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Monthly Notes from Bishop Brungardt
and the Diocesan Staff

November 2015 --- Vol. XIII, No.  XI





From Most Rev. John B. Brungardt, Bishop of Dodge City:

Regarding Pope Francis extending priests’ authority to absolve the sin of abortion for the upcoming Year of Mercy:

The priests of the Diocese of Dodge City already have the authority to absolve the sin of abortion as well as remit the penalty so that an individual may be fully reconciled to the God and the Church.  Priests of the diocese have possessed this authority from the bishop for many years, however this may not be the case in different parts of the world.  The recent comments of Pope Francis extending priests’ authority for the upcoming Year of Mercy is meant to facilitate more accessible reconciliation, healing and mercy throughout the universal Church.

Women and men who have received absolution for the grave sin of abortion in the past should be assured of the mercy and forgiveness previously extended to them in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Spiritual support and counseling may be found through the services of Rachel Vineyard Retreats.  Anyone wounded by abortion is invited to contact Donetta Robben, 877-447-4383, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Website:

Notice of Resignation

Steven Polley has submitted his resignation as Diocesan Youth/Religious Formation Director as of June 30, 2016.

I have accepted Steven’s resignation and wish him well in his future endeavors as I continue to be grateful for the 20 plus years of service Steven has provided the youth of our diocese.  I appreciate Steven giving me this time to plan for the future of our diocesan support for youth ministry and religious formation.

Over the years of service it would be hard to calculate all that went in to Steven’s orchestrating the numerous TECs, Joy Retreats, Confirmation Retreats, Youth Rallies, Summer Camps, Totus Tuus weeks.  He has year in and year out facilitated our diocesan participation in our State KARE Conferences, National Catholic Youth Conferences, and other state and inter-diocesan events.  He has represented the Diocese and served on national and regional boards and committees.  I am especially taken by how Steven has developed and has worked so effectively with our Diocesan Youth Council.

In so many ways Steven attempts to implement and support comprehensive youth ministry.  He strives to lead youth and our parish leadership into community, to be about justice, ever deeper in prayerful service, to share the good news, advocating for others, growing in knowledge and love of the Lord and the Church.

Steven’s desire  is to form disciples…young lives changed, growing in faith, falling more deeply in love with the Eucharist, thus making their faith and celebration of each Sacrament a journey that lasts a lifetime.

Thank you, Steven, for the blessings you have brought to our Diocese over two decades, for the blessing that you are.  Now bless you in these last months of your diocesan service and always in the future.

► Standing up for Life on the 43rd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade!

Tentative plans are underway for young people from the Diocese of Dodge City to once again be present in Topeka, KS on January 22, 2016.  As in years past, this one day bus trip will provide high school and college-age students from Southwest Kansas the opportunity to prayerfully, actively, and visibly stand up for life with others from throughout the state.

More information to come—mark your calendars and tell your youth!

Jubilee of Mercy: The Jubilee of Mercy is fast approaching.  It opens with the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2015. Please click here for our Diocesan Calendar for the Observance of Pope Francis’ Special Jubilee of Mercy.

It also noteworthy that Father Henry Hildebrandt has been chosen by Pope Francis as a Missionary of Mercy.  Father Henry has been call to Rome by Pope Francis for his Ash Wednesday.  At that time he and others from around the world will meet with the Holy Father about this special jubilee ministry and be sent forth by Pope Francis.

►Annual World Day for Consecrated Life

Please save Saturday, February 13, 2016 for our annual World Day for Consecrated Life celebration.  This year the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Great Bend will be our gracious hosts.  The celebration this year will bring an conclusion to this Year of Consecrated Life.  For this particular special occasion we have invited Sister Catherine Bertrand, SSND to be our guest speaker.  More details will be forthcoming.  I am, as always, looking forward to celebrating this special day with all the consecrated religious in our diocese.



From Sr. Janice Grochowsky, CSJ, JCL, Chancellor:

Remember to request a testimonial of suitability for any priest or deacon who comes into your parish for any ministerial function.  Forms are available on the Chancellor page of our diocesan website or they may use the form from their own diocese or religious congregation.

News regarding changes in the annulment process:

Revisions in the annulment process were published by Pope Francis on September 8.  These revisions take effect December 8, 2015 to coincide with the beginning of the Year of Mercy.  Click HERE for a summary of the changes.





From Fr. Wesley Schawe, Chair, Presbyteral Council:

Click here for the notes of the September 15 Presbyteral Council meeting.  No meeting is scheduled during October.  The next meeting is Tuesday, November 24.


Mark Roth PicFrom Mark Roth, Director of Development:

Fruit of the Vine – Work of Human Hands-You may recall in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s that the diocese sponsored a program called “God’s Little Green Acre”, a program to support seminarian education in the Diocese of Dodge City.

The program has recently been resurrected, but with a few more options.  The program is now called “Fruit of the Vine - Work of Human Hands” and offers two ways to participate:

Fruit of the Vine is for individuals who would like to pledge profits from their earthly labors, such as profits from crop production, sale of livestock, oil production, wind generation profits…etc.

Work of Human Hands is designed for individuals or businesses who would like to pledge a portion of their business profits, annual income or simply give a cash donation to support our seminarians within the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City.

Participation in the program will not only support our seminarians, but it will also provide a reminder to others who see your plaque or sign to pray for vocations, and will encourage others to participate as well. Please prayerfully discern supporting seminarian education in the Diocese of Dodge City through “Fruit of the Vine - Work of Human Hands” by completing one of the applications (Click here for Applications and more information) and returning it to me at your earliest convenience.  If you know of others who might be interested in participating, please list their names as well so we can contact them too.

Thank you in advance for your generous support and consideration of this program.  If you need further information or if I can be of assistance to you in any other way, please feel free to contact me.

From Fr. Ted Skalsky & Deanna Johnston, NFP/Marriage & Family Life Team

Natural Family Planning Teachers in the Diocese-The updated listing of NFP methods and teachers available has been posted on the Natural Family Planning documents page.  If you are aware of any NFP teachers who are not listed and would like to be included, or if there are individuals or couples who would be interested in NFP teacher certification please have them contact Deanna Johnston.

Sample Information Packets Available on Natural Family Planning– The Marriage and Family Life Team has a variety of brochures and other resources regarding Natural Family Planning and the Sacramentality of Marriage.  Many of these brochures are available in English and Spanish and are an excellent way to share information with parishioners (especially those preparing for marriage).  Many of these items can be ordered on or  Please contact Deanna Johnston at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or 620-225-4802 x 203 if you are interested in receiving a sample packet of brochures and a list of additional resources that might be helpful to your parish community. You can also for updated information and resources.

►Spanish Marriage Mentor Program- The effort to implement a program of Marriage Mentors is progressing rather slowly, but we have not given up on the idea. There have been some requests for training Spanish-speaking couples to serve as Marriage Mentors. We would like to take steps to move forward with this effort. Parishes that have a need for Spanish-speaking couples working in this ministry are asked to send to Fr. Ted Skalsky or to Deanna Johnston names of the couples who would be open to receiving this training.

For the present, it would be best if you do not have them take the Prepare Enrich Inventory. It seems better that Fr. Ted Skalsky would send in their names because Prepare Enrich has a special report that they send out to people who are registered to work with couples in groups. The best way to get this group report would be for the referral for the Prepare Enrich to come from Deanna Johnston or me. The parish referring the couple would be billed for the cost of the Inventory.

Our hope is that we could begin the Mentor training in the early fall. The training will address the theology and the spirituality of marriage. It will also give a basic training in using the Prepare Enrich. It would seem advisable that, when Mentor couples are in place, that the priest working with the couple see himself as working in conjunction with the Mentor couple in discussing the Prepare Enrich and not merely handing the report over to the Mentor couple






From Eric Haselhorst, Director of Stewardship

Check out the latest podcast Session 19 Keeping Young People in the Church – This podcast totally rocks and will be worth your while. Listen at Share this with your friends that want to keep kids Catholic.

Also get every Parish Toolbox Podcast right in your inbox when they are published. Get instant access to every session

New stewardship homilies for the 2015 renewal are ready for download on the renewal resources page and Bishop John’s Renewal Homilies page.

Renewal weekend is very soon. Do not forget your lay witness talks. The power of stories cannot be underestimated in stewardship renewal. Learn how get the best stories from your parishioners during renewal and the whole year around by watching this video series.

The results of the 2014 renewal indicates that Lay witness talks are very effective. See what parishes in our diocese said here.

I am happy to come to speak about stewardship at mass during your renewal, act fast, my weekends are filling with activities quickly.  If you plan to use lay witnesses, check out this 5 part training series.

One of the keynote speakers for the 2016 stewardship day has been booked.  Shane Lopez, scientist for Gallup organization and professor at KU,  will be speaking on Hope and how to increase it in your parish. Plan on joining us August 27, 2016 in Dodge City. See one of Shane’s presentations on YouTube.






From Georgina Paz, Employee Benefits Administrator:


A reminder that all volunteers with regular contact with children and youth must be compliant PRIOR TO beginning any ministry with children/youth.  Compliant means they have already attended a Protecting God’s Children awareness session and already have a completed background check.

The student safe environment lessons are located on the safe environment page of the Diocesan website under Safe Environment Religious Education Curriculum.  In addition, the reports needed from the DREs and Principals for the fall and winter are also posted there.

For further details about upcoming sessions, go to To schedule a PGC session, contact Goretti Sanchez ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 620/227-1500).



From Fr. Wesley Schawe, Director of the Office of Priestly Vocations:

National Vocations Awareness Week is November 1-7.  Some of the aims of this week are:  to pray for vocations to priesthood and religious life, to educate Catholic children about vocations, to inspire young adults to consider a vocation to priesthood or religious life.  For Vocation Awareness Week resources check out:

Would your parish like a member of the Vocations team to speak to the youth in your parish? Contact Fr. Wesley Schawe in the Vocations Office at 620-227-1533 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.






From Coleen Stein, Director of Catechist Formation & Pastoral Ministry:

All priests and people across the diocese are invited to go to an I-TV site closest to them on Saturday, Nov 7,  from 9:45 to noon when Father Jim Baker will be talking to a moral theology class on Pope Francis' encyclical on Care of Our Common Home.  There is no expectation that you have had  the opportunity to read the whole document or any part of it. Please come and enjoy at no charge.


From Sr. Angela Erevia, MCDP, Director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry:Creciendo de Cristo


From Tim Wenzl, Archivist:

gentrys pic.jpg - 196.04 KbFrom Gentry Heimerman, Directory of Young Adult Ministry:

Prayer and Action is a Christ-centered mission trip in your own backyard! While God certainly calls some to be missionaries over seas and in foreign lands, we are all called to be on mission in our everyday lives.

The first week of summer, 2016, will be for college students only, followed by three more high school weeks. All in attempt to proclaim the good news of Jesus by way of painting houses, cleaning yards, and serving those most in need.
This integration of Ora et Labora will not just effect the houses and yards, but the hearts of students, parents, communities, and our diocese as a whole.

For questions, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and be looking forward to applications!

The schedule for 2016 is:

June 19-24: College Week (Meade)

June 26-July 1: High School Week 1 (Meade)

July 2-5: Break

July 10-15: High School Week 2 (St. John)
July 17-22: High School Week 3 (St. John)

From Trina Delgado-Superindendent of Schools


Office of Youth Ministry and Religious Formation-Steven Polley

From the Office of Youth Ministry and Religious Formation:

For everyone who has youth and adults attending NCYC (National Catholic Youth Conference) this month, I thank you for your support and all you have done to help this pilgrimage come to life.  What a gift!  Thank you for walking this journey with our young people and thank you most of all for your prayers during the days they will be in Indianapolis.

And too, as the announcement of my resignation is shared, I want to take this time to personally thank you for your prayers and support of my ministry over these twenty-two years.  The support you have offered has helped me grow in ministry, but more so it has helped me grow in my own faith.  Words cannot express the gratitude that I want to share at this time. So with that I simply say, “Thank You”. Steven


From Catholic Social Service:



All priests and people across the diocese are invited to go to an I-TV site closest to them on Saturday, Nov 7,  from 9:45 to noon when Father Jim Baker will be talking to a moral theology class on Pope Francis'

encyclical on Care of Our Common Home.  There is no expectation that you have had  the opportunity to read the whole document or any part of it.  Please come and enjoy at no charge.

Engaged Encounter Michael and Lindsay Mazouch are the contacts for Engaged Encounter in this diocese.  The EE program is in need of young Catholic Couples who have been married at least 7-8 years to help with the Encounter weekends.  If any priest knows of such a couple, please phone Michael or Lindsay at 620-792-6290.  Their email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This concludes the November Monthly Notes. To submit items for the MONTHLY NOTES section, please email items to Gayla Kirmer,  gkirmerThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Vol. XIII, No. XI

Diocese of Dodge City

910 Central PO Box 137 Dodge City, KS 67801 | 620-227-1500

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