February 18, 2018

Dear Friends,

On this First Sunday of our Lenten Journey, I invite our parish familyh to accompany prayerfully our Catechumens and Candidates in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.  Last September, our RCIA Catechumenate began at St. John the Evangelist Parish.  Over these last six months, our RCIA Coordinators, Emily and Jarrod Thome, along with Vickie Berntsen and Jim Leibold, meet weekly with those persons in the community who wanted to learn about our Catholic Faith.

There are two specific groups on this journey: Catechumens, (those persons who have never been baptized), and Candidates, (those persons who have been baptized in a non-Catholic Faith).  Over the last six months, our RCIA Class has met weekly on Sunday mornings at the parish.  They have learned the major beliefs of our Catholic Faith.  At the 10:30 a.m. Mass this weekend, we will celebrate the Rite of Sending.  Our Catechumens and Candidates from our parish will travel Sunday afternoon to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, where they will be received by Bishop Carl Kemme as the Elect.

In these next six weeks entering into Holy Week, I ask you to pray for our Elect.  These sisters and brothers are now in the most intense part of their formation into the Catholic Faith.  We pray for them; we accompany them; we encourage them; and we learn from them.  Their desire to become Catholic should inspire us to be better Catholics.

God willing, we will be welcoming these individuals into Full Communion into our Catholic Faith at the Easter Vigil on March 31.  On that most holy night, these Elect will be receiving the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, (for the Catechumens); Confirmation; and Holy Communion.  They will join us at the Altar of God and become full members of our St. John the Evangelist Parish family.  Please pray for these Elect.  We anxiously await their full communion into the Body of Christ.

May the Lord bless our Lenten Journey 2018.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

(Read archived blog posts here)

February 11, 2018

Dear Friends,

The Season of Lent is soon upon us.  Ash Wednesday is this week, February 14.  While it is not a Holy Day of Obligation, it is a day of fasting and abstaining from eating meat.  Masses will be celebrated at 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Ash Wednesday.

Catholics, from the 18th birthday up to the 59th birthday (the beginning of the 60th year) are obliged to fast, that is, take only one full meal and two lesser meals, with nothing to eat in between meals.  Drinking fluids is not contrary to the practice of fasting.  Catholics, beginning with the 14th birthday, are obliged to abstain from eating meat.  People who are unable to practice bodily penance, due to pregnancy, illness, or hard physical labor may choose another form of penance or charity.  The Church urges that works of penance be linked to works of charity - for example, using the money saved on less expensive meals or giving up snacks to feed the poor.

We will be distributing Lenten Rice Bowls today at Mass.  Place this rice bowl on your dining room table as a visible reminder to remember the hungry and poor.  This can be a very valuable lesson for young children.  Explain to them that by placing coins in the rice bowl, we give thanks to God that we have food to eat and that our small acts of sacrificial giving will be used to provide the poor in the world with food to feed their families

All Fridays of the Season of Lent are days of abstaining from eating meat.  Additionally, you are invited to come on Friday eening during Lent to the parish as at 6:30 p.m. on each Friday of Lent we will pray the Stations of the Cross, followed by Mass at 7:00 p.m.  There will not be the 8:00 a.m. Friday morning Mass during the Season of Lent.

As we encouraged last Lent, consider making "Our Sunday Rest."  Spend the Lord's Day as a family by going to Mass together on Sunday morning and then spending relaing time as a family.  Plan ahead so that chores and tasks around the house can be done other days of the week.  Try this for the six weeks of Lent and see how this practice impacts your family. 

Lent reminds us of our death.  "Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return." But Lent prepares us for the joyful Season of Easter.  Death is not the end, but our birth to Eternal Life.  May the Lord bless our parish family of St. John the Evangelist this Lenten Season.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

(Read archived blog posts here)

February 4, 2018

Dear Friends,

We welcome Fr. Dwight Birket this weekend at all of our Masses to St. John the Evangelist Parish.  As I mentioned in last week's bulletin, I am one of the speakers this weekend at the Kansas Catholic College Student Convention at Pittsburg State University.  Catholic students attending colleges or universities from all over the State of Kansas gather once a year to pray, study and meet new friends.  College-age Catholics face great challenges to live their faith and to witness to the faith on college campuses. Pray for them!

As you know, every Sunday between the 8:00 and 10:30 Masses, our parish campus is bustling with activity.  One of the classes that takes place from 9:15 - 10:15 a.m. on Sunday mornings is an adult education class.  This weekend, the class is beginning a new subject for study and discussion and I invite all adult parishioners to the class.

Fr. Stanley Rother was a priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.  Born in Okarche, Oklahoma in1935, he attended Mt. St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, (the same seminary that Deacon Derek Thome now attends and the seminary where I graduated 30 years ago).  Fr. Rother was ordained a preist in 1963.  He asked his bishop five years later to serve as a missionary in Guatemala.  He served there from 1968 until he was murdered in his rectory in 1981.

Our adult formation class will study the life and death of Fr. Stanley.  His sister lives in Wcihita, Sr. Marita Rother, a Sister of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ.  Fr. Stanley was beatified on September 23, 2017 and is now one step away from being canonized a Saint of the Catholic Church.  Come and learn more about this amazing story of faith - a farm boy from Oklahoma who one day we hope to call a Saint!

For many years, Fr. Dwight Birket served as a missionary priest in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.  We are blessed to have examples of holy priests who bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations of the world.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

(Read archived blog posts here)

January 28, 2018

Dear Friends,

Next weekend I will be one of the presenters at the Kansas Catholic College Student Convention at Pittsburg State University.  Every year, one of our Catholic colleges or universities invites the Catholc college students from all over the State of Kansas for a weekend convention of prayer, study and fellowship.  College-age Catholics face great challenges to live their faith and to witness to the faith on college campuses.  I ask tha you join me in pryaing for all of our Catholic students who are attending college.  May the Holy Spirit inspire them to remain courageous and to be witnesses for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Because of my absence from the parish next weekend, we welcome Fr. Dwight Birket to our St. John the Evangelist Parish.  He will celebrate all fo the Masses. Give him a warm Clonmel welcome!

From Pittsburg I will travel to the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri.  On Tuesday, February 6, one of the priests of our diocese, Fr. Shawn McKnight, will be ordained the Fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City.  Along with many bishops and priests from throughout the country, I will concelebrate the Episcopal Ordination Mass of Bishop McKnight, as a Successor of the Apostles.

How blessed the Diocese of Wichita is to share the gift of priests with the sider Church.  Recent priests from the Diocese of Wichita who have been ordained to the Order of Bishop include Bishop Emeritus Eugene Gerber, Bishop Emeritus Ronald Gilmore of Dodge City, Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, Bishop Jim Conley of Lincoln, Bishop John Brungardt of Dodge City and now Bishop Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City.  As God blessed or diocese with new priests, the diocese then shares our preists with the wider Church to serve as Bishops.  This is an act of trust and stewardship.  When we share what we receive from God, then God blesses us with more.

There will not be daily Masses on Monday and Tuesday, February 5 and 6.  We will have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as normally scheduled on those two days.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

(Read archived blog posts here)

January 21, 2018

Dear Friends,

Thank you for the very warm welcome that you extended to Bishop Carl Kemme last weekend as he made his pastoral visit to St. John the Evangelist Parish.  As he witnessed all of the ativity that took place on the campus between the Sunday morning Masses, (i.e. teh Adult Education Class, Religious Education classes for Grades K-5, RCIA Class, CYM donut Sunday, the nursery in the rectory basement), the Bishop commented, "You utilize every space available here." How true! Bishop Kemme was very impressed by the LIFE of our parish, by the participation of the parishioners in the celebration of Mass, and the evident promotion of family life. We are blessed!

You will be receiving in the mail this coming week your 2017 Annual Family Contribution Statement.  I thank you for your generosity in sharing the gift of your treasure with our parish as we seek to fulfill our mission to sow the Word of God through loving service of God and neighbor.

Lastly, all of you are invited to attend our Parish Town Hall Meeting this weekend on Sunday afternoon, January 21, at 1:00 p.m.  The members of our Parish Finance Council will join me as we present the current financial status of our parish and answer questions that you may have regarding our parish revenue and expenditures.  Accountability and transparency is a best practice.  As a family prepares a budget, so too does our parish family.  All are invited to attend!

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

(Read archived blog posts here)

January 14, 2018

Dear Friends,

"St. John the Evangelist Parish, inspired by the Holy Spirit, strives to sow the Word of God through loving service of God and neighbor." This is our parish mission statement. It answers succinctly the questions, "Who are we? What do we do? By whose authority do we do what we do? How do we do what we do?

In order to fulfill the mission of the parish, we need a variety of resources and gifts: spiritual, intellectual, human and financial.  God has already given us the gifts to accomplish the mission.  "Know that I am with you always,"  Jesus says as he sends his apostles into the world.  As stewards of these gifts, we share the gifts in loving service of God and neighbor.

The gifts of time and talent are shared in our a rish family.  Our stewardship pledge allows each of us to commit in 2018 how we will share gifts God has given us to help our parish faily fulfill its mission of sowing the Word of God through loving service of God and neighbor.  Our Stewardship Council is hard at work to compile and organize all of the gifts of time and talent that have been offered to our parish.

Gifts of financial treasure are also shared by each of us to fulfill our parish mission.  Just as a family needs to have a budget so as to use those financial resources prudently, so too does our parish family.  Our Parish Finance Council invites you to a Parish Town Hall Meeting on Sunday, January 21, at 1:00 p.m. in the Parish Center to provide a financial status of our parish financial operations.  This gathering allows you to ask questions about our parish budget as well as to share ideas of how we can continue to be prudent with our fiscal resources and to be faithful to our parish mission.

If you have specific questions about our parish finances, it would be helpful if you could submit your questions in advance of our town hall meeting.  You can email your questions to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the parish office this coming week at 620-545-7171 or you can drop your question on a card or note in the mailbox.  You do not need to include your name on your question(s) if you wish to remain anonymous.  The members of our Parish Finance Council want to be accountable and transparent to you as we move forward as a parish to sow the Word of God through loving service of God and neighbor.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

(Read archived blog posts here)

January 7, 2018

Dear Friends,

When I was a young boy in the late 1960s, there was a popular television series entitled, "Mission: Impossible." Every week I watched with anticipation of what would be the mission given to an elite team of special agents who would seek to bring criminals to justice.  Those of you who are my age may remember the iconic theme music that would play when the cassette tape would say to the team, "This tape will self-destruct in three, two, one seconds."

Today, on this Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, our parish family is being given a mission.  You likely noticed the difference in the cover of this week's parish bulletin.  On the front cover of the bulletin is our new parish mission statement: "St. John the Evangelist Parish, inspired by the Holy Spirit, strives to sow the Word of God through loving service of God and neighbor."  This mission statement is the final product of prayerful discernment and discussions among our Parish Pastoral Council.  Throughout the last months of 2017, the council had very fruitful discussions of who we are as a parish family and what we are called to do as a family.

Is the fulfillment of this mission impossible?  Without the working of the Holy Spirit, it is.  But with God, all things are possible.  In the coming weeks, as a parish we will be reflecting upon our parish mission statement.  What does it mean? Why do we need it? How will we go about fulfilling it?  One thing is certain...the completion of this mission will not be in a one hour episode like on television! 

Please take this mission statement to prayer.  Think about the words of this mission.  Pray that as a parish family, we may be focused in our mission - to sow the Word of God through loving service of God and neighbor.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

(Read archived blog posts here)

December 31, 2017

Dear Friends,

I pray that you and your loved ones are enjoying the graces of this Christmas Season!  Last Wednesday evening, on the Feast of our parish patron, Saint John the Evangelist, over 200 parishioners gathered for Mass followed by dinner at Clonmel Hall.  All who attended enjoyed a delicious catered meal and the joy of singing Christmas carols and visiting friends and meeting new parishioners.  A special word of thanks to Brenda Hastings and her committee of hard-working parishioners who organized this event!

As we are about to cross the treshold to enter 2018, our parish family marks its 140th year.  I enjoy reading the early history of our St. John the Evangelist parish family and to give thanks to God for those incredibly faithful individuals who built the foundations of faith of this parish beginning in 1878.  On the occasion marking the 125th anniversary of th eparish, Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber wrote these words to the parish family,

"The Lord, through Joshua, told the Israelites to 'be firm and steadfast, taking care to observe the entire law.' St. John's Parish has a history of remaining firm and steadfast in the Church's teachings, liturgical life and pastoral practices."

We have received the gift of faith from our God and from those faithful generations who have gone before us in faith.  We are given the charge to live our faith and to pass this gift on to the generations that follow us.  As we begin this new year, let us call upon our patron saint and ask his intercession:

"O Glorious Saint John, you were so loved by Jesus that you merited to rest your head upon his breast, and to be left in his place as a son to Mary.  Obtain for us an ardent love for Jesus and Mary.  Let us be united with them now on eart and forever after in heaven." St. John the Evangelist, pray for us!

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

(Read archived blog posts here)

December 24, 2017

Dear Friends,

The Season of Winter officially began this last Thursday.  Being a native Kansan, I love the four seasons of the year and the diversity of weather that comes in each distinct season.  We can learn important steps about the spiritual journey by observing the handiwork of God's creation.  Just as there are distinct seasons of the year in the natural order, so too are there specific seasons of the year in the liturgical order.

I pray that your Season of Advent, (which comes to a close this day), has been a time of spiritual and patient preparation for the coming of Christ in history, mystery, and majesty.  The Season of Advent teaches us the important virtue of patience.  We grow in eager anticipation of Christmas, but we must wait.  One measure of growth and maturity in the spiritual life is delayed gratification and to practice the virtue of patience.  This practice helps us to seek first the greater goods of life.

On Sunday night, we enter into the Season of Christmas.  The Savior is born!  Just like there are distinct seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, there are distinct seasons in the year of the Church.  The Season of Christmas begins with the Proclamation of the Birth of Christ on Christmas Eve and continues through the Feasts of the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord, (January 7 and 8 this year).  NOW is the time to turn on your Christmas lights, decorate your home, exchange gifts, spend time with family and friends. Fir the next fifteen days, this is the time to celebrate the SEASON of CHRISTMAS!

Remember that as Christians, we live in this world, but we are not of this world.  While others will be taking down their Christmas decorations on Tuesday, we will just be beginning our Christmas celebration as God's Family!  While radio stations will stop playing Christmas carols on Tuesday, we will just start our singing of these carols and continue to do so until the Epiphany.  Keep those Christmas decorations up in your home; keep your Christmas lights on; sing Christmas carols as a family; teach your children the Season of Christmas by the very manner in which you celebrate Christmas.  It is not just a day! May you and your loved ones have a blessed Christmas SEASON!

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

(Read archived blog posts here)

December 17, 2017

Dear Friends,

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice.  Indeed the Lord is near." On this third Sunday of Advent, we call this day "Gaudete Sunday! (Gaudete in Latin means "rejoice.") We light the rose colored candle on the Advent wreath and I wear a rose colored vestment as we are nowmore than halfway through the Advent Season.  Our hearts fill with joyful anticipation of the coming, ("Advent,") of the new-born King.

As published last week, below are times that you are invited to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, including three penance services today, (Sunday, December 17), in neighboring parishes.  I will be hearing Confessions on Monday and Tuesday at the parish from &;))-8:00 p.m.  If there are people waiting in line, I will remain in the confessional until all people have received the Sacrament.  Our parish Penance Service is on Wednesday, December 21, at 7:00 p.m. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available:

  • Every weekday morning at 7:30am before the 8:00am daily Mass here at St. John the Evangelist, Clonmel
  • Saturdays from 4:30pm-5:25pm at St. John the Evangelist, Clonmel
  • Sunday, December 17 at 2:00pm at St. Cecilia, Haysville*
  • Sunday, December 17 at 4:00pm at St. Joseph, Conway Springs*
  • Sunday, December 17 at 7:00pm at St. Anthony, Wellington*
  • Monday, December 18 at 7:00pm at St. John the Evangelist, Clonmel
  • Tuesday, December 19 at 7:00pm at St. John the Evangelist, Clonmel
  • Wednesday, December 20 at 7:00pm at St. John the Evangelist, Clonmel*

*denotes an Advent Parish Penance Service

Prepare your heart in this Advent Season to make room for Emmanuel - "God is with us."

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

(Read archived blog posts here)