Bishop Kemme asks for peace, justice
Bishop Carl A. Kemme asked for prayer and forgiveness at a Mass for peace and justice Tuesday, June 9, at Holy Savior Church in Wichita.
The Mass was celebrated the same day George Floyd, a victim of police brutality, was buried in Houston.
After thanking those attending and viewing via a live stream, Bishop Kemme thanked those in the Black community for participating as they continue to mourn. “My brother priests and I wish to be with you all in the solidarity of our prayers and the commitment we make in standing with you for justice and peace.”
Those attending announce names aloud
He then said he would act on a suggestion that at that point in the liturgy the faithful attending be allowed to announce out loud the name of a person who had suffered from brutality because of race. Over 30 names were called out before Bishop Kemme continued.
“This evening, I invite us to come together as a family of faith to pray, to pray for forgiveness of sin, especially the sin of racism that is frequently committed in our day and time,” he said. “To pray for Mr. Floyd and his family, so that he will be with God and that his family who mourns for him will find peace and healing.”
Bishop asks for prayers, forgiveness
Bishop Kemme continued by asking prayer for the police who committed the crime against Floyd, their families who are facing the consequences, all people of color who live with fear and the possibility of racial violence, for our country, and for those who may not feel prejudice in their hearts but who may sometimes turn a blind eye to racism.
“Together, black, brown, and white, let us pray that hearts, minds, and hands will be moved through these sad days to restore justice to the oppressed and peace to our troubled land.”
Referring to the Old Testament reading from Isaiah, “Then the desert will be an orchard,” Bishop Kemme asked: “What is the fruit of the orchard of God? Justice is one of those fruits. And what is justice? Giving another his or her due.”
Justice first belongs to God, he said, who is due our honor, praise, and worship. “But justice also belongs to each of his sons and daughters. When, and only when, his children are given what properly and rightly belong to them will there be peace, which is harmony between God and his children.”
St. Paul in his letter to the Colossians enumerates the qualities of God’s chosen ones: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, the bishop said. “These are the qualities which have the greatest potential to change the world. How? One person at a time. Would that more possessed them and lived them to their fullest extent.”
Bishop: Love your enemies
Bishop Kemme closed his homily by reminding the faithful that Jesus commands us to love one’s enemies and to offer no resistance when facing animosity, hatred, or violence. He then cited Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, St. Oscar Romero, Blessed Stanley Rother, and Father Emil Kapaun, as examples of such virtue.
“But their work is now ours and so much more needs to be done. It is now up to us to carry it forward so that one day we will no longer have to keep gathering as we are – on our streets and in our churches demanding change – for all will be equally treated and protected not only by law but also by those charged with enforcing it.”
Continue to look to our Savior, Bishop Kemme implored.
“We need a savior to save us from ourselves when we are tempted to react to unjust oppression and aggression with violence; when we are tempted to destroy another’s dignity, property, or reputation; we need Jesus to help us return to Godly living and the desire to preserve for all, regardless of color, creed, background or any other accidental quality.”
A rosary for peace and justice preceded the Mass. Students from 21 Wichita metro area schools and their families attended. Nine other priests concelebrated the Mass with Bishop Kemme.