CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY Daily Feed
Nov. 19, 2017
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Saints; Father Kola; Black Elk; Giving Tuesday; velvet Elvis; a Slice of Time; Dani Sandoval; Mexican Village; Father Tim Hickey; New faces at chancery; priests share thoughts on confession; Wheel of Balance
Kansas man creates ‘A Slice of Time’
Dani Sandoval captures hands and heart of Mexican Village
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
They came to Kansas, their hearts clinging to prayers for a better life—some coming alone, some with a young family—promises of a job with the Santa Fe Railroad adding to the fervent hope that their prayers might be fulfilled.
Such was the response to jobs offered by the Santa Fe Railroad that the company donated a 450 by 500 square-foot plot, which became the land on which the influx of Mexican and Hispanic American workers built their homes.
The area, just southeast of Dodge City, became known as the Mexican Village. It had its own school, church, and general store.
A sculpture now on display at Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City seeks to honor all those who worked to build and maintain the historic railroad while living in the Village. It includes two hands swinging a hammer onto a spike, held by two more hands, to pound it into a railroad tie to hold the track in place.
“The idea for the sculpture came after attending a Mexican Village reunion,” noted Wichita artist Dani Sandoval.
“I was thinking about dedicating something to our village ancestors and our railroad forefathers.”
Sandoval’s great-great-grandparents on his father’s side were ranchers from Spain, traveling across Kansas by covered wagon, settling in the “Republic of Texas”, now known as New Mexico. His grandparents on his mother’s side came from Mexico; her father was a boot-maker by trade.
“Days at the Village started very early,” Sandoval explained. “Even on weekends, you would always see a parade of men leaving their homes, answering a morning steam whistle from the railroad yard.
“The next whistle was at high noon, and everyone would stop and eat their lunch. And there was one at the end of the day. We could tell time by those whistles.
“Some of those old timers were so good at swinging that hammer; they could hit the spike all the way into the wooden tie with only two hits,” Sandoval said.
“I started to look for original railroad workers to help construct my sculpture, and the closest one to me was my Uncle Manuel. He started telling me stories that the old timers told him. I came up with the idea for the sculpture and I asked him if he wanted to be part of my sculpture piece. He said sure, yeah!”
On his back porch, the artist gently poured the molding material around his Uncle Manuel’s hands as his uncle told stories of his work on the railroad some seven decades earlier.
“His stories added fuel to my sculpture,” Sandoval said. “He said he’d been assigned to work on the ‘rip track,’ where they would repair and replace track. Just the thought of it and how many spikes were hammered from ocean to ocean. ... It was hard to wrap my mind around it. Every tie has two plates and four spikes on each plate with miles and miles of track.
“I had a piece of track and found other pieces over the years, and got this spike mull [the iron end of the hammer] donated by the K&O Railroad. I was looking for men who were from the village who also worked on the railroad to swing the hammer. I couldn’t find anyone to volunteer, so I used my hands as a representative of the spirit to all our forefathers. I wanted to make it as authentic as I could get. My hands looked really soft, so I put a glove on my left hand and cut out my fingers to make a stronger image of a worker’s hands. My uncle had worked on the railroad and his hands looked like alligator skin from working in the sun.”
If you read the story on the quilt on Page 24 of last week’s issue, then you know the man to whom the hands belong. Manuel Gonzales was the father of Nora Mode, who donated the “classroom” quilt to the Boot Hill Museum. (Nora’s mother and Sandoval’s mother are sisters.)
The quilt hangs beside Sandoval’s sculpture, which was also donated to the museum.
“I invited Nora to come and see the finished piece,” he said of his cousin. “She came after her shift at work, and I had just put it all together in my backyard at about two in the morning. We both stood there looking at it. It was dark and a single spot light was shining on it. The piece was glowing. I can’t explain the emotions we both felt.
“We looked at each other and she asked, ‘What are you going to call it?’ It’s like the hands were there but the people weren’t. It’s like a slice of time. That’s how the title came about.”
The Village was razed in the early 1950s, leaving little evidence of the multitude of lives it embraced all those years ago, making “A Slice of Time” an invaluable visual record for all those to come.
New faces at the Catholic Chancery
By DAVE MYERS
Southwest Kansas Catholic
The diocese staff at the Catholic Chancery in Dodge City has said goodbye to a handful of staff members in the last few months, and welcomed several new employees.
Ana Gaytan is the newest receptionist for the Catholic Chancery, where she assists Coleen Stein with the Spanish core courses of the Pastoral Ministry Formation program, and Father Wesley Schawe with Priestly Vocations. Gaytan most recently served as an interpreter with the Dodge City Medical Center, and is fluent in Spanish.
Gaytan was born in Guanajuato, Mexico, where her grandparents and many extended family members still reside. She came to the United States when she was six years old, and obtained her U.S. citizenship in 2015. She resides in Dodge City with her husband, Juan, and dogs Leela and Amy. She is the daughter of Maria and Samuel Rangel of Dodge City. Gaytan has three siblings, sisters Alma and Mariela, and brother Samuel.
She is a graduate of Dodge City High School.
“I love it here,” she said of the Catholic Chancery. “It’s not as serious as I thought it would be. I expected it to be very strict.”
When not at work, she enjoys crocheting and playing guitar.
Susan WrInn was hired in September to serve as Database Administrator, which she terms as, “spending the morning staring at spreadsheets, and the afternoon wrestling with the printer.”
Wrinn attended Benedictine College where she obtained a degree in art; she is currently working toward her Master’s Degree in business administration.
She is the daughter of Nancy and Lt. Col. John Wrinn (Air Force, retired) of Wichita, and has seven brothers and sisters: Chris, Brian, Andrew, Kevin, Thomas, Anna and John Paul. She is engaged to Garrit Flax of Spearville.
“I was very blessed to receive a position in a place where there is a chapel present,” Wrinn said. “That was a great surprise. It also surprised me how involved everyone is with each other’s ministries, and how we help each other and come together.”
ADAM URBAN is the Director of Youth Ministry for the diocese.
The Hays native actually started here back in late May, but after only a few weeks traveled to Boston where he began working toward a Master’s Degree in Theology and Ministry. After six weeks of study, he returned to resume his employment while continuing to work toward his Master’s Degree online.
“My main focus is initiating parish level youth ministry,” he said. “There are few parishes in the diocese with active, consistent youth ministry programs. My primary goal will be to help one or two parishes per year to establish active youth ministry.”
Urban is the son of Steve and Nancy Urban. He has one sister, Rebecca.
He had intended to enter medical school when he said he had a “reversion” to the Faith.
“I started taking part in adoration in my sophomore year of college at Fort Hays State,” where he was majoring in biology, he said. That and his involvement with the Ft. Hays Catholic youth group, Catholic Disciples, as well as with the then new Prayer and Action youth and young adult program in the Diocese of Dodge City, led him to make a major shift in plans.
“I owe my ministry to that decision to go to adoration and Catholic Disciples and ask God what He wants for my life,” Urban said.
Fortunately for the youth he serves, Urban’s hobbies include “any outdoor activity, basketball, racquet ball, mountain biking, camping….” He’s also an accomplished pianist and plays the guitar. And he likes to read. And cook.
“And eat,” he said, laughing.
He and Father Jacob Schneider are in the very early planning stages for World Youth Day 2019, which will be held in Panama in January.
Carleigh Albers is serving as Youth and Young Adult Ministry Intern for a period of one year, while also serving as Youth Minister at St. Dominic Parish in Garden City.
She comes to Southwest Kansas by way of Smolan, Kans. (10 miles south of Salina), where she was reared. She attended Fort Hays State University, where, at age 21, she converted to Catholicism.
“It was my own stubbornness” that led to her conversion, she said.
“I was in a relationship with a guy who was ‘obnoxiously’ Catholic,” she explained, laughing. “I was an agnostic and wanted to prove him wrong. I started reading a book called ‘Youcat.’” The book offers a simple yet deeply thorough examination of the Catholic faith and its beliefs.
“I was really captivated by it. It proved to me the existence of God,” and led her to join the Catholic faith.
Albers earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and has a love for journalism. In her junior year of college, she was presented the top journalism award in Kansas for her writing.
At the same time, Albers felt herself being led to ministry. Her internship with the Diocese of Dodge City includes assisting Adam Urban, Director of Youth Ministries, and Gentry Heimerman, Director of Young Adult Ministries.
Her parents are Curt and Rochelle Albers. She has one younger sister, Carrie.
‘...So my soul will reach Heaven’
Will Black Elk be canonized a saint?
By Charlene Scott Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
In August of 2016, the opened an official cause for the of Nicholas Black Elk, an Oglala Dakota American Indian chief of the twentieth century who was known as a medicine man and a holy man.
He became internationally known through the book Black Elk Speaks, in which he described the religious visions he had as a young boy.
The end of the Civil War brought long lines of covered wagons packed with light-skinned families to the Dakotas.
Black Elk and his people participated in the Custer fight on the Little Big Horn in 1876, because he, like other American Indians, resented the intrusion of white strangers who stole their Dakota lands by force. His people were in despair as they had to move and search to find a life and livelihood elsewhere.
Black Elk announced his vocation as a holy man by performing the Horse Dance in 1881, leading the dance in which Indian participants imitated the motions of horses. (This dance included four black horses to represent the west, four white horses for the north, four sorrels for the east, and four buckskins for the south. Black Elk rode a bay horse. He had seen all of the horses in a vision when he was a boy of nine.)
Black Elk also had been a leader of the Indians’ Ghost Dance in 1883. Nervous white settlers thought it was a war dance (it was a holy dance), and responded with armed troops to stop the ancient traditional tribal performance.
International fame came to Black Elk when he joined Buffalo Bill Cody and traveled in Europe with Cody’s Wild West Show in 1887, also performing in London for Queen Victoria, whom he referred to as “Grandmother England.”
When he returned to the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1889 after his adventure abroad, Black Elk was crushed to learn that large numbers of Wasichus (whites), including armed troops, were advancing daily into the Dakotas, grabbing at gunpoint the property that had been home to Indians for centuries.
This unlawful white settlement on Indian lands led Black Elk to participate in defending his people from the Dec. 29, 1890 attack of U.S. Army soldiers. More than 250 and possibly 300 Indians were killed at the Wounded Knee Massacre on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. On horseback, Black Elk was wounded by a bullet that grazed his hip as he fought in the battle.
After surviving Wounded Knee, Black Elk went on with his work as a healer and medicine man. Influenced by the Jesuits, he was baptized a Roman Catholic in 1904 and became a catechist, taking the name “Nicholas,” aka “Nick.” His first two Indian wives also became Catholics, as did their children. (His first wife had died, and he later remarried.)
Black Elk explained Lakota traditions to author Joseph Epes Brown, who in 1953 wrote the book The Sacred Pipe, in which Black Elk compared Lakota rituals to Catholic sacraments and professed his belief both in Christianity and in his people’s ancient religion.
John G. Neihardt interviewed him in 1931 and wrote the book Black Elk Speaks in 1932 and another book about him, When the Tree Flowered, in 1951.
I read Neihardt’s first book, in which he quotes Black Elk as saying: “The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our tepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation’s hoop, a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children.”
Michael F. Steltenkamp’s book Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala, published in 1993, portrays Black Elk “as a progressive Catholic who retains little meaningful commitment to traditional religion,” according to an article in America Magazine. “Black Elk’s Story: Distinguishing Its Lakota Purpose (1991) by Julian Rice describes Black Elk’s participation in Catholicism as “a response to oppression.”
Black Elk was born at the Little Powder River in Wyoming around Dec. 1, 1863, some historians claim. Others insist he was born May 9, 1865, the first year after the Civil War ended. He was a second cousin and close friend of the War Chief Crazy Horse (their fathers were brothers), and he had his troubles with whites encroaching onto his lands just as Crazy Horse did. (Crazy Horse was stabbed to death by a white soldier after he was taken prisoner.)
Black Elk was fortunate enough to die a natural death on August 19, 1950 at the age of 96 in , . He was buried at St. Agnes Catholic Cemetery in Manderson, South Dakota.
Black Elk did not turn his back on the Ghost Dance or other Oglala Sioux rituals after he converted to Catholicism, nor did he abandon his people. He continued to be a tribal leader in good times and bad, and even demonstrated his tribe’s traditional rituals at a Duhamel Sioux Pageant.
BLACK ELK’S LAST TESTAMENT
Holy Rosary Mission
Pine Ridge, South Dakota
January 26, 1934
I shake hands with my white friends. Listen! I will speak words of truth. I told about the people’s ways of long ago, and some of this a white man put in a book but he did not tell about current ways. Therefore I will speak again, a final speech.
Now I am an old man. I called my priest to pray for me, and so he gave me Extreme Unction and Holy Eucharist. Therefore I will tell you the truth. Listen my friends!
For the last 30 years I have lived very differently from what the white man told about me. I am a believer. The Catholic priest, Short Father, baptized me 30 years ago. From then on they have called me Nick Black Elk. Very many of the Indians know me. Now I have converted and live in the true faith of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, I say in my own Sioux Indian language “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,” as Christ taught us and instructed us to say. I say the Apostles Creed, and I believe it all.
I believe in the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church. I have now received six of these: Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Holy Eucharist, Holy Matrimony, and Extreme Unction. For very many years I went with several priests to fight for Christ among my people. For about 20 years I helped the priests, and I was a catechist in several communities. So I think I know more about the Catholic religion than many white men.
For eight years I participated in the retreat for catechists, and from this I learned a great deal about the faith. I am able to explain my faith. From my faith I know Who I believe in, so my work is not in vain.
All of my family is baptized. All my children and grandchildren belong to the Catholic Church, and I am glad of that, and I wish very much that they will always follow the holy road. I know what St. Peter has to say to those men who forsake the holy commandments. My white friends should read carefully 2 Peter 2:20-22.
I send my people on the straight road that Christ’s church has taught us about. While I live, I will never fall from faith in Christ.
Thirty years ago I knew little about the one we call God. At that time I was a very good dancer. In England I danced before our Grandmother, Queen Victoria. At that time I gave medicines to the sick. Perhaps I was proud. I considered myself brave, and I considered myself to be a good Indian, but now I think I am better.
St. Paul also became better after his conversion. I know that the Catholic religion is good, better than the Sun dance or the Ghost dance. Long ago the Indians performed such dances only for glory.
But for the sake of sin, Christ was nailed on the cross to take our sins away. The Indian religion of long ago did not benefit mankind. The medicine men sought only glory and presents from their curing. Christ commanded us to be humble, and He taught us to stop sin. The Indian medicine men did not stop sin. Now I despise sin. And I want to go straight in the righteous way that the Catholics teach us so my soul will reach heaven.
This is the way I wish it to be. With a good heart, I shake hands with all of you.
-- Nick Black Elk
Quilt reveals chapter in the Mexican Village
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
It was among teacher Lola Adams’s first projects for her new class.
The young teacher faced her classroom of children in the small, three-room school in what was known as the Mexican Village, just south of Dodge City. The year was 1930.
“They had big brown eyes and big smiles that would go right through you,” recalled Lola Adams Crum [several years after having worked in the Mexican Village, she married Lynn Crum] in an interview with Tim Wenzl, for his book, “A History of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.”
During those first days as a teacher, she wanted to impart a special lesson to the children, one that would describe in a tangible way how special they were as individuals, and how important it was to support each other as a group and a community.
The project included having each child embroider his or her name onto a piece of cloth.
“Miss Adams’s lesson was to later show the children that sewn together in union, a quilt was made to serve as warmth and comfort,” explained Nora Gonzales Mode, whose parents, Manuel and Esperanza Gonzales, were students of Adams’s. “I remember the first time she explained the reason for the quilt. … It brought tears to my eyes.”
That quilt is now on display at the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City.
But that’s not where this story begins. The story starts with a little boy named Manuel.
“When Miss Adams first came into the village, she was scared,” Mode told the Catholic from her home in Wichita.
“She didn’t know what to expect. She was in her classroom getting everything prepared, and my father showed up with a bouquet of flowers. She mentions in her book* about this little boy with the big brown eyes coming to her and handing her this bouquet that came from flowers my grandmother had planted and grown. He knew that if Grandmother found out he took the flowers, she would be upset because her garden was her pride and joy.
“It melted Miss Adams’s heart and created a bond with the boy from childhood on. Everyone adored Miss Adams She took my dad under her wing, as he took her under his. He circulated her through the village introducing her to families, and she was welcomed. They took pride in her coming down to be a teacher. Back then, not too many people wanted to go into the village. There were people they could get, but they didn’t stay long.
“My father credits her with his academic success. Back then, male children didn’t go to school for very long, just like the girls. But he ended up getting through high school, for which he credited Miss Adams.”
This is also the story of a little girl, Esperanza “Blanch” Moreno, a classmate of Mode’s father. Miss Adams knew that from those earliest days of childhood, they would one day grow up to marry. And marry they did.
“I remember growing up going to Sunday dinner at her home with her family,” Mode said. “Those were the dinners I remember. She married Lynn Crumb when I was probably in college. I would say that was the mid-80s.”
When Mode’s mother died in 2003, the first person they saw in the procession coming up the aisle was a woman in a wheelchair--their teacher Miss Adams. “That meant the world to all of us,” Mode said. And when Miss Adams died a few years later, Mode’s father was invited to sit with the family and be a part of the service.
“My grandmother, Petra Moreno, also grew up in the Mexican Village. In our culture, we take care of our elders. We heard many stories of the village.”
Just as her parents cared for her grandparents, so too did Mode care for her parents. “This tradition was handed down to my children. I was very blessed to take care of my parents and pass that tradition.”
Miss Adams gave the quilt to Mode’s father in 2003 shortly after Mode’s mother died.
“My father cherished it. Not only because his name was on it, but also because it was that lesson she taught them that he carried with him throughout his life.”
Regardless of the many stories she heard of the village and the adventures that her parents enjoyed with their friends, Mode admitted that at first, she didn’t know who many of the people were behind the names on the quilt.
“That’s because, in the Village, they all used nicknames,” Mode said.
The one that sticks in her mind is a man who at the time had become known as “Egghead.”
“How he got that nickname, I don’t know,” Mode said, laughing.
“Once they started mentioning nicknames, I was able to put faces to names.
“Miss Adams loved each of these children, and they in return loved her,” Mode said. “I know deep in my heart that Miss Adams and my parents would want this quilt to be shared with the community.”
* A Reminiscence: Teaching in Dodge City’s Mexican Village, by Lola Adams Crum
Giving yourselves, one to another
Diocese celebrates the gift of matrimony
See the list of those who registered for the anniversary Mass below.
By David Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
When asked the secret to a long and happy marriage, Helen Gerber replied, “A good husband.”
Her husband, Richard, laughed and added, “A good cook. That solves a lot of problems.”
What went unsaid—but was obvious—was that the two were in sync—in love and in humor—smiles, gentle chuckles, affection and laughter adding to the bond that has kept them together in marriage for 69 years.
They were the longest married couple in attendance at the Oct. 15 Matrimony Anniversary Mass reception at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City, an annual celebration that honors God’s gift of matrimony.
Presiding at the Mass was the Most Rev. Ronald M. Gilmore, Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City.
The longest married couple—but who were unable to attend the reception—was John and Rita Riebel, who have been married for 72 years.
From their home in Minneola, John Riebel told the Catholic that the two met when she was helping tend the cattle at her cousin’s farm in Ness City, where John was reared.
“I saw her look out the window and I asked her if she would like to go into town with us that evening,” John said with a grin. “She turned me down flat.”
“He was persistent,” Rita added. Eventually the two spent their first date at the movies.
Meanwhile, John’s brother, Clarence, began dating Rita’s sister, Julia.
“I lived in Holcomb and John lived in Ness City,” Rita said. “John and Clarence used to come over to Holcomb to see us. They would say they were going rabbit hunting, and instead they’d come and see us.”
Both couples later married; Clarence and Julia have since died. Rita is the last of her 10 brothers and sisters.
John, one of 12 children (four of whom became nuns), helped his father on their farm after a disease caused his father to lose two legs and one arm.
When asked the secret to a long marriage, Rita replied without hesitation: “Our religion.” All marriages include ups and downs, some downs more serious than others. “It was our religion that helped us through those difficult times.”
Editor’s Note: See the related article which tells the couple’s fascinating family history on Page 9.
Before the couples renewed their marriage vows during the Mass, Bishop Gilmore asked those gathered just what or who it is that makes a marriage.
“The State has a stake in each marriage, but it cannot tell you what a marriage is. The State does not make your marriage. The Church has a stake in your marriage, and it can tell you what God thinks marriage is, but the Church does not make your marriage. The pastor has a state in each marriage, and he, too, can tell you what marriage is, if he stays within the tradition, but the pastor does not make your marriage.
“Neither does the flowers, or the candles, or the music; neither does the dress and the tuxedo, and the herd of attendants…,” Bishop Gilmore said.
“Who does make it, then? … You do. You create your own marriage, just as God created man and woman, and the institution of marriage. And how did he do that? Keep it simple. He loved, he spoke his word, and there it was, the world of ours. ‘God said, Let there be light, and there was light.’
“Made in the image and likeness of God, you do almost the same thing on your wedding day. You love, you speak your word, and there it is, this marriage of yours. You stand before the priest, the Church, and the State, but it is your word (your love, your promise, your vow) it is your word that makes your Marriage. You gather up the best that is within you, you condense it into a fragile human word, and you give yourselves away, on to the other, and to no one else, and until death do you part….
“We celebrate today what you have done in all the years of your marriage. With you, we rest in the developed love you have for one another. With you, we are utterly lost in wonder at the serious, tested, mature love of which your marriage sings. All if us in the diocese hear that haunting melody today, and we are enchanted by it. So, we thank God, and you, for filling our world with it.”
(Bishop Gilmore’s homily can be found in its entirety at dcdiocese.org/swkscatholic.)
For many, it was a family affair. Little children squirmed in the pews; elderly parents celebrated their children’s anniversaries (and visa versa); and at the reception, friends and family merged from the formality of Mass to the informality of handshakes and hugs, delighting in old friends, making new ones, and enjoying a delicious meal of baked chicken.
Bishop Gilmore made his way around the room, greeting all those in attendance, while chancery staff served the meals. This was followed by the handing out of certificates to the couples as each name was called.
In a past Matrimony Anniversary celebration, the Most Rev. John B. Brungardt shared this prayer: “We thank you, God, for your presence in these marriages. Please help them to grow ever closer to you and to each other throughout this life so they may rejoice in your love eternally.”
Verónica and Miguel Reyes, Prince of Peace Parish, Great Bend
Stacy and Jacob Bynum, St. Dominic Parish, Garden City
Ana and Juan Gaytan, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Dodge City
Erika and Gerardo Hernandez, St. Mary Parish, Garden City
Adriana and Anthony Dingus, St. Mary Parish, Garden City
Georgina and Rene Paz, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Dodge City
Yadira and Saul Hernandez, St. Mary Parish, Garden City
Kayla and Scott Gleason, St. Nicholas Parish, Kinsley
Evangelina and Miguel Guzman, St. Mary Parish, Garden City
Paty and Sergio Carmona, St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Liberal
Maria and Aquilino Reyes,
Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Dodge City (34 Years)
Jana and Curtis “Sam” Widener, St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Liberal
Carolina and Jose Luis Hernandez, St. Mary Parish, Garden City
Ruth and Allen Morton, St. Andrew Parish, Wright
Maria Cecilia and Ventura Martinez Hernandez,
Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Dodge City
Dee and Izzy Longoria, Mary, Queen of Peace Parish, Ulysses
Raquel and Enrique Rios,
Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Dodge City (42 years)
Rita and John Oborny, Holy Trinity Parish, Rush Center, Kansas
Toney and Victor Hernandez, Mary, Queen of Peace Parish, Ulysses
Cynthia and Raymond Perez, Sacred Heart Parish, Larned
Maureen and Leon Flax, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Dodge City
Jenny and Henry Cruz, St. Mary Parish, Garden City
Paula and Kenneth Vanwinkle, Sacred Heart Parish, Saint John, Kansas
Kathryn and Richard Werner, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dodge City
59 Years: Rosemary and Robert Demel, Prince of Peace Parish, Great Bend
59 Years: Louise and Dwaine Lampe, St. John the Baptist Parish, Spearville
58 Years: Barbara and James Brungardt, St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Liberal
57 Years: Marilyn and Dennis Malleck, Sacred Heart Parish, Ness City
57 Years: Rita and Blaine Venters, St. Andrew Parish, Wright
54 Years: Donna and Leroy Schawe, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dodge City
54 Years: Shirley and Maurice Stein, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Dodge City
53 Years: Ruth and Edwin Schmidt, St. Boniface Parish, Sharon
53 Years: Ellen and Ernest Young, Holy Rosary Parish, Isabel, Kansas
53 Years: Marcie and John Putnam, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dodge City
51 Years: Eileen and Jerome Huslig, St. Joseph Parish, Ellinwood
51 Years: Patricia and Melvin Habiger, St. John the Baptist Parish, Spearville
Vivian and Vern Goetz, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Dodge City
Rita and John Liggett, St. Michael Parish, Rush Center, Kansas
Corina and Edd Ybarra, Mary, Queen of Peace Parish, Ulysses
MaryIda and George Heskamp, St John the Baptist Parish, Spearville
Sandra and Russell Schartz, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Dodge City
Rozanne and Merton Veeder, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Dodge City
Helen and Nick Elsen, Prince of Peace Parish, Great Bend
69 Years: Helen and Richard Gerber, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Dodge City
67 Years: Neola and Clarence Herrman, Cathedral of our Lady of Guadelupe Parish, Ensign
65 Years: Norma and Bernard Brown, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Dodge City
62 Years: Pat and Jerry Krier, St. Joseph Parish, Ashland
Rita and John Riebel, St. Anthony Parish, Minneola
Of starter homes and joint accounts
Financial advice for the newly married
By David Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
INTRODUCTION: When I recently began to study my financial responsibilities when it comes to retirement, I realized how much wiser I could have been with my finances starting much earlier in life. In light of this fact, I offered some questions to Eric Haselhorst, Director of Stewardship for the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City, designed primarily for young couples just starting out.
Southwest Kansas Catholic: Eric, I’d like to create a couple: Connie and Frank. They’ve been married for two months. Both graduated from college last June. They both have jobs, but with starter’s pay. What is the first thing Connie and Frank should consider, financially speaking, once they are married?
Eric Haselhorst: Ideally, Connie and Frank would create joint accounts, with the person who manages money naturally being the bill payer.
Obtain life insurance: I would suggest that each obtain a life insurance policy that is 10 times their annual income. Why? In the event of a death, that amount of money will help replace some of the activities the spouse provided, such as house cleaning, lawn care etc. A stay-at-home parent needs life insurance, too.
Obtain health insurance: Health insurance is a must, and is often provided by employers. As of this writing, health insurance outside of an employer is a moving target as far as affordable choices.
Create an emergency fund: An emergency fund should be a minimum of $1,000 to get started, $500 if the earner makes $20,000 or less, annually. Once financially stable and debts are paid off, the emergency fund should be three to six months of living expenses.
Southwest Kansas Catholic: What should their priorities be when creating a budget?
Eric Haselhorst: Depending on where Connie and Frank fall financially, the four walls are the first consideration: food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. Once those mandatory pieces are in place, other items can be considered.
Southwest Kansas Catholic: What is the smart thing to do when considering their first home/apartment?
Eric Haselhorst: Unless a person plans to be in area for five or more years, renting is a great option, as it buys time. Also, renters insurance is cheap and a smart buy when renting.
Southwest Kansas Catholic: When it comes time to purchase a home, what should they be careful of so that they don’t get in way over their head?
Eric Haselhorst: Most couples can afford more home on paper than they might want to afford when considering their lifestyle. A house payment should not exceed 25 percent of take home pay, including taxes and insurance. A 20 percent down payment on a 15-year fixed mortgage will help couples avoid being house poor, and will allow them to sleep well at night.
Southwest Kansas Catholic: Should they be putting money away even as they are paying off debt? Or should they pay off their debt before putting money away?
Eric Haselhorst: If Connie and Frank will aggressively pay off debt, saving money can be put on hold. The key is to try to be out of debt super fast, then to try to save 15 percent of your income while paying off the house.
Southwest Kansas Catholic: Considering the incredibly high cost of college, how best should parents save to help pay for their children’s tuition?
Eric Haselhorst: 529 plans in the state of Kansas have favorable tax implications. [The 529 Plan is operated by a state or educational institution, with tax advantages and potentially other incentives to make it easier to save for college and other post-secondary training for a designated beneficiary, such as a child or grandchild. See more at irs.gov/newsroom/529-plans-questions-and-answers.]
Southwest Kansas Catholic: Could you give Connie and Frank any advice on investing?
Eric Haselhorst: Outside advice from a qualified expert in retirement plans is a great asset. Choose one with the heart of a teacher. If you cannot explain your retirement plan to a 6th grader and have them understand it, don’t buy it.
Southwest Kansas Catholic: What are some of the unexpected financial struggles that married couples face? What is the best way to prepare/deal with them?
Eric Haselhorst: Our grandparents would often have a “Rainy Day” or “GOK” (God Only Knows) fund. This type of savings or emergency fund helped to soften the blow of the unknown financial troubles. Eventually, there will be a broken bone, bad transmission, flooded basement, or other type of short-term catastrophe. Having a good emergency fund, as well as health, auto, and home owners insurance, helps to insulate couples from the unexpected things of life.
Eric is the Director of Stewardship for the diocese, and has been a featured speaker at numerous financial seminars, as well as at the annual diocesan Stewardship Day. He is also an author and in his off hours is a small business owner. He is married to Christine, Dodge City Community College Foundation Director. She also portrays Miss Kitty at the Long Branch Saloon at Boot Hill Museum. The couple have three children, Matthew, Allison and Kara. They reside in Dodge City and attend the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe.