September 3, 2017

Dear Friends,

The scenes on television and social media are horrendous and heart-breaking as we watch people in Texas and Louisiana suffer from the effects of Hurricane Harvey. How do we as Christians seek to reach out and help those who are in such great need?

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the official domestic relief agency of the Catholic Church in the United States. Should you decide to make a donation to this cause, your gift to CCUSA's Disaster fund supports disaster response and recovery efforts including direct assistance, rebuilding, and health care services. To learn more or to make an on-line donation to this effort, go to catholiccharitiesusa.org

The Diocese of Wichta will also be making a contribution to the Catholic Charities USA. One of my classmates from Rome is the Bishop of the Diocese of Victoria, Texas which was hit very hard as was most of the Gulf coast of Texas. I have not been able to reach him by phone, but I have certainly been keeping all of these brothers and sisters in prayer as I know you have been as well.

I encourage you who are parents to talk to your children about the scenes that they are watching as this tragedy unfolds. Ask questions in a non-threatening way to open discussions that are age-appropriate to their understanding.

There have also been incredible acts of courage, compassion, love and the very best of the human spirit that emerges from such tragedies. Let us pray for God's love upon all who have been affected by this storm.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

(Read archived blog postshere)

August 27, 2017

Dear Friends,

"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of hte Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20)

As our young parishioners return to the classroom for the beginning of another academic year, plans are well underway here at St. John the Evangelist Parish for the beginning of our formation year as well. The opportunities for our parhsioners, (of all ages), is not only academic to develop the mind, but formation to develop the person in the Image of God - body, mind and spirit. We are blessed to have parishioners who serve generously as catechists in Religious Education (RE) classes forming our children from Kindergarten thorugh 12th grade on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings; catechists in adult education classes on Sunday mornings between Masses; catechists serving in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) in the atrium each week; catechists introducing the Catholic Faith to inquring adults on Sunday mornings who are interested in learning about our faith in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, (RCIA).

I am very grateful to all of our catechists and to Cassi FitzGerald, our Facilitator of Faith Formation, who supervises the formation programs for our parish family. Please extend a word of thanks to the catechists of your children when the opportunity arises. Our classes begin on Wednesday, September 6, and Sunday, September 10. This year, we are inviting you to a Bible study on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. in which we will reflect, pray and discuss the Scripture Readings for the following Sunday Mass. More details will be forthcoming soon about this newest addition to our formation curriculum at St. John the Evangelist. Come Holy Spirit!

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

(Read archived blog postshere)

August 20, 2017

Dear Friends,

We welcome Fr. Ken VanHaverbeke to be with us again to celebrate the weekend Masses. He serves as the Director of the Spiritual Life Center. This weekend, we are trading places. He is celebrating Masses here at St. John the Evangelist, while I am presenting a retreat at the Spiritual Life Center on St. Teresa of Calcutta. Welcome back Fr. Ken!

Bishop Carl Kemme is inviting the People of God from throughout our diocese to meet with him for a listening session that will address three important questions for the future of our diocese. The first listening session, (which also happens to be the closest proximity to our parish), is next Sunday, August 27, from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. Another session will be held on Thursday, August 31, from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish.

Bishop Kemme would like to hear your responses to the following three questions that will be posed at each listening session:

  • As a diocese, what do we do well?
  • As a diocese, what could we be doing better?
  • As a diocese, what should our pastoral priorities be for the next three to five years?

For a full listing of dates and places for the sessions, go to the this link: http://catholicdioceseofwichita.org/listening-sessions. On that page, you may also submit your written reponses if you are unable to attend the llistening session in person. To register to attend a session, please call the Chancery at 316-269-3900 or send an email to the address provided on the website.

I do encourage your to consider attending one of these listening sessions and to provide your thoughts and insights to Bishop Kemme. Our bishop desires to listen to you.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John 

(Read archived blog posts here)

August 13, 2017

Dear Friends,

There are certain days throughout the year that we celebrate with family and friends such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, family vacations, job promotions. There are certain days that we celebrate throughout the year as a nation: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day. There are certaind ays that we celebrate as a Catholic family of faith. We call these Holy Days. In addition to the 52 Sundays of each year where we celebrate the Lord's Day, there are six days in our year that are designated as Holy Days of Obligation. As Catholics, we are to attend Mass on each of these 58 days of the year. This obligation is a serious commitment that God places upon us as his children.

One of those Holy Days of Obligation is this Tuesday, August 15. It is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Blessed Mother is the first disciple as she trusted that the Lord's words to her spoken through the angel Gabriel at the Annunciation would be fulfilled. Her "Yes" to God's will brought forth the Incarnation whereby the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was born. By his life, death and resurrection from the dead, he shows us the way to our eternal home - the Kingdom of God.

The feast we celebrate this week is our Catholic belief that Mary was assumed, body and soul, into Heaven. We ask her intercession that we too may one day share in the glory of the Kingdom of God. Masses at St. John the Evangelist Parish will be celebrated Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. and on Tueday at 8:00 a.m. and at 7:00 p.m.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John

(Read archived blog posts here)

August 6, 2017

Dear Friends,

Instead of celebrating the 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time, this weekend the Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. This Feast is always celebrated on August 6th in the liturgical calendar and this year, we are blessed that this day falls on a Sunday so that all Catholics reflect upon this great mystery at Sunday Masses celebrated throughout the entire world.

Peter, James and John, (our parish patron Saint), witness the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain with their own eyes and then they hear with their ears the voice from Heaven of God the Father, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." What a grace it must have been for those three Apostles to experience this mystery of God's revelation in sight and in hearing.

Each one of us can experience this Divine Mystery when we spend time gazing upon the Real Presence of Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration. In the monstrance placed on the Altar, we see Jesus inthe consecrated Bread of Life. In the silence, God speaks to us. Will you consider entering into this mountian top experience by committing to an hour of Eucharistic Adoration each week in prayer? Such time in prayer will increase your love for Jesus. Next weekend at our Masses, you will be invited to sign up for an hour of Adoration each week here at St. John the Evangelist Parish. On the night before Jesus died, he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and he asked Peter, James and John "Remain here and keep watch with me." (Matthew 26:38). What is Jesus saying to you?

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John

(Read archived blog posts here)

July 30, 2017

Dear Friends,

St. John the Evangelist Parish is blessed each week to have 40 hours of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. While we would love to be a parish with Perpetual Adoration, we are like the mustard seed in last Sunday's Gospel with small, (but mighty), beginnings. Starting at the 8:00 a.m. Mass each Monday and continuing through 12:00 Midnight on Tuesday night, parishioners come and pray one hour with the Blessed Sacrament exposed ont he Altar in the monstrance.

For many of our parishioners who have reserved an hour each week in prayer with the Lord, they will be the first ones to tell you how their spiritual life has grown through this commitment of time to spend with Our Lord in prayer.

Would you consider committing to an hour with the Lord each week in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament? In the coming weeks, you will be hearing this invitation extended to all of the members of our St. John the Evangelist Parish family. In the silence, the Lord speaks. We need time of quiet to hear the Lord speak to our heart. Know of my prayers for each of you as we accompany one another on this journey of faith following Jesus Christ to the Kingdom of God.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John

(Read archived blog posts here)

July 23, 2017

Dear Friends,

Please remember in your prayers the repose of the soul of two of our parishioners, whom God called from this life. Greg Hurt died on Friday, July 14, and was buried this past Thursday. Last Wednesday night, Steve Cotton died after a massive heart attack earlier that day. The funeral arrangements for Steve will be Mass at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 26, and a rosary at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25. Pray for the Hurt and Cotton families during this time of sorrow. "Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted."

From death to life. On Wednesday, June 12, our parish family welcomed the gift of the twins, Reagan adn Colby Dick, born to Daniell and Tyler Dick. The babies, born at 29 weeks, remain in the hospital and we pray for them as well as for their mother, Danielle, who is now undergoing chemotheraphy for her cancer. May God bless the Dick family.

I was so blessed to travel with 45 of our parishioenrs, (young adults and their chaperones), to the Steubenville Conference in Springfield, Missouri last weekend. We were part of a gathering of 4100 young adults from throughout the Midwest. I extend a special word of gratitude to Cassi FitzGerald and to our adult chaperones. We have some very inspiring young people in our parish family. As I watched them during the conference, I saw deep faith and love for Jesus Christ.

This journey of life on earth is a pilgrimage. From birth to death in this life, we are on a journey of faith from death to life in the Kingdom of God. In today's Gospel, Jesus teaches us through parables what the Kingdom of God is like. May we pray for one another in our beautiful parish family of St. John the Evangelist and may we accompany one another in this journey, following Jesus Christ our Lord.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John

(Read archived blog posts here)

July 16, 2017

Dear Friends,

Please welcome Fr. Ken VanHaverbeke as he celebrates Masses this weekend at our parish. I am most grateful to Fr. Ken as he is covering the weekend Masses for me in my absence. I am attending the Steubenville Conference with 40 of our young adult parishioners in Springfield, Missouri. We will be returning to the parish Monday evening. Please pray for our young people as they encounter Jesus Christ and meet other young adult Catholics from throughout the Midwest.

We give thanks to God for the healthy births of our two youngest parishioners: Reagan Danielle Dick and her twin brother, Cody Tyler Dick. These two young babies were born at 29 weeks to Danielle and Tyler Dick this past Wednesday. Both babies were born weighing over three pounds. Please continue to pray for the babies in this critical time and pray for Danielle, as she is now initiating her chemotherapy treatment for melanoma. May God bless the Dick family.

Next Sunday, July 23, our parish is hosting the American Red Cross to conduct a blood drive in their mobile unit. During the summer months, there is a critical need for the gift of blood. Please sign up after Mass for an appointment to donate blood. We are in need of 25 units of blood to be donated next Sunday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. What a great way for us to be stewards of the gift of life. Your generous response to this need for our community is appreciated greatly.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John

July 9, 2017

Dear friends, 

At the Masses this weekend, we are commissioning parishioners from our parish to begin terms of service on our parish pastoral council, our parish finance council and our parish stewardship council. These persons serve as representatives of our entire parish family. I am grateful for their "Yes" to serve and I look forward to listening to their collective wisdom as we grow as a parish family. Since I first arrived here at this wonderful parish, I stated the two "L's" that frame my decisions as pastor are "to listen" and "to learn." Please know that as pastor, I do want to listen to all of you.

Our growth as a parish family should not just be measured in number of persons. Is each one of us growing as disciples of Jesus Christ? Are we committing ourselves to the Lord to be His witnesses to the world in which we live? Are we missionary disciples? Our faith is not simply to be lived in a "God and me" relationship. Our faith is meant to be shared. Jesus calls us "to go out and make disciples."

This Sunday night, I have invited those in our parish family who possess the wisdom of years to a dinner in which we will begin discussion of how we are forming disciples of Jesus Christ. At the end of July, our newly registered families in the parish will gather so that I may listen to their quesions, ideas, concerns. In the coming months, there will be additional opportunities scheduled for us to gather as a parish family to provide a direction of how we can go out and evangelize and to bring the Joy of the Gospel of Jesus to others. I ask you to join me in seeking the inspirations of the Holy Spirit as we move forward. This is not our work, it is the Lord's work. He uses us as His instruments to bring others to Him.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John

(Read archived blog posts here)

July 2, 2017

Dear Friends,

Please welcome Fr. Pat Malone as he celebrates Masses this weekend at our parish.  I am most grateful to Fr. Pat that he is providing supply coverage while I am in Orlando, Florida.  I am not riding rollercoasters at a theme park or wearing Mickey Mouse ears!  I am participating in a gathering of Catholic leaders from throughout the United States called The Joy of the Gospel in America. There are over 3000 leaders from 150 dioceses in our country gathered here in Orlando to discuss and learn new ways in which we become missionary disciples, filled with a zeal and joy of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.  

The contingent of our diocesan group includes 16 people, (including Bishop Carl Kemme).  The four-day convocation has keynote presenters and 66 breakout workshops in the gathering that ends on Tuesday, July 4. Many of the convocation's proceedings are being televised on EWTN. I ask that you join in prayer for the spiritual fruits of this gathering. With an ever-increasing number of "the Nones," inour country, (i.e. people who claim that they have no religious affiliation), and an ever-increasing number of Catholics who no longer actively practice their faith, what can we do to reach out to these brothers and sisters? Our call as baptized Christians is to go out and bring people to Jesus and the Good News of the Gospel. After the convocation, our diocese and our parish family of St. John the Evangelist will beign discussing the answers to these questions and to develop practical strategies to become missionary disciples. This is our mission given each of us by Our Lord, guided by the Holy Spirit. If we truly believe in the Gospel, our hearts ought to be filled with joy. Our nation and our world need a message of joy. We are called, guided by the Holy Spirit, to be the messengers!

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John

(Read archived blog posts here)