Bishop Carl A. Kemme’s joy is evident as he embraces Father Michael Brungardt Saturday, May 26, at Church of the Magdalen.

Bishop Carl A. Kemme repeated a phrase in his homily to the 10 men awaiting ordination Saturday, May 26, at Church of the Magdalen in Wichita.
“Be not afraid,” he exhorted, “to profess your love for Christ, day after day, season after season, year by year, until the Lord calls you to participate in the heavenly liturgy. To declare this for all to know, like Peter in the Gospel, by feeding his lambs, tending his sheep, and caring for his flock.”
That will be their lifelong mission, Bishop Kemme said sitting on a cathedra below a towering crucifix in front of a church overflowing with family, friends, and the faithful.
“Do not be afraid to labor long and hard for this mission, to resist the ever-present temptations to laziness and sloth or to consider your wants and needs ahead of and more important than those of the people you are called to serve,” he said.
Bishop Kemme encouraged them not to be self-indulgent and lazy priests. “Rather, be priests with zeal, enthusiasm and the fire of divine love.”
As Pope Francis recently stated, Bishop Kemme said, “There is so much to do. So, do not be afraid, let’s do it together.”
He opened his homily by recalling the period in 1978 when Pope Paul VI died and when Pope John Paul I was elected and died shortly after.
“How well I remember Pope John Paul I, who captivated the world with his smile, his joyful spirit,” Bishop Kemme said. “One can only imagine how he would have changed the church but the Lord gave him only 30 days to serve.
“How well I remember just weeks later his elected successor, the relatively young and most interesting Karol Woytla appearing on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Little did most of us know that a great man had walked onto the world stage and history would begin to be made.”
It was Pope John Paul II, at his Mass of Installation, Bishop Kemme said, who repeated Jesus’ words that resonated in St. Peter’s Square and around the world: “Do not be afraid!”
He directed the phrase to the 10 deacons. “I cannot think of better or more important words to address to you today as you begin in our diocese the ministry of priest, that if lived and exercised with diligence, care, and loving concern, in imitation of the Savior, will make history, for you, for our diocese and for the people you will serve.”
There is much fear in the world, Bishop Kemme said, fear of failure, suffering, of want, of death, and other fears, but fear has no power over Christians and certainly priests.
“As St. Paul wrote to the Romans, in Christ, we have conquered overwhelmingly through him who loves us. Fear paralyzes even the best of us, but courage is what is needed, a Christian courage, a courage that comes from the Holy Spirit,” he said. “Christian courage mobilizes the Lord’s disciples for evangelization, for stewardship, for service, so as to become fully alive in Christ Jesus.”
Do not be afraid to be an “alter Christus,” another Christ, he said, adding that it is a work of the Holy Spirit, and that they should be God’s instruments to building up the kingdom on earth, to sanctify, and to guide the flock of Jesus.
“Do not be afraid to surrender everything you have for the ministry,” Bishop Kemme said. “All your time, all your talents, all your treasure, for as stewards, these gifts have been given to you for others and if given generously, God will return them and bless them a 100 times over.”
Defend the flock entrusted to you, he said, warning the newly ordained about the forces of evil that they face. “Do not be afraid of these wolves, but with the armor of truth hold tightly to the lambs entrusted to your pastoral care.”
Bishop Kemme told the ordinandi to live, as St. Paul said, in a manner worthy of their call, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
“Once ordained, your life is a living Gospel for all to hear, a message of hope and mercy, of God’s faithfulness and love; you will be a bridge that will connect those whom you will serve to the fountain of God’s amazing grace.”

Ordination to the diaconate Saturday, May 19
In his homily at the ordination to the diaconate Saturday, May 19, Bishop Kemme said he was asked what he enjoyed most about being a bishop.
“It was not challenging for me to answer that delightful question, for I truly enjoy so many things about this new life and ministry of mine,” he said.
Ordination is at the top of his list. “There really are no words to describe the incredible joy that a bishop receives when he consecrates men for sacred service, first as deacons and then later, God willing, as priests.”
Bishop Kemme said the honor of doing so is magnified by the fact that every man ordained could have done anything else with their lives, as gifted, talented and skilled as they are, but they instead answered the call of Christ “to live a life of service, a life of humble charity, a life of unfeigned love and unassuming authority, to have heartfelt concern for the sick and the poor, to possess the purity of innocence and the observance of spiritual discipline, all of this in radical imitation of and conformity to Christ, the Lord.”
Their commitment instills him, Bishop Kemme said, with a profound sense of wonder and awe at how God works.
“We are also filled, I hope, with gratitude and respect for these men, who in spite of the culture and generation from which they come and the aspirations that so many in that culture and generation would have had for them, have heard and said ‘yes’ to a different call, to be men of the church, men with a mission and a purpose to bring the Joy of the Gospel to every creature.”
Some might say what the seminarians are doing is absurd, he said: to bind themselves in obedience to the bishop, to embrace a life of celibate chastity, and to give themselves of a life of service.
“But we believe otherwise, for the demands of the Gospel have always presented themselves to previous generations as difficult, if not impossible; we hold onto the promise of the Master that those who give up all of this will receive a 100 times more in this life and eternal life in the age to come.”
He said the three men ordained to the diaconate when their names were called, responded by saying “present.”
“This is the first indication that they are willing to publicly embrace the office soon to be entrusted to them,” Bishop Kemme said. “They then physically moved from their place among the baptized to a place here among us, not to indicate a place of privilege, but rather a place of service, set apart for a different ministry in the church.”
They are and will be, he said, present: to the promptings of the Holy Spirit; to become a lifelong force of selfless service in a world that because of original sin is prone to selfish pursuits and mindless pleasures; for the challenges of radical discipleship lived out in obedience; for a life of celibacy; and for a life of prayer.
“All of this is contained in that one response, ‘present,’ present here today among us as those Jesus calls in the Gospel to be no longer his slaves, but his friends, whom he appoints to go and bear fruit that will remain,” he said.
“My dear sons and brothers, may fruit come about through your preaching, your teaching, and your service to the bishop, the presbyteral college, and the community of faith that is our diocese.”
Referring the second reading of the day, Bishop Kemme urged the deacons-to-be to remember the words of St. Peter: “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion, forever and ever. Amen.”

Five of the ordinandi listen to Bishop Kemme.
Bishop Kemme with most of his priests of the diocese. (Advance photos)
The Most Rev. John B. Brungardt, left, bishop of the Diocese of Dodge City, and Bishop Carl A. Kemme with the newly ordained priests of the Diocese of Wichita. Father Michael Brungardt is Bishop Brungardt’s nephew. (Advance photos)
Bishop Kemme ordains Father Matt Davied May 26 at Church of the Magdalen.
The Rev. Mr. Drew Dellasega, ordained to the diaconate on May 19, reads the Gospel.