A Kansas-based ministry led more than a thousand people in Eucharistic adoration last week, allowing Catholics and non-Catholics to worship the Creator among the stars.
Wichita Adore Ministries hosted “Adoration Under the Stars” July 5 at the cemetery outside St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Ost, fewer than 30 miles northwest of Wichita.
Jesse Elpers, president of WAM, said the event is a simple yet profound encounter with God.
The event ties “together the creation of God with he who created it on an altar in the middle of nowhere underneath a starlit sky,” he told CNA. “[It] has a beautiful simplicity to it.”
“If nothing else, in such a serene place like that, just to be face to face with your Lord … it’s a beautiful thing.”
An estimated 1,300 people, including 24 priests, attended the event, which also included confession and music.
Elpers said confession is one of the most important aspects of the event. More than 500 people received absolution at the event last year.
Father Dan Duling, pastor of St Joseph's, has been at the church for the past two years. The event is important, he said, because it teaches young people the value of adoration and emphasizes the glory of God in all creation.
It’s “teaching our young people about adoration and giving them an environment [in which] they can pray and adore Jesus,” he told CNA. “I think the important thing for the people is knowing God’s presence out there in his creation and everything around us.”
The event began six years ago with just over 60 attendees and was one of the first ministries of WAM. The organization is a non-profit solely run on volunteer time.
Last year, WAM handled more than 100 events, including parish adoration and diocesan conferences. The company will also lend out production equipment to parishes to put together adoration events themselves.
Elpers said the non-profit’s mission is to lead people to encounter Christ, promoting conversion and personal engagement with the loving creator.
“The ultimate goal of every effort we do, both in adoration events and in the production ministry, is to give each soul a chance at an encounter with Christ” he said, using adoration to bring people “face to face with the heart of the one who made [them], the heart of the one who longs for them.”
Politicians campaigning one way then governing differently are as American as Mom and apple pie. Case in point: Kansas Governor-elect Laura Kelly.
“Candidate Kelly” projected the image of a reasonable, reach-across-the-aisle moderate, talking up issues like school funding, health care and the economy.
Once safely elected, the narrative changed. During Kelly’s first post-election news conference, she prompted statewide headlines with the astonishing statement that she’d direct her staff to not follow the law.
Her target: the new Kansas Adoption Protection Act (APA).
As the Kansas Catholic Church’s top legislative priority in 2018, the APA’s focus is simple and reasonable. Faith-based adoption agencies like Catholic Charities should be protected to place children in homes with a married mother and father.
This basic exercise of Catholic religious freedom draws on two millennia of church teaching, Sacred Scripture and the model of the Holy Family. It’s hardly controversial.
The governor-elect claims the APA somehow discriminates against “gay couples.” She’s also fully aware Kansas law allows other agencies to make such child placements — which they do on a regular basis.
The APA protects religious freedom. It also protects mothers in crisis who want the best for infants they bravely choose to bring into the world. But the governor-elect’s ideology trumps the welfare of moms and their children.
This is one front in a larger cultural struggle.
Few Kansans know that an average of one to two unborn babies are being dismembered and aborted alive each and every day in Kansas. Governor-elect Kelly supports this assault on innocent human life.
Our faith, values and cherished way of life are under attack. A new reality is being imposed on faithful Catholics. If we don’t believe what they believe and if we don’t act like they act, we’re bigots, plain and simple.
So what to do? Despair and apathy are not options. We will seek common ground with Governor-elect Kelly and others. Quality health care, concern for the poor, and greater educational choice and opportunity are goals we can all agree upon.
We can also pray, like never before. This is first and foremost a spiritual struggle. Prayer is our most powerful response. We have special Catholic gifts at our fingertips like daily Mass, the rosary and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Let’s use them.
Be informed. The Kansas Catholic Conference is soon launching a new website at: www.kansas catholic.org. Stay up-to-date by accessing our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/kscathconf. Sign up for legislative updates.
Be involved. Do you know your state senator and representative? Call or send them a letter or email. Let them know you care. Be respectful, but persistent.
God is with us.