Happy New Year! Well, new liturgical year anyway! Our church is now in Year B of the three year cycle of readings, and we will mostly hear from the Gospel of Mark this year.
We are now in the midst of the season of Advent, exclaiming in hope and anticipation, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!” We spend the next few weeks preparing a place for Christ to come again and to be born anew in our hearts and in the world. It can seem rather odd to simultaneously celebrate the coming of the newborn king, God’s covenant with his people, and Christ’s return in glory—his fulfillment of salvation history. But we are to do just that! We prepare for our Messiah, the Savior incarnate, the One who is here, and the One who is to come again. Wow!
What a blessing this Advent season can be! I challenge all of us to live it out as best we can in our daily lives. God invites all of us to be alert to the signs of his loving redemption, to participate in the Paschal life (dying to ourselves and rising with Christ), and to trust in him every day and say “yes” as Mary did.
Let’s set aside the busyness of “creating Christmas” and reach out to those in need—pay attention to those who are grieving, those who are lonely, those far away from family. Invite them to Mass, to dinner, to coffee. Be still and see God right in front of you, listen to his voice in your heart, and wait for his “coming” in the everyday moments of your life. Emmanuel—God with us. His blessings are endless.
Please take home some of the wonderful Advent materials available for you on the table in the Gathering Area. Use them to assist you and your family in your daily prayer in your own domestic church—your home!
~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist
This weekend is the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. It is also the last Sunday of the Church Year. What are we saying by celebrating this feast? We may not have a king as part of our country’s government, so it may be difficult to relate to that image, but we can reflect on the superiority of what it means to have the Lord Jesus as first in everything that we do. The Gospel reading is a parable that discusses the ways we manifest our following this king. The allegiance our king requires is one of showing justice, mercy, and compassion to all that we meet. The way we serve our royal master is by clothing the naked, visiting the sick, and caring for the less fortunate and those we’d rather not see. We often think about how frequently we pray, go to church, and follow the rules of the faith as the ways to serve Christ. While those are important, the real question Jesus asks is how did we love our brothers and sisters? Since it is the end of the church year, it may be a good time to reflect on our lives up till now and make a reasonable resolution to make the Lord Jesus the real ruler of our lives by doing an act of kindness everyday for someone we may not normally pay attention to. Or maybe asking what I can do to stop bullying others? How can I be a person of peace and not instigate anger and hatred towards someone who bothers me? Before I make a judgment about somebody who has been in trouble with the law, how can I help them be a productive member of society? These are just a few ideas. Develop your own upon reflection. Our world needs the message that our readings are communicating. It is a strong message and it begins with each and every one of us. Our Lord and King is one who serves. I know it is high time that I do a better job of helping others see His presence through the way I love my brothers and sisters. Because it may be Christ that I am serving!
~ Dcn Wayne Talbot
The whole of Christian life is about the journey from death to life, from slavery to freedom. Consider the ritual for infant baptism. It begins outside the doors of the church. Doors, in a Catholic church, are associated with baptism. They are the way from outside to inside, entrance into the family of God, the church, the Kingdom of God. So, we gather with the family and the child outside the doors because, before baptism, this child is outside.
After the initial rites of blessing and anointing with the Oil of Catechumens, a pre-baptismal oil, we process through the doors to the baptismal font. There the child undergoes a ritual death by drowning in the water made holy and life-giving by God’s blessing.
Following the baptism, the community processes the child down to the altar. The altar symbolizes the Kingdom realized, where we partake of the heavenly banquet, the Eucharist. Thus, the whole faith life of the child is ritualized in these processions: from outside to inside, from the font to the altar. Indeed the journey of the whole human race toward the Kingdom is ritualized in this sacramental celebration.
Every time we enter a Catholic church, we renew our baptism. As we approach the church, we put our backs to theological west, that place where the sun dies, symbolic of sin and death. We face theological east, that place where the sun rises, symbolic of Christ’s coming again, that place of eternal life and glory. We sign ourselves in the baptismal water, recalling the place/time of conversion. We move into the body of the church and eventually to the altar to receive Communion.
Signing ourselves in the font only makes sense when we are entering the church. It does not make sense when we are leaving. This “holy” water is actually “baptismal” water. We are not “blessing” ourselves; we are recalling our baptism. Think about this. At the end of Mass, we are sent into the world to transform it into the Kingdom. Yes, we need God’s grace to do that, but that is not given by signing ourselves in the font. That grace is given through our participation in the Eucharist.
~ Fr. Frank Coady
Dear Fellow Catholics of the Salina Diocese,
I want to express my gratitude, as well as speak a word of profound thanks on behalf of those who suffered immense losses following the tornadic winds (70-90 mph) and baseball-size hail of the storm on August 10. Once the storm had passed, I stepped outside where I found myself overwhelmed by the damage all around me. The roof of every home in Wakeeney was destroyed and 900 vehicles were totaled! In many instances, the destroyed cars belonged to the working poor. Too, a tremendous amount of windows were shattered, with many homes exposed to the elements. Those who were uninsured or under-insured were facing the worst of the losses. I asked Bishop Weisenburger what help might be available for those in need. With the consent of our Diocesan Council of Priests, he immediately transferred $3,000 from the Priests Council Aid Fund to Catholic Charities. Their office in Hays is responsible for disbursing the funds in our area and they responded wonderfully with the resources the good people of our diocese provided them. In addition, Michelle Martin, Executive Director of our Diocesan Catholic Charities, applied for a $10,000 grant from Catholic Charities USA (the national branch of Catholic Charities). The grant was accepted and Catholic Charities was able to use some of these funds in collaborative efforts with Trego County Emergency Management. Jeannie Riedel from Catholic Charities of Hays set up a table on four different days in front of the local library to hand out application forms for assistance. She has also met with our local Ministerial Alliance multiple times, coordinating to make sure that all who are suffering receive the help they need. We are blessed in our diocese to have such dedicated staff at Catholic Charities. As of this date, the people of our diocese have generously donated $47,000 for this disaster relief. I've never been more proud of Catholic Charities or more grateful for the generosity of our people. My gratitude is profound for each of you who gave sacrificially to help those in need. I should note that Christ the King Parish of Wakeeney has full replacement insurance coverage and, for that reason, the parish itself was not a recipient of any of these funds. Your donations will be used only for victims in our diocese with inadequate or no means to repair their damages. Your incredible response is truly heartwarming. Again, I thank you in the name of Christ the King Parish and the entire community of Wakeeney.
~ Fr. Charlie Steier
The images of Puerto Rico coming to us in the news media are deeply disturbing. The power grid has collapsed from the hurricane and the humanitarian situation may be the worst yet of the multiple crises we have faced in recent weeks. I understand fully the financial strain I am asking many to undertake once again by contributing to help our brothers and sisters so greatly in need. However, not to provide you with an opportunity to be of help would be a grave lack of charity on my part. A second collection will be taken up on the weekend of October 28-29, which will be disbursed by Catholic Charities USA. Checks should be made out to the name of your local parish. I am also asking that all members of the Salina Diocese pray the Novena for Victims of Natural Disasters printed below. It will begin on the weekend of October 21-22 and conclude on the ninth day, October 29. Whether you are able to make a monetary contribution or not, I urge you to take part in our emergency spiritual assistance for our brothers and sisters so greatly in need. You are an exceptional people and I am deeply grateful for your goodness.
~ Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger
President Trump’s decision to end the DACA, (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) program is a matter of grave concern. The immigrants in question were brought to the United States at such a young age that a great many have no memory or experience of any home but America. These “DACA youth” currently live and work among us as contributing members of American society. While DACA was never a permanent solution it did provide as many as 800,000 innocent people with a measure of relief from the constant fear of deportation, oftentimes to a foreign country where they have no family, no support, and no personal history. Along with the bishops of our Nation, I stand in solidarity with these youth who have committed no personal crime and are now in grave peril of deportation to a foreign country.
I believe we must acknowledge that immigration has become one of the most contentious issues in American politics. However, many of our Nation’s greatest moments have been revealed when we have risen above contention and chosen the path of justice tempered with mercy. It is in these moments that we have been a bright light for the rest of the world. I believe in America, and I believe in our legislators’ ability to carve out a just protection for these very vulnerable young people. While consensus on many aspects of a comprehensive immigration policy remains elusive, it is my hope that people of different perspectives can agree that immigrants brought to America as children should not be deported and sent back to a place they may have no memory of. It is prudent for us to call to mind the teaching of our Savior, “what you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me.”
I urge the people of the Salina Diocese to call upon our representatives in the United States Senate and House of Representatives to seek a solution that is both fair and generous—a solution that does not punish innocent children for the actions of their parents, but rather one that upholds America’s founding values and highest ideals.
Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger
September 6, 2017
Do you find it easy to pray? Is prayer an integral part of your day? Do you hear God's voice in your daily life and know how to respond accordingly? For most of us, prayer becomes a source of frustration as we struggle to calm our minds and find even a few minutes to set aside to pray. In our busy lives, prayer is seen as a luxury, when in reality it is at the foundation of a healthy spiritual life. The good news is you can overcome your difficulties with prayer, and it is easier than you might think. Come join this series for all people on a prayer journey. 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!
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.
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!
In the Trinity, there is no self-concern. Each Person is self-offering, dying, for the other two. And each Person receives that same self-offering back from the other two. This is divine love. It is, in fact, the basis of all love; there is no love other than that which mirrors the love of God.
Jesus Christ is the ultimate revelation of God. In becoming human, there was a self-offering, a dying to the limitlessness that was his as the eternal Son and taking on the limitations of mortal flesh. Once in the flesh, Christ loved humanity to the end, that is, unto death. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (or enemies—see Romans 5:6-11). Such is the divine love.
Wherever self-giving love is shown by human beings in any degree at all, God must be said to be present in the transformation of human character into God’s own moral and spiritual likeness. There redemption is happening, as people are being set free from self-regard and self-interests. There salvation is being tasted, for salvation is precisely growth into that self-giving which is also God’s character and which is exercised in communion between God and humanity and among human beings.
A privileged place for this revelation is in the liturgy, which is specifically designed as a participation in Christ by the laying down of our lives on the altar with him. Thus, the presence of Christ is not only in the consecrated bread and wine, but even more powerfully in those who are willing to participate in his death, his self-offering. Yes, there is singing and responding, processing, genuflecting, standing, sitting, kneeling; but these are only tools to facilitate the real participation, which is self-offering.
This liturgical participation is actually a participation in God’s life. It is to be transformed into God, a process described from earliest times as divinization. So, participation in the liturgy is not merely a pious exercise. It is not there to make one feel good or holy, much less to entertain. Liturgy exists to transform humans into Christ’s body.
~ Fr. Frank Coady
Are you dealing with the death of your spouse, a parent, a sibling, a child, or a friend? Come to any or all of a series of meetings to help you understand, cope, and heal through a process called GriefShare. Whether it's been one month, one year, or ten years, GreifShare can help you heal from the loss of your loved one. Each week the group will watch a video seminar on DVD. The GreifShare videos cover topics essential to your recovery from the hurt of grief and loss. A new series is beginning this Fall.
COAR (Community Oscar Arnulfo Romero) will be asking for your donations, prayers, and interest as part of the Mission Coop at all Masses the weekend of June 17/18. COAR is located in Zaragoza, El Salvador. It was founded in 1980 by a Cleveland Diocese Mission Team priest, Fr. Ken Myers, during El Salvador's brutal civil war. Fr. Ken and fellow Cleveland Mission Team members Sr. Dorothy Kazel, OSU, and Jean Donovan (murdered December 2, 1980) began gathering orphans from refugee camps and bringing them back to the Mission's parish of Zaragoza. COAR is now known as the "Children's Village" in El Salvador with 800 day students, 100 in foster car, a medical and dental clinic, pharmacy, trade shops (such as baking and tailoring). It is administered directly by the Archbishop of San Salvador through his Vicariate of Human Development. COAR's motto is Women and Men for God and Culture; the curriculum educates the entire person. With over 30 employees, COAR strengthens the regional economy. One of the first orphans of COAR served as mayor of Zaragoza from 1998-2002. COAR buzzes with optimism and vitality. However, El Salvador remains an impoverished country, as are COAR's students. To protect the most vulnerable simply requires food, shelter, and house mothers. To educate the children to modernize their economy requires updated computers and new classrooms. To get the best teachers and treat them fairly requires wages near the Salvadoran national average. Please help us respond to the needs of the most impoverished among us and help them build a better future. More information about COAR.
Mary Stevenson is the Executive Director of the COAR Peace Mission--the US fundraising and outreach arm of the COAR Children's Village in Zaragoza, El Salvador. She was a student at Beaumont High School in Cleveland Heights when Sr. Dorothy Kazel, OSU, left to begin her five-year assignment on the Cleveland Diocese's Latin American Mission Team. Prevented from visiting the mission in the 1980s because of the civil war, including the murder of Sr. Dorothy, Mary first visited COAR in 1990 and experienced the anguish of El Salvador's civil war through the orphans at COAR. Repeated visits through the years revealed the deep, healing, vital nature of the care, education, and vocational training that COAR gives its children. Won over by COAR, Mary left a business career to become Executive Director in 2004.