser.  Proceeds send scouts to summer camp, are used to purchase camping equipment, and support other activities.

St. Therese Girls’ Club to host spaghetti dinner Feb. 22 at SFA
St. Francis of Assisi’s St. Therese Girls’ Club will serve a spaghetti dinner of homemade sauce, along with homemade pies and other desserts at their 10th Annual Spaghetti Dinner from 10:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, in the parish’s St. Clare Hall.
The club, made up of fifth through seventh grade members of the Little Flowers, will serve the all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner with bread sticks, vegetables, beverages, and the desserts.
The cost is $5 for those 12 and older, $3 for children ages 4 through 11, and free for children three and under. The maximum price for an immediate family is $25.
Take out is available and individual homemade pies may be purchased.
The dinner is being held for the club to earn money for trips, camp, Totus Tuus, and other activities.

Diocesan news, February 20, 2015

Bishop Kemme’s calendar
Here is Bishop Carl A. Kemme’s calendar for the next month.
Feb. 21-22: Parish pastoral visit Church of the Holy Spirit in Goddard
Feb. 22: Rite of Election at Church of the Magdalen at 2:30 p.m.; honorary captain for Catholic Charities 22nd Annual Cruise Night
Feb. 23-24: Priest mentor training workshop
Feb. 24-25: Masses for newly ordained priest retreat
Feb. 25: Confirmation Mass at St. Anthony in Strong City at 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 26-27: Kenrick Glennon Seminary Board of Trustee meeting and seminary visit
Feb. 28-March 1: Parish pastoral visit Our Lady of Lourdes in Pittsburg
March 3: Serra Club 6th Grade Vocation Fair at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Hutchinson
March 4: Warming Souls, serve at temporary winter shelter for homeless men
March 5: Serra Club Sixth Grade Vocation Fair at St. Patrick in Parsons
March 6: Serra Club Sixth Grade Vocation Fair at Church of the Magdalen in Wichita
March 7: Mass for Catholic Men’s Conference
March 7-8: Parish pastoral visit Church of the Resurrection in Wichita
March 11: Confirmation Mass at 6:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Parish in Conway Springs
March 12: Regional priests meeting, Confirmation Mass at 6:30 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi in Wichita
March 13: Catholic therapist group meeting
March 15: Diocesan Catholic Youth Convention Mass

Columbia Assembly marks 75th anniversary
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. The banquet cost is $45 per person, $40 for a spouse, or $80 per couple.The $70 exemplification cost includes the banquet. In addition to a silent auction, a dance is planned with Great Plains Jazz Orchestra.
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

Ministry with Persons with Disabilities hosting Lenten retreats in Coffeyville and Wichita
The Ministry with Persons with Disabilities will conduct two Lenten Retreats for people 14 years of age and older with intellectual or development disabilities. The retreats will focus on the meaning of the Stations of the Cross.
Holy Name Parish in Coffeyville will host a retreat on Sunday, Feb. 22. It will begin with Mass at 10 a.m. followed by a pancake and sausage breakfast for the entire parish served by the Knights of Columbus. The retreat will begin about noon and end at 2:30 p.m.
The Spiritual Life Center will host a Wichita area retreat on Sunday, March 1. It will begin with Mass at 11 a.m. followed by lunch. The retreat will end at 3:30.
For more information, call Tom Racunas in the Office of the Ministry with Persons with Disabilities at (316) 269-3900 ext. 143.

SEK musicians invited to gathering March 7
Parish musicians who live in Southeast Kansas are invited to gather with other pastoral musicians from the region for discussion, song, food, and fellowship Saturday, March 7.
The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Parish Center of St. Patrick Catholic Church, 424 S. Central, in Chanute.
A group has already been formed for the purpose of surfacing the needs of parish pastoral musicians and creating a support network, but the group is still recruiting.
Organizers would appreciate hearing those who are interested. To register or for more information, call or email Brenda Boehm, (620) 644-8859 or Pat Jones, (620) 687-2879 by March 4.

Catechist training to be offered in March in Goddard and in Parsons
The Office of Faith Formation will offer a one-day catechist training certification event called “Echoing Christ: ECHO One” twice in March.
It will be offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Church of the Holy Spirit in Goddard on March 7, and at St. Patrick Parish in Parsons on March 28.
The certification is open to all catechists and youth ministry leaders and will provide the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively hand on the faith to the next generation. The event incorporates live presentations by master catechists as well as times for prayer, lectio divina, reflection, and discussion.
Those who complete the training and the online modules will receive provisional certification as catechists in the Diocese of Wichita. Topics include handing on the faith, using Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Virtus and safe environment, and methodology and effective communication.
To register, visit or contact Joshua Bitting at (316) 269-3940 or

Bishop Kemme’s Lenten video message
Lent is a time of preparation, Bishop Carl Kemme shares in a video produced by the Catholic Advance. We prepare for the Paschal Mystery that will be relived during Holy Week, he says. “We are also preparing to take our place in the new creation,” he added, “after having lived this life of faith, hope and loving service.” The bishop recommends “deep prayer,” such as Eucharistic devotions, confession, the rosary, and the Stations of the Cross during Lent, and says he hopes believers’ lives will be strengthened by fasting and abstinence. “I pray that we will also extend ourselves to others, especially the poor and the less fortunate, by multiple spiritual and corporal works of mercy,” he said.

2nd annual Life Run set for May 2
The 2nd Annual Life Run will be held Saturday, May 2, at 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 For more information, call (316) 269-3935.

Next After the Gift retreat March 20-22
The next After the Gift retreat for birth moms who have placed children for adoption will be held March 20-22 at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
Those who have participated in previous retreats have found them to be of great benefit: “Realizing I’m not alone,” “An amazing blessing,” “I am so grateful for the compassionate people who made it possible.”
The adoption might have been done recently or many years in the past, no matter the time span, all are welcome and invited to a time for birth moms to come together to pray, to share, and to find encouragement and support.
Registration is open until March 12. To register, contact the Respect Life Social Justice Office for more information at (316) 269-3935 or visit

Rite of Election Sunday at Magdalen
The Rite of Election will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, at the Church of the Magdalen, 12626 E. 21st St. North, in Wichita.
Instead of three separate ceremonies held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, as was done in previous years, one rite will be celebrated in the larger sanctuary.
Bishop Carl A. Kemme will conduct the rite.
The Rite of Election of catechumens and the call to continuing conversion of candidates is for those who are preparing for full initiation into the church at the Easter Vigil. Catechumens receive baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist; candidates receive confirmation and Eucharist.

Divorce Ministry Facilitator training Saturday, Feb. 21
Divorce Ministry Facilitator training will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21.
The free training will be offered at the St. Joseph Pastoral Center, 437 N. Topeka, in Wichita.
Call (316) 685-5240 to register, or for more information.

Healing from divorce series begins March 5
The Catholic Divorce Survival Guide, a 12-week series for men and women seeking healing from divorce, will begin Thursday, March 5.
The sessions will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the St. Joseph Pastoral Center, 437 N. Topeka, in Wichita.
The program, which combines input from counselors, theologians, and priests, provides pastoral care to those striving for healing through the redemptive power of Christ.
Space is limited and there is a cost of $25 per person to cover materials. To register or for more information, email or call (316) 685-5240.

Healing from divorce series begins March 5
The Catholic Divorce Survival Guide, a 12-week series for men and women seeking healing from divorce, will begin Thursday, March 5. The sessions will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the St. Joseph Pastoral Center, 437 N. Topeka, in Wichita.
Space is limited and there is a cost of $25 per person to cover materials. To register or for more information, email or call (316) 685-5240.

Spiritual Life Center news, February 20, 2015

Brown Bagging’ It With Jesus, other events offered at SLC during Lent
Good Friday, April 3
WICHITA – The Spiritual Life Center has many programs planned during Lent, many of which are weekly during the season which ends on Holy Thursday.
The faithful are invited to join Fr. Ken Van Haverbeke, Dusty Gates, and other diocesan speakers at lunch each Friday for “Brown Baggin’ It with Jesus.” Speakers will discuss a relevant moral topic facing Catholics today.
Some topics they plan to cover include same-sex marriage, war and violence, women’s role in the church, vaccinations, and marijuana. The program lasts from 12:10-12:50 p.m. each Friday. Guests can bring their own lunch or they may reserve one at the center with at least 24 hours notice.
Stations of the Cross
Lenten Fridays will also include observation of the Stations of the Cross at the beautiful outdoor stations just north of the center. Guests can gather in the foyer of the center at 3:15 p.m. for a 3:30 p.m. start time.
Seven Sinners
The third weekly program occurring this year is entitled “Seven Sinners in Search of a Savior.” Dr. David Wall will lead participants through the biblical account of seven characters who encountered Christ and were transformed. “Seven Sinners” occurs on Thursdays of Lent from 7 to 8:30 p.m. There is no charge to attend.
Other programs
In addition to these weekly offerings, the center will hold programs on St. John Paul the Great, Mother Teresa, Sacrifice, Mary, and a retreat day on the last words of Christ. And don’t forget to check out the Palm Sunday Retreat this year which highlights Divine Mercy.
Want to attend a Lenten SLC program?
Information about all the programs is available at the Spiritual Life Center’s website,, or call the center at (316) 744-0167. Financial aid based on need is available for all retreats and programs of the center and can be applied for on the web site.

Ahlquist to speak at Catholic Culture Conference April 17-18 at the SLC
By Dusty Gates

The term “culture” gets thrown around a lot. We use it when we really mean something very different from the true sense of the word. The 1980s pop group “The Culture Club” comes to mind as a particularly laughable counterexample of what the word is supposed to mean.
In the 21st century, references to culture are commonly references to multiculturalism, which often ends in pluralism, which really means no culture at all. A Catholic culture is an environment which fosters our authentic development – in mind, body, and spirit. John Senior described this culture as “the natural environment of truth, assisted by art, ordered intrinsically, that is, from within, to the praise, reverence, and service of God our Lord. To restore it, we must learn its language.”
That is the motivation and hope for the Catholic Cultural Conference April 17-18 at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita. The inspiration behind the conference is the thought of G.K. Chesterton, an early 20th century Catholic English author, debater, and convert from the Church of England. Chesterton is known by many as the “Apostle of Common Sense,” and his extensive writings cover a variety of topics such as religious faith, economics, education, art, politics, and more.
Chesterton was an integrated thinker par excellence. To him, it made no sense to divide our thinking into separate categories and academic disciplines. All of our thinking, in Chesterton’s mind, should flow from the same source, therefore even when applied to diverse particular subjects should come back together in a synthetic harmony.
The keynote for the conference, Dale Ahlquist, international speaker, author, and president of the American Chesterton Society, will give two lectures, the first is entitled “The Glorious Side of Social Decline,” at 7 p.m. Friday, April 17, which Ahlquist describes: “A hundred years ago, G.K. Chesterton said that we are entering a new dark ages. Since then we have continued to watch our civilization decline and barbarism arise. But as also Chesterton pointed out, there was one light that led us out of the dark ages. It was the church. The session will explore Chesterton’s vivid description of both the darkness and the light.”
Ahlquist’s second talk at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 18, is entitled “The Trouble with Catholic Social Teaching.”
“This session will correct the misconceptions about what Catholic social teaching is and dispel the notion that Chesterton’s ideas about distributionism are socialist or opposed to freedom or economically unfeasible or simply quaint,” says Ahlquist, “find out why distributism that keeps being pronounced dead, keeps coming back to life.”
The conference will also feature local speakers Bo Bonner, Jackie Arnold, James Lewis, and Laurie Robinson, president of the Wichita Chapter of the American Chesterton Society. Additional lectures and breakout sessions will explore topics such as the importance of recreation for the integrated life, challenges and opportunities for to personal faith in your professional life, prayer, education, and conversion.
Gates is assistant program director at the Spiritual Life Center.
Want to hear Dale Ahlquist?
Space for the atholic Culture Conference April 17-18 is limited to the first 150 registrants, so sign up early by calling the Spiritual Life Center at (316) 744-0167 or online at
Registration includes a wine and appetizer social Friday evening, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday. The early bird rates, which end April 6, are commuter $55, single occupancy $85, and double occupancy $75.

Talk about dementia, caregiving March 12
The Catholic Care Center is hosting “The Many Faces of Dementia,” a caregiver education opportunity from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, March 12, in the Bel Aire City Building, 7651 E. Central Park Ave. in Bel Aire.
Dr. Ryan Shroeder of the KU School of Medicine will speak about his research on dementia and share tips for caring for those with dementia.
A caregivers resource fair, information about the importance of caregiver wellness, and a lunch are part of the event.
The event is free, open to the public, but reservations are required. For reservations, call (316) 771-6593.

‘The Seven Last Words of Christ’ Feb. 28 at the Spiritual Life Center
Janet Moore will lead a Lenten day retreat, “The Seven Last Words of Christ,” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
The last words someone speaks before their death are important. This must be especially true for Jesus’ last words:
• Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. (Luke 23:34)
• Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
• Woman, behold your son. Son Behold your mother. (John 19:26–27)
• My God, My God, have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34)
• I thirst. (John 19:28)
• It is finished. (John 19:29-30)
• Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. (Luke 23:46)
The words of Jesus spoken in agony from the cross are steeped in meaning and power, and provide a means of looking directly into Our Savior’s Heart – into the depth of His love for us. Christians have contemplated these words for thousands of years and treasured them.
The day of reflection provides an opportunity to contemplate the unfathomable depths and grace of Jesus’ last words. Retreatants will ponder them through the wisdom of the saints and from the writings of such people as Fulton Sheen, Richard Neuhaus, Scott Hahn, and Mother Teresa. It will also provide an opportunity to reflect on what Jesus is saying to us through his last words.
The day will include Mass, opportunities for confession, snacks and lunch. Participants are asked to bring a journal and a Bible.
The cost for the day is $20 which includes lunch. Check in begins at 8:30 a.m. Reservations can be made online at or by calling (316) 744-0167. Bedrooms are available for anyone wishing to stay overnight on Friday or Saturday.
Moore, who holds a master’s degree in theology from Newman University, is a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Wichita.

Spiritual Life Center patrons get food more quickly, lounge in the dining area
By Don McClane

The Canada geese in the Spiritual Life Center pond have adjusted to the center’s newly-enlarged dining room.
“I’ve made peace with my geese,” said Fr. Ken Van Haverbeke, director of the SLC. “They come up to the window and sometimes they tap at you, but other than that they’re fine.”
Renovations to the dining room began Dec. 1 and were completed two weeks ago, on Feb. 6.
“We expanded the dining room, so that we went from a single serving line to two buffet lines,” Father Van Haverbeke said. “So, instead of serving people one at a time, one plate at a time, now we have four lines of people serving themselves.”
It has made a difference in efficiency.
“We had an Engaged Encounter come through,” Father Van Haverbeke said. “There’s about 70 or 80 of those, so in under nine minutes we had all of them served breakfast.”
“We had the priests there yesterday, and they thought it looked really good,” he added.
The dining room is also a brighter place. “The room is very light because we have windows on both sides now, whereas before it was just on the one side where the pond was,” he said.
The center’s director said one goal of the renovations was to make the dining room a place to feed the soul, in addition to the body.
“Another goal was for people who are coming out on a retreat or conference could get a cup of coffee, get a book, and sit at one of the tables, kind of like what they do at college unions,” he said. “Just a nice gathering space for small groups and individuals.”
The budget for the renovation was a little over $300,000. Howard and Helmer Architecture of Wichita designed the space. Simpson Construction Services of Wichita completed the work.
The work went smoothly, with no major surprises. “That’s always good,” Father Van Haverbeke said. “That keeps you within budget.”
To do the work, the SLC borrowed money from the diocese and relied on contributions from donors.
“Engaged Encounter was very generous,” he said. “Other than that, it was all individuals – a number of priests were very generous – and different parishes.”
“Bishop (Emeritus Eugene J.) Gerber and the diocese back in 1990 envisioned a retreat space, not knowing how it would be used,” Father Van Haverbeke said. “This renovation shows really that it’s being used so much that we have to keep making it larger.”

Senior Adult Ministry Day of Reflection March 11 at the SLC
The diocesan Senior Adult Ministry is offering a Lenten Day of Reflection from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
The mini-retreat will feature Lenten-themed talks, time for prayerful reflection, and the celebration of the Eucharist.
Participants will enjoy refreshments, lunch, and time to reflect on the beautiful grounds. Registration is $10 per person and includes lunch. To register, contact Catherine at the Office of Marriage and Family at (316) 685-5240.

Marriage and Family Life Week Feb. 8-14

According to Pope Francis, the call to live married life is “an everyday task, [one] could say a craftsman’s task, a goldsmith’s work, because the husband has the duty of making the wife more of a woman and the wife has the duty of making the husband more of a man.”
To assist couples in that everyday task, the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life is once again planning and sponsoring Celebrate Marriage and Family Life Week the week of Feb. 8-14.
The goals of the diocesan Celebrate Marriage and Family Life Week are to create a number of marriage and family life strengthening activities and events to promote marriage and family life as something important to the health of our communities.
The following is an overview of the week:
• Sunday, Feb. 8: World Marriage Day is celebrated each year on the second Sunday in February. For information go to which contains posters, a media kit, prayer cards, and other resources that can be used to celebrate marriage on that particular Sunday.
• Monday, Feb. 9: “Families Fully Alive.” All are invited to St. Catherine of Siena parish at 7 p.m. This presentation on the theme of the World Meeting of Families will illustrate the connection that exists between home life and church life and how that helps families become fully alive. Childcare will be available. A reception will follow.
• Thursday, Feb. 12: Family Fun Night at Blessed Sacrament Parish from 6 to 8 p.m. Take the night off from cooking and join friends and families for free pizza and games for all ages.
• Friday, Feb. 13: Date Night: A Night Out for Catholic Couples – at the Spiritual Life Center. Go to  for more information.
• Saturday, Feb. 14: Join us and celebrate the 15th Annual “Night of Romance” with our Theme: Love is our Mission at St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Schulte.
A key aspect of Celebration Week is that the theme coincides with the World Meeting of Families event taking place in Philadelphia in September: “Love is Our Mission; The Family Fully Alive.”
Pilgrimage to Philly deadline Feb. 15
The office is sponsoring a pilgrimage to the World Meeting of Families and there are a few spots still left but the Feb. 15 deadline to register is fast approaching. For more information contact Catherine Bitting at (316) 685-5240 or email her at

Want to celebrate marriage, family life?
To get more information and to register to any or all of the events visit our website and click on the Celebrate Marriage and Family Life Week events.

Two evangelization events scheduled in the diocese

Ralph Martin in Wichita Saturday; Discovering Christ seminar Feb. 27-28 at SLC, Wichita
The diocesan Office of Faith Formation is sponsoring two initiatives to inspire, equip, and encourage all Catholics in the Diocese of Wichita to participate fully in the New Evangelization called for by our Holy Father, and to provide practical tools to accomplish the mission.
Joshua Bitting, program coordinator of the office, said, “Pope Francis reminds us that the new evangelization calls for the personal involvement of each of the baptized. Here are two great opportunities to ‘catch’ the vision of our Holy Father by answering his call to be ‘missionary disciples.’”

Ralph Martin Saturday
The first is a talk by Dr. Ralph Martin, director of the graduate theology program in the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. Dr. Martin’s talk, “The Urgency of the New Evangelization: Answering the Call,” will be presented from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at Church of the Magdalen in Wichita.
For more information about Martin’s, visit

Discovering Christ
Feb. 27-28
The second initiative is an evangelization conference led by ChristLife, an apostolate devoted to helping ordinary Catholics participate actively in the call to share Christ with others. ChristLife has developed a parish-based evangelizing process called “Discovering Christ” that invites people to discover, follow and share Christ with others.
The process has been effective in leading people to commit their lives to Jesus by encountering Him or re-encountering Him in a life-changing way.
The Discovering Christ conference will be held Friday evening, Feb. 27, and Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita. Discovering Christ consists of seven parish-based sessions and a day retreat. Each session includes four elements: dinner, prayer time, a teaching, and small group discussion.
The teachings are presented in a dynamic way and focus on basic questions, such as: “What is the Meaning of Life?”, “Why Does Jesus Matter?”, “Why do I Need a Savior?” and more.
Parishes are invited and encouraged to send participants to the conference so that they can experience the Discovering Christ process and bring back a renewed ardor for Christ and the knowledge and confidence they will need to host a Discovering Christ event at their own parishes.
To learn more about the Discovering Christ Conference, please visit Parishes are asked to register their participants as a group.
Contact Joshua Bitting, program coordinator for Catechist Formation and Resources, for more information.

Want to attend?
To register for either event, visit the Office of Faith Formation website,, and click under “Event News,” email bittingjo@Catholic, or call Joshua Bitting at the Office of Faith Formation at (316) 269-3940.
Follow the Office of Faith Formation on Twitter @OFFCDOWK.

Youth and school news, February 6, 2015

Holy Savior receives nutrition grant
WICHITA – Holy Savior Catholic Academy has received a $9,900 grant from the local Cargill Cares Council to assist with food and nutrition programs at the school.
This year marks the third consecutive year that Cargill Cares Wichita Council has provided the grant, which is used to provide nutritional food during the academy’s before and after school programs and for children to take home in backpacks over weekends.
“Students benefit tremendously from the sustenance provided by this grant,” said Dr. Delia Shropshire, principal of Holy Savior Catholic Academy. “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs indicate that basic needs must be met first before reaching self-actualization. Additionally, Jesus, the Master Teacher, fed the multitude before preaching the Sermon on the Mount. Because of this grant we too can meet physical needs which improve our ability to meet academic and spiritual needs.”
Holy Savior Catholic Academy is a Catholic Diocese of Wichita school with about 145 students in grades prekindergarten through eight. Approximately 75 percent of students receive their school meals for free or at a reduced rate.

Talk on internet safety set for Feb. 12 at BC
Detective Hans Asmussen, a Bishop Carroll parent and a 19-year veteran of the Wichita Police Department, will talk about “Internet and Social Media Safety for Parents” from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, in the Bishop Carroll Auditorium.  
Detective Asmussen spoke earlier this year on the topic to the school’s faculty. The presentation will help educate parents about the latest technology and give them concrete ways to keep students safe.

Trinity debaters take first, second at state debate tournament Jan. 16-17
HUTCHINSON – Trinity Catholic High School’s 2-Speaker Debate Team of Charlie and Sofia Garcia defeated Sterling High School’s team in the final round in the 3-2-1A State Debate Tournament Jan. 16-17 to win the state championship in their division.
Charlie Garcia is a senior and has debated for four years. Sofia is a junior and completed her third year of debate.
Sterling won the State 4-Speaker competition, followed by Hutchinson Trinity Catholic, Wichita Independent, and Wichita Collegiate.
Trinity Catholic’s 4-Speaker team is made up of Shannon Galliher, William Green, Nolan Hughes, Rachel Eisenbarth, Darrick Baker, and Maggie Brown.
The team brought home medals from seven of their eight tournaments and captured the sweepstakes award at Nickerson, Salina South,and Andover.
Also debating for Trinity Catholic are four novice debaters: Liam Brown, Andrew Nelson, Han Choi, and Dominik Ströbel.

St. Jude scouts to host soup dinner Feb. 21
Boy Scout Troop 420 will host its 34th Annual Soup Dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at the St. Jude School Activity Center, 3130 N. Amidon in Wichita. 
The dinner will feature all-you-can-eat ham and bean or vegetable beef soups, corn bread, a beverage, and a dessert. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 3 to 9. Children under 3 eat free. Carry out will be available.
The dinner, along with a gift basket raffle, is the troop’s major fund raiser.  Proceeds send scouts to summer camp, are used to purchase camping equipment, and support other activities.

All Saints School hosting World Food Fair on Sunday Feb. 8
WICHITA – All Saints Catholic School will host a World Food Fair from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8, in Hertel Gymnasium.
The fundraiser will feature foods from Europe, the USA, Central America, and Asia. All plates will feature three entrees. The cost is $5 per plate and includes beverages and a salad bar.
In addition to Chinese Dragon Dancers, student performers will provide entertainment related to the origin of the featured food.
Ten baskets will also be raffled.

Diocese leading pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Poland
The Diocese of Wichita is hosting a pilgrimage the summer of 2016 to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. Registration is now open for pilgrims 16 years old (as of July 1, 2016) and older to join the diocesan group.
The pilgrimage will take place July 18 through Aug. 1, 2016, and will include day trips to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Lagiewniki, St. John Paul II’s childhood home in Wadowice, the Chapel of the Black Madonna in Czestochowa, and all the World Youth Day festivities, including Mass with Pope Francis.
The cost of the pilgrimage is $3,500, and includes transportation, lodging, most meals, day trips, missionary days in the Diocese of Krakow, and World Youth Day events.
Register online or call the Office of Faith Formation at (316) 269-3940. For more information about WYD and our diocesan pilgrimage, visit

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