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THELEAVEN.ORG | VOL. 38, NO. 15 | NOVEMBER 18, 2016


When you look the word up in the dictionary, the first definition you’ll find reads “the arrival of a notable person.” Catholics around the world know whose arrival we’re preparing for during Advent, what “notable person” we’re waiting on. But even seasons of preparation require a little preparation. This year Advent begins on Sunday, Nov. 27 — less than 10 days away. Have you dusted off your Advent wreath yet? Replaced last year’s candles? Or ordered a new Advent calendar? If not, please let The Leaven’s Advent kids remind you that the new church year starts soon. It is time to prepare the way of the Lord.



ICare offers Mass and community to Catholics with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Pages 8-9

The daughters of Terry and Becky Droge of St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, Kansas, demonstrate the proper way to light an Advent wreath. They are, from left, Claire, 5; Madeline, 8; and Kendall, 5. Terry teaches social studies at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, and Becky works in the archdiocesan tribunal office.


Next week’s Leaven will mail late because of the Thanksgiving schedule, and there will be no Leaven on Dec. 2. Watch for the next issue in your mailbox on Dec. 9.




Called to be church of mercy — even when Year of Mercy ends


his Sunday, the solemnity of Christ the King, marks the official close of the jubilee Year of Mercy. I am delighted that several thousand individuals will join me in concluding a 33-day do-it-yourself retreat by making a consecration to Divine Mercy. Father Michael Gaitley’s book “33 Days to Merciful Love” provides inspiring, thought-provoking daily meditations based on the spirituality of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. If you were not able to make the retreat in preparation for the solemnity of Christ the King, I encourage you to acquire Father Gaitley’s book and make this personal retreat in preparation for Christmas. It will help make this Advent a powerful spiritual experience for you. Many of our priests have shared with me that the number of people coming to confession on a regular basis has increased this year. A commitment for the frequent use of the sacrament of reconciliation/penance would be a wonderful fruit of this special jubilee. Prompted by the Holy Father’s encouragement, every Catholic in the archdiocese was asked to make a commitment during the jubilee to live in an intentional way one or more of the corporal or spiritual works of mercy. I urge you to re-up by renewing this Advent your commitment to live one or more of the works of mercy. On Mon., Nov. 7, at Christ the King Parish in Topeka, we celebrated our third healing service for the jubilee Year of Mercy. The purpose of the healing services was

LIFE WILL BE VICTORIOUS ARCHBISHOP JOSEPH F. NAUMANN to encourage everyone in the archdiocese to pray for healing for those who have been victims of sexual misconduct by clergy or other representatives of the church. I encourage parishes and individuals to continue to pray on a regular basis during the coming months and years for this intention. In my homily at the healing services I noted: “Words alone are powerless to heal the wounds caused by sexual abuse. Abuse by a priest or a representative of the church creates a double wound. First, there is the horrible hurt caused by the sexual abuse of minors or adults who had their innocence stolen by being violated by another person. “Sadly, clergy sexual abuse creates a deeper, more complicated and more tenacious wound. It is a spiritual wound resulting from not only having been hurt by someone you had every right to trust, but from being abused by someone who represented to you the church and perhaps in some measure symbolized God. “The unique and insidious nature of these wounds is that they can

impede those victimized from being able to approach the very places and persons one should be able to come to for healing and comfort. Misconduct by clergy can inhibit one’s ability to trust the church and, even more devastatingly, can block our desire to reach out to Jesus — the divine physician, the ultimate healer.” Jesus promised to be with the church to guard her from making fundamental errors regarding her doctrinal and moral teaching. However, Our Lord did not promise a sinless church. In fact, Jesus warned his disciples that in the kingdom of God the weeds and wheat would grow up together. Sadly, in any community of human beings there will always be sin. Our faith is not in the frail human beings that are entrusted with the leadership of the church, but in Our Lord’s promise to be with his disciples with all their flaws and failings until the end of time. I am not suggesting that anger is not a normal and healthy reaction to being victimized by another. Nor am I proposing that victims should “push down” or “deny” legitimate anger for a grave injustice. However, to be consumed by anger for the rest of one’s life is not

desirable. Anger can rob us of the capacity for joy. When this happens, one remains victimized. Certainly, the perpetrators need to experience consequences for the hurt and harm they have done to others. They need to be prevented from victimizing others in the future. They have a grave responsibility to do everything they can to facilitate the healing of the wounds their misdeeds created. I ask every member of the archdiocese to pray for victims of abuse. Pray that they can experience the healing and peace Our Lord desires for them. Pray for me and those who assist me with the care for victims. Ask Jesus to give us the wisdom to help each victim in the best way possible, considering the unique circumstances of their lives. Finally, I ask your prayers for our priests. We are blessed with extraordinary priests in the archdiocese who are dedicated and zealous in their service of God and his people. Pray for the vast majority of priests who are not perpetrators, but, rather, devoted and caring shepherds of God’s people. It has been a difficult and discouraging time for priests, who feel betrayed by brother priests and who feel they minister under a cloud created by the horrible misdeeds of a few. May Our Lord help them to know how important their priestly ministry is to their people and grant them renewed zeal, determination and joy in their service of God and his church! The jubilee Year of Mercy may have come to a conclusion, but

ARCHBISHOP NAUMANN Nov. 18 Visit — Juvenile center, Topeka Nov. 19 Mass — Rural Youth Conference, Topeka El Centro gala — Olathe Viviano Variety Show — Rockhurst High School, Kansas City, Missouri Nov. 20 Crosier Mass and brunch — Savior Pastoral Center Confirmation —St. Philip Neri, Osawatomie; Our Lady of Lourdes, La Cygne; and Sacred Heart, Mound City

Nov. 28 Tour Santa Marta Finance Council meeting “Trust One Greater” — Little Monastery, Kansas City, Kansas Nov. 29 Hispanic priests meeting Retired priests meeting Vespers and dinner with priests ordained in the last five years Nov. 30 Topeka regional priests meeting — Our Lady of Guadalupe, Topeka

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Award, Mass and reception

Confirmation — St. Teresa, Westphalia; St. Patrick, Emerald; St. Francis Xavier, Burlington; and St. Joseph, Waverly

Nov. 21 “Shepherd’s Voice” recording


Confirmation — Holy Trinity, Paola

Nov. 19 Spanish pilgrimage for the Holy Year — Divine Mercy, Gardner

Nov. 22 Envisioning Team meeting Administrative Team meeting Confirmation — St. Ann, Hiawatha, and St. Leo, Horton Nov. 23 Chancery staff Thanksgiving Mass and breakfast Nov. 24 Thanksgiving Day

it does not mean our efforts to receive and give mercy should diminish. The jubilee Year of Mercy has reminded us that we are called to be a church of mercy,

Nov. 20 Mass — Federal prison camp Nov. 21 Confirmation — St. Boniface, Scipio and St. Therese, Richmond Nov. 26 Thanksgiving Day Nov. 27 Mass — Federal prison camp

where every person feels treated with compassion and respect. May we never grow weary of being God’s missionaries of mercy in the world!





Volunteer experience moves new special-needs consultant into his vocation

As part of the transfer of energy ceremony on Nov. 11, Sisters Nancy Bauman (left) and Eileen Haynes flipped the switch to activate the solar panels over the south parking lot on the campus of the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.

Solar-paneled parking lot goes ‘live’ on SCL campus


Tom Racunas is the new lead consultant for the special-needs ministry office in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. He worked for six years as director of the ministry of persons with disabilities for the Diocese of Wichita prior to taking up his current post. By Moira Cullings moira.cullings@theleaven.org


ANSAS CITY, Kan. — Tom Racunas has never had a bad day in the sixplus years he’s worked in special-needs ministry. In fact, he describes it as “the most satisfying work” he’s ever done. But Racunas wasn’t always interested in ministry work. Initially a history and anthropology major in college, it wasn’t until he began dating his now-wife Becki, a special education major, that his eyes were opened to the world of helping those with special needs. He began volunteering with Becki at a Missouri hospital during their college years and immediately felt a sense of peace. “I thought, ‘I love this. I love these people,’” he said. “It just felt right.” Racunas traded in the history books for a career in special education. And what started out as a love for his work turned into a lifelong vocation. After dedicating 36 years of his life to special education in the public school system, Racunas was ready for the next chapter in his life. “I had always considered my work in public schools as an apostolate,” he said. In keeping with that missioncentered lifestyle, Racunas accepted a position as director of the ministry of persons with disabilities for the Diocese of Wichita. And the plethora of knowledge he gained from serving the community there for six years was just what the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas was searching for when it began the process of expanding its own ministry for those with special needs. The search began, said Father Gary

Publication No. (ISSN0194-9799) President: Most Rev. Joseph F. Naumann

Pennings, vicar general and director of the department of parish ministries, after the archdiocese hosted a number of listening sessions in which families who have a member with developmental or physical disabilities shared the challenges they sometimes face. As a result, he said, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann was moved to do more to better serve those with special needs. “We had heard much about the good work that Tom Racunas had done in Wichita, so the [archdiocesan] task force contacted him for guidance,” said Father Pennings. “To our great fortune, we discovered that Tom was planning to move to Kansas City and was open to helping the archdiocese establish this new ministry,” he continued. Racunas is now the new lead consultant for the special-needs ministry office here in the archdiocese, and the work he accomplished in Wichita will likely guide his path here. “The mission of the [Wichita] office was to support parishes in ensuring that people with disabilities — regardless of age, onset, type or severity of disability — were still fully included in the life of the parish,” said Racunas. He described his former role as a “resource broker” who was there to help families with unmet needs and to raise awareness and create programs within parishes. The ministry offered a reading service for The Catholic Advance, the newspaper for the Diocese of Wichita, as well as a signed Mass once a month. It also provided seasonal retreats for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. With experiences like these, Racunas has high hopes for enhancing the archdiocese’s outreach.

“I want this office to be dynamic,” he said. “I want it to be sustainable. “I want it to make a difference in the lives of our families and in the life of each parish.” The immediate need, he said, is for people to realize that he’s here, the office is open and the archdiocese is ready to listen to the needs of our parishes. A piece of advice Pope Francis gave at a Mass for the Year of Mercy jubilee of the sick and persons with disabilities this past June is a constant reminder of why Racunas does what he does. “Each of us, sooner or later, is called to face — at times, painfully — frailty and illness, both our own and those of others,” the pope said. “The world does not become better because only apparently ‘perfect’ people live there . . . but when human solidarity, mutual acceptance and respect increase,” the pope continued. Although aspects of Racunas’ work can be challenging, his wife and three daughters — Lisa, Allison and Kate — are a constant support system. And the love he has for the people he works with makes every aspect of his work a blessing. “What I’ve found with some of our people who experience disability is they teach me such wonderful lessons,” he said. “[People with disabilities] don’t care about what you do or how much money you make or what you’re wearing or who your family is,” he added. “It’s about being together and being in the moment. “That’s just such an incredible lesson.” For more information on the special-needs ministry, contact Racunas at (913) 647-0348 or by email at: tracunas@archkck.org.

Editor Rev. Mark Goldasich, stl frmark.goldasich@theleaven.org

Production Manager Todd Habiger todd.habiger@theleaven.org

Reporter Moira Cullings moira.cullings@theleaven.org

Managing Editor Anita McSorley anita.mcsorley@theleaven.org

Senior Reporter Joe Bollig joe.bollig@theleaven.org

Advertising Coordinator Beth Blankenship beth.blankenship@theleaven.org

EAVENWORTH — The new solarpaneled, 50-space parking lot on the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth motherhouse campus — a first in Leavenworth — officially went “live” on Nov. 11. The Sisters of Charity hosted a transfer of energy ceremony that day to flip the switch to activate the new solar-power-generating system. In line with their deep respect for creation and with Pope Francis’ call to preserve the earth and its natural resources, the Sisters of Charity committed to this installation. They enlisted Kansas Cityheadquartered Brightergy, a national leader in commercial solar energy projects, for the job. W.L. Cassell & Associates, also of Kansas City, assisted with supervision of the project, and Capital Electric installed the electrical lines. The solar panels are now generating power for heating and cooling the new Ross Hall skilled nursing center, with Westar utility company providing backup. Construction for the solar-panel initiative began in mid-June 2016. The project included installation of a steel roof. Monitors will allow the Sisters to track how much energy has been generated and used. Water collected from gutters of the parking lot roof will be routed to a nearby Sisters of Charity garden. The parking lot roof’s height meets access requirements for fire trucks and ambulances to enter the property.

USM students unite against hunger


EAVENWORTH — Building on an annual fall tradition at the University of Saint Mary here, dozens of volunteers from the USM community will work together on Nov. 19 to package thousands of meals for distribution to hungry families in Tanzania. Feed the Need is the 2016 entry in the John Baker Global Service Project series — named in honor for USM board of trustees member Baker, who was well-known for his spirit of community service. Volunteers are still needed to help package the 20,000 meals needed for shipment. To sign up, go online to: stmary.edu/ FeedTheNeed. At the Saint Mary event, volunteers will work as an assembly line combining rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix into small meal packages. The packages contain 21 essential vitamins and minerals and can be easily stored and quickly transported, boasting a shelf life of up to two years.

Published weekly September through May, excepting the Friday the week after Thanksgiving, and the Friday after Christmas; biweekly June through August. Address communications to: The Leaven, 12615 Parallel Pkwy., Kansas City, KS 66109. Phone: (913) 721-1570; fax: (913) 721-5276; or e-mail at: sub@theleaven.com. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Leaven, 12615 Parallel Pkwy., Kansas City, KS 66109. For change of address, provide old and new address and parish. Subscriptions $21/year. Periodicals postage paid at Kansas City, KS 66109.




Young people discover variety in religious life

By Moira Cullings moira.cullings@theleaven.org


VERLAND PARK — What do you get when some 50 religious orders are in town for a conference and they’ve got some time to spare? For parishioners in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, that concoction gave them the opportunity to attend an Ultimate Vocation Fair at Church of the Ascension in Overland Park Oct. 26. The religious in town for the National Religious Vocation Conference came out in full force to represent their orders at the fair, which was spearheaded by Sister Vicki Lichtenauer, a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth. “I thought it would be a really fun way to learn more about the lifestyle of the different Sisters,” said Mackenzie Lary, a freshman at the University of Kansas. “Plus, who doesn’t love meeting people who are striving for sainthood?” Lary, along with fellow KU freshmen Jordan Schartz and Ellie Augustine, made the road trip to Overland Park to learn more about religious life and the variety of orders within the church. “The religious life is something I find very beautiful and I always love learning more about it,” said Schartz. “It was a bit overwhelming at times, talking to so many orders, because there were so many of them,” she added. “But it was a very fruitful experience at the same time.” The young women were amazed at the distinctive personalities of each


Sister Karolyn Nunes, FSGM, visits with Mary Fain at the Ultimate Vocation Fair, where over 50 religious orders gathered to share with young people what religious life is like. order and the welcoming nature that surrounded them. “All of the Sisters were super-friendly, and I loved getting to see how extremely human they are,” said Augustine. “I think that often some people put religious up on a pedestal,” she continued, “but, in reality, they are just people answering God’s call in their lives, as we all should be striving to do.” Although the three KU students are still trying to determine what vocation in life God is calling them to, they were open to learning more about religious life. “We all come from different places in the discerning process,” said Lary,

“so we all asked different questions that were still good for us to hear the answers to.” And the women agreed it was particularly helpful talking with Sisters and nuns, something they don’t often have the chance to do. (Both are women religious, but nuns usually belong to a cloistered or semicloistered order.) “We are exposed to priests every day, but it is rarer to be exposed to Sisters, and especially nuns,” said Lary. For Valentin Lobatos, a sophomore at Bishop Ward High School in Kansas City, Kansas, the event was a place to continue a process he’d already begun.

“I’ve been discerning for a few years now,” he said, “and it was just a great opportunity to come and see all the different orders and how each one of them has a different charism.” “It’s great because [all] of us are called to different vocations, and I think wherever God calls us to be, that’s his plan,” he added. “Even the younger ones are the future of the church, and we’ll carry on the torch.” The fair was open to people of all ages, as well as parents of young people who are discerning. Parents of religious, priests and seminarians were also there to answer questions and offer support. One family that took advantage of the evening was Patricia Elder and her three sons, who are 18, 15 and 4. “Rarely do we have an opportunity to take our children to one place and then they’re allowed to learn about all of these different orders,” said Elder. All she asked of her sons was that they be open to God’s call for their lives and use the fair as a learning opportunity. “It’s difficult,” Elder said. “You’re going against all these secular influences and they really have to hear that call loudly.” Elder appreciated the “one-stop shopping” the fair provided and prays her sons and all in attendance walked away with a clearer understanding of the variety of religious orders that exist. “What I would hope is that they leave knowing that there are many ways to answer God’s call,” she said.

Preschool teacher provides ‘calming’ presence for 23 years By Moira Cullings moira.cullings@theleaven.org


RAIRIE VILLAGE — You know a teacher is special when she can captivate 14 rambunctious 4-year-olds on their second day of pre-

school. And you know it’s not a fluke when you learn she’s been doing it for 23 years. Ann Reynolds, preschool teacher at the St. Ann Catholic School Young Child Center (YCC) in Prairie Village, fell in love with the center the moment she joined its staff. “The children, parents, director and staff are the things that have kept me at the YCC,” said Reynolds. “The children are a joy to teach and a reflection of great parents.” If you asked the families and staff at St. Ann’s about Reynolds, they’d have a similarly positive opinion. “She is a sweet, dedicated teacher who you can tell loves her job,” said Tati Needleman, director of St. Ann’s YCC. “And she has this way about her that’s so calming. “She’s very, very much loved by the kids and the parents.” A lot has changed since Reynolds herself grew up in St. Ann Parish. At that time, what eventually became the YCC building was then a convent. But once the YCC was founded by Needleman 28 years ago, it grew rapidly from a one-classroom program within St. Ann School, its enrollment


Ann Reynolds, who has taught at St. Ann’s Young Child Center for 23 years, shares a story with her students on their first full day of preschool. practically doubling each year during its early stages. “We went from 26 [kids] to about 45 the next year . . . and then, by the third year, we were up to 95,” said Needleman. The room they were using was simply not large enough to contain the influx of students. That’s when it was decided that the convent next door would be revamped and used for the YCC. This allowed Needleman to expand the center to include five programs, including fulltime preschool geared for parents who

needed to drop their children off for the entire day. “I absolutely loved [watching the program take off],” said Needleman. “This has been my home away from home,” she added. Reynolds has also enjoyed watching the program develop over the years and credits the program’s success to a strong staff and Needleman’s energetic leadership. “Tati gives the teachers the freedom to try new activities, while guiding us in the right direction,” said Reynolds. “Many of the teachers have worked

together for a number of years and are like family members,” she continued, “always willing to help each other. “The new staff members are readily accepted and bring a new perspective to the school.” Staying at St. Ann’s for so many years has given Reynolds a rare opportunity to watch her students flourish — some, even adults now. “It is so exciting to see former students from the YCC come back to look at their preschool room and say hello to their first teachers,” she said. “Many will remember the favorite area they used to play in and what they liked most about preschool. “It’s fun to see how they’ve grown and matured.” Kids in preschool, said Reynolds, are some of the most energetic students to work with, but that is one of the things that has kept her at the YCC all these years. “As an educator,” she said, “I have taught in several Catholic grade schools in the archdiocese. “I have found that teaching at the preschool level is rewarding because we are establishing learning skills and tools that they can develop and use throughout their lives.” The bubbly atmosphere inside her classroom keeps Reynolds on her toes and reminds her why she loves to teach. “The children are fun, full of life and have an energetic attitude toward school,” she said. “Every day brings something new.”





Growing as Disciples of Jesus

Building a culture of gratitude


ratitude is the beautiful fabric that weaves the blanket of love that fills the family with joy. As we approach Thanksgiving, take time in prayer to reflect and then share with respective loved ones or friends: • What three things are you most grateful for in your spouse? • In your children? ARTWORK BY NEILSON CARLIN, 2015 • In your in-laws? • In your parish priest? • In your circle of friends? • For children, in parents? • In siblings? • In teachers? • In God?

— By Brad DuPont



Doris Dressman, a parishioner of Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish, Topeka, is a regular volunteer at Let’s Help in Topeka. Though she’s been retired for nearly 20 years, she keeps busy volunteering all over the city.

T Sts. Peter and Paul, Seneca Address: 411 Pioneer, 66538 Phone: (785) 336-2128 Pastor: Father Arul Carasala Mass Times: Saturday, 5 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m., 9 a.m., and 11 a.m. Email: sppchurch@carsoncomm.com Website: www.saintspeterandpaul-seneca.com MORE PHOTOS AND A VIDEO TOUR of this church can be seen online at: www.theleaven.org


TEAM OF THE WEEK Bishop Miege Football Head coach: Jon Holmes Record: 10-1 Next game: Nov. 18 vs. Basehor-Linwood at Miege

Volunteer just can’t say ‘no’

OPEKA — It’s been 19 years since her retirement from the Santa Fe railroad, but Doris Dressman of Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish here is busier than ever as she helps with the parish’s funeral dinners and volunteers at St. Francis Hospital, as well as Let’s Help. “It makes you happy to know you’re helping other people,” said Dressman. “It also builds better character. I’ve never been an idle person.” Dressman’s volunteering began shortly after she and her husband Lester were married. “It started when [a local priest] was ordained,” she said. “We had just gotten married and moved into our present home in May of 1963. People from Nemaha County recognized the Dressman name and called and asked if I would make 10 pounds of potatoes for his reception.” Having been taught to never say “no” when asked for help, Dressman not only prepared the potatoes, but soon found herself in the reception’s serving line, where she dished out potato salad. It wasn’t long after that when someone else called and asked if she could help with wedding receptions. And soon

she was not only doing that, but helping with the “holy wash,” mainly cassocks and surplices from the altar servers. Next, she was asked to help with funeral dinners — to both help make the food and serve it. From there, she began helping at the hospital through the Daughters of Isabella. “I had known several of those volunteering from Santa Fe, so when asked if I was available, I couldn’t say ‘no,’” she explained. From there, she began to help fix and serve food at Let’s Help on the second Tuesday of each month. While Dressman volunteered as often as she could while she was working, she says she’ll never forget Larry Krische coming up to her after she retired and asking what she was going to do with all her time. “I’m going to help your brother,” she said, referring to Most Pure Heart’s then-pastor Father Frank Krische. After volunteering for years, Dressman says she still enjoys it and plans to continue as long as her health is OK. A great day for her is meeting people and “helping them out in any way that I can.” A smile goes a long way, she said. “Just saying ‘Hi, how are

you?’ is something some may never hear.” While her work in God’s vineyard has helped many, she believes she has also learned from her experiences. “I’ve learned how to get along with all types of people,” she said. “I’ve learned how to work with people of all different ages — most were older when I started, so I knew to respect them and follow their instructions. They were the leaders.” Why volunteer? “To make the world a better place,” she said. “I’ve always seen opportunities to volunteer, but not many people volunteer now.” Her late husband, she recalled, volunteered at Meals on Wheels and was one of the first volunteers for the perpetual adoration chapel at Most Pure Heart, while her daughter was a candy striper growing up. “I’m not a selfish person. When I decided to retire, I figured I needed to do something for my church and community.” “I recommend volunteering,” she concluded. “You meet so many different and lovely people you wouldn’t meet otherwise.” Story by Carolyn Kaberline Photo by Joe McSorley


• VIDEO REPORT: To learn more about the Bishop Miege football team see Todd Habiger’s Team of the Week report. • PHOTOS: Check out Doug Hesse’s photo gallery from Miege’s playoff game against Louisburg High School.

All this and more can be found online at: www.theleaven.org.

Merton retreat set for Dec. 6 in Atchison


TCHISON — The Sophia Center here will host “Traveling the Road of Mercy: A Thomas Merton Retreat” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 6. Merton says, “Only the one who has had to face despair is really convinced that he seeks God’s mercy.” This retreat will explore events of our life to discover our experience of God’s mercy. The retreat will include talks, contemplative dialogue, contemplative prayer, shared prayer, a DVD, and time for silence and conversation. Lunch will be provided. For more information or to register, call (913) 3606151 or visit Sophia Spirituality Center’s website at: www. sophiaspiritualitycenter.org.

Roger and Geraldine (“Jerri”) Matzke will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Nov. 26. Geraldine is a member of Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish, Topeka. The couple will celebrate with a family trip to Hawaii at a later date. They were married on Nov. 26, 1966, at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Seneca. Their children are: Randy Matzke, Silver Lake; and Rhonda Matzke Flerlage, Topeka. They also have three grandchildren.




Burying the dead in this Year of Mercy By Msgr. Charles McGlinn Special to The Leaven


urying and praying for the dead are among the corporal and spiritual works of mercy Pope Francis asked us to carry out during this Year of Mercy. Throughout my priesthood, ministry to the grieving and bereaved has been very important to me. Of course, as Catholics, we believe that this life is not all there is — that we are created to share the glory and joy of being with Jesus forever after our deaths. And so, death can be a welcome event from that perspective. However, when we lose someone in death whom we love, we experience a profound sadness and grief that grips our very soul. When my own parents passed away, I experienced that sadness and grief, even though I knew that my mother and father were with Jesus. Among those to whom I have ministered who ache with sorrow are parents who lose a child or someone who has lost a spouse after many years of marriage. Sometimes the only thing you can do for them is simply be with them and hold their hands. But the Catholic funeral liturgy can also speak powerfully in our loss. It is here we encounter our compassionate Lord who wept when he saw the sorrow of Martha and Mary grieving at the tomb of their brother and his friend Lazarus.


Death can be a time of profound sadness for those left behind. The Catholic funeral liturgy can speak powerfully during these times. The shortest verse in the New Testament and one of the most poignant is that verse, “Jesus wept” (Jn 11:35). We know that Jesus is with us in our sorrow and that he feels our grief. The liturgy celebrates that compassionate love of Jesus for our loved one and for ourselves. It is in the Eucharist that we encounter Jesus as we approach him with hearts wrenched with sorrow. There, we find the beginning of healing and hope.

There, we can reflect on his mercy and his promise of life eternal with him in heaven: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered the imagination what awaits those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9). When we consider the joy our departed loved one now experiences, it almost seems selfish that we would want our loved one back. As Catholics, we believe in the communion of saints. A source of comfort in our sorrow is the knowledge,

through our faith, that our loved one is united with us in a new and profound way. We are truly united with all who are in heaven. This unity is experienced powerfully in the Eucharist. There, we encounter our risen Lord, who has gathered our departed loved ones to himself. In him, we are one with our beloved dead. Our faith also teaches us that at our own deaths, we will be reunited with all our departed loved ones in Jesus. We will see them again and embrace them once more with untold joy. Of course, this awareness requires faith. Faith is certainly a gift from God. It is his special invitation to be united with him. Faith is also our decision. We can accept or reject this invitation as we can accept or reject any gift. I don’t know what people do without faith when they lose someone they love. Death is then accompanied with unmitigated sorrow. But with faith, we catch a glimmer of the infinite love and mercy of God who loves us more than we love ourselves. I love those words of Jesus in the Book of Revelation: “Listen, I stand knocking at your door, hoping you will open up and let me in, so that I may dine with you, and you with me” (3:20). Death is that final knock of Jesus at the door of our lives. Our faith opens that door, so we may enter and join in the banquet of eternal life.

Father Matthew Nagel distributes Communion to Carolyn O’Conner at the monthly iCare Mass at Queen of the Holy Rosary Church in Overland Park.


iCARE offers Mass, community for special-needs Catholics and their families Story by JOE BOLLIG and DEACON JIM LAVIN Photos by JAY SOLDNER


V E R L A N D PARK — For most Catholic families, going to Mass together is simply a given. They do it every Sunday. But for Sean and Jennifer Garrison, Mass together as a family was an impossible dream. “My husband and I are converts,” said Jennifer Garrison, a member of Good Shepherd Parish in Shawnee. “We pictured raising our children in the church and going to Mass together.” The Garrisons have four children. Nathan, 9, their second oldest, has autism. He’s nonverbal, although he makes sounds and likes to jump and move around. “With Nathan’s particular issues we

Kelly Nagle proclaims the readings at the monthly iCare Mass. At iCare Masses, both children and adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities are active participants. really can’t go all together to Mass,” said Garrison. “It got to the point where [either Sean or I] would have to go outside and sit in the car with him or take

him home. He just couldn’t sit in the sanctuary during Mass as long as he needed to, or be as quiet as he needed to [be].”

The invisible Catholics Having a family member with intellectual/developmental disabilities has its own joys and challenges, and one of those challenges is worshiping as a family. In fact, it can be so challenging that some families go to Mass in shifts — if they go at all. Family members with these challenges simply disappear from the pews and may never or rarely receive the sacraments. The Lavin family, members of Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park, knows this well. Deacon Jim and D’Lise Lavin’s 25-yearold son Steven is severely autistic. Today, he lives in a group home. “We really don’t attend Mass as a family,” said Deacon Lavin. Years ago, when Steven was little, the Lavins ended up in “cry room exile.” But even that proved an imperfect solution, because Steven liked to wander out of the room and beyond. In an effort to provide some sort of religious formation, they’d take Steven to church during non-Mass times. “We did this just to have him be familiar with Jesus and the altar,” said Deacon Lavin, “and try to make him familiar with the [church] environment. “We did it to keep introducing Christ to him.” Theirs was not a new or rare problem. In the early 1960s, Delores Lebbert, a Catholic and an EEG technician at the Kansas Neurological Institute in Topeka, noticed that the Catholic residents of KNI were not receiving any spiritual formation or the sacraments. The difficulties were such that families stopped taking their children with intellectual/developmental disabilities to Mass. Over the years, many Catholic children at KNI had not even been baptized, much less received the sacrament of reconciliation or first Communion. Lebbert’s desire to help these children and their families led her to spearhead the founding in 1973 of REACH — Religious

“AT THE ICARE MASS, ALL THE MINISTRIES ARE BY THE DISABLED. WE HAVE THEM INVOLVED AS SERVERS, USHERS, GIFT BEARERS, LECTORS — AND THEY HELP DRESS THE ‘JESUS TABLE’ (ALTAR) WHERE THEY HELP THE PRIEST WITH THE BOOK AND THE CANDLES.” Kevin Hill and Education Activities for the Community Handicapped. The program provided Mass, religious education, sacramental preparation and social activities. It spread throughout the archdiocese and later to 47 dioceses in the United States and the world. Eventually, the program atrophied and ended in the late 1990s. Although Lebbert died in 2013, she and REACH were not forgotten.

Altar server Sam Charpentier assists Father Bill Bruning at the iCare Mass on Oct. 22.

Men with a mission

old daughter with Down syndrome. Amanda is a junior at Hayden High School New opportunities for persons with in- in Topeka, so she goes to school Masses all tellectual/developmental disabilities and the time. The family also attends Mass at their frustrated families came about in the Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka. What makes the iCARE Masses differmost indirect way: a party trip to New Orent is that they are “adaptive,” said Terry leans. Kevin Hill, John Johnson, Javier Pedro- Young. “What’s great about iCARE Mass is that za and David Tokic traveled to New Orlethey slow it down and the kids can particians this past spring to celebrate their 50th birthdays and attend the New Orleans Jazz pate at whatever level they are,” said Young, who was a REACH volunFestival. teer in the 1980s. While they were there, “It’s nice to have a the four men (all members priest explain the vestof the Savior of the World Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. ments and what he is Seminary Class of 1984) Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. doing,” she continued. went to Mass at St. Peter Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. “It’s geared at a level that Claver Church in the Treme Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. is very participatory for neighborhood. March 25 at 6 p.m. them, so it becomes more “The priest [in his Masses are held at meaningful for them. Evhomily] stressed the imporQueen of the Holy Rosary erything is done at a level tance of making a difference Church in Overland Park. that is appropriate for in our world and to listen to those who are developthe Holy Spirit when he is mentally disabled.” calling us to action,” said Hill. Participation is the key to engagement Later, the four sat in a courtyard and talked about how the priest’s message — and letting persons with intellectual/detore into their hearts. They felt that the velopmental disabilities know the iCARE Holy Spirit was calling them — to restart Mass is just for them. “At the iCARE Mass, all the ministries REACH. Not only did some of the men have are by the disabled,” said Hill, whose three family members with special needs — relatives — two sisters and a daughter, Lauren, 21 — are persons with intellectual/ they’d also served as REACH volunteers. After returning from New Orleans, developmental disabilities. “We have them the four contacted Father Bill Bruning at involved as servers, ushers, gift bearers, Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish in Over- lectors — and they help dress the ‘Jesus land Park. Father Bruning had celebrated table’ (altar) where they help [the priest] with the book and the candles.” REACH Masses as a young priest. The Scripture readings are simplified, They shared with him their Holy Spirit as are the homily and the music. For the brainstorm — and how they were interested in starting up a program they would call recessional hymn, all the disabled persons iCARE — Inclusive Catholic Activities and are given musical instruments like maracas and tambourines and are encouraged Religious Experiences. “Seeing his passion toward our mission, to join in. Another benefit of the iCARE Mass is we followed it up with presentations to the archdiocesan special-needs task force and that the participants are welcome to verthe pastoral council at Queen of the Holy balize and walk around as they please. These behaviors are not frowned upon, Rosary Parish,” said Hill, a member of St. but accepted. Ann Parish in Hiawatha. A social activity — like a meal, bingo or After much planning, the first iCARE a dance — is held after the Mass. Mass was celebrated on Sept. 24 at Queen. “[iCARE] gives [persons who are intellectually/developmentally disabled] a Mass and social setting that is comfortable for them, and where they can participate Some persons with intellectual/devel- fully,” said John Johnson, a member of opmental disabilities and their families Queen of the Holy Rosary. can and do attend a parish Mass together. Was it worth it driving Amanda all the An iCARE Mass, however, offers them so way to Overland Park from Topeka for the much more. iCARE Mass? Very much so, said Terry Terry and Mark Young have a 17-year- Young.

iCARE schedule

Something just for us


A sense of belonging Sometimes other people forget that persons who are intellectually/developmentally disabled want and need a sense of community and belonging, too. Mark and Melanie Savner, members of Holy Angels Parish in Basehor, take Mark’s 53-year-old sister Shelly Savner to church. Shelly has Down syndrome. “Every Sunday, Shelly sits by us at Mass and likes to have her own missal, even though she can’t read,” said Melanie Savner, an administrative assistant in the archdiocesan vocations office. “Her favorite part is putting the offertory envelope in the offering basket, because it’s a way she can participate. “Once in a while, she’ll see one of her special friends after church, and she’s so excited to talk with them. Unfortunately, she rarely sees one of her [Down syndrome] friends.” One of the most touching scenes Hill saw at an iCARE Mass was at a reunion. “My oldest sister Kristi was in the REACH program in the 1970s and 1980s,” said Hill. “There was another lady her age [with Down syndrome] who was in Camp Fire Girls with her.” “They hadn’t seen each other for 40 years,” he continued, “and [they met at] the iCARE Mass. It was like they hadn’t missed a beat. They just hugged each other and asked [how each other] was doing. It was great to see their sense of community with each other.” Tom Racunas, the lead consultant for the archdiocesan special-needs ministry, went to his first iCARE Mass in October. Although he and his office are not a part of iCARE, he wanted to be supportive and observe the ministry. “It was certainly grace and Spirit-filled,”

said Racunas. “I saw a lot of happy faces . . . and lots of grateful faces, too.” Although the church has made a lot of progress in terms of inclusive practices for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities, families can still feel a sense of isolation and disconnect from their parishes because their lives are different and they face so many difficult challenges and stresses. That’s why iCARE is as important for the families as well as those with intellectual/developmental disabilities, he said. They need mutual support and community, too. “If they’re a minority in their parish, especially if they’re in a large parish, it’s difficult to connect with other families,” Racunas said. “This provides an opportunity for families [with members who have developmental disabilities] to come together. “I think their expression is, ‘I’m with others who understand my life, who understand the challenges we face, who appreciate the blessing we have because of our family member with a disability.’” This kind of encounter ignites a sense of community and belonging that they don’t always feel in their parish or during parish events. “We all gravitate toward those who have similar interests to ours, or similar life experiences that we can relate to,” said Racunas. “They’re coming together [at iCare] to relate, to build community, and seed support from each other for the issues they have to deal with.” Jennifer and Sean Garrison took only Nathan to their first iCARE Mass. “The next Mass, we brought all our kids,” said Jennifer Garrison. “We didn’t feel so singled out and under a microscope. At iCARE, we can relax and enjoy Mass a bit more without having to micromanage the behavior of our child.” Nathan enjoys the iCARE Mass and social activities, as do the Garrisons' other children. The iCARE experience has been so good that Jennifer is working with her parish director of religious education to spread the word. “For a long time, I was in despair and didn’t know what we would do,” she said. “[iCARE] is the answer to all the questions and worries I had. “iCARE is the answer to my prayer.” For more information, go to iCARE of Northeast Kansas on Facebook.




Religious liberty, racial divide among topics discussed


ALTIMORE (CNS) — The U.S. bishops broke from tradition during this year’s fall assembly by celebrating Mass at a Baltimore church known as the “Mother Church” of black Catholics, rather than West Baltimore’s historic basilica. “I pray our presence will convey the church’s solidarity with you,” said Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori in opening remarks Nov. 14 to a few dozen parishioners attending the Mass with more than 250 bishops filling nearly every pew of the small church. In his homily, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, said the bishops came to the church “to be present, to see with our own eyes, so that we might humbly take a step and lead others to do so.” The Mass capped a busy first day of the bishops’ fall assembly and brought full circle a theme that ran through much of the day’s proceedings — concern for the nation’s communities riven by racial tensions and the need for the country to heal from the acrimony of a presidential race now concluded. On the second day of the meeting, the bishops elected new officers and selected five committee chairmen-elect; approved a new strategic plan that sets five priorities for the bishops’ conference; approved creation of a permanent subcommittee on the church in Africa; and heard reports on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and on cultural diversity in the church. In elections Nov. 15, the bishops elected Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston to be president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (see sidebar). He is the current vice president. As president, he succeeds Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky. Elected vice president was Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles. The new officers’ three-year terms begin when the assembly ends. The bishops’ strategic plan incorporates the theme “Encountering the Mercy of Christ and Accompanying His People With Joy.” It sets as priorities for the next four years: evangelization; marriage and family life; human life and dignity; vocations; and religious freedom. On Nov. 14, the bishops heard a plea from Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the new nuncio to the United States, that the U.S. bishops and the U.S. church as a whole reach out to young Catholics, meeting them where they are and engaging them in their faith. They heard reports on the 2017 convocation of Catholic leaders to be held in Orlando, Florida, next July, and got details of a simple celebration next year to mark the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. As the meeting opened, the bishops affirmed as a body a letter from Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo of Seattle, as chairman of the migration committee, calling on President-elect Donald Trump “to continue to protect

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USCCB chooses new leadership By Mark Pattison Catholic News Service


New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, center, speaks with other prelates Nov. 14 during the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. the inherent dignity of refugees and migrants.” The bishops’ group action followed by a day a TV interview in which Trump said one of his first actions would be to deport 2 million to 3 million people he described as “criminal and have criminal records” and entered the country without government permission. In the letter, first released late Nov. 11, Bishop Elizondo said he was praying for Trump, “all elected officials and those who will work in the new administration. I offer a special word to migrant and refugee families living in the United States: Be assured of our solidarity and continued accompaniment as you work for a better life.” In his final address to the bishops as USCCB president, Archbishop Kurtz discussed the need to move beyond the acrimony of the now-completed elections, but the main focus of his speech were the encounters he had in his threeyear term in which he found that small and often intimate gestures provide big lessons for bishops to learn as they exercise their ministry. He talked about his encounters with a Filipina woman whose main concern after the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda was for the well-being of her neighbors and community, with a young boy with Down syndrome in war-torn Ukraine who jumped into his arms and gave him a big smile, and with two dozen unaccompanied immigrant minors in federal custody who just wanted to study, pray and join their families. Those stories and others he told his brother bishops reinforced for him the lesson that their concern is the common good and they must open their “hearts to the joy that others will give to us.” Seeking the common good also will serve the nation as it moves forward from the “unprecedented lack of civility and even rancor” of the national elections. In a final afternoon session and later at a news conference that concluded the

first meeting day, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta returned to the tensions of the election year. He is chairman of the new Task Force to Promote Peace in Our Communities, created in July by Archbishop Kurtz in response to the wave of violence in a number of communities following shootings by and of police. In his presentation, he urged the bishops to issue, sooner rather than later, a document on racism, given “postelection uncertainty” and that some of the tensions have only gotten worse following the presidential election. In his report as chairman of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Baltimore’s Archbishop Lori said all U.S. bishops are required to speak out for religious freedom for all people of faith whose beliefs are compromised. Bishops must equip laypeople to speak in the public arena about the necessity to protect religious liberty when interventions by government officials at any level infringe on the free practice of religion, he stressed. Most questions during the afternoon news conference focused on the postelection climate. Archbishop Gregory stressed that the church should play a role in helping restore peace in the current climate that is so inflamed. He also pointed out that no political parties fully embrace all life issues, something that had been stressed by Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin who died exactly 20 years ago. On the issue of healing racial divides, he said the Catholic response should start at the parish level. “Words are cheap, actions stronger,” he added. Archbishop Gomez spoke of the fear many immigrants have of possible deportation since Republican Donald Trump’s election as president. When asked if churches could possibly provide sanctuaries for this group, he said that was impossible to answer at this point.

ALTIMORE (CNS) — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston was elected president of the U.S. bishops’ conference Nov. 15 for a three-year term to begin at the conclusion of the bishops’ annual fall general assembly in Baltimore. Cardinal DiNardo collected a majority of votes on the first ballot of voting during Cardinal DiNardo the second day of the bishops’ public session. Based on the number of bishops voting, 104 votes were needed for election, and DiArchbishop Gomez Cardinal Nardo — the current vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — received 113. He will succeed Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, whose three-year term as president concludes at the end of the meeting. Elected vice president was Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles. By virtue of his election, Archbishop Gomez will not take over as chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration. He was elected last year as chairman-elect of the committee and was to succeed the current outgoing chairman, Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo of Seattle, at the end of this year’s general assembly. A lunchtime meeting was scheduled for the committee to advance two names for chairman to be voted on by the full body of bishops. Under rules established by the USCCB, the names of 10 bishops who are willing to be nominated for the USCCB presidency are presented for voting. After a president is elected, the remaining nine are then considered for the vice presidency. If no candidate of the nine has received a simple majority after two ballots, the third ballot features only the two top vote-getters in the second round. Archbishop Gomez was elected over Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans.


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NELSON CREATIONS L.L.C. Home remodeling, design/build, kitchens, baths, all interior and exterior work. Family owned and operated; over 25 years experience. Licensed and insured; commercial and residential. Kirk and Diane Nelson. (913) 927-5240; nelsport@everestkc.net

Caregiving - We provide personal assistance, companionship, care management, and transportation for seniors in their home, assisted living or nursing facilities. We also provide respite care for main caregivers needing some personal time. Call Daughters & Company at (913) 341-2500 and speak with Laurie, Pat or Gary.

Local handyman and lawn care – Water heaters, garbage disposals, toilets, faucets, painting, power washing, doors, storm doors, gutter cleaning, wood rot, mowing, carpet, roofing, etc. Member of Holy Angels Parish, Basehor. Call Billy at (913) 927-4118. Rusty Dandy Painting, Inc. - We have been coloring your world for 40 years. Your home will be treated as if it were our own. Old cabinets will be made to look like new. Dingy walls and ceilings will be made beautiful. Woodwork will glow. Lead-certified and insured. Call (913) 341-9125. Masonry work - Quality new or repair work. Brick, block and chimney/fireplace repair. Insured; second-generation bricklayer. St. Paul Parish, Olathe. Call (913) 8294336. The Drywall Doctor, Inc. - A unique solution to your drywall problems! We fix all types of ceiling and wall damage — from water stains and stress cracks to texture repairs and skim coating. We provide professional, timely repairs and leave the job site clean! Lead-certified and insured! Serving the metro since 1997. Call (913) 768-6655 Swalms organizing - downsizing - cleanout service – Reduce clutter – Any space organized. Shelving built on-site. Items hauled for recycling and donations. 20 years exp.; insured. Call Tillar at (913) 375-9115. WWW. SWALMSORGANIZING.COM. Kansas City’s Premier Deck, Fence & Concrete - We repair, power wash and stain wood decks and fences. We power wash and seal concrete drives, walkways, pool decks and more. Call Brian at (913) 952-5965. Member of Holy Trinity Parish.

Caregiving - For your loved one. Cheerful, experienced, empathetic. Excellent local references. Call Vivian at (913) 292-4829. Caregiving - Retired nurse, 30 years experience. Will do what needs to be done. $15 per hour, days/nights. References available. Call (913) 579-5276.

FOR SALE Residential lifts - Buy/sell/trade. Stair lifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts and elevators. Recycled and new equipment. Member of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Leawood. Call Silver Cross KC at (913) 327-5557. For sale - Two lots, two vaults and two opening and closing costs at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Olathe. Call (913) 764-6874.

WANTED TO BUY Will buy firearms and related accessories - One or a whole collection. Honest evaluation and top prices paid. Contact Tom at (913) 238-2473. Member of Sacred Heart Parish, Shawnee. Wanted to buy - I’m Mark Edmondson, a local parishioner at Holy Trinity, and I buy and sell houses in any condition. If you have a house “situation,” call me. I might have a solution for you. (913) 980-4905. Wanted to buy - Antique/vintage jewelry, lighters, fountain pens, post card collections, paintings/prints, pottery, sterling, china dinnerware. Renee Maderak, (913) 631-7179. St. Joseph Parish, Shawnee


CALENDAR CELEBRATE RECOVERY St. Pius X Parish (youth room) 5500 Woodson, Mission Thursdays at 7 p.m.

This is a recovery group for people in recovery. Contact Joe Quinn for more information at: joequinn@sbcglobal.net or call (913) 228-8279.

OLD WORLD CHRISTMAS Strawberry Hill Museum 720 N. 4th St., Kansas City, Kansas Nov. 19 - Jan. 29

The museum hours are Saturday and Sunday noon - 5 p.m. The Tea Room hours are 1 - 4 p.m. The cost is $7 for adults and $3 for kids ages 6 - 12. The museum will also be offering Friday nighttime tours and a variety of cooking classes through the holiday season. For more information about other events, go online to: www.strawberryhillmuseum.org.

available in the school office or by calling (913) 367-3503. Location information comes with the tickets. Crafts and raffles are also available.

MEMORIAL LITURGY Curé of Ars 9405 Mission Rd., Leawood Nov. 19 at 8 a.m.

There will be a memorial liturgy for deceased loved ones followed by a grief support meeting in the Father Burak Room. The topic will be: “Count Your Blessings.” For more information, call (913) 649-2026.

The cost to attend is $10, which includes one bingo card, a Polish sausage sandwich, kraut and a drink. Extra cards are available. For more information, call Tom Waliczek at (816) 806-9816.

A turkey dinner will be served. The cost is $8 for adults and $4 for kids ages 3 - 11. There will also be bingo, carnival games, a silent auction and raffle, a holiday store, a quilt show and a sweet shop.

Check the “Ways to Help” tab on the Keeler Women’s Center website or Facebook page to find a coupon that should be presented to have Ten Thousand Villages donate 15 percent of the value of your purchase to the center. On Sun., Nov. 20, from noon - 4 p.m. shop, meet and talk with Keeler Women’s Center staff and volunteers.

AN ADVENT CELEBRATION Bishop Miege High School 5041 Reinhardt Dr., Roeland Park Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

This annual event, sponsored by the Miege Mothers’ Club, begins in the chapel with a candlelight prayer service and then moves to the Commons for a reception. For more information and to make reservations, call Annie Wallace at (816) 510-4818 or visit the website at: www.bishopmiege.com.

This event is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. Check-in is at 6:30 p.m.; start time at 7 p.m. For registration and a nonrefundable donation cost of $35, go to the following website: http://shoj.wufoo.com/ forms/hold-em-2016/.

ANNUAL GOLUMBKI DINNER St. Casimir Parish (hall) 719 Pennsylvania Ave., Leavenworth Nov. 20 at 11 a.m.

Dinner will be served from noon - 3 p.m. Takeout will be available beginning at 11 a.m. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 12 and under. A Polish feast will be served. Meatloaf will also be served.

SINGLES OF NATIVITY CHRISTMAS DANCE Church of the Nativity Parish (hall) 3800 W. 119th St., Leawood Dec. 3 from 7 - 11 p.m.

Tickets are $20 at the door. There will be food, drinks and a DJ. The dance is sponsored by Singles of Nativity (SON). For more information, call Maria at (913) 314-9844 or send an email to her at: mmeli62@gmail. com.

BLOOD DRIVE St. Joseph Church (Knights of Columbus Hall) 11221 Johnson Dr., Shawnee Nov. 21 from 1 - 7 p.m.

FALL FEST 2016 St. Joseph-St. Lawrence Parish 211 W. Riley, Easton Nov. 19 at 4 p.m.

Join us for a home-cooked chili and soup dinner and bingo. Dinner will be served beginning at 4 p.m. and bingo will start around 6 p.m. A freewill donation is suggested.

SILVER SAINTS CRAFT FESTIVAL St. Stanislaus Parish (Dekat Hall) 701 S. Main St., Rossville Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

All are welcome. Bring a friend to shop for holiday gifts. A soup luncheon will be available.

CHRISTMAS HOME TOURS Atchison Nov. 19 from 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The cost for tickets is $30 each and includes lunch and tours of six homes. All proceeds benefit the St. Benedict School. Tickets are

To schedule an appointment to donate blood, visit the website at: www.savealifenow.org, using sponsor code: stjosephcathoic. Walkin donors are welcome. For more information, call Virginia Wiedel at (913) 268-3874.

DAUGHTERS OF ISABELLA, LITTLE FLOWER CIRCLE 503 Christ the King Parish (Yadrich Hall) 5973 S.W. 25th St., Topeka Nov. 27 at 12:30 p.m.

There will be a memorial Mass for our deceased members, followed by a business meeting and social. All members are encouraged to attend.

LADIES NIGHT OUT/CHRISTMAS BOUTIQUE St. James Academy 24505 Prairie Star Pkwy., Lenexa Nov. 30 from 5 - 8:30 p.m.

Shopping will be from 5 - 8:30 p.m. Ladies Night Out begins at 6 p.m. and includes beer, wine and snacks at no charge. There will be over 40 vendors. All teachers that RSVP will receive a gift. Visit the website at: www. facebook.com/events/193849881069278/.

the Holy Spirit. For details and registration, visit the website at: www.archkck.org/ranch or call (785) 746-5693.

LESSONS AND CAROLS St. Pius X Parish 5500 Woodson, Mission Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.

Lessons and carols is an evening of Scripture readings from the Bible followed by choral music and Christmas carols. This event is free and open to all.

PRO-LIFE PHYSICIANS SPEAK Rockhurst University (Arrupe Hall) 1100 Rockhurst Rd., Kansas City, Missouri Dec. 5 from 7 - 9 p.m.

TEXAS HOLD ’EM POKER TOURNAMENT Sacred Heart (multipurpose center) 21801 Johnson Dr., Shawnee Dec. 2 from 6:30 - 11 p.m.

There will be crafts as well as homemade cinnamon rolls and soup available for purchase.

‘SHOP GLOBAL, GIVE LOCAL’ SUPPORT KEELER WOMEN’S CENTER Ten Thousand Villages 7947 Santa Fe Dr., Overland Park Nov. 18 - 20 during business hours

You are invited to explore Advent 2016 themes during a series of prayer and sharing sessions offered by Marillac staff members. Come for one, two or all three sessions. A freewill offering is suggested. For more information, call (913) 758-7552 or visit the website at: www.marillaccenter.org.

TURKEY BINGO All Saints Parish 915 Vermont Ave., Kansas City, Kansas Nov. 19 at 5 p.m.

FALL FESTIVAL Christ the King Parish 5973 S.W. 25th St., Topeka Nov. 20 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

FALL CRAFT AND BAKE SALE Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish 2014 N.W. 46th St., Topeka Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Nov. 19 from 9 .a.m. - 3 p.m.

LINGER OVER COFFEE DURING ADVENT Marillac Center 4200 S. 4th St., Leavenworth Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13 from 10:30 a.m. - noon


LESSONS AND CAROLS St. Lawrence Center 1631 Crescent Rd., Lawrence Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.

Prelude music will begin at 6:30 p.m. Lessons and carols is an evening of Scripture readings from both the Old and New Testaments followed by choral musical responses and Christmas carols. Admission is free; donations are welcome. A reception will follow. For more information, call Brian Nelson at (785) 218-9075.

ENKINDLE CONFIRMATION RETREAT Prairie Star Ranch 1124 California Rd., Williamsburg Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

All those preparing for confirmation or who missed confirmation preparation are invited to the general Enkindle confirmation retreat. This is a fully facilitated outdoor encounter with Christ in preparation for the sealing of

Dr. Pilar Calva and Dr. Mercedes Wilson will speak about their experience with the Pontifical Academy for Life, as well as with international groups like the United Nations. Both physicians bring global leadership on pro-life causes and are international leaders in the fields of Catholic bioethics, natural family planning and fertility. All are welcome. RSVPs are appreciated at: www. alumni.rockhurst.edu/healthcareleadership.

ADVENT DAY OF REFLECTION Sanctuary of Hope 2601 Ridge Ave., Kansas City, Kansas Dec. 6 from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.

The theme of the day is: “Jesus the Healer.” There will be two presentations given by Father Dennis Wait, followed by personal reflection time, recitation of the rosary and the celebration of Mass. The day will finish with lunch. The suggested donation is $30 per person/$50 per couple. For more information or to register, call (913) 321-4673 or send an email to Julie at: Julie@sanctuaryofhope.org.


Calendar notices are due eight days before the publication date. Send notices to: beth.blankenship@theleaven.org.


COMMENTARY THIRTY-FOURTH WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME Nov. 20 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE 2 Sm 5: 1-3 Ps 122: 1-5 Col 1: 12-20 Lk 23: 35-43 Nov. 21 The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Rv 14: 1-3, 4b-5 Ps 24: 1b-4b, 5-6 Lk 21: 1-4 Nov. 22 Cecilia, virgin, martyr Rv 14: 14-19 Ps 96: 10-13 Lk 21: 5-11 Nov. 23 Clement I, pope, martyr; Columban, abbot; Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro, priest, martyr Rv 15: 1-4 Ps 98: 1-3b, 7-9 Lk 21: 12-19 Nov. 24 Thanksgiving Day Sir 50: 20-24 Ps 138: 1-5 1 Cor 1: 3-9 Lk 17: 11-19 Nov. 25 Catherine of Alexandria, virgin, martyr Rv 20:1-4, 11 – 21:2 Ps 84: 3-6a, 8a Lk 21: 29-33 Nov. 26 Saturday Rv 22: 1-7 Ps 95: 1-7b Lk 21: 34-36




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Is this bestseller gathering dust in your home?


ee, it’s been so hectic these last few days that I’m barely getting this column in on time. Like me, I’m sure that you and your parish have been busily celebrating National Bible Week, held this year from Nov. 13-19. OK, did you even know that it was Bible Week? Though an official “week” on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ calendar, it doesn’t seem to get nearly the attention of other “sponsored weeks.” In fact, I totally forgot to tell my parish about it. Sadly, when it comes to the Bible, I fear that a good number of Catholics might summarize that bestseller similar to this child: In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness and some gas. The Bible says, “The Lord thy God is one,” but I think he must be a lot older than that. Then God made the world. He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren’t embarrassed because mirrors hadn’t been invented yet. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they



FATHER MARK GOLDASICH Father Mark is the pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Tonganoxie. He has been editor of The Leaven since 1989.

were driven from the Garden of Eden. Not sure what they were driven in, though, because they didn’t have cars. Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel. One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they’d have to take a rain check. After Noah came

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph, who wore a very loud sport coat. Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh’s people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels and no cable. God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them his Top Ten Commandments. These include: Don’t lie, cheat, smoke, dance or covet your neighbor’s stuff. Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy

father and thy mother. One of Moses’ best helpers was Joshua who fought the Battle of Geritol, and the fence fell over on the town. After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn’t sound very wise to me. After Solomon, there were a bunch of major league prophets. There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don’t have to worry about them. After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of the New. Jesus had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil, they named a terrible vegetable after him. Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to heaven, but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the Book of Revolution. (Found unattributed on a number of

sites on the internet.) I’m reasonably certain no child wrote the above, but it does make a point. If most of that summary looked OK to you, get thee to a Bible class! Seriously, I’d like to suggest that we designate the new church year, which starts on Nov. 27, as National Bible Year. While it’s getting better, most Catholics still don’t know the Bible or use it as a prayer source. If your parish has a Bible study group, get involved with it. Or consider buying a beginner’s book on the Bible, such as “Introduction to the Bible: A Catholic Guide to Studying Scripture,” by Steven Binz, or “The Catholic Bible Study Handbook: A Popular Introduction to Studying Scripture,” by Jerome Kodell, OSB. For those already familiar with biblical basics, focus on the Gospel of Matthew this liturgical year, since that’s where most of our Gospels will come from. Why get familiar with the Bible? Because it gets you ready for heaven. After all, that’s what its name implies: Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth.

Story of the good thief speaks to all sinners

hortly after the feast of All Saints, I decided to speak to our schoolchildren about the saints. Some of the saints take a special interest in a specific group of people. For example, St. Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians; St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children. Even criminals have a patron saint: St. Dismas. That is the name that tradition ascribes to one of the criminals hanging next to the crucified Jesus. In Sunday’s Gospel reading, Lk 23:35-43, we hear how he rebukes the other criminal, also crucified next to Jesus, who has joined in mocking Jesus. This criminal who has rebuked the other criminal is sometimes



FATHER MIKE STUBBS Father Stubbs is the pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Overland Park and has a degree in Scripture from Harvard University.

referred to as the good thief, or Dismas. In his exchange with the other criminal, Dismas admits to his

To serve God, Christians must learn to be at the service of all and not be dominated by a desire to exert power and authority over others, Pope Francis said. In his teaching, Jesus made it clear that “he who commands must become like one who serves,” the pope

own wrongdoing, while upholding Jesus’ innocence. Consequently, Dismas turns to Jesus and acknowledges Jesus’ importance as king: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The rulers and the soldiers have been mocking Jesus by laughingly calling him “the King of the Jews.” But Dismas turns that

insult on its head. Was he only trying to humor a dying man? Surely, he did not realize all the implications of what he was saying. In any case, he speaks in a respectful manner. And he speaks the truth. That is why we hear this passage as the Gospel reading this Sunday, as we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King. We join with Dismas, the good thief, in acclaiming Jesus as king. Of the four Gospels, Luke’s is the only one that draws this contrast between the two criminals crucified on either side of Jesus. This fits in with the tendency of Luke’s Gospel to present a pair, where the two contrast with each other. Consider the story of

said Nov. 8 in his homily during Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. “This desire for power is not the path to becoming a servant of the Lord,” the pope said. “On the contrary, it is an obstacle; it is one of these obstacles that we have prayed to the Lord to keep far from us.” Reflecting on the theme of service, the

Martha and Mary (Lk 10: 38-42), the prodigal son and his elder brother (Lk 15: 11-32), and the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16: 19-31). These stories are found only in the Gospel of Luke. This device of contrasting the two figures enables Luke to hold up one as an example for us to imitate, and the other as the example for us to reject. It’s as simple as black and white. In the case of the good thief, we see the example of a person who admits his wrongdoing, while also turning to Jesus for salvation. That makes him a good example for us all to follow — not only criminals — since we all are sinners. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

pope said that another major obstacle that impedes Christians from serving the Lord freely is disloyalty. Disloyalty occurs, he said, when “someone wants to serve the Lord but also wants to serve other things that are not the Lord.” — CNS




Do we love our neighbor even when they don’t live next door?


he brilliant G.K. Chesterton said, “We make our friends, we make our enemies, but God makes our next-door neighbor.” His quote reminded me of our neighbors who keep an eye on us out in the country. Hot, cold, rainy or snowy, no matter when things go wrong, they are there to help. Whether plowing our big garden in the spring or sharing their own overabundance of vegetables at harvest, they are generous with their time, talent and farm equipment. They take care of our dog on late nights and weekends when we can’t get home



LESLE KNOP Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lknop@archkck.org.

in time to let her out. One of our neighbors

is a former Army Green Beret and Vietnam prisoner of war. At 80 years old, he is patriotic and indefatigable. He drives a school bus for our local school district and cares deeply about the welfare of each of his young passengers. Another neighbor is a

widow with four children. She waves hello as she hustles her brood out the door and on to their many activities. On weekends, often right before dark, she mows her acres with the speed of a race car driver. The Lord said this is the greatest commandment: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.’ And the second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Mk 12: 30-31). No other commandment is greater. Like most of you, my husband and I are blessed with kindhearted and selfless neighbors. It is

easy to love these good people. The bigger question, however, is: “Who is my neighbor?” G.K. Chesterton was right. God gives us our neighbors. All of them. The people we encounter in line at the grocery store, our fellow commuters on busy highways, the helpers on the other end of the phone who communicate as best they can in English, their second language. These nameless people are also our neighbors. On Sunday, the archdiocesan stewardship and development office will host the 18th annual Crosier Society Mass and brunch for the Archbishop’s Call to Share 2016.

Nearly 2,000 households have qualified for membership this year through their generous and sacrificial giving. They are our good neighbors who through their gifts help to support 43 vital ministries of our local Catholic Church. I am grateful for the hard-working friendly and helpful people who live next door, for all the generous Catholic Call to Share donors in our archdiocese and for all the neighbors whose lives are touched by these funded ministries. During this season of Thanksgiving, and always, it’s good to be reminded to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Director finds much to celebrate — and more work to do

he flowers on my desk have been there for a few weeks now, but their beauty and fragrance haven’t faded in the slightest. Maybe that’s because these flowers aren’t really flowers at all, but are actually brightly colored cutouts of construction paper glued to little sticks, with carefully handwritten recitations of the prayers — the spiritual bouquet — that the children of one of our Catholic Education Foundation schools were offering for me and my family, welcoming us to the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. I can’t think of a better way to be welcomed to Kansas City,


BILL KIRK Bill Kirk is the executive director of the Catholic Education Foundation. You can reach him at (913) 6470383 or send an email to him at: bkirk@archkck.org.

where I’m now privileged to serve as the new executive director of the CEF, following in

the footsteps of Michael Morrisey and his wife Patty. Under their selfless leadership over the last 10 years, CEF provided more than $16 million in scholarship assistance, making it possible for children from families in need to attend Catholic schools within the archdiocese.

And I can’t think of a more exciting time to undertake this work than in the week following CEF’s signature event — Gaudeamus (Latin for “Let us rejoice”) — at which more than 1,300 dinner guests and 160-plus volunteers gathered to raise over $1 million in support of Catholic education. Our celebration on Oct. 29 honored Tom and Sandy Long — the “Angels Among Us” — who have been longtime supporters of Catholic education in the archdiocese and are credited with starting the first Gaudeamus celebration, now widely recognized as one of Kansas City’s top annual events. Holy Family School in Topeka was honored as

CEF’s School of Excellence and student Ida Nkikabahizi, a senior at Bishop Ward High School, shared with the enthusiastic crowd how our community’s generous support made her Catholic education possible. The Mater Dei drum line and the Ascension choir entertained the crowd as students from across the archdiocese pitched in to provide a visible witness to the difference Catholic education can make. Take a moment to look at our Facebook page (“Catholic Education Foundation – Kansas”), where you can view videos of the night and keep track of upcoming CEF events and news. There was much to

celebrate at Gaudeamus, as we recognized that our community has provided scholarships to more than 1,400 students to attend Catholic schools . . . but there is much still to be done. Our school principals have identified more than 400 children who would attend our schools if they only had the resources. And so, while I’m reminded of the prayers of our CEF schoolchildren as I admire the bouquet on my desk, I’ll add my prayers to theirs that, with your help, we can together close the gap and make a high-quality, joyfully faithful Catholic education available to every child who seeks it, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

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rchbishop Joseph F. Naumann visited several archdiocesan high schools recently to celebrate Mass and lead eucharistic adoration. Clockwise from top: n The giant “saints” serves as the perfect background for adoration at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park. n Students at Immaculata High School in Leavenworth join the archbishop at the altar of St. Joseph Church in Leavenworth in adoring the Blessed Sacrament. n Archbishop Naumann raises his arms in prayer as he and students at Maur Hill-Mount Academy School in Atchison participate in adoration. n Jennifer Ramos, a student at Bishop Ward High School in Kansas City, Kansas, lights a candle for the deceased alumni of Ward that died in the past year. Ramos’ sister Denisse was one of those alumni. Archbishop Naumann joined the students at Ward on Nov. 1, All Saints’ Day.