From the time we’re born to the time we pass away from this world, our experiences continually influence who we are. Some small experiences may have a big impact on our lives and some big experiences may have a small impact on our lives. It is in how we choose to respond to these experiences that makes the difference. Every year, generations of Conception alumni return to their alma mater because the experiences they’ve had here have made a difference in their lives and the lives of others.
For this very reason, Conception Seminary College also presents a distinguished service award to an alumnus who has taken the formation he has received here and made an impact on the lives of others. This year, the recipient of the award was Sam Cline (C ’78). Since 1981, Sam Cline has been employed with the State of Kansas as a Corrections Officer, serving as a Corrections Counselor, Lieutenant in the Staff Training Department, Shift Captain, Facility Investigator, and Administrative Captain. In July of 2007, Sam Cline became the 27th Warden of the Hutchinson Correctional Facility. Over the course of his years in correctional work, Sam has touched many lives, including those of his co-workers. Sam and his wife of twenty seven years, Carol, reside in Lyons, Kansas.
Another highlight of the reunion weekend is the keynote presentation. This year’s keynote was given by Fr. Ronald Knott, priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville who is now serving as the director of the Institute for Priests and Presbyterates at St. Meinrad, Indiana. His book entitled Intentional Presbyterates is one of the leading resources on diocesan presbyterates as a subject of study in its own right. The need for stronger presbyterates is a pressing one for many reasons; the area of vocations is but one application Fr. Knott gave in his presentation. “Young men won’t be attracted to a loose association of ‘lone rangers’ but to a strong fraternity of priests,” he pointed out. Moreover, the subject matter is relevant for priests, bishops, and the laity alike since it influences how we, as a Church, are effective. “In an age when priests are strained and can’t work any harder, they must work smarter,” Fr. Knott said. Building stronger presbyterates is one way for the Church to work smarter.
Wonderful weather, an informative keynote presentation, and plenty of light hearted reminiscing all made for yet another enjoyable Alumni Weekend.