01 May 2014

Bishop-elect Kemme to be ordained and installed today as the 11th Bishop of Wichita

A native of tiny Shumway, Illinois, where I had the great pleasure of serving for several years, will be ordained and installed today as the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Wichita.

In just a few hours' time, His Excellency the Most Reverend Joseph F. Neumann, Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas, through the imposition of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, will ordain and install His Excellency Bishop-elect Carl A. Kemme, a beloved priest of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Their Excellencies the Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield in Illinois and for whom the Bishop-elect most recently served as Vicar General, and the Most Reverend George Joseph Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha and who first appointed the Bishop-Elect Vicar General, will be the principal Co-Consecrators.

Under this title of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady serves as the Patroness of the Diocese of Wichita. It is a Marian title very familiar to Bishop-elect Kemme, who was ordained to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield (in which he shown above) and grew up in Annunciation Parish in the farming community outside of Effingham, Illinois.

The interior of the Church of the Annunciation, Shumway

The ordination Mass and installation will begin at 2:00 p.m. local time and will be live streamed here and shown on EWTN. Though I cannot be present to join in the celebration, I will certainly join my prayers from Rome to those of Bishop-elect Kemme and those who gather in the Cathedral of Wichita.

A member of his family shared an image of the crozier, ring, and mitre he will receive in today's Liturgy, which are now on display in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita:

For his coat of arms, Bishop-elect Kemme has chosen to impale his personal coat of arms (as you look at them, on the right) with those of the Diocese of Wichita (as you look at them, on the left):

The blazon explanation describes his personal arms as follows:
This part of the shield is in red (Gules), the colour of love, of blood, then symbol of the infinite love of the Father Who sent the Son to shed His blood for us, extreme act of love; the chevron is an heraldic device best described as an inverted "V" and is one of the most ancient figures in heraldry: frequently, in Roman Catholic Church heraldry it signifies the rafter which holds the roof of the church, having then a meaning of protection. In addition, the golden chevron appears on the Kemme family's coat of arms. The sheaf of wheat principally symbolizes the Eucharist, the presence of the Lord in the Eucharistic Bread which feeds our souls but it also wants to recall the farming character of the Midwest, the area where Bishop Kemme comes from; it is gold (Or), the most noble metal, symbol then of the first Virtue, the Faith: indeed, is for Faith that we believe in the Eucharistic mystery. The seven points star is the symbol of Our Blessed Mother: it is in silver (Argent) colour of the transparency then of the purity, the purity of the Virgin Mary to Whom Bishop Kemme entrusts his pastoral service as Bishop of Wichita.
A Bishop serves as the "overseer" of the portion of the Lord's flock entrusted to his pastoral care. As such, he always well to look to the example of Saint Joseph and to seek his constant intercession. So it is that today, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph the Worker, is a most fitting day on which Bishop-elect Kemme will be ordained.

His Holiness Pope Francis celebrated the Holy Mass for the inauguration of his pontificate on another liturgical day dedication to Saint Joseph, the Husband of Mary. In his homily that day, he reflected on Saint Joseph's role as protector of Mary and of Jesus:
How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.
How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church? By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own. This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading. God does not want a house built by men, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan. It is God himself who builds the house, but from living stones sealed by his Spirit. Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!
In all of this, every Bishop must seek to imitate Saint Joseph.

When Bishop Paprocki was in Rome a few days ago for the canonization of Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, he thoughtfully brought along one of Bishop-elect Kemme's holy cards, on the back of which he has printed the Memorare, one of his favorite prayers. Please join me in seeking the intercession of Our Lady for him:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored they help,
or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence,
I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother,
to thee do I come, before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.


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