Coady 6/24/18

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

Women's Bible Study

Do you desire to grow in your Catholic faith?  Would you like to connect with other women in our parish community?  Are you searching for something more in your life?  We invite you to consider joining Walking with Purpose’s “Living in the Father’s Love.”  This is a six week study of God the Father, which reveals how deeply relevant the Gospels are to our relationships, both with God and those we love.  Walking with Purpose is a women’s Catholic bible study that aims to bring women to a closer relationship with Christ.  Personal study and small group discussions link our everyday challenges with the solutions given to us through the teachings of Christ and the Catholic church.  Sessions in the Fall are on Tuesdays from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Room B on October 9, 16, 23, 30, November 6, and 13.  The study will repeat in the Spring on Thursdays from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Room B on February 28, March 7, 21, 28, April 4, and 11.  There is a $20 fee to cover the cost of the book.

 

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Women's Bible Study

Do you desire to grow in your Catholic faith?  Would you like to connect with other women in our parish community?  Are you searching for something more in your life?  We invite you to consider joining Walking with Purpose’s “Living in the Father’s Love.”  This is a six week study of God the Father, which reveals how deeply relevant the Gospels are to our relationships, both with God and those we love.  Walking with Purpose is a women’s Catholic bible study that aims to bring women to a closer relationship with Christ.  Personal study and small group discussions link our everyday challenges with the solutions given to us through the teachings of Christ and the Catholic church.  Sessions in the Fall are on Tuesdays from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Room B on October 9, 16, 23, 30, November 6, and 13.  The study will repeat in the Spring on Thursdays from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Room B on February 28, March 7, 21, 28, April 4, and 11.  There is a $20 fee to cover the cost of the book.

 

REGISTER HERE

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Smith, R 6/17/18

Some things I have learned playing slow-pitch softball.  I play on a slow-pitch softball team.  I would like to say I am an old has-been, but I am more a never-was!  There are some interesting lessons/ parallels I have learned; I share them with you now.

  • YOU MUST INVEST—Baseball/softball is a summer sport; you can’t play the game year round.  Each season, players are a little “rusty” at the start, and there are new players on the team.  The first 2-3 games of each season I find myself thinking: “This team isn’t as SPECIAL as last year.  We are not as GOOD as last year.  I don’t feel a CONNECTION with this team.  Oh well.”  But the more time we spend together—on and off the field—the more we play and battle and argue and laugh and work together, the closer we become.  And by the end of the season, I have a new group of fellas I call friends and feel honored to play with.
  • YOU CAN’T SCRIPT GAMES—Baseball/softball is different than many other sports in that the game “comes to you.”  By that I mean that in many other team sports you can give the ball to your superstar and let them lead you to victory.  In baseball/softball, you ONLY bat when it is your turn in the line-up and on defense you can ONLY make a play when the ball is hit to you.  All you can do is try to be ready when it is your turn and support your teammates when it is their turn.  You never know from play to play whose turn it will be!  It is frustrating and very cool at the same time.
  • YOU ARE IN THE GAME—When your team wins, you forget all the little mistakes, bad calls, lucky calls, lucky bounces, bad bounces, wouldacouldashoulda; when your team loses, you agonize over those same things!  But after awhile, you realize that you will not get every call or every bounce, make every play, win every game; the important thing is that you are IN THE GAME AT ALL!  The only “loss” is to have the desire to play and contribute and risk something, but choose not to participate at all out of FEAR—that is the only real defeat.  There’s an old saying: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s HOW you play the game.”  I amend that to say it’s THAT you play the game!

There are many parallels to our church, our faith community, to you and your family, and to LIFE in general, but I will leave it to you to draw those conclusions for yourself.

PLAY BALL; GET IN THE GAME; BE NOT AFRAID!

~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister

Watts 6/10/18

Several weeks ago, Fr. Richard Rohr did a series of devotions describing what it means to live in community.  “Living in community means living in such a way that others can access me and influence my life and that I can get ‘out of myself’ and serve the lives of others,” he said.  Community is a world where brotherliness and sisterliness are possible.  By community, I don’t mean primarily a special kind of structure, but a network of relationships.”

I experienced this kind of community last week at our Vacation Bible School.  Parishioners, young and not so young, came together to provide an adventure for our youngest members, but oftentimes got wrapped up in the adventure themselves and ended up wondering who was the teacher and who was the student.  It began with the staff who worked diligently to see to enrollments, inform parents of their and their child’s responsibilities, and helped decorate our building so it would ignite the imagination of the children and enhance their experience during their week with us.  It continued with the young parishioners who generously donated time to guide the children who enrolled and showed loving kindness to each child to ensure everyone had a joy-filled week.  It continued with the thoughtful teachers who prepared lessons each day, the energetic individuals who volunteered to help with crafts and make sure each child had a snack, and with the joy that could be heard emanating from the music room as the kids sang and danced.

There was a “spirit” to this community that was palpable.  We were all here to learn about our brother Jesus and though lessons were taught, the most important lessons were learned from one another as everyone unselfishly sacrificed for the others and celebrated each others’ accomplishments.  It was a living celebration of our faith.  When the children sang about “God’s love being deep and wide” and “God’s love is overflowing,” it churned up the Spirit inside.

This VBS week reminded me once again that we learn about Christ best through relationships.  It made me grateful to live and worship with the wonderful people that make us this St. Thomas More Community.  To once again quote Richard Rohr, “We come to know who God is through exchanges of mutual knowing and loving.  God’s basic method of communicating God’s self is not the ‘saved’ individual, the rightly informed believer, or even a person with a career in ministry, but the journey and bonding process that God initiates in community; in marriages, families, tribes, nations, schools, organizations, and churches who are seeking to participate in God’s love, maybe without even consciously knowing it.”

~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator

Smith, R 6/3/18

Summer is a bittersweet time of transition for a youth minister.  Our seniors graduate.  This leg of their journey ends, as does my formal meeting time with them.  We have talked, sang, argued, laughed, cried, worked, played, worshiped, prayed, and given glory to God together.  All of that can still happen…but it’s “different” now.  They aren’t “kids” anymore.  They need to leave the nest at some point…but when it happens, it just never seems I’m quite “ready,” especially when one of them is my own kid.  Some of them I still see often in church, life-guarding at the pools, visiting my house; others I wonder if I’ll ever see again.  This past week, we buried brother Tom Chavey.  I miss his wonderful left-sided grin, kind spirit, and service to our parish community.  And we welcomed brother Andy Hammeke into the priesthood.  I celebrate his gifts, humility, and service to our church and the larger community.  I’m not sure I was quite “ready” for these things to happen, but God was.  THY kingdom come, THY will be done…and I just try to trust and pray that it will all be okay.  Sometimes it’s hard…sometimes it’s not.

~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister

Smith, K 5/27/18

We have concluded our 50 days of Easter, celebrating our new life in the Resurrection!  As we walk in this new life during the month of May, we honor Our Lady: Mary, Mother of the Church.  She is our mother and she cares for and intercedes for us.  During May, we are especially reminded to strive to imitate our Blessed Mother’s virtue in our own lives.

Two weeks ago, we observed Ascension, the occasion of the Lord’s return to the Father.  Then last weekend on Pentecost, we commemorated the beginning of the Church founded by the risen Christ and enlivened by the Holy Spirit.  Just like the disciples, we have been given the Great Commission to spread the Gospel and go make of ALL disciples!

And now we are at the point in the Liturgical Year when we begin the longest stretch of Ordinary time, which concludes at the start of a new liturgical year with Advent.  This season is termed “Ordinary,” which actually refers to the numbered weeks of Ordinary Time and the ordered life of the church, and a period where we are not necessarily feasting or in intense repentance.  Ordinary Time is the part of the year in which Christ walks among us and transforms our lives.  What an impact we can make if we live daily in that realization!

Ordinary Time, however, is interrupted this weekend by the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, celebrating the three persons of God.  One way we outwardly proclaim our belief in the Trinity is to make the Sign of the Cross.  In 2010, a 22 year old young man named Chris Muer helped with STM Youth Ministry, and he always emphasized to the kids that when they make the Sign of the Cross, they were “putting on the armor of Christ” (from Ephesians).  Today Chris is 30 years old and was ordained a priest by the Archbishop of Detroit, Michigan, on May 19!  We are looking forward to all that God will do through his ministry!

And here in the Salina Diocese, Dcn Andy Hammeke, who was with us last summer, will be ordained a priest on June 2, the eve of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ!  The STM staff is very fond of him and know he will serve this diocese humbly and with the utmost pastoral care.  Please keep these men in your prayers.

~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist

ITV & Pastoral Ministry Formation

Fall 2018 Sessions

To register for any of the following sessions,
click here or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (620-227-1538)

Theology & Methods of Ministry
Presenter:  Fr. Robert Schremmer

This course offers a foundational theology of ministry rooted in Baptism.  Particular focus will be given to the role of the laity in ministry and various types of ministry will be explored.  This course provides experience and formation to enable the student to learn a variety of ministerial skills.  Sessions are held Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on September 8, 15, 22, 29, October 6, 13, 20, 27, November 3.

Art & Environment
Presenter:  Fr. Frank Coady

A liturgical environment that celebrates the awe of God’s presence and saving deeds cannot be satisfied with anything less than beautiful.  The beauty is related to the holy.  This course gives all involved with Liturgy knowledge of the Sacraments, the Catholic rites, the Liturgical year, and the faithful’s devotional life in order to equip them to create a sacred environment in which the divine-human encounter can most readily occur.  The goal is to care for all the elements of worship, ensuring that the total environment is clean, appropriate, authentic, beautiful, and accessible.  The course will present the Liturgical documents as they pertain to sacraments and other rites, environment, liturgical space, church appointments, and the sacristy.  This course is required to obtain the Diocesan Certification in Liturgical Ministry.  Sessions are held Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on September 5, 12, 19, October 10.

Talbot 5/20/18

Congratulations to all who graduated this spring.  Never underestimate the accomplishment of making it through that step in your life.  This last week, I was consumed by my daughter’s completion of the 8th grade, some family members graduating, and some good friends at this parish.  Then my mom reminded me it had been 25 years since I graduated high school!  Thanks a lot for helping me remember how old I am getting!

There are many life lessons I have learned since then, but one of the most important is to be very thankful for the time we have.  It passes very quickly, and before you know it, you are attending your own kids’ school graduations.  The time we are given is a gift; we must value that gift by sharing what we have been given.

When we take those graduating steps, some of us may think we have it all figured out.  Life eventually tells us that is not true and we learn some things in a hard way.  One thing I do know is that when God has been an intentional part of those lessons, it helps.  I am immensely grateful for the people I have met, the things I have experienced, and the places I have seen over the past 25 years.  Each and every one of those things has been a moment when God helped me grow into something I would never have dreamt.

So I say to the graduates:  Be open, be grateful, take time to take time, and allow God to expand your life.  You are taking a step into another journey of this exciting life.  Celebrate this milestone and then be ready, because before you know it, you will be in my shoes amazed at the pace of life!

Coady 5/13/18

The altar is the central focus of a Catholic church.  In the Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar, all the blessing begins at the altar and spreads out from there.  After sprinkling the altar, the bishop sprinkles the people and the walls of the church.  After anointing the altar, he anoints the walls.  After incensing the altar, he incenses the people.  After lighting the altar, he lights candles on the walls.  In other words, Christ begins at the altar and emanates outward from there.

Some people think that what makes a church Catholic is the tabernacle.  No, it is the altar.  For the first millennium, Catholic churches rarely had tabernacles, and when they did, they were cupboards in the sacristy, out of the sight of most people.  Even in modern times, in Europe, the reserved Eucharist was kept in a separate chapel.

The altar is a place of action.  Gathered around the altar, we do the fourfold action of the Eucharist: we take, bless, break, and eat.  This follows the fourfold action of Jesus at the Last Supper.  He took bread, blessed it, broke it, and said: “Take and eat.”  Eucharist is more a verb than a noun.  Catholics have often been guilty of making Eucharist into a noun: the consecrated bread and wine, the Real Presence.  While this is true, it is secondary to the action.

Likewise, Catholics will often tell you that the high point of the Mass is Communion.  No, the high point of the Mass is the Eucharistic Prayer.  That is the time when we join ourselves to the action of Christ.  We become one with his self-offering.  We offer our lives.  Listen to the prayer:  “May he make of us an eternal offering to you.”  We pray that “filled with his Holy Spirit, [we] may become one body, one spirit in Christ.”

St. Augustine said, “The altar is Christ.”  He did not mean that the stone was sacred.  He meant that the self-offering surrounding it and laid on it was sacred: the Body of Christ in the bread and wine and the Body of Christ, the Church, who laid it there.

~ Fr. Frank Coady

Watts 5/6/18

A few years ago, after the Religious Education year was over, Fr. Don and I were sitting in the break room discussing how the year had gone.  I remember telling him that there had been few problems and informed him of the many successes of the year.  I said to him, “But it was such a good year because I had such great catechists!”  Fr. Don started to laugh.  “What? I said.  He said, “Sherry, you say that EVERY year.”

Well, maybe I am guilty as charged, but that is only because it is true!  Each year, I get to work with devoted, faith-filled volunteers who show up prepared to make the Catholic faith interesting and relevant to our children.  They not only prepare lessons that inform our children about the teaching and traditions of our church, they oversee service projects that help others and at the same time teach our children about true joy.  The children learn that happiness is not the same as joy.  Happiness takes in and has a self-centeredness to it that joy transcends.  Joy goes out.  The experience of doing good for another, often involving self-sacrifice, is one of the greatest things we as humans can experience.  Our catechists live this by their example.  I am humbled by their dedication, creativity, and patience.

So, if you know someone who serves as a catechist in our program and has made a difference in the life of your child, grandchild, or just a child you know, please give them your heartfelt thanks.  Or better yet, consider volunteering for our program this fall!  Our catechists give the best gift of all to the children of St. Thomas More; they invite them into a living relationship with Jesus.

~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator

Smith, R 4/29/18

Longing for the change of seasons and warmer weather, my thoughts repeatedly drift to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under heaven.
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

Whatever season of your life you find yourself in now, may you feel God’s warm embrace.  BE NOT AFRAID!

~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister

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