Archbishop Naumann braves Wildcat country

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann celebrates Mass at the St. Isidore Catholic Student Center at Kansas State University. This was the archbishop’s first visit to the campus center in Manhattan, which is part of the Salina Diocese.

by Jill Seiler
Special to The Leaven

MANHATTAN — Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann opened his first visit to St. Isidore Catholic Student Center at Kansas State University here on Jan. 29 with insights into an ancient tradition of the church during the parish’s Mass.

Archbishop Naumann explained that although he was a visitor in the Salina Diocese, as archbishop he has a unique role in Kansas. This role is illustrated by a special piece of clothing he wears, his pallium.

The pallium is worn by the metropolitan, or the archbishop of the metropolitan see, which in this case is the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. It is a circular, white band made of lamb’s wool, open at the center, thus allowing it to rest on the shoulders. The pallium shows the unity of the dioceses in Kansas being connected through one faith and under the leadership of the pope.

In his homily, Archbishop Naumann talked about martyrdom and asked whether — if the time came —the students would be willing to give all to the Lord.

Haden Botkin, sophomore in business education at Kansas State University from St. Monica-St. Elizabeth Parish, Blue Rapids, enjoyed meeting the archbishop at a reception held at St. Isidore after Mass.

“He’s my bishop and I always look forward to seeing him and listening to his homilies,” Botkin said. “It’s good to have that dialogue, and for students here at St. Isidore to know who the archbishop is.”

Archbishop Naumann and the other bishops of Kansas were invited to K-State by Father Michael Demkovich, OP, pastor and chaplain of St. Isidore, so students could know the support they receive from their home dioceses and for the bishops to see their students.

“Archbishop Naumann’s visit, as well as the other bishops, allows our students to see the apostolic church here and now,” Father Mike said.

At the reception following Mass, Archbishop Naumann also spoke about the importance of students forming their faith during college.

“This is such an important period in the lives of our young adults. Thank you for giving them the opportunity to grow in their relationship with Jesus and their love for his church,” Archbishop Naumann told Father Mike after his visit.

St. Isidore Catholic Student Center serves the needs of over 2,200 Catholic students each week, many of whom call the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas home. The student center meets the educational, spiritual and liturgical needs of students during their time at K-State. St. Isidore’s is grateful to all who make this worthy ministry possible.

“It is the great privilege of our campus ministries to help prepare these young adults to return to their own parishes and become vibrant members,” Father Mike said. “Campus ministry is here to help in the critical journey to adult faith.”

Jill Seiler is a pastoral ministry intern at St. Isidore and a junior studying agricultural communications and journalism at K-State.

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