Fr. Kapaun’s cause one step closer to papal consideration

The cause for the canonization of Father Emil Kapaun is one step closer to consideration by the pope.
Six historical consultants of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints met in Rome Tuesday, June 21, and approved the historical documents submitted by the Diocese of Wichita on behalf of Fr. Kapaun’s Cause for Beatification and Canonization. The documents were originally presented to the Congregation as part of the Positio for Fr. Kapaun and were prepared by the Postulator Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, who has visited Wichita several times for the diocese.
The Vatican’s consultants approved the documents after evaluating them for completeness and accuracy. The Positio is the official document that will be used to determine if Father Kapaun lived a life of heroic virtue and sanctity. Bishop Carl A. Kemme presented the Positio to Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints on Nov. 9, 2015.
Father Kapaun is a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, who, while serving in the U.S. Army as a chaplain, died in 1951 in a Korean prisoner of war camp after heroically serving his fellow soldiers.
The affirmative vote allows Father Kapaun’s Cause to move forward to the Theological Consultants, who will review the Positio to determine if Father Kapaun’s writings and teachings are doctrinally sound and in harmony with church teachings. If the Theological Consultants also deliver an affirmative vote, the matter will move to a panel of Cardinals and Archbishops of the Congregation for Saints.
The panel will review Father Kapaun’s life one final time. If they approve, Father Kapaun’s Cause will move on to the Holy Father who will make the ultimate decision on Father Kapaun’s Beatification and Canonization.
As the review of Father Kapaun’s life continues, medical consultants in the Congregation will be working on the proof of alleged miracles. One alleged miracle must be approved and accepted as having no scientific explanation for Fr. Kapaun’s Beatification; and, a second miracle must be approved and accepted for the canonization of Father Kapaun.
Fr. John Hotze, a priest of the diocese and the episcopal delegate of the Office of Canonization of Father Emil Kapaun, said the process may seem unending but that the naming of a saint has never and, hopefully, will never be taken lightly.
“This news cannot be perceived as anything but a great sign,” he said. “This is a great step forward and recognition of the work we’ve done and of the life of Father Kapaun, and has happened much more quickly than I had anticipated.”
Fr. Hotze added that, God willing, Father Kapaun’s cause will proceed with speed and that we will soon be honoring him as a saint of the holy Catholic Church.

Sisters of St. Joseph break ground for assisted living and skilled nursing center

WICHITA – The Sisters of St. Joseph ceremonially broke ground Monday, June 13, to mark the start of construction on a new building on East Lincoln Road in Wichita. The building will be a non-profit senior care property and will offer Sisters and others assisted living and skilled care options.
The site will have 20 assisted living apartments and 24 skilled care units, in addition to the existing 32 apartment independent living complex known as Joseph Villa, Mount St. Mary’s Convent, and the chapel.
“We are excited to be creating a beautiful home for our sisters and others” said Sr. Rita Ann Teichman of the Congregational Leadership Team. “The fact that we are building here is a resounding indication of our commitment to remain a part of this Wichita neighborhood.”
Sr. Margaret Nugent agreed, adding, “We have a long history of looking for what is needed in the community and providing for that need. We pray that God will continue to guide our hearts and our projects as we seek ways to serve our neighbors.”
Anticipated completion of the building is the fall of 2017. It will be managed by CSJ Initiatives.

Year of Fr. Kapaun closes

The Year of Father Kapaun may have come to a close, Bishop Carl A. Kemme said in a homily last week during the commemorative closing Mass in St. John’s Chapel at Newman University in Wichita, but the work of promoting Fr. Kapaun’s cause continues unabated.
“We are not anywhere close to completing our mission, which is to promote the cause for beatification and canonization of this priest from the heartland, whose priesthood officially began here in this chapel 76 years ago.”
After hearing his name, Bishop Kemme said, Fr. Kapaun stood and uttered one word, “adsum,” which means “present.”
“As I said on the 65th anniversary of his death and repeated in some fashion on the day of our priestly ordinations,” Bishop Kemme added, “Emil could not have known what he was present for, nor can any of us, but he truly was present, or up for the incredible form of ministry and service he would be asked to give, a witness that would take only 11 short years to accomplish culminating in his own death, some would say martyrdom, for the faith.”
Much has changed since then, but much has stayed the same, Bishop Kemme said.
“What has remained constant is the need for witness to truth, justice, mercy and God’s love, which Father Kapaun provided for the men he served so heroically,” he said.
“The church continues to need and will always need priests who are selfless servants and who do not count the cost when it comes to their ministry. The church and the world needs today more than ever, I suspect, men of virtue, men who are servant heroes for their wives, their children, their families, their parishes, men like Father Kapaun, with true grit and true masculinity, not some false masculine bravado or machismo that fails to endure in the face of trials and tribulations.”
In a world confused about gender, choice, freedom, and responsibility, he said, Father Kapaun was a man who knew himself and did what needed to be done for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
“Let this diocese and the church and world be filled with men of such caliber,” Bishop Kemme said.
Referring to the day’s Gospel, he said Jesus tells us that the faithful cannot bear fruit “apart from the vine,” apart from Jesus.
“The sooner we acknowledge that truth, the better,” Bishop Kemme said.
“I am certain Father Kapaun knew this truth, especially in the direst circumstances in which he found himself in prison, so far from here after only 11 years of priestly life and ministry. The world in many ways is imprisoned, the prison of sadness, doubt, confusion, and despair. As we are called in our own respective vocations, like Father Kapaun to witness to the life giving truth and joy of the Gospel and the joy of the love of God.”
The Most Rev. John B. Brungardt, bishop of the Diocese of Dodge City, and a former priest of the Diocese of Wichita was among the celebrants at the Mass.

KMC grad ordained Jesuit priest June 11 in St. Louis

Andrés Maria Vall-Serra, a 1995 graduate of Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School in Wichita, was ordained, Saturday, June 11, to the priesthood as a member of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, at St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis, Missouri.
He is the son of Gonzalo and Maria Vall-Serra, members of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Wichita.
Father Vall-Serra, 38, was one of five men of the Society of Jesus’ USA Central and Southern Province ordained at the Mass. He was born in Bogotá, Colombia, but moved with his family to Houston at the age of 4, and later relocated to Wichita. He served as a mechanic in the U.S. Navy for three years in the Persian Gulf, Southeast Asia, and the Mediterranean, later discerning his vocation while studying at Wichita State University and working part-time.
He entered the Jesuits in 2004 and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Saint Louis University, while serving at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and ministering to prisoners. He taught for two and a half years at Instituto Loyola, a Jesuit school in Managua, Nicaragua, and as a consultant on Ignatian spirituality at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Denver. He earned a master of divinity degree from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.
Fr. Vall-Serra has been assigned to serve in Punta Gorda, Belize.

Seniors lend a hand to aid the needy

Those filling bags with basic necessities for the needy last week may have been volunteers for the diocesan Senior Adult Ministries, but they filled 206 bags quickly with their seasoned proficiency.
“Part of the joy of coming together to do this…is that the senior adult ministry population is a huge portion of our diocese,” said Catherine Bitting, program coordinator for the ministry, which is part of the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life.
She said it’s important for senior adults to actively assist the poor. “We’re not asking anyone to go out and stand on the streets with our brothers and sisters in need, but this is a way they can have a hands-on, really person-to-person contact with the needy of the Body of Christ.”
As part of the “Ziplock and Load” event June 7, volunteers filled one-gallon plastic “goodie bags” in the Pius X Room of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita with a bottle of water, a protein bar, a clean pair of socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a bar of soap, and a Fr. Kapaun prayer card.
The bags were delivered to United Methodist Open Door Ministries, located a block south of the Cathedral, to be given to those in need of basic necessities. The diocese works with the Open Door Ministries and Inter-Faith Ministries to address the needs of the homeless in Wichita.
“The goal…was to be able to supply for the most basic needs,” Bitting said. “But it was especially fitting that we were able to do it in the Year of Mercy, to address some of the most corporal needs of our needy brothers and sisters.”

Diocesan news, June 17, 2016

Bishop Kemme’s calendar
Here is Bishop Carl A. Kemme’s calendar.
June 17: Mass for Holy Family Camp
June 18: Sisters of St. Joseph Jubilee Mass and luncheon
June 18-19: Parish Pastoral visit to Sacred Heart in Fredonia and St. Ignatius in Neodesha
June 21: Camp Totus Tuus
June 23: 27th Anniversary of Harvest House Mass & Luncheon
July 2-3: Parish Pastoral visit to Holy Spirit in Goddard
Bishop Kemme has limited meetings and public appearances during the month of July.

Pro-life ‘extravaganza’ June 26 at Cowtown
A “Faith, Family & Life Extravaganza” will be held from 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 26, at Cowtown in Wichita.
Kansans For Life describes the event as “a family reunion of all pro-lifers and those who support and protect the family.”
Free hot dogs will be given to the first 1,000 guests and watermelon will be served while it lasts.
Old fashioned games and prizes for everyone are planned. Several church choirs will entertain, in addition to all the usual activities of Cowtown. An evening concert will feature Rusty Rierson, a Nashville recording artist from Leon, Kansas, will entertain from 6 to 8 p.m.
Admission for adults is $4, and $1 for children.

D. of I. hosting World Day of Prayer event
WICHITA – The St. Augustine Circle Daughters of Isabella will host a World Day of Prayer event Wednesday, June 29, at the Assisted Living area of the Catholic Care Center.
Mass will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m. in the Chapel of Mercy on the west end of the center. Reservations for dinner, which follows Mass, are requested. The cost is $10.
For reservations call Carlene at 316-680-8874.

OFF webinar to help parish ministry planning set for June
The Office of Faith Formation will offer a free webinar June 29 to help parish ministries make plans for the coming academic year.
The webinar features Rich Curran, the founder and CEO of Parish Success Group, and will be presented Wednesday, June 29, from 7 to 8 p.m. All adult leaders in parishes are invited to attend.
Those wishing to watch the webinar may contact the Office of Faith Formation to receive a web address for the online event. A computer is required, but a camera and microphone are not. For the link address, contact the Office of Faith Formation at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 316-269-3940.
The webinar will focus on a tool known as the Chart of Intentional Ministry. It is designed for parishes to see at-a-glance all of the many ministries they offer across various categories, age groups, and levels of involvement. The tool helps parishes easily see where they may be duplicating efforts, and where they may need to strengthen their outreach to those with a very low level of involvement.
While the webinar serves as a follow-up for those who attended the Courageous Parish workshop at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on April 14, prior attendance at that workshop is not required to benefit from the webinar.

Curtis Martin to speak at Salina men’s conference Aug. 13
The founder and chief executive officer of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, Curtis Martin, will speak at the Diocese of Salina’s Men’s Conference Saturday, Aug. 13, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Hays.
Registration is $35 for adults and $15 for high school and college students. Father and son registration options are available. To register visit
Martin co-hosts EWTN’s show, “Crossing the Goal” and is the vice-chairman of the Augustine Institute in Denver, a Catholic graduate school dedicated to the New Evangelization. He and his wife Michaelann live in Westminster, Colorado.

GriefShare sessions begin on July 26
The diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life will host GriefShare from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, at the St. Joseph Pastoral Center, 437 N. Topeka, Wichita.
The cost for the series, including the workbook, is $25.
GriefShare meets weekly for 12 weeks to help participants face grief challenges and move toward rebuilding their lives. The sessions cover a different issue of grief each week, such as guilt, anger, what is normal during grief, complicating factors, how to deal with friends who don’t understand, and more. The series is scripture based so that participants come to understand how God’s Word brings about healing.
For more information contact the Carol Weigand at (620) 326-1251. To register, contact Jake Samour at (316) 685-5240 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Fr. Borkenhagen to lead Year of Mercy trip
Father Jason Borkenhagen will lead a pilgrimage Oct. 2-13, to holy sites in Ireland and Italy for the Year of Mercy indulgences.
In Ireland, the group will visit the shrine of Our Lady of Knock in Galway, Dingle Peninsula, Killarney, Dublin, and St. Patrick’s Croagh Mountain.
They will then fly to Rome for a tour that includes St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, and more. There will also be an afternoon trip to Orvieto to see a Eucharistic miracle.
Those interested may call Proximo Travel at 855-842-8001 for more information or visit the web site at choose custom trips and scroll down. You may also call Suzie Diskin at 620-449-2783 for a brochure.

The pope’s intentions
Here are Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for this month:
Human Solidarity: That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find–even within the huge cities of the world–opportunities for encounter and solidarity.
Seminarians and Novices: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.

Spiritual Life Center news, June 17, 2016

Summer symposium at SLC July 14-16
WICHITA – The Spiritual Life Center will host a three-day conference July 14-16 for adult faith formation featuring classes on doctrine, spirituality, literature, and Catholic living.
The teaching faculty for the Summer Symposium consists of Fr. Frank Coady, Fr. Ken Van Haverbeke, John McCormick, and Dusty Gates. The symposium is an opportunity for presenters and participants to gather for prayer, celebration, and intellectual exchange. The program begins with a keynote banquet on the evening of Thursday, July 14, and continues all day Friday and Saturday.
John McCormick, Ph.D., will teach about “Green Discipleship.” Dusty Gates will lead a course called “Inklings and Imagination: What Lewis and Tolkien taught us about Reality.” The title of Fr. Ken VanHaverbeke’s class is “God speaking through the imagination: Illusion or prayer?” And Keynote speaker, Fr. Frank Coady, priest of the Diocese of Salina, will teach on “Scripture and Tradition.”
Various registration options are available depending on which parts of the symposium a participant attends. The commuter rate is $115, and the overnight rate is $200. Adjusted rates are available for those who can only attend part of the symposium. Registration may be made by calling the Spiritual Life Center at 316-744-0167, or online at

Fr. Van Haverbeke to discuss how to pray with your personality on July 9
Father Ken Van Haverbeke will teach how to pray according to your personality Saturday, July 9, at the Spiritual Life Center.
Looking at five different personalities of saints: Saints Benedict, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Francis, and Ignatius, the day retreat will allow participants to learn and experience how they prayed.
The retreat will begin Saturday July 9 at 9 a.m. and conclude around 4 p.m. Reservations can be made online at or by calling 316-744-0167.

Monthly Mass with Children at the SLC Tuesday, June 21
Caregivers and their children are invited to the monthly “Kids
PrayToo!: Mass with Children” at the Spiritual Life Center Tuesday, June 21.
The Mass, celebrated by Fr. Ken Van Haverbeke, begins at 11:15 a.m. The Mass gives parents and caregivers an opportunity to teach their children without worrying about disturbing other Mass goers around them.
All families are invited to pack a lunch to enjoy in the courtyard. No registration necessary.

Totus Tuus teams announced

Eight Totus Tuus teams are evangelizing youth this summer throughout the Diocese of Wichita. Totus Tuus is a Catholic youth program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through catechesis, evangelization, Christian witness, and Eucharistic worship.

Bishop ordains ten deacons, one priest

Bishop Carl A. Kemme reminded Deacon Gabriel Greer about the priestly service of St. John Vianney, the Cure de Ars, in a homily before Father Greer’s ordination to the priesthood Saturday, May 28, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.
St. John Vianney was sent to the tiny French village of Ars by his superiors who didn’t believe he could do much good, Bishop said, adding that he proved them wrong.
“On his way there, he came across a young boy and asked that if he could show him the way to Ars, he would show him the way to heaven,” Bishop Kemme said.
“And that he did, by his prayer life – so intense and all consuming – by his transformative celebration of the Mass, by his gentle but firm guidance for penitents in the confessional – for sometimes 10 or more hours a day – by his meticulous preparation for preaching and catechetical teaching, by his utter disregard for his own comforts, by his frequent and radical fasting, by his modesty in dress, speech and conduct and most especially by his humility, which drew souls to him, often hardened by sin, indifference and discouragement.”
From now on, he said to Father Greer and the many diocesan priests around the sanctuary, this is also their ministry.
“From this day forward, you will be known as ‘Father,’ for God will give to you many spiritual children, who will look to you, as they did to Vianney, and as they do to all priests for example, guidance, and freedom from guilty consciences, for truth, mercy and grace.”
Like St. John Vianney, Bishop Kemme said to Father Greer, you will experience a sense of inadequacy. “But you must always remember the Lord’s words to Peter: Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to lower the nets into the deep waters of people’s hearts and souls. Do not be afraid to try, to dare, to be bold in your ministry; for God has in mind for you and for us, a huge catch of fish.”
Fr. Greer has been assigned to Church of the Magdalen, Wichita.
Diaconate Ordination
Bishop Kemme talked about another priest to the 10 men ordained to the transitional diaconate Friday evening, May 27, in the Church of the Magdalen in Wichita.
“It was my honor this past November to present to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints the official ‘positio’ a large volume of historical data concerning the heroic virtue of Father Kapaun and to officially request that the Holy See evaluate the evidence and render a decision as to his sanctity,” he said to the 10 men making an arc in front of him.
“When that will take place, we do not know, but until then, we must continually share his story, for his is a story worthy of knowing and imitating.”
“His was a life of selfless and sacrificial service,” Bishop Kemme said. “Whatever needed to be done for the good of his fellow prisoners, he did, willingly, lovingly, pastorally.
“His service knew no limits and had no conditions. As such, Father Kapaun will stand out among us as a shining example of Christ the deacon, Christ the servant.”
Ordained to the transitional diaconate were Andrew Bergkamp, John Betzen, Jacob Carlin, Kyle Dugan, Adam Grelinger, Edmund Herzog, Andrew Hoffman, Clay Kimbro, Andrew Labenz, and Jorge López.
Bishop Kemme said the deacons are also called to surrender their wills in obedience and respect to the bishop in a total gift of self with a lifelong vow of celibate chastity for the sake of the Kingdom and to lay down their lives for their brothers and sisters – first as deacons and then as priests.
“As Father Kapaun could not have foreseen the way he would be called to imitate Christ the Servant, so, too, you cannot know how each of you will be called to serve.”
Let your service be founded in love, Bishop Kemme said, adding that if it is, “then you will take your place among the likes of Father Kapaun and the many others in the great history of the Church, whose only desire was to know, to love and to serve the Lord.”

Seminarians get work assignments for Wichita, Hutchinson, and SEK

Many upper-level seminarians for the Diocese of Wichita won’t be sleeping late this summer.
The newly-ordained transitional deacons have been assigned to parishes throughout the diocese.
Here are their assignments:
• The Rev. Mr. Jacob Carlin, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
• The Rev. Mr. Jorge Lopez, Saint Catherine of Siena
• The Rev. Mr. Drew Hoffman, St. Patrick Parish
Hutchinson area
• The Rev. Mr. Andy Bergkamp, St. Teresa of Avila
• The Rev. Mr. Clay Kimbro, Our Lady of Guadalupe
Southeast Kansas
• The Rev. Mr. J.D. Betzen, Holy Name, Coffeyville
• The Rev. Mr. Kyle Dugan, Saint Patrick, Chanute
• The Rev. Mr. Adam Grelinger, Saint Andrew, Independence
• The Rev. Mr. Ed Herzog, Our Lady of Lourdes, Pittsburg
• The Rev. Mr. Andrew Labenz, Saint Patrick, Parsons
Here are the Wichita area assignments for 11 seminarians who are in theology:
• Matt Davied and Chris Martin: Catholic Care Center and St. Dismas Ministry
• Brian Bergkamp, Nic Jurgensmeyer, and Jimmy Schibi: The Lord’s Diner
• Michael Brungardt, Garett Burns, and Drew Dellasega: Via-Christi Hospital
• Michael Kerschen: Ministry with Persons with Disabilities
• Isaac Coulter and Derek Thome: Catholic Charities

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