Bishop Jackels: We are one family, reliant on each other

A conversation with Bishop Michael O. Jackels

The first goal of the TOGETHER vision is to strengthen the oneness between parish and Diocese.

One way of talking about strengthening the oneness is from what we hope to overcome or avoid.

The word ‘parochialism’ is used to refer to narrow or selfish interests: ‘just me’ or ‘just us.’ It is a very tightly defined identity.
We can look at this goal as wanting to overcome that parochialism in hopes that people will not be limited by it.

Parochialism can set up an atmosphere where one might think, “of course I’m concerned about my parish but the rest of you neighboring parishes or the Diocese or the Church in the United States or the universal Church – those are not my concern.”

But nobody’s self-sufficient.

Even those who try to be self-sufficient have to get in a car, drive on a road and go to the store to buy or sell. We are reliant upon others.

We are connected, and we are not only connected in looking to others, trading with others, depending on others to supply us with what we need, but there is the dependence that others have on us.

And what you can say about an individual or what you can say about an individual family, you can also say about a parish in a Diocese or a Diocese in a country or in the world. There is this mutual dependence, this reciprocity, this give and take. It is a symbiotic relationship.

I think one of the easiest applications of this relationship to see and to understand is in supporting the young men who are discerning God’s call to the priesthood or those who are serving as priests of the Diocese.

Right now, for example, we have a priest who serves three parishes – a priest who is not even from our Diocese. He is from Burma, and he had surgery. So temporarily he has not been able to offer Mass on Sundays. What happens then? Well then we look for another priest of our Diocese to send there. We don’t say to the people of those parishes, “that’s your problem, not ours.” No, it is our responsibility.

And so these young men who are studying for the priesthood, they are our responsibility because they will serve our family, our community in the Diocese of Wichita.

And because of the nature of the Church we even consider the needs outside of the Diocese as part of our responsibility, so we have a priest who is in the army and a priest who is going to be serving in the offices of the Episcopal conference and a couple of priests who are serving in a neighboring Diocese because it is our responsibility too.

Goals of the TOGETHER vision
• Strengthen the oneness between parish and diocese.
• Deepen our practice of stewardship as a way of life, sharing responsibility for the mission of the Church.
• Invite everyone to help fund seminarian education, Catholic formation programs and a renovation of the Cathedral campus.