Smith, K 3/18/18

How is your Lenten transformation going?  What has God done in your life during this Lenten journey?  Has it been easy or difficult to keep up with your efforts with your prayer life, fasting, and almsgiving?  However your journey has been so far, finish well.

On Wed. night, about 30 to 40 STM parishioners bought tickets to a presentation in Wamego by Catholic speaker, Chris Stefanick.  What a wonderful opportunity it was to “REBOOT” our faith and our lives!  I’m sure every one of us is grateful to St. Bernard’s Parish for bringing him to the Catholic community in this area.

Chris reminded us to claim, celebrate, and share the Good News, the beauty of the Gospel.  Each of us is an important part of God’s love story!  And it’s simple.  Our Creator, who gave us life and made each of us unique, gave us his Son, so that we can live life to the fullest.  God wants to have the most intimate relationship with each one of us.  He wants every part of us – the good, the bad, the ugly.  And each day, even each moment, we get to start over and become a better version of ourselves. 

So to help us become the people we were made to be, Chris emphasized our need for good, intimate friendships.  We need people who will walk with us and grow with us.  And, as Fr. Coady wrote in his musing last week, it’s also important that we pray and worship as a community together.  We encounter God when we connect with one another.

The Good News should not be taken for granted.  God’s love story and our place in it is so exciting!  Let’s get rid of the distractions in our everyday lives.  Let’s love ourselves well, love each other well, and live the lives we were made for… in Jesus Christ.

~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist

Current Sessions

The Mystery of God
Sundays 9:35-10:20 a.m.
Zimmerman Conference Room

What do we really mean by God"? Atheism is on the rise. Skeptical thinkers like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris vigorously attack belief in God as irrational or, even worse, dangerous. The so-called New Atheism has attracted millions of young people thanks to bestselling books such as The God Delusion and God Is Not Great. How should Christians respond? How can we turn the tide of secularism and draw people back to God? In this new six-part film series and study program, Bishop Robert Barron reaches into our rich intellectual tradition to teach us how. Using the insights of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope Benedict XVI, he uncovers a clear yet sophisticated understanding of what we mean by “God". Who is God? And why does he matter? Watch this series and you'll not only learn the answers yourself, but you'll discover how to share them with others - especially those who no longer believe. There will be video presentations and time for sharing.  Sessions are held between Sunday morning Masses, except on K of C Breakfast weekends.  All are welcome!

Sunday Scriptures:
Sundays 9:30-10:15 a.m.
Hake Education Wing

Adults discuss the Sunday's Scriptures and how they relate to our lives.  Children are welcome to join the adults or participate in a children's lesson.  Got questions?  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  No registration or commitment required.  Come and go as you please.  All are welcome!

US Catholic Catechism for Adults
Mondays 9:30-11 a.m.
Zimmerman Conference Room

The presence of the Catholic Church in the United States reaches back to the founding days of our country through the leadership of Archbishop John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the United States.  His story, like other stories at the start of the chapters in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, gives us a glimpse into the lives of Catholics who lived out their faith throughout our country's history.  Each chapter in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults includes stories, doctrine, reflections, quotations, discussion questions, and prayers to lead the reader to a deepening faith.  We will have DVD presentations, questions for discussion, and group sharing.  Please join us on Mondays in the Zimmerman Conference Room.   Breaks from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Men’s Bible Study:
Bible Study Timeline
Thursdays 7:00-8:15 p.m.
Room B

If you would like to have a deeper relationship with God, a better understanding of your faith, and fellowship with other men of faith, you are invited to join The Bible Study Timeline.  It is a great way to get the big picture of the Bible and see how our Catholic faith is rooted in Scripture.  You'll see how the Bible reveals God's loving plan for your life, and you will learn helpful ways to put your faith into practice.  The study includes a series of informative and engaging half-hour videos presented by Jeff Cavins.  Each video presentation will be followed by a lively group discussion.  All men are welcome!   Breaks from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Coady 3/11/18

Surveys reveal that a high percentage of Americans believe in God, but many prefer not to belong to a specific religion.  This is an unfortunate result of the American penchant for individualism.  People don’t think they need to worship with others.  Who needs a church when one can go directly to God?  Who needs to go to confession when one can get forgiveness directly from God?

The Catholic Church provides an antidote to this by celebrating community in a sacramental way.  At Mass, the whole body of Christ celebrates: head and members.  We are not performing empty ritual for our own satisfaction.  We are actually joining with God: joining our sacrifices to Christ’s, communing with him by the power of the Holy Spirit, and eating and drinking of divine life so that we become sharers in it.

While our private, personal prayer build our relationship with God, it must also be built by praying communally.  The community transforms us by pulling us out of our self-centered world and joining us to the body of Christ.  There is no communion with Christ without communing with his body.

Sin alienates us from God and from one another.  Sacramental reconciliation heals both.  We confess to both and we get forgiveness from both.  It is a sacramental recognition that there is no such thing as a private sin that does not affect others.  It also acknowledges that both God and the community desire reconciliation.  Jesus claimed the power to forgive sin (Matthew 9:6) and he gave that power to the Church (Matthew 16:19).

Love and forgiveness come from God and participate in God.  By telling the story of the unjust steward who gives away his master’s money as if it were his own (Luke 16:1-8), Jesus is telling us that God wants us to give away divine love and mercy as if they were our own.  The forgiveness that we extend to one another is God’s own forgiveness.

~ Fr. Frank Coady

RCPD - Active Shooter

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RCPD - Active Shooter

Active Shooter Part 1 - Right click here to download

Active Shooter Part 2 - Right click here to download

Talbot 3/4/18

For the next three Sundays, the catechumens (those needing baptism) will be experiencing a ritual in the RCIA process called the scrutinies.  Normally, we do these rituals during the 10:30 Mass and so many of our people do not get a chance to witness them.  The journey of the catechumens is nearing a climax as they prepare for the Easter Vigil service and their full participation in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and eucharist.  The scrutinies help prepare them for this living encounter with Christ.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the catechumens and candidates (those already baptized) shared in the Rite of Election at the cathedral in Salina.  This experience helped them see the larger Church as other parishes from this end of the diocese sent their RCIA participants as well.

The word “scrutiny” means “to examine.”  The prayers of the scrutinies ask them, and us as well, to acknowledge the reality of evil in our lives.  We are asked to rid ourselves of all that inhibits our full relationship with our loving God.  That takes grace and strength from God each and every day.  God is willing to protect us from the power of evil and demonstrate the ultimate victory of Christ on the cross.

The scrutinies usually use the Gospel readings from Year A, which come from John.  Each Sunday, they grow in intensity as the Lord asks us to really root out all the blockages to faith.  From the woman at the well to the man born blind to the raising of Lazarus, the stories are wellsprings of discernment and profound encounter with Christ.  These Gospel stories, and the scrutinies, are great ways to delve deeper into the Lenten journey of preparing for Easter.  If you have a chance to look at the scriptures and hear the prayers of these scrutinies, it is worth the time.

Let us continue to pray for the catechumens and candidates as they draw closer to being one with our Catholic community.  May their journey inspire us to reflect deeper on our own relationship with Jesus.

~ Dcn Wayne Talbot

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

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

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