Archbishop Naumann ordains Bishop Carl A.Kemme as the 11th bishop of Wichita
by Christopher M. Riggs
Catholic Diocese of Wichita
WICHITA — Monsignor Carl A. Kemme was ordained the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Wichita on May 1 in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception here. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann was the principal ordaining bishop.
In his remarks after his ordination, Bishop Kemme referenced Psalm 23 in saying: “Indeed my cup overflows with gratitude to God for all that he has done for this lowly servant of his. The many blessings that have come my way because of God’s particular generosity to me fill me with deep humility and devotion.”
He thanked family, friends, the many dignitaries, and others who filled the cathedral to capacity, saying that he will serve the diocese where he will “live, grow in faith and, God willing, eventually die, having fought the good fight, having completed the race, whenever it will be God’s desire to call me into eternal life.”
After commenting on the presence of the apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, and Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, he thanked Archbishop Naumann for serving as the ordaining prelate.
“The first call I received after Archbishop Viganò called to inform me of my appointment was from Archbishop Naumann, who said something that truly touched my heart: He said, ‘Ordaining you this spring will be my highest priority.’ Thank you, archbishop, for your kindness. I look forward to working closely with you and Bishops Brungardt and Weisenburger here in the Province of Kansas.”
Bishop Kemme also thanked Msgr. Robert Hemberger for his service in the transition between bishops.
“You have performed this noble task twice in our history and that must surely be some kind of record. For that, you deserve a medal of honor,” he said. “I am very grateful for the kindnesses that you have shown to me in helping me over these past two months to know as much as I can about the Diocese of Wichita. I will look forward to calling upon you in the future for your wise counsel and prayerful advice.”
In closing, the newly ordained bishop again recalled Psalm 23: “‘You have anointed my head with oil, my cup overflows.’ I hope you will also echo those same words in your life,” he said. “Seen through the eyes of faith, so much of our lives is a blessing, even those realities that do not at first appear so,” he continued. “Gratitude will lead us to humble service and expanding generosity. Service and generosity will deepen faith, and faith will open for us the door to eternal life. I pray that today and always, we will all say that our cup is overflowing.”
Archbishop Naumann talked about the previous bishops of the Diocese of Wichita and how blessed the diocese is.
In a message to the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., he said, “Our gain is your loss. We feel badly about that, but not too badly.”
Archbishop Naumann said it was auspicious that Bishop Kemme was ordained on the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and recommended he pray to St. Joseph for his intercession, when needed.
“The responsibilities of a bishop can be daunting,” he said, “especially if you operate on the illusion that you can do it on your own. If this sounds overwhelming and intimidating, it’s because it is.”
But, Archbishop Naumann added, “Call upon St. Joseph.”
Co-ordaining bishops included Archbishop George J. Lucas, of the Archdiocese of Omaha; Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, of the Diocese of Springfield; and Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber, retired bishop of the Diocese of Wichita.
Others attending the ordination of Bishop Kemme included Archbishop Michael O. Jackels, of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, and bishop of the Diocese of Wichita from 2005-2013; Bishop James Conley, of the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb.; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City; Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger, of the Diocese of Salina; Bishop John B. Brungardt, of the Diocese of Dodge City; and Bishop Emeritus Ronald M. Gilmore, retired bishop of Dodge City.
Bishop Kemme presided over solemn vespers, the evening prayer of the church, on April 30 in the cathedral.