Stewardship is a key to the vitality of any community. A parish needs the gifts and talents of the people to help it grow and become the missionary community that Jesus had in mind. We have many people who share time, talent, and treasure. To single people out can be very difficult because you don’t want to miss people who give so much. However, during this time of year, we transition council members—welcoming new members and saying thank you to those whose terms are complete.
The Parish and Finance Councils are consultative bodies that advise the pastor in various matters. They create a vision and dream about the various ways to strengthen our mission as disciples. These bodies help with the parish budget and ensure we are financially stable. These people dedicate a lot of time and energy because they love our church and their personal experiences can help shape our future. Take time to thank them and don’t be afraid to bring your concerns to them. Their input, and yours, are valuable to St. Thomas More.
I would like to thank Mr. Paul Oehm, Mr. George Belin, Mr. Casey Carver, and Mr. Ed Polley for serving their terms on the Finance Council. Thank you to Mr. Vernon Schaffer for serving on the Parish Council. Also, thank you to Mr. Toby Marks, who served as a Finance Council representative to the MCS Finance Council. We welcome Mr. Brian Ostermann, Mr. Wade Greif, Mr. Harry Hardy, and Mrs. Jodi Kaus to the Finance Council and Mrs. Patty Wamsley to the Parish Council. Mrs. Lori Dodge has accepted the role of Finance Council representative to the MCS Finance Council. May God Bless each and every one of you for being a model of stewardship to our Catholic community!
~ Dcn Wayne Talbot
A new movement is happening in Catholic Manhattan. MC3 is Catholics from all three parishes coming together to enjoy each other’s company, to hear inspirational speakers and topics, and to find out what service projects or ministries they can get involved in or help support. The priests in town are on board and are helping with the planning, but this is a lay movement that began as a response to a felt need to bring the parish communities together. We are all Catholic.
The first gathering was on July 9 in the upper room of the Blue Moose. Bernard Franklin, the first black K-State student body president and recently employed by the university as Special Assistant to the Chancellor, shared his moving journey to become Catholic and challenged the group to be more welcoming at Mass to people who are different.
The next social will be on Monday, November 5, at Blue Moose. The speaker is slated to be Jennifer Risper, former women’s NBA player, who will tell of her experience on the Camino de Santiago, her faith journey, and her current job with FOCCUS (international Catholic college evangelization movement).
After that, on Monday, March 4, our new bishop, Gerald Vincke, has been invited to speak. This will be a great opportunity for Manhattan Catholics to meet him and hear his message.
These events are both pending, but I tell you about them to give you an idea of the direction MC3 is going and what could be in store. Together we are more. Together we form the body of Christ.
~ Fr. Frank Coady
For some of the teens of our parish, it wouldn’t be summer without going to Prayer and Action! This amazing mission program was started here in the Salina Diocese by Fr. Gale Hammerschmidt and Sr. Barbara Apaceller in 2006. Each summer, our parish teens have the opportunity to join other teens in our diocese for a week of encountering Christ in each other, through prayer and in the work done for homeowners in need.
On Sunday, June 24, our Youth Minister, Rick Smith, led a group of 19 teens to Plainville. Parents/sponsors—Brian & Julie Ostermann, Christy Shaheen, Dcn Wayne Talbot, and myself—loaded our cars and even our visiting seminarian, Luke Friess, was able to make the trip!
We were greeted in Plainville by a great team of 3 seminarians and 3 college-age ladies who organized and led every aspect of our week. We met and made fast friends with 3 Oberlin guys, 14 Junction City kids, and their fantastic sponsors. We all spent the week eating, sleeping, praying, singing, dancing, and playing in Sacred Heart Grade School, as well as celebrating Mass, going to Confession, and praying the Rosary and Night Prayers in the church.
We were split into 5 crews, each assigned to a homeowner, and we spent each day scraping and painting their homes, pulling weeds and cleaning out flower beds, ministering to and praying with our homeowners, and talking, praying, and playing with one another. Serving these people in need made a great impact on their hearts as well as ours.
But the over-arching tone of this life-changing, deeply meaningful, sacred week is the love, peace, and joy that comes from Our Lord and Savior. Each teen and adult is able to participate in and enjoy the TREMENDOUS BLESSING OF GOD’S LOVE in the wonderful Utopian society that is created in this short week. Prayer and Action is a safe place to be oneself without being judged, be treated with kindness and respect, let go of cell phones and personalities, be silly and joy-filled, and share the light of Christ that is in each one of us!
~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist
"I am sorry, you have a torn ACL.” Hearing these words from the doctor confirmed my fears that an injury I suffered playing basketball in the seminary was more serious than I thought. It meant no more basketball, running, or other sports for many months and it also meant surgery and extended rehab. And yet as I reflected over the injury in the weeks that followed, I thought back to a reflection by St. Teresa of Calcutta about Jesus suffering on the cross and its connection to us:
Suffering has to come because if you look at the cross, he has got his head bending down—he wants to kiss you—and he has both hands open wide—he wants to embrace you . . . Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you.
The Church teaches beautifully how all of the pains and sufferings we experience can be a means for obtaining grace; growing in holiness and coming closer to God by uniting them to Christ’s sacrifice. St. Teresa exemplified this teaching because as her body became crippled with age and the hunch in her back barely allowed her to walk, she radiated a tangible joy and holiness which transcended her deformed body.
Now I would be untruthful if I for a moment claimed to have complete acceptance and joy in the suffering I experience with my injury. I’ll probably never know why God allowed this to happen. And I know that the inconvenience I am going through is trivial compared to what many of you experience such as depression, the loss of a child, cancer, or an estranged loved one. And yet it is a beautiful realization that by uniting our sufferings to Christ on the cross, coming to see it as his kiss, we are capable of doing a great deal of good for ourselves and our loved ones. Likely for most of us this will take a lifetime of work, but I believe it is this understanding that drove St. Teresa of Calcutta to conclude that, “Suffering is a gift from God.”
~ Luke Friess, Seminarian
A central feature of the Vatican II reform of the liturgy was the recovery of the assembly’s key role. Those old enough to remember the old Tridentine Rite will recall that the assembly simply watched and listened. They had no voice. The servers or the choir responded to the priest’s greeting, “Dominus Vobiscum” (The Lord be with you). They alone responded to the invitation to lift up their hearts.
The Dogmatic Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy put it this way:
In the reform and promotion of the liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else. For it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit and therefore pastors must zealously strive in all their pastoral work to achieve such participation by means of the necessary instruction. (#14)
This goal has met with mixed success in the 50+ years since the Council, but I am very pleased with what I experience here at St. Thomas More. The assembly was quick to learn the sung responses of the liturgy, and they sing them with enthusiasm. Here is a favorite example…One very young girl has learned to sing the Our Father at Mass. The family went to Mass in a different parish one weekend where they didn’t sing the Our Father. She was so disappointed that she was difficult to console.
If I were the only one singing at Mass, there would be no sense in that. This is not about the priest celebrant; it is about the “full, conscious, active participation by all the people” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, #14). Thank you all for taking your role in the liturgy seriously.
~ Fr. Frank Coady
This week’s Gospel from Mark describes in detail two women healed by Jesus. Usually the daughter of Jarius is the one who gets the most attention, but the woman who is healed from a hemorrhage is one of my favorite Bible characters.
The bleeding woman had been ostracized from society for twelve years because the law (Leviticus 15: 19-30) said she was unclean. She could not mingle with other people, she could not get water from the well, she could not touch or prepare food, and she could not have marital relations. No doctor had been able to heal her, she had used all her money looking for a cure and she had no male to sponsor or support her. In the last twelve years she had lost everything—money, family and relationships.
What she does have is a strong faith and a PLAN—and she is willing to break the law to see it through. She heard that Jesus was coming and her belief in his power and authority helped her determine all she needed to do was touch his garment to be healed. She went out in public, knowing others would shun her and perhaps humiliate her, but she assertively and audaciously reached out to Jesus. This was risky, as touching Jesus made him unclean as well. But when she touched his garment, she was healed.
At that point, Jesus turned and said, “Who touched me?” First of all, the disciples wondered what Jesus was thinking! He was being jostled by a crowd of people so lots of people touched him. Besides, Jarius, who was a leader in the synagogue, a VIP in the village, asked him to come see to his daughter. Shouldn’t Jesus be focused on Jarius and get to his home as quickly as possible? When Jesus turned around, although she was frightened, the woman fell down before Jesus and “told him the whole truth.” She could have quietly snuck away, but instead she courageously faced Jesus and told him her story.
Jesus, raised in the Jewish faith, knew the laws in Leviticus concerning the unclean, but he ignored the law and instead called her “Daughter” and told her “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” This is so incredible as Jesus put the protection and well-being of this poor woman above the laws that excluded her. By acknowledging this woman, Jesus is forcing everyone in the crowd to decide what is more important—the people suffering or the purity laws. He is saying, are you with the Temple leaders, or do you believe in me? Who shows the most justice and mercy, me or the law?
This is such a beautiful encounter as it says so much about Jesus’ attitude toward women that was countercultural in this patriarchal society, his attitude toward the rich and the poor, his attitude toward laws that exclude rather than include and his ideas of justice and mercy. May we all follow his example.
~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator