by Joe Bollig
Green shoots. Even as the nation entered deeper into a year of economic pain, this metaphor for the arrival of early spring became a byword for hope.
The year started off with the new Obama administration bringing new energy and ideas to Washington, D.C., but also an agenda removing pro-life protections in the areas of embryonic stem-cell research, overturning conscience protections, and funding abortions overseas. The new president also appointed pro-abortion officials to important positions in the government.
In response, archdiocesan Catholics, led by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, rallied to take part in a national postcard campaign to oppose the Freedom of Choice Act, which some feared would find a receptive audience in the new Congress should it be introduced.
Finally, the year ended with a close, bitter fight over the shape and direction of health care for the nation.
But if one were looking for green shoots — for hope — there was plenty to find in the archdiocese.
Several parishes celebrated anniversaries past the century mark. Despite the bad economy, building projects at parishes and schools continued. Three men were ordained to the priesthood, and a class of 20 men continued to advance toward ordination to the permanent diaconate.
So before the books are closed on 2009, let’s take one last look back at the events and people that affected our lives as the church in northeastern Kansas.
• The vocations office kicked the new year off with the launch of a new Web site.
• Archdiocesan Catholics joined others for observances in Topeka and at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., and other places for the 36th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade abortion ruling.
• Holy Name Parish in Kansas City, Kan., marked its 100th anniversary with a Jan. 4 Mass celebrated by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann.
• The archdiocese mobilized to be part of a national postcard campaign to oppose the possible introduction of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).
• Parishes in the Atchison Pastoral Region began their pastoral planning process.
• The Kansas Catholic Conference faced the formidable task of advocating for the poor and vulnerable during a busy legislative session in Topeka.
• Catholic Radio station KEXS extended its reach when it boosted its power on Feb. 5 and announced plans to expand to other AM and FM frequencies to cover more territory.
• Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, visited and gave a talk to students on Feb. 18 at Benedictine College in Atchison.
• The Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women held a retreat on Feb. 28 at Savior Pastoral Center.
• Archdiocesan Catholics joined with others across the nation to oppose the Obama administration’s new policy regarding embryonic stem-cell research.
• Hundreds of individuals joined the church during three separate Rite of Election liturgies — held on March 1 at St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, Kan., and Ascension Parish in Overland Park; and on March 8 at Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka.
• Archbishop Naumann voiced his opposition to the appointment of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to the Cabinet post of Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration.
• The newly formed Archdiocesan Pastoral Council met for the first time on March 16.
• The Benedictine Sisters of Red Plains Monastery in Piedmont, Okla., completed a merger with the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica on March 20.
• Controversial late-term abortionist Dr. George Tiller went on trial on March 23, accused of violating Kansas’ late-term abortion laws. He was acquitted on March 27 on 19 misdemeanor charges. Next, he faced 11 counts before the Kansas Board of Healing Arts.
• The Region IX Stewardship Conference was held March 26 and 27 at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kan.
• On March 27, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed the Woman’s Right to Know and See Act.
• Father Charles P. Andalikiewicz, 78, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Louisburg, died on April 1 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.
• The second annual Gospel of Life convention was held on April 18 at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park.
• Twenty men came one step closer to becoming permanent deacons when they were installed as acolytes on April 18 at Savior Pastoral Center.
• St. Paul School in Olathe celebrated its 50th anniversary on April 19.
• The Red Envelope Project was launched to voice pro-life concerns to President Barack Obama.
• Two celebrations were held to honor the departing Ursuline Sisters of Paola. A Mass and reception were held on May 3 at Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park and a Mass and potluck dinner were held on May 9 at Holy Trinity Parish in Paola. Declining numbers led the Paola Sisters to merge with the Ursulines of Mount St. Joseph in Maple Mount, Ky.
• Archbishop Naumann and Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph let more than 700 people in the annual Mother’s Day rosary on May 9 near an Overland Park abortion clinic.
• Scott Wallisch was ordained a transitional deacon on May 16 at St. Joseph Parish in Shawnee. He is scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood this May 29 at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Kansas City, Kan.
• Father Matthew Schiffelbein, Father Andrew Strobl, and Father Patrick Sullivan were ordained to the priesthood on May 23 at Holy Trinity Parish in Paola.
• The Leaven won several awards at the annual Catholic Media Convention, May 27 – 29 in Anaheim, Calif. Kara Hansen won a first place in Best Feature Writing and shared a first place Best Sports Journalism Sports Feature with photographer Susan McSpadden. Hansen also won the 2009 Bernardin-O’Connor Award for best overall pro-life feature. It was her second major award for pro-life journalism in as many years. Freelancers Marc and Julie Anderson earned a first-place Michael J. McGivney Award for Distinguished Volunteerism in Journalism from the Knights of Columbus. Freelancer Jill Ragar Esfeld and photographer Elaina Cochran took third place for Best Multiple Pictures Package. Photographer Don Wolf took Best Scenic, Still Life or Weather Photograph.
• The Archdiocesan Fine Arts Council was organized on May 28.
• St. Mary Parish in Purcell celebrated its 150th anniversary on May 30 with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Naumann.
• Archbishop Naumann joined with the other Catholic bishops of Kansas to condemn the May 31 murder of Dr. George Tiller.
• Hundreds of couples celebrated their 50th wedding anniversaries at a Mass on June 7 at St. Peter Cathedral in Kansas City, Kan.
• Archbishop Naumann was the main celebrant and homilist at a Mass dedicating the new St. Michael the Archangel Church in Leawood June 13. s Archbishop Naumann and Bishop Robert Finn led a eucharistic procession and solemn exposition of the Eucharist on June 14, the solemnity of Corpus Christi, at St. Agnes Parish in Roeland Park.
• Jacki Corrigan received the 2009 National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers award on June 25. July
• Archbishop Naumann led the blessing and groundbreaking on July 12 for the new St. Bernard Church in Wamego. Site preparation began on May 8.
• Jim Augustyn, a member of Prince of Peace Parish in Olathe, was named Catechist of the Year, and Denise Godinez, a member of Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish in Overland Park, received the outstanding Director of Religious Education award at the Kansas Association of Religious Educators conference from July 24- 26 in Salina.
• A new church for St. Francis de Sales Parish in Lansing was dedicated by Archbishop Naumann on Aug. 1.
• Msgr. Charles McGlinn and Msgr. Thomas Tank were honored for their years of service as vicars general of the archdiocese on Aug. 12 at Savior Pastoral Center.
• Archbishop Naumann blessed the new Sts. Peter and Paul School in Seneca. The first day of class was Aug. 19.
• Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, delivered the keynote address at an academic convocation held Sept. 1 at Benedictine College, Atchison.
• Archbishop Naumann led the blessing and groundbreaking on Sept. 5 for the new St. James Parish in Wetmore.
• Archbishop Naumann blessed and dedicated the St. Matthew Parish Early Learning Center and the new parish hall and entryway on Sept. 13 in Topeka.
• Father Neal Stull, SOLT, 45, pastor of St. Lawrence Parish in Easton and St. Joseph of the Valley in rural Leavenworth County, died of cancer on Sept. 17 at the home of his sister in Eldora, Iowa.
• St. John the Evangelist Parish in Lawrence celebrated its 150th anniversary with a Mass held Sept. 20 at the University of Kansas’ Lied Center.
• Curé of Ars Parish in Leawood concluded a series of 50th anniversary activities at a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Naumann on Sept. 26.
• St. Patrick Parish in Emerald marked its 150th anniversary with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Naumann on Oct. 3.
• St. Joseph Parish in Waverly’s new parish hall was blessed and dedicated by Archbishop Naumann on Oct. 3.
• Karla Liebham, associate superintendent of schools for the archdiocese, was given the M. Claradine Johnson Award on Oct. 6 at the Kansas North Central Association fall conference in Wichita.
• Father William Anthony Finnerty, 82, died at Villa St. Francis in Olathe on Oct. 7.
• Holy Family Parish in Eudora marked its 150th anniversary with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Naumann Oct. 10.
• The archdiocese announced on Nov. 6 that for the fifth consecutive year it had been found in compliance with the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
• On Nov. 6, St. Lawrence Parish in Easton merged with St. Joseph of the Valley Parish in rural Leavenworth County. Boundary changes were announced for St. Paul Parish in Olathe, Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa, and Sacred Heart Parish in Shawnee.
• Archbishop Naumann was among the first 148 Christian leaders to sign the Manhattan Declaration, released on Nov. 20.
• The Ursuline Sisters were recognized with the St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Award at a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Naumann on Nov. 22 at Sacred Heart Parish in Mound City.
• Approximately 1,300 archdiocesan youths joined 21,000 of their peers at Bartle Hall and the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, Mo., for the 2009 National Catholic Youth Conference from Nov. 19- 21.
• The Apostles of the Interior Life established their North American provincial house in Overland Park.
• Immaculate Conception Parish in Valley Falls marked its 150th anniversary with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Naumann on Dec. 6.