• 2018 CCAA

    The 2018 Catholic Community Annual Appeal has begun. This year’s themes are “We, though many, are one body in Christ”

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  • 2018 Men's Conference

    The 7th Annual Diocesan Men’s Conference, “Men of God” will be held on Saturday, August 11, 2018 at Immaculate Heart

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  • TOTUS TUUS 2018

    Parish registration for the Totus Tuus program is now open. Totus Tuus (Latin for Totally Yours) named after St. John

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  • Junior CYO Camp 2018

    General Information: Is your child looking for something different this summer? At Rock Springs 4-H Ranch opportunities abound. Your son

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St. Isidore Day

The Register

Kanopolis — While “farm animals” are not permitted to reside within the city limits, a quartet of goats from Sarah Goss’ rural farm made the trip into town to be blessed as part of the “flock and field” blessing during the annual St. Isidore Day celebration for the Salina Diocese.  “Heavenly Father, we ask you to bless this goat and his partner in the cage,” Father Richard Daise intoned after Mass, on the lawn of St. Ignatius Loyola Church. He continued: “Bless them for what you created them to be as goats.”  He then walked over to the bed of Goss’ truck, where an additional trio of goats were penned.  “There’s a whole herd in here,” Father Daise exclaimed. “We’ve got the three musketeers in here,” he said before blessing and sprinkling the additional goats with Holy Water.

The annual diocesan celebration, which is held May 15 every year, is hosted by the diocesan Rural Life Commission. About 50 gathered for the festivities, which included Mass, a blessing of the seeds and soil, a blessing of the flock and field, lunch and an agricultural-related tour.  Attendees brought a sample from their fields, as well as seeds, which were blessed at the conclusion of Mass.

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Celebrating 100 years with 100 hours of adoration

The Register

Angelus — Founded on the pillars of faith, family and farming, the community of Angelus has stood proudly on the plains of Northwest Kansas since the mid-1880s. Since 1887, St. Paul Catholic Church has been the jewel at the center of the community.  The current parishioners of St. Paul Church and many area residents with long-standing ties to the parish recently completed 100 hours of Eucharistic Adoration to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the building that now serves as the church proper.

While serving as the primary coordinator for the 100 Hours of Adoration event that took place May 14-18, Elsie Rietcheck, is quick to give credit where it is due.  “This is not an idea I came up with,” Rietcheck said. “The parishioners at St. John Nepomucene in Beardsley did this at their church, so I spent time talking to Deb Pochop [parishioner of St. John Nepomucene] about that event during a Cursillo retreat. Then I talked to our Altar Society before approaching Father [Donald Pfannenstiel, pastor of St. Paul Church] about it.  “I was nervous because it was such a big project,” she added.  She needn’t have worried. Father Pfannenstiel was quick to put his stamp of approval on the venture.  “How could I say no to that?” he said. “How could I turn down something that holy?”

With the pastor’s blessing, Rietcheck got to work, enlisting the help of her daughter, Amanda Ostmeyer to organize the plan. Within a couple of weeks, the groundwork was completed and Father Pfannenstiel presented pamphlets listing the available hours to the parishioners after Sunday Mass. Each of the 100 hours corresponded with a year in the building’s history, giving parishioners the opportunity to sign up for an hour/year that was meaningful to them, such as the year they got married or were baptized in the church.  “There was a concern that this was going to take place right during planting season,” Rietcheck recalled. “But Father said the blessings we [the community] would receive from this would be worth the hours.  “He asked people to take the pamphlet home, pray about it, and bring it back with the hour or hours they would be able to fill.” 

Following the initial wave of sign-ups that saw parishioners of all ages volunteering to take an hour or two, Rietcheck said she spent a few hours on the phone contacting people who hadn’t responded, as well as people who had long-standing ties to the parish but who had moved to nearby communities over the years.  “Honestly, I didn’t have to coerce anyone to sign up,” she said with a laugh. “And you know God’s hand was in this when I walked into Dollar General and ran into a man from the parish who was able to fill the last slot. This was definitely the work of the Holy Spirit!”

In all, the process took less than one month to bring the plan to fruition.  The 100th anniversary celebration began with Mass at 7 p.m. on  May 14, followed by the first of the 100 hours of Eucharistic Adoration at 8 p.m. The hundredth hour concluded at midnight on May 18.

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History of St. Paul Parish

 

Angelus — The original community of St. Paul Church began in 1887.  With a few families served by Capuchin Father Fitzpatrick, a traveling priest, Mass was held once every three months. As the membership expanded in 1888, Mass was offered “occasionally” in the home of George Korte. When a priest was not available to offer Mass, the parishioners gathered to pray a rosary and read the Sunday’s Gospel passage.

With 49 members in 1889, efforts began to construct a church. After disputes about the location from parishioners, Bishop Richard Scannell decided on the final location, where the church still sits today.  Construction of the original church began in March 1890 and concluded in 1891. The cost of construction was $650, aided by “home labor” and donations from parishioners. A short six years later, due to expanded membership, the parish invested slightly less than $860 to lengthen the church by building on a new sanctuary and sacristy to the original building. The expanded church was dedicated June 1, 1897.

Twenty years later, in 1917, the parish needed additional room. On May 10, 1917, the cornerstone of the current St. Paul Church was laid. On May 5, 1918, the new church was dedicated. In all, the new church cost slightly more than $35,400. The new bell tower stood at 130 feet tall, and the building was 52 feet wide, 118 feet long and seats 400 people.

The new church was built in the same location as the original church. The original church was relocated on the property, and used as a parish hall until the Knights of Columbus built a hall.

The building, now 100 years old, saw a few additional interior renovations throughout the years.  In 1947, Msgr. Michael Dreiling, oversaw a redecoration, which included the addition of padded kneelers.  Several improvements and remodels occurred in the mid 1960s. 

In 1966, a new approach to the church, as well as a concrete walk and landscaping were added. From 1966-67, a sacristy, cry room and restrooms were added to the rear of the church. Also in 1966, to comply with the Second Vatican Council, the church interior was remodeled. The $8,870 improvement included installing walnut paneling, as well as moving the altar, repairing stained glass windows and adding new shingles to the roof.

The parish is currently accepting donations for exterior repairs of the church, including pin-tucking the concrete, steeple work and guttering issues. Once the exterior work is paid for and complete, the parish will examine potential interior repairs. Interior repairs could include repairs to the cracking plaster, and ceiling repairs.

For  more information about St. Paul Church, or to support its improvements, please visit http://sjoakley.org/st-paul.

Deacon Hammeke to be ordained June 2

The Register

Salina — As his June 2 ordination nears, Deacon Andy Hammeke said he is looking forward to beginning his service to the Salina Diocese.  “I’m really excited for priesthood and am ready to get going,” he said. “I love my time at St. Meinrad. I’ve made a lot of good friends., but I’m preparing to say goodbye to all that and begin what I’m called to do.”  He will be ordained at 10 a.m. June 2 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina. All are welcome. A light reception will follow in the Hall of Bishops.

The focus of his last year of seminary at St. Meinrad in St. Meinrad, Ind., has shifted from academics to the practical side of the priesthood, Deacon Hammeke said.  “More classes are practicums,” he said. “Baptism practicums and Mass practicums. I’ve enjoyed the academics, but I’ve enjoyed practicing things you will do as a priest.”  He spent last summer immersed at St. Thomas More Parish in Manhattan, learning about parish life within the diocese.  “I learned a ton from Father Frank (Coady),” Deacon Hammeke said. “He showed me the ropes. I did a lot of baptisms and preached every weekend and several times every week. I also helped with funerals and weddings. That was a great start to my diaconate.”  During his seminary studies, he was also assigned to assist at local parishes.  “I would go to parish events and help with RCIA, parish formation and Knights of Columbus,” he said. “I learned a lot from my experience in those parishes as well.”

Deacon Hammeke said he is looking forward to the fraternal aspect of the priesthood. During the ordination, he said he is looking forward to what is called the “kiss of peace,” which is when every priest hugs the newly ordained.  “I’m excited about the brotherhood that comes with the priesthood, knowing we are all on the same team with the same mission, leading people to Christ,” he said. “I look forward to hugging all those guys I love and look up to. I’ve come to know and love and respect a lot of priests in our diocese. I look forward to being the newest member of (the presbyterate).”

Bishop Carl Kemme, from the Diocese of Wichita, will preside at the ordination. Deacon Hammeke said he has met Bishop Kemme several times because he has friends from the seminary who are from the Wichita Diocese.  “As much as you come to know and love the bishop you have, bishops move on,” Deacon Hammeke said of the fall assignment of Bishop Edward Weisenburger to Tucson, Ariz. “As long as it’s a bishop (who ordains me), a descendant of one of the apostles, I’m joining a presbyterate that will stay. I’m getting ordained for our diocese.”

Deacon Hammeke, 29, is a native of Hays and grew up in Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.  He is the son of Curtis and Annette Hammeke, and the grandson of Dennis and Arlene Stastny, of Dwight, Neb., and the late Norman and Joleene Hammeke of Great Bend.  He has a brother, Nick, and sister Alicia Knight and husband Kegan, who have two daughters, Emery and Kollins.

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Two priests celebrate 25th anniversary

The Register

Two priests for the Salina Diocese will celebrate silver anniversaries: Father Fred Gatschet and Father Mark Wesley.  Father Gatschet, 56, attended Kansas State University, earning degrees in Spanish and Milling Science. He then attended at St. Meinrad Seminary in Meinrad, Ind., and was ordained May 22, 1993, at Seven Dolors Church in Manhattan by Bishop George Fitzsimons.  Because he’s fluent in Spanish, Father Gatschet said he often assisted with translation during his seven-year tenure at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina.  “There would be days when I’d say 6:30 a.m. Mass (in English), and then the phone and doorbell would ring and I would got o bed at night and think ‘I don’t think I spoke English all day,’ ” he said, adding he spent much of his time working with the Hispanic community.

The connection with the Hispanic community is something he strives to maintain as the parochial administrator of St. Joseph in Hays. He said he works to find Bible studies and other ways to catechize the Spanish-speaking population, in addition to those who speak English.  One of his primary — and unexpected — roles was that of a teacher at Thomas More Prep-Marian Jr./Sr. High School. He describes the 12 years he spent in the classroom as “a blessing.”  “Due to the breakdown of catechesis over the last 50 years, people know nothing about their faith,” he said. “Being able to go in and provide classes and instruction … watching people have that ‘aha’ experience is very satisfying.”

As a child, his family often invited the clergy over for meals, and he would help around Seven Dolors parish where he grew up in Manhattan. So not much of the daily life of the priest was a surprise to Father Gatschet. He said Father Damian Richards summarized the most surprising aspect of the priesthood the best.  At the priest gathering to commemorate his 25th anniversary in 2017, he said: “ ‘When I look at my life as a priest, how interesting and rewarding it is, I cannot understand why we don’t have guys banging down the door to become a priest.’ ” Father Gatschet quoted.

He then expanded on Father Richards’ statement.  “People complain about their jobs, that it’s a dead end or not rewarding,” he said. “The priesthood, when you talk to any of us, is the antithesis of all that. It’s a career with never the same thing twice. When i get up every morning, I never know what I’m going to encounter. You have to learn how to think on your feet and be creative. It’s not boring or the same old, same old.”  Father Gatschet said he doesn’t have any formal plans for his anniversary.

His assignments have been:

  • June 1993: Parochial Vicar at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina.
  • June 1999: Comeau Catholic Campus Center in Hays.
  • 2001 - 2012: Add reaching religion class at Thomas More Prep-Marian Jr./Sr. High School.
  • July 2013: add Parochial administrator at St. Joseph Parish in Hays, while continuing at CCCC.
  • Read more...

Featured Events

Catholic News Headlines

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Alex Fraser, ReutersBy Michael KellyDUBLIN (CNS) -- Voters in Ireland have opted to remove the right to life of the unborn from the country's constitution, paving the way for abortion on demand up to 12 weeks. With votes counted from 30 of Ireland's 40 constituencies, results from the nationwide referendum showed that 67.3 percent of citizens opted to remove the Eighth Amendment from the constitution, while 32.7 percent voted to retain it. Turnout was 64.5 percent. Voters inserted the original amendment in the constitution in 1983 by a margin of 2-1, and it "acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right." That text will now be deleted and replaced with an article stating that "provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy." Minister for Health Simon Harris has said he would introduce legislation that would allow abortion on demand up to 12 weeks, up to 24 weeks on unspecified grounds for the health of the mother, and up to birth where the child is diagnosed with a life-limiting condition that means he or she may not live long after birth. An exit poll conducted by the Ireland's national broadcaster RTE asked voters what motivated them to opt for either "yes" or "no." Among "yes" voters, the most important issues were the right to choose (84 percent), the health or life of the woman (69 percent), and pregnancy as a result of rape (52 percent). Among "no" voters, they cited the right to life of the unborn (76 percent), the right to live of those with Down syndrome or other disabilities (36 percent), and religious views (28 percent). John McGuirk, spokesman for Save the Eighth, which campaigned for a "no" vote, described the outcome as "a tragedy of historic proportions." "The Eighth Amendment did not create a right to life for the unborn child -- it merely acknowledged that such a right exists, has always existed and will always exist," he said, insisting that "a wrong does not become right simply because a majority support it." "We are so proud of all of those who stood with us in this campaign -- our supporters, our donors, our families and our loved ones," he said. "This campaign took a huge personal toll on all of us who were involved, and we have been so grateful for their support." Insisting that pro-life campaigners will continue their efforts, McGuirk told Catholic News Service: "Shortly, legislation will be introduced that will allow babies to be killed in our country. We will oppose that legislation. If and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland, because of the inability of the government to keep their promise about a (general-practitioner-led health) service, we will oppose that as well. "Abortion was wrong yesterday. It remains wrong today. The constitution has changed, but the facts have not," he said. Ruth Cullen of the LoveBoth campaign insisted that the organization will try to ensure that the Irish prime minister, or Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, is true to his pledge that the government will work to ensure that abortions are rare. "We will hold the Taoiseach to his promise that repeal would only lead to abortion in very restrictive circumstances. He gave his word on this, now he must deliver on it. No doubt many people voted for repeal based on the Taoiseach's promises in this regard," she said. Commenting on the campaign, Cullen said: "We are immensely proud and grateful to all our volunteers throughout the country who worked tirelessly over recent months to ensure unborn babies would not be deprived of legal protections. "The campaign to protect unborn babies will endure," she said. Eamonn Conway, a theologian at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, told Catholic News Service he was "greatly saddened" by the result. However, he pointed out that "the truth is that the Irish Constitution merely recognized the right to life that is antecedent to all law. This most fundamental of all human rights is not extinguished or diminished because our constitution no longer acknowledges it. What is diminished is our constitution," he said. Conway said he believes "the task facing the Catholic Church now is to ensure that it makes every effort to accompany with the healing compassion of Christ everyone caught up in the tragic circumstances that surround an abortion ... from grieving parents to medical practitioners." Archbishop Eamon Martin, primate of All-Ireland, was expected to address the referendum outcome during a homily at the country's national Marian shrine at Knock, County Mayo, May 27.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican MediaBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Continuing his occasional series of "Mercy Friday" visits, Pope Francis surprised the students at a school renamed in March in honor of a student who died of leukemia at the age of 11. For the visit May 25 to the Elisa Scala Comprehensive School, which includes students from the age of 3 to 14, the pope also brought books for the school library. The Vatican did not provide the titles of the books or give any other details about them. Before the city of Rome and the Italian department of education allowed the whole school to be named after Elisa, the library was. Her parents, Giorgio and Maria, said their daughter loved to read and, after she died in 2015, they started the library, which now holds more than 20,000 volumes, all of which were donated. The couple gave the pope a guided tour of the shelves. Pope Francis arrived at the school after classes had ended for the day. But more than 200 students were there preparing for a year-end show featuring dance, sport and theater. After five months of rehearsals, they sang for the pope. The pope began the "Mercy Friday" initiative during the Holy Year of Mercy in 2015-16 to highlight the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Among other places, the visits have taken him to hospitals and rehabilitation centers, a group home for children, a L'Arche Community, a halfway house for women inmates with small children and a home for women rescued from forced prostitution.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/David MaungBy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- It is a contradiction to claim that promoting access to safe abortions is somehow protecting the human rights of women and girls, a Vatican representative said. "In fact, abortion denies the unborn child his or her most basic right -- to life itself," said Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, Vatican observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva. As Pope Francis has said, "Human life is sacred and inviolable. Every civil right rests on the recognition of the first and fundamental right, that of life, which is not subordinate to any condition, be it quantitative, economic or, least of all, ideological," the archbishop said. Archbishop Jurkovic spoke May 25 at the World Health Assembly, a meeting of the member states of the World Health Organization to set W.H.O. policies and programs. He was addressing one of the agenda items of the May 21-26 meeting, specifically on the global strategy for the health of women, children and adolescents. The Vatican delegation "shares many of the concerns and observations" in the W.H.O. director-general's report, he said, including: the importance of universal health coverage; improving specific data on health; ending violence against women and children; and revising child health policies and programs so they cover from infancy to 18 years of age. However, he said, the Vatican delegation had serious concerns about the inclusion of an item "on so-called 'safe abortion' in this report and in the global strategy in general." "The Holy See does not consider abortion or abortion services to be a dimension of reproductive health or reproductive health care," Archbishop Jurkovic said. The delegation was also "immensely concerned" about the W.H.O. being part of an open-access "Global Abortion Policies" database launched by several U.N. departments and programs. The database summarizes every country's laws and policies concerning abortion with the aim, according to the W.H.O., "to promote greater transparency of abortion laws and policies, as well as to improve countries' accountability for the protection of women and girls' health and human rights." "The Holy See does not endorse any form of legislation that gives legal recognition to abortion and, thus, firmly objects to any and all efforts by the U.N. or its specialized agencies to promote national legislation that permits the taking of the life of an unborn child," the archbishop told the assembly. "Moreover, the Holy See cannot accept the contradictory claim that promotion of so-called 'safe abortion' is a means to 'protect' the human rights of women and girls, when, in fact, abortion denies the unborn child his or her most basic right -- to life itself," he said.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Tamino Petelinsek, courtesy Knights of ColumbusBy Zita Ballinger FletcherVeterans taking part in the 2018 Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage to France said the journey has positively influenced their lives and benefited those around them. Maj. Jeremy Haynes, a first-time spiritual pilgrim and Lourdes visitor, said he is a changed man since visiting the shrine, where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in a series of visions in 1858. "The trip has been life-changing for my wife and me," Haynes told Catholic News Service. "With faith as our compass, we remain committed to moving forward." Haynes was shot four times in Afghanistan and sustained injuries that have left him struggling to overcome the physical constraints of paralysis. It has been a difficult journey. He also seeks healing for wounds in his family life that occurred prior to his physical injury. "With a minimum emphasis on faith, my family life was a disaster and divorce was imminent. After being shot multiple times, I recall sinking into a dark place," said Haynes. "Despite being a sinner, God showed mercy by sparing my life and allowing me to witness the birth of my son. Taking part in this spiritual journey has cleansed my soul and created a stronger connection with my wife." Haynes previously served within the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 82nd Airborne Division, and the American Red Cross national headquarters. He commanded a parachute rigger company, served as an aide de camp, and taught at the Army Logistics University. He is currently assigned to the Walter Reed National Medical Center and soon will retire from the military. He has been awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Action Badge, Jumpmaster, Parachute Rigger Badge and Air Assault Badge. Haynes, who went on the Lourdes trip to seek healing "mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally," said he was honored to visit Lourdes with military from around the world. The Warriors to Lourdes trip -- sponsored by the Archdiocese for the Military Services and the Knights of Columbus -- occurred in late May, during the 60th annual International Military Pilgrimage to the Marian shrine in France. "We broke bread together, worshipped together, and promoted peace together. Although we speak different languages, faith connected us," Haynes said. "I experienced the power of prayer as being a universal language that led me to encounter awesome individuals." The Rev. Steven Rindahl, an Anglican priest and U.S. Army veteran, took part in the pilgrimage and said he believed the journey benefited all who participated in it. "There have been people who have been touched in so many different ways. It would be difficult to make a list to encompass all the different blessings people have received while they've been here," said Rev. Rindahl, a retired U.S. Army chaplain who has served in duty stations in many states, including Texas, New York and Georgia. Rev. Rindahl, who has ministered to active-duty soldiers and veterans, has worked with veterans afflicted by post-traumatic stress disorder as an "extensive piece" of his total ministry. In addition to emotional stress, people exposed to combat often suffer from a condition he refers to as "moral injury," which he describes as a conflicted conscience resulting from complex or traumatic wartime experiences. "War is an unnatural thing. They get this sense of guilt or shame," said Rev. Rindahl, who believes this condition can be treated successfully with a faith response, particularly the sacrament of reconciliation. "The great thing about Lourdes is that it is a known place for healing. Regardless of what your injury is -- whether it's physical, emotional or damage to your soul -- when a person says, 'I want to go to Lourdes,' they're going specifically with a heart and mind open to receiving God's grace and what God has in store for them," said Rev. Rindahl. Retired U.S. Army Capt. Gary M. Rose said the 2018 Lourdes journey helped a friend recently suffering from severe PTSD connected with "a very bad, horrible battle" that happened in 1966. Rose said there has been a "noticeable improvement in his demeanor" since their return. "Every single person that I know that went on that trip has come back much better than they were when they left for Lourdes," said Rose, a Catholic. "Even me -- I feel a lot better. My outlook is far better than it was a week or 10 days ago." Rose said while visiting the shrine he was often asked by others whether he believed the Mary was present. "I got asked, 'Do you think Mary is here?' I don't know. I can't personally say, 'Mary is here,'' said Rose. "But I can personally say that there is some entity in the Lourdes shrine area that spreads nothing but good and seems to improve the demeanor and the psychological aspects of everybody that I associated with that went to Lourdes with me last week." Haynes said he is extremely grateful to all those who sponsored the opportunity and who volunteered at it -- and also expressed a special thanks to organizers for allowing his wife to take part in the journey with him. "Thank you for equipping me with the tools to become a better God-fearing man, husband, father, and citizen," said Haynes. - - - Fletcher is a correspondent for Catholic News Service.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Marie Mischel, Intermountain CatholicBy Marie MischelOGDEN, Utah (CNS) -- Each year for the past decade, a group of Boy Scouts in Ogden have spent a day walking from house of worship to house of worship, learning how the Ten Commandments are put into practice in different faith traditions. "From the very beginning, the idea was to build an awareness of an ecumenical spirit," said Deacon Herschel Hester, one of the four original organizers of the Ten Commandments Walk. Because most of the Scouts have never been exposed to a faith outside their own, "the whole idea is for these young men to be introduced to a larger (faith) community than just theirs," he told the Intermountain Catholic, newspaper of the statewide Diocese of Salt Lake City. "It has nothing to do with a merit badge, but it all has to do with living out the 12th point of the Scout Law: A Scout is reverent," said Deacon Hester, who is a member of the diocese's Committee on Scouting and a member of the executive board of the Boy Scouts Trapper Trails Council. Scouts who belong to the council's member troops take part in the event, which took place this year May 12. The walk also helps emphasize the Scout oath, which promises duty to God, the deacon said. Ninety Scouts participated in the inaugural walk. This year more than 300 boys walked the 6.6-mile route that took them to Ogden's Second Baptist Church, Emmanuel Church of God in Christ, the Salvation Army, the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Elim Lutheran Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Fourth Ward, Hope Resurrected Church, First Church of Christ, Scientist, First Presbyterian Church and Congregation Brith Sholem. At the final stop, Rabbi Ben Stern chanted the Ten Commandments in Hebrew from the synagogue's Torah scroll. "When someone reads Torah, the most important thing is to be accurate on their reading," he said, and explained that generally on the Jewish Sabbath the person reading or chanting from the Torah uses a book rather than the handwritten scroll because the book is easier to read. The book is held by a person other than the reader, and the person holding the book will correct the reader if there is a mispronunciation, Rabbi Stern said. "If you get something wrong, they have to stop you. It's required." Rabbi Stern also answered questions such as why yarmulkes are worn, how long the Jewish worship services are, and the concept of kosher. The night before the hike, the Scouts camped out at Marshall White Center Park. That evening, they heard from Charles W. Dahlquist II, the national commissioner of Boy Scouts of America and past Young Men general president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Scouting is a world organization of people who care about each other and who care about duty to God and faith in God, and who not only believe what they have learned but they practice what they preach and they practice what they believe," said Dahlquist. He urged those present to learn about the different faith practices they would hear about the next day "because understanding brings peace." Dahlquist was invited to speak to the gathering by Jacques Behar, a member of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting and president of the Ogden synagogue. Some of Dahlquist's closest friends are people of faiths different from his own, he said. "There is much more that joins us than separates us. We live in a time when we need to be joined more than ever before." Behar, who has been an adult Scout leader for 32 years, said in an interview that he is pleased young men of many faiths participate in the hike because afterward "it's interesting to have them walk away and say, 'Gee, I didn't realize how close we all are.'" "And I always tell them that if you would just concentrate on the 85 percent that we're all alike, and not so much on the 15 percent that we're not, the world would be a much better place," he said. Riley Crezee, an Eagle Scout from St. James the Just Parish's Troop 293 who served as the master of ceremonies for the evening, said the opportunity the Ten Commandments Walk gives for Scouts to learn about different people's faith is important, "especially today where everything is just very polarized. ... I think that makes us better people as a society." - - - Mischel is editor of the Intermountain Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. - - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.