Archdiocese Local Special Issue - Convocation

Start from a new now

Sister Helen Therese (Elena) Mack works with Hispanic ministry and a variety of groups within the Kansas City community and serves at Our Lady of Unity Parish in Kansas City, Kansas. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Sister Helen Therese (Elena) Mack

Age: 71

Parish: Our Lady of Unity, Kansas City, Kansas; Sister of Charity community located at the Cathedral of St. Peter

Occupation: Works with Hispanic ministry and a variety of groups within the Kansas City community

What’s in your toolkit? My experience has been as director of a diocesan school of evangelization (kerygma based) in Peru, as well as formation-spiritual accompaniment.

What is your Catholic superpower? Eucharist is my basic lifelong center and prayer; faith community

Before the convocation

The convocation will be a stepping-stone for the local church’s future, according to Sister Elena Mack.

“There is a tendency that everybody has,” she said, “and that is we want to return to the past.

“I think the convocation is going to help us live in the present. We’re going to have to start from a new now and move forward.”

A Sister of Charity of Leavenworth, Sister Elena has a strong relationship with the local Hispanic community, particularly through her work as an interpreter at the Duchesne Clinic in Kansas City, Kansas.

Sister Elena was sent to the convocation by her religious community but worked with Our Lady of Unity’s delegation.

“We have a large group of Hispanic people who participate in the parish, and bringing about some unity in a parish that has some cultural challenges” is a major talking point, she said.

“Trying to get a parish to find a common plan for two very different cultural groups is always a need,” she said.

But Sister Elena believes her fellow delegates are prepared to implement concrete ways to unite their community.

“That, for me, is very exciting because it is a time to think in a new way about how we are [the Catholic church] in our area and in our parish,” she said.

She expects many fruits of the convocation to flourish in her local community and throughout the archdiocese.

“We’re all going into it from different backgrounds and different realities of the church,” she said. “It definitely has some possibilities for helping us become aware of the wider church that we are in Kansas.”

After the convocation

What are the top three things you’d like to see done at your parish in regard to evangelization? 

Fostering of small faith community groups for growth and Christian identity-deepening; bridge-building among the multicultural groups; and marriage and family enrichment programs.

About the author

Moira Cullings

Moira attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and Benedictine College in Atchison. She majored in marketing, minored in psychology and played center midfield for the women’s soccer team. Moira joined The Leaven staff as a feature writer and social media editor in 2015. After a move to Denver, Moira resumed her full-time position at The Leaven and continues to write and manage the website, social media channels and Archbishop Naumann's Facebook page. Her favorite assignment was traveling to the Holy Land to take photos for a group pilgrimage in 2019.

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