November/ December 2016



November/ December at
St. Isidore's
  November/ December 2016
Dear Maria,  
Saint Isidore's is a very special place!
As a university parish we know the ebb and flow of our congregation is unlike most parishes. Eight months out of the year we are at our fullest, but during the other months, when the students are gone, and only our permanent community is present, you get a sense of what makes Saint Isidore's so special: It is that mix of students from all across Kansas, America, and even the globe, as well as those dedicated parishioners who have for years provided a core community.
This is very evident during Christmas break when the last week of Advent turns over to Christmas. While most students and many faculty and staff "get away," you see the people who year after year remain to welcome new faces, serve in the various ministries, and support from their resources the parish's needs. What also makes Saint Isidore's special is our "extended community," all of you who in your prayers and donations help us to meet the enormous needs of being a university parish.  In this special issue of the E-Newsletter I am happy to share with you just a few of the great things that have happened.
Our students have a great sense of service to the community. Many serve as religious education teachers, spend time visiting the elderly here in Manhattan, or bring communion to those at Via Christi Hospital. Every December a group goes caroling and brings special cheer to those in assisted living. Another St. Isidore's tradition is that each semester the members of the parish's Annual Giving Committee help our students face the start of exam week with the very popular Pancake Feed. This mix of students and permanent community are part of what makes Saint Isidore's special. 
But if you want to know the bottom line, it is the people. Each semester we see new students come and others graduate and move on. All of their stories are real blessings to us and we always try to highlight them for you so you can see how much your help means. This December we said goodbye to many great students and we are able to share a bit about one of our grads, Cristina Law, from Texas, who studied in Spain for her junior year, was a leader on the Pathways Retreat, and is off to the Peace Corps for two years. Cristina represents so many of our great young adults ready to face the world. 

This time of year, with the ending of a semester and the turn to Advent and Christmas, I am struck by the many blessings given in 2016. As we gather week after week in the chapel around the altar, I imagine the countless generations that have stood in the same spots, thought very similar thoughts and now like you keep us in prayer from afar. May 2017 be a year of peace and hope and blessing.
God bless you!

Fr. Michael

Graduating Senior Profile: 
Cristina Law
Four and a half years ago, Cristina Law left her home in Houston, Texas, and began her college experience in Manhattan. Her dad left her on the steps of St. Isidore's on her first day at K-State.
Now that she has graduated with her degree in bakery science and management, she finds herself overjoyed at her future, but sad to leave St. Isidore's.

"As I leave Manhattan, I can't help but get choked up over how much this place [St. Isidore's] means to me. The friends I've met, the experiences, and the growth that's taken place here," Law said.

At St. Isidore's, Law was active in attending and helping with the Pathways Retreat, Student-Led Bible Studies, and Source and Summit.

Law said some of her favorite memories are of the fun moments with the people she met.

"Two memories that will always stick with me are when I was cooking with Michaela Gleason at the first-ever Dollar Dinner and we had so many people show up that we had to borrow a jar of Fr. Jarett's spaghetti sauce to help feed everyone," Law remembered. "I also loved being the director of support staff for Pathways and having dance parties in the kitchen while we worked."

Law's future plans include heading to Zambia in February 2017 to be an agriculture specialist with the Peace Corps.
Though she'll be half a world away, Law says St. Isidore's built up her faith and made her a better person.

"The apologetics classes from Fr. Jarett helped me to defend my faith," Law said. "The leadership roles have shown me how to handle decision making and high stress situations, and the community strengthened me in knowing I'm not alone in this faith journey."
Christmas Caroling
About 25 students spent an evening Christmas caroling to local retirement and nursing homes on December 6.

Robert Jennings, Director of Ministry and Evangelization, said he hoped the event helped the students gain more compassion for our older brothers and sisters.

"Our main goal is to bring good cheer to others and help our students realize that this holiday season is about recognizing that these people who are lonely are part of our family and deserve love and kindness," Jennings said.

Students caroled at Stoneybrook Health and Rehab, Good Shepherd Hospice House, and Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community. Meadowlark Hills offered a special treat: Students were able to visit with longtime St. Isidore's permanent community member Velma Kuhn.

Amanda Braun, a senior in secondary education from Victoria, Kan., said she wanted to share joy with the elderly during the Advent season.

"I enjoyed the smiles on the faces of the people we sang to," Braun said. "For that moment at least, we were able to spread peace and joy."

After caroling, students returned to St. Isidore's and decorated Christmas cookies. Members of the Leadership Team baked the cookies before the event, and several RCIA participants joined the students later in the evening.

Ross Niehues, a senior in agricultural technology management from Seneca, Kan., said cookie decorating was a great way to get to know other St. Isidore's students, and the decorating got a little serious.
"My favorite thing was watching the cookies get decorated like tractors by Joseph Neville and Kenan Reeh," Niehues said. "It was fun to watch." 
Pancake Feast Before Finals

The Annual Giving Committee invited all students to enjoy a free pancake feast while studying for finals on December 11 in Newman Hall. More than 100 students attended the feast.
Aaron Gleason, a junior in mechanical engineering from Meade, Kan., said he has attended every pancake feast during finals weeks since he came to Manhattan five semesters ago. "I appreciate all of the community that this event creates for both the permanent community and the students. It gives the students a chance to see the faces that help St. Isidore's run so well."
Changing Liturgical Seasons 
Around St. Isidore's
Miss seeing the change of seasons around St. Isidore's? Many students, alumni, and supporters don't have the opportunity to see the change in decorations that mark the transition between Advent and Christmas. When the students leave at the start of winter break, it is Advent, but when they return, the Christmas season is typically over. Here is a look around the chapel during Advent and Christmas.


Leaf Raking

Maintaining the grounds around St. Isidore's takes many hours of hard work, and students join the effort every fall by raking leaves to make the garden and lawn ready for winter. Though the leaves fell later than usual this year, the students found plenty of work to do and fun to have. 

In This Issue

Graduating Senior Profile
Christmas Caroling
Pancake Feast
Changing Seasons
Leaf Raking
Coming Next Issue
 Phonathon Thank You
A recap of Phonathon 2016
Welcome the New Pastoral Ministry Interns

Ice Skating
... and much more!
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Fr. Michael Demkovich, OP, Pastor, Chaplain