Bishop Kemme: Pope Francis Build result of generosity and stewardship of many people

Bishop Carl A. Kemme told those attending the Pope Francis Build blessing and groundbreaking last week that although the build was the result of the generosity of an anonymous gift, the Catholic community in the Diocese of Wichita responded as true stewards with gifts of time, talent, and treasure.
The blessing was held Thursday morning, Aug. 27, on adjacent building sites at 1802 and 1808 N. Green in Wichita.
“We offer our support and our prayers and our hard work for the building of these two homes,” Bishop Kemme said.
“It will be a year ago next month that I had the distinct and incredible honor of meeting Pope Francis face-to-face in a meeting in Rome,” he said. “It was just introductions, but when you shake his hand and you look into his eyes, you truly know his passion, his compassion, and his great desire to make a difference in the world.”
Since his election, Bishop Kemme said, Pope Francis “has ignited this great desire all around the world to serve the poor and to help in any way that we can. And so this project is so in line with his mission.”
After introductions by Mike Wescott, a steering committee member, Jeff Wetta, board chair of the Wichita Habitat for Humanity, expressed his gratitude for those involved with the project. Ann Fox, executive director of Habitat, then introduced the two home buyers, Blanca Fernandez and Michelle Johnson, who both thanked those involved – Johnson did so while weeping.
Bishop Kemme then blessed the two sites and led prayer before the families and many others attending participated in the ceremonial groundbreaking.

Guadalupe Clinic South Hillside expansion blessed Aug. 20; two exam rooms added

An expansion of Guadalupe Clinic located at 2825 S. Hillside, was blessed by Bishop Carl A. Kemme Thursday, Aug. 20. Two exam rooms and a break room were added giving the clinic a total of five exam rooms.
“This expansion will allow Guadalupe Clinic to serve more people in need of affordable, compassionate healthcare in this area of the county,” said Jodi Guillemette, the clinic’s director of Development.
Before the blessing, Rich Kerschen, chairman of the Guadalupe Clinic Board, said the clinic saw about 16 patients a week when it opened about three and half years ago. That number is now up to 42 visits a week and with the additional exam rooms, they will be able to serve 65 or more patients per week.
The expansion was made possible by a $70,000 gift from the Goebel Family Star Lumber Foundation. Bob and Rosalie Goebel attended the blessing and were honored with a plaque in gratitude for the grant.
Kerschen, who is chairman of the board of the Law Company, was also honored with a plaque for managing the project. Bishop Kemme was joined by clinic employees, volunteers, members from both the Guadalupe Clinic and Health Foundation boards, as well as many friends for the event. Lunch was served afterwards in the Lord’s Diner, next to the clinic.

Diocesan news, September 4, 2015

Bishop Kemme’s calendar
Here is Bishop Carl A. Kemme’s calendar for the next month.
Sept. 4: School Pastoral visit to St. Cecilia in Haysville
Sept. 5-6: Parish Pastoral visit to St. Joseph in Andale
Sept. 11: Mass with Guadalupan Missionaries of the Holy Spirit
Sept. 12: 25th Anniversary of the Catholic Life Center
Sept. 12-13: Parish Pastoral visit to St. Paul Catholic Student Center at Wichita State University
Sept. 16: Fort Hays State Catholic Disciples gathering in Hays, Kansas
Sept. 19: Kapaun Men’s Retreat Mass
Sept. 20: 50th Anniversary Church of the Resurrection in Wichita
Sept. 22-28: Papal visit and 8th World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia
Sept. 29: Red Mass at Cathedral
Sept. 30: Evening with Prospective Seminarians
Oct. 1: School Pastoral visit to St. Joseph in Ost; Evening with Prospective Seminarians
Oct. 2: School Pastoral visit to St. Margaret Mary in Wichita
Oct. 3: FIAT Mass and dinner at St. Peter the Apostle in Schulte
Oct. 4: St. Anthony Parish Mass and Picnic

White Mass for health care workers Oct. 18
Via Christi Health and the Diocese of Wichita are hosting a White Mass at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, the feast day of St. Luke, the patron saint of physicians and surgeons. It will be celebrated in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
All Catholic healthcare workers are invited.
The White Mass, so named by the color worn by those in the healing profession of medicine, gathers health care professionals under the patronage of St. Luke to ask God’s blessing upon the patient, doctor, nurse, and caregiver alike.
Healthcare workers are invited to join the St. Gianna Guild of the Catholic Medical Association to foster and develop fellowship among Catholic healthcare professionals. Meetings are the first Thursday of the month, at varying parishes followed by fellowship. Questions can be directed to

PACE Race Sept. 19
The fifth annual PACE Race, a 5K run/walk benefitting the Via Christi HOPE Participant Emergency Access Fund, will be held Saturday, Sept. 19, at West River Plaza, 2622 W. Central in Wichita.
Registration begins at 8 a.m. The 5K is at 9 a.m. followed by the Via Christi HOPE Participant Walk at 10 a.m.
Registration is $25 per person, or save $3 per person on a team of 8 or more. Registration includes a T-shirt, and a post-race pancake feed.
All ages may participate. For more information or to register online, go to
The PACE Program offers All-inclusive Care for the Elderly.

Three ‘last chance’ Masses now available
There are three “last chance” Sunday Masses in Wichita for those who hit the snooze button one too many times.
Newman University has one at 7 p.m. on Sundays.
The St. Paul Newman Center at Wichita State University has a Saturday Vigil at 4:30 p.m. Sunday Masses are at 10 a.m. and at 7 and 9 p.m.

‘The Rat Pack is Back’ Sept. 26 to benefit the Guadalupe Clinic
Grumpy Old Men, a philanthropic group from Wichita, is hosting “The Rat Pack is Back,” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Orpheum, 200 N. Broadway in Wichita.
The event is a nostalgic remembrance of evenings in 1960 when four show business legends – Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Dean Martin – converged at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. The group, which became known as the Rat Pack, became legendary.
Four singers and actors portray the Rat Pack in one of their raucous, and antic-filled performances featuring Bishop’s comedy, and the well-known standards of Sinatra, Davis, and Martin. A 12-piece live orchestra accompanies the group.
All proceeds go to benefit the Guadalupe Clinic and the Orpheum Theatre.

Friends of the Poor Walks set for this month
Three Friends of the Poor walk/runs sponsored by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will be held in September in the Diocese of Wichita.
• St. Vincent de Paul Parish will host its event at 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, at the parish. To participate, register by contacting Mark Benson at (316) 239-5300 or at
• The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception’s walk/run will be held at 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, on its campus. To sign up contact Jenny Faulkner at (316) 259-1001 or at
• Holy Cross Parish will host its event at 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, on its parish grounds. To register contact Stefanie Sanborn-Miller at (620) 200-2029.
The society helps individuals and families in the community with emergency food and assistance to avoid eviction and utility shutoff.

Expert to talk about the Constitution Sept. 29 at Newman U.
Walter Nicgorski, Ph.D., from the University of Notre Dame, will speak about “The American Constitutional Tradition: Historic Strengths and Current Challenges” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center at Newman University in Wichita.
Noting the Constitution’s remarkable endurance, rare amendment, and often helpful flexibility, this lecture explores five present challenges, Dr. Nicgorski wrote in an email, and “will come to ask whether in dealing with such challenges and others, the Constitution can be too flexible and thus come to lose respect and effectiveness..”
The Hesburgh/Constitution Day Lecture is sponsored by Newman University and the Notre Dame Club of Wichita. It is free and open to the public.

Tennis tournament Oct. 4 to benefit the Drexel school fund
The second annual Doubles Tennis Charity Tournament will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, at Genesis Health Club, 1515 N. Rock Road in Wichita.
The cost is $50 per person or $100 per team. The bracket and format will depend on the number of entries. Participants may sign up with a partner or may sign up alone and will be paired with another single. Refreshments are included.
Proceeds from the tournament will buy books for libraries of schools served by the St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School Fund, which was established to benefit financially-challenged parishes, so they can provide Catholic education for parish youth.
Some of the schools that will benefit include Holy Savior Catholic Academy, and St. Joseph, St. Margaret Mary, and Saint Patrick Catholic schools in Wichita. Those four schools educate 674 students of which 78 percent receive free or reduced lunches.

Via Christi Charity Classic Golf Tournament Sept. 18
Via Christi Health will host its 35th annual Charity Classic Golf Tournament Friday, Sept. 18, at Crestview Country Club, 1000 N. 127th St. East, in Wichita.
The tournament will begin with morning play at 7:30 a.m. and afternoon play at 1:15 p.m. The entry fee is $500 per person and includes breakfast, lunch following morning play, and dinner following afternoon play. Morning awards will be presented at lunch. Evening awards will be presented at dinner.
For entry information, call Kathi Greger at (316) 239-3526 or e-mail
This year’s presenting sponsors are Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and Panera Bread.

Sept. 10 Gala to help fight human trafficking
An evening event to help fight human trafficking will be sponsored next week by the Raise My Head Foundation.
A Tuscan Gala will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, in The Ville at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Andover to help educate and raise awareness about modern slavery.
An Italian dinner will be provided by Taste and See. Music will be by Sole Injection. There will also be silent and live auctions.
Tickets are $75 per person or $450 per table and are available at or by calling (316) 258-4676.

1965 Wichita classes to reunite on Oct. 9-10
WICHITA –The 1965 high school classes from Kapaun, Mt. Carmel, St. Mary’s, and Sacred Heart Academy are holding a 50th class reunion the weekend of Oct. 9-10.
Individual school activities will be held on Friday, Oct. 9. On Saturday, an all schools evening Mass will be celebrated at Church of the Magdalen before a dinner and entertainment at the Wichita Country Club.
Classmates are urged to inform other classmates about the event.
Here is contact information for each of the schools:
Kapaun: Pat Harter, (316) 683-6610 or
Mt. Carmel: Pam Kenny-Hamrick, (316) 634-6000 or
Sacred Heart: Patty Bissing-Schnittker, (303) 759-9170 or
St. Mary’s: Eileen Carney-Nevers, (913) 422-8386 or

Yeats to be honored Sept. 12 at Newman
A celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Irish poet William Butler Yeats will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Black Box Theatre at Newman University’s DeMattias Hall.
Bryan Dietrich, chair of NU’s Arts and Letters will discuss the poet; Mark Mannette, director of Theatre, will present one of Yeats plays. The Merry Merchants of Gael will play traditional Irish music.

Sr. Sebastiana home
Sr. M. Sebastiana Langecker, a Sister of the Sorrowful Mother, who served at Via Christi St. Francis Hospital for 37 years had surgery last week and is now home and recuperating.
She thanks the many people who remembered her with cards and prayers. Her address is 815 S. Westhaven Dr., Oshkosh, WI 54904.

Youth and school news, September 4, 2015

BCCHS and KMC to pray together before they meet again at ‘the game’
Bishop Carroll and Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic high schools will pray together before they play together this year on the gridiron.
Students, coaches, and administrators from both Wichita schools – about 900 total – will gather as one during a “Fall Sports Mass” at 1:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. Because of lack of space, the Mass, to be celebrated by Bishop Carl A. Kemme, is not open to the public.
Those who worshipped at the Mass that afternoon will gather again at 7 p.m. that evening at Bishop Carroll Family Stadium for their annual duel on the football field.
Tish Nielsen, president of Bishop Carroll, said the Mass is an opportunity to remind students and school communities that the primary mission of Catholic Schools is to form disciples of Christ.
“What better way to share our love of the faith than with the two high schools celebrating together with our bishop and high school chaplains,” she said. “As we stress with our coaches, parents, and students, winning is not the priority or purpose of extracurricular activities.
“It is our hope that we are building character, using our God-given talents and sharing with others, learning how to work with others, creating memories and friends for life, and more importantly preparing them for their eternal home is our goal.”
The Mass is another way of celebrating the unity of the Wichita Catholic community and our gratitude for the stewardship way of life in the Diocese of Wichita, Nielsen said.
Rob Knapp, president of Kapaun Mt. Carmel, said the Mass will serve as a reminder to everyone that we are still one body in Christ’s Church – even with a friendly rivalry on the fields and courts of competition.
“With the advent of social media outlets, the students of our Catholic high schools are more acquainted with each other than ever before, but their interactions occur mostly electronically,” he said.
“This Mass allows these friends to celebrate their faith together, in a personal and spiritual way. Hopefully, it leads to deeper friendships, even if they are rivals on the fields and courts of competition.”
Knapp said the Mass is also one of thanksgiving to our diocesan church from our students, who recognize the beautiful gift of Catholic education they have been given by the people of God from their stewardship culture.

BCCHS trash bag sale continues to Sept. 25
WICHITA – The annual Bishop Carroll Catholic High School Trash Bag Sale will be held from Sept. 3 to Sept. 25.
The durable, yellow lawn bags, white kitchen bags, and degradable lawn and kitchen bags are again available.
Orders may be placed with any Bishop Carroll student or by calling the BCCHS Office at (316) 722-2390.

Spiritual Life Center news, September 4, 2015

Catholic Life Center open house Sept. 12
An open house in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Catholic Life Center campus will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12.
The campus is home to the Catholic Care Center, the largest continuing-care retirement community in south central Kansas. It offers independent living, assisted living, memory support residences, adult day program, long-term care, post-acute care and Catholic Care at Home services.
The other components of the Catholic Life Center are the Spiritual Life Center, the Priest Retirement Center, and Ascension Cemetery.
Articles about the Catholic Life Center appeared in the Aug. 7 Catholic Advance and are available online at or at

Next After the Gift retreat for birth mothers Sept. 11-13 at the Spiritual Life Center
An After the Gift birth mom retreat that provides a safe place for birth mothers to share their common experiences will be held Sept. 11-13 at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
“Some of the women who have attended an After the Gift Retreat have been waiting years for a chance to openly talk about their experience and the pain of placing their child for adoption,” said Bonnie Toombs. “All leave feeling supported by the new connections they made with other women.”
Toombs, the director of the diocesan Respect Life and Social Justice Office, said Cheryl, a participant in one of the retreats, had prayed for years for such an event.
“We were all able to share our stories of placing our children for adoption,” she said. “I was amazed that we all had similar feelings deep within. This retreat helped me with the grief that has been in my life. It was great to know that there are people including the diocese who recognized the pain and sacrifice that a birth mom goes through.
“As a pro-life church, this is a great way to show support for those choosing life for their child and support the birth mother. God is the creator of all life – a gift – as birth mothers we chose life for our child, and adoption as the best choice for our child. It was truly a blessing to laugh and share stories with other birth moms.”
The weekend includes opportunities for birth mothers to work with a professional counselor, if needed.
Want to attend the birth mother retreat?
The next After the Gift retreat will be held Sept. 11-13 at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita. To register or for more information, contact Bonnie Toombs at (316) 269-3935 or

12-Step Journey begins at SLC Sept. 24
‘Adult children’ from dysfunctional families encouraged to attend
A nationally-recognized program designed to help heal and renew adults who grew up in emotionally repressive or dysfunctional families — sometimes known as “Adult Children”— is being offered starting Sept. 24 at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
The Twelve Steps—A Spiritual Journey, is a seven-month program where participants meet for two hours each week with a team of trained facilitators. The ultimate goal of the Christ-centered, scripture-based program is to restore the fruits of the Holy Spirit in one’s life, including joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, and faith.
“As someone who has been both a participant and a facilitator in the Twelve Step Program, I want to extend an invitation for interested people to join us,” says Pamela Cason who joins John Mertes, Rachel Hughey, and Steve Batt as facilitators for the program. “The Twelve Steps has been widely praised for its effectiveness and is based on the lessons of Scripture while emphasizing self-understanding and the unchanging love that God has for each of us.”
Program facilitator John Mertes says the first three sessions typically involve participants getting to know the process and each other. The program is closed to new members after the first three meetings. “Everything we discuss is held in the strictest confidence,” says Mertes. “As time goes on, a unique bond of trust develops in the group.”
The Twelve Steps is open to anyone who has experienced an incident or situation during his or her formative years resulting in emotional wounds that are not yet healed. This could include growing up in a household where there was physical or emotional abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse or some other dysfunction.
Characteristics of so-called “Adult Children” of a dysfunctional family include: feelings of low self-esteem that cause harsh self-judgment, a tendency to isolate one’s self and a feeling of uneasiness around other people —especially authority figures. Other characteristics include living life as a victim and being attracted to other victims in love and friendship, a tendency to be impulsive where action is taken before considering alternative behaviors or possible consequences and unresolved anger and resentment toward authority of all kinds.
People who have gone through the program say that while it is sometimes painful to confront unresolved issues, the end result is a rekindling of hope that things can and will get better in life and in the relationships they have today with other people. There is also a growth and trust in their relationship with God. One foundation of the program is the sharing of personal stories, but also the knowledge that all information is held confidential within the confines of those participating.
Want to participate in the sessions?
The opening Twelve Step session is set for Thursday, Sept. 24, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Spiritual Life Center, 7100 E. 45th St. N. in Wichita. A total of 30 evening sessions will be offered over the next seven months at the center. Morning sessions of the program will also be offered from 10 to 11:30 beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 7.
There is no cost for the program, but a freewill offering is taken and a helpful workbook sells for $20. For more information, call the Spiritual Life Center at (316) 744-0167 and ask for a brochure or talk with someone about the program.

Journey through scripture Sept. 12 at the SLC
Matthew Leonard, executive director of the St. Paul Institute for Biblical Studies, and Rob Corzine, vice president of Programs for the institute, will be at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita the weekend of Sept. 11-12.
Scott Hahn’s cohorts will present “The Bible and Prayer,” their newest scripture study as a part of the SLC’s Journey through Scripture program.
Participants will experience the entire Bible study and leave with all the training and materials to lead the study in their own parish. Journey through Scripture is a dynamic, parish-based Bible study series incorporating live presentation, multimedia, small group discussion, and some outside reading. It’s designed to be a way for ordinary Catholics to grow in their knowledge of the scriptures and deepen their understanding of the riches of the Catholic faith.
The program will explore the human quest for God, unveiling the true nature of prayer: what it is, how it works, and the bountiful blessings available to those who walk the path of intimacy with God. It looks at the prayer lives of the towering figures of salvation history in both the Old and New Testaments showing the different forms our communication with God can take.
The Bible and Prayer also examines the ins and outs of the three types of prayer every Catholic is called to engage in: vocal prayer, meditation, and contemplation. Lectio Divina, Liturgy of the Hours, and many other essential characteristics of prayer are also covered.
The study culminates in an exploration of the prayer life of Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of how to commune with our Father. The goal of The Bible and Prayer is to help Catholics begin a process on earth that leads to nothing less than sharing in the divinity of God in heaven.
Want to register for ‘The Bible and Prayer?’
The Bible and Prayer will be offered from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Spiritual Life Center. Registration is $65 per person, which includes lunch and all materials. Those who register on or before Aug. 31 will receive a $5 early bird discount.
As a bonus, Matthew Leonard will present his dynamic and often hilarious conversion story at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, at the center. The registration fee for his talk is $15 and is open to the public.
Register for either at or by calling (316) 744-0167. For additional information, email Dusty Gates at

‘Momnipotent’ series offered this fall at the Spiritual Life Center
Momnipotent, a book study for women about finding peace, balance and joy in one’s vocation as a mother, will be offered beginning Monday, Oct. 5, at the Spiritual Life Center.
Too many mothers, especially young and new moms, feel disillusioned. Many moms quietly resign themselves to the idea that success, happiness and fulfillment are things they will need to find in spite of motherhood, not because of it.
In Momnipotent, Danielle Bean recognizes all this first-hand and meets women where they are. She provides much-needed encouragement to all women that resonates with their feminine hearts.
The series is designed to help participants rediscover and reconnect with their unique, beautiful, and powerful feminine gifts, learn ways to encourage and support other women in their vocation to motherhood, find out how to make time to take care of themselves, understand what it means to be called to motherhood and learn how to become Momnipotent by using their feminine gifts in your home, family, and community.
Bean, a mother of eight, is editor-in-chief of Catholic Digest.
Want to participate?
This 8-week DVD series facilitated by Sharon Gagnon Witzell is being offered this fall at the SLC in the morning and evening: 9 to 11 a.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. beginning Monday, Oct. 5. The cost is $50, which includes a journal to use during the class and book to read at home. To register call (316) 744-0167 or visit

Dinner with St. Jerome Sept. 30 at the Spiritual Life Center, Wichita
St. Jerome is the next subject of the “Dinner with the Doctors” banquet series Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
At “Dinner with the Doctors,” participants enjoy a meal and pleasant conversation in the Main Assembly Room, surrounded by the center’s collection of icons depicting the doctors of the church. A doctor of the church is a canonized saint named a doctor by a pope or ecumenical council for the extraordinary contribution of his teaching to the living doctrine of the church.
After the meal participants will hear a presentation on St. Jerome, in commemoration of his official feast day. Participants will learn about his life and teachings, and honor him by celebrating in one of the most traditional ways – in the context of a shared meal.
Want to learn more about Jerome?
Dinner with the Doctors is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the Spiritual Life Center. The cost is $15 per person until Sept. 23, when the price goes up to $20 per person.

Time running short to register for the Spiritual Life Center Theology Institute
The institute is a new adult religious studies program offered by the Spiritual Life Center as part of its mission to serve the Diocese of Wichita in the area of adult faith formation.
The Theology Institute consists of six sessions per academic year held on three Saturdays in the fall and three Saturdays in the spring. At each Saturday session, four classes will be presented on subject areas such as scripture, morality, prayer and church history. Participants will be given a reading list and written assignment or project for each class held in a semester, and students who complete four semesters or 12 individual sessions will earn a Certificate of Completion issued by the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.
This program is recommended for teachers, catechists, and anyone wanting to learn more about the Catholic faith.
Want to sign up?
The dates for the Fall Semester are Sept. 26, Oct. 31, and Dec. 12. Each Saturday session will meet from 9 a.m. until 3:15 p.m., with Mass and lunch included in the day. Registration for the entire semester is $75, which includes lunch on all three Saturdays.
For more information and to register, visit the Center’s website at or contact Dusty Gates at or (316) 744-0167.

Fr. Eric Weldon to present on Charles Carroll Sept. 17 at the SLC
Fr. Eric Weldon will be the inaugural speaker for Docentium, a new monthly program at the Spiritual Life Center.
Sept. 17th is “Constitution Day,” the anniversary of the day delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia in 1787. That evening, Fr. Eric Weldon will give a presentation on Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the only Catholic signatory of the Declaration of Independence. His talk is entitled “Charles Carroll – A Founding Father and a Sage for Our Age.”
The three-fold mission of Docentium is to form and equip disciples of Christ with sound teaching faithful to Catholic tradition; to build camaraderie in shared belief and shared interest, in the context of a shared meal; and to inspire more courageous witness in our families, parishes, workplaces, and communities.
Decennium will be presented on the third Thursday of the month at the Spiritual Life Center. It is an evening of food, friendship, and learning. Doors open at 6 p.m., dinner is served at 6:30, and every month a new lecture will be given on some topic related to religion and culture. The cost is $15 per person.
Register by visiting the Spiritual Life Center’s webpage at or by calling (316) 744-0167.

Kapaun’s Men retreat Sept. 19-20

A retreat for men sponsored by the Father Kapaun Guild will be held Sept. 19-20 at Sky Ranch near Quapaw, Okla., south of Pittsburg, Kan.
The Kapaun’s Men Retreat 2015, part of the diocesan celebration of The Year of Fr. Kapaun, will feature Joe Farris of Farris Family Missions, the Very Rev. John Lanzrath, diocesan vicar for priests, Mass with Bishop Carl A. Kemme, and music by P.J. Anderson of Nashville, Tenn.
“This is one of the most rewarding ministries I’ve been involved with because it allows me to walk my faith journey with other men,” said Joe Dellasega, a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Pittsburg. He has been involved with the retreat, which originated as a parish ministry in Pittsburg, for two years.
He said the combination of talks by great people such as Joe Farris and Father John Lanzrath, the rustic environment, and the camaraderie of men helps those attending articulate where they are spiritually, where they need to go, and how they can help each other get there.
“We also undergo a digital detox,” Dellasega said, adding that the retreat is an opportunity to relax, spend time outdoors, decompress with other guys, and be together as men.
“We would like to give this to the rest of the diocese and beyond,” he said. “We want to share with others what we are experiencing ourselves…dialoguing with men who are going through the same things we’re going through.”
A poster promoting the retreat states that Kapaun’s Men are those who have grown as a result of coming to know the life of Servant of God, Father Emil Kapaun.
“Kapaun’s Men first work to recognize and identify the virtues and traits of Fr. Kapaun which made him such a heroic man and priest, and then seek to live these virtues in their homes and with their families. Since no man can do it alone, Kapaun’s Men is a community where men can grow in these virtues together.”

Want to make the men’s retreat?
The cost of the two-day retreat is $95 and includes three meals, lodging, a T-shirt, and activities. Check-in is by 8:45 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19. Departure is at noon Sunday, Sept 20. To register, visit

Family Conference blessed with good numbers

Kevin Regan was recovering last week when contacted about the Midwest Catholic Family Conference – but he was recovering with a smile.
Last year the future of the conference was tenuous and Regan was nervous because the contract with the Hyatt Regency was in need of renewal, but this year’s attendance helped him look forward with optimism.
“The people have spoken,” Regan said. “It was fantastic. Registration was up and the Matt Maher concert Friday night was great!”
He said the conference was in the black this year due, in part, to the inclusion of younger adults in their speaker choices, and the “amazing” donations at Saturday’s and Sunday’s Masses.
Although numbers related to the weekend were not yet final, Regan said he believes over 4,000 attended from Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Texas and many other states.
He thanked the hundreds of volunteers, committee members, donors, and Spiritual Director Father Andy Walsh in addition to the Diocese of Wichita for making the weekend a success.
Maher, a Christian music artist and songwriter, rocked Century II Friday night. The Catholic musician, who lives in Nashville, Tenn., nearly filled Century II’s Convention Hall.
There was more music at the Masses on Saturday and Sunday, but the rest of the weekend was primarily for the speakers.
Here are synopses of some of the talks.

Timothy Grey
Dr. Timothy Grey, president of the Augustine Institute, talked about the Songs of Songs and explained why the book is in the Bible in his presentation “Unveiled: A Biblical Vision of Marriage.”
He said the first commentary written about a book of the Bible was by Origen, a Christian theologian, about Song of Songs. “The love between the bride and bridegroom is an allegory of God’s love of the church and any soul in love with God,” he said. “The more you are in love with God the more you desire to be in union with God.”
There are great challenges to marriage, including the recent Supreme Court decision, Grey said, but something bigger is happening in the culture. Whereas at one time divorce was the problem, today the problem is apathy, resulting in a dramatic decline of marriage across the country. “The only people who want to get married are those who ought not to be married,” he said, “they are the only ones in the culture clamoring to be married.”
In the future the people who will marry are those who have religious conviction, he said. “Our culture doesn’t believe that a man and a woman can have a love that lasts.”
Grey was critical of the “hook-up” culture and described it as renting someone’s body like scheduling a taxi ride using Uber. The culture believes that relationships are to be leased and rented, Grey said, but there is no ownership. “If we don’t believe in our culture in human love, how are we going to believe in divine love?”
Married Christians can be an example for the rest of the culture, he said, adding that some have thought of marriage as a non-vocation, but it is in fact a calling, a vocation, a divine call.
“The drought of marriage is going to make us rethink of marriage as a higher calling,” he said.

Simcha Fisher
Simcha Fisher, a well-known Catholic blogger and the author of “The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning,” talked about how marriage is about being fruitful.
She said she frequently gets letters about people using contraception who, for some reason, switch to NFP. Although their reasons for adopting NFP may be trivial, over the years they begin to understand the value of natural family planning and the church’s reason for supporting it.
“God’s commandments are not random, he has reasons for how he wants us to do things. This is how you let God into your heart, through obedience,” she said.
Fisher recommended dropping the phrase “contraceptive mentality,” because of the judgment that can be made against those who find it very difficult to reject contraception.
“Don’t assume anything,” about other couples, she said.
Fisher suggested couples think about marriage as an investment and how NFP can teach them how to love God, their spouses, and families.

Pia de Solenni
Theologian Dr. Pia de Solenni, associate dean of the Augustine Institute, talked about “St. John Paul II’s Letter To Families: Why It Makes Sense Now, More Than Ever Before.”
She quoted St. John Paul II, who said: “If you fix the family, you fix just about every social problem there is,” she said, adding, “If the family is solid, all of these problems go away.”
De Solenni said if she were running a diocesan Chancery, she would close every office in the Chancery except for the marriage office. “Every problem is a result of the crisis of the family,” she said. “Fix the family and you’ll see a boom in vocations.”
De Solenni said the Genesis account of creation is a spousal relationship which begins with Adam being alone. Later God creates a “helpmate” for Adam.
“When God created Eve it was actually something reflecting of himself,” she said. God didn’t create us to be alone, she added, he also created us to be fruitful and multiply.
“The family is where we learn what it means to be human,” De Solenni said. “When we break apart the family we’re breaking apart that first school where you learn to be what is family.”
The culture has divorced sexual intimacy and pregnancy, she said. “The constant teaching of the church with responsible fatherhood and motherhood is that in every marriage act the man should be thinking ‘I could become a father’ and the woman ‘I could become a mother.’”
De Solenni said it’s the church’s responsibility to participate in and change society.
“It means you witness it and live it,” she said. “We can transform the world but it will start with our marriages and our families and we have to do everything we can to build up and support them.”
De Solenni talked Sunday morning to high school youth about “Beauty and Image.”
“When you see something beautiful you want it or you want to be a part of it,” she said. “How we package ourselves is very important because it communicates who we are to people.”
The culture uses beauty and sex to sell everything “because beauty draws people,” she said. “There is also spiritual beauty, those are people you should follow.”
There is a danger in reducing beauty to the physical, she said, using pornography as an example. There is no relation in pornography, De Solenni said. “People get trained to engage in pornography without engaging with another human being.”
When one takes custody of the eyes, she said, “you are choosing the memories I want in my head – things that are beautiful or things that make me feel ashamed.”
She added that how we dress tells others how you want to know about us. “Do I want to reveal what is good in me?” De Solenni said.

Robert R. Reilly
Robert R. Reilly in his presentation, “The Closing of the Muslim Mind - How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis,” said Islam and Christianity have opposite understandings of man’s relationship with God.
Islam believes “Man is not, not made in the image and likeness of God. God is incomparable, certainly man cannot be compared to God because we are not made in his image,” Reilly said. “But what we hear in Genesis is very clear, we are made in the image and likeness of God.”
Reilly, who has held many governmental information roles, said it wasn’t possible for him to explain how blasphemous and shocking the idea that man “will be like Him” is to a Muslim. In Islam, man is infinitely removed from God, who is unknown and unknowable. In Islam, he said, God’s revelation is not himself, but his rules. “So, you obviously can’t be in any personal relationship with him.”
Christians understand that man’s ability to reason and his free will is a reflection of God, Reilly said, but neither reason nor free will are a part of Islam, neither is the understanding of conscience.
In Islam, the understanding of man’s relationship to God is one of master and slave, he said.

Bo Bonner
Bo Bonner, director of the Academic Resource Center at Newman University, talked about four images of the Annunciation in a Sunday morning talk to high school youth.
He told the young men and women that we can read what the Bible says about the Annunciation but that we can also learn from 2,000 years of art, music, and song. “There are many things we can draw out of that moment,” he said.
Bonner talked about Pietro Cavallini’s Annunciation mosaic that depicts the Trinity, and about Henry Tanner’s oil canvas which depicts a more realistic image of the Annunciation.
“These aren’t two rival representations,” he said, adding that “there is more than one literal meaning to the text,” as St. Thomas Aquinas said, because God wrote it “and God can speak multiple words in one thing.”
So, Mary is both enthroned as in the Cavallini mosaic, Bonner said, but humble, as in the Tanner painting.
He also showed slides of Fra Angelico’s, two temperas of the Annunciation painted a year apart: one seems to depict the cosmic experience of the event, the second is more simple and intimate.
Bonner closed by talking about four of Raphael’s many Madonnas, the artist’s “Betrothal of Mary” and how they teach about the faith.

Bishop Kemme
In his homily Sunday morning, Bishop Carl A. Kemme, thanked everyone for attending the weekend event.
“My prayer is that what you have received here will be a great grace in your personal lives,” he said, to take back to your homes, neighborhood, and parishes.
Bishop Kemme described God as a generous giver who bestows on us more than we can imagine, the first of which is the gift of life. The second gift, he said, is closely associated with the first, the family.
“We were born within a family,” he said in Convention Hall. “God’s plan for us is to live within, to be within this family.”
The family is a target of destructive forces, Bishop Kemme said, adding that Pope Francis, who will travel to the United States next month, is concerned about the state of family life in the world today.
After asking the faithful to pray for the synod, Bishop Kemme talked about the Eucharist as a gift from God to nourish us for our journey to heaven.
He added that many of our relatives and friends have abandoned their faith, have become secularized and grow cold in their fight against temptation and sin.
Although he understood he was “preaching to the choir,” he said, “I hope I’m preaching to your missionary heart,” and urged those attending to invite, encourage, and support those away from the church.

Kansas joins other states, Little Sisters of the Poor in HHS lawsuit

By Gemma Rajewski
Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas along with 13 other states and several religious organizations filed friend-of-the-court briefs at the Supreme Court Aug. 10 to support the organizations who are petitioning the HHS contraception mandate. Six of the petitions have been filed by various religious universities and organizations, including the Little Sisters of the Poor. More petitions are expected.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty law firm is representing many of these petitioners and has been working with various religious groups to gain freedom from the mandate.
“The Supreme Court has already granted interim relief from the HHS mandate to religious groups five times,” said Diana Verm, legal counsel at the Becket Fund. “The government has exempted thousands of businesses from the HHS mandate, so why is it needlessly forcing religious institutions, nuns and homeless shelters to carry out its goals?
“The Supreme Court has already granted interim relief from the HHS Mandate to religious groups five times,” said Verm. “The government has exempted thousands of businesses from the HHS Mandate, so why is it needlessly forcing religious institutions, nuns and homeless shelters to carry out its goals? Isn’t that what its own exchanges are meant to do?”
Few religious organizations are exempt from the mandate. The exemption is limited to non-profit organizations such as churches and religious orders, but not the charities, schools, and hospitals run by the religious. The accommodation for non-profit religious organizations does not solve the moral dilemma most objectors face because it still provides mandated contraceptive services under the organization’s health plan.
“The court is expected to consider all of the petitions in late September or early October. If the petition is granted, the case would be argued and decided before the end of the court’s term in June 2016,” said Stephanie Keenan, communications associate for the law firm.
The Becket Fund believes the amount of petitions received by the Supreme Court makes it likely the Court will decide in the upcoming term whether religious ministries, like religious for-profits, will receive protection from the Mandate.
“This strong show of support for [the petitioners] demonstrates just how important it is that the Supreme Court address the impact of the HHS mandate, particularly on religious groups,” said Verm.
Rajewski is a communications assistant for the diocese.

Want to pray for religious liberty?
The monthly rally for religious liberty will be held at noon Friday, Aug. 28, at the U.S. Courthouse in Wichita, 400 N. Market. The rally is on the southeast corner of the block.

Mercedes Wilson in Wichita Aug. 29

World-renowned NFP expert to speak at SLC teacher training weekend
Mercedes Wilson, a pioneer of and a world-renown expert and advisor about natural family planning, will be in Wichita for NFP teacher training and to present a report Aug. 28-30 at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
Wilson, who is or will soon be teaching NFP in Fiji, is president of the Family of the Americas Foundation, which she established in 1967 to train in the Ovulation Method of NFP.
In an interview by email from Guatemala, Wilson said earlier this month that one of the major points she made in Rome last March to the Members of the Pontifical Academy for Life was that “we had to concede the fact that never in the history of the world have powerful special interest groups in association with its own governments, financed their own extinction with the people’s taxes and with mild and weak opposition from us Roman Catholics.”
Wilson said the “demographic suicide” of the West as a result of artificial contraception is no longer only taking place in Europe and Japan, it includes North America and is expanding to the developing world.
“It is for this reason that destruction of life in the womb continues and premeditated destruction of life of the elderly and handicapped before their natural end is extending to more of what no longer deserves to be called civilized societies,” she said in her presentation in Rome. “When nations no longer have sufficient young people working to maintain the elderly population who retires, laws are passed to eliminate them. The tragic events that have led to this catastrophe need to be addressed in order to understand why the western world is committing suicide.”
Wilson said one reason few couples are using natural family planning was because of premarital relations, which likely contributes to the high rate of divorce in the United States.
Artificial contraception has turned men and women into slaves of passion and vices, she said, “like sexual robots without a properly formed conscience. They have been deprived from experiencing true love and appreciating the gift of becoming pro-creators with God of new human life.”
NFP is the church-approved alternative for couples to achieve or postpone pregnancy for serious, unselfish reasons, Wilson said.
“The laity has been deprived from a very early age of the teachings of the magisterium, in particular, the wisdom of Humanae Vitae. By learning how God created us and understanding the normal functions of the human body, we can easily learn how to achieve or postpone pregnancy naturally.”

NFP teacher training weekend details
• On Saturday, Aug. 29, Mercedes Wilson will present a report about her presentation to the Pontifical Academy for Life at the Spiritual Life Center, Wichita. She was appointed to the academy by St. Pope John Paul II.
• Bishop Carl A. Kemme and Father Jerome Spexarth will celebrate Mass Saturday morning, after which Father Spexarth will talk about marriage. Dr. Elizabeth Cox will also make a presentation.
• An Ovulation Method Teacher Training in English and Spanish will be conducted over the weekend. Judith Leonard and Martina Holmes will be the trainers for the English class. Luis and Martha Oseguera will be the trainers for the Spanish class.

Charities’ Foster Grandparent program to continue despite cut

Sedgwick County Commission votes not to fund the program; alternative funding sought
WICHITA – Catholic Charities, a diocesan ministry, will seek funding for its Foster Grandparent program after the Sedgwick County Commission voted Aug. 12 not to fund the program next year.
The county budgeted $23,236 for the Foster Grandparent program this year.
Mike Burrus, executive director of Catholic Charities said, “We are disappointed that, without notice prior to the release of its preliminary budget in July, the county’s funding of this wonderful program has been eliminated.”
He said the impact is especially significant since the program has been able to use the county’s limited funding as a match to qualify for more than $210,000 in funds from a federal grant.
“The Foster Grandparent program, benefiting both productive senior citizens and struggling young people, is much too valuable a resource in our community to allow today’s funding setback to end the program’s long history of service in Sedgwick County,” he said.
“We are committed to pursuing other sources of funding, and plan to continue the program for the foreseeable future. In fact, we are very much involved right now in hiring and training foster grandparents to be ready to serve as schools are beginning to open this fall.”
The Foster Grandparent program was started 50 years ago as a way to establish mutually-beneficial relationships between low income senior citizens and children having either exceptional or special needs.
Catholic Charities has been the sponsor of the local program for the past 34 years, with the support of the taxpayers of Sedgwick County for the past 31 years.
During 2014, highlights of the Foster Grandparent program in Sedgwick County included:
• Employing 123 active, aging members of the community, all of whom were at or below 200 percent of the poverty level, providing minimal, but very much needed stipends;
• Provided 117,241 hours of caring support and guidance to 3,249 children in Sedgwick County, most of whom are economically-disadvantaged and struggling academically;
• Served 58 sites in the community (schools, Head Start and child care centers, homeless shelters, shelters for victims of domestic violence, etc.).

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