The PATHWAYS of PAUL Pilgrimage, Sept. 18-28, 2019 -- Information

 
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Jan. 13, 2019

Dec. 23, 2018

   The Dead Sea Scrolls series

 

   St. Nicholas School, Kinsley, Advent Cantata, Dec. 7, 2008

 

   

 

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Scroll to bottom to navigate to different departments

Couple recalls terrifying flight from Vietnam, and the kind hearts in a Kansas town

By DAVID MYERS
Southwest Kansas Register

The child’s father stood behind her on a large fishing boat as the 12-year-old desperately maneuvered herself up a ladder to the nearby giant U.S. aircraft carrier. Crashing waves tossed the smaller vessel up and down as the girl struggled hand over hand, her feet trying to take hold of each step.
This was 1975 in the Gulf of Thailand. Enemy forces had the carrier in their sites. The U.S. Navy sailors had to move fast to get the refugees onboard. Family and friends of the Vietnamese girl struggled up the ladder behind her.  The sailors quickly helped the frantic refugees onboard.
The enemy ship was closing in. Several civilians, including the girl’s father, were left behind on the fishing boat as the Navy vessel pulled away, lurching toward the open sea.           
High above the fishing craft on the deck of the massive aircraft carrier, the child, her mother and siblings looked on helplessly as her father, a brother and his wife, and a sister stood on the fishing boat, watching their beloved family sail off into the distance.
It was the last time the 12-year-old would ever see her father.
“My dad was a fisherman,” Melissa Luong said from her home in Garden City. “He owned the fishing boat. There were probably 100 refugees on his boat that day.” Melissa still can recall how her parents packed up her and her siblings in the dark of the early morning before the long journey, making sure they each carried money strapped in a pouch across their waist, in case they became lost. They walked them to the beach where his boat awaited.
“I didn’t know where we were going,” Melissa said. “I later learned it was to the Pacific, toward an American ship. It was a scary ride from shore. It was raining; the waves were very high. The boat was going up and down, and we all prayed the rosary.”
Back in 1975, Melissa and her family became the first Vietnamese refugees to take up residence in Garden City. They were sponsored by St. Mary Parish, and resettled with the invaluable help of the then only weeks-old Catholic Social Service satellite office.
“When I was a little girl in Vietnam and saw pictures of America in magazines, I imagined it was heaven,” she said with a broad smile. “And I was right.”
Sitting next to Melissa in their Garden City home was her husband, John. The two met when John befriended Melissa’s brother while attending Kansas State University in Manhattan. There’s a chance – small though it may be – that their paths crossed several years earlier, in the most tumultuous of times.
In 1975, John, then 14, was among those taking that last mad dash into a helicopter to escape the fall of Saigon. As smoke plumes rose in the distance, John and his family were whisked away to a waiting aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Thailand.
“My dad was a chauffeur for an American company,” John said. “He used the car to drive us all to the helicopter.”
The couple can’t say with certainty that they were on the same carrier, but their stories take very similar paths. The refugees were delivered to Guam, then, weeks later, they were flown to the United States.
While Ellis Island once was the site of refugees and immigrants pouring into the United States, Fort Chaffee, Ark., became the processing center for thousands of Indochinese refugees escaping the war in Vietnam in 1975.   
While John and his family found sponsorship through a Lutheran church in Salina, Melissa’s family were sponsored by St. Mary Parish in Garden City. They also received the invaluable help of Catholic Social Service, which lent them moral and financial support, even placing the family into a rental home.
“I still remember Levita [Rohlman Rupp, see sidebar] and many others from St. Mary Church when they met us at the airport. They hugged us; they were all such nice people. We thanked God we were all safe.”
Safe, but very far from the home Melissa and her family knew on the Island of Phu Quoc on the southern tip of Vietnam, where she was reared.
“I remember the flight from Fort Chaffee,” Melissa said, smiling. “I said, ‘It looks like cows down there!’ We had come from an island, and all we could see below us was land.”
Consulting a map, the family realized that Garden City was near the very center of the United States.  That fact gave them all a feeling of security -- being tucked away in the heartland of America, far from the horrors of war.
The family would soon enjoy a reunion born of a miracle, when Melissa learned that her sister, as well as her brother and his wife, had survived after the U.S. carrier left them behind.
Her brother, Son, who all those years ago stood helplessly on the small fishing boat as the aircraft carrier sailed away, told them that he, his father, wife and sister had tried to get to another carrier in the days to follow, but were captured by the Khmer Rouge.  
“They demanded the men to get on one boat, and the women on another,” Melissa explained. “My sister-in-law was pregnant, so they allowed my brother to get on the boat with the women. That’s how they escaped.”
Her father was not so lucky. They would never learn of his fate. To this day, they honor their father on May 13, the day they were separated for the last time.
Once in Kansas, Son worked to support the family.
“He is our hero,” Melissa said. “He supported my mother, and all four of us, who were still young and at home. We lived with his family until we left for college and got married.  He has been a father figure to all of us.”
Today, Son and his wife live in the house next door to Melissa and John, where they raised seven children. Melissa’s  mother lived with Son until her death two years ago. In Vietnam, either the oldest or the youngest sibling take in the aging parents. Father Rene Labrador visited Melissa’s mother when she was bedridden, and fondly recalled her love for the Church.
“Before she was bedridden, she would never miss a Sunday Mass or a holy day,” Melissa recalled, “and she made sure we did the same.”
Melissa and John have three adult children: Drs. Bruce and Jessica are both optometrists in Dallas, while the youngest, Jennifer, is an executive with Nordstrom Retail Company. All three are graduates from the University of Kansas.
Melissa smiled as she proudly displayed pictures of her family, including one of a couple who look impossibly young on the day of their marriage.
“We will never forget the kindness of the people of St. Mary Parish, and the help of Catholic Social Service,” Melissa said.
“We feel very fortunate, thankful and blessed,” John added. “With God, everything is possible.”

Past Issues

Dec. 9, 2018

Nov. 25, 2018

Nov. 11, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2018 Golf Classic; student athletes; physically challenged; Leonard Stegman; Lesson in forgiveness; Sending us on a mission

Sept. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Priest crisis; Scandal; Opioid addictions; Seeds of Suicide; Leightons; St. Anne; Vincke; seminarians; Dominican Sisters; Stewardship Conference; Dead Sea Scrolls; PSR programs; Roe V. Wade

 

August 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

July 15, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Immigration Protest/Rally; Faith and Light Fiesta; Seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls; Corpus Christi procession; Prayers for priests; Sisters turn 100; Michael Brungardt; Gerald Vincke; Massacre in San Salvador; Action for Alex 

 

June 3, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Parish Pray for Priestly Vocations; Appeal reaches $10 million; Gangs; Seminarians; Pam Willis; Why I like being a priest; Happy Father's Day; Patricia Lujan; Tyler and Rachel Bennett; Adoption Protection Act.

May 20, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation

May 6, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Archbishop Romero; Seeing, Touching, Tasting; Exhortation; Father Patrick Conroy; Happy Mother's Day; A child on your doorstep; Vibrant Ministries Grant; From the heart of a young father; Love Gives Life; Roman Holiday; Smartphone; retirement
Fossil Hunting

 

April 15, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; Angelica Village; Colorado woman; The art of anger; Cimarron Couple; Staats; Adoption; 

Father Ultan Murphy anniversary; Coughlan; Spiritual Advisor to Hoodlums; Woman of Courage; Oration contest; Darcy Feist  

 

April 1, 2018

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Defending Adoption; Led by the Spirit; Knights; ABC Pregnancy Center;
Memorial of Mary; Homeless; Relics; Down syndrome abortion; Chrism Mass

 

March 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Aleksandr Men; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; Uganda; School for deaf; Rannah Evetts; Oberle; Rachel and Doug Trombley; Oscar Romero; Paul VI; DACA

 

 

March 4, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Fasting for priestly vocations; Father Juan; Fasting and prayer;
Quest Weekend 2018; DACA; With God, anything is possible; Homelessness in our communities; Rhubarb, Kansas;
What's the point of fasting; Rite of Election; same-sex couples

 

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

 

Jan. 21, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Louise Korbe; Anne Frank; Miep Gies; Home Heat; Father Solanus

 

Jan. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Good news and kingdom living; dreamers; Sister Teresa Orozco; Infant Adoption; Elderly; a moral conundrum; seminarian; feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

Dec. 17, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Celebrate Christmas 'unplugged'; Msgr. Matthew Smith; Klan; Catholic Charities Annual Appeal; Fr. Larry Rosebaugh; A Guadalupe Encounter; Laci and Joe Salazar; A Christmas Wish; Adoption; Confession; Advent; EWTN; Christmas Blues; Tilma; Pittsburgh; PSR

 

Dec. 3, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2017 NCYC; Wheel of Balance; Marita Rother; Stanley Rother; slavery; trafficking; Windthorst water damage; martyred priests; confession; reconciliation; How to go to confession; recipe for codfish cakes; Catholic schools; appeal

 

Nov. 19, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Saints; Father Kola; Black Elk; Giving Tuesday; velvet Elvis; a Slice of Time; Dani Sandoval; Mexican Village; Father Tim Hickey; New faces at chancery; priests share thoughts on confession; Wheel of Balance

 

Nov. 5, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Matrimony Anniversary Mass, 2017; Riebel; Faith and Light; Scripture Day; Sex in the Bible; Quilt, Mexican Village Story; Finance; Fatima pilgrimage; Fowler church window renovation; Medicare; Crazy Glue


Oct. 15, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Father Francis Jordan; Sister Renee Kirmer; Father Rother beatified; religious liberty; RCIA Kansas; V Encuentro; Bishop Weisenburger; Daughters of Isabella; Bishop Gerber Science Center


Oct. 1, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: De Colores; Rebein; Dreamer; Pies; Kellner; Code Quilts; Sister Crucita; Feezor; Formed.org; Sin and pain

 

 Sept. 17, 2017

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Sister Lucy Fidelis; Underground Railroad; Sister Irene Hartman; DACA; new priests; teachers; Volunteer of the Year; Golf Classic; St. Francis Xavier; St. Nicholas Parish Center, Kinsley; seminarians; Knights Lite; Stewardship Day 2017

Sept. 3, 2017

Aug. 13, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Coronado Cross; Masada; Moody Gardens; Elders; Rother; undocumented children; cages; year of mercy; Kumi; Hollywood makeup artist; New Mexico; refugee women.

July 16, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Summer camp; tithing and almsgiving; Bill Baalmann; Nathan Schaller; Jubilarian Sisters; Sister Hortencia Rodriguez; Sister Petrona Stockemer; Sister Denise Sevart; Convocation of Catholic Leaders; Mother talks about her son entering seminary; Arcoiris; Youth group travels to Colorado Springs; Major Phillip Roth

June 11, 2017 (Updated)

Ordination; Mark Brantley; Jacob Schneider; Father's Day; Thanks, Dad!; Appeal; Sister Mary Martin Weaver; Bishop Maralit; Budget; Trafficked women; Deacon Michael Brungardt; Dead Sea Scrolls; softball; Father Urban retirement; Sister Kravec retirement; Father Mazouch retirement; Authentic Joy; Pris Climate Accord; Jack Schramm; Pieta.

May 28, 2017 (Updated)

 

Grateful Hearts; MSFS Provincial; Reddy; Reif; Opossum; Dead Sea Scrolls; Our Lady of Fatima; Jorge Herrera, Jr.; Cursillo; Kough; First Communion; Confirmation

May 14, 2017

Esteban Hernandez; citizen; Lilly Ann Rein, Amberly Jimenez, Mother's Day; peacock; Quattrocchi; President Kennedy; Teen Moms; Junior High Youth Rally; Encounter With God's Call; granny/nanny; seniors' contributions; tornado anniversary; harvest; healthcare; Mr. Brown; Store-bought teeth; Louis and Zelie Martin; Father John Sullivan; Irish priest whose prayers could heal; Mexican beauty queen; Esmaralda Gonzalez; religious life

April 30, 2017

   KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; bully; TEC; Father Marvin Reif; Bet'sie; What makes a hero?; St. Mary of the Plains; tornado

Easter, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Honorable courtship; footsteps of migrants; CHRISM Mass 2017; honoring priests; Encuentro Cross blessed; Daughters of Isabella State Convention; Fatima pilgrim statue; Mary Sharon Moore interview; Senate advances pro-life measures; love must be at the core of family life; Father John Forkuoh's car story; Confirmations; Sisters of Concordia; CNN hero Father Khalil Jaar

March 26, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: From the heart; kidney; Rother; Friar Carmelo; Schnauzer; Lauren Seachris; Lauren's Treat; fire; Guatemala; immigration; Lenten Regulations 1888; Hot Cross Buns; budget; Trump; Forkuoh; Seiwert; South Sudan; hot ashes

March 12, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Refugees; immigrants; Gilbert Herrman; When you give alms'; Lent; Call to Continuing Conversion, Rite of Election; Charell and Jeremy Owings; adoption; Our Growing Church; Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia; water; creation; Sudan; Darlow Lampe

Feb 26, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Night to shine; Immigration; immigrants; Knights of Columbus; Pete Gomez; this foreign mission; Creole; Robin Doll; Eagle Scout; Quest

Feb 12, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; March for Life; Pro-life; Executive Order; Secular Franciscan Order; teachers; Down Syndrome; Eagle Scout; Bronze Pelican

Jan. 29, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Thank you, religious; SEEK 2017; homeless man to priest; Fourth Sunday; Secret Service to Sacred Heart; Dr. Gerard Brungardt; Martin Luther King; 110 year old nun; Toddler miracle; Letter from undocumented immigrant; health care; immigration

Jan. 15, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Mary helps us share; Tighe donates home to Birthright; Pro-life billboard; Theobald Hattrup; Helen and Steve Eck; Pearl Harbor; Reigning Grace

Dec. 18, 2017

KEYWORDS: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 2016; Pope Francis Christmas schedule; 2016 high school youth rally; Aerospace engineer; Father Stanley Rother; Radio station; Dying girl's letter; Scout nominations; 12 days of Christmas

Dec. 4, 2016

KEYWORDS: Vocations Day; Pope Advent advice; Ex-prostitute; Spearville mission; Pilgrims v. Zombies; Face of God; Mission bazaar; Ness City fall festival; Rural health care; Archbishop Gomez; Bishops congratulate Trump

Nov. 20, 2016

Nov. 6, 2016

Oct. 23, 2016

Oct. 9, 2016


Sept. 25, 2016


Sept. 11, 2016

 
Aug. 7, 2016

July 10, 2016

June 12, 2016

May 29, 2016

May 8, 2016


 April 24, 2016

 April 10, 2016

 March 27, 2016

March 13, 2016

Feb. 28, 2016

 

Feb. 14, 2016


Jan. 31 , 2016

Jan. 17, 2016

Dec. 20, 2015

Dec. 6, 2015

Nov. 15, 2015

Nov. 1, 2015

Oct. 18, 2015

Oct. 4, 2015

Sept. 20, 2015

Sept. 6, 2015

August 9, 2015

July 12, 2015

Jun 14, 2015

May 17, 2015

May 3, 2015

April 19, 2015

Easter, 2015

 

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