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THELEAVEN.ORG | VOL. 40, NO. 16 | NOVEMBER 23, 2018


With Advent just around the corner, John, 4, and Nick, 2, practice their candle lighting skills on the traditional Advent wreath. They are the children of Alex and Maggie Clement, members of St. Ann Parish, Prairie Village. Advent begins on Dec. 2.

Photo by Jay Soldner


There will be no Leaven on Nov. 30. The next issue of The Leaven will be on Dec. 7.


Archbishop Naumann offers his take on last week’s bishops’ meeting. Page 2


The Leaven’s series on the abuse crisis continues with a story about the new victim assistant coordinator. Page 16




Bishops’ meeting disappointed, yet still proved constructive


t the beginning of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) general meeting in Baltimore, I was stunned by Cardinal DiNardo’s announcement that the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops had requested the United States bishops not to vote upon the proposed reforms to strengthen the accountability of bishops. The reasons given for delay were: 1) to wait for results from the upcoming February meeting of the presidents of bishops’ conferences throughout the world that has been convened by Pope Francis; and 2) to ensure that the proposed reforms were in conformity with canon law. In my estimation, our meeting was still fruitful. Most of the first day was spent in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. During this time of prayer, we heard the testimony of victims of clergy sexual abuse; pondered readings from Scripture, St. Gregory Nazianzus and St. Charles Borromeo; prayed the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary; had the opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation; and concluded with the celebration of the Eucharist. The message from the victims was particularly both poignant and powerful. In his homily at the Mass, Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul urged us to pray for the strength not to “save our hides,” but instead for the courage to lay down our lives for those entrusted to our pastoral care. Although there were a couple of other important items on our agenda, the vast majority of the meeting was devoted to a very candid and constructive discussion on both how we as a conference and as individual bishops can

LIFE WILL BE VICTORIOUS ARCHBISHOP JOSEPH F. NAUMANN be even more vigilant in our safe environment efforts and improve our care for victims. We need, as bishops — successors of the apostles — to act always in communion with our Holy Father, the successor of Peter. Though we were impeded for the moment as a conference from adopting the proposals that will strengthen the accountability of bishops, nothing prevents me in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas from increasing the quality of our care for victims and from improving our transparency with our parishioners. In his address to the bishops, the apostolic nuncio (the ambassador of Pope Francis to the United States) Archbishop Christophe Pierre, while reminding us that one case of clerical abuse of young people is too many, also pointed out the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” adopted by the U.S. Bishops in 2002 has resulted in a steep decline of the incidents of sexual abuse by representatives of the church. He noted that our safe environment programs and protocols have become a model for civil as well as other charitable institutions. Archbishop Pierre also counseled us:

“Indeed, as painful and humiliating as it may be at times, we can thank the media for bringing attention to this issue. “There have been times when the media drew attention to precisely what we did not attend to ourselves. . . . It is also the case that an impression is sometimes left in the media that the church has done little. That is simply not true, and we should not be afraid to refute this.” The Pennsylvania grand jury report, as troubling as its revelations of sexual abuse of children and youth by clergy in the past are, actually verifies the scarcity of sexual abuse cases by clergy during the past 15 years. This is not to minimize the importance of extending the proper pastoral care for past victims, but it does demonstrate our current safe environment efforts are effective. My sense from the November USCCB meeting is that the bishops of the United States have no higher priorities than maintaining and increasing the vigilance of our safe environment programs, improving our care for victims and being accountable to the code of conduct that is contained in the ordination rite of bishops and priests. These priorities are important because protecting children and youth, caring for those wounded by representatives of the church, and being accountable and transparent are essential

parts of our responsibilities as pastors. They are also important because failure in these areas jeopardizes every other aspect of the church’s mission and ministry. In accordance with the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” throughout my nearly 14 years as archbishop, I have made public all substantiated accusations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. Moreover, the review of our clergy files by an independent team that I announced in this column on Aug. 31 is nearly completed. With the benefit of this review, I will soon be able to share with you all substantiated allegations here in the archdiocese of sexual abuse of minors by clergy going back to 1950. I have been edified by the victims of sexual abuse who have come forward with accusations in order to prevent other young people from experiencing the pain they know too well. I am very grateful for all those who have assisted me with the care of victims of sexual abuse and misconduct by clergy. I know that we can do even more. In the coming months, I am determined to enhance our ability to assist with the healing of those wounded by sexual abuse, particularly those who have been hurt by representatives of the church. Finally, I am grateful for our many faithful and zealous priests who labor unselfishly and tirelessly for the spiritual welfare of their people. They also have been wounded by the clergy abuse scandal and the ineffective leadership of bishops to address adequately this cancer within the church. I want to do everything I can to support and encourage our dedicated priests to persevere in

Archbishop Naumann

Dec. 7 St. Lawrence Center board meeting and Mass

Nov. 25 Baptism of third or more child — Cathedral Nov. 26 Finance Council meeting Nov. 27 Envisioning Team meeting

Dec. 9 Pastoral visit — All Saints, Kansas City, Kansas Dec. 10 Deacon Holy Hour and dinner — Savior Pastoral Center

Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas annual board meeting and social Nov. 28 Donnelly College board meeting Nov. 29 Santa Marta board meeting and reception Dec. 1 Pastoral visit — Sts. Peter and Paul, Seneca Dec. 2 Pastoral visit — St. Philip Neri, Osawatomie Dec. 3 Staff open house Dec. 4 Priests Personnel meting Administrative Team meeting

Dec. 11 St. James Academy Mass, Lenexa Ethics Council meeting Dec. 12 Serra Club annual district governor meeting Dinner with Catholic Education Foundation parents Dec. 15 Ordination of Brother Luke Turner and Brother Thiago Ferreira Silva — St. Benedict’s Abbey Dec. 16 Pastoral visit — St. Bernard, Wamego; St. Joseph, Flush; Holy Family, Alma; and Sacred Heart, Paxico

Dec. 5 Wyandotte regional priests meeting

Dedication — St. Patrick, Scranton

Catholic Education Foundation board meeting and social

their pastoral care for their people. My confidence is not in my own abilities, but in Our Lord’s fidelity to his church. He promised the guidance of the Holy Spirit and on this I rely. Despite the present challenges, I remain grateful to God for his abundant blessings upon the Catholic Church in northeast Kansas. There are so many miracles of grace

Want to help someone heal from an abortion?

Dec. 8 Pastoral visit — Holy Name, Kansas City, Kansas

Dec. 17 “Shepherd’s Voice” recording

happening every day in our parishes, schools and ministries. I pray for each of you and your families that you enjoy a grace-filled Thanksgiving season. May this secular season of gratitude remind us as Christians that always and everywhere we are called to give thanks. May we all remain profoundly grateful for the gift of our Catholic faith!

Call or text 913-621-2199



CYBER GIVING MADE EASY Give ‘Catholic’s this coming Tuesday, Nov. 27

By Olivia Martin


ANSAS CITY, Kan. — Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday . . . they are all just leading up to the big event: Giving Tuesday. For the second year in a row, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas is participating in the nationwide #iGiveCatholic campaign to fundraise for local organizations on Nov. 27. While the campaign is part of a national movement, archdiocesan donors have the opportunity to support archdiocesan parishes and other local Catholic agencies of their choosing. Kathryn Robards, the marketing coordinator for the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas, is now on her second go-round as the archdiocesan head of the campaign. “Being able to support organizations within the archdiocese allows [them] to better serve the community and those who are a part of their parish, school or ministry,” said Robards.

Support that makes a difference This year, 47 archdiocesan organizations are participating in the event. It’s the first time for over half of them. Many of those participating have a specific project in mind, so donors will know exactly what they’re giving to. “[Projects] can be as small as getting a new laminator for the teachers’ lounge to the renovation of a rectory,” said Robards. “No case is too small or too big.” One example is Holy Family Parish in Eudora. In 2015, Holy Family built a new church. But their plans for a finished basement with classrooms for religious education and meetings is yet to be realized. “Our #iGiveCatholic money is going to go to help get the basement project finished and go toward repayment of our loan on the church,” said Molly Pratt, director of religious education at Holy Family. “Our basement project is going to be a huge gift to our parish,” she continued. For Sacred Heart-St. Casimir Parish in Leavenworth, an updated rectory was long overdue. And with the arrival of Father Marianand Mendem from India scheduled for January 2019, the parish thought a good-as-new rectory would be the perfect way to welcome him. “We took the carpet up and sanded and sealed the floors and remodeled the bathroom and painted,” said Sheila

Catholics urged to help aging, retired religious By Joe Bollig


Archdiocesan parishes, schools and agencies are hoping to raise funds for a variety of reasons on Giving Tuesday, which is Nov. 27. People can participate by going online to: kansascity.igivecatholic. org and choosing which organization to contribute to. Thibault, office manager at Sacred Heart-St. Casimir Parish. “We spent about $14,000 and we have about half of that covered,” she said. “We’re hoping to recoup the rest of that during the #iGiveCatholic campaign.” Some parishes are fundraising on behalf of other parishes or schools with more limited resources. For example, Good Shepherd Church in Shawnee is partnering with Christ the King School in Kansas City, Kansas. The computers in the school’s lab are outdated to the point that the software is no longer able to update. Good Shepherd hopes to help the school fundraise about $36,000 for a new computer server and 30 computers.

User-friendly platform This year, the donation website has been updated to make the experience more user-friendly. “If you want to donate to multiple organizations, it’s like a shopping cart,” said Robards. “You have one transaction and the money is dispersed to the organizations depending on how you allocated it.” New this year as well is the opportunity to watch donations accumulate in real time.

President Most Rev. Joseph F. Naumann

Publication No. (ISSN0194-9799)


Editor Rev. Mark Goldasich, stl

How to donate • Visit the website at: kansascity. • Click “View all participating ministries” • Click “Donate” • Insert name and payment information in relevant fields

“For those folks who are not very tech-savvy, they are still able to donate [to the campaign] off the platform” said Robards. “Our admins will be able to insert offline donations on the platform so the total raised is more accurate.” All offline donors have to do is give a check or cash to their chosen organizations by Nov. 27. Early giving is currently available on the #iGiveCatholic website. Donations will close at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 27. “This time of year, a lot of people are looking for ways to give back and be generous,” said Pratt. “We are really grateful that people [continue to] choose to share their blessings with us,” she added. To donate, go online to: kansascity.

Managing Editor Anita McSorley

Senior Reporter Joe Bollig

Reporter Olivia Martin

Production Manager Todd Habiger

Advertising Coordinator Beth Blankenship

Social Media Editor Moira Cullings

ANSAS CITY, Kan. — When God called, women and men religious answered with a whole-hearted “yes,” not counting the cost. It does cost, however, to live in retirement. And therein lies the challenge for the aging members of religious orders. There is a funding shortfall for aging religious, compounded by rising health care costs and decreased income. Funding an adequate, dignified retirement for many has become a problem. Religious orders are financially independent and thus are responsible for the support of their members. Traditionally, the religious — Sisters, Brothers and religious order priests — served with little or no pay. Today, of the 547 communities providing data to the National Religious Retirement Office, only four percent are adequately funded for retirement. It’s not a new problem, which is why the Catholic bishops of the United States established the Retirement Fund for Religious. Catholics in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas have always responded generously to help aging religious. Last year, parishioners gave $112,742 to the national collection. Thanks to the collection, a combined total of $259,024 from the Retirement Fund for Religious went to the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica and the monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey, both in Atchison. The Sisters, Servants of Mary in Kansas City, Kansas, also received funds. The annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection will be held Dec. 8-9. The hope is that archdiocesan Catholics will continue to support “their” Sisters, Brothers and order priests. “We are overwhelmed by the ongoing generosity toward the annual appeal and by the love and thanksgiving for the service of our elder religious,” said Sister Stephanie Still, the NRRO executive director. “Our office is committed to stewarding these funds in ways that help religious communities care for older members while continuing to serve the people of God.” To learn more, go online to:

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: 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.




Program helps parishioners manage ‘God’s money’ By Joe Bollig

Financial Peace ‘baby steps’


LATHE — Curtis Keddy wasn’t eager to take part in a parish-wide participation program in Financial Peace University. But as director of faith formation at St. John Paul II Parish in Olathe, how could he refuse? “I was very skeptical,” said Keddy. “I would not have done it if I hadn’t been asked to do it as a staff member. “I have a Protestant background, and I have an issue with anything that sort of smells like the ‘health and wealth gospel,’ the ‘prosperity gospel,’ and the idea of building wealth and being financially successful.” Instead, Curtis and his wife Amy discovered that Financial Peace University, developed by Dave Ramsey, is a biblically based program that teaches people how to manage their money responsibly and faithfully. “We moved to Kansas just a year and a half ago,” he said. “We wanted to buy a house and were trying to figure out a plan to do that. This program was extremely beneficial in teaching us about mortgages and everything you need to know when buying a house. “And the number one thing was getting out of debt.” “Now, we really feel we’re building a firm foundation for our family’s future, which is great,” added Keddy. That’s half the reason why pastor Father Andrew Strobl promoted parishwide participation in Financial Peace University this year. He wanted to help parishioners build firm financial foundations for their families. But the other half is that he also wanted to build a firm financial foundation for the “bigger” family of the parish. St. John Paul II, founded in 2016, meets in borrowed spaces and has a master plan for a church and school. At some point, parishioners will be asked for financial gifts to build the parish’s physical presence. The big question was this: Would people give? The research wasn’t promising.

Financial Peace University graduates are taught to achieve their goals by taking seven specific “baby steps”:

1. Start a $1,000 emergency fund. 2. Pay off all debt using the “debt snowball” method.

3. Save three to six months of expenses for emergencies. 4. Invest 15 percent of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JOE MCSORLEY

Matthew Brady, member of St. John Paul II Parish in Olathe, presents a session of Financial Peace University in the basement of the parish rectory in Olathe. The program, developed by Dave Ramsey, is biblically based and teaches people how to manage their money responsibly and faithfully. “The average American household’s [annual] income is $59,000 and they contribute four percent of their income to their local church,” said Father Strobl. “Our average income is higher than that, and we weren’t even meeting that.” Which left the parish a lot of room to grow. As a new parish, said Father Strobl, members are trying to develop good financial habits — “knowing that only 45 percent of our folks turned in a stewardship commitment last year.” People want to give, he believes. But research shows that uncertainty about finances and debt inhibit not only giving, but also participation. The malevolent poison of debt seeps into all other parts of people’s lives. So, what to do? There had to be something better than “putting the touch on” fundraising. The answer — Financial Peace University — was provided by parishioners Matt and Meili Brady. Matt Brady is chairman of the parish finance council. He and his wife attended Financial Peace University in 2000 and have since then taught the

Holiday tradition benefits Hayden By Marc and Julie Anderson


OPEKA — A mustard seed — that’s how Christ the King parishioner Lisa Letourneau described the evolution of “Hark! Topeka’s Christmas Spectacular” here. First held in 2010 to raise money to help Hayden High School purchase a piano, the annual event has since raised more than $100,000 for Hayden and other good causes. This year, some 40 musicians and singers will treat a crowd of more than 250 concert-goers to what has become a musical holiday tradition in Topeka. Sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of Topeka, this year’s spectacular will be held Dec. 15 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Convention Center. Featuring a craft beer festival, a silent auction and threecourse dinner, all proceeds will benefit both Hayden and TARC, an organization which serves as a “provider of support for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Just as the event has long outgrown its original venue of Hayden’s band room, its mission has changed a bit, too. Soon after its inception, the musical spectacular added the Marian Clinic to Hayden, as a beneficiary of the fundraiser. According to Letourneau’s husband Ed, also one of the event’s founders, the mission of Marian Clinic to provide health and dental care to those in need dovetailed nicely with that of the university (Notre Dame) to become sensitive “to the poverty, injustice and oppression that burden the lives of so many.” When the Marian Clinic announced its closure in 2015, organizers looked for a suitable community organization with which it could partner and found TARC. The couple said the partnership with the Notre Dame Club, Hayden and TARC only adds to the event’s unique appeal. For more information about “Hark! Topeka’s Christmas Spectacular,” go online to:

program at various churches, including their former parish of Prince of Peace in Olathe. “Knowing that we would be in a growth phase in terms of attracting parishioners, growing services for parishioners and eventually a physical church home, I started to talk to Father Andrew,” he said. “Rather than the traditional route of asking for money from the pulpit,” he continued, “[I proposed] we set up a process where we could help people get to a place in their lives where they could give, know how to give and know why to give.” He told Father Strobl about Financial Peace University, and the pastor thought it was a great idea. First, the parish selected a leadership team of about 25 people to go to St. Louis last spring to be trained by Dave Ramsey’s organization. This first group led 29 families in the nine-week course beginning in July. Next, from this first group, leaders were trained for the second, larger enrollment of 123 families that took the course from Sept. 15 to Nov. 12. The parish-wide approach is called

5. Save for children’s college fund. 6. Pay off home mortgage early. 7. Build wealth and give. “Momentum.” It offers many different times and days for people to meet in small groups for their Financial Peace University training. Momentum also offers a lower cost of $90 per person. The numbers aren’t in for the second group, but the summer “leadership” group was very successful. “We had 29 households [take the course] this summer,” said Father Strobl. “In nine weeks, they were able to pay off $31,000 of non-mortgage debt and save more than $86,000.” Financial Peace University has given several participants calmness, confidence and control about their finances that they never had before, said Matt Brady. They also see spiritual benefits. “A lot of folks are beginning to see the money they get as not theirs, but God’s,” said Brady. “In this program [Dave Ramsey] wants us to view ourselves as money managers for God. We have to treat the money as his and manage it properly.”

Bulletins keep safety top of mind >> Continued from page 16 Maur Hill-Mount Academy has had two on-site safe environment audits since he became president and headmaster, said Phil Baniewicz, who has led the school for nine years. “They did a complete walkthrough of the school and our facilities — we’re a boarding school, so we have dorms, too,” said Baniewicz. “They had a sitdown interview with myself, our principal and other constituents. We gave them all kinds of materials.” One thing the auditors check is that everyone has taken their Virtus child protection training and kept current on it through the monthly training bulletins. “The ongoing monthly training bulletin is not a huge endeavor, and yet it’s a very practical thing

to keep safety on your mind,” he said. “I find it to be very useful.” The auditors also check to see if all students have received child protection training, and if the blue cards, which contain contact information to report suspected abuse and neglect, are posted in prominent areas. “I think what the audits do is show we are actively trying to make our places safer,” said Baniewicz. “We just don’t put a policy in place and move on. Our work is active.” The work of maintaining safe environments never ends, and the audit is one of the essential tools in this ongoing effort. “[Audits] are both useful and effective,” said Father Riley. “They help us to confirm that the efforts we are making are in compliance with the charter and are having a positive impact on the church.”



Changing the world, one grandchild at a time Katie Peterson Special to the Leaven


OLTON — Lila and Milton Krainbill of St. Dominic Church here recently returned from a trip of a lifetime to Australia and New Zealand. Perhaps the most extraordinary sight of all, however, was the face of one of the nine children they currently sponsor through Unbound, whom they were meeting for the first time. They visited with the child at their final stop in the Philippines. Unbound, formerly known as the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, was founded in Kansas City, Kansas, by siblings Bob, Bud, Jim and Nadine Hentzen and their friend Jerry Tolle on Nov. 20, 1981. “Guided by faith and rooted in Catholic social teaching, the founders envisioned a program that would invite people to partner with families to support, encourage and empower them,” reads Unbound’s website. “When you sponsor a child through Unbound, you help an entire family start on a path out of poverty.” The monthly donations go to help the child and his or her family receive proper nutrition, health care, improved living conditions and education. Currently, more than 260,000 sponsors across 70 countries are helping more than 310,000 children and elders in 18 different countries through Unbound. The Krainbills’ journey with Unbound began in 2001, when a visiting priest came to their church and talked to the parishioners about sponsoring a child. Milton and Lila didn’t hesitate: their first child lived in the Dominican Republic. “It’s just a need,” Milton said. “We’ve traveled enough to know in any Third World country there’s huge needs.” Then, in 2003, while traveling to Costa Rica, they made arrangements to meet with Unbound representatives there and help with a project they were working on at the time. In the process, they met another family and were soon touched by them as well. “We thought, ‘We can’t walk away from this family,’” said Lila. After learning that one of the daughters was eligible for sponsorship, the Krainbills took on their second child. Since then, Milton and Lila have always sponsored at least two children through graduation from the program, meaning the children and their family have progressed sufficiently as to no longer need assistance. The Krainbills have also been able to meet all of the children they have sponsored, visiting Costa Rica three more times, India, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines. “We have seen the progress that Unbound has made in their lives,” Lila said. “You see that the money gets to where it needs to get.” “Just seeing the difference that it makes in the family’s faith and their belief that somebody is going to help,” she said, “they’re just so appreciative and it’s just so heart-


Milton and Lila Krainbill look through photos of their trips overseas to visit the children they have sponsored through Unbound with their grandchildren Colton Klecan, 12, and Keira Klecan, 9, at their home in Holton. The Krainbills currently sponsor nine children through Unbound, seven of which they sponsor for their seven youngest grandchildren, including Keira and Colton.

Lila and Milton Krainbill stand outside their home Nov. 10 in Holton. The Krainbills currently sponsor nine different children through Unbound. warming. “We’ve been blessed that we’ve been able to travel and meet them. Once you meet these kids, they’re like your own and you can’t go away and not help. Anybody that could do a mission trip I think would be such a believer in not just Christianity, but Unbound itself and how they operate.” “To us, we see the progress; to them, they put a face to who we are,” Milton said. “We become real when they see a body. It’s not just a name at the bottom of the letter.” Lila has had many people ask her why they feel they have to go out of the country to help people instead of helping those in the United States. “We volunteer at the Rescue Mission in Topeka, but there’s many programs that help homeless and the desolate in the United States. You don’t see this kind of poverty [in the United States],” she said. “There might be close to this, but I haven’t seen it or heard about it. I think the government pretty much takes care of getting people to a certain level here.” “Our dollar goes so much further,” Milton added. “Would $35 take care of health care, education and food [in the United States]? “[With Unbound], you sponsor one person per family and it helps the entire family.” Now, Milton and Lila are passing the ministry on to the next generation, having taken on seven more children in December 2017 for their seven youngest grandchildren to

write letters to. “We did this to hopefully carry on another generation’s caring and respect for the ones that aren’t as fortunate, and trying to teach them,” Lila said. “We can bring back these pictures and show the grandkids, but this, No. 1, makes them realize how fortunate they are; and No. 2, they are old enough to communicate with somebody and they can have this feeling of gratitude and excitement.” Each of the grandchildren was able to search through pictures and read the biographies of different children to choose from. Colton Klecan, 12, said one thing stood out when choosing his child, a 12-year-old boy in Guatemala. “My guy, it said, had been waiting for over one year,” he said. “I was, like, ‘Geez, if I was him, I would be so sad.’ I write letters just thinking that every day they probably wait and wait and wait for a letter.” Colton’s sister Keira, 9, is also corresponding with a child in Guatemala: a 9-year-old girl. “I just like doing it because people don’t get stuff that we get,” she said. “We’re thankful for the stuff we get.” Paco Wertin, Unbound church relations director, said the Krainbills’ sponsorship of nine children and the effort they make to create a deeper connection directly expresses who they are as people. “The Krainbills are expressing the goodness that is in their hearts,” said Wertin. “They are sharing their resources with those in need and, at the same time, getting to know the ones they are helping.” “As these relationships grow,” he continued, “the Krainbills are open to receive what their sponsored friends and their families have to offer them: mutual support and encouragement. They are living out what they believe. “‘I believe in you’ is a powerful message that they send to their sponsored friends. And their sponsored friends certainly believe in them.” For more information about Unbound and how to sponsor a child, visit the website at: www.unbound. org.


Tom and Alice (Montgomery) Brackh a h n , members of Church of the Ascension, O ve r l a n d Park, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a vacation to Sedona, Arizona, with their family. Their children are Kerri Martin and Craig Brackhahn. They also have three grandchildren. The couple was married on Nov. 30, 1968 at St. Mary Church, Independence, Missouri, by Msgr. Martin Froeschl. Katherine and John Kurelac, members of Holy Cross Parish, O ve r l a n d Park, will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary on Nov. 28. The couple was married on Nov. 28, 1953, at St. Benedict Church in Kansas City, Kansas. Their children are Mark and Marsha. They also have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

ANNIVERSARY submissions submissions ANNIVERSARY POLICY: The Leaven prints 50, 60, 65 and 70th anniversary notices. They are for parishioners in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas DEADLINE: eight days before the desired publication date. INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: • The couple’s names • their parish • the date they were married • church and city where they were married • what they are doing to celebrate • date of the celebration • names of children (no spouses) • number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren; SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: • Announcements must be typed. • Emailed photos need to be 200 dpi. • Mailed photos can be any size. • If you would like your photo returned, include a self-addressed stamped envelope. WHERE TO SUBMIT: Send notices to: The Leaven, 12615 Parallel Pkwy., Kansas City, KS 66109, attn: anniversaries; or email: todd.

Scouts earn Eagles MISSION — Two Boy Scouts from Troop 247 have earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Logan Setzkorn and Kevin Cushing, members of St. Pius X Parish, Mission, received their Eagle recognition in a court of honor on Oct. 7. For his Eagle project, Setzkorn built Setzkorn and manipulative model of Jerusalem for the preschool Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program at St. Pius. Cushing replaced an old basketball hoop, repainted the lines and added a bench on the edge of parking lot at St. Pius. Cushing



Season’s grievings


big happy family passes heaping platters of food around a beautifully decorated table. A couple snuggles by a crackling fireplace, warm and cozy. Two adorable children discover a pile of sparkling presents under a brightly lit Christmas tree. It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . right? Our traditional Christmas imagery does not usually illustrate the many difficult situations that real-life people face at this time of year, such as the loss of a loved one, strained family relationships, financial stress or infertility. The sense that everyone else is glowingly happy can make those who are already suffering feel isolated and alone in their pain. There is no “right” answer to how to handle grief during the holidays. But it can be


helpful to keep some principles in mind: Plan for your needs. If it seems like activities you have done in the past will be too difficult to handle this year,

it is perfectly acceptable to make alternate plans. A lengthy explanation is not usually necessary. You can say something like, “I’m sorry we aren’t able to make it to the Smith Family Christmas.

This year has been really hard for us and we think it will be better to stay home and have a quiet day.” This may not please your relatives, but pleasing them is not as


Growing as Disciples of Jesus are not alone. Whether it is a conversation with a caring friend, asking your parish for help in finding material resources or seeking out professional counseling, do not be afraid to reach out for the help you need. Remember the real meaning of the holidays. In Advent, we remember the thousands of years that Israel longed for the fulfillment of God’s promise of a savior. At Christmas, we remember that God became man in the womb of a young girl. He was born into utter poverty and, as an infant, was forced to flee the country in fear of his life. When we switch our focus from the commercial view of Christmas to the actual incarnation of Jesus, we discover that he is with us in our suffering and wants to give us the graces we need to heal.

important as caring for the real needs of yourself and your family. Get help. Although grieving during the holidays may feel lonely, you

Announcement Joseph A. Butler & Son Funeral Home has re-opened as

is affiliated with Warren-McElwain Mortuary, Lawrence, KS “Locally Owned and Operated Since 1904”

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Brother Leven Harton, OSB, prays lectio divina in the church at St. Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison. “Lectio divina” is Latin for “divine reading.” It is an ancient form of praying and meditating on Scripture that is practiced by Benedictine monks, oblates and laypeople around the world.

COME, A LORD JESUS By Olivia Martin Advent starts on Sunday, Dec. 2. What better time than the beginning of the church year to bring the Lord into your life in an intimate new way? Come study with The Leaven at the feet of the masters — or at least some of the monks who still utilize St. Benedict’s practice of “lectio divina” almost 1500 years after his death.

TCHISON — It’s he continued, “then you have to be aware not news that that sometimes his voice sounds a lot like St. Benedict’s yours.” Abbey here is a place of peace and prayer. But perhaps less known is by what concrete 1. “Lectio” — Read methods that peace is attained. All of us are familiar with Scripture. Is it simply inherent to the monastery We hear it read aloud at every Sunday building? Or monastery life? Mass and hopefully read it in our homes. Does it emerge effortlessly — and do So, at first glance, it seems like this you have to wear a black-hooded robe to first step shouldn’t be too hard. possess it? But Father Simon and other monks Luckily, the monks were able to answer agreed that this is perthose questions and haps the most difficult more by pointing to a step of lectio. single practice: “lectio “This is the danger divina.” of prayer,” said Father Though it sounds “WHEN YOU’RE Meinrad. “You sit like the name of a Star down to pray and, at Wars heroine, “lectio DOING [LECTIO], JUST once, you think of all divina” is Latin for BE WITH GOD. SOMETIMES the things you could “divine reading.” be doing. It is a central prayer IT’S JUST GOOD TO BE “[But] it’s like the of Benedictine monasNike commercial: ‘Just ticism and is, fundaWITH SOMEBODY do it.’” mentally, an exercise Just “doing” it, he in coming into conYOU LOVE. said, eventually catchtact with the divine es you up in it. through prayerful “I rarely find that once I get into good meditation on the word of God. lectio that I don’t want to be there,” he “For St. Benedict,” said Father Meinsaid. rad Miller, OSB, “lectio is the real heart The choice of Scripture passage is of the spiritual life.” up to you, although passages from the Lectio enhances the liturgy, sacraGospels are a great place to start. And ments, one’s spiritual life and vice versa. there are aids available if you don’t want “Lectio divina is, primarily, listening,” to go it alone: Try “Lectio Divina of the said Father Simon Baker, OSB. Gospels 2018-2019,” published by the “It is listening for a way that God is U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, or speaking to you,” he added. something similar, if you’d like. But, what does God sound like? Just don’t attempt to “complete” a “Well, he sounds a lot like me to me,” certain section; this isn’t a school assignsaid Father Simon. ment. What? No voice from a burning bush? Instead, it’s a chance to let God lead Or instructions from angels? you into a deeper appreciation of his “If you’re turning to lectio to seek that word. encounter with God who listens and The key to doing lectio well, say the wishes to speak back in that conversation,”

The five steps of lectio divina

Tips for the practice of lectio divina • Seek silence • Cut out external distractions • Carve out a specific, uninterrupted time slot • Say a small prayer to quiet the mind • Choose a time when you are most awake • Take a walk while praying

Benefits of lectio divina (from those who pray it twice a day)

• More intimate relationship with God • Improvement in quality of life • Greater sense of peace • Confidence in God’s unwavering love • Heightened awareness of God’s unceasing caring presence Another option is to use an aid like “Lectio Divina of the Gospels,” available online at: Click on “Store” at the top and the book will scroll by for purchase.

Meditation is an important part of lectio divina, allowing one to reflect on how they recognize Christ’s presence in his or her life. reflective exercise; one last step can serve as an action point. You can ask yourself, prompted Father Simon, the following: “Based on your prayer and meditation, how are you going to take the fruit of your prayer and act on it throughout the day?”

There are no formulas

One of the benefits of lectio divina is that it can enhance your prayer life. “If you’re doing the steps well, prayer just happens,” said Father Simon Baker, OSB. monks, is to sit in silence, quiet the mind and read slowly. “You do lectio the way you drink a glass of fine wine,” said Father Marion Charboneau, OSB. “You sip and savor it,” he added. “You drink it like a connoisseur, swirl it around, like, ‘Oh! What an aftertaste!” 2. “Meditatio” — Meditation The meditative step of lectio is simple, by comparison. “That’s just making connections,” said Father Simon. “You use the word or phrase that stuck out to you like a reading lens, through which you see your life.” These connections are vast and can vary from being reminded of a past experience to re-awakening forgotten desires. The point is to reflect on one’s life through the truth of the reading, looking for ways the reading connects to con-

crete events in one’s life. 3. “Oratio” — Prayer “Naturally, what will happen [after meditation] is things will be awakened in you which immediately lead you into prayer,” said Father Simon. “If you’re doing the steps well,” he noted, “prayer just happens — you don’t have to force it.” 4. “Contemplatio” — Awareness of God’s presence The next stage, likewise, follows rather naturally. Contemplatio is an opportunity to sit awhile with whatever you’ve discovered from your reading and your prayer. “I think of it as sunbathing,” said Father Simon. “If you sit outside in the sun, it’s going to affect your appearance; it’s going to change you . . . you’re not doing anything.” 5. Optional: “Resolution” But lectio need not be an entirely

While the steps of lectio are now widely practiced, in St. Benedict’s day they didn’t exist. For him, the steps of lectio flowed naturally from his daily encounter with God in reading the Scriptures. It was not until centuries later that the steps were formed to help people navigate the Scriptures and their own lives better. The steps, like the reading of Scripture during lectio, are traditional and are guidelines rather than strict rules. In fact, lectio can be done in as many ways and contexts as friendships are expressed — because lectio is, ultimately, a conversation with a person: God. “When you’re doing [lectio], just be with God,” said Father Marion. “Sometimes it’s just good to be with somebody you love. Your prayer life can never be reduced to a formula.” For Father Meinrad, lectio has helped him on his journey of recovery from alcoholism. He often integrates 12-step recovery literature with Scripture readings in his daily lectio. “I think St. Benedict’s thing was not to have an exercise in futility,” he said, “but [he] wanted something that was beneficial and was going to lead the person. “For me, that [integration] has been a radical change. . . . It’s been very good for me.” To further emphasize the possibility of encountering God anywhere, Father Simon quipped, “You could even have lectio reading The Leaven!”

Divine therapy Praying lectio can have therapeutic effects as well. “It’s divine therapy in some ways,” said Father Meinrad, “because the Holy Spirit is reminding me where my origin is and where I’m going.” While both spiritually and mentally therapeutic, lectio should not be reduced to just thinking positively. “If lectio is just you having good thoughts about a reading, that’s not lectio,” said Father Simon. “But if you are cognizant that lectio is primarily an exercise in an encounter with the divine, then you’re fine,” he continued. “You are actually speaking with another person.” Awareness that lectio is a conversation with the ever-present Holy Spirit is essential to the practice. “Then, we remember that lectio is not a burden, but something we are privileged to do,” said Father Meinrad.

A new gaze Any habit creates change — and doing lectio divina is no exception. “It’s taught me how badly I really need God,” said Father Marion. “Life is better when you do lectio.” “When I do lectio,” agreed Father Meinrad, “that inspires me to look at my life then go to Mass and confession because I know I need the Lord more. “It has helped me appreciate God’s presence.” For Father Simon, it has been a lesson in the constancy of God’s love. “I used to think if I was behaving well, I was doing great and worthy of God’s love,” he said. “And if I wasn’t, then I was doing poorly and God wasn’t paying attention to me. “But now, I’m convinced otherwise, because I have daily encounters with him in lectio when I’m doing great — and when I’m not.”



Sister Thea Bowman encouraged others to stand up for their rights By Dan Stockman Catholic News Service


ANSAS CITY, Mo. (CNS) — Sister Thea Bowman, a trailblazing African-American sister who was the first and only black nun in her religious congregation and the first black woman to address the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, continues to inspire members of her order and others she touched throughout her life. The Mississippi native was a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration. Her position in religious life allowed her to address racism in the Catholic Church at a time when the culture and traditions of African-American Catholics still were not widely accepted. “Sister Thea always encouraged people to stand up for their rights and she continues to inspire,” Sister Eileen McKenzie, congregation president wrote in an emailed statement to the Global Sisters Report. The USCCB voted Nov. 14 at its fall general assembly in Baltimore to advance Sister Bowman’s cause, opening the way for a diocesan commission to determine whether she lived a life of “extraordinary and heroic virtue.” She was declared a “servant of God” May 15, when her home Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi, requested the bishops endorse opening her cause for sainthood. Jackson Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz read the edict opening the investigation and celebrated a special Mass Nov. 18. Sister Bowman died of cancer March 30, 1990, at age 52. Born Bertha Bowman Dec. 29, 1937, in Yazoo City, Mississippi, she was the daughter of a doctor and a teacher. She attended Holy Child Jesus School in Canton, 38 miles from her birthplace, run by the religious congregation she eventually joined. At age 8, she decided she wanted to become a Catholic and knew as a young teenager that she was called to consecrated life. In the 1950s, she studied at Viterbo College in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where the order is based, while preparing to enter the convent. She later studied at The Catholic University of America in Washington. Renowned for her preaching, she took her message nationwide, speaking at 100 venues a year until spreading cancer slowed her. Music was especially important to her. She would gather or bring a choir with her and often burst into song during her presentations. Sister Marla Lang professed vows with the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in the same class as Sister Bowman. She said entering religious life is jarring for anyone, and Sister Bowman had the additional pressure of being in an all-white congregation in an all-white city, not to mention the cultural — and weather-related —

“HER DAD SAID, ‘THEY’RE NOT GOING TO LIKE YOU UP THERE.’ SHE SAID, ‘I’LL MAKE THEM LIKE ME.’” shock of moving to Wisconsin from the Deep South. But if Sister Bowman was troubled by her circumstances, Sister Lang said, she didn’t show it. “She had her spirituals, the music that was so beautiful. Most of us had been living with little or no contact with anyone of African descent, but her voice was so beautiful, it was just a very rich experience,” Sister Lang said. Sister Mary Ann Gschwind was Sister Bowman’s roommate during the summer of 1966 at CUA. Sister Gschwind is the Franciscan sisters’ archivist and has been sworn in as a member of the historical commission for the sainthood cause. Even at CUA, Sister Bowman was unique. Sister Gschwind said African-American sisters were on campus, but they belonged to African-American congregations. Because the sisters still wore traditional habits, it was easy to see that Sister Bowman was from a white congregation. “It took a lot of nerve for her to join our community,” Sister Gschwind said. “I don’t think I could have done it if the situation were reversed.” The investigation into Bowman’s life will have no shortage of material to examine. The congregation’s archives contain three file drawers of Sister Bowman’s speeches — most of which she wrote on scrap paper to avoid waste — and 20 bankers boxes of documents. Dan Johnson-Wilmot was Sister Bowman’s colleague at Viterbo in the 1970s, where he was a music department professor and she taught English and studied voice. “Anyone who went to her presentations, I don’t think she ever had one where she didn’t sing,” Johnson-Wilmot said. “She had an uncanny gift. It didn’t matter who was there, she could weave a song into just about any kind of presentation she was giving, and people were just struck when she began singing because it was always from her heart and soul.” Johnson-Wilmot said the two became fast friends after an incident that started out ugly but became just another sign of how Sister Bowman could unite people. Several African-American students from Canton, Mississippi, at Viterbo formed the core of Hallelujah Singers, a gospel choir Sister Bowman established. The choral group Johnson-Wilmot directed was invited to sing at a local function, but learned an earlier invitation to the Hallelujah Singers had been withdrawn when


The U.S. bishops endorsed the sainthood cause of Sister Thea Bowman, pictured in an undated photo, during their Nov. 12-14 fall assembly in Baltimore. The granddaughter of slaves, she was the only African-American member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and she transcended racism to leave a lasting mark on U.S. Catholic life in the late 20th century. organizers learned the singers were African-American. Johnson-Wilmot said he called the organizers and said his group wouldn’t sing unless both groups were invited. In the end, he said, both groups sang and the event was a success. Sister Charlene Smith of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration was Sister Bowman’s friend for 35 years and is treasurer of the Thea Bowman Black Catholic Education Foundation. She also co-wrote the book “Thea’s Song.” She said Sister Bowman’s parents worried about her joining an all-white religious order in the North. “Her dad said, ‘They’re not going to like you up there.’ She said, ‘I’ll make them like me,’” Sister Smith recalled. “She spread joy even during her struggle with cancer. She was always spreading joy and happiness through her songs and her wisdom.” In 1989, Sister Bowman returned to La Crosse for a symposium, but was


so sick that Sister Smith was certain she would be unable to speak at the event. “They rolled her out in her wheelchair and she absolutely electrified the whole audience there,” Sister Smith said. When Sister Bowman spoke to the U.S. bishops in June 1989, less than a year before her death from bone cancer, she was blunt. She told the bishops that people had told her black expressions of music and worship were “un-Catholic.” She began by singing “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” a rebuke to the shepherds of a church that often neglects its members of color. “Can you hear me, church?” she asked. “Will you help me? Jesus told me the church is my home.” Sister Bowman pointed out that the universal church includes people of all races and cultures and she challenged the bishops to find ways to consult those of other cultures when making decisions. She told them they were obligated to better understand and integrate not just black Catholics, but people of all cultural backgrounds. Catholic News Service reported that her remarks “brought tears to the eyes of many bishops and observers.” She also sang to them and, at the end, had them all link hands and join her in singing “We Shall Overcome.” They gave her a rousing ovation. Sister Gschwind said her friend’s challenge of the bishops and having them embrace her in response is known to many in the community as “her first miracle.”





Pope offers prayers for victims of wildfires; death toll climbs


ACRAMENTO, Calif. (CNS) — Cal Fire officials reported that the death toll had reached 77 in the Camp Fire north of Sacramento, one of the deadliest blazes in the state. The number of people who are missing has reached almost 1,000. At the Vatican Nov. 18, Pope Francis said, “A special prayer goes to those affected by the fires that are plaguing California. . . . May the Lord welcome the deceased in his peace, comfort their families and support those who are involved in relief efforts. As of Nov. 19, 150,000 acres had been scorched and 12,794 structures destroyed by the Camp Fire. Containment of the fire was 65 percent to date and full containment was expected Nov. 30. “The tremendous loss from the Camp Fire ravaging parts of the diocese is devastating,” said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento. “The families in Paradise and the surrounding communities affected by the fire can rely on the support of our prayers.” The entire population of Paradise of about 30,000, was forced to evacuate Nov. 9; the town was destroyed. “We also pray for the brave men and women responding to this disaster and battling the fires,” the bishop added in a statement posted on the diocesan website, “May all those who have died in this catastrophic inferno be granted eternal repose in the merciful hands of the Lord Jesus.” Bishop Soto celebrated Mass Nov. 18 at St. John the Baptist Church in downtown Chico for all those affected by the Camp Fire. He especially invited the community of St. Thomas More Parish in Paradise; their church was in the direct line of the fire. Many of St. Thomas’ parishioners


A neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire is seen in Paradise, Calif., Nov. 17. Pope Francis at his Sunday Angelus Nov. 18 prayed for the victims of the California wildfires. have lost their homes. The Sacramento Diocese confirmed that the church and school buildings survived the fire. The new rectory, old rectory and parish hall were destroyed. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Northern Valley Catholic Social Service were working with partner organizations on local relief and recovery efforts. Donations can be made through the Sacramento Diocese by

visiting (choose the Fire Assistance Fund). Residents of Southern California have been coping with the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles, which started Nov. 8, the same day as the Camp Fire. Both fires were fueled by low humidity and strong winds. As of Nov. 16, residents displaced by the Woolsey Fire were being allowed to return home. Full containment of

the fire was expected by Nov. 22. It burned close to 97,000 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, destroyed 1,452 structures and damaged another 337. Three fatalities were confirmed. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has started a fund to help the victims of these fires. Donations can be made at

Bishops overwhelmingly approve pastoral against racism By Mark Pattison Catholic News Service


ALTIMORE (CNS) — The U.S. bishops overwhelmingly approved a pastoral letter against racism Nov. 14 during their fall general meeting at Baltimore. The document, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love — A Pastoral Letter Against Racism,” passed 241-3 with one abstention. It required a two-thirds vote by all bishops, or 183 votes, for passage. “Despite many promising strides made in our country, racism still infects our nation,” the pastoral letter says. “Racist acts are sinful because they violate justice. They reveal a failure to acknowledge the human dignity of the persons offended, to recognize them as the neighbors Christ calls us to love,” it adds. Bishops speaking on the pastoral gave clear consent to the letter’s message. “This statement is very important and very timely,” said Bishop John E. Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky. He appreciated that the letter took note of the racism suffered by African-Americans and Native Americans, “two pieces of our national history that we have not reconciled.” “This will be a great, fruitful document for discussion,” said Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Richmond, Virginia,


Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Richmond, Va., speaks from the floor Nov. 13 at the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. in whose diocese the violence-laden “Unite the Right” rally was held last year. Bishop Knestout added the diocese has already conducted listening sessions on racism. Bishop Robert J. Baker of Birmingham, Alabama, what he called “ground zero for the civil rights movement,” said the pastoral’s message is needed, as the civil rights movement “began 60 years ago and we’re still working on achieving the goals in this document.” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of

Kansas City, Kansas, said he was grateful for the pastoral’s declaration that “an attack against the dignity of the human person is an attack the dignity of life itself.” Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix said the letter will be welcome among Native Americans, who populate 11 missions in the diocese, African-Americans in Arizona — “I think we were the last of the 50 states to be part of the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday,” he noted — and His-

panics, who make up 80 percent of all diocesan Catholics under age 20. “This is very important for our people and our youth to know the history of racism,” he added. Bishop Shelton T. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, said an electronic copy of “Open Wide Our Hearts” would be posted “somewhat immediately,” with a print version available around Thanksgiving. “Also, there will be resources available immediately” now that the pastoral letter has been approved, including Catholic school resources for kindergarten through 12th grade, added the bishop, who also is chair of the bishops’ Subcommittee on African American Affairs. “’Open Wide Our Hearts’ conveys the bishops’ grave concern about the rise of racist attitudes in society,” Bishop Fabre said Nov. 13, when the pastoral was put on the floor of the bishops’ meeting. It also “offers practical suggestions for individuals, families and communities,” he said. “Every racist act — every such comment, every joke, every disparaging look as a reaction to the color of skin, ethnicity or place of origin — is a failure to acknowledge another person as a brother or sister, created in the image of God,” it adds.



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CAREGIVING Looking for assisted living at home? - Before you move, call us and explore our in-home care options. We specialize in helping families live safely at home while saving thousands of dollars per year. Call today for more information or to request a FREE home care planning guide. Benefits of Home - Senior Care, www.benefits or call (913) 422-1591.


Caregiver - CNA has many years of experience with elderly and dementia patients. Will do meal prep, doctor appointments, errands, medication setup and companionship. Call Johnna at (816) 786-1093. Just like family - Let us care for your loved ones in their homes. Two ladies with over 50 years’ combined experience. Looking for night shift coverage, some days. Great price, great references. Both experienced with hospice care. Call Ophelia at (913) 570-7279 or Kara at (913) 3431602. CNA - Professional caregiver provides quality private home care assistance for the elderly in the comfort of your home. Part-time or full-time assignments. Will consider live-in arrangements. 25 years seasoned experience. Dedicated to clients. Call (816) 806-8104. 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.

FOR SALE Residential lifts - New and recycled. Stair lifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts and elevators. St. Michael’s parishioners. KC Lift & Elevator at (913) 327-5557. (Formerly Silver Cross - KC) For sale - Two side-by-side crypts; tier B, 13 and 15, located in the St. Joseph Chapel at Mount Calvary Cemetery, the only two left in the chapel. Call (913) 269-6176 for pricing. For sale - Double lawn crypt at Resurrection Cemetery in Lenexa, Garden of Hope section, double lawn crypt, lot 78 C, space 4. Conveyance fee included. $7500. Call Lou at (512) 294-2869. For sale - Two adjoining plots at Resurrection Cemetery, Faith Garden. Includes concrete vault, opening and closing. $8000 retail, $200 transfer fee for both, or $4200 each. Call (816) 331-4295.

REAL ESTATE Whole Estates Need to sell a home and everything in it? We buy it all at once in as-is condition. Call (816) 444-1950 or send an email to: We buy houses and whole estates - We are local and family-owned, and will make you a fair cash offer. We buy houses in any condition. No fees or commissions and can close on the date of your choice. Selling your house as is never felt so good. Jon & Stacy Bichelmeyer (913) 599-5000. I NEED HOUSES! - We are members of Holy Trinity Parish and we pay cash for any real estate without any realtor commissions or fees. We buy houses in any condition, including bad foundations. If you would like an easy, no-hassle sale at a fair price, please call me. We have 15 years of experience. Mark Edmondson, (913) 980-4905.

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 - Antique/vintage jewelry, paintings, pottery, sterling, etc. Single pieces or estate. Renee Maderak, (913) 475-7393. St. Joseph Parish, Shawnee. Will buy - Antique signs, old pocket- and wristwatches, vintage and Native American jewelry, postcard collections, .22 rifles and oil paintings. Call (913) 593-7507.

BUYING AN AD To purchase a Leaven classified ad, email The Leaven at: Cost is $20 for the first five lines, $1.50 per line thereafter. Ad deadline is 10 days before the desired publication date.

Want to help someone heal from an abortion?

Call or text 913-621-2199


CALENDAR CAREGIVERS SUPPORT GROUP FOR MEN AND WOMEN Keeler Women’s Center 2220 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas 1st and 3rd Tuesdays from 1:30 - 3 p.m.

Caring for a loved one is very difficult. Support helps. These sessions are facilitated by Jackie Tigges, MSW, LSCSW.

DIVORCED: CALLED TO LOVE AGAIN Church of the Ascension (St. Luke Room) 9510 W. 127th St., Overland Park 2nd and 4th Sundays from 7 - 8:30 p.m.

What’s next after divorce/annulment? Join us for a formation series on the gift of self, which helps us fulfill the call to love again. Various topics will be discussed. Visit our Facebook page at: giftofself143 or send an email to: calledto

‘ADVENT WONDER AND HOPE’ Sophia Spirituality Center 751 S. 8th St., Atchison Nov. 29 from 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Take a day to reflect and prepare for the sacred season of Advent. Come to listen, share, create, pray and enjoy some much-needed sacred silence. The day will be facilitated by Mary Kay Whitacre, who is a staff member of the Sophia Center. The suggested donation is $25 and includes lunch. Call (913) 360-6173 or visit the website at:

‘SPLENDORIBUS’ Cathedral of St. Peter 409 N. 15th St., Kansas City, Kansas Nov. 30 at 8 p.m.

The Bales Chorale will present a concert entitled “Splendoribus,” featuring music from ancient and modern times. The music will include organ and trumpet. All are welcome to attend and there is no charge.

PENITENTIAL RETREAT Christ’s Peace House of Prayer 22131 Meagher Rd., Easton Nov. 30 - Dec. 2

The retreat begins at 6 p.m. on Nov. 30 and concludes on Sunday, Dec. 2, and is a response to the abuse crisis in the church. Friday evening begins with check-in at 6 p.m., orientation at 6:30 p.m., Mass, outdoor Stations of the Cross and the beginning of perpetual adoration for the weekend. Saturday begins with morning prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours at 8 a.m., Mass, Angelus, Divine Mercy chaplet, evening prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours and night prayer at various times throughout the day. Sunday will begin with morning prayer at 8 a.m. and Mass at 10 a.m. The retreat will feature silence and fasting on bread and water only. There is no

charge for the retreat, but alms are requested to be given to an organization that helps abuse victims. People are welcome to come and go as they wish — stay for a day, a day and evening, the whole weekend. If interested, call (913) 7738255 or send an email to: info@christspeace. com.

FAMILY ADVENT GATHERING Holy Cross Parish 8311 W. 93rd St., Overland Park Dec. 2 from 3 - 5 p.m.

Join the Greater Kansas City Worldwide Marriage Encounter for a short presentation followed by reflection time and small group sharing. Kids will make Christmas cards for seminarians. Bring a dozen Christmas cookies to share and a small notebook. Extra cookies and the cards will be delivered to the seminarians. The afternoon will end with a family rosary.

‘SURVIVING THE HOLIDAY WHILE GRIEVING’ Sophia Spirituality Center 751 S. 8th St., Atchison Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Hear about the value of deepening spiritual practices to find new hope and discover one’s own path to the God of grace and compassion. For more information or to register, call (913) 360-6173 or visit the website at: www. Appropriate for ages 18 and older. An $80 fee includes lunch.

BISHOP MIEGE MOTHER’S CLUB ADVENT CELEBRATION Bishop Miege High School 5041 Reinhardt Dr., Roeland Park Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Come enjoy a peaceful evening and celebrate the season. The evening begins in the chapel with a candlelight prayer service written and presented by Miege Moms and then moves to the commons for a reception. For more information and to make a reservation, go online to: and scroll down to “Upcoming Events.”

‘ENTERING INTO THE SILENCE OF ADVENT’ Sophia Spirituality Center 751 S. 8th St., Atchison Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. - Dec. 8 at 4:30 p.m.

This silent retreat will explore the meaning of Advent and its power to touch our lives. Opportunities will be provided for personal and shared prayer as well as silent reflection. Participants will have the opportunity to attend the Eucharist. Call (913) 360-6173 or visit the website at: to register. Donations will be accepted.

VISIT ST. NICHOLAS AND HAPPY HOLY HOUR Divine Mercy Parish 555 W. Main St., Gardner Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m.

Celebrate the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the beginning of Advent with a vigil Mass followed by a happy Holy Hour featuring a visit from St. Nicholas and fellowship with friends. Bring a camera to capture a picture of your child with St. Nicholas.

CELTIC CHRISTMAS St. Columbkille Parish (hall) 13311 Hwy. 16, Blaine Dec. 8 from 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Come spend the day shopping holiday vendors. Purchase holiday cookies and candies by the pound. There will also be homemade cinnamon rolls, kolaches, breakfast burritos, homemade soups and pies, ham sandwiches and chili dogs.

SINGLES OF NATIVITY DANCE Church of the Nativity 3800 W. 119th St., Leawood Dec. 8 from 7 - 11 p.m.

The cost for a ticket is $20 and may be purchased at the door. Food and drinks are provided. Dress recommendation is semiformal. The Loose Change Band will be playing.

ENKINDLE CONFIRMATION RETREAT Prairie Star Ranch 1124 California Rd., Williamsburg Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

This confirmation retreat offers youth the opportunity to participate in our Enkindle confirmation program. All meals and programming are covered in the registration fee. Youth participants will need to have a chaperone with them during the event, as well as a completed permission form and waiver. A link will be provided in the confirmation page and email. Register online today at: www.; contact the Retreat Team at:; or call (785) 746-5693.

‘WHAT CHILD IS THIS?’ AN ADVENT DAY OF PRAYER Precious Blood Renewal Center 2130 St. Gaspar Way, Liberty, Missouri Dec. 8 from 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Christmas is about Christ, not Santa, not shopping. Christmas is about the message of Bethlehem. Take a look at Jesus on this Advent day of prayer using guided meditation. The day will close with a Taize prayer service. To register by Dec. 3, go online to: info@pbrenewal and click on the “Register Today”


button. You may also call (816) 415-3745 to register. The suggested donation of $40 includes lunch. Scholarship funds are available.

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE MASS Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish 3333 Broadway, Kansas City, Missouri Dec. 8 at 7:30 a.m.

Honor Our Lady of Guadalupe through prayer, song and dance with a musical homage and Matachines dancers. A reception will follow. There will be tamales, Mexican bread and Mexican hot chocolate.

CHRISTMAS SHOPPE Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish 7023 W. 71st St., Overland Park Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Dec. 9 from 7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Do all your Christmas shopping in one place. Stay for lunch and take home a casserole for dinner. Some items available for sale are: books, Pampered Chef, Bethlehem wood carvings, honey, candy, breads, coffee, pottery, wreathes, jewelry, Christmas decor and much more. Santa will visit on Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

SUPER BREAKFAST Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish (hall) 106 Exchange St., Emporia Dec. 9 from 8 - 11 a.m.

Knights of Columbus Council 727 will provide a super breakfast. Come spend time with friends and neighbors. The cost is a freewill donation.

CHRISTMAS IN KOLOGRAD DANCE St. John’s Auditorium 420 Barnett, Kansas City, Kansas Dec. 15 from 6:30 - 10:30 p.m.

Admission is $10 for adults; kids 12 and younger get in for free. There will be sausage sandwiches, beer, soda and water available for sale all evening. The Kolograd band will be playing dance music. To purchase tickets, call Kenny at (913) 371-9690, Phil Ashley at (816) 210-9035 or Jim Baric at (913) 563-0625.

BREAKFAST WITH ST. NICHOLAS Holy Family Parish 513 Ohio Ave., Kansas City, Kansas Dec. 15 from 8 - 11 a.m.

Resurrection School invites you to Breakfast with St. Nicholas. The cost is $6 per person and includes all-you-can-eat pancakes, hot and cold beverages, and sausages catered by Chris Cakes. Takeout orders will be available.

BREATHE RESPITE CARE PROGRAM Holy Cross School 8101 W. 95th St., Overland Park Dec. 15 from 4 - 8 p.m.

BREATHE respite care provides the gift of time away from caregiving for families who have a loved one with a disability age 5 years or older. If you have any questions, contact Tom Racunas, lead consultant of the special needs ministry, at (913) 647-3054 or send an email to: To register a loved one for the program or to volunteer, go to the website at: and complete the online form.

Wagner’s Mud-Jacking Co.

Specializing in Foundation Repairs Mud-jacking and Waterproofing. Serving Lawrence, Topeka and surrounding areas. Topeka (785) 233-3447 Lawrence (785) 749-1696 In business since 1963



Can’t you just be quiet?

THIRTY-FOURTH WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME Nov. 25 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE Dn 7: 13-14 Ps 93: 1-2, 5 Rv 1: 5-8 Jn 18: 33b-37 Nov. 26 Monday Rv 14: 1-3, 4b-5 Ps 24: 1-6 Lk 21: 1-4 Nov. 27 Tuesday Rv 14: 14-19 Ps 96: 10-13 Lk 21: 5-11 Nov. 28 Wednesday Rv 15: 1-4 Ps 98: 1-3, 7-9 Lk 21: 12-19 Nov. 29 Thursday Rv 18: 1-2, 21-23; 19: 1-3, 9a Ps 100: 1b-5 Lk 21: 20-28 Nov. 30 ANDREW, APOSTLE Rom 10: 9-18 Ps 19: 2-5 Mt 4: 18-22 Dec. 1 Saturday Rv 22: 1-7 Ps 95: 1-7 Lk 21: 34-36


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could swear I had ants in my pants. It was just the first day of an eightday silent retreat before my ordination as a deacon. My retreat director gave me a line from the Psalms to meditate on for an hour. I barely lasted 15 minutes before I bolted from the chapel. I’ll come back to this later. Incidentally, when they found out I was going on a silent retreat, my fellow seminarians couldn’t believe it. Mark Goldasich, silent? And for eight days? Now that, they agreed, would surely be a miracle. Well, miracles do happen: That retreat was a turning point in my life, giving me a hunger for quiet and teaching me the importance of listening, especially in prayer with the Scriptures. With Thanksgiving weekend upon us, I invite you to take time to read this issue’s center spread about “lectio divina,” or “sacred (divine) reading.” (By the way, the Latin word “lectio” is pronounced




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

“lex-ee-oh.”) For those of us who like to do all of the talking in prayer, this is a challenging, but refreshing, way to pray. The monks at St. Benedict’s Abbey have done a marvelous job explaining the how and why of this style of prayer on pages 8 and 9. I’d just like to add a couple of observations, hoping to help others, like me, who struggle sometimes with being still. I prefer to be the “doer” in prayer; lectio

has taught me how to “let it be done to me.” It’s no accident that some paintings of the Annunciation show the Blessed Virgin Mary — the premiere “let-it-bedone-to-me” person — seated in prayer with the Scriptures. I like to think of her as a model of lectio divina — someone who let God do most of the talking, rather than the other way around. This story helps me to understand the importance of lectio’s silence: A man and his family were in a motel room. He was to give a speech at a convention. The program was extremely precise. Because he had only a certain number of minutes to speak, it was important for him to

have the correct time. He was going out of his mind, though, because he’d misplaced his watch. He, his wife and kids were all scrambling around the room looking for it — all to no avail. Suddenly, the man yelled, “Everybody freeze!” Shocked, they stopped where they were. It was total silence . . . until they heard the ticking. And in the silence, they found the watch. (Found in William J. Bausch’s “A World of Stories for Preachers and Teachers.”) The heartbeat of God is ticking every moment around us but, most of the time, our noisy world and noisy minds drown it out. Only in a practice like lectio, where we become quiet, can we pick up the heartbeat, the voice of our loving God. If you’re new to lectio, my advice is to start small. Read only a few lines of Scripture and spend about five minutes with them. Be a patient beginner. Don’t expect to be an expert in this type of prayer overnight. Use a guide as well. In

addition to the resource mentioned in the spread, another good book is: “Conversing with God in Scripture: A Contemporary Approach to Lectio Divina” by Stephen J. Binz. Now back to that silent retreat I started with above. When I shared my dreadful first session of prayer with my retreat director, he asked me several times to repeat what I’d done. Finally, he said, “Mark, I didn’t hear you ask God to help you to pray. Isn’t it awfully arrogant of you to think that you can just pray on your own?” I was stunned, as that never occurred to me. So, always begin your lectio with something like: “God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me.” In a nutshell, don’t be afraid. Try lectio. By the way, I made it through that eight-day silent retreat, much to the amazement of my friends. And believe me, if I could learn to be still and listen, for everyone else it will be a piece of cake!

Kingdom not ‘of this world’ but active in it

he word “kingdom” can conjure up many images: British royalty, with all its pomp and circumstance; the theme park of Walt Disney; the magical world of King Arthur and his knights. The word can mean many different things to different people. We see that ambiguity at work in Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jn 18:33b-37. Pontius Pilate is interrogating Jesus, out of concern that Jesus poses a political threat to the Roman Empire. After all, Pilate has already tried and convicted Barabbas, whom the Gospel of Luke identifies as a revolutionary (Lk 23: 19). Perhaps Jesus also fits into the category.


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

That is why Pilate asks him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” (We should note that all four Gospels report Pilate asking

this question: Mk 15:2; Mt 27:11; Lk 23:3). For Pilate, kingdom or kingship implies political power, the command of armed forces, the ability to legislate and to impose taxes. That is the meaning of kingdom — not a place, but a function. It is not a question of geographical location. For Jesus to exercise kingship would place

him in opposition to the Roman emperor. That is why Pilate has Jesus on trial before him, and why he is asking the question. In contrast, for Jesus the kingship of God means something altogether different. It means that God is in charge. It means that God’s will is on earth as it is in heaven. That is the kingship that Jesus is claiming as his own. That is why he answers: “My kingdom does not belong to this world.” Jesus tells Pilate that his kingdom is all about truth. But Pilate misses the point. He does not understand Jesus’ mission, his purpose on earth. He mockingly asks the question, “Truth, what is that?” (Jn 18: 38).

He does not understand the meaning of Jesus’ kingdom. He does not understand what Jesus is trying to accomplish. But similarly, we should be careful that we do not misinterpret Jesus’ words. Jesus is not saying that his kingdom is not active in this world, or that it has nothing to do with this world. Jesus has come into our world to bring us salvation and fullness of life. His miracles are signs of God’s kingdom in our midst. His teachings seek to bring God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus’ kingdom is God’s kingdom. It does not belong to this world, insofar as it does not originate from this world, but from God.



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POPE FRANCIS Scientists worldwide must serve humanity and the health of the planet, which means they must also propose viable solutions to problems and persuade government leaders and policymakers to implement them, Pope Francis said. Answers to many world problems exist, he said, so what is lacking is the desire and political will “to halt the arms race and to put an end to war,” to switch to renewable energy as a matter of urgency, to guarantee water, food and health for all people, and “to

invest for the common good the enormous capital” lying dormant in tax havens. The pope spoke Nov. 12 to members and experts invited to the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The academy was meeting Nov. 12-14 to discuss the importance of all scientific fields and how scientists should engage more with society and leaders, particularly in guiding policy and debunking fake news. The scientific community is a part of society and must not consider itself to be “separate and independent,” the pope said. “Indeed, it is called to serve the human family and its integral development.” — CNS




Give your kids the gift of Camp Tekakwitha this Christmas


aptizing five babies in a day is really inspiring. Recently, I had the privilege of baptizing my grandson Isaac and four other treasured children. In each of their parents’ eyes, you could see the love for their children. You could see how far they would go to protect and equip their child for life on earth and for life in eternity. Each of these parents desired to be, as the baptismal rite says, “the first and best teachers” of the faith for their children. This is not easy. It is a lifelong commitment. Being a parent of five kids, we have needed help from grandparents, aunts and uncles, god-


DEACON DANA NEARMYER Deacon Dana Nearmyer is the director of evangelization for the archdiocese.

parents, trusted friends and heavily vetted organizations to meet this bar of “first and best.” We are blessed to

have amazing family and friends that have reinforced the faith lives of our children. Heavily vetted organizations, religious education, Catholic schools and Camp Tekakwitha, and their teachers/ counselors have deeply impacted the faith life of our children. I want the best of the best faith formation and

experience for my kids and my grandchildren, Isaac and Eleanor. Because I want the best of the best faith formation and experience for your kids and my grandchildren, that is why — going into our 22nd year of operation — my wife Deborah and I are still directing Camp Tekakwitha. We assemble an extremely dedicated, spirit-filled staff that creates deeply moving faith experiences each summer. Ask your family and friends, check out our Facebook and Instagram accounts and YouTube channel. Past campers are our best advocates. They will tell you how much fun they had at Camp Tekakwitha. They will tell how great the cabins

and food were. But mostly, they will tell you how great their counselors were and how much they got out of eucharistic adoration, Mass and the prayer times. Mountain board and bikes, high- and lowropes courses, horses, waterslides, climbing towers, and nightly concerts and events are just the backdrop to the lasting faith formation experiences that make Camp Tekakwitha such a treasure of our archdiocese. Silence, slowing down, listening, being listened to, praying over Scripture and meeting Jesus face to face in eucharistic adoration are interwoven with memorable outdoor adventures. We work year-round

assembling our staff and experiences to help you be the “first and best teachers”; we strive to reinforce the values and virtues that you have rooted at home. Now, for the first time, you can give Camp Tekakwitha for Christmas. The registration schedule is as follows: • Campers entering 9th to 12th grades in fall 2019: Register on Nov. 27. • Campers entering 7th and 8th grades in fall 2019: Register on Dec. 4. • Campers entering 5th and 6th grades in fall 2019: Register on Dec. 11. • Family Camp: Register by email to Jennifer at: camptekreg@gmail. com on Nov. 27.

Survey yields inspiring accounts of impact of Catholic education


t the Catholic Education Foundation, we have much to be thankful about, including more than 1,400 people who joined us for Gaudeamus and pledged more than $1.2 million for scholarships through that event. The $1.2 million — a record amount — will allow more than 1,000 students with financial need to attend Catholic schools in our archdiocese. We are deeply grateful to our Gaudeamus sponsors, donors and guests who made those results possible! We are thankful, too, for the 212 volunteers who helped make Gaudeamus a success for the


VINCENT ANCH Vince Anch is the executive director of the Catholic Education Foundation.

students we serve. Led by event chairs Patrick and Shannon Lillis and our board of

directors, the Gaudeamus committee and a dedicated team of volunteers helped create an event that will provide the gift of Catholic education for so many students who couldn’t otherwise afford it. We also give thanks for the more than 1,000 people in the archdio-

cese who provided feedback to us in our recent survey project. Their thoughts on the impact of Catholic education are inspiring to read and will help shape our work in the coming months and years. Here are just a few of the thoughts they shared with us: • “Catholic education fortifies the soul for a lifetime pursuit of joy. Each faith-centered learning experience shapes our soul. A student may question, ‘Why do I need to know this?’ about math facts, but they will never ask, ‘When will I ever need to know God?’” • “Faith formation for my children is essential. And I feel that I

need the support of the Catholic school system in conjunction with our domestic church to prepare my children’s minds and souls for heaven.” • “Catholic education instills values, morals and the sense of a greater purpose to attain the ultimate goal of everlasting life. Catholic education teaches us who we are, why we exist, learning about our purpose and how to live. It allows us to see the joys of each moment God has blessed us with and how to learn from the Gospel.” • “This society is increasingly difficult for our children to navigate with their faith intact. We need to support them as much as we

can. I see Catholic education as a big piece of this support.” • “There is a lot of uncertainty and temptation in this world, but I feel as though a Catholic education gives our children an opportunity to develop something bigger beyond these immediate gratification choices. It creates a community, a strong faith foundation, a purpose within us, an obligation not only to ourselves but to others and God himself.” We are immensely grateful for our supporters who provide these gifts of Catholic education for students who could not otherwise afford it. Thank you for your generosity!

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Getting victims the help they need By Joe Bollig


ANSAS CITY, Kan. — It can be very difficult for someone who has been abused by a church representative to come forward and report the abuse but, when they do, someone is there ready to help victims by addressing their needs and concerns and accompanying them with a journey toward healing. Linda Slate r -Tr i m b l e was hired on Nov. 12 as the new victim assistance coordinator within the archdiocesan office of child and youth protection. She and her husband Bill are members of Holy Family Parish in Eudora. “The victim assistance coordinator is crucial to our care for those who have been harmed by individuals representing the church, “said Father John Riley, archdiocesan chancellor and director of the archdiocesan office of child and youth protection. “The victim assistance coordinator accompanies a person through the processes of the investigation when an allegation is brought to us,” he said. “And the [victim assistance coordinator] assists in identifying resources for counseling, therapy and other needs. “ [That person] is also an advocate for the victim, making sure the victim’s concerns are heard and validated.” Father Riley said he hired SlaterTrimble because he was impressed by her work with victims of sexual assault and her extensive experience in human resources. Slater-Trimble was born and raised in the Des Moines, Iowa, area. She comes from a Catholic family and received a Catholic education from grade school up to college undergraduate studies. In 1981, she received a bachelor of arts degree with a double major in psychology and criminal justice from St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa. In 2004, she received a master of arts degree in business leadership with an emphasis in human resources management from Upper Iowa University in Fayette.


Linda Slater-Trimble is the new victim assistance coordinator within the archdiocesan office of child and youth protection. She and her husband Bill are members of Holy Family Parish in Eudora. “My career primarily was in human resources for 37 years,” she said. “I was offered a job with the company I was working for while a college student.” In 1988, she decided to do some volunteer work at Polk County Victim Services, while also doing her full-time job. She worked in crisis intervention and facilitated a weekly support group for survivors of sexual assault. Later, she became a counselor on call for one night a week and one weekend a month. “I found it to be very rewarding, very fulfilling work,” she said. Nevertheless, she had to end her parttime volunteer work at Polk County because of her job’s travel requirements. When her firm moved operations from Iowa to Johnson County in 2004, she and Bill moved to DeSoto. In August, she left full-time work in human resources and applied at the archdiocese when she learned about the position opening for a victim assistance coordinator. What victims need is someone with whom they can build a relationship of

REPORTING ABUSE If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you should make a report to the Kansas Department for Children and Families Protection Report Center by calling (800) 922-5330. If you or someone you know has been abused by a cleric, employee or volunteer of any archdiocesan parish, school or agency — regardless of when the abuse may have occurred — call the archdiocesan confidential report line at (913) 647-3051 or the victim assistance coordinator at (913) 2982944, after calling local law enforcement. You can also make a report by utilizing the online reporting form at: The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas places the protection of children as its first priority. Furthermore, the archdiocese respects the sincere concerns of all individuals who report misconduct and is thus committed to conducting thorough investigations of all such allegations.

trust — someone who will listen. “[We must] listen with a very nonjudgmental ear and ask them what they need in terms of support, what is going to help them in their healing journey, and what services and resources can we help provide to them, “ said Slater-Trimble. The role of the victim assistance coordinator is essential, said Father Riley. “We are committed in this archdioceses to learning the truth to the best of our

ability and promoting justice,” he said. The process can be lengthy, so the victim assistance coordinator helps the victim understand and navigate the processes of investigation, justice and healing, said Father Riley. “The victim assistance coordinator is also absolutely critical in helping us to assess what kind of spiritual care the victim may need,” he said.

Audits serve as essential tool to ensure safe environments

By Joe Bollig


ANSAS CITY, Kan. — One of the provisions in the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” signed by U. S. bishops in 2002 is that dioceses undergo yearly safe environment audits. These audits have been conducted by StoneBridge Business Partners, a private firm commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Early in November, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann received a letter from StoneBridge. The company’s findings? The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas was in compliance with the charter for 2018. This came as no surprise to Father John Riley, director of the archdiocesan

office of child and youth protection since 2009. “We have consistently been found in compliance with provisions of the charter since 2003, and we are pleased once again, to state that we’ve been found in compliance in our most recent on-site audit, which concluded in October,” he said. The annual audits are scheduled on a three-year cycle, he said. StoneBridge does a records and procedures audit for two years and, every third year, the firm sends auditors to archdiocesan schools and parishes to do on-site audits. On-site audits consist of interviews, examination of records and inspection of the selected sites. StoneBridge — not the archdiocese — selects who will be audited. “The auditors . . . interview the archbishop and those in leadership positions,

“I THINK WHAT THE AUDITS DO IS SHOW WE ARE ACTIVELY TRYING TO MAKE OUR PLACES SAFER. WE JUST DON’T PUT A POLICY IN PLACE AND MOVE ON. OUR WORK IS ACTIVE.” and those responsible for implementation of the safe environment program,” said Rita Herken, archdiocesan director of administrative services. “It is optional for a diocese to partic-

ipate in the on-site parish audits. We’ve always ‘opted in’ for that because we felt it was another good check to ensure what we’re doing is correct, and the auditors can see what we are doing in our parishes and schools.” This year on-site audits were conducted at Maur Hill-Mount Academy in Atchison, St. Benedict Parish and School in Atchison, Immaculate Conception Parish in Valley Falls, and Sacred HeartSt. Casimir Parish in Leavenworth. Beyond the StoneBridge audits, the archdiocese has implemented additional scrutiny. “Mike Horn, our parish finance and controls auditor, visits our parishes and schools on a three-year cycle,” said Herken. “As part of his [financial] reviews, he includes a safe environment component.” >> See “BULLETINS” on page 4

11 23 18 Vol. 40 No. 16  

The Leaven is the official newspaper for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

11 23 18 Vol. 40 No. 16  

The Leaven is the official newspaper for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.