Local Religious life

Archbishop Keleher to be honored at upcoming Deo Gratias event


by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It will be a time to give thanks — and to recognize those who are working to support the ministries of the church far into the future.

The Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas will host its annual Deo Gratias dinner on Nov. 5 at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas. This year’s theme is: “Our Faith. Our Family.”

The CFNEK, originally established as the Archdiocesan Foundation in 1989 by Archbishop Ignatius J. Strecker, invests and manages endowments that were created to support Catholic institutions and ministries.

“[The CFNEK] exists as a service-    oriented entity for our parishes, schools and Catholic organizations who have funds available that they would like to entrust to the foundation for investments and asset growth,” said Lesle Knop, CFNEK executive director.

The CFNEK closed out fiscal year 2015 with assets of almost $82 million.

Each year, the CFNEK presents the Deo Gratias Award at its annual dinner to one family or individual and to one Catholic organization.

The Deo Gratias (Latin for “thanks be to God”) Award is given in recognition of outstanding achievement, service and support of Catholic institutions that are CFNEK fund-holders, as well as members of the Catholic Legacy Society.

This year, the Deo Gratias Award is being given to Archbishop Emeritus James Patrick Keleher and to Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas.

Archbishop Keleher, a Chicago native, was ordained a priest in 1958. In 1978, he was named rector and president of the University of St. Mary of the Lake Mundelein Seminary, where he also served as an associate professor of systematic theology.

In 1984, he was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois. He was appointed archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas in 1993 and was succeeded by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann in 2005.

Archbishop Keleher served on the committee of bishops that wrote the pastoral letter “Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response.”  He also became the episcopal moderator of the National Catholic Stewardship Council in 1989, continuing in a leadership role until 2007.

Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas serves peoples of all faiths and none in 21 counties of northeast Kansas. It provides a number of social services and offers food, clothing and shelter through its eight Emergency Assistance Centers, nine food pantries and two mobile resource buses.

The CFNEK has extended an invitation to all parishes and schools to send representatives to the annual dinner.

The evening will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m., invocation and awards presentation at 6:30 p.m., and a final blessing by Archbishop Naumann at 8:30 p.m.

“Our goal is to have representatives from all the parishes. But, in particular, we’d like to have representatives from those parishes who have funds invested with the foundation,” said Knop.

Please register online by Oct. 30 at: www.cfnek.org/deogratias.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

Leave a Comment