Special to The Hays Daily News
Two prominent speakers will be featured at the diocesan assembly in Hays on June 6, sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Salina.
Bishop Emeritus Joseph Charron, Des Moines, Iowa, will give the key address and famed Catholic musician John Angotti will perform and lead a session for teens.
Bishop Paul S. Coakley of the Catholic Diocese of Salina is inviting everyone from his 86 parishes to the diocesan assembly, which will begin at Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center on the campus of Fort Hays State University.
Coakley has been working for three years with many people across the Salina Diocese to prepare and begin implementing "Stewards of Hope: A Pastoral Plan for the Diocese of Salina." Coakley will proclaim the plan at the diocesan assembly.
"In these challenging times, this plan is to nourish hope and strengthen people's understanding of the mission of the church," Coakley said.
In order to accomplish this goal, "Stewards of Hope" invites the people to lead holy lives regardless of their life's vocation. Fittingly, Charron's address is titled "A Call to Holiness."
"It used to be the mentality that only religious brothers and sisters were chosen to be holy," Charron said in a phone interview. "The rest of us would try to slip into heaven through the back door.
"Through our baptism, every vocation - every person -- is called to holiness."
Ordained in 1967, Charron entered the priesthood in a time of great moral change.
"In the moral field, Joseph Fletcher's situational ethics was being studied and some were embracing it," Charron said.
Situational ethics is Fletcher's theory that individuals are responsible for creating their own moral standards, as opposed to accepting the discipline of Scripture and law. He wrote on subjects such as abortion, euthanasia, eugenics and cloning. By the time he died in 1991, Fletcher had declared himself an atheist.
"People were confused," Charron said of those times.
He also sensed our good traditional family system was being torn apart."
The bishop continued his studies, and now holds two master's degrees and a doctorate.
"The best theology training I received was growing up in a large loving family," he said.
And that's where holiness comes in.
"Young or old, our 'hearts are restless until they rest in the Lord,' " he said. "We all have excuses not to be holy, and in my talk I'll go through them and tell why not even one of them holds any water. There is only one real failure in life -- failure to be a saint. Being a saint means to live with God forever. This is who we are called to be."
Musician Angotti has a special place in his heart for teens.
Maybe it's because he was a child who stuttered. Perhaps it's the "school of hard knocks" he acknowledges growing up in. Possibly it's his years of experience in a rock 'n' roll band.
Whatever it is, Angotti likes teens, and they obviously like him. After his performance at the Catholic World Youth Day in Australia last year, he was quickly scheduled for the next World Youth Day in Spain in 2011.
"I wish when I was that age somebody would have talked to me like I talk with them," Angotti said. "Perhaps I would have seen things from a different perspective and made better choices."
Angotti believes teens are searching for Christ and a sense of balance in life. He uses music to help satisfy this longing and to put the "fun" back into religion.
"It's just like our liturgical celebrations. At Mass, we communicate with God. Music brings this communication to a more heightened reality."
The Diocesan Assembly will begin at 1 p.m. followed by a Eucharistic procession from FHSU to Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 500 E. 19th. Mass will be celebrated. The day will end with fellowship and with food provided by various ethnic groups within the diocese.
More than 1,000 people are expected to attend. A complete schedule of events can be obtained at SalinaDiocese.org.