The Register

March 8, 2019

    In this issue.

  • Pope Francis' letter for Lent.
  • Hilger enters seminary.
  • Call to Share: Fund supports seminarian study.

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Hilger enters seminary

Christopher Hilger

By The Register

Salina — It was the steadfast example of faith by his parents that led Christopher Hilger to consider formally discerning a vocation to the priesthood for the Salina Diocese. “My mother led my First Communion class and my father led my confirmation classes,” he said. “I’ve been raised in a very Catholic household. My parents shared a very beautiful marriage. I think that’s a lot of the reason I’m’ where I’m at — the example they sent for me.” Hilger, 23, is a December graduate of the University of Kansas in Lawrence with a degree in geology. He is the son of Patrick Hilger and the late Elaine Hilger and grew up at St. Mary, Queen of Angels Parish in Russell. He began his studies at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Ind. in January. “I’ve had people encouraging me to think about the priesthood ever since I was a little kid, whether it was my pastor Father Charles Steier or the ladies at church,” Hilger said. “I’ve had the encouragement to think about it my whole life.”
An active member of his CYO during high school with a solid faith foundation, Hilger said his faith deepened during his college years. “I took everything to a whole new level once I got to college because i encountered Christ in a deeper way once I went to a SEEK conference my freshman year,” he said.

The faith experience led to more involvement at the St. Lawrence Center, the Catholic student center, where he developed Christ-centered friendships. “It’s hard to be holy yourself if you’re not surrounding yourself with people striving for that same goal,” Hilger said. “My community there through St. Lawrence were constantly pushing me to be a holier person. But not just the men, the women as well. “I had some guys who took me under their wing and treated me as their brother — they were a true example of Christ. They inspired me that living for God can be cool.” He attended some seminary visits, and considered entering the formal seminarian discernment process following his junior year. “But after talking to my father and spiritual director and Father Gale (Hammerschmidt), we decided it made sense for me to finish (college at) KU,” Hilger said. “I was at a lot of peace with that decision. It came through a lot of prayer.”

Entering the seminary is a new and exciting chapter in life. “I knew I wanted to give God everything,” Hilger said. “Whether it was to the priesthood or as a working man that got married. I wanted to give him everything.” With the inner pull to enter the seminary, the vocational discernment process will be a bit more formal. “I had so many friends already in the seminary and I’m close with a lot of priests,” Hilger said. “Getting to devote my whole life to Christ right now. It’s exciting getting to truly form myself in a life of prayer, getting to form myself as a man, with a whole bunch of other guys who that’s their No. 1 goal. “It’s really amazing learning about myself and learning how much more there is to the priesthood than I thought I knew.”

Four in Salina Diocese are trained as spiritual mentors

The Register
A simple question posed to Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann on a trip to Rome in 2009 planted the seed for what has become the Catholic Spiritual Mentorship Program, one of the Archdiocese of Kansas City’s leading faith formation and evangelization programs. The most recent cohort, or group, to be certified included three individuals from the Salina Diocese who are now ready to serve their parishes and diocesan community as Spiritual Mentors. Katie Allen and Anita Horeneck, parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish in Colby, and Jim Schartz, parishioner of St. Andrew parish in Abilene completed the two-year long program offered through the Holy Family School of Faith. They received their certificates from Archbishop Naumann in January. Jim’s wife Lisa is also a certified Spiritual Mentor, having completed the program in 2017.
According to Cari Hillyer, the Catholic Spiritual Mentorship Program Director, the program serves multiple purposes. “It’s more than just formation,” she said. “The program is a call to your baptismal vow to evangelize. We equip people to walk with others on their faith journey.” Hillyer said the program also can help alleviate some of the overflow needs of priests who are sought out for ongoing spiritual support but who may be stretched thin with other responsibilities. “Upon completion of the program, we send the participants back to their parishes and we send a packet of information to their pastors stating, ‘these people are ready to be of service,’ ” Hillyer added. Participants of the program come from a variety of backgrounds and different levels of education. During the two-year process, each cohort attends four in-residence week-long sessions, designed as intensive retreats. Each of those sessions covers a different topic: prayer, liturgy and the sacraments, virtue and the moral life, and discernment and practicum. Between each in-residence session, participants complete two distance learning courses as well as homework that brings all the session elements together.

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Hope, solidarity, joy, strength were the central themes that greeted pilgrims at the March for Life

For The Register
Washington — Pilgrims ranging from age five to adults traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 46th annual March for Life. Among the pilgrims was also a mix of first time marchers and people who have gone on the march before. Hanover resident Carolyn Lickteig attended the march for the seventh time this year. “We love being with these young people because they’re energetic and we believe in the same things,” she said. This was the third time for her husband David, a retired school teacher, to attend. “It’s good for us because we see the students and the parents that allow them to go are committed, and they can see we’re committed to what we believe…it gives us hope,” he said.
Lindy Meyer of Concordia, organized the trip for the diocese. This was the ninth time she attended the March for Life. Memorable experiences include once while pregnant, and the following year with a 7-month-old baby. The 180 pilgrims departed the Chancery Jan. 16 and traveled via charter bus to Washington, D.C. Three diocesan priests, Father Brian Lager, Father Soosai Soosaimari, HGN, and Father Ryan McCandless accompanied the pilgrims and provided sacraments. The central activities were the March for Life and rally held Friday, Jan. 19. After beginning their day with Mass with Archbishop Joseph Nauman of Kansas City and other groups from across Kansas, the pilgrims gathered on the National Mall for the pre-march rally. Following a concert from Christian band Sidewalk Prophets were encouraging speeches from a wide range of presenters, both affirming their pro-life stance and reminding listeners how much work there is to do to end abortion Not only were the messages themselves empowering, the environment of the rally itself was edifying to participants. “Seeing the thousands of people pouring in from every side,” said Sarah Bergkamp, a junior at K-State. “When you’re standing there waiting for the rally to start you can feel the surge of energy from everyone cheering and chanting pro-life chants.” 
After the rally came the March for Life itself, where marchers peacefully walked down Constitution Avenue to the United States Capital building. The marchers spanned all ages and abilities. Young parents came with their newborn babies; adult children helped elderly parents through the crowds; caregivers carefully negotiated the wheelchairs and walkers of disabled marchers through the crowds. Groups sang hymns, shouted chants, or prayed aloud as they walked. “On the March itself it’s hard to describe the feeling you get,” Bergkamp said. “It’s a mix of so many emotions. You’re feeling sad because of the reason you’re marching but you’re also so excited and happy to see the turnout and that you’re not alone in this fight of abortion.” Although the trip was short — allowing 48 hours in Washington, D.C. — the group was also able to make time for some sightseeing. A small group was able to meet Congressman Roger Marshall where he thanked pilgrims for making the trip and gave them a personal tour of the Capital building. Others took tours of Washington landmarks such as the Vietnam and Korean War memorials, Arlington National Cemetery and the Holocaust Museum. All of the pilgrims were able to tour the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where the diocesan priests on the pilgrimage concelebrated Mass. 

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National speakers headline CYO Convention March 23-24

The Register
Salina — Speakers Paul J. Kim and Sarah Swafford are often in the same speaking circuit — both recently speaking at the SEEK conference for college youth, and slated to speak at the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis this fall. But youth in the Salina Diocese won’t have to wait until November to hear their message. The duo are the keynote speakers at this year’s annual CYO Convention, March 23-24 in Salina. The theme for this year’s conference is “Come As You Are.” The weekend event will again be at St. Mary Grade School and Sacred Heart Junior-Senior High School at 234 and 304 E. Cloud in Salina. It will include the speakers, sacraments, election of the new board, adult and CYO recognition, as well as a dance Saturday night and closing Mass Sunday afternoon.
Sarah Swafford
A Kansas native, Swafford said she is excited to present at her first large-scale convention in the Salina Diocese. “I love the rural environment,” she said. “I graduated with 18 people from my class in the middle of  a corn field.” She is known nationally for her ministry, Emotional Virtue, that encourages listeners to build a relationship with God, and foster Christ-centered friendships and relationships. “My goal is to help people see and understand what keeps them from a relationship with our Lord and trying to help them heal through the power of the confessional and a deep relationship with Our Lord and others,” she said. Building strong friendships can be difficult, especially in high school. And especially for young men. “You have to have a group of guys you’re fighting for and along side of,” she said. “The relationship (male teens) need to work with is having good guy friends and learn how to build friendships with women. The same is true for the women. They need to  have good female friends and run together, alongside their male friends.” With the strong technology force driving youth, she said the pressure to be perceived as “perfect” or flawless is immense. “Your worth or dignity played out by likes or followers or what people say on social media,” Swafford said. “I talk a lot about what tears us and others down and how it effects how we’re in relationship with each other. “I also speak about friendship on what it means to be true friends. What does it look like for men and women to be friends? How does that work in a world that is obsessed with dating or who you are with?”
Paul J. Kim
Kim said it’s vital for youth, especially Catholic youth, to gather in a faith community. “There is value in regional conferences to see they’re not the only Catholic out there,” he said. “A lot of people are catechized, but not evangelized. Scores of Catholics know things about their faith, but don’t have a relationship with God.” When a relationship with Christ is absent, Kim said the natural progression is for someone to fall away from their faith and say ‘I was raised Catholic,’ but not actively practice the Catholic faith — and sometimes no faith at all. Raised Catholic, Kim said he attended church for two reasons: “Girls and donuts,” he said. “When there’s no heart to heart connection with the Lord, it’s an intellectual exercise,” Kim said of church attendance. It can lead to youth thinking “ ‘It’s what my parents made me do’ or ‘I don’t need this archaic religion.’ It’s a sad state of affairs. I’m here to try to reach a generation and bring them to that encounter with Christ.” He utilizes his own testimony, as well as comedy and music to connect with his audience.

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‘Register’ your support Donations needed to send newspaper to every household

By The Register

Salina — The Register, the newspaper of the Diocese of Salina, is delivered to all registered parishioners.

To be able to continue to do that, however, requires some help on their part.

Today’s issue includes a donation envelope. Every household is asked each year to donate $25, roughly the cost of printing and mailing the newspaper.

Until three years ago, The Register was mailed only to those who subscribed. In January 2014, the publication model changed, and the newspaper was sent to every household registered with a parish in the diocese.

To accommodate the increased printing and mailing costs — from 5,500 to about 17,500 copies — the decision was made to reduce publication from weekly to twice monthly — on the second and fourth Fridays.

Instead of selling subscriptions, The Register would seek a $25 donation from each family to underwrite the additional costs.

In addition to each household receiving the newspaper, each Register edition also is available online at