Coady 9/23/18

We all share in the shock and embarrassment caused by the recent revelations about clergy sexual abuse. It is always disappointing to realize that sometimes the worst sins are committed by our leaders, the very ones we look up to for guidance. How do we continue our support for and reliance on the Church in the face of such disappointment?

This is a kind of grieving for a lost trust, an attitude about the Church that has now failed us. So, what is left? To whom can we reach out for support? To each other. We need to talk about this openly, in a dialogue that could help us discover that we can support each other in our sense of loss.

St. Thomas More Parish is offering such a dialogue. On Sunday, October 7, at 7:00 p.m. in the Utopia Room, we are inviting parishioners of all three Manhattan Catholic parishes to come together to talk openly about this crisis. All three pastors will be present. This is not so much to provide answers or solutions, and especially not excuses. It is a coming together to talk honestly, to own the issue, and to find support in one another.

~ Fr. Frank Coady

Watts 9/16/18

Another year of religious education has begun at St. Thomas More. Those of you who are never on our church campus on Wednesdays might not even be aware of this, but on Wednesdays our church is “rockin!” Except for the janitor’s closet and the cry room, almost every room in this church is occupied. Approximately 275 students attend class each Wednesday. They are welcomed by volunteers who have agreed to spend their precious time teaching the young people about our church and sharing their faith with them. Every year I am amazed by the people who are willing to give so much time to this ministry. Why do they choose to do this? Here are some answers:

  • Josefina Gantt (mother of 4 children, her youngest is a 6th grader): I teach religious education because it fills my heart with happiness and joy to share the love of Christ with children. I love to see how children grow in faith and learn about our church. I have to say also, I love teaching second grade kids because I’m part of their preparation to receive two sacraments: Reconciliation and Communion.
  • Allison Friesen (college junior teaching for the 3rd time): I think the main reason that I teach is because I want these kids to know the love and joy that can be found in the Catholic Church. I didn’t really have an adult growing up, besides my parents, that showed me what it looked like to live out my faith, and I wish I would have had somebody to look up to. I want the kids to see an example they can relate to and see how beautiful a life with Christ can be. Also, I get just as much out of teaching the kids as I hope they get out of coming to class. I am challenged almost every class to be the best version of myself, and the kids make me better by showing Christ to me. I was hooked on teaching after the first 5 minutes with kids and have never looked back!
  • Michael DeDonder (church member with no children in RE): I give my time because I love to learn from the children. They provide incredible insight from a different perspective. The way they see God is refreshing at times. I truly enjoy teaching them, and the stories and questions they have help me deepen my relationship with God as well.
  • Trish Lagabed (volunteering for her 6th year): I started teaching in my daughter’s first grade classroom to see what she was learning, figuring I would do it for one year and be done. Little did I know back then how much of an impact the experience would have on my life, or that it would tug on my heartstrings so hard I would continue to be in the classroom for the next five years. Children have a wonderful gift of pure blind faith, and I have been humbled and blessed to learn about God through their eyes. Not only have I enjoyed watching these fantastic kids grow in their knowledge and faith, I have had the wonderful blessing of working with other great catechists. I am so grateful and thankful to have such amazing people breathe their faith into my life, as well as my family’s.

These and the other 64 catechists working with our children and young people are selfless, energetic, creative, patient, and filled with the Spirit! It is always a great privilege to work with them, learn from them, and hear their faith stories.

Today is Catechetical Sunday: a day in which we honor and pray for catechists. Let us all pray our parish family will always be blessed with those who have responded to the call to share in Christ’s mission as catechists. Let us also pray that we, too, may be open to the call to serve and contribute our gifts to this important ministry.

~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator

Smith, K 9/9/18

RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY!  You remember the tune.  We pray all the time FOR rain, but enough is enough!  Our hearts go out to all the people affected by the recent flooding.  How frightening, devastating, and heartbreaking their experiences must have been…and still are.  We continue to pray for them.

As most of you know, our Parish Hall—the Utopia Room—became a Red Cross shelter for some of these people.  How wonderful that the room where we hold countless celebrations, wedding receptions, parish picnics, Cookie Carousel, Garage Sale, Coffee & Donuts, and Junior High and Senior High School Religious Education has been used to HELP OUR NEIGHBORS IN NEED.  Thank you, God, for our facility and for the amazing Red Cross volunteers.

In his teachings, Jesus calls on us to perform the Corporal Works of Mercy (Matthew 25:35), which are charitable actions by which we help our neighbors in their bodily needs.  Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, give alms to the poor…these are four of the works that are so desperately needed by our own neighbors right now.

Please pray about how you and your family can help.  Look at all the blessings in your life and decide what you can share or contribute to our brothers and sisters in need.

All of us at one time or another have been or will be in need.  We thank God for providing for all of these needs and we continue, with His strength, to support one another however we can as we journey together through this life.

God bless us all.

~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist

Talbot 9/2/18

Last weekend, Kathryn and I celebrated 18 years of marriage.  We celebrated by attending Mike & Sandy Kearns’ party in the Utopia Room and then going to the parish picnic the next day.  How romantic can you get?!  We have learned over our time here that you just make time when you can get it for each other.  Kathryn has been very understanding of the ministry I do here and has been involved more so herself in the past few years.  I am sure many of you can relate as other items seem to pop up and force you to make choices on what to do and when.

However, I’d like to say that it seemed right that we celebrate with a couple that demonstrates what it means to have true faithfulness to one another.  Mike & Sandy Kearns have achieved 50 years of marriage, so to be a part of that celebration was a bit inspiring for us.  The parish picnic was fun and it got all of us out to share food and fellowship with people who have meant a lot to us in our relationship.  So, all in all, we shared our anniversary joy with the people and the place we enjoy.

Now I am not recommending that I use those things as an excuse to not make time to be with one another.  Kathryn and I did go out for a nice dinner on Saturday night and had some good alone time.  A good marriage needs that for growth and energy.  I think Kathryn and I have learned that our marriage is not just about us, but it is a living witness to the love God has for us; we want to share that with others.  Both of us continue to be servants to one another and to the church family we live with.  She has been a wonderful support in what I do here and I hope that I have helped her in sharing her lovely voice with all of you.  We’ve had some wonderful experiences over the past 18 years in Manhattan and we’ve been privileged to know some good examples of marriage that have carried us through as well.

~ Dcn Wayne Talbot

Coady 8/26/18

This week our new bishop, Gerald L Vincke, was ordained in Salina.  The Holy Spirit had to spread out a wide circle (Michigan) to find us the perfect fit.  Of course, he will have to respond to that call wholeheartedly, and we will have to continue to pray for and be open to his leadership.  From now on, we will mention his name is every Eucharistic Prayer at Mass.  Let us mean that.  Being bishop these days can be a difficult and sometimes thankless job.  We are grateful to Bishop Vincke for accepting the call and putting his life in the service of our diocese.

It has been a privilege for me to serve as diocesan administrator these past nine months, but I am also happy to pass the baton.  I am grateful to all of you for your graciousness during this time while my attention was often drawn away from the parish and toward the diocese.  You have been most forgiving.  I am particularly grateful to the parish staff, who were always willing to pick up the slack and make things work.  Of course, I will continue my duties as Director of Liturgy and Director of Lay Ministry Formation for the diocese, but I should be able now to focus more attention on this wonderful parish of ours.

~ Fr. Frank Coady

Smith, R 8/19/18

Ode To Our Garage Sale

The kids are in school;
The pool water’s stale;
It must now be time
For STM’s Garage Sale!

Our Knights load up trucks;
Their favorite sport
Is bringing in items
For the Ladies to sort.

Faith-filled volunteers
Ready the stash;
They all work so hard
To bring in some ca$h.

The proceeds are counted
Late Saturday.
Then what do they do?
They give it all away!

It’s a labor of love;
Our sisters and brothers
Dedicate their hearts
To support needs of others.

So in our Garage Sale,
Please take much pleasure.
After all, one man’s trash
Is another man’s treasure.

~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister

Watts 8/12/18

My husband and I recently returned from vacation.  We enjoyed a relaxing few days delighting in beautiful scenery, quaint small towns, and good food.  We arrived home on Saturday and attended Mass on Sunday here at STM.  Sitting in church before Mass began, I felt the most peace I had experienced in several days.  I have great affection for this building, these pews, this altar.  Receiving Holy Communion is always a blessed occasion, but it becomes even more special when it is shared with your personal faith community.  Looking around the sanctuary I know the people I am sharing this sacred meal with.  We have a common bond in our love of Christ, our faith in the Gospels, and our willingness to share what we receive with the greater community.  The people I share the bread and wine with on Sunday inspire me to try to live my life as the hands and feet of Jesus, to challenge injustices, and stand on the side of love with those less fortunate.

I believe our church is more than doctrines.  It is a place that marks the changes in our lives:  the baptisms of our children, first communions, confirmations, weddings, and, as we did last week when we laid Fr. Werth to rest, a place to say goodbye to someone we dearly love.  It is a place to celebrate, to heal, and to transform our lives.

One of the wonderful things about a community of faith is that you find the more you give, the more you get back.  The more you contribute to the goals of the faith community, the more the community gives back to you, and then…you want to give even more!  This cycle creates a living, fruitful Body of Christ that can truly make positive changes in the lives of others.

If you are new to St. Thomas More, welcome!  You have found a dynamic faith community.  Now that you are a member, search for a way you can give of your time and talent and take ownership of this community.  If you are integrated into our community, never take it for granted.  It is the time and talent You give that makes this place special, that makes it Holy Ground.

~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator

Smith, K 8/5/18

Fr. Loren Werth
Founding Pastor
October 16, 1930—July 30, 2018

Fr. Loren Werth passed away this week.  He will be greatly missed by our parish, our diocese, and our community. We were greatly blessed for the time we had with you.  For the celebration of his golden anniversary to the priesthood, Betty Frank wrote an “Ode to Fr. Werth.”  We would like to take the opportunity to share it one last time in his memory…

Fr. Werth, we adore you, on your golden jubilee;
Fifty years of priestly service to the church community.
When he joined the seminary, he still had hair, was thin and toned.
Now much later, things have changed—his hair is going and his waist has grown.

Through the years he’s served as pastor in Norton, Washington, Mankato,
Manhattan, Concordia, Phillipsburg, Osborn, Clay Center, Hanover, and Kimeo.
Just look for his green Volkswagen,
both he and his car are classics now.

After daily Mass is over, he plays the greatest game on earth.
Playing golf is such a passion; his nickname is Father “Tiger” Werth.
Did we mention he’s from Schoenchen, Volga-German through and through.
His favorite foods are strudel, bierocks, sauerkraut, and pickles, too.

His German background has caused problems; once he went too far, we fear.
That’s the time, instead of wine, he offered up communion beer.
If you’re going to confession and our Fr. Werth is there,
expect at least ten more Hail Mary’s for making jokes about his hair.

Bald is beautiful he says.  Only perfect heads are bare.
Still you may need your sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare.
We don’t think this verse is very funny, no more bald jokes, let it go!
Call us skinhead, chrome-dome, baldy; Fr. Werth is our hero.

We at St. Thomas More are grateful that you heard the bishop’s call.
First pastor at St. Thomas More and namesake of our first hall.
In the early days at All Faith’s, the next location you would tell—
Peace Lutheran, the Holidome, even a pasture—if you missed a Sunday, you were lost as hell.

Fr. Werth, we adore you, on your golden jubilee;
Fifty years of priestly service to the church community.
Fr. Werth, you know we love you.  Why else would we tease and jest?
Thanks for fifty years of priesthood, with many more may you be blessed!

~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist

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.

 

REGISTER HERE

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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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ITV & Pastoral Ministry Formation

Spring 2019 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).

Introduction to New Testament
Presenter:  Fr. Reggie Urban

This course focuses on the literature, theology, and history of the New Testament.  Students will explore questions of authorship and critical methods of biblical interpretation from within the perspective of faith.  Jesus' question, addressed to his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" provides the theological center of New Testament studies.  Sessions are held Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on January 19, 26, February 2, 9, 16, 23, March 2, 9, 16.

The Why of Ministry
Presenter:  Gentry Heimerman

From Joseph, to Timothy, to Esther (who won a beauty contest, then saved a nation), God engaged young people in big ways to do even bigger things.  Approaching Youth Ministry as a missionary disciple leads one to both the "whys" and the "hows" of youth ministry.  This course is needed to obtain the Diocesan Certification in Youth Ministry.  Sessions are held Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on January 23, February 20, March 20, April 10.

RCIA Kansas
Presenter:  Fr. Tim Piasecki & Fr. Robert Schremmer

The rites of the process of Christian Initiation of Adults are studied form historical, theological, liturgical, and pastoral perspectives.  Students reflect on the order and integrity of each of the rites.  Working from this foundation, they explore appropriate ritual adaptation and receive guidance for the adapting and enrichment of the rites.  This course is needed to obtain the Diocesan Certification in Youth Ministry.  The workshop is held at the Heartland Center for Spirituality in Great Bend on March 22-23.

Current Sessions

The Mass
Sundays 9:35-10:20 a.m.
Zimmerman Conference Room

Walk through the Liturgy with Bishop Robert Barron and you'll be transformed through insights on this most privileged and intimate encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ.  See how the Mass brings us out of the fallen world and into the heavenly realm, how it resonates with a call from God and a response from his people (the Church), and most importantly, how we are intimately joined with the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus through the Holy Eucharist.  The Mass will help you understand how to fully, consciously, and actively participate in the source and summit of the Christian life.  This series will feature video presentations, workbook questions, and discussion.  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:
Pivotal Players
Thursdays 6:45-8:15 p.m.
Room B

Bishop Barron leads us on a new journey to unlock the truth behind the Catholic Church's most influential people.  Pivotal Players shines a light on a handful of saints, artists, mystics, and scholars who not only shaped the life of the church, but changed the course of civilization.  This series will feature video presentations and time for discussion.  All men are welcome!   Breaks from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

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