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
To be read at all Masses, March 24-25:
My Dear People,
The Catholic Church has a long history of working with the government to aid children and families. In some respects, our entire network of Catholic hospitals and schools, as well as our many faith-based volunteer groups and community outreach efforts, can be seen as benefiting our neighbors in need regardless of their faith, thus lessening the need for government support.
In Kansas, faith-based adoption and foster-care agencies soon may not be allowed to continue their loving tradition of helping children and families in need. Activist groups are threatening to shut down these faith-based service providers simply because they operate according to religious beliefs. This has already happened to Catholic Charities and other agencies in Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington, D.C., California and Texas.
We can ensure that it does not happen here in Kansas. An insert explaining the “Protect Adoption Choice” campaign and how you can help is included in this week’s bulletin. Please read this insert carefully and call your state representative and senator this week. Time is of the essence on this critical legislation. You may also wish to view a video on this effort at www.protectadoptionchoice.org.
Thank you in advance for your involvement in this important effort. May God bless your efforts for the children. Have a fruitful Holy Week in the Lord.
+ Bishop John B. Brungardt
The art and the heart of family fasting
By Father Ted Stoecklein
Assistant Director, Office of Priestly Vocations
Editor’s Note:The following continues the ongoing series on Fasting for Priestly Vocations. This week’s column encourages and offers ideas in which families can fast together.
Year to year, we in the diocesan vocation office look for and encounter young men who are sincerely seeking direction in their lives. It often happens that I meet a young man, invite him to an Andrew dinner with Bishop John, encourage him to go to a discernment retreat or two, help him to grow in his prayer life, and vigilantly watch his progress ... and after all that, he goes and gets married.
Now, some folks might consider this a failure with regard to priestly vocation. But if that young man has honestly sought God’s will and has found peace in his vocation to marriage, then I consider it a great victory. The family is the seedbed of vocations. When our families are healthy, we will have healthy vocations. If we want to support priestly vocations, we must build up the family.
However, all too often young men tell me that they fear discerning a call to the priesthood because their parents or family members discourage such an undertaking.
On the other hand, when we foster in our homes the honesty to trust whatever God wants for each member of the family, then children and young adults will truly feel free to respond generously to God’s call on their lives.
Fasting and prayer are integral tools to help free us in order that we might find courage to trust God.
Specific to our theme of fasting for priestly vocations, then, I would encourage several ways in which families may take up this call from our bishop.
One can take a direct approach: A family united in some form of fast for priests, seminarians and young, single men is very powerful and does wonders for unity within the family. With this type of fasting, a family should choose one thing that every member of the family is able to do and agree upon it. I think Bishop John offered some wonderful ideas in the last issue of the Southwest Kansas Catholic. I especially encourage periodic fasting from electronics or social media as a family, while feasting on family time, including, but not limited to, family meals.
Fasting for priestly vocations can also be done indirectly by fasting for the members of one’s own family. In the last few years I have witnessed the phenomena of men uniting with other men in fasting for their wives and family. This has been wonderful to behold and I believe it is bearing much fruit.
One such group calls itself “e5men” (e5men.org – check it out). Here, men agree to fast on bread and water once a month for their wives. Their wives in turn offer the graces they encounter at Mass in gratitude for their husbands.
Also, I have been hearing from young men (especially on college campuses) about something called “Exodus 90” (exodus90.com) This is a bit more “hard core” and is really geared toward gaining spiritual purity and freedom for men, but it sure could be used to heal and strengthen families, as well. I have not discovered any women’s group specifically geared toward fasting, but that does not mean that they do not exist.
The point I want to make is that when a husband and wife support each other with fasting and prayer, coupled by that of their children or other family members, goodness follows. In particular, the virtue of generosity flows from such actions. And generosity is at the heart of God’s call to matrimony and priesthood.
Keynote speaker tells young
adults to be bold, beautiful and broken
By DAVE MYERS
Southwest Kansas Catholic
“Be bold! Be beautiful!”
These words might have otherwise sounded like a commercial for a beauty product, but when housed in the love for Christ and his teachings, they become an entreaty to change the world.
Dozens of young adults ages 18-39 from across the diocese — some married and with children in tow — attended the third annual SKYAC (Southwest Kansas Young Adult Conference), March 4 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City.
Begun in 2016, SKYAC was created by Gentry Heimerman, Director of Young Adult Ministry for the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City, in order to bring young adults aged 18-39 “closer into a deeper relationship with Christ, and to connect them with one another.”
Working alongside Heimerman for the past eight months in preparation for the recent SKYAC were Noelle McHugh and Taylor Schinstock.
“The 100-plus young adults who were involved with the event started their day by participating in the regular 9 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral, transitioned into a schedule of great speakers and plenty of time to mingle, and then ended the day by literally ‘following Jesus’ in a Eucharist procession and Adoration,” Heimerman said.
Keynote speaker Father Gale Hammerschmidt is the pastor of St. Isidore Parish in Manhattan, including the St. Isidore student center, which serves the students of Kansas State University.
Are you truly bold enough to transform the environment that you live in? asked Father Hammerschmidt. “If you are not transforming your environment, then you can be sure that your environment is transforming you.”
Other guest speakers included Catholic podcaster Ethan Stueve, Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Veronica Hill, program coordinator for the Diocese of Wichita, and Daniel and Ana Glaze, AKA, “That Catholic Couple” on Youtube.
“We have to be bold,” Father Hammerschmidt told the young adults gathered in the day chapel at the cathedral. “We also have to be beautiful. … I’m talking about a life that’s beautiful, inside and out. A life like Mother Teresa’s. A life that says, I decided to make the world a better place ….”
He urged those gathered not to wait until they feel “perfect in the eyes of God” before they try to transform the world.
“Don’t be afraid to be broken! If we wait to be healed of our brokenness [before we try to transform the world] – if we wait to be perfect in the eyes of God — nothing will ever get started. It’s precisely in that moment that we feel we’re standing close to Christ.
“If you want to find God, serve others. Pray for them.”
The most important message of all, Father Hammerschmidt said, is to begin.
“I encourage you today to start asking questions about how God wants you to change the world!”
Father Hammerschmidt’s talk can be heard in it’s entirety by going to Facebook, and typing in “Father Gale Hammerschmidt”.
‘God did this’
How a 22-year-old Texan began a Catholic school for Uganda’s deaf children
By Mary Rezac
Catholic News Agency
Denver, Colo (CNA) - Rannah Evetts had always wanted to go to Africa. She has no explanation for it, other than that God had planted a deep love of everything African in her heart for as long as she can remember.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I would say I was going to Africa, and I didn’t really understand why, and my mom would just call me her little African child because that’s all I would talk about,” Rannah recalled.
Today, Rannah is living out her childhood dream, having founded a Catholic school for deaf children in Uganda at the age of 21.
But it came to fruition in a way she could never have imagined.
“Through a lot of hurt and pain that God worked through me,” Evetts told CNA.
Evetts loved to talk about Africa as a little girl. But there was a lot she did not talk about — the sexual abuse she was experiencing and the traumatic consequences she suffered silently for years: depression, suicidal thoughts, self hate and despair.
Desperately seeking happiness in high school, she threw herself into the party scene, looking for relief.
“I wanted to be happy, I was so tired of hating myself and being miserable, and so when I was a junior in high school I started partying a whole lot...and I quickly realized this isn’t making me happy, I’m just suffering more and more,” she said.
Looking for answers, Evetts started attending different churches with friends and family on the weekends.
Having never been baptized, she bounced around non-denominational Christian churches for a while, but did not feel like she had found the truth until she began looking into the Catholic faith.
“When I was a senior I started RCIA...and through all of that, I gave up drinking, no more parties, I was reading the Bible all the time, and realizing that I just want Jesus. He has to be the cure, because I knew that the world wasn’t,” she said.
When she was baptized at the end of her senior year, Evetts said she felt the presence of Christ in an indescribable way, in her heart. She felt God calling her to an unfolding mission that would piece together seemingly unconnected parts of her life, including her love for Africa, and her knowledge of American Sign Language.
“It’s hard to explain the real presence that I experienced of Christ inside of me when I did get baptized...and receiving the Eucharist, receiving him in the flesh, I gave up everything. That’s when he opened up the door and said ‘This is what I want you to do and this is why.’”
At her high school in Texas, the only classes offered to fulfill language requirements were Spanish or ASL. Evetts said she joined the sign language class because it was required, she thought it was “cool”, and her sister had taken the same class.
“It was just a requirement, I did not think even one time that I would do anything with it,” she said, and she even considered dropping the class.
But by her senior year, and as she experienced a conversion, she said God began to pull on her heart through her sign language class, especially when she completed a project on deafness in Uganda.
“I relate to the deaf people here because they are outcasted, they’re seen as cursed, they’re seen as sinners, and so they’re shut away from the world kind of, they’re living in this darkness and this silence,” she said.
“And God pulled me to give what he gave me after all of my years of darkness and hating myself and feeling like I had no friends and nobody to talk to, of wanting to die, feeling like I had no purpose in life - all of those things I was struggling with after being sexually abused, God took them and he transforms everything and he said, ‘These I’m turning into graces.’ And with the deaf people here that’s what he did,” she said.
After high school graduation, Evetts flew to Uganda for the first time to work for seven months at an established school for the deaf in the capital city of Kampala. Through that experience, she met a priest in a village in northern Uganda, in an area with hundreds of deaf children and no resources for them.
“I basically just walked back to the sacristy, and I was like, ‘Hi Father, I’m Rannah, can I talk to you?’” she recalled.
The initial meeting sparked a conversation that continued for more than a year and a half, while Evetts, the priest, and the local bishop discerned starting a school for the deaf.
In 2016, Evetts moved to the village for five months to get used to living in the area and adjust to the culture, and to see if her dream could become a reality. By September 2016, the local bishop gave her permission to use an old catechesis building, “and basically he just said ‘begin.’”
By February 2017, the St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf opened its doors for the first time. St. Francis was chosen as the patron because he personally developed a sign language to preach the Gospel and teach the Catholic faith to Martin, a deaf man.
“We are here to promote the education and welfare of the Deaf in the West Nile region,” the school’s mission statement says on their website.
“Most importantly we are here to fulfill a deeper meaning behind Christ’s “Eph’phatha” in Mark’s Gospel: ‘... and looking up to heaven, he [Jesus] sighed, and said to him, “Eph’phatha,” that is, ‘be opened.’ And his ears were opened, his tongue was released and he spoke plainly.’”
She learned that the deaf in Uganda are often misunderstood and often mistreated, considered sinners or even cursed. She said that the deaf are often outcast out of malice or because of a lack of resources.
“The deaf are often outcasts in Ugandan society; isolated, deprived of their rights, and looked down upon by hearing people. They are more exposed to being raped, abused, and neglected by society. They are often thought of as stupid, cursed, and many parents still think it is a waste of money to send them to school,” the statement continues.
“We are here to break this cultural stigma, provide quality education, and give our deaf students the most precious thing in this world: Jesus Christ.”
Evetts said she was most moved by her love for God to give language to those who otherwise could not speak.
“I didn’t think I would do anything with [sign language], but it’s like everyday [God] reveals more and more why I’m doing what I’m doing,” she said.
“I knew I wanted to evangelize, I knew I wanted to share the word of God with people and what he did in my life. It’s so huge what he did for me, that you can’t not share that with people! I’m a convert and I’m on fire, you know? It’s like, ‘No, I’ve been to the other side, trust me!’”
But it hasn’t been easy. The school is open to children ages 3-14, and the age range brings a variety of needs. When they first arrive, most of the children have no way of communicating their needs, their thoughts, their experiences, pain or ideas.
“All of a sudden they’re being thrown into this, and they have no idea what’s going on, so we have kids who are trying to run away, a lot of our kids just cried seeing me because they’ve never seen whatever I am, and the everyday challenge of bringing them a language...it was incredibly difficult,” Evetts said.
It also came with times of personal darkness and challenge for Evetts, who was the only foreigner in her village, the only woman living at the parish, and the only person from her culture in the area. She would also often feel overwhelmed by the weight of responsibility on her shoulders.
“I have a lot of thanks to give to my mom, because I would tell her ‘I want to come home Mom, because I don’t know what I’m doing,’ and she would stick with me and pray with me,” she said.
She was also still struggling with anxiety attacks and the painful healing of the abuse in her past.
“I want to tell you this because...it shows God’s goodness, because there were days when I couldn’t do this. I’m 22 years old, and I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m the leader of all of this thing and I’m working in another country and having my own problems... that I’m dealing with and alone in that silence with God,” Evetts said.
There were several weeks at a time where she felt like she was literally unable to get out of bed in the morning.
“But I want to share that with you because it shows that God did this. You say ‘yes’ to God and he does it, he fulfills it, because this is his school and this is his mission,” she said. “I don’t know how to explain it, but he’s here and he’s got this all under control.”
The transformation she and the staff began seeing in the students throughout the year was incredible, she said.
Children came to them having been raped, abused or neglected because of their disability, and were transformed in personality and behavior as they started acquiring a language.
At the beginning of the year, many parents reluctantly sent their children to the boarding school, believing it impossible to educate a deaf child. But on the night after the first term ended, and the children went home for the first time, parents started calling the school in amazement.
“They were like, ‘there’s stuff written in [their notebooks]! There’s grades!’ And then their kids are signing all this stuff to their parents, and these parents are like ‘we don’t know what our kids are saying but they know stuff, and they’re talking with their hands!’”
“And so they’re really seeing the evidence of this works, so its a real encouragement for the parents,” Evetts said.
The school has just begun its second year, with 50 students enrolled. It was recently licensed, and the plan is to eventually find enough land to build a boarding school for more than 300 nursery and primary school deaf students in the area.
Evetts said the way the local community has embraced the school with love has been encouraging. As the only white person in the area, Evetts said it automatically brings her a lot of attention, which in turn lets her bring that attention to her work with deaf children.
“God uses that, then I get to explain about sign language and about deafness and how awesome it is. We’re walking around town, playing games with the students, using sign language, and people just gawk and stare—like what? White people know this language too?” Evetts said. “This year I’ve had volunteers come, and it’s more people knowing sign language and giving it attention, and Caritas is now helping sponsor our school, so it’s just been growing and I see that the community has really taken us on, and it really has been great.”
Evetts said the most rewarding part of the experience has been how God has used her “yes” and the “yes” of her staff members to transform lives and to do something that they would be unable to accomplish without him.
“The closer you get to God in his silence, that’s where he reveals himself, that’s his language,” she said. “And not only that, he reveals you to you—he draws that out of you, and I really learned that the closer I came to him, he just showed me—‘this is why I put this desire in you, and this is how I’m going to use your sufferings or your vices and this is how I’m going to transform it.’
“It was all him.”
Secret to a happy marriage? ‘Be patient, forgive, pray!’
By DARLENE DEMEL
Editor’s Note: The following article originally appeared in the Spirit of St. Joseph newsletter. It is reprinted with permission.
CLAFLIN — What does it take to have a long, successful marriage?
“Be patient. Forgive. Pray!”
These are the perfect words spoken from Mary Rose Oberle when she was asked what advice she could give young couples today.
This sentiment comes from 64 years with the same man by her side. We wanted to know how and when it all started.
In 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president; “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “Shane” were playing at the box office, while “That’s Amore” and “Crying in the Chapel” were on the radio.
The first TV Guide was published, and Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to crest Mount Everest.
However, back in our small part of the world, Victor Oberle and Mary Rose Wondra were starting their life together at Holy Family Catholic Church in Odin.
Victor was born the seventh child of Anton and Lena (Feist) Oberle, and attended Holy Name School near Bushton before serving in the Army from 1950 to 1952.
Mary Rose came along the third of 10 children born to Alfred and Regina (Kirmer) Wondra; she graduated from Odin High School in 1952.
Fund-raising dances at the Holy Family parish hall were a common occurrence in the 1950s. On one fateful evening, Victor — with his “Bushton Boys” (including Urban and Paul Oberle plus Willis Bieberle) — drove over to check things out ... and the rest is history.
April 14, 1953: It was a chilly, cloudy Tuesday morning when Father Cornelius Leunissen united the pair, with Paul Oberle and Leo Wondra standing for Victor, while Ann and Rita Wondra, in long dresses (one in light green and one in lavender), stood beside Mary Rose, holding her red rose bouquet.
The couple honeymooned in Denver before returning to their little house in Ellinwood where Victor worked in the oilfield. They only lived in Ellinwood for about two years before moving to Claflin to raise their family in the same house that they still live in today at the corner of Albro and 3rd Street.
Victor worked for 20 years at Tinkel Sand before starting Oberle Sand & Gravel in 1977, while Mary Rose worked at the local grocery store and then at the Claflin Post Office.
Although both have long been retired, Mary Rose still volunteers for the ICC (Immaculate Conception Church) Altar Society, the Claflin Community Senior Birthday Coffee, and The Red Cross Bloodmobile when it comes to town. She also enjoys spending her free time doing embroidery and word puzzles, while Victor likes a quiet game of solitaire or a round of checkers.
For so many years, you would see Victor riding his bike around town getting exercise and enjoying the weather. I seem to remember times when I thought he was crazy because it wasn’t that warm outside!
The couple has been blessed with four children: Richard, Patty, Ray, and Christine.
The family tree has since grown to include 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Patty and Dave Schmidt’s family includes Tami (Christopher) Tully, Eric (Denise) Schmidt, and Travis (Shelli) Schmidt. Great-grandchildren include Madison, Gavin, Justin and Ethan Tully; Maryn and Rhett Schmidt; and Madison Henning, McKenna and Marissa Schmidt.
Ray and Sandi Oberle’s branch of the family tree includes Emily (Hunter) Peterson, Nicole (Tyler) Ball, Rebecca Oberle, Kaylyn Oberle, and Jake Oberle. Great-grand-children include Kaycee, Elliott, and Tate Peterson; and Samuel Ball. Christine and Quentin Robl reside in Salina and have three children: Megan Robl, Jared (Ashley) Robl, and Tanner Robl.
Unfortunately, their oldest child, Richard, passed away July 21, 1974 at the age of 20 when he was in the service.
Mary Rose offered words of guidance, suggesting that one should make the best of every day.
When I pressed Victor for his words of advice for young couples, he replied with an ornery grin, “Fight. Ask me how many fights we’ve had! One – and it’s still going on!”
After the laughter quieted down, Mary Rose told me I not dare put that in the article ... but I knew I had to include it, because it proved to me that maybe one of the best pieces of advice they have shown (by example!) was to keep humor in your life.
‘Everything is in God’s hands’
Wright couple celebrates life while awaiting life-changing call
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
WRIGHT — Some day, Rachel and Doug Trombley will sit down with their adopted child and tell him or her the Cinderella story of how they met and fell in love.
But before that time can come — before they can sit their child on their lap and share the story of makeup and music and acting and one big fib that led to that first date — they wait.
God willing, the call will come, and a child will enter their life. If and when it happens, it will happen with the help of the Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas Adoption Program.
“We feel very comfortable with Catholic Charities; they have our best interest in mind,” said Rachel, who first approached Catholic Charities with Doug in July 2016. “All the support they show the birth and adoptive family. … We feel very comfortable, safe and confident with them.”
Catholic Charities, like most adoption agencies nowadays, uses the open adoption system, in which the birth parent continues a relationship with the child after the adoption. It sounds strange at first, but when you think about it, it’s not difficult to understand how such a relationship can eliminate difficult issues later on. There are no mysteries to solve.
Doug admitted that he, like many adopting parents, had concerns about the system.
“At first, I wasn’t so sure about it,” he said. “I grew up at a time when people didn’t talk about adoption. It was kind of a struggle at first. But because of their support and knowledge, Catholic Charities helped me to change my mind.”
“You think about opening your heart and home to a child, but also to the birth family,” Rachel added with a smile. “At first it was overwhelming, but then you see the pros and benefits.”
Rachel was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico and reared in Yukon, Oklahoma. When she was younger, she used to listen to a close family friend that she called “Grandma” tell stories of how she came to Oklahoma on the Orphan Train.
“I would help with their reunion conventions in Oklahoma City,” Rachel said.
Doug moved to Dodge City as a boy from Michigan when his father was hired as an X-ray technician. Doug and his two younger twin-brothers began attending Sacred Heart Cathedral School. Today Rachel teaches at Comanche Middle School, while Doug works for Servi-Tech, a crop consulting firm and agricultural laboratory.
The Cinderella Story
Rachel, an opera-style singer and actor, has long been involved in theater. While directing “Cinderella” at the Depot Dinner Theater in Dodge City, two of the actors had to bow out to take part in a Catholic mission.
Enter Doug Trombley, a trombonist with a yen for performing at the Boot Hill Museum, and his brother.
“I play the town drunk,” Doug said of his work at the museum. To this day, he still enjoys getting into costume and delighting the tourists at the museum as his friends shoot it out in the guise of the old west.
The couple’s first meeting came in the makeup chair, when then-Rachel Rickner sat Doug down and began a nightly application of makeup before the performance.
“There were no thoughts of romance,” Rachel said. “At the end of the show’s run, he said he hoped I would have a terrific life and that maybe we’d see each other again.”
Then came “Jekyll and Hyde”, and the pair once again found themselves sharing the same backstage.
“I moved props on and off and she was part of the cast,” Doug said. “The woman who got me involved in Cinderella said that Rachel wanted my phone number so that we could go out. I figured I’d call her and leave a message.
“It was up to her if she wanted to call back,” he added with a grin. “The ball was in her court.”
She did call back, and it would be several months later before they learned that Doug’s future wife had never asked for his phone number; it was a fib designed to get the two together. It worked.
On May 23, 2010, Doug became the first and only Boot Hill Museum performer to propose to his wife in the midst of a performance.
Today, as they wait for that call, they celebrate their life and faith in a community they love.
“We love this town,” Rachel said of Wright, a town not so unlike the Oklahoma town of Yukon in which she was reared. They moved to Wright from Dodge City two years ago.
“We love the church community. We love Father Bob [Schremmer] so much.”
“We love his homilies,” Doug added.
Rachel belongs to the Altar Society, Liturgy Commission, and (pause for a breath) the Parish Council. And she has a great love for gardening, which was well known to her neighbors in her former Dodge City neighborhood.
Doug is a Knight of Columbus, and is a member of both the Parish Council and Property Commission.
As if that weren’t enough, they both serve on an inquiry team, in which they meet with those who are in the very first stages of discerning whether they’d like to join the Catholic Church.
It’s not easy, waiting for a phone call that will change your life, so they decided some time ago to let go of their nervousness, and let someone handle it who’s quite adept at things like this.
“Everything is in God’s hands,” Doug said. “If we have a child, that would be great, but if we don’t, then God has another plan for us.”
“While waiting, we are living our lives to the fullest,” Rachel added.