January/ February 2017


January and February at
  January/February 2017
Dear Friends,  
As we look back in this double issue to January and the start of a New Year, I am always reminded of the month's meaning. January is named for the Greek mythological figure Janus, who was able to look both to the past and to the future. As we are in the midst of another semester, we appreciate so much of the past and look forward with promise and hope to the future.

Some changes are underway and you'll hear more about them in the months to come. However, in this issue of the e-newsletter, we have an opportunity to look at so many good things that have been happening. As I mentioned before, in the previous newsletter, we had a record number of students attend the national gathering of college students in San Antonio known as SEEK. We also had a number of our students attend the Kansas Catholic College Student Conference held in Wichita this year. Both show the Holy Spirit inspiring our young.

As the new semester begins, our programs and offerings continue to meet the needs of our students. Bible study groups, women's group, men's group, our RCIA program, various classes, hospital ministry, and visiting the elderly, these are all wonderful things that our students are engaged in this semester.

In this e-newsletter you can read a little bit about the new class offered in medical ethics by Fr. Bob Barry who is very qualified in this area. Also, the pastoral ministry intern program which began a year ago continues to give our students an experience in "mentored ministry." This semester we bring on board two new interns. You will be able to learn more about them in this e-newsletter.

At the end of January, the last two weekends, we were able to have Archbishop Naumann and Bishop Kemme visit StIsidore's and preside at the Sunday evening Mass. It was the first visit for both prelates who commented on their hope to return next year. You'll be able to see a photo montage of their visits to St Isidore's.

Into February and our students hit to the ice, some more gracefully than others but it was a great evening. The Busy Student Retreat brought together six directors (priests and sisters) to allow our students an on the go retreat experience which was rich in God's grace. 

On a lighter note, the staff joined forces with the Leadership Team to entertain the many people who volunteer in so many wonderful ways here at StIsidore's at our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. And finally as we drew near to Lent we had a Parish Mission, which was three days to reflect. These talks are available at our website www.stisidores.com.

January is a month of remembering the past and our hope for the future, February a time for love and Valentine sweethearts. Your support means so much as we recall the years gone by and rejoice in the years to come. 

Many thanks. God bless you!

Fr. Michael
Medical Ethics Class
More than 20 students and permanent community members have had the opportunity to learn about medical and bioethics from a Catholic perspective.

"I think people are interested in medical ethics because there are always new developments in medicine and medical research that they want to understand better, and they welcome new perspectives and viewpoints," Fr. Bob explained. "Also, a number of people know they will be confronting difficult judgments in medicine and ethics and they would like to be as informed as possible about them."

After offering classes on the Gospels and social justice, Fr. Bob said he hopes the class provides information that is relevant in a culture that often challenges Catholic ethics.
"My hope is that participants will gain a deeper understanding of the specifically Catholic views on various issues such as the sanctity of life, personhood, and the natural law," Fr. Bob said. "I hope they will see the remarkable consistency of Catholic medical ethics, for much of it flows from the principle that innocent human life is not to be attacked. It teaches a remarkable respect for life, moral integrity and intellectual honesty."

Mikaela Flax, a junior in biology and pre-medicine from Hays, Kan., said she was thrilled to learn that a class would examine bioethics.

"Last fall, I caught word Fr. Bob was going to be instructing a medical ethics class, and I was over the moon excited," Flax said. "Ethical dilemmas are present in every career field, and they specifically carry a certain weight in medicine. As an aspiring physician, I am eager to protect, heal, advise, and educate patients who will place their trust in my hands. With this responsibility, I want to make sure I have an understanding of the sanctity of life and how to approach difficult situations one will never find in a textbook." 

Flax also said the class has strengthened her personal faith because it combines two things she loves: the Catholic faith and the field of medicine.

"The first topic was 'Jesus the Healer,' and I was in awe of the significance of how Jesus healed people, specifically how healing relates to his mercy," Flax said. "Christ performed miraculous healing in a time where successful medical remedies were absent."

Fr. Bob said he started the classes by covering a basic foundation of theological and moral principles related to healing, and then the classes will get more specific. The classes will cover situations and issues that are prevalent today.

"We will discuss contraception, therapeutic and non-therapeutic abortion, neonatal euthanasia, technological reproduction, non-therapeutic research, withdrawal of nutrition and hydration, and physician assisted suicide," Fr. Bob said.

Flax looks forward to the next class sessions and learning about specific issues she will face as a physician.

"Although we have not dived into the depths of medical ethics quite yet, we began the course with a strong foundation and instruction of the importance of medicine and the healings wonders of our awesome God, and that's pretty cool," Flax said.
Bishop and Archbishop Visits
Throughout the school year, StIsidore's arranged for several Kansas bishops to come for a weekend Mass and reception. Bishop Weisenburger was the first to visit, and in January, we were happy to welcome Bishop Kemme from the Wichita Diocese and Archbishop Naumann from the Kansas City Archdiocese. Bishop Brungardt was unable to visit this year, but looks forward to coming next year.
These visits have been a great opportunity for students to meet with their bishop and a way for the bishops to learn more about how students from their area are growing in their faith at StIsidore's.
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner 


Once a year the StIsidore's staff takes time to recognize and thank all of the wonderful volunteers who help keep our programs running. With about 70 of our faithful volunteers in attendance, the StIsidore's staff served pork loin, cheesy potatoes, and a variety of homemade desserts to everyone before the entertainment for the evening started. This year, some celebrity judges (Fr. Mike, Fr. Bob, and two lucky students) evaluated several impressive talent acts. Students performed a swing dance, magic tricks, an Irish step dance, and a self-written rap song while our volunteers cheered them on. 
New Pastoral Ministry Interns
Three new pastoral ministry interns have joined the StIsidore's staff to help the center meet the needs of K-State students, staff, faculty, and permanent community members. Here are some details about these new members of the StIsidore's team.
Haden Botkin
Blue Rapids, Kan.
Sophomore in secondary education
Why did you want to be a pastoral ministry intern?
To gain experience in pastoral ministry in order to discern where God is leading me in this life and to help my fellow students maintain and strengthen their faith while at college. 

What are you most looking forward to?
Meeting new people who are at different places in their faith journey and helping advance the mission of StIsidore's.

What are a few of your responsibilities?
Coordinating the student-led Bible studies; working with the Praise & Worship team; and will be starting up a prayer group in the coming weeks. 
Jill Seiler
Valley Center, Kan.
Junior in agricultural communications and journalism and animal sciences and industry
Why did you want to be a pastoral ministry intern?
Over the past two-and-a-half years I have been involved in Izzy's through retreats and liturgical ministries, but this year I really wanted to get more involved and serve the community. Fr. Mike talks about the importance of lay people being involved in the ministry of the Church and how college is a vital time to start learning how to be involved in ministry. This really struck me as something I needed to do serve the community.

What are you most looking forward to?
I am most looking forward to working with the other interns and the staff of StIsidore's to offer opportunities for the students of the parish to grow closer to God in their faith.

What are a few of your responsibilities?
This semester I will be assisting Robbie Jennings and Maria Leiker with planning various retreats including Prayer and Action, the silent retreat and the busy student retreat. I am also responsible for organizing photos, putting together slideshows, helping with the website and social media.
Alex Lutz
Andover, Kan.
Senior in construction science and management

Why did you want to be a pastoral ministry intern?
I wanted to serve the church in a more tangible and effective way. I knew I would not have an opportunity like this after graduation so it seemed like perfect timing.

What are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to helping with the preparation for the Prayer and Action Retreat in April.

What are a few of your responsibilities?
I mostly help facilitate and support the men's group. I also serve as president of the Leadership Team.
Ice Skating


The Leadership Team kicked off their social activities with a trip to the ice rink. A group of about 60 students met at the ice rink at Manhattan's City Park on February 10.

Busy Student Retreat

This year the theme for the Busy Student Retreat was based on the writings of St. Therese: "Spiritual Childhood: The Way of Confidence and Abandonment." About 40 students participated and had the opportunity to meet individually with one of the directors for 30 minutes each day in addition to 30 minutes of personal prayer time. We had six spiritual directors join us for the retreat: Sr. Barbara Ellen Apaceller, Sr. Barbara Smith, Sr. Vicki Lichtenauer, Fr. Bill Krause, Fr. Quentin Schmitz, and Fr. Daniel Schmitz.
Parish Mission
StIsidore's hosted a parish mission at the end of February. Fr. Allan White, O.P., the former Provincial of the English Dominican Province, was the guest preacher at the weekend Masses during the weekend of February 25-26, and he made special presentations on the evenings of February 26-28.
During his presentations, Fr. White focused on God searching for us, how we make the journey of discipleship, and how to turn our minds more toward Christ. 
If you would like to listen to his presentations, please visit our website at www.stisidores.com.
In This Issue
Medical Ethics Class
Bishops Visits
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
New Pastoral Ministry Interns
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In the Next Issue
Development Update
Fr. Mike's Hot Topics Class
Source and Summit
Alumni Update
Spring Break Alternative
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Fr. Michael Demkovich, OP, Pastor, Chaplain
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StIsidore's Catholic Student Center, 711 Denison Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502

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!
Quick Links

St. Isidore's Home 



Permanent Community and Students:

Have you registered?  

Register Online

Alumni, Parents & Friends:  Update your contact information on our website.
Pass it on!
Like what you see?  Know other Catholic K-State alumni, parents and/or friends who would like to receive our e-mail updates? 

Forward to a Friend


Contact Information
Fr. Michael Demkovich, OP, Pastor, Chaplain