Historic St. Anthony Catholic Church
258 Ohio, Wichita, Ks
2nd St. & Ohio
Two blocks east of Old Town
Sunday Mass at 1:oo
English/Latin missals provided. Join us for coffee and donuts after mass downstairs in the St. Clair/Sunshine room, south exterior basement entrance.
Pastor of St. Anthony Parish: Fr. Ben Nguyen
EFLR Celebrants: Fr. John Jirak, Fr Nicholas Voelker
Master of Ceremonies: Tony Strunk
Choir Director: Bernie Dette

Continuing News

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Did You Know

Mass Propers, the readings that change everyday, can be found in the red missalettes at the entrance of church?

Fr. Nicholas Voelker celebrates Low Mass Saturdays at 8:00 a.m., St. Mary's Catholic Church, 106 East 8th street, Newton. There is no mass this Saturday, January 30, 2016.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Post #79

Topics: BREAKING NEWS: Two ParishionerElevated to Saint Level...The Church’s Yearly Novena of Grace: Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer...St. Anthony Church: Architecture....The 13th Day: Fatima Film....Roman Catholic Vocations: Broker Becomes Priest....


Two St. Anthony ParishionerElevated to Saint Level
By Mark Llamas

Ha ha, made you look. Actually its Bob Wells and I up on St. Anthony's platform... we are on the statue's level literally speaking, but in all honesty the Vatican had little to say on the subject let alone starting the beatification process. 

Bob Wells, long time parishioner and Sacristan, and Luke Headley (Master of Ceremonies)  were talking after mass and were discussing switching out the risen Christ statue with the usual St. Anthony statue. I volunteered to help with the switch out and showed up at 5:00 Wednesday to find Bob bravely (or foolishly) already up on the platform. Oh my gosh!!!

Now Mr. Bob Wells has been at St. Anthony all his life and he is the one I would go to for day to day answers about the church. It is he who showed me how to change the light bulbs  in the attic above the altar (see Post #40, Human Fragility and Light Bulbs in St. Anthony's Attic) , he knows where everything is kept, who knows what, what goes where, etc....but to see this venerable but older man standing on the high statue platform was unsettling. Allow me to describe why.

From the back the altar is built in what appears to be a hodge podge manner. I have been told that the wood support system on the back side is built of the shipping crates that the altar came in. In the very narrow walkway behind the altar one can see two ladders attached...to say that these are ladders is a bit of a stretch. They are, in reality, cross boards nailed to "studs" that traverse the back of the altar. 

These rungs are old dark wood, perhaps a half inch thick and 10 to 12 inches wide...built for men of lesser weight then a lot of present day men ('course I could lose a few pounds). Climbing up one of these ladders is a bit scary but coming to the top is even scarier. In the first place the top of the altar is higher than one imagines, though I doubt one would die from falling but one would break a leg, an arm or even your neck. Let me assure you that the statue platform is alot higher than it might appear from ground level!

Coming to the top of the of the ladder I am confronted with a conspicuous lack of hand holds. The ginger bread ornamentation is fragile, the support poles holding St. Anthony's canopy don't appear strong so I have to kind of support myself on my stomach as I inch my way over the top.

Once on the hexagonal platform the first thing you notice is the lack of free foot space on the platform for it is crisscrossed with conduit and there are no supports to grab onto should one become disoriented. To the rear and sides is a straight free fall to the floor, perhaps 18 feet down.  The front 3 sides of the hexagon are visible to the congregation. On this hexagon is a higher platform on which the statues sit. 

You may or may not know but there are really two statue platforms up there, a front and a back area, the back attaches to the back wall and back side of the hexagon. This back platform is where St. Anthony is shifted  for Easter. He will reside here, behind a curtain with the risen Christ statue placed in front. With the curtain in place an optical allusion is created and St. Anthony has gone away (visiting relatives?) and in his place is Christ risen. 

As I gain my footing (crouched like the green plastic army men of my childhood ) I also gain some measure of confidence (though measured by a short ruler). The curtains need to come down first so Bob, being much taller than I, stands on the statue's platform to remove the curtains and the rods. His only hand hold is leaning against the canopy dome above him and since he had mentioned that he lost his equilibrium earlier, I grab him by the belt to steady him in case he loses his footing. Bob is fearless as he works and we manage to lower the curtains and rods down. 

Now the heavy work is at hand. Letting go of any sense of hand hold , our job is to pick Jesus up, lift him above the decorative woodwork of the altar front and hand him down to Luke, who is standing on the altar mensa below. This is done with knees bent and imaginary cat claws imbedded into the platform floor. Bob tells me that in younger days he would carry the statue up and down  the ladder. Phew! 

While St. Anthony is really quite heavy, the Christ statue is hollow and easily lifted. His right arm and staff come off for easy transport and you can see this in the picture above as the statue stands on the altar before being put away. In the "off season" the Christ statue hangs out in a sacristy closet with the surplices and cassocks of the servers. 

FYI: While we are up top Bob shows me that the back of the domes are unadorned. The front may contain scroll work and scalloping but the back sides, being out of view, are plain. Also one cannot imagine the amount of dust up there, though from below everything has a freshly painted appearance.

Next we shuffle to the back of the hexagon, remember there are two of us on a very small foot space, to shift St. Anthony back into place.  I mistakenly call the statue St. Francis and am promptly smacked  in the head by the book the statue holds (I bump into it). "You made St. Tony mad" quipped Bob.

Once our job is done and our picture is taken by Luke down below, Bob inches his tall, lanky frame down the "ladder of possible broken legs". Going down is always worse than climbing up, so I hug the ladder and hang on for dear life, not being sure the rungs will support both legs at once. Once down I say a quick prayer of thanks.

And thats how the Christ statue ascends and descends, where St. Anthony goes on vacation and how two mortal men from St. Anthony were temporarily on a saints level.


The Church’s Yearly Novena of Grace

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,

Submitted by James Spencer

I really like Fr. Euteneuer.  He always tempers political concerns and our responsibilities to act with reminders that we are so very powerless and need to pray in order for anything to change. 

J. Spencer.


Have you ever wondered when the first Novena was prayed?  Look no farther than chapters 1 and 2 of the Acts of the Apostles to see that the disciples were gathered together in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost with Mary waiting and praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit, the promised Gift of the Lord. They had been there since Ascension Thursday praying the Church’s very first novena! The Church repeats that original novena every year in preparation for the coming of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier.

Let us make the nine days between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday an extremely fruitful time of prayer. There are three ways to bring fruitfulness out of this novena:

First, make time to pray in silence every day. This seems so simple, but busy people will know that it easier to say than to do. Jesus advised, “Go to your room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret.” Indeed, that is what we need to do. Find the Upper Room of your life, whether it be your own private space, a Blessed Sacrament chapel at the local parish or just the focused “sanctuary of the heart” in a quiet moment and place; and spend some significant down time in silence so that you develop spiritual ears to hear the Voice that only speaks in silence. A minimum of 15 minutes each day in silence will train busy people to have more discerning hearts. That practice of a quarter of an hour in silence will undoubtedly lead the heart to want to spend more time with the Beloved every day.

Second, pray specifically for what you need. This means that you must identify the concrete needs of your life and present them to God as St. Paul says in Ephesians, “in every form of prayer and petition.” God loves to answer prayers, but His answers can only be recognized by those who know exactly what they want! No need is too big. God will temper our prayer if it does not fully correspond to His Will. No need is too small either. God will also lift our spirits by answering our needs either by giving us just enough for the task at hand or showing us that what we ask for is less than what He really wants to give us. Either way, ask specifically and petition as many prayers as you and your loved ones need to a God who has an infinite storehouse of goodness ready to bestow on those who ask with childlike trust.

Finally, pray for the seven-fold Gift of the Holy Spirit. Even if you don’t know what to pray for, the Eternal Spirit does. All good things in heaven and earth are contained in that One Gift. Pray to receive the One who satisfies all our needs in a new and special way this Pentecost. He gives gifts that cannot be exhausted: Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Piety, Fear of the Lord and Fortitude. Jesus also said, “Will not the Father give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks him?” (Lk 11:11-13) Indeed He will!


Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,

President, Human Life International


St. Anthony's Architecture

Submitted by Bob Waltersheid

St. Anthony’s attains architectural significance through its being a well executed and preserved ecclesiastical product from the turn of the Century that speaks highly of Roman Catholic aspirations and ideals in Wichita at the time.

Stylistically, St. Anthony’s is a late Victorian Era design that makes sound use of the round, or Roman arch.

Such feature is of substantial historical importance, for it carries on the significant German Heritage of this Parish:  this house of worship’s architectural spirit is that of the German Romanesque - a fusion of essential Gothicism with Romanesque forms that were somewhat peculiar to Northern Europe.

Construction of the exterior brick walls is expertly carried out and serves as a model for the brick mason’s art. Also notable is the eclectic wooden steeple/tower centered on the front with its Moorish design implications:  perhaps this feature is meant to represent the faith’s universality.

It is realistically assumed that the Franciscan Order, when hiring Louis Piket, the Church architect, chose a designer who; had familiarity with the history of European Church  architecture - especially with the Romanesque mode as interpreted in Germany. Thus, continuity of regional and ethnical/national heritage was felt appropriate for the Parish of St. Anthon Church by is designer.


The 13th Day

A Film About The Miracle of Fatima


Based on a well known and celebrated Catholic event, The 13th Day has the potential to reach a mass target market of the main Catholic territories worldwide (2.1 billion people) and by nature of the ‘message of Fatima’ has potential relevance to people of all faiths and none.


Broker Leaves Lucrative Career to Become Priest

Courtesy Roman Catholic Vocations
From the National Post
By Katherine Laidlaw

In Thomas Lim's last job, he earned a six-figure salary, lived in an expansive home and managed the bustling operations of Sun Life Financial, a brokerage firm. He was a high roller on an upward career trajectory.

On Saturday, he starts a new job: one without material luxuries and the fast-paced intensity of the stock market. He is becoming a Catholic priest.

Eight years ago, Mr. Lim was assistant vice-president of Sun Life. He had it all: money, power, relationships, upward mobility. And yet, he says he was intensely unhappy.

Now 40 years old and after six years of study, he is being ordained at St. Michael's Cathedral.

The Catholic Church doesn't require priests to give away their savings when they enter the seminary, but he has left his financial investments in the hands of his brother, who is also a banker. He doesn't miss working in the business world. "There were moments in the past where you'd be obsessed with every tick up, every tick down," Mr. Lim said. "I don't feel like I'm shackled any more."

Between about five and 10 men have been ordained each year for the past five years in the Greater Toronto Area, according to the Archdiocese of Toronto. Seven are being ordained this Saturday.

Many come from diverse backgrounds, such as Mr. Lim, seeking spirituality they cannot find in the pressures of everyday life.

Frank Portelli, a 33-year-old once far more interested in clubbing, left his job working with the federal government's bankruptcy regulator to become a priest.

"During my undergrad [at the University of Toronto], it was more about drinks, smoking, dancing, girls, not studying," he said. He reluctantly applied to the seminary after being encouraged by a priest he knew.

Likewise, Eric Rodrigues was completing a master's in biostatistics at McGill University in Montreal when he realized his dreams of being a doctor were eclipsed by a call from God. "Deep down I know that it was a desire to serve people and help people who are suffering."

In Mr. Lim's case, he ignored his first push toward the priesthood, which came a long time ago when he was attending De La Salle College, a prestigious private school run by the Roman Catholic Lasallian brothers.

The nudge came from Brother Benedict, a short, bespectacled man who patrolled the locker hallway. "I had the fourth or fifth locker from the chapel," said Mr. Lim, whose older brother, also a student at De La Salle, was thinking of entering the monastery. Brother Benedict came down the hallway to ask Mr. Lim if he would be following suit. "I kind of laughed and said, 'Are you crazy? I want to make money,' " said Mr. Lim. "I think he thought he could get two for the price of one."

Instead, attending De La Salle left Mr. Lim with a burning desire to be wealthy. He grew up in the Regent Park housing complex, one of Toronto's most destitute, crime-ridden neighbourhoods, where he lived with his mother, father and seven brothers and sisters in a small, four-bedroom home.

He attended the private school on a scholarship. "People did look at you a little strangely. You know, you're coming home in your blue blazer and tie to Regent Park," Mr. Lim said.

"After being in that environment, with those kids who had so much, I came up with a plan. That plan was to make as much money as possible."

After high school, he went on to the University of Toronto's business school. After graduating with a bachelor of commerce, Mr. Lim took a job at Toronto-Dominion Bank, where he was made manager of the mutual funds division before moving to Canada Trust and then to Sun Life. His parents were devout Catholics. But Mr. Lim turned his back on his faith and refused to practise for 12 years. "I found out later, [my mother] prayed for my return each day," he says, voice cracking.

Eight years ago, Mr. Lim had broken up with his last girlfriend, a Catholic who attended church regularly and had encouraged him to attend as well. One Saturday, he wandered into St. Justin, Martyr, a parish in Unionville. Standing at the back of the church, Mr. Lim says he was "overpowered" by the pastor's homily. He listened while the priest spoke about encouraging those who felt lost to return to the church.

Soon after, Mr. Lim was ringing Rev. Michael Busch's doorbell, asking to speak to him about his sermon. Instead, Rev. Busch says, they talked about their lives.

"He was what we call a 'walk-in off the street'," Rev. Busch said. "I always say to him, my first impression of him was anger, bitterness, dissatisfaction."

The description is a stark contrast to the soft-spoken man he knows now, he says. "He's a lot calmer. The man that was before, sometimes those are the qualities that come out when we're searching or when we're frustrated."

Like Mr. Lim, Rev. Busch left behind a lucrative career in advertising to become a priest. "It was the same kind of thing: young, had it all, going in a certain direction but not happy," Rev. Busch said.

"It's something that's very prevalent among young people today. They're really searching for that kind of spirituality."

Seeing in Mr. Lim many qualities he remembered in himself, Rev. Busch told Mr. Lim he should consider joining the priesthood.

"I more or less threw it at him," he said. "I knew it was a bit of a shock for him. I could see he was reaching a point where his questions were leading in a very specific direction."

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