by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Some stories are so big that, even though they occur outside the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, they become local.
Such was the case of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.
The plight of Ukrainian war refugees led Catholics across the archdiocese to support relief efforts in Poland, which sheltered the refugees.
And a big national story — the reversal on June 24 of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision — is speculated to have had a big local impact as well. Pro-life advocates believe that the defeat of the “Value Them Both” amendment to the Kansas Constitution in an Aug. 2 special election here was partially a reaction to that.
The year 2022 was a busy one, with everyone perhaps trying to make up for time and opportunities lost to the pandemic.
Here in the archdiocese, important initiatives were continued, and one launched: Revival: Eucharistic Amazement, the local response to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national plan to promote Catholics’ belief in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Happily, we celebrated the ordinations to the transitional diaconate of Deacon Colm Larkin, Deacon George Rhodes and Deacon Timothy Skoch. And we celebrated the priestly ordinations of Father Andrew E. Gaffney and Father Sudeep Kodigandla.
The rich, diverse and busy life of the Catholic Church in northeast Kansas could not be captured in its entirety in the pages of The Leaven; nevertheless, a glance through the issues reveals its remarkable vitality.
So, before we close the book on 2022, let’s take one last look at the people and events that made the news for Catholics in northeast Kansas.
• Carlos and Mireya Torres, members of St. Paul Parish in Olathe, were selected to be the honorary chairpersons of the Archbishop’s Call to Share campaign.
• The archdiocesan vocation office made available for viewing its own, locally produced 16-minute video “I Will Give You Shepherds.”
• Pat Richey, former director of the archdiocesan office of deaf ministry from 2001-2015, received the Father David Walsh Pastoral Worker of the Year Award during the National Catholic Office for the Deaf annual conference Jan. 6-10 in Savannah, Georgia.
• Msgr. Gary Applegate, 70, a priest for 40 years, died on Jan. 15 at Villa St. Francis in Olathe.
• The 48th annual Snow Ball fundraiser for Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, which raised $3.7 million, was held on Jan. 15 at the Overland Park Convention Center.
• Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann celebrated Mass for Catholic March for Life participants on Jan. 21 at St. Dominic Church in Washington, D.C. Later, he attended a brunch for a meet-and-greet with young adults from the archdiocese.
• Archbishop Naumann celebrated Mass on Jan. 22 in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Fraternity the Poor of Jesus Christ in the archdiocese.
• Archbishop Naumann and the other bishops of Kansas celebrated a Red Mass in honor of those in law and government on Jan. 24 at Mater Dei Church in Topeka.
• Archdiocesan Catholics joined other Kansans in Topeka to participate in the annual state March For Life on Jan. 25. Archbishop Naumann celebrated the Kansas Mass for Life at the Topeka Performing Arts Center.
• Deacon Steve White, ordained in 2017 and assigned to Curé of Ars Parish, Leawood, died on Jan. 28.
• On Feb. 5, Archbishop Naumann blessed the new Nativity House KC near Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas.
• The Hot Lunch Services (formerly known as St. Mary’s Food Kitchen) at the Wilhelmina Gill Multi-Service Center in Kansas City, Kansas, celebrated the 40th anniversary of serving its first meal on Feb. 11, 1982.
• Medical professionals and workers were honored at a White Mass celebrated by Archbishop Naumann on Feb. 12 at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Kansas City, Missouri.
• The archdiocese celebrated World Marriage Day with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Naumann on Feb. 13 at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park.
• The annual F.I.R.E. retreat for men was held Feb. 12-13 at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg.
• Noted Catholic actor Jim Caviezel spoke at the Kansans For Life annual Valentine’s Day banquet Feb. 15 in Overland Park.
• Pastors and parish representatives listened to J.P. DeGance, founder of the nonprofit Communio and co-author of the book “Endgame,” present a game plan for parishes to support marriages and families during a marriage workshop on Feb. 26 at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas.
• The 50th annual Benedictine Scholarship Ball was held on Feb. 26 at the Overland Park Convention Center. The event raised $2.1 million, and the Order of St. Benedict was given to Lene Westerman and Larry and Janet Munro Wilcox.
• The 40th annual Baileyville Benefit was held Feb. 26-27 at Nemaha Central High School in Seneca.
• The archdiocese sponsored a junior high youth rally on Feb. 27 at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg.
• Camp Tekakwitha at Prairie Star Ranch celebrated its 25th anniversary beginning this month.
• The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth elected new leadership during their 19th community chapter.
• On March 1, the archdiocese broke ground to begin construction of the new $5.2 million priests’ retirement residence near Santa Marta in Olathe.
• The Kansas City Pregnancy Center held its banquet on March 1 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
•The archdiocese began its “soft launch” locally of a national campaign for eucharistic revival, Revival: Eucharistic Amazement, at the start of Lent on March 2.
• The Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas held its annual Archbishop’s High School Art Invitational awards reception on March 4 at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas.
• The annual men’s retreat, Men Under Construction, was held on March 5 at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park.
• Rites of Election were held on March 6 at Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka and at Prince of Peace Parish in Olathe.
• Archbishop Naumann presided over a blessing and wall-breaking ceremony on March 24 at St. James Academy in Lenexa, the start of a $1 million conversion of the school’s former media center.
• The first Praise & Graze recognition and awards celebration for Catholic Youth Organization coaches, officials and others was held on March 26 at the Church of the Nativity School gym in Leawood.
• The annual Rural Catholic Youth Conference, sponsored by the Northeast Kansas Youth Council, was held March 25-27 at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg.
• Maur Hill-Mount Academy, Atchison, named its baseball field after Coach Phil Baniewicz on March 29 for his service as school president and coach.
• Three new marriage-strengthening initiatives were launched in the archdiocese thanks to a $50,000 matching grant given to implement the national pastoral framework for marriage and family life ministry.
• Catholics in the archdiocese joined international efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by war in Ukraine by taking up a special collection.
• John C. Clark, a teacher at Bishop Miege High School, Roeland Park, was named Archdiocesan Teacher of the Year by the Kansas Association of Independent and Religious Schools.
• A coalition of pro-life organizations — Kansas Family Voice, Kansans for Life and the Kansas Catholic Conference — mobilized to promote the “Value Them Both” amendment to the Kansas Constitution for the Aug. 2 primary election.
• Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg held its first Emmaus Eucharistic Amazement retreat for second-, third- and fourth-grade students.
• The annual Scouting Awards Mass was held on April 3 at the Cathedral of St. Peter.
• Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas, celebrated, blessed and dedicated its new campus transformation, including the new academic building, on April 22.
• The annual Abbot’s Table banquet was held on April 23 at the Overland Park Convention Center.
• Archbishop Naumann designated April 27 to be observed in all archdiocesan parishes as a Day of Prayer in Atonement of and for the Healing of All Those Harmed by Sexual Abuse.
• Ascension School in Overland Park held its 25th anniversary celebration on April 29.
• The archdiocesan-wide Camp Tekakwitha Women’s Retreat was held April 29-May 1.
• Seventeen juniors at Bishop Ward High School in Kansas City, Kansas, were awarded college scholarships on April 29 by KC Scholars.
• The annual state Knights of Columbus convention was held April 30-May 1 at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Topeka.
• Amy Stork became the new victim care advocate for the archdiocesan office for protection and care.
• The St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas bade farewell to the Apostles of the Interior Life after 19 years of ministry.
• Archbishop Naumann blessed a veterans memorial on May 5 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Topeka.
• Nearly 90 parish and ministry leaders from 44 parishes received training for the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Catechetical Institute online learning platform on May 5 and 7 at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas.
•The Catholic Youth Organization of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties held its annual City Championships on May 7 at Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park.
• Archbishop Naumann blessed a replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta on May 7 at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas.
•The Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas Golf Classic luncheon was held on May 9 at Lake Quivira Country Club in Johnson County.
• Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, received the Prize for Excellence in Theology and the Arts on May 13 at Benedictine College in Atchison.
• Hispanic Catholics from across the archdiocese participated in a eucharistic conference on May 14 at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Kansas City, Kansas. Father Javier Olivera Ravasi, from Argentina, gave two talks.
• Sister Jennifer Halling, OSB, took her perpetual vows on May 15 at Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison.
• A Mass for farmers was celebrated on May 15, the feast of St. Isidore, at Christ’s Peace House of Prayer in Easton.
• Colm Larkin, George Rhodes and Timothy Skoch were ordained transitional deacons on May 21 at Christ the King Church, Topeka.
• The first Family Week, sponsored by the Center for Family Life at Benedictine College, Atchison, was held May 22-28.
• Father Andrew E. Gaffney and Father Sudeep Kodigandla were ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Naumann on May 28 at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Kansas City, Kansas.
• Holy Family Parish, Eudora, received a $29,000 grant from the Douglas County Natural and Cultural Heritage Council for restoration of the original church’s stained-glass windows.
• Nineteen students from the Escuela de Teología Básica gathered on May 31 to graduate from the program at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas.
•The archdiocese launched a new campaign, Helping Kansas Women, to raise awareness of pregnancy resource centers in Kansas.
• Benedictine College in Atchison established the Sheridan Center for Classical Studies.
• High school student Luke Trausch built a wooden altar for his parish’s eucharistic adoration chapel at Immaculate Conception Parish in St. Marys.
•The Holy Family School of Faith hosted a rosary rally and eucharistic adoration to pray for the “Value Them Both” amendment on June 5 at the Fiorella’s Event Center in Overland Park.
• Archdiocesan priests dominated the priests from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph for a 29-18 win on June 10 at the annual Pitching for Priests softball game at Legends Field Ballpark in Kansas City, Kansas.
• Benedictine Sisters from 17 monasteries in the United States and Mexico gathered June 15-17 for the Federation of St. Scholastica Chapter at Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison.
• The archdiocese publicly launched the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national, three-year eucharistic initiative — locally called Revival: Eucharistic Amazement — on the solemnity of Corpus Christi, June 19.
• Jessica Cabral became the director of ReachKCK on June 20.
• The battle over abortion returned to the states on June 24 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which established a federal constitutional right to abortion.
• The founders of the Catholic Education Foundation celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding on June 29 at Lake Quivira Country Club in northern Johnson County.
• An interior painting project that featured a mural of 12 saints was completed in early July at All Saints Church in Kansas City, Kansas.
• Ten archdiocesan parishes launched an initiative to strengthen marriages and promote healthy families through the Full-Circle Relationship Ministry Model with the help of the Virginia-based Communio group.
• Felicia Holcomb was appointed consultant for marketing and enrollment in the archdiocesan schools office on July 1.
• The Leaven won 18 awards at the Catholic Media Convention on July 7.
• The Encounter School of Ministry held a Summer Intensive Program July 11-14 at St. Agnes Parish in Roeland Park.
• Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Fiesta Mexicana, a fundraiser for the parish and Holy Family School, was held on July 13 in Topeka.
• Carla Mills, chief financial officer for the archdiocese, was named one of the Kansas City Business Journal’s CFOs of the year on July 22 at Loews Kansas City Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri.
• Camp Tekakwitha celebrated its 25th anniversary. Father Mark Mertes, pastor of St. Patrick Parish and archdiocesan moderator of the curia, received the Echo of Kateri award on July 22. Couples Dennis and Marisa Herd, and Ray and Katy Wilson, received the Echo of Kateri award on July 30.
• Serra Clubs and the archdiocesan vocations office sponsored the second Master’s Cup golf tournament and luncheon for seminarians and those considering the priesthood on Aug. 1 at Ironhorse Golf Club in Leawood.
• Jane Schmitt was appointed the new director of development for the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas on Aug. 1.
•The proposed “Value Them Both” amendment to the Kansas Constitution, which would have negated a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling that found a right to unlimited and unrestricted abortion in the state’s 1859 constitution, was defeated during a special election on Aug. 2.
• Karla Melgar, a member of St. Paul Parish in Olathe, was appointed a consultant in the archdiocesan office of evangelization.
• The Kelly Youth Rally, held on Aug. 20, celebrated its 25th anniversary.
• Cindy Dickason, a member of St. Paul Parish in Olathe, received the Do Something Beautiful for God award from Benedictine College in Atchison.
• Lorenzo Rizzi, a member of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood, was appointed associate superintendent for archdiocesan schools.
• The Serra Clubs hosted 115 women religious from 18 congregations for the Religious Sisters Appreciation Day on Aug. 28 at St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, Kansas.
• Father Joseph Cramer, 72, died on Aug. 30 at his home in Las Vegas.
• Benedictine College in Atchison and Catholic Healthcare International of Wildwood, Missouri, signed a Collaborative Affiliation Agreement on Sept. 8 to establish a new medical school on Benedictine’s campus.
• A National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children service was held Sept. 10 in the Holy Redeemer Chapel at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Kansas City, Kansas.
• The permanent diaconate aspirants of Cohort Five met Sept. 9-11 for their first weekend of formation at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas.
• St. Gregory the Great School in Marysville received the Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann School of Excellence award, and a visit by Archbishop Naumann, on Sept. 13 from the Catholic Education Foundation.
• Archbishop Naumann signed a decree on Sept. 14 approving the erection of a Public Clerical Association of Christ’s Faithful, the Deacons of Hope, founded by Deacon Doug Hemke and Deacon Kevin Cummings.
• The first Hispanic Family Camp was held at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg.
• Mater Dei Parish in Topeka approved a project to remove and cap the deteriorating twin bell towers of Assumption Church, located near the state Capitol.
• Barbara Bailey, pastoral associate at Our Lady & St. Rose Parish in Kansas City, Kansas, and director of the archdiocesan office of Black Catholics, attended the 25th anniversary of the dedication of Our Mother of Africa Chapel on Sept. 17 in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
• Topeka Pastoral Region parish youth groups gathered at Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish on Sept. 25 for the first-ever Catholic Cup games.
• EMBRACE (Enriching Many By Reaching All in Catholic Education) held its first fundraiser Embrace the Brew on Sept. 30 at Rock & Brews restaurant in Overland Park. It is a collaboration between the archdiocesan schools office and archdiocesan schools to provide support to children with disabilities and learning differences.
• Members of religious orders in the archdiocese attended a Mass honoring consecrated life, celebrated by Archbishop Naumann, on Oct. 1 at Savior Pastoral Center.
• Nearly $855,000 was raised for Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas, at its annual SHINE fundraiser and gala on Oct. 6 at The Abbot in Kansas City, Missouri.
• Archbishop Naumann was the main celebrant for the annual Red Mass, celebrated for members of the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kansas City, on Oct. 7 at Curé of Ars Church in Leawood.
• Sister Brenda Lopez professed perpetual vows as a Servant of Mary, Minister to the Sick, on Oct. 11 during a Mass at the provincial house in Kansas City, Kansas.
• Msgr. Michael Mullen, former pastor, was honored on Oct. 22 during the inaugural Shamrocks for Scholarships fundraising event to benefit St. Patrick School, held at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.
• Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas, was recognized as the most ethnically diverse college in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year by the U.S. News and World Report “Best College” rankings.
• The girls tennis team of Hayden High School in Topeka made history on Oct. 15 by winning its first state championship.
• The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem held its annual Mass and dinner on Oct. 27 at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood.
• The annual Gaudeamus benefit gala for the Catholic Education Foundation was held on Oct. 29 at the Overland Park Convention Center. It was also the 25th anniversary celebration of the foundation.
• Michael Podrebarac, archdiocesan consultant for liturgy and sacramental life, offered Transcendental Service workshops at parishes around the archdiocese in October and November.
• ReachKCK hosted more than 150 Wyandotte County parish youths for a Confirmation Rally Bonfire on Oct. 31 at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Kansas City, Kansas.
• The Sparrow Women’s Clinic in Lansing was blessed by Archbishop Naumann on Oct. 31.
• Archbishop Naumann blessed on Nov. 1 the new rectory and renovated interior of All Saints Church in Kansas City, Kansas. He was also the main celebrant and homilist for the feast day Mass.
• Bob Roper was appointed the new director of human resources for the archdiocese on Nov. 2.
• Don and Janice Arth, members of Prince of Peace Parish in Olathe, and the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas, were presented the Deo Gratias Award by the CFNEK on Nov. 10 at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas.
• Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka hosted a Veterans Day assembly on Nov. 11.
• Students at Xavier School in Leavenworth partnered with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth to celebrate Mother Xavier Ross, the Sisters’ foundress, during Mother Xavier Ross Week, Nov. 6-12.
• After a 37-year run, the “Viviano Variety Show” benefit for Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, founded by Jerry Viviano, held its final show on Nov. 19 at Rockhurst High School’s Rose Theater in Kansas City, Missouri.
• The archdiocese completed its 10-page synod report and sent it to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops headquarters.
• Four historic residences were shown during the Atchison Christmas Historic Homes Tour on Nov. 19 to benefit St. Benedict School.
• Msgr. Stuart W. Swetland, president of Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas, received the Duchesne Award after a Mass on Nov. 22 at Sacred Heart Parish in Mound City.
• Archbishop Naumann launched the archdiocesan-wide Advent Preaching Series beginning Nov. 27, the first Sunday of Advent.
• St. John School in Lawrence received a $5,000 grant from the National Catholic Partners on Disabilities, through the Angel in Disguise organization, to assist students with special needs.
• Parishioners at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood organized to send aid to Ukrainian war refugees in Poland.
• Archbishop Naumann attended a Christmas meal with the homeless on Dec. 10, held by the Brothers and Sisters of the Fraternity the Poor of Jesus Christ, at Blessed Sacrament Church in Kansas City, Kansas.
• Archbishop Naumann blessed the new location for Shalom House, a transitional men’s housing program run by Catholic Charities, during an open house in Kansas City, Kansas, on Dec. 16.
• Young men interested in learning more about exploring a vocation to the priesthood gathered for the “Quo Vadis” retreat, sponsored by the archdiocesan vocation office, Dec. 16-18 at Savior Pastoral Center.