A Newsletter for Deacons and Pastoral Ministers
From Bishop Gilmore…
►CORPORATION MATTERS… We are approaching the end of our second year under the new parish corporation structure. The more “formalized” structure results in additional obligations, such as the filing of annual reports, preparation of annual minutes, banking resolutions, etc. We have had the opportunity to work with a number of the parishes on these issues over the past 24 months. It is clear that many are starting to develop a greater comfort level and understanding of our new structure and the procedures that need to be followed in conducting the affairs of the parish corporations and their related activities. Despite the great strides that have been made in this area, we want to remind everyone that legal issues related to the parish corporation activities may not be readily apparent. Failure to follow proper procedures can have significant adverse consequences on liability and tax exemption issues both to the parish and the diocese. I would encourage anyone who has any question regarding the activities of a parish corporation to contact Fr. Bob Schremmer and discuss those activities. He can then assist you in determining whether there is an issue that needs addressed further, and if so, direct you to the appropriate person to assist you.
Also, please be very circumspect if you are considering establishing a corporation or some other legal entity for some aspect of parish life and/or ministry. Please encourage the same measure of circumspection to any individuals, groups, or organizations that may wish to do the same in regard to some aspect of the life and/or ministry of the parish or some other aspect of Catholic apostolates within the Diocese. We have found that these can become very confused, muddled, and misunderstood. What can seem to be a very simple and good idea can become extremely complex and contentious after some years have passed. If you are in the process of doing something of this nature or if you ever anticipate doing something of this nature, please visit with Fr. Bob Schremmer. Again he can assist you in determining whether there are issues that need consideration and attention, and if so, direct you to the appropriate person to assist you.
► Engaged Encounter in Spanish... One of the priorities of the US Bishops is the strengthening of Marriages and Families. Engaged Encounter has been and continues to be a valuable resource in our pastoral care of couples preparing for marriage. Deacon Oscar and Marta Rodriguez, Father Jim Dieker, Sister Gemma Doll, Father Floyd McKinney and others have been working to provide EE in Spanish in the Diocese. Their work is paying off. An Engaged Encounter Weekend will be offered in Spanish the weekend of April 17 – 19, 2009 at the recently remodeled Our Lady of Guadalupe Center on Avenue “J” in Dodge City. More information will be shared at the Hispanic Ministers gathering on January 13th. That information will be made available elsewhere as well.
► Word Working... I plan to again lead our Diocese in Word Working during Lent 2009. Please note the following times for special preparation sessions where participants will learn or be refreshed in the Word Working Method. The sessions will be offered over the Church in Partnership ITV Network: Saturday, January 24th, 10:00am – 12:00noon (English); Wednesday, February 11th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm (English); Sunday, February 15th, 3:00pm – 5:00pm (Spanish).
I was struck by the emphasis that the Synod on the Word gave to this way of praying the Scriptures: Observers attest that the practice of lectio divina is a recommendation being made over and over by the synod fathers and auditors at the world Synod of Bishops. [Oct. 15, 2008, Zenit.org]
Bishop Joseph Rayappu of Mannar, Sri Lanka, ... described the fruits that the practice has had in his diocese, where the episcopal conference began to emphasize lectio divina 14 years ago. The Sri Lankan prelate arrived to this conclusion: "The Church in the world today is facing serious threats from various 'isms' and in confronting this challenge, lectio divina is one way that is proven to be effective. In the words of our Holy Father: 'if lectio divina is effectively promoted this practice will bring to the Church -- I am convinced of it -- a new spiritual springtime.'" [Oct. 17, 2008, Zenit.org]
I, of course, can only agree with Bishop Rayappu. What he has seen in Sri Lanka, I have seen in Southwest Kansas. And of course, I trust with the Holy Father that the more we faithfully use this gift of prayer; there will be a new spiritual springtime for us and the whole Church. As St. Gregory the Great says the objective of this practice is "to know the heart of God through the word of God."
Thank you for the support you have given me in my Lenten Word Working Prayer and for all the ways you have incorporated and used Word Working in meetings and other parish gatherings. It is affirming to hear that the recent Synod of Bishops encourages what we have found to be such a blessing over these past few years.
More information about our plans for Lent 2009 will be forthcoming.
► Pro-Life… FOCA Postcard Campaign…
The Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities has approved a campaign to oppose the “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA). You may find additional information regarding FOCA and our opposition at http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/FOCA/.
As a new Congress and a new President are sworn in, it is anticipated that certain pro-life policies dealing with restricting abortion may come under attack. FOCA would create a “fundamental right” to abortion that government could not limit but would have to support. FOCA would overturn widely-supported policies, including laws protecting parental involvement and conscience rights and those preventing partial-birth abortion and taxpayer funding of abortion.
You will receive shortly after the new year from the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment postcard strips with three-postcards/strip – one for Senator Sam Brownback, one for Senator Pat Roberts, and one for Representative Jerry Moran. The postcards will be addressed to Capitol Hill.
The target date for the postcard signing event is the weekend of January 24-25, 2009. Please encourage your people to sign and mail the postcards.
January 22nd March for Life...Washington, DC
Tama Dutton of the Wichita Respect Life & Social Justice Office recently notified Father Wesley that they did have some room on their busses for both High School Students and Young Adults. It would be a tremendous opportunity. You may find out more information at http://www.cdowk.org/offices/rlsj/march4life.htm. If you have people interested, please deal directly with the Respect Life & Social Justice Office in Wichita. Their contact information is available on that website.
I am grateful to the Diocese of Wichita for their invitation to join them.
January 22nd March for Life...Topeka, KS
Once again the Diocese of Dodge City will sponsor a 1-day trip to Topeka for high school and college-age students to celebrate life and commemorate the 36th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States. Last year’s students commented on the impact the day had on them and on those they met. So mark your calendars for Thursday, January 22, 2009—and encourage your youth!
I appreciate Father Wesley and Pam Vainer for coordinating this event.
January 22nd Day of Penance and Prayer
Natural Family Planning and healthy marriages
On December 14 and 15, St. Catherine Hospital and St. Dominic Parish in Garden City will host Dr. Laurie Heap, for a series of talks about Natural Family Planning and healthy marriages. You are especially invited to attend:
• Sunday, December 14th, St. Dominic Parish Center
o 4:00 pm Are You Healthy? Are You Happy? New insights into women's health and a couple's satisfaction in their relationship This talk is open to all who are interested.
o 6:00 pm Bonus Conversation! Priests, healthcare professionals, and NFP teachers and leaders are welcome to stay for this personal time to visit with Dr. Heap about Natural Family Planning in the Diocese of Dodge City.
• Monday, December 15th, Samy’s Spirits and Steakhouse, 1911 E. Kansas
o 6:15 pm Drinks and meals available to order; nursery provided at St. Dominic Parish Center
o 7:00 pm When a Man Loves a Woman This talk is open to all young adults—single, married, Catholic or not—in their 20s or 30s.
I look forward to participating and thank St. Catherine Hospital and St. Dominic Parish for their partnering to offer such a fine gift to us.
Blessing of a Child in the Womb
The U.S. bishops approved the Order for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb for use in the dioceses of the United States with a 223-1 vote November 11, at their General Assembly in Baltimore. The bishops also approved a Spanish version of the blessing with a 224-0 vote.
The Blessing of a Child in the Womb was prepared by the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities after receiving requests from dioceses for such a blessing and not finding an existing blessing for a newly conceived child. In March, 2008 a blessing was prepared and submitted to the Committee on Divine Worship. The proposed blessing is distinct from the Blessing of Parents before Childbirth found in the Book of Blessings.
The Blessing of a Child in the Womb Within Mass and Outside Mass, in English and in Spanish, upon recognition by the Congregation on Divine Worship and the Sacraments in Rome for use in the dioceses of the United States of America, will be included in future editions of the Book of Blessings (de Benedictionibus) when the text is revised.
► Diocesan Superintendent of Schools… Ann Depperschmidt is getting married in June and moving out of state. We congratulate Ann and her fiancé. We wish them well. Let’s hold them in our prayer as they prepare for the sacrament of marriage.
We do regret that this means that Ann will be resigning at the end of this academic year. We will miss Ann even as we continue to appreciate all that she has done for us and given to us through her commitment to Catholic Education.
We are in need of a Superintendent of Schools. Here is our announcement that will appear in various papers and on various websites, etc:
The Catholic Diocese of Dodge City is seeking applicants to serve as Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools. The Superintendent is accountable to the Bishop for providing direction and supervision for the 7 parish elementary schools in the Diocese. The position is half time. Salary and benefits are negotiable. Applicants must be in full communion with the Catholic Church, hold a Master’s Degree in school administration, posses a current Kansas Administrator’s License, and have at least three years experience in school administration.
►Good Leaders, Good Shepherds (GLGS)… Using Jesus Christ as the ultimate shepherd and model of leadership, the Good Leaders, Good Shepherds curriculum for priests was specifically designed to help Catholic priests overcome the challenges today of a diminishing number of priests and more complex circumstances for priestly ministry. The goal is to minimize the frustration and energy spent on their administrative roles and maximize the joy and time spent on the pastoral duties for which you were uniquely ordained. The impact that has been felt in a number of dioceses who have already participated in Good Leaders, Good Shepherds is shepherds who are more holy, healthy, and happy leading people to a deeper relationship with Christ.
Kansas City began GLGS in November and Wichita began this month on the 2nd. Dodge City/Salina will begin 11am, Tuesday, March 24th - 3pm, Friday, March 27th, 2009, Heartland Center, Great Bend. The other dates for 2009 are 11am, Tuesday, May 19th – 3pm, Thursday, May 21st (Great Bend); 10:30am – 4pm, Thursday, June 18th, Capuchin Renewal Center, Victoria; 10:30am – 4pm, Tuesday, July 14th (Victoria); 10:30am – 4pm, Thursday, August 27th (Victoria); 11am, Tuesday, October 20th – 3pm, Thursday, October 22nd (Great Bend); 10:30am – 4pm, November 17th (Victoria); and 10:30am – 4pm, December 17th (Victoria). The start and finish times may still be adjusted a bit. The last session will be in October of 2010. There have been some modifications made that lengthen the day sessions a bit so that we could reduce the number of these one-day sessions from thirteen to ten. A complete calendar will be sent to participants soon.
After the new year, I will begin sharing the promise of Good Leaders, Good Shepherds with our people through articles in the Southwest Kansas Register.
I remain grateful for the 20 priests who have committed themselves to Good Leaders, Good Shepherds and those who are still considering doing so. I am grateful for the opportunity we have to share this experience with the Salina Presbyterate. It is a significant grace that priests of all four Kansas dioceses are involved in this extensive process to become holier, healthier, and happier shepherds. This indeed could be one of the most effective vocation efforts we could do to encourage men to consider joining us in our priestly ministry.
I know that it will take considerable time and effort and some money but again it could be one of the best ways we could encourage not only richer ministry now but vocations so that our ministry can continue into the future.
In all of this, we need to continue to be grateful to Theresa Rome for her contribution from the Monsignor Kuhn Fund that she administers for underwriting half of the cost of this endeavor. GLGS tells us that they know of no better deal in the country.
Let us hold her, Monsignor Kuhn’s soul, and our GLGS effort in our prayer.
► Priest Continuing Ed vis-à-vis GLGS... Monsignor Moore and the Priests’ Continuing Education Committee offered a proposal that during 2009 and 2010 while we are engaged in the extensive priestly formation effort, GLGS, we forego our October Convocation. This would free up some time for those priests involved in the GLGS process. It would also have the added benefit, during this time of financial uncertainty, of allowing a good portion of the money usually spent on the Convocation which can run around $15,000 to help offset the expenses for GLGS.
I have reviewed this proposal and consulted the Personnel Board at its recent meeting. With their advice, I have accepted this plan.
We will not have our annual October Continuing Education Convocation in 2009 or in 2010. We will resume in 2011.
During 2009 and 2010, we will have a Priests’ Day that will include a time for prayer, a time for me and you to share regarding various diocesan developments, a presentation of some pastoral concern, and a time to share an evening meal and enjoy one another’s company. Monsignor Moore is in the process of making arrangements for the Priests’ Day for this coming year, 2009. At present, I anticipate our engaging in conversation regarding our “confirmation conversation” that is presently going on in our Diocese. Monsignor Moore has been visiting with Sister Gemma Doll about the possibility of arranging for Father Charles Dahm, OP, to be with us for the Day. Father Dahm has done extensive work with preachers who preach to a multicultural (especially Hispanic) congregation. That would be the focus of his presentation to us. He could also then provide this same opportunity for our deacons in Spanish as well as English. There had already been plans in the making to have Father Dahm come to Southwest Kansas because he has also done extensive work on domestic violence in the Hispanic Community as well as the boarder community. We continue to hear that domestic violence is especially prevalent in Southwest Kansas. Father Dahm’s presence would be one more way of our addressing this pressing concern. Making all these connections will also prove cost effective.
As all these plans develop, we will be posting them to the web and sharing them with you.
► CLICK HERE… to read the following article, "Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Immigration Reform Among Catholics" from the Department of Communications, USCCB.
► THANK YOU… for the extra effort you have given to SAFE ENVIRONMENT. Much headway has been made yet much is to be done. Please give extra attention to Sr. Janice Grochowsky's notice below.
Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas
May your advent waiting give way to an abundance of Christmas peace for you and yours.
To access updated information about each item listed, please click on each separate line.
•Protecting God's Children Awareness Sessions
•Southwest Kansas Register deadlines for 2008
•Information on upcoming workshops at the Heartland Center for Spirituality.
•Catechist Formation/Certification, English and Spanish
•Comprehensive Schedule for Pastoral Ministry Formation via ITV network.
From Sister Janice Grochowsky, Chancellor
►SAFE ENVIRONMENT – I appreciate all of the efforts made by pastors, parish staff, DREs and school staff to work toward safe environment compliance with all of our employees and volunteers with regular contact with children. Our records are looking SO MUCH BETTER thanks to these efforts. Thank you. It is all about creating a safe environment for our children and young people.
Despite all of these good efforts, however, there is still work to be done. Click here to see what our records show as of December 4, 2008. This listing primarily contains the names of catechists and volunteers in our PSR programs. We are just now going through our records to check the compliance status of the paid staff and volunteers in our schools. So, this school information is not yet on this document.
There are three parishes that I have not yet received a list of catechists and volunteers in your PSR program: Odin, Plains and Tribune. I would appreciate receiving this list as soon as possible.
As you will see, there are a number of parishes (14 in all) who have all of the catechists and volunteers with regular contact with children in compliance. Congratulations!
I am a bit perplexed at the fairly large number of people who are lacking only a background check (but have already attended a Protecting God’s Children awareness session). I see no reason why there is such a large number of these folks because it is easy enough to address: go to our website (www.dcdiocese.org), click on the safe environment icon, click on #6, print of the number of volunteer consent forms you need, have the person complete and sign the form, then fax or mail to forms to Amy Seachris to run.
Again, thank you for your care and concern for the safety of our children. It seems the newspapers everyday have another article of child neglect, endangerment, or abuse. Evaluating backgrounds and adults learning to recognize warning signs of child abuse are key ways to create that safe environment for our children and youth.
►Tribunal – Instead of mailing to the advocate copies of correspondence I send to the Petitioner, I will be sending those copies to the advocate by email in an effort to cut some expenses. This will not only cut down on letterhead and envelopes, it will also decrease the amount of postage.
From Becky Hessman, Coordinator, Office of Vocations:
►HAVE YOU SUBMITTED names for the QUO VADIS RETREAT? IT IS NOT TOO LATE! Quo Vadis is an annual retreat for young men (seniors in high school and not older than 30) that allows young men to discern their vocation.
The retreat is sponsored by the Wichita Diocese and is held at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita beginning Friday, January 2, 2009 at 7:00pm and ending Sunday, January 4 at noon. Father Ted Stoecklein will be supporting the young men from our diocese.
►YOUTH VOCATION ITV NIGHT: Over 300 students gathered at the Diocesan Interactive Television sites for Youth Vocation Night on November 19th. I am hearing great comments so I hope to offer another Youth Vocation Night in the spring semester for those parishes that did not get the opportunity to attend in November.
►NATIONAL VOCATION AWARENESS WEEK IS JANUARY 11-16, 2009: Immediately following the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, this special week emphasizes the special call to vocation that we all share by virtue of our own baptism. Take time to reflect and give thanks for the gift of your vocation.
From Sister Gemma Doll, Coordinator, Cultural Formation:
►WORLD DAY OF CONSECRATED LIFE: In 1997 Pope John Paul II declared the Feast of the Presentation World Day of Consecrated Life. January 31st-February 1st, parishes will have a religious speak at all the Masses about consecrated life. In the words of Pope John Paul II, "I trust that this World Day of prayer and reflection will help the particular Churches to treasure ever more the gift of consecrated life and to be measured by its message, to find the proper and fruitful balance between action and contemplation, between prayer and charity, and between commitment in the present time and eschatological hope."
►HISPANIC MINISTRY: January 10, 2009, Meeting of HISPANIC CONSEJO at the Chancery. The Counsel will continue discussing catechesis and youth ministry.
ODDS & ENDS:
DECEMBER / JANUARY Calendars
4TH-5TH: Kansas Catholic Conference - Provincial Meeting
8th: Feast of the Immaculate Conception - Chancery closed all day. Office hours resume Tuesday, December 9th, 9:00am.
10th: School visit to Sacred Heart in Dodge City. 9:00am Mass.
13th: 10:00am Commencement at Newman University.
14th: 4:00pm, Bishop Gilmore to welcome to those attending NFP gathering at St. Dominic Parish Center, Garden City.
19th: Directors' Meeting, 10:00am, Chancery conference room.
20th: Bishop Gilmore to preside at 7:00pm Spanish Mass at the Cathedral celebrating Deacon Erasmo Rodriguez's 25th anniversary of his ordination as a deacon.
24th: Chancery closes at noon on Christmas Eve.
25th: Merry Christmas - Chancery closed.
26th: Chancery closed - Christmas holiday. Office hours resume on Monday, December 29th, 9:00am.
30th: 5:00pm Bishop to gather with seminarians for the evening.
1st: New Year's Day - Chancery closed. Office hours resume on Friday, January 2, 2009, 9:00am.
4th: Bishop Gilmore to preside at 9:00am Mass at St. Andrew Church in Wright - Centennial celebration.
16th: 10:00am Directors' meeting, conference room.
20th: 11:00am Presbyteral Council meeting, conference room.
24th: 10:00am Bishop to welcome those attending ITV Word Working Training session.
Engaged Encounter Information:
2009: January 16-18; April 17-19; June 26-28; September 11-13
►If you have had a difficult time opening some of the links found in the NOTES, try downloading this free program that will help: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.