CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY Daily Feed
Feb. 18, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?
Feb. 4, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking
St. Nicholas School, Kinsley, Advent Cantata, Dec. 7, 2008
Click on the photo below for the 41-minute concert.
Faith and Light
Celebrating the gifts of God’s special people
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
They came into the large room one by one, some smiling in anticipation, others a bit apprehensive, their friends or family—or both—in tow.
Some were talkative, eager to chat. Others were quiet as a church mouse (but not so quiet that they were immune to bursts of laughter).
They were young and, well, not so young, men and women, English and Spanish speaking.
Despite all the differences, the one thing they all had in common is that they were surrounded by unconditional love and acceptance.
This is Faith and Light, a non-denominational monthly gathering for people with physical and intellectual challenges, their friends and family. It is hosted by Virginia and Frank Sumaya. Virginia embodies sweetness and light and unconditional acceptance, while Frank goes from sharing his wisdom-filled teachings on the Gospel to showing joyful acceptance of the participants disguised as fun-loving needling. Both equally shine the light of Christ on all those gathered.
After several years of overseeing the monthly gatherings, they are slowly transitioning to another host. But when new facilitator Claudia Lucero called Virginia just hours before the Jan. 21 event after having become ill, Virginia quickly organized an itinerary and gathered up the supplies.
Among those participants was Margie Sloan, who brought with her Kiley Kline and Milton Rivera, one shy, the other in perpetual anticipation of conversation. When asked if she was their mother, Sloan replied, “No, I used to work at Arrowhead West, and we became friends. I bring them to the meetings—with their parents permission.”
Each gathering is opened with the beautiful litany, “Everyday God.”
Earth’s creator, Everyday God,
Loving Maker, O Jesus,
You who shaped us, O Spirit,
Recreate us, Come, be with us.
Eleven verses are sung. After each line, a participant holds a large, colored placard that reads, “Everyday God,” “O Jesus,” “O Spirit,” or “Come, be with us.”
“God is there for everything we need, every day,” Frank Sumaya said in English and then in Spanish. “Every day he is something different that we need.”
“What is prayer?” Virginia Sumaya asked all those gathered. “Tom, would you like to share?”
Tom Patterson, a man in his 60s who’s been coming to the gatherings for more than a decade, can’t answer. He’s too busy laughing. It was something his friend whispered. But that’s okay. Laughing is part of the joy of the moment. Seconds later he answers, “It’s asking God to help people.”
There are several more thoughtful responses. Then Frank says of prayer, “You share your pain, your sacrifice, but mainly you say thanks! What if you lost everything and then suddenly got it all back? Would you feel the same? Probably not!”
Virginia discussed many types of prayer, including adoration, which she described as “praising God simply because He is God.”
“Contemplation” she said, is spending time with God in silence, relaxing and being attentive to God’s presence.”
The most important kind of prayer, Virginia said, “is the Mass. It is important because it brings us together as a community to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.”
A supper always concludes the Faith and Light event. Many people brought desserts and salads, while a chili dinner was provided. The sharing continued; more laughter, more joy.
“See you next month!” a smiling man shouts as the participants filter out the door.
If you would like to attend a gathering, volunteer to help, or to form a Faith and Light community in your parish, call (620) 682-0455.
Faith and Light presently numbers more than 1,450 communities on five continents in 83 countries with 38 different languages. Two thirds of the countries where Faith and Light is present suffer from great economic difficulties or political instability. Members of Faith and Light communities come from different Christian traditions without distinction of age, culture or income.
-- From www.faithandlight.org
Dodge City couple journeys the heart and soul of the Catholic Charities Adoption Program
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
Ross and Tracy Smith had just returned from a company ski trip to Breckenridge, Colo. when the Southwest Kansas Catholic visited their home in Dodge City.
One of the stories they shared from their bus trip provided a look into just what kind of parents the couple would be to the child whom they are hoping to adopt one day soon through the Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas Adoption Program.
“We were on I-70 and were hit with a bad snow storm,” Ross said.
“There was a long line of buses and semis on the side of the highway putting on their chains,” Tracy added.
“We could see the other bus drivers out struggling by themselves to get the chains put on,” Ross continued. “We all got out and helped. He had half of the bus out there working. We made short work of it.
“Our driver felt pretty lucky that he had a bunch of Kansas farm boys on his bus!”
One day—hopefully soon—a little child will be equally as lucky, facing life with the support of two loving and hard-working parents.
Ross and Tracy met while attending Kansas State University in Manhattan.
“His friend had a Dodge City tee-shirt on,” Tracy recalled, smiling. The two could have been from anywhere across Kansas. Even well beyond its borders. Kansas State University is, well, Kansas State University after all!
Turns out, Ross and Tracy were raised just 30 miles from each other, Ross in Cimarron and Tracy in Ford. And with that, a new family history began its first stages.
Tracy was raised on her family farm, the daughter of Ronnie and Dina Herrmann. She has two older siblings, Milo and Erin. She attended Bucklin High School and eventually earned a degree in Human Resource Management; she now serves in recruiting and event planning for Crop Quest.
Ross was born in Paris, Tex. and moved to Cimarron as a toddler. He learned a love for farm-work from his father, John Smith, a cattleman, and his mother, Mary. He has three older siblings, Rachel, Nicole and Joshua. After earning his degree, he taught geography and history at Dodge City High School for five years before devoting himself full time to working on his in-laws’ family farm in Ford.
“I want to pass down some of the things that my parents taught me,” Ross said of parenthood. “They did a good job. They worked hard. I gained a lot of values from them.”
Having spent two semesters in Spain and Mexico to learn the Spanish language—as well as the Spanish and Mexican culture—Tracy said she is very open to adopting a boy or girl of a different cultural heritage.
“I would look forward to mixing some of our culture and values with their heritage,” Tracy said.
The couple recognizes that it must be an agonizing decision for the birth-parent to choose the adoption process.
Tracy said she appreciates the fact that Catholic Charities “would help the expectant mother’s decision to either parent the child, or go through the adoption process.
“We’re taught that the first priority is the baby, then the birth parents, then the adoptive parents,” Tracy said.
They admitted that the thought of open adoption (in which the birth parent(s) continue to be a part of the child’s life) was intimidating. But through the classes that the Smiths took as part of the Catholic Charities adoption program, they learned that open adoption is ultimately helpful to the birth-mom in coping with her decision. And it helps the child, who will never face the enduring mystery of their birth-family.
Tracy and Ross have been married for five years. They attend the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City. They are hard-working, farm-stock Kansans, as is attested to by the amount of construction work they’ve both put in on their Dodge City home. The work-in-progress shows a skill and talent for construction and woodworking from both parents.
One day they will have a child, and that child will be lucky. He or she will more than likely develop an artistry for working with wood and other building materials; they’ll appreciate and respect the Kansas farmer as being the heart of the heartland; and they’ll love animals (Doug and Gabe, right, were out enjoying their big backyard the day of our visit).
But most importantly, the child will be enveloped by the love of two good people intent on passing on their love of life and love for God, who has already blessed them so deeply.
For more information about the Smiths, see their introductory profile at http://tiny.cc/RTadopt, or view their Facebook page “Ross And Tracy Hope To Adopt”.
Local Catholics march in Topeka
A delegation of dedicated adults and high school youth departed the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe parking lot at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 22, to travel to Topeka for the Kansans for Life Pro-Life Rally and March.
The group braved the harsh Kansas winds and snow and arrived at the Topeka Performing Arts Center to participate in the Mass prior to the march and rally.
Immediately following Mass, the group took a stand with thousands of other adults and youth from across the state in the March which ended on the Capitol steps.
After lunch, the group returned to the Capitol for a tour and to listen to speaker Melissa Ohden. After a stop in Salina for the evening meal, the group returned to Dodge City at 10:30 p.m.
Parishes sending youth to represent the Diocese of Dodge City included St. Anthony of Padua in Liberal, St. Alphonsus in Satanta and Prince of Peace in Great Bend.
“I am always amazed at the dedication of our youth from the far southwest reaches of our diocese for getting up so early to catch the bus at 5:30 a.m.” said trip organizer Gayla Kirmer. “They represented our diocese well and they all came away with a much deeper appreciation for the protection of the lives of the innocent children in the womb and for the protection of all life from conception to the end of life.
“The youth of our diocese are the future voters for our state. Through this trip, my hope is that it instills in them the responsibility of that privilege for the sacredness of life. Thank you to the youth and the sponsors for making this year’s trip such a success.”
Melissa Ohden, who survived an abortion and was adopted, spoke at the rally. “Today, we are here, unfortunately, to acknowledge such a somber occasion, but at the same time we are here to celebrate the legacy of life that we are all a part of,” Ohden said.
Because there have been 17,000 fewer abortions during the years of Sam Brownback’s governorship, 17 children each presented him with a red rose during the rally. Brownback has been a strong supporter of pro-life legislation and has signed every pro-life bill that came to his desk.
For ‘Dreamers,’ the United States is
the holy home they know
By Ruby Thomas and Jessica Able
Catholic News Service
SPRINGFIELD, Ky. (CNS) -- In response to Pope Francis’ call for Catholics to “Share the Journey” of their lives with one another under a two-year program introduced in September, the following stories relate the experiences and hopes of young Catholic immigrants who worship at St. Dominic Church in Springfield, Kentucky.
For now, they are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, but that program is set to end in March unless Congress passes the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act.
Yuliana Ortega, 15, is a student at Washington County High School. Ortega came to the U.S. from Jalisco, Mexico, when she was just a year old.
Ortega said she fears having to leave her friends and family in Springfield once the DACA program ends.
“I don’t know anything about Mexico. I don’t know where I would go to,” she told The Record, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville.
Ortega, who juggles school and work at the restaurant her family manages, said she wished she wasn’t judged because of her race. Following high school, she hopes to work one day as an interpreter.
“We have goals and things in our lives we want to reach,” she said.
Wendy Hernandez, 21, is an English language tutor for Washington County Schools. Hernandez, who came to the U.S. when she was 6 years old with her mother and two siblings. She said her mother fled Cuernavaca, Mexico, to escape physical abuse.
She considers the U.S., and Springfield, in particular, her home.
Since Hernandez learned of President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel DACA, she has found her future to be uncertain.
“It’s kind of scary because I don’t know what is going to happen,” she said. “My career, everything, is in their (lawmakers) hands.”
Hernandez said there are several misconceptions concerning Dreamers, as DACA youth are sometimes called.
“We don’t get all the benefits everyone believes we do. We have to work harder than others to be able to go to school or to get a job sometimes,” she explained.
She said she worries about being forced to return to a country she does not know. If she could speak to legislators, she would tell them to “get to know us.”
“Get to know a little about us and see how we are trying to help our community. We have ambition and goals in our life for our future.”
Carlos Guzman, 26, is owner and operator of Longview Roofing in Lebanon, Kentucky. Guzman, said ending the DACA program would have a devastating ripple effect in his life.
Not only would he be taken away from his home, family and faith community, but he would be stripped of his livelihood, a business he has worked hard to build, he said.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize we work hard to have a better future. We try our best to contribute to this country. We pay our taxes, we create jobs and we contribute to the economy,” he said.
Guzman, who was brought to the U.S. from Sonora, Mexico, at 14, said people should not judge each other solely based on what others are saying.
“I’m sure every parent wants a better future for their children. Some may think it was probably wrong (for our parents) bringing us here, but what would you do for your child?” he said.
Guzman’s parents decided to bring him and his three brothers to the U.S. to avoid the constant violence they faced.
“It’s a big sacrifice because they left behind their parents and family. When family members die, it’s hard for them not being able to go back,” he said.
Dora Lozano, 18, is a student at Elizabethtown Technical and Community College, where she is studying Spanish and special education. Lozano said she has no memories of her native Mexico City, which she left with her family for the U.S. when she was three years old.
“I’m scared to lose everything. This is all I know,” she said.
If given the opportunity, Lozano said, she would ask legislators to try to understand the situation from her point of view.
“We didn’t come here to harm anyone; we came here to have a better life. This program (DACA) helps us to reach our goals. We don’t want it to be taken away.”
Juan Saucedo, 16, is a junior at Washington County High School and wants to become a diesel mechanic. He came to the U.S. from Aguas Calientes, Mexico, when he was 4 years old.
Saucedo applied for DACA status earlier in 2017 and was in the application process when the Trump administration announced the end of the program. He is unsure of the status of his application.
“Our future is in their hands, but there’s nothing we can do,” the teen said. “We have goals like everyone else. Just because we’re Hispanic or a different race doesn’t mean we don’t have goals.”
Manuel Hernandez, 25, is a senior at Eastern Kentucky University where he is studying computer networking and security. He came to the U.S. with his two siblings, including sister Wendy, and their mother, when he was 13 years old.
Hernandez said he and other DACA youth contribute “to this country in many ways.”
“We’re students; we have jobs,” he said. “This is our home; I don’t think any of us want to go back.”
He said it’s difficult to fight against a narrative that depicts immigrants as ones who take jobs from others and demeans them.
“We’re not just a stereotype. We don’t steal jobs. We’re not criminals. We’re trying to contribute as much as possible.”
Thomas and Able are on the staff of The Record, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville.
Southwest Kansans take to the streets of Washington, D.C.
By CARLEIGH ALBERS
Diocese of Dodge City
Thousands of people from around the United States gathered in Washington D.C. on Jan. 19 on the National Mall to peacefully protest against abortion in the 45th annual March for Life. Out of those thousands of protestors standing up for dignity of the unborn were 26 from the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City.
“We have become a culture of death with abortions, euthanasia, infanticide, physician assisted suicide, and much more,” said Jaclyn Brown, Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry for Prince of Peace Parish in Great Bend.
“The dignity of the human person has been lost. Fortunately, the Catholic Church has stood up for the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death.”
This is the second year that Brown has coordinated a bus trip for the March for Life. After serving as the Coordinator of the Respect Life office for the Diocese of Salina, Brown witnessed a need for the diocese to represent itself in the pro-life movement.
“The Roe v. Wade decision is not just a Catholic Church issue, it is an issue that affects every single human being whether directly or indirectly,” Brown said. “As someone had put it to me a long time ago, these 60 million citizens could have been our future priests, maybe someone’s future spouse, a best friend, the one to find a cure for cancer, etc…. This has been my eighth pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. This pilgrimage is something that should not be taken lightly. The March for Life is a life-changing experience, because there are people who don’t realize what the Roe v Wade ruling has done to our U.S. population. We have aborted more than 60 million U.S. citizens who are missing since the ruling in 1973.”
The speakers at the march consisted of Paul Ryan, speaker of the house, Pam Tebow, mother of the former Major League Football player Tim Tebow, Sister Bethany Madonna of the Sisters for Life, Archbishop of Washington, William E. Lori, former NFL player Matt Birk, and more. However, the most notable speaker was President Donald Trump.
Trump made history by being the first sitting president to address the March for Life via live video feed. The president stated that he was “honored and proud” to be addressing the march this year. “The March for Life is a movement born out of love,” Trump said.
According to Gallup, only 18 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Forty percent believe that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Forty-six percent of people call themselves “pro-life”.
“I think the pro-life movement is quite strong in the United States, when it comes to abortion, specifically speaking,” said Luke Blair, pastoral assistant at Prince of Peace in Great Bend who attended the march for the first time this year. “I would like to see it become a nonpartisan issue that focuses on all issues of life, as the mantra says, ‘from conception to natural death’, including the care of the ‘least among these’ as Jesus speaks of in the Gospel of Matthew.”
The group that attended consisted of pilgrims from Great Bend, Marienthal, Leoti, Ellinwood, La Crosse, Hoisington, and Dodge City. Along with marching for life they also attended other sites such as the National Shrine of John Paul II, the Smithsonian museums, the “Life is VERY good” rally hosted by the Diocese of Arlington, and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. They also attended Mass before the march at Nativity Catholic Church with others from Kansas, including Archbishop Nauman of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, who presided over the Mass.
“My experience at this year’s March for Life was definitely a positive one!” Blair said. “I had never been on the March before, so it was a new experience. It was amazing to hear the testimonies of so many people who, in some way, have contributed to the pro-life movement. It was amazing seeing so many young people—especially from my alma mater, Benedictine College—participating in Mass so joyfully.”
The pro-life movement doesn’t stop when people return home.
“There are tons of things that people can do in their hometowns to support the pro-life movement,” Brown said. “One thing that comes out every year from the USCCB is Respect Life Sunday. It is the first Sunday of October. People have stood out in the public square standing up for life. There are organizations such as Birthright or Catholic Charities that are always accepting baby items to give away to expectant mothers. Baby showers are pretty popular and easy to do for these organizations. Prayer is probably the most important. Praying a rosary, visiting the tomb of the unborn, praying for our government and church leaders. The possibilities are endless.”
After coordinating two of the cross-country treks, Brown said she is ready to pass the baton.
“Right now, I am praying for someone to step up and take charge of the trip next year,” Brown said. “It was hard to leave my son and husband behind. I want to eventually take my son on this trip but not sure that next year is the right time for us. There were groups that joined other dioceses for this trip. I want to see this trip continue for the diocese, but feel at this time, I need to step back and take care of my family and other priorities at the parish.”
Knights raise $47,000 toward ultrasound machine
The ABC Pregnancy Care Center in Garden City is much closer to getting a new $47,000 ultrasound machine, thanks to the efforts of the Knights of Columbus.
The annual Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative actively raises money toward the purchase of ultrasound machines for pregnancy centers across the country. Ultrasound machines have been purchased for pregnancy centers in other parts of Kansas, including Wichita and Parsons. This will be the first time that a machine was purchased for a center in southwest Kansas.
The Knights are closing in on their goal. Tom Loker, a former grand knight and a member of the St. Mary’s Knights of Columbus, Council 2795 in Garden City, explained that the Supreme Council (the national Knights office) has provided half the cost, and the state Knights have provided the other half. But more funds are needed.
“There will be expenses incurred within the pregnancy center not only for the machine, but also for shipping, installation, software probes, etc…,” Loker said.
“Once it is installed, the state will have a representative come—and if his schedule allows, the bishop will bless the machine.
“Our center is doing a lot over here,” added Loker, who is on the board of directors for the ABC Pregnancy Care Center in Garden City. “We even provide post-abortion counseling. We recently hired a new executive director, and she has done a fantastic job.”
Alvin Bergkamp, a member of the Lakin Knights, wants to make sure that all the funds are raised that are needed to cover every cost. He has issued a challenge to other Knights in the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City to each donate $1 per member toward the installation of the sonogram.
“They’re trying to get a new machine (which creates a sonogram image of the child) so they can show the women who come in who are considering abortion that this is a live human being that they are aborting,” Bergkamp said.
“Many people don’t think a child is alive until after it’s born, and most of us know differently.
“This is just something that falls under what the Knights believe, and what we all should believe.”
Loker suggested that funds can be sent to the Kansas State Council Knights of Columbus or directly to the ABC Pregnancy Care Center in the name of the Knights of Columbus:
ABC Pregnancy Care Center
509 N. 6th St
Garden City, KS 67846