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
New faces at the Catholic Chancery
Appeal leads to creation of Family Life Office
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
In the office belonging to Janeé Bernal at the Catholic Chancery in Dodge City, there is a small shelf with few items dedicated to the Beatles.
With a son named JohnPaul, it’s not uncommon for Bernal, director of the new Diocesan Office of Matrimony, Family Life and Natural Family Planning, to feel the need to mention that, no, he was not named after two of the Fab Four.
“I’m a huge fan of the Beatles,” Bernal admits with a wide smile. “But JohnPaul was named after the pope.”
As if to add his own personal testimony, there is a life-sized cutout of John Paul II standing in a corner of her office.
Bernal, who resides with her husband and three children in Garden City, was hired as a direct result of the generosity of local Catholics through the Vibrant Ministries – Uniting Our Church Appeal. The Most Rev. John B. Brungardt has long felt the need for an office dedicated to the family, and through the kindness of local Catholics, he is seeing it come to fruition.
“We are blessed to have Janeé as director of this important office,” Bishop Brungardt said. “She has the teaching skills, the love of the Lord, and a heart for family life that will serve the diocese well.”
The bishop has dedicated this first year of Bernal’s employment as a year of self-formation, she explained.
“I’ll begin by learning how to serve in this ministry by completing pastoral ministry classes and attending numerous conferences and training sessions.”
It’s a tall order. She’ll be serving in a capacity that would typically utilize a separate person for each ministry. And this is why Bernal will be relying on the kindness – and stewardship -- of strangers.
“The vision is that I will oversee these components -- Matrimony, Family Life and Natural Family Planning,” Bernal explained. “Eventually, I’ll be meeting with the parishes to learn what their specific needs are. Then I’ll be seeking out and recruiting mentor couples for Natural Family Planning and marriage preparation to teach at their parish.
“Pope Francis said that family is key to re-invigorating our Church,” Bernal added. “We must put the emphasis on the family again. That’s the only way to put families in the pews -- to make sure families are intact. I’ll be finding out what the needs are in the parishes and finding resources to strengthen family life.”
Prior to her hiring, she served for six years as Assistant Professor of Education at the Newman University Western Kansas Outreach Center in Dodge City. Before that, she taught for eight years in public education in Garden City.
She has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from K-State, and a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis on ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Fort Hays State University.
It was while attending diocesan youth events such as TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) and high school mission trips that she met her future husband, Jesse, now a Garden City high school teacher.
“I credit [former Diocesan Youth Director] Steve Polley and LeaAnn Scott for us meeting,” she said.
Janeé and Jesse have three children, JohnPaul, 7, Gabriella, 4, both of whom attend St. Dominic School, and Jude, 1. Bernal’s mother and father reside in Great Bend, and she has extended family in Leoti and Marienthal.
She learned about the chancery position after a conversation with her doctor, who lamented the limited availability of NFP programs. He encouraged her to seek ways that she might be of service. This was the same day that the job listing was placed on the diocesan website.
It was a whirlwind experience. After being hired, she was sent to the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers in Lafayette, La. There she learned that “there are so many people in other dioceses who are wanting and willing to help. It was so powerful.”
And she learned a second powerful lesson that she will take with her throughout her ministry:
“Two of the keynote speakers, Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak, said that every single day, every single family should work, play, talk and pray together. It’s so simple. It will strengthen your family.
“I have a teacher’s heart, but a heart for ministry, as well,” Bernal concluded. “So, this is a good mix. I feel very honored to be able to fill this office at the diocesan level after so many years of not having anyone dedicated to this ministry full-time.”
New faces at the Catholic Chancery
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
When asked what hobbies she enjoys, Heidy Ramirez, the new Database and Development Assistant for the Catholic Chancery, thought for a moment and replied, “We love watching movies.”
Old movies? Contemporary? Westerns?
“Hindi,” she answered with a smile.
“You mean Bollywood?”
“We love the music, and they have good messages ....”
Being a mother of six, the Dodge City resident wants her family to have positive influences. This is one of the reasons why she accepted the position at the Catholic Chancery.
“The environment – the spirituality – is very important to my family,” she said of her new position. “It’s not just a job, but a ministry — helping my Church.”
She will serve under the supervision of the Office of Development, directed by Mark Roth. Her primary role will be to coordinate and maintain all aspects of the donor system for the Diocesan database (Donor Perfect).
Ramirez replaces outgoing assistant, Susan Wrinn Flax (see below).
Ramirez moved to Dodge City with her parents, Bertha and Luis de Luna, and her two brothers, from Juarez, Mexico at age 14. She graduated Dodge City High School in 1997 and began attending Dodge City Community College.
At 19, she met and married Carlos Ramirez. The couples’ six children range in age from 18 to a toddler who will turn 2 in September.
She previously served in financial services for a Wichita company for one year. Before that, she worked for three years at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
It’s a good guess that her parents, who teach marriage support classes, instilled in their daughter a certain sense of humor, even about a sacrament as important as marriage.
“I was telling Father Wesley [Schawe] that the 19 years I’ve been married seem like only five minutes,” she explained. “When Father Wesley said, ‘That’s wonderful!’ I added, “…under water.” Ramirez broke into laughter, knowing the absurdity of the statement, especially when it comes to her blessed marriage to Carlos.
Ramirez serves as a Natural Family Planning teacher, providing lessons on the Billings Ovulation Method. She and Carlos sing in the choir at Mass. In fact, it’s rare to attend any diocesan function at the cathedral and not see Heidy or Carlos, or both of them, involved in some capacity.
“I think I’m going to like it here,” she said two days into her new job at the chancery. “I’m here to help in any way. I like helping people.”
New faces at the Catholic Chancery
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
Courage and faith can be synonymous at times.
Diana Ramirez, a Dodge City resident and mother of two — Bernardo, 2, and Andres, due in September — recently left a job she enjoyed as secretary at Sacred Heart Cathedral School to accept a year-long internship at the Catholic chancery.
“I feel like it was a leap of faith,” the 27-year-old said. “I had to trust. Who knows where it will take me? I have no plans, I just have to trust in God that it will all work out.”
The position will require her to work in three primary ministries: Young adult ministry with director, Gentry Heimerman; youth ministry with director Adam Urban; and the newly formed Matrimony and Family Life Ministry with newly hired director, Janeé Bernal.
“Those three will be my main focus, but I’ll collaborate with other ministries when the need arises,” she said.
The Mexico native came to the United States while in the first grade. For 20 years she has lived in Dodge City. Her mother, Maria Gomez, has since died; she has a father, Nestor Melendez, two brothers, Kevin and Nestor H. Melendez, a sister, Lizbeth Moon and is married to Andres Ramirez.
Besides serving three primary ministries for the diocese—as well as preparing to give birth to her second child—she is currently earning a certificate in Pastoral Ministry through the diocese ITV program, as well as working toward a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry from Newman University. She is also in a formation and discernment process to become a member of the Comunidad Siervos de Cristo Vivo (CSCV).
“Servants of Living Christ is a community of laity that was born in the feelings of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for man,” she said. “Eight years of experience in the love of God and in preaching inspired Rev. Father Emiliano Tardiff, M.S.C., Maria Armenteros and Evaristo Guzman to found a community that contemplates, evangelizes and transforms.”
She has earned an Associate of Arts Degree in psychology from Dodge City Community College. She also has a great love for music ministry, a skill that will undoubtedly be utilized at various diocesan functions.
“One of my biggest hopes in serving the diocese is to share my love of family life – a whole life appreciation — acknowledging the gift of life in the womb and in every person we encounter so that we may come closer as brothers and sisters in Christ.” Ramirez said.
“I have to be open to why God has opened this door. He has a reason. I want to learn from everyone here and learn what God wants of me.”
Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years of episcopal ministry
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
Anyone who has been offered that big promotion only to face a sudden realization that you’re not quite sure it’s a step you feel prepared to take, can begin to understand how then-Msgr. Ronald M. Gilmore felt the day he learned he was to become bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City.
“The days leading up to that ordination were hard days for me physically and emotionally,” he told friends gathered at St. Andrew Parish Center in Wright to celebrate his 20th anniversary as a bishop.
“I remember the night before, sleep was very fitful. The next morning, I was really feeling miserable. I was out of sorts. My stomach was churning. I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it through the ceremony.
“So, I prayed for the Lord to help me get through it,” he said.
One of Bishop Gilmore’s redeeming characteristics has been his blunt honesty about his own insecurities. When housed amid his deep faith, these admissions became a saving grace for the multitude of souls who’ve struggled with their own search for faith amid struggles — a multitude of people who found strength from the bishop’s words and example.
Bishop Emeritus Gilmore was honored July 16 by the Most Rev. John B. Brungardt, several priests and Religious of the diocese, and numerous friends, at a dinner reception at St. Andrew Church in Wright. The evening began with vespers, followed by a reception and dinner hosted by the St. Andrew Altar Society, Wright Council of the Knights of Columbus, and the St. Andrew Vocations Commission.
After the roast beef dinner, Bishop Gilmore drew howls of laughter as he recalled the moments leading up to his ordination:
“I had to take the oath that we bishops have to take,” he told those gathered. “The nuncio had about a 42-page prayer in Latin, and I had to read through this.
“I knew this about the nuncio: he had an aversion to air-conditioning. When he told me that I was selected to be the bishop of Dodge City, he was in a non-air-conditioned room at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.”
It was a hot day to begin with, the bishop said. Combined with his tattered nerves and lack of sleep, the lengthy reading became a bit like a verbal obstacle course.
“I went through this oath, reading it word for word in Latin, and I’m dripping on the paper,” the bishop said to laughter.
At his table at the parish center in Wright sat Father Jack Maes, who smiled and nodded at the memory, the priest having been in the room those two decades ago when the future Bishop Gilmore read the long document.
“It was a difficult time leading up to the ordination,” Bishop Gilmore said. “During the ordination, though, about half-way through, we reached the point of the laying-on of hands, and … I can’t say that I was aware of anything happening. Nothing was perceptible to me.
“But somehow, in some way, without my being aware of it, I was suddenly strengthened. All the rest of that melted away.”
The soft-spoken Bishop Gilmore led the diocese in the construction of a new cathedral. Through his many deanery meetings and gatherings at churches throughout the diocese, he sought to “bring people into the family of the diocese. It was a great thing for me to meet the people in that way.
“I told people I wasn’t interested in their money, that I was interested in their souls. And the priests always pushed back and said, ‘Bishop, be high-minded on your own time! We’re trying to pay a few bills here!’” he said to more laughter.
“Of course, that’s true. I was interested in their souls, although I would tell them that I cannot have your souls if you hoard your money!”
A year or so after Bishop Gilmore retired, he met Jacqueline Loh, founder of “Grace that Reigns Society,” which presents retreats designed to “renew your sense of wonder in your love and relationship with Jesus.” The two began touring the country and Canada giving retreats. Their most recent retreat was in Hugoton to a nearly filled church.
“I want to thank Bishop Brungardt for welcoming Grace that Reigns into the diocese and for letting us be a part of the mission of the diocese,” Bishop Gilmore said.
Words said upon Bishop Gilmore’s 2010 retirement stand just as true today: “I can never thank God enough for these Dodge City years,” he said. “And they are not yet ended. And other surprises are yet to come.”
Weakness in us is strength in Christ
By John Stang
Seminarian, Diocese of Dodge City
“Find your own Calcutta.”
These are the wise words of St. Mother Teresa. She knew that we do not have to travel across the globe to be missionaries of Christ; it usually starts in our own communities.
I found my Calcutta. The last two summers, I served on the Totus Tuus and Prayer and Action teams, respectively, for the Diocese of Dodge City. Seminarians frequently are assigned to these missions. I discovered these programs to be very spiritually rewarding and a great opportunity to serve Christ in others. I encourage all college students, particularly those who grew up in the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City, to apply for team member positions.
Totus Tuus, Latin for “Totally Yours,” is a Catholic vacation Bible school that started in the Wichita diocese 31 years ago. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the team of four teach lessons to children, first through sixth grade. Usually, those lessons cover a mystery of the rosary, biblical history, and Catholic saints, with fun activities incorporated.
In the evening, the middle and high school portion of the program begins. Team members play games with the youth upon arrival and give testimonials about how their Catholic faith has shaped their lives. The team moves to a different parish each week, staying with host families, along with eating with a different family each evening.
Prayer and Action, which began in the Salina Diocese over a decade ago, is for high school and college students. The team works in two parishes, often painting houses, doing yard work, and other manual labor tasks requested by community members in need. The missionaries, the team and participants, usually stay at the parish center. During the day, everyone goes to the worksites and then returns in the evening to cook meals. The night portion, called Collatio (latin for ‘come together’), is when the team performs skits and each team member rotates in giving a talk. For instance, I gave talks about prayer and discernment.
Initially, upon hearing the news that I would serve on these teams, I was a little nervous about my perceived weaknesses. I don’t have a background in teaching nor am I a handy person. Moreover, I was assigned to managing the kitchen for Prayer and Action, despite the fact that I was barely able to cook for myself, and I became a team leader for Totus Tuus without participating in the program beforehand. Growing up in the Dodge City Diocese, I had not experienced either of these programs. So, I did not know much about the structure of either one.
I’m guessing that concerns about one’s weaknesses are probably a stumbling block for most applicants.
However, if we are called to serve, we must trust in God’s providence that He will provide. This summer, I reflected on the words of St. Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.” (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
Our weaknesses are where Jesus can give us the most strength to complete the task at hand. You might pleasantly surprise yourself at what you can do. Sometimes, it takes others to notice what we don’t see in ourselves. Parents, encourage your children. Grandparents, ask your grandchildren. Previous team members, tell your friends about the experiences you had. We must be like Jesus and invite others to serve.
Certainly, there will be long hours, moments of frustration, and other challenges. But it was worth it for all the amazing moments. Witnessing a child be excited about learning a new piece of the faith, noticing the smile of a homeowner who is excited to see their house reshaped into something new and beautiful, talking to teenagers about discerning their vocations, or seeing a kid have the time of their life during a water fight, I will always treasure these moments. If you feel the call to serve as a missionary, God will show you your own moments of joy that you can cherish for the rest of your life.
Seeing the Scrolls
By Charlene Scott Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
I have written several stories about the Dead Sea scrolls since I floated years ago in the sea’s thickly salt-clogged waters, looking up at the cliff caves where the scrolls were found in Israel.
But never did I think I actually would see the scrolls with my own eyes, which happened recently when my husband Dave and I visited an exhibit of 10 of 20 scrolls displayed at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in downtown Denver. (The other 10 scrolls were displayed at a different time.)
The scrolls had never before been on public display, and span nearly 185 years, with copies made as early as 125 BCE. The Isaiah scroll is one of the latest copies discovered.
The building was clogged with the curious public, but a kindly man from the museum gave us a private tour, explaining the history of each scroll on display as we strolled past these remains of antiquity.
The scrolls had been written and stuffed into large jars by religious men—Essene monks—a sect of Second Temple Judaism who fled the attacks of Jews and others in Jerusalem and lived in a desert community they named Qumran that was destroyed in 68 CE (Christian Era). More than 900 remarkably preserved scrolls were recovered.
During my visit to Israel, some of my companions and I climbed the huge rocks leading up to one of the caves and peered into the darkest darkness I’ve ever seen. Of course, there were no pots or parchment of any sort left inside the cave.
Discovered by a young Bedouin boy in 1947 when his goat scampered up the rocks and into one of the caves, the huge pots we saw at the museum contained manuscripts of the Book of Isaiah, older by a thousand years than any previously known Hebrew copy of the Old Testament! The Book of Isaiah is one of the more common Dead Sea scroll texts.
The dawn of civilization arose in the region of Israel more than a million years ago and became the birthplace of some of the world’s leading religions. There are more than 30,000 known archaeological sites throughout Israel, a tiny sliver of land that can be crossed by car from top to bottom in only four hours!
The Denver museum featured 2,000-year-old parchments and scraps of parchments found in Israel’s caves above the Dead Sea between 1947 and 1956. Following their discovery, historians in the 1950s pieced the scraps back together using cellophane tape.
The majority of the scrolls are non-Biblical, representing religious legal writings, prayer texts and predictions of a future apocalypse. Even recipes are included among the scrolls!
Some 1,200 silver shekels (coins) were unearthed at Qumran, and many copies of the Book of Isaiah were discovered in the caves. A few were on display at the exhibit, as were a pair of leather sandals worn by one of the Jewish rebels who fought in vain against Roman forces and chose to kill their families and themselves rather than surrender at the nearby desert fortress of Masada in 73 CE.
The Jewish religious men at Qumran believed the last days were coming at any time, and readied themselves by prayer, study and cleanliness, bathing twice a day in small pools of water. Qumran was destroyed in 68 CE (Christian Era), but when we visited the area, we walked among the rooms of its stony remains as we did at the better preserved mountain fortress of Masada.
Among the ancient pieces of pottery from Israel displayed at the Denver museum were huge collared-rim storage jars called “Pithos,” dating from the Iron Age I (11th century BCE). These enormous pots were found in the remains of four-room houses in Canaan’s central hill country.
As for the scrolls on exhibit at the museum, 27 percent were written in Greek, although 10 scrolls were copies of the Hebrew community’s writings. NASA has a digital library where a digitized process allows viewers to “see writings we never could see before.”
A discovery made in Cave 4 in 1952 produced a “War Rule,” a six-line fragment, known as the Sefer ha-Milhamah, commonly referred to as the “Pierced Messiah” text, which refers to a Messiah from the Branch of David (whom we know as our Savior Jesus Christ), and also to a judgment and a killing, both of which He experienced.
One Hebrew scroll on parchment includes as many as 51 psalms, but their order does not correspond to the present version of the Hebrew Bible, and the scroll contains psalms not found in the present version.
The text names King David as author of the psalms, reinforcing his reputation as the greatest of poets!
One scroll contains a lease agreement belonging to Eliezer ben Shmuel, a farmer who lived in Ein Gedi. (I visited this small part of Israel that looks like Paradise, and we have named a picnic area in our backyard “Ein Gedi!). The land changing hands in Israel was owned by the government of Simeon Bar Kokhba, leader of the Second Jewish Revolt against the Romans (132-135 CE). The document refers to Bar Kokhba as the “Prince of Israel.”
One parchment, the book of Enoch, was written in Aramaic and found in Cave 4, dating back to between 100 and 50 BCE. Enoch is mentioned in the book of Genesis, where he is reported to “Walk with God,” as we all would like to walk.