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)

June 25, 2017

Dear Friends,  

Bishop Emeritus Eugene Gerber served as Bishop of Wichita for 18 years from 1983 - 2001.  He grew up on a farm in western Sedgwick County near Waterloo.  Now in his mid-80s, Bishop Gerber has been a bishop for 41 years!  He ordained me to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ and he has had a tremendous impact on my own spiritual journey in the faith.  One of the pearls of wisdom that he taught me was, "A grateful heart silences a complaining voice."  When I find myself constantly complaining, this is an indication that gratitude is lacking in my heart.  

As we come to the end of the month of June, I express my gratitude to so many in our parish family who have served our parish family in varied ways.  Thank you to the parishioners who worked so diligently on June 3 for our parish work day to beautify our campus and buildings.  Thank you to the parishioners who organized our parish picnic and all who attended on Sunday afternoon, June 11.  Thanks to the many parishioners and parents who served in various capacities for our Totus Tuus retreat on June 11 - 16.  Thanks to our young people who attended the Faith on Fire Adoration and dance on Friday evening, June 16.  Thank you to the many parishioners who serve as liturgical ministers at our Sunday Masses.  Thank you to Debbie Tamburro and Cassi FitzGerald and Lavonne Wells who work so faithfully as part of our parish staff.  Thanks to the parishioners who have agreed to serve on our Parish Pastoral Council, Finance Council and Stewardship Council.  Thanks to each one of you for being a brother or sister in our St. John the Evangelist Parish family!  Make a list of people in your life for who you are grateful.  "A grateful heart silences a complaining voice."  

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John

(Read archived blog posts here)

June 18, 2017

Dear Friends,

An intense desire of the human heart is to draw closer to those whom we love.  How does one draw closer to those whom we love?  One way is to spend time with those whome we love.  Spouses need to share quality time with each other to deepen their relationship.  Otherwise, the couple can slowly begin to drift apart.  Parents and children need to share quality time together on a regular basis talking and listening to one another to grow in love.  Friendships deepen when time is spent together and friendships wane when time shared together lessens.  

It should not surprise us therefore that if we wish to draw closer in our heart to Christ, we need to spend quality time with the Lord.  Prayer is time when we listen to God speak to us and we speak to Him.  A beautiful commitment of time in prayer is a Holy Hour spent each week before the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration.  This Sunday is "Corpus Christi" (the Body of Christ) Sunday.  Our parish family has 40 hours each week from 8:00 am. on Monday to 12:00 midnight Tuesday where the Body of Jesus is exposed on the Altar in our parish church for adoration.  In the upcoming weeks, our parish family will reflect upon the graces that come from committing an hour each week to spend with the Lord in prayer in Eucharistic Adoration.  For now, I would ask each of you to begin considering prayerfully whether you would be willing to commit to an hour of prayer before the Lord each week during Eucharistic Adoration.  I assure you that such time spent before the Lord will deepen your love for Him.  

Let us thank God today on this Father's Day for our fathers, living and deceased. Thank you fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers for your witness of love and sacrifice!  

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John

(Read archived blog posts here)

June 11, 2017

Dear Friends,

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. We believe in One God, in three distinct Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The relationship between the Divine Persons is one of love, which is the very being of God.  

On Saturday, June 3, over 70 parishioners of our parish family came to our Parish Work Day.  In the group were older parishioners.  Others were middle-aged and some were in the prime and exuberance of youth.  Women and men, some married, others widowed, many single persons.  The parishioners brought varied gifts, talents, experiences, occupations.  Each had a unique story.  All shared one faith in our God and a love for Him and for our parish family of St. John the Evangelist.

The Body of Christ, the Church, is created in God's Image.  With Jesus Christ asthe head of te Body, and all fo us members of that Body, each a distinct person, the Church is to bring God to the world.  The gathering of our parish family on Saturday accomplished many tasks on our campus.  But the greatest accomplishment of this gathering was the witness of what the Body of Christ can do when we work together as one Body in Christ - distinct and individual persons with varied gifts working and living in a relationship of love.  This is the very best of the Church, of who we are called to be - to witness the love of one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit to the world in which we live.

Thank you to all who worked so diligently at our Parish Work Day. You not only volunteered the gift of time and talent on Saturday, but I pray that you realize that such opportunities are ways in which you live and grow in your journey of faith!

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John

June 4, 2017

Dear Friends,

Come Holy Spirit!  The three most significant liturgical celebrations in our Church calendar each year are the birth of Jesus Christ, (Christmas); the resurrection fo Jesus Christ from the dead, (Easter); and the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, (Pentecost) Today marks the fiftiety and final day of the Easter Season, when the Holy Spirit was sent upon the Apostles.

Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. We read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit.  This join mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ.  The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection.  He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may "bear much fruit." (CCC, n. 737).

May the Holy Spirit burn in our hearts as parishioners of St. John the Evangelist Parish.  May we be witnesses fo the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bring those we meet to Jesus. By the grace of the Spirit working in our lives, may we bear much fruit.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John

May 28, 2017

Dear Friends,

Memorial Day, formerly called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance and prayer for all of those individuals who have died in service to our country of the United States. As I gaze out the window of my office here in the rectory as I write this, I see many American flags in our parish cemetery blowing in the Kansas wind. Each of the graves of our veterans buried in our St. John the Evangelist Parish cemetery is decorated with a flag of our great nation as we celebrate Memorial Day and we remember.

I invite you to join us for Mass on Monday at 9:00 a.m. If the weather permits, we will celebrate the Mass in the parish cemetery. (Please bring lawn chairs or blankets). This is also a day in which we prayerfully remember all of our family and friends who have died and we pray for the repose of their souls.  The cemetery is holy ground.  President Abraham Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address, called such ground "hallowed." May we remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return.  By the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our death isnot the end, but our birth to Eternal Life.

In Christ's Service,

Fr. John

May 21, 2017

Dear Parish Family,

I've temporarily taken over Fr. John's Corner (I promise we'll be back to regularly scheduled corners from him next week)!

We have wrapped up our last meetings for all of our St. John the Evangelist Faith Formation classes for the school year. I want to share my sincerest appreciation and thanksgiving to all of the adults and students who have participated this year in the Nursery, K-12 Religious Educaiton, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Adult Ed, and RCIA classes. This is an amazingly generous parish that is truly thirsty for the love and knowledge of God. It has been a privilege to see that play out in the time and stewardship that has been given by our parish family members to teach, organize, and participate in the Faith Formation of our parishioners here.

I look forward to what the future of Faith Formation here at St. John the Evangelist Parish holds. As we plan for the coming years, I welcome your throughts on potential initiatives, programs or developments that may interest you. You can share them with me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,  by phone (620) 545-7171 or by coming by the parish office to talk.

May God's peace and blessings be yours,

Cassi FitzGerald, Facilitator of Faith Formation

May 14, 2017

Dear Friends,

Today we give thanks to God for the gift of our mothers, living and deceased.  When we pray these words, "blessed is the fruit of thy womb....Jesus," let us be mindful that each one of us is the fruit of the womb of our own mothers.  The womb of our Blessed Mother Mary was the first tabernacle for the Word made flesh. God the Father chose the womb of a woman to be the first dwelling place of the Divine life of God the Son.

As our nation celebrates Mother's Day this weekend, I encourage you to consider also honoring your mother on another day each year. That day is your day of birth. Over the years, I hear people make comments on their birthdays with regret or indifference that the day is, "no big deal," or "just another day." How can you make your birthday a big deal and not just another day? Do not make your birthday about yourself, but rather make it a special dayto thank your mother. Her "Yes" to life dwelling in her womb; her "Yes" to the pains of labor that brought you into this world; her "Yes" to the thousands of sacrifices she made for you over the years deserves your thanks.  Don't you agree?

May God bless the mothers in our parish family of St. John the Evangelist for the sacrifices that they make for us!

Fr. John

May 7, 2017

Dear Friends,

In today's Gospel on this Fourth Sunday of the Easter Season, Jesus states, "I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly." (John 10:10). Whenever I read this verse of Sacred Scripture, I am taken back to World yOuth Day in Denver, Colorado in August, 1993.  It was there, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains that St. John Paul II met with hundreds of thousands of young people from throughout the world.  Along with 1700 young people from the Diocese of Wichita, I traveled with our youth by bus to Denver for this memorable trip.  The verse from John 10:10 was the theme of the gathering.

Jesus is a life-giver. When we receive the life of Jesus and we share his gift of life with others, we receive even more life in Christ. This life of Christ we call "grace." The Sacraments of the Church give us grace by which we share in the life of God. Jesus not only wants us to have life, but to have it abundantly! Sin empties the life of grace within us. As we witness 16 of our young brothers and sisters recfeive Jesus today for the first time in Holy Communion, may each one of us pray with this verse of Scripture and reflect upon what Jesus says to us, "I have come so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."

Jesus Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

Fr. John