Bishop Kemme issues Lenten encouragement

Bishop Carl A. Kemme talks about how delighted he is regarding how the faithful are embracing the Year of St. Joseph in a video now available at

“So many great things are happening throughout the diocese – pilgrimages and visits to the churches dedicated to St. Joseph,” he says from a meeting room next to his office at the Chancery in Wichita. “I think many people are doing the 33-day consecration now…leading up to this wonderful feast day the Solemnity of St. Joseph Husband of Mary.”

Bishop Kemme reminded the faithful that Friday, March 19, is a solemnity, an occasion of celebration and rejoicing that trumps the Lenten requirement to abstain from meat.

Because the solemnity focuses on Joseph as a husband, the bishop said he wanted to direct a comment to husbands.

“Joseph loved Mary with great tenderness, with great fidelity. He took care of her. He welcomed her into his home and provided for her,” he said.

Bishop praises husbands

“I want to give a word of gratitude and encouragement to all the men in the diocese who are husbands and ask that they consider Joseph as their model in living out that covenant, that partnership with their wives. To have that wonderful bond of faith and tender love and joyful living together and taking on the many responsibilities of marriage and family life together, which is how it was meant to be.”

Bishop Kemme thanked husbands for their witness, for living out their vocation with fidelity and obedience, and for their commitment and loyalty to their wives – an imitation of St. Joseph.

Lent is half over, he says, and all of us need a little encouragement to push through to the end and to renew our Lenten commitments of prayer, penance, and almsgiving.

The bishop encouraged those who haven’t been to confession to do so as Holy Week nears.

“Let’s dust off our Lenten renewal and enthusiasm,” he says. “Let’s finish strong as we used to say when we were training for marathons – finished strong.”
He added that he is praying for the faithful will be united in prayer as Lent continues and not to grow indifferent to their Lenten practices so that they will have a wonderful Holy Week and a joyful Easter.

Fr. Kapaun’s remains found

Bishop Kemme said he was surprised and couldn’t be more pleased about the announcement regarding the identification of Fr. Emil Kapaun’s remains.

“I think there was always a remote possibility to having his mortal remains identified and – God willing – returned. We didn’t know how soon or if that was even going to happen, but it is happening,” he said.

Fr. Kapaun was a priest of the diocese who left to serve in the military and died 70 years ago in a prisoner-of-war camp, Bishop Kemme said.

“His body will be returned to his home, where he lived and where his vocation was nurtured. I know I can speak for our priests, we’re so grateful to finally have our brother, eventually back with us to be buried in this diocese where he rightfully belongs.”

Bishop Kemme said he hopes the discovery of the remains will renew enthusiasm for Fr. Kapaun’s cause for beatification and canonization and that it proceeds steadily toward that goal.