Bishop Kemme thanks seminarians for answering the call

The seminarians studying at the St. Joseph House of Formation in Wichita pose for a photo with Bishop Carl A. Kemme, Fr. Michael Simone, left, Fr. Chad Arnold, and Fr. Adam Grelinger, after a school opening day Mass Aug. 18. (Composite photo/Catholic Advance)

A slideshow of the opening day Mass at the House of Formation.

Bishop Carl A. Kemme thanked the 14 seminarians studying in the St. Joseph House of Formation for responding to the Lord’s invitation during a Mass on Wednesday, Aug. 18, marking the opening of the school year.

Their first years of college formation are taking place as part of a parish, he said, interacting with priests and laity in the heart of the diocese in which someday they may serve as a priest of Jesus Christ.

“Just your willingness to be here says so much about you,” he said.

Whether they go on to be ordained, or not, Bishop Kemme said, “whatever happens here will be for the good of our church because you will learn and experience things here that will help you grow into a man.”

Wherever God is leading them, he said, “we ask that you enter into this process with honesty and integrity, to give it your full heart.”

Bishop: Seminarians are blessed

The bishop asked the seminarians to look around at what the diocesan family had provided for them. “See it as a blessing and see it as a unique opportunity to learn things about yourself that you would not have learned or discovered had it not been for this experience,” he said. “Come with an open mind and an open heart. Give it your all and see where God leads you.”

Bishop Kemme said he wanted the St. Joseph House of Formation to be a family. “I want this to be a place of charity, a place where we care for each other, where we grow together.”

The house is a home away from home, he said, and like all homes, there are sometimes challenges.

“Families are not perfect and I do not expect you to be perfect. I would just expect you to come back again to forgiveness, to patience and perseverance to keep building up this family that you will become.”

Referring to the Gospel of the day, Bishop Kemme said jealousy can destroy the harmony of a family.

God is generous with his grace, he said, “but the envy and jealousy that can enter into human relationships – even families – can rob us of the joy that God wants us to have and the maturity God expects of us.”

A living community of faith

The St. Joseph House of Formation needs to be a sign of a living community of faith, Bishop Kemme said.

“People are taking notice of how you interact when you go to the university, how you relate to other students who may not even be Catholic or maybe not even be believers,” he said. “People take sharp notice – as well as they should, because there’s a lot of expectations placed upon us, and they’re good expectations.”

Bishop Kemme said he hopes the Lord sends more men to fill the chapel to help the men understand what God is calling them to be.

The desire to be a priest never left him, Bishop Kemme said. “It was always there and grew stronger as the years went on.”

Bishop Kemme closed his homily by telling the seminarians that the diocese has wonderful priests.

“But we can always use more good priests,” he said. “And I can see in my mind’s eye, several years down the road, you kneeling in front of me…being ordained to Holy Orders.”