Tom and Diann Ensz with their family. (Courtesy photo)

Family returned to the diocese because of stewardship
The Tom and Diann Ensz family genuinely understands the value of the stewardship way of life that is often taken for granted in the Diocese of Wichita.
They lived for many years outside the diocese and, while away, yearned to return because they understood the value of Catholic school education.
Diann grew up in Marion County and her husband in nearby Newton. They moved after their wedding to Texas where Tom, a Methodist at the time, was a border patrol agent. While in southern Texas they had four boys, the oldest of which attended a Catholic grade school.
The family later moved to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area to a parish with a tuition-based school. The Enszes enrolled their children in pre-K programs but were forced to send their children to public school because of the Catholic school tuition of up to $4,000 per child.
Their prayers were answered in 2008 when Tom’s new job allowed them to move back to the Diocese of Wichita. They quickly and eagerly enrolled their children in Catholic schools – especially because Tom had embraced the fullness of his Christian faith by joining the Catholic Church in 2002.
His decision to become Catholic was the result of his inquiry into the faith, Diann said. “He started doing research into the Catholic Church so when the kids would have questions he could answer them.”
Diann, who attended Wednesday night religious education at her parish as a child, said her inability to attend Catholic schools made her desire for her children’s Catholic education even stronger.
An incident a few months ago confirmed the couple’s decision to return to the diocese.
Last fall, she and her five-year-old were in the car returning home, when he started explaining some aspects of the Catholic faith.
“And I kept thinking, where did you get that? Where did you get that? And I figured out that my kindergartener would come home and tell him what he learned at school,” she said.
“As a parent that makes you just so joyful because you think, okay, they do pay attention, even at that age, because sometimes, especially boys, you know, they’re so active that you think, are they listening?”
With 11 children Diann and Tom are especially aware of how blessed the family is to live in a diocese with parishes that embrace stewardship. Diann, a registered dietitian, has not worked outside the home since after the birth of their fourth child. “It’s been such a blessing to come back and have family here. Now our kids go to Holy Spirit in Goddard. We started there when it was small, with no gym.”
So small at the time they would have to move a statue of Mary out of harm’s way to children could have physical education in the hallway.
The second oldest, whose eighth grade class was a total of two students, is now at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School. The oldest, now in college, was in a class of four at Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit has grown since the Ensz family first enrolled their children. The school now has 141 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, and 180 students including preschool.
Although public high school may offer as good of an education as a Catholic high school, Diann said, her son not only learned more about Catholicism than she did as a youth, he also learned to defend his faith.
“Knowing that they have classes specifically for that I am proud to send them there,” she said.
In addition to the one in college, Diann and Tom have eight other children in Catholic schools and two still at home.
“We feel very, very passionate about the schools,” she said. “We don’t understand why everyone doesn’t send their children to Catholic schools when we see the gifts it has given to our children.”