CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY Daily Feed
PLEASE NOTE: Due to our summer schedule, the next issue of the SKC will be dated September 2.
Aug. 12, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Prayer and Action; Totus Tuus; Janee Bernal; Diana Ramirez; Heidy Ramirez; Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years ministry; suicide; contraception and abortion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Humanae Vitae; certification in youth ministry; Chuck Weber; Cathedral rectory chapel; Sister Viola Heichelbech; Adam Urban
Eucharist as a Sacred Meal
By FATHER TED STOECKLEIN
Assistant Director, Office of Priestly Vocations
From the beginning of creation, human beings were designed to live in an easy unity and fellowship with God and all creation. Sin shatters this experience of unity. It divides and scatters us. Yet God does not want to leave us in this lonely, alienated and ultimately deadly state. God, throughout history, set forth a plan to gather us back to himself. Part of this story of reunifying us to himself takes place with the development of “Sacred Meal”.
As the story goes, in the garden, God created everything good and God intended to feed his creatures with all that was good. God offered an abundance of food to share, to enjoy and to make humans flourish. But instead of being content to receive what God offered, Adam and Eve grasped for what was not given to them. This fall from grace is described as an action of disobedience by eating “forbidden fruit.” This temptation and fall dealt death instead of life.
Throughout the Old Testament, stories illustrating hospitality and meals shared consistently accompanied God’s saving action. From Abraham and Sarah encountering the three men on their way to Sodom and Gomorrah, to the yearly celebration to the Passover, the practice of sacred meal grew up and came to fruition at the Last Supper.
In the 25th chapter of Isaiah the Lord makes this promise:
“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples; a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines… He will destroy death forever.”
Though brought about through the tribes of Israel, the promise is given to all people. God promises to gather all human beings back into right worship and right relationship with God.
The meal that is given in the event of Passover is primary in development of sacred meal. The Passover meal was a recovery (however imperfect) of the easy unity and fellowship of the Garden of Eden. It was God hosting a banquet at which his human creatures share life with him and each other. God established the Passover meal as a sign of his covenant with his people Israel and as a prefiguring of the Eucharistic feast. In the fullness of time, Jesus gathered his apostles around the Passover table and instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper.
Not limited to, but including the feast of the Passover, in the New Testament many meals with Jesus described the elements of this restoration of life with God. From the feeding of the multitudes, to dining with Pharisees, to dining with Martha and Mary...these meals were shared with sinners and saints, sick and healthy. Those who dined with Jesus represented many of the intensely divided groups of people at that time. The meals shared with Jesus were marked with themes of abundance, healing for the sick, forgiveness and reconciliation for sinners. These meals tell the story of God gathering back to himself all who had been scattered.
I am embarrassed to admit that until recent years I had been woefully ignorant of the Eucharist as sacred meal. I’m sure they covered this stuff in seminary, but in all honesty, it did not resound with me at that time.
I remember taking part in a workshop about 15 years ago. The presenter of the workshop instructed us to draw or describe what a typical meal was like in our homes growing up. The people at my table described details such as the shape of table, who sat where, how the table was set, how the food was distributed, and what kinds of conversations were shared. I remember them having a good time reminiscing about their childhood dining experiences. I also remember looking at my blank paper. Honestly the only image that came to my mind was sitting in front of the TV after school eating Fruit Loops and watching Gilligan’s Island.
The way we live our home lives has an enormous impact on the way we experience Eucharist. One thing I have begun to encourage families to do is to commit to having at least one meal per week together. No electronics, no newspapers or other distractions…look each other in the eye and talk to each other. Explore creative ways to interact with your family. Find something that works for you and don’t forget to enjoy it. Hopefully these “sacred meals” will in some small way carry over to your celebrating The Sacred Meal, the Eucharist.
Family prayer for priestly vocations
By ANNE SHAUGHNESSY
Family Formation, Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The priest shortage. We see the effects of it all around us —one priest serving two or three parishes, less Masses being offered, fewer times offered for confessions ....The shortage of priests definitely affects us, the laity. What can we do about it?
Vocations to the priesthood are not something that we just pray for at Sunday Mass in the Prayers of the Faithful, or that we leave up to the vocation director or bishop. Vocations to the priesthood come about because of the families and friends and teachers that our boys and young men have in their lives. If we want more priests, the laity need to take on and embrace creating a culture of vocations. And the most important place for this to happen? In my opinion, it is the family. In my family and your family, we need to create an environment where God’s call can be heard.
Here are some ideas to help create that environment in your home. Choose one or two and try it with your family.
Offering prayers for priestly vocations: Praying for priestly vocations can be as simple as praying an “Our Father”, “Hail Mary”, “Memorare”,…with the intention of offering it for priestly vocations. This can be done by your family anytime that you are together (mealtime, bedtime) and is especially easy for families to pray in the car (like on the way to babysitting/work).
Pray for our current and future priests: Each day pray this prayer as a family and insert a priest’s name and the parishes he serves in. Look for the list of the priests/seminarians in our diocese in this issue of the Southwest Kansas Catholic. You can also print a copy of this prayer and a list of the priests in our diocese and the parishes he serves at dcdiocese.org.
Pray the rosary: The rosary is a longer prayer for families to pray, especially those with small children. Begin with one decade. If you are rusty on how to pray the rosary or you never learned how to pray the rosary, go to http://joyfulcatholicfamilies.com/rosary-prayer-ring/ and print off the rosary prayer ring. It takes you step-by-step through the rosary (all the words to the prayers are included).
Fast for vocations: Join the priests in our diocese and fast on Thursdays for vocations. As a family, give up one TV show, one dessert, one social media app,…on Thursdays.
Adoration: Commit to spending time each week as a family in adoration for vocations. Begin with five, ten, or fifteen minutes and slowly work up to a longer time.
Family life can be very busy. And with that busyness comes noise. Taking a few minutes each day to pray for vocations to the priesthood as a family is a good way to give our children a few moments to reflect and listen to what God may be calling them to. Vocations are a calling from God. Let’s create an environment in our families where that call can be heard.
URGENT JFI Action Alert:
Ask your U.S. Representative to vote NO! on HR 4760 and HR 6136
Chairman of U.S. Bishops Committee on Migration Expresses Concern about Immigration Bills Before Congress, Urges Bipartisan Engagement
June 19, 2018
WASHINGTON—Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB/COM) Committee on Migration, sent a letter to every Member of the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday in response to two immigration bills that are expected to be taken up later this week by the full House. Bishop Vasquez had previously written in opposition to the first of the two bills (H.R. 4760), introduced in January of this year. The Bishop's June 18 letter focuses most of its attention on a second, yet-to-be-numbered House Republican Leadership alternative bill.
In his letter to Congress, Bishop Vásquez wrote, "While we truly want a legislative solution for Dreamers, we cannot, in good faith, endorse large structural changes to the immigration system that detrimentally impact families and the vulnerable, such as those that are contained in this legislation. We welcome the opportunity to dialogue with lawmakers and to discuss possible opportunities for further compromise, particularly with respect to effects on families and the vulnerable."
Bishop Vásquez added, "My brother bishops and I appreciate the effort by Representatives to find a legislative solution for Dreamers by bringing immigration measures before the House of Representatives. We believe that any such legislation must be bipartisan, provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship, be pro-family, protect the vulnerable and be respectful of human dignity with regard to border security and enforcement." Bishop Vásquez reminded Members of the House that the Administration can end family separation without legislation through executive discretion.
By Father Greg Boyle, S.J.
By Father James Martin, S.J.
Adoption Protection Act becomes law
By Joe Bollig
TOPEKA — How close was it?
The Adoption Protection Act squeaked through the Kansas House by only one vote as the 2018 legislative session came to an end.
On May 3, the House passed the bill 63-58; on May 4, the Senate passed it 24-15.
“A bill must receive 63 votes in the 125-member Kansas House of Representatives to pass. So, if it had only received 62 votes, it would have failed,” said Kansas Catholic Conference executive director Michael Schuttloffel. “It was that close.”
Two identical bills, both known as the Adoption Protection Act, were introduced in February as HB 2687 and SB 401 in the House and Senate respectively.
In the course of running the legislative gauntlet, the language was placed in another bill.
“As part of the procedural maneuverings, the contents were put into SB 284, which includes some provisions beyond the Adoption Protection Act,” said Schuttloffel.
This led to a change of language in part of the Adoption Protection Act, but it was done to clarify intent, and the core substance of the bill remained the same, he said.
The Catholic bishops of Kansas strongly supported the legislation. They did so because faith-based adoption agencies in the United States have increasingly come under attack for adopting according to their faith.
“This legislation was aimed at protecting religious-based agencies like Catholic Charities from being prevented from providing adoption and foster care services,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann in a May 4 column in The Leaven. The bill “simply guarantees religious adoption agencies can continue to place children in a manner consistent with their beliefs.”
Passage of this legislation provides crucial protection to a vital ministry, according to Schuttloffel.
“The [just-passed] bill prevents the government from punishing faith-based adoption and foster care providers for operating according to their religious principles,” he said.
“In Illinois, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts and elsewhere, Catholic Charities was forced to close its adoption ministry because government agencies insisted that they place children in a way that was contrary to the church’s teaching,” he added.
Thanks to this new law, the state government will not be able to shut down Catholic Charities adoption ministry because a future governor or bureaucrat disagrees with Catholic teaching.
“It also means that government agencies and contractors will not be able to discriminate against faith-based providers because they disagree with their religious beliefs,” said Schuttloffel. “Finally, it protects these faith-based providers from being sued by the ACLU.”
“As Catholics, we understand more than most that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable,” noted Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer. “Service to others and commitment to non-discrimination is the foundation of the Adoption Protection Act. There are more than 1,300 children awaiting adoption in Kansas. We need more adoptive families, not fewer. We need to protect the religious freedom rights enshrined in the First Amendment to ensure that people of faith can continue to practice their faith in the public square.”
Meade couple celebrate life while awaiting (a bundle of) joy
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
When you meet Tyler and Rachel Bennett, there are two things you will discover right off: 1) they have a warm and welcoming spirit, and 2) they love cheese.
On their kitchen table sat a platter filled with crackers, salami, and three kinds of cheese. There was also a platter of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and two pitchers, one with water, the other, tea.
“Are you hungry? Help yourself!” Tyler said.
The Catholic gratefully helped itself. The Catholic loves chocolate chip cookies and cheese and crackers!
The gracious young couple are another in a line of fine, Kansas couples who are awaiting good news from the Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas Adoption Program.
“We had a neighbor who had success adopting through Catholic Charities,” Tyler said. “There’s a need [for guidance in the adoption process]. People don’t realize what goes into it — the study, the patience.”
“He’s still working on that last one,” Rachel said with a grin.
In July, the couple will have been married five years, a date which also marks one year since they officially became eligible to adopt.
Unlike many small-town Kansas couples, Rachel and Tyler didn’t grow up in the same community or attend the same school. In fact, he was reared in Texas, and she in Nebraska; the road that led to their eventual introduction in Copeland, Kansas was filled with twists and turns that could only have been navigated by a Loving Lord bent on seeing these two together.
“I was a track coach and teacher in Copeland,” said Rachel, who today is a high school teacher in Kismet. Tyler, an athletic trainer, works with student-athletes and physical therapy patients. They both have earned Master’s Degrees in their various studies.
One day, duty took Tyler to Copeland Junior High School, where he met the woman who would redefine his future. They were married on July 20, 2013.
“It’s been a learning process,” Tyler said of their year-long adoption journey.
“Learning and growing,” Rachel added.
“A lot of people give up after two weeks,” Tyler explained, referring to the patience needed in the adoption process. “It will happen in God’s time.”
The Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas Adoption Program requires each couple to pass a stringent application process that includes classes, home visits, and meeting with counselors. And it’s not cheap (although far less expensive than other adoption programs). The process is designed to ensure the child is brought into a good home.
Obviously, there are many legalities involved, especially when considering that Catholic Charities uses the Open Adoption system, which allows the birth parent(s) to continue to be part of the child’s life.
“Catholic Charities makes sure it’s all by the book,” Rachel said. “Once the child is ours, we maintain complete parental control.” In other words, they will decide how and in what capacity the birth parent is involved.
“It’s beneficial for the child,” Tyler said. “For example, if the birth family has a history of diabetes or heart issues, we would have no idea without open adoption.”
Both Rachel and Tyler were reared surrounded by extended family, and both are fully intent upon bringing those values into the life of their future child.
“When I was young,” Rachel said, “we took yearly trips to Colorado Springs, got together with extended family at either of my grandparents’ farms, went on day trips to shop or visit zoos and museums, or just hung out at the pool.”
“That’s one of the reasons why we get along,” Tyler added. “Family is huge to us.”
The child who is lucky enough to enter into the Bennett home will be introduced to the couple’s loves: the joy of cooking and baking, the peaceful rewards of gardening, love for hunting (complete with four retrievers barking excitedly from behind a closed door during the Catholic’s visit), and a yen for home construction projects. Oh — and cheese.
And they will find a couple practicing a prayerful life devoted to the Loving Lord, a backdrop to everything they do.