Father Gale Hammerschmidt - 2013 Lumen Christi Award Finalist

Diocese of Salina, Kansas

It Begins with Prayer and Action

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Teaching the virtues of faith and charity to a new generation is a daunting task. But Father Gale Hammerschmidt from the Diocese of Salina, Kansas has made it his life mission. He created a powerful youth movement called Prayer and Action that changes entire communities while changing the lives of the youth that participate.

Each week, Father Gale leads groups of 60 young people throughout the Diocese of Salina. During the day, they serve the poor, rehab houses for the elderly, and take on projects of pressing need for the most vulnerable. In the evenings, Father Gale helps the youth deepen their faith while they grow in their understanding of the Catholic Church and what it means for the community.

Father Gale started the program in 2005 while he was still in the seminary. What started out as a few good-natured young people with a message has grown by leaps and bounds. Last year, Father Gale’s Prayer and Action program involved more than 4,100 youth in his diocese alone. His success has inspired other dioceses to start missions of their own, growing a powerful youth movement within the Catholic Church and bringing faith and charity to the forefront of their lives.

“The program has proven innovative and highly successful,” said Edward Weisenburger, Bishop of Salina. “The initial idea begun when Fr. Gale Hammerschmidt was still in the seminary and has blossomed into a thriving, ongoing ministry.”

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