Mother of Father Jim Billinger dies Aug. 10

Ablena M. Billinger, the mother of Father James Billinger, died Aug. 10, at age 84 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Father Billinger is pastor of Holy Savior Parish in Wichita.
Services for Mrs. Billinger were held Monday, Aug. 15, at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Omaha. Burial was in Resurrection Cemetery in Omaha.
Mrs. Billinger was born on March 27, 1932. She was preceded in death by husband, Peter J. Billinger.
She is survived by her children Kathleen Wilder, Father James Billinger, Robert Billinger (Cynthia), Susan Kalina (Richard), and Jacqueline Heinzman (Gene); 11 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and siblings, Martina Werth, Maggie Billinger (Adolph), Wilfred Spies, William Spies (Karen), and Elaine Cisneros.

Obituaries, September 2, 2016

Richard, 83, St. Rose of Lima, Council Grove, June 21.
Lawrence H., 81, Holy Spirit, Goddard, July 22.
Raul Matias, 80, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Wichita, Aug. 5.
Kevin, 53, St. Anthony, Wichita, Aug. 6.
Richard Dennis, 69, Aug. 7.
Beverly, 85, St. Anthony/St. Rose, Wellington, Aug. 13.
Timothy Patrick, 32, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Aug. 14.
Virginia, 77, St. Anne, Wichita, Aug. 15.
James F. “Jim,” 86, St. Paul, Lyons, Aug. 15.
Dennis Michael, 59, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Wichita, Aug. 16.
Mary M. (Rohleder), 91, St. Peter, Schulte, Aug. 16.
Patricia Jimenez (Ten Eyck), 88, St. Cecilia, Haysville, Aug. 16.
Jane F. (Kountz), 77, St. Peter, Schulte, Aug. 17.
Jo Ann, 70, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Aug. 17.
Betty Lee, 84, St. Catherine of Siena, Wichita, Aug. 18.
Harold E., 90, St. Anthony, Garden Plain, Aug. 18.
Teddy, 79, St. John, El Dorado, Aug. 18.
Mary Patricia “Pat,” 76, St. Patrick, Parsons, Aug. 19.
Donald Lee, 77, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Wichita, Aug. 20.
Marjorie A., 85, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, Aug. 20.
Charlotte “Charley,” 80, St. Joseph, Wichita, Aug. 21.
Dee Ann, 59, St. Mary, Newton, Aug. 22.
James Anthony, 70, St. Anthony, Garden Plain, Aug. 22.
Robert J. “Bob,” 90, St. John, Clonmel, Aug. 23.
Kathleen C., 81, St. Patrick, Parsons, Aug. 23.
Joyce (Klepper), 65, St. Patrick, Wichita, Aug. 23.
Marie, 96, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Aug. 25.

Obituaries, August 19, 2016

Helen, 89, St. Patrick, Chanute, July 1.
Theresa “Terri,” St. Patrick, Chanute, July 7.
Antonia “Toni,” 91, St. Patrick, Chanute, July 9.
Curnett C., 62, Holy Savior, Wichita, July 21.
Ronald Neil II, 50, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, July 22.
Edward J., 96, St. Anthony, Wichita, July 26.
Cori Sue (Kull), 48, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, July 26.
Larry A., 86, Christ the King, Wichita, July 27.
Eda Elillion (Matlock), 100, Mother of God, Oswego, July 27.
Mariano “Bobby,” 75, St. Jude, Wichita, July 27.
John Wesley, 94, Catholic Care Center, Wichita, July 29.
Delphina Elizabeth “Del,” 95, St. Joseph, Ost, July 30.
Katherine “Katie,” 104, Holy Cross, Hutchinson, July 30.
C. David “Dave,” 91, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, July 31.
Bobby A., 78, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, July 31.
Onah M., 102, St. Mary Cathedral, Wichita, July 31.
Judith Ann, 69, St. Francis, St. Paul, Aug. 1.
Daniel T. “Danny,” 58, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Aug. 1.
Bertha G. “Bert,” 84, St. Patrick, Florence, Aug. 1.
Loretta C., 89, St. Anne, Wichita, Aug. 3.
Edward John, 88, St Bridget, Lindsborg, Aug. 3.
Kenneth, 69, St. Patrick, Wichita, Aug. 4.
Anna Marie (Tajchman), 85, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, Aug. 4.
Faye A. (Heath), 95, St. Peter, Schulte, Aug. 4.
Kenneth “Pops,” 79, St. Joseph, Wichita, Aug. 5.
Barbara B., 63, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Newton, Aug. 5.
Esther E., 91, St. Patrick, Kingman, Aug. 5.
Leon, 51, Holy Trinity, Little River, Aug. 5.
Mark, 55, Church of the Magdalen, Wichita, Aug. 6.
Mary Lou, 83, St. Jude, Wichita, Aug. 7.
Elaine (Huntley), 69, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Aug. 7.
Marcus F., 79, St. Michael, Mulvane, Aug. 8.
Anna Mae Habiger, 96, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, Aug. 9.
Larry Dean, 70, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Newton, Aug. 9.
Peggy J., 80, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Aug. 9.
Russell Herman, 87, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita.

Fr. Joseph Nolan dies in Massachusetts

Father Joseph T. Nolan, who served in the Diocese of Wichita for 17 years, from 1953 to 1970, died Monday, July 25, at his home in Newton, Massachusetts.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Thursday, July 28, at St. Ignatius Church of Loyola in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Fr. Nolan was 95 and was the oldest priest of the Diocese of Wichita. According to his online obituary, “Father Nolan turned aside all questions about his age by declaring that he had decided to stop counting at age 63.”
Before entering the seminary, Father Nolan worked for the FBI, and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He studied for the priesthood at Conception Seminary, Conception, Missouri, and was ordained on May 16, 1953, by Bishop Mark K. Carroll at St. John the Evangelist Church in Winthrop, Massachusetts.
According to the funeral home’s obituary, Father Nolan said he became a priest after working for the FBI, because, “It was easier to get confessions.”
While in the Diocese of Wichita, Father Nolan served at St. Patrick Parish in Parsons; St. James Parish in Augusta; the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita; St. Margaret Mary Parish in Wichita; St. Mary Parish in Moline; St. Patrick Parish in Galena; and at St. Joseph Parish in Baxter Springs.
A detailed obituary appears at

Sister Irene Schmidt dies July 24 at age 98

WICHITA – Sister Irene Schmidt, 98, died Sunday, July 24.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Friday, July 29, in the Chapel of the New Covenant with Father Tom Welk presiding. She was buried in the community cemetery.
An Adorer of the Blood of Christ for nearly 78 years, she was born July 16, 1918, at Liebenthal, Kan., the sixth of seven children who lost her father when she was 2.
As a child, she would pray the rosary outside in the summer, followed by a procession of the family’s dogs, cats, chickens and ducks.
Irene was taught by ASC sisters in grade school. She entered the Adorers convent in Wichita at age 18 on Sept. 1, 1936, joining three siblings who had entered before her. She was the 19th woman from Liebenthal to join the Adorers.
Irene professed first vows on Aug. 10, 1938, and final vows on July 1, 1943.
For nearly 40 years, she kept house at the Wichita Center, Sacred Heart College and Academy, at several hospitals, retirement homes, and an archbishop’s residence.
She also supervised central supply at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City, did domestic work in Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas, and worked as a nurse aide at the ASC Wichita center.
Sr. Irene said her life’s work taught her what it means to be a servant to others.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her sisters Sister Martina ASC, Sister Valeria ASC, and Sister Barbara ASC; and her brothers Adolenius, Parenius, and William.
Memorials in her honor may be made online at or sent to the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region, Mission Center, 4233 Sulphur Ave., St. Louis, MO 63109.

Sister M. Gabrielle Hagerty dies at 97; taught at STA school

DUBUQUE, Iowa – Sister M. Gabrielle Hagerty, a Sister of Charity, died July 12, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa, at age 97. Burial is in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Dubuque.
Sister taught elementary school at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Wichita, Kansas, and was a principal in schools in Sioux City, Boone, Manly, Burlington, Washington, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa.
She was born in Tama, Iowa, on April 2, 1919, entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1942, professed first vows on March 19, 1945, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1950.
Memorials may be given to the Sisters of Charity, BVM Support Fund, 1100 Carmel Drive, Dubuque, Iowa 52003, or online at

Obituaries, August 5, 2016

Alejandro Francisco, 46, St. Patrick, Wichita, July 2.
Alfred, 81, St. Margaret Mary, Wichita, July 6.
Bernice B. “Bea,” St. Patrick, Wichita, July 6.
Margaret, 98, St. Jude, Wichita, July 6.
Dale J., 81, Holy Cross, Hutchinson, July 6.
Larry Dean, 73, St. Catherine of Siena, Wichita, July 7.
Shirley M., 86, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, July 7.
Julie F., 48, St. John, El Dorado, July 7.
Jody M., 69, St. Patrick, Kingman, July 8.
Mildred Anna (Strobel), 89, Catholic Care Center, Wichita, July 9.
James H. “Jim,” 70, St. Joseph, Conway Springs, July 10.
Cleta M., 80, St. Anne, Wichita, July 11.
Amor R., 63, Holy Name, Winfield, July 12.
Duane, 73, St. Mary, Newton, July 12.
Lillie Marie (Paquette), 95, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, July 15.
Edward Bernard, 90, St. Francis, St. Paul, July 15.
Benjamin, 34, St. Patrick, Wichita, Jully 16.
Jean H. (Dugan), 86, Christ the King, Wichita, July 16.
Phyllis J., 84, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, July 16.
Barbara Jean, 86, St. Margaret Mary, Wichita, July 17.
Rometta Mary (Achenbach), 83, Catholic Care Center, Wichita, July 17.
Edward F., Sr., 84, Holy Savior, Wichita, July 18.
Salome F. “Susie,” 94, St. Patrick, Wichita, July 18.
Donald Robert, 83, Holy Cross, Hutchinson, July 19.
Paul, 53, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, July 20.
Mary Virginia (Johnson), 83, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, July 23.
Castenada, Jr., “Andy,” 86, St. Anthony/St. Rose, Wellington, July 23.
Rose Mary (Linnebur), 86, St. Joseph, Andale, July 23.

Brian Bergkamp lived his life as a Good Samaritan

Brian Bergkamp was known in the seminary as a man who gave of himself without asking for anything in return.
He felt called to give of himself once again Saturday, July 9. Bergkamp, 24, was kayaking with four friends on the Arkansas River when one of the women in the group fell out of her kayak after they hit rough water.
According to officials, the seminarian went in after her and was able to help her reach safety, but was pulled under by the strong current.
“I knew Brian to be an exceptional seminarian, well on his way to demonstrating so many of the qualities needed to be a good and faithful priest,” Bishop Carl A. Kemme wrote in an email. “I personally looked forward to the day when I might be able to ordain him.”
Bishop Kemme said Brian was quiet, dedicated, diligent in his work and studies, and presented himself always with a sense of decorum and maturity, well beyond his years.
“I was looking forward to how God would use him as a priest in the Diocese of Wichita. Now, we must all mourn his much anticipated ministry and the many fruits we all knew would be abundant by his priestly life and ministry.”
Life on this side of heaven is full of mysteries, contradictions, ironies, Bishop Kemme said. “Brian’s untimely death is full of these mysteries, which must wait until heaven to be solved.”
Brian showed a true priestly quality in his last moments, he said, apparently saving the life of another while risking his own. “This all took place on the weekend when we heard the parable of the Good Samaritan. Brian was living that parable in his last moments. No one could ever hope for or expect a greater homily than this!”
As we move on – now without him, Bishop Kemme said, “I entrust him to the mercy of God, who gave him life and the love of a good and supportive family. He found new life, membership, and belonging in the church through baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. He wanted to dedicate his life to the service of the church as a priest. While this was apparently not to be, he nevertheless lived an already priestly life and died a priestly death, giving it all for another.”

More about Brian Bergkamp
Bergkamp, the son of Ned and Theresa Bergkamp of Garden Plain, was going into his third year of theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. His brother, Andy, was ordained to the transitional diaconate in May.
A story about him and the other two seminarians working at the Diner appeared in the June 17 Catholic Advance. It is available here.

Deacon Len Fennewald dies at 77

The Rev. Mr. Len Fennewald, the longtime permanent deacon at Christ the King Parish in Wichita, died Tuesday, July 5. He was 77.
A vigil was held at 6 p.m. Friday, July 8, at Christ the King Church, 4411 Maple in Wichita. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, at Christ the King.
He is survived by his wife, Martha; sons, David of Mulvane, Steve of Surrey, N.D., and Brian of Richlands, Va.; daughters, Renae Perry of Fargo, N.D., and Rhonda Cornell of Wrightwood, Calif. He also had nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Obituaries, July 15, 2016

Kurt E., 57, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Wichita, June 19.
Guadalupe, 75, St. Anne, Wichita, June 22.
Daryl Eugene, 78, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, June 23.
Gregory L., 62, Christ the King, Wichita, June 24.
Paul J., 67, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, June 25.
Robert “Mike,” 80, St. Patrick, Wichita, June 26.
Charles Edwin, 90, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, June 27.
Wilma Jean, 92, Catholic Care Center, Wichita, June 28.
Richard, 69, St. Mary Cathedral, Wichita, June 28.
Dennis J., 76, St. Joseph, Wichita, June 29.
Mary Ann Fairchild, 79, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, July 1.
Gloria F., 77, St. John, Clonmel, July 1.
Clinton J., 86, Christ the King, Wichita, July 2.
Sandra L., 71, St. Joseph, McPherson, July 2.
Richard Allen, 58, St. Joseph, Andale, July 3.
Glenn J., 60, St. Joseph, Conway Springs, July 3.
Theresa Mary, 77, St. Mary, Derby, July 4.
Thomas, 75, St. Peter, Schulte, July 4.
Ruth M., 98, St. Catherine of Siena, Wichita, July 4.
Cole Michael, 21, St. Joseph, Andale, July 5.
Janet, 89, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, July 5.
Leonard E. “Len,” 77, Christ the King, Wichita, July 5.
Teresa, 81, Sacred Heart, Arkansas City, July 5.