Smith, R 2/25/18

On January 1, my 5 year old daughter, Mallory, fell from the monkey bars and broke her left arm.  She received great care from the emergency room staff at Via Christi, had surgery, got a cast, and is already out of it and almost to full recovery!  (If you are going to break a bone, I suggest you do it when you are a little kid and will heal quickly. J)

The hardest part of the whole ordeal—other than paying the bills—is that I was literally an arm’s length away when she fell.  I could have easily caught her or at least slowed her descent.  A year ago, I probably would have, but she has worked hard on the monkey bars during recess and has reached a point where I feel I need to let her do it on her own.

I have thought a lot these past few weeks about if I should have spotted her, should have protected her.  It is easy in the short term to think “YES!”

However, were I to spot her every time she mounts a playground apparatus, I would smother her, hamper her, slow her down, and thereby prevent her from reaching her full potential.  I would likewise take away some of her free will.  I could have saved her a lot of pain this one time, but would it be worth staying “safe” one time if it meant not living her life to the fullest and becoming the best version of herself?  Most of us sure don’t like for ourselves or others around us to suffer in the short term.  Yet, would we want to live our lives with no suffering, no setbacks, no losses?  Is a life with no suffering a life truly lived?  Is it possible for us to become the best version of ourselves with no suffering?

It has certainly given me some perspective on how God might be “parenting” us.  We suffer what we deem a tragedy or setback, and we ask God WHY would he allow us to suffer; WHY didn’t he protect us from this tragedy?  He might answer that, indeed, he could have stopped the tragedy, but he wants to let us grow and think and become the best version of ourselves.  That necessarily involves some falls, setbacks, and suffering.  Indeed, most of us will readily admit that it was through adversity and suffering that we have grown in our lives thus far.

PRAYER: Thank you, God, for loving me enough to let me suffer; thanks, also, for loving me enough to help me get through it and grow from it.  Amen!

~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister

Watts 2/18/18

If you walk down to the end of our education wing, you will see a charming framed cross-stitch of Noah’s Ark.  Young children love the story of the big house boat, the parading pairs of animals, and the colorful rainbow in the sky representing God’s promise.  This story, however, is not just for kids.

I have been familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark since I was a child, but reading it again this week, I discovered two things that I never noticed before.  The first was God made a covenant with Noah AND with all the animals with him.  The Bible says, “I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you.”  In verse 9:13, he says, “I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”  The rainbow isn’t just for us humans, but for all the earth and the creatures living therein.  It reminds us of the importance of the web of life and our position as stewards of creation.  How are we doing?  We are in the midst of the 6th great extinction in the history of life on earth and this extinction is manmade.  We have not kept our part of the covenant honoring creation.

The second thing I noticed is that God gave his promise to Noah and family asking nothing in return.  He didn’t demand better behavior, that they always stick to the rules, or offer sacrifices of their best crops to him.  Once again, I am reminded that I am loved, not because I am good, but because God is so good.  I am saved, not because of my actions, but because of God’s grace.

Finally, this reading reminds me that God always wants to restore relationship with us.  The flood provided a fresh start.  The same is true for Lent.  It is a good time to examine our habits, our faith life, and our goals and learn who God is calling us to become.

~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator

2018 Applications

pdf Thomas More Ladies Scholarship (79 KB)

The Thomas More Ladies will be awarding two $1,000 scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year to qualified individuals who have been accepted by or are attending a post-secondary, accredited, two or four year technical school, college, or university and are registered parishioners of a Catholic parish within the Manhattan community.  pdf Application Deadline is April 6 (79 KB).

pdf Paul Hinkin Memorial Scholarship (57 KB)

The St. Thomas More Knights of Columbus are now accepting applications for the Paul Hinkin memorial Scholarships.  Two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded.  Council members in good standing and immediate family members, as well as immediate family members of deceased Knights, are eligible.  Members of any registered family of St. Thomas More are also eligible.  Previous recipients may not apply.  pdf Application must be received by close of business on April 6 (57 KB).

Marymount Scholarship

Applicants must be active registered members of a Catholic parish of the Diocese of Salina and must attend a Catholic college full-time.  Application Deadline is July 1.

pdf Msgr. Kruse Scholarship (531 KB)

Applicants must be active registered members of a Catholic parish in the Diocese of Salina.  Applications are available in the parish office.  pdf Application Deadline is July 1 (531 KB).

Scholarships

Marymount Scholarship

Applicants must be active registered members of a Catholic parish of the Diocese of Salina and must attend a Catholic college full-time.  Application Deadline is July 1.

pdf Msgr. Kruse Scholarship (531 KB)

Applicants must be active registered members of a Catholic parish in the Diocese of Salina.  Applications are available in the parish office.  pdf Application Deadline is July 1 (531 KB).

 

Smith, K 2/11/18

The season of Lent begins this Wednesday as we are signed with a across of ashes on our foreheads.  We are physically marked with ashes to remind us that we are dust.  And from dust God has created each of us to be uniquely ourselves, each created for a purpose!

During this year’s Lenten journey, turn to God and allow Him to reveal more of yourself to you, more of who you are in him.  Take that time to fully understand our traditional practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving and allow God to transform you through them.

Our parish offers a wide array of Lenten study materials, small faith-sharing groups, Stations of the Cross, reconciliation, adoration…many opportunities for you to learn and grow in your Catholic faith.  Please take advantage of those things.

I also suggest the Best Lent Ever program, where you can sign up for free daily emails from Matthew Kelly of Dynamic Catholic.  This year, each of the emails focuses on a small excerpt from his book “Perfectly Yourself,” which Matthew says is the best book he has written.  Reading these short emails is a great way to check in with yourself and to uncover what purpose God has created for you.

I am studying this book with two wonderful friends—what a blessing!  And I am signed up for the emails.  What are your plans for the 40 days of Lent?  How will you turn to God and allow him to radically transform your life?  Be open to him.

REMINDER:  On Ash Wednesday, there will only be Mass at 7:00 a.m.  ONLY ASHES will be distributed at the 5:15 and 7:00 p.m. services.  There will be NO communion.

~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist

Coady 2/4/18

The celebration of the Liturgical Year is always about the Paschal Mystery, that dying and rising pattern that we see in the life of Christ, as well as in the Triune God.  It commemorates the fact that, in God, there is no self-concern, but only the giving of life.  In the complete gift of each person’s self, each receives that same gift from the other two persons.  This is love.  This is the pattern of all life.

We see this in nature.  Plants die in the fall and new life takes their place in the spring, either with new leaves or seedlings.  One generation of people dies so that a new generation can take their place.  Plants give their lives to feed herbivorous animals.  Some animals give their lives to feed carnivorous animals.  Water recycles through evaporation and rain.

Humans have the unique gift of awareness and intentionality.  They can freely join this cycle of life or they can fight against it.  While science and technology have made wonderful advances in fighting disease, weather, and many of the harsh realities of life, they have also given humans the illusion that they can ward off death.

Lent is our annual reminder that surrender to death is actually a good thing.  This is not to say that it is easy—surely, Jesus’ death on the cross was not easy.  But letting go of life is divine.  Life in God (and that is our goal, that is the Kingdom) involves not clinging to life.  That is why Jesus told us that the only way to gain your life is to lose it (Luke 17:33).

Easter is our annual reminder that life given is life received.  Easter celebrates the hope that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, so will be our destiny.  Easter encourages us to give our lives freely rather than simply submit to the inevitable.  Jesus went willingly to the cross.  Death did not simply overtake him.  “No one takes (my life) from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again” (John 10:18).

The Risen Lord offers us the same freedom.  Lent is the practice of voluntarily laying down our lives.  Easter is the celebration of victory over death: Christ’s and ours.

~ Fr. Frank Coady

Coady 2/4/18

The celebration of the Liturgical Year is always about the Paschal Mystery, that dying and rising pattern that we see in the life of Christ, as well as in the Triune God.  It commemorates the fact that, in God, there is no self-concern, but only the giving of life.  In the complete gift of each person’s self, each receives that same gift from the other two persons.  This is love.  This is the pattern of all life.

We see this in nature.  Plants die in the fall and new life takes their place in the spring, either with new leaves or seedlings.  One generation of people dies so that a new generation can take their place.  Plants give their lives to feed herbivorous animals.  Some animals give their lives to feed carnivorous animals.  Water recycles through evaporation and rain.

Humans have the unique gift of awareness and intentionality.  They can freely join this cycle of life or they can fight against it.  While science and technology have made wonderful advances in fighting disease, weather, and many of the harsh realities of life, they have also given humans the illusion that they can ward off death.

Lent is our annual reminder that surrender to death is actually a good thing.  This is not to say that it is easy—surely, Jesus’ death on the cross was not easy.  But letting go of life is divine.  Life in God (and that is our goal, that is the Kingdom) involves not clinging to life.  That is why Jesus told us that the only way to gain your life is to lose it (Luke 17:33).

Easter is our annual reminder that life given is life received.  Easter celebrates the hope that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, so will be our destiny.  Easter encourages us to give our lives freely rather than simply submit to the inevitable.  Jesus went willingly to the cross.  Death did not simply overtake him.  “No one takes (my life) from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again” (John 10:18).

The Risen Lord offers us the same freedom.  Lent is the practice of voluntarily laying down our lives.  Easter is the celebration of victory over death: Christ’s and ours.

~ Fr. Frank Coady

Talbot 1/28/18

I am just overwhelmed at the generosity of this parish in many ways.  When there is an expressed need, you folks step up.  I was reminded of this recently when one of our parishioners suffered a house fire that destroyed pretty much everything.  This family had experienced another tragic event a few years ago when they lost their home to a flood.  When our staff learned about the house fire, it was decided to put it out on CarePortal.  This is a website that sends a mass email out asking for help.  Many other churches in our community use this resource as a way to connect the wonderful resources of a variety of people.  Within hours, I was taking calls and emails saying people would help in many ways.  Because of this massive outpouring of true generosity, this family has a place to live and are beginning to put their lives back together.  Now that is a picture of what church is all about!

One of my other privileged duties is to sign letters for families that give certain amounts to the parish.  I try to make it a habit to pray for each family as I sign the letters.  Sometimes I am overcome with a sense of humility at what people discern to give.  I am not saying this is the only way to give and I know there are so many that give of time and talent as well.  I just want you to know that our church family is very special in many ways!

One final thought…This next week is Catholic Schools’ Week.  Kathryn and I feel blessed to have sent both our kids to MCS.  It is a wonderful school with so many opportunities to get involved and be a part of the education and spiritual formation of our children.  I have always been impressed with the dedication and commitment of the teachers and administration to the overall formation of the children.  They truly are interested in preparing our kids for the future and helping them learn some valuable life lessons.  I don’t detect an atmosphere of superiority, which I appreciate very much.  I believe Roman and Sarah have been given the foundation they needed to start their life journey in a positive and fruitful manner.  I pray that our community continues to support MCS and what it offers to our parish communities.

~ Dcn Wayne Talbot

Watts 1/21/18

In the first reading today, God asks Jonah to go preach to the people of Nineveh.  The city of Nineveh was in Assyria and the Assyrians were vicious enemies of the Israelites.  Jonah resisted.  Why would God ask him to save THEM?  They are the bad guys after all.  Jonah’s response to God was to flee on a boat going the opposite direction where he soon had an encounter with a whale.  When he at last reached Nineveh and preached the word of God, the entire city repented.  This made Jonah even angrier.  He was so angry he asked the Lord to let him die.

While traveling during the holidays, I listened to a podcast about a middle-aged female steelworker named Shannon Mulcahy.  She worked at Rexnord Manufacturing in Indianapolis.  She was going to lose her good paying job because Rexnord had built a plant in Mexico and was closing the plant in Indianapolis.  Needless to say, this was devastating to Shannon, her fellow employees, and their families.  Shannon was the only wage-earner in her four-person family.  In addition, if losing her job wasn’t bad enough, the owners of the plant were transferring in the Mexican workers to be trained by the people they were replacing.  Some of the employees refused, giving up severance checks.  Shannon decided she needed the severance check and began training the young man who would soon have her job.  Much to her surprise, and his I imagine, they bonded.  Shannon said the young man reminded her of herself when she first started working.  She was impressed with his good humor and willingness to learn.  She did her best to teach him not only the basics, but all the quirks of the machine that she ran.  Although Shannon is now unemployed and the young man is working at the plant in Mexico, they remain friends and remain in contact with one another.  She says she is proud of the decision she made.

I share this story with you because it contrasts so with Jonah’s decision.  Shannon didn’t see the young man as “other,” didn’t see him as the bad guy.  She did not let her resentment get in the way of seeing him as a fellow human being trying to do his best.  Shannon is my role model for 2018.  She exemplifies God’s commandment to “love our enemies” and Fr. Richard Rohr’s amazing statement that “when we can see the image of God where we don’t want to see the image of God, then we see with eyes not our own.”  What a challenge for the New Year!

~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Religious Education Coordinator

Smith, R 1/14/18

Our sophomore Confirmandi are invited to write a letter to our Bishop (in this case, Fr. Coady!) requesting to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.  I would like to share one of the letters that a young adult just composed.

Dear Bishop…Throughout the past two years of going to youth group and Confirmation class and the past 10 of religious education, I expected some sort of Epiphany that would come to me, and I would understand everything; there would be no blindness in my faith.  And for a long time, that’s what I thought Mr. Rick and Mr. Bill (Kennedy) and all the adults were pushing us towards, were helping us to find, our Epiphany.  But I’ve come to realize that faith isn’t looking for, or waiting for, an Epiphany.  I think faith is more about believing in the unbelievable.  Which is why I am no longer looking for answers, because if you know everything then there’s nothing unbelievable about it.  I think there’s a difference between believing in something you can see and understand and having faith in something unseen and not understood.  If you have all the answers, there’s nothing left to have faith in; you simply understand.  My teachers always tell us that if we really understand things, we should ask questions to delve deeper.  And that’s what I want to do, but with an end goal of faith instead of understanding.  So, in my Confirmation, I don’t want answers; I want to experience the unbelievable as an adult member of the Church.

John 20:29…Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister

Smith, K 1/7/18

As Catholics, we are still joyfully celebrating Christmas.  “The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (*which is celebrated on Monday, January 8, this year).

Twelve days after Christmas, we celebrate Epiphany, which would be January 6, but moves to this Sunday, January 7.  Epiphany means manifestation.  What the Church celebrates today is the manifestation of our Lord God to the whole world; after being made known to the shepherds of Bethlehem, he is revealed to the Magi (Gentiles) who have come from the East to adore him.  And he is also revealed to us!  He is our light in the darkness!

On Monday, the Christmas season is brought to an end with the Baptism of the Lord, a manifestation of the divine Sonship of Jesus by his anointing and appointment to his messianic office.  Jesus plunges into the Jordan and, as he arises from the waters, the heavens open and the Spirit descends upon him.  The voice of the Father speaks words of affirmation that will sustain Jesus through his public ministry.

Each of us, in our own way, are called to participate in Jesus’ ministry.  We greatly appreciate the many people who served in their liturgical ministries during the Christmas liturgies.  MANY THANKS to the Art & Environment Committee, Liturgical Coordinators, Ushers, Lectors, Servers, Extraordinary Ministers, Deacons, Fr. Coady, Fr. Don, and Fr. Werth.  We are grateful for your time and service to our parish.  A special thank you to the office staff for the many things they did to prepare us and to the Music Ministers who spent many hours preparing the music for our liturgies.  Thank you all so much.

May the light of Christ continue to shine in all our lives throughout this new year!  Peace and blessings to all in 2018!

~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist

Talbot 12/31/17

This weekend is the feast of the Holy Family and I would like to shine a spotlight on Joseph.  We hear a lot about Mary during these days.  I think that is good, but sometimes we need to reflect on Joseph’s role as well.  As a man of faith, I believe I have a great responsibility in my family at home and in the wider family of God.  Meditating on Joseph and what he models helps me be a better man of faith.  Some of these thoughts come from a recent homily by Pope Francis.

Joseph was a perfect model of silent strength and faith.  Imagine his initial reaction of doubt and worry when he learned Mary was pregnant.  This can teach us something when we have difficulties or are feeling down.  While Joseph did not understand, he believed when the Lord sent an angel in a dream to explain how the child had been conceived through the Holy Spirit.  You can just about picture the internal struggle he must have had.  When God told him to ‘get up,’ it is as if God is sending Joseph on a mission.  When I am feeling sorry for myself, I have felt God telling me to ‘get up.’  I have a mission as a father, husband, deacon, etc., and that mission is strengthened by God’s grace.  In a sense, God is giving Joseph a mission to take charge and be a steward of the gift of Mary and Jesus.  He took a mission of fatherhood that was not his own—it came from God.  All I have been given comes from God and I need to treat those blessings accordingly. 

Joseph accepted fatherhood and all that signified by supporting Mary and Jesus, teaching Jesus his trade, and bringing him up to manhood.  He accepted that role without much being recorded about him.  Joseph is a man of silent obedience.  I need to take a lesson.  If the man Jesus learned to say “father” (or “daddy”) to the father he knew was God, he learned it from life, from the witness of Joseph—the man who took care of him, the man who raised him, the man who took nothing for himself.  My mission, then, as a man of faith is to respond with selflessness to the call of God in my own set of circumstances.  Sometimes I may not understand the plan that God seems to be laying out, but like Joseph, I embrace it and trust that God’s will be done.  Joseph is a man with resolve to follow this plan and take on the leadership of the Holy Family.  Not with absolute control, but with a certain sense of humility and courage.  I have a lot to learn from this silent man of the Scriptures.

~ Dcn Wayne Talbot

Spain Trip

Coady 12/24/17

This is a strange year for the Liturgical Calendar.  Christmas falls on a Monday, so Christmas Eve is on Sunday.  That means that Sunday morning, December 24, we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent with our usual Masses at 8:30 and 10:30.  That same day, we celebrate Christmas Vigil Masses at 4:00 and 6:30 p.m. and Midnight Mass at 11:00 p.m.  It will be a full day!  On Monday, the Mass of Christmas Day will be celebrated at 9:00 a.m.  I know it will be tempting to skip the morning Mass on December 24, but I encourage you to celebrate the Liturgical Year in all its fullness.  The readings and liturgical prayers for the Fourth Sunday of Advent are important to set up the full joy of Christmas.  We should see this day not as a burden, but as an opportunity to spend a really holy day with the Lord, whose Paschal Mystery begins with the Incarnation.  The long-expected Messiah finally came into the world to announce the Good News that God was intending to redeem the world.

January 1 is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  It is ordinarily a holy day of obligation.  This year, however, it is not obligatory because it falls on a Monday.  It is still a holy day.  Those who can are encouraged to come to Mass to celebrate this solemnity.  Masses will be on December 31 at 5:30 p.m. and January 1 at 9:00 a.m.  (5:30 Mass Goers: Please note that the 5:30 Mass on December 31 will be for the Solemnity of Mary and not for Sunday’s obligation for the Holy Family.)

~ Fr. Frank Coady

Smith, R 12/17/17

Advent…A new beginning; a fresh start; carte blanche.

We sometimes take for granted how many chances we get to start over.  We get another day, another game, another assignment, another project, another encounter, another experience, another season, another chance.

Whenever the high schoolers and I embark on a trip, I remind them that it is a chance to reinvent themselves.  If they are normally shy, they don’t have to be shy on this trip.  If they are normally talkative, they don’t have to be talkative on this trip.  If they are normally anxious and afraid, they don’t have to be anxious and afraid on this trip.

Jesus showed us the ULTIMATE do-over through the Paschal Mystery of his life, death, and resurrection.  “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).  We can all reinvent ourselves through Christ and with Christ and in Christ at any time, in every way.  The thing that usually holds us back is fear.

BE NOT AFRAID!

~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister

Side Menu Helper