Bishop thanks seminarians for their courage

Bishop Carl A. Kemme is flanked by 28 seminarians in the chapel at the St. Joseph House of Formation in Wichita. The priests with him, from left, are Fr. Jacob Carlin, Fr. Joseph Gile, Fr. Chad Arnold, and Fr. Garett Burns. The photo was taken before a Mass on Wednesday, Aug. 16, that marked the beginning of the school year. They are students at Newman University. (Advance photo)

Bishop Carl A. Kemme thanked the 28 seminarians living in the St. Joseph House of Formation for their courage at a Mass on Wednesday, Aug. 16, marking the beginning of the school year.

“It takes great courage to do what you’re doing, to step forward and to say, ‘I’d like to discern, I’d like to see if God is calling me to be a priest,’” the bishop said in the House of Formation’s chapel.

Going the way of the world, as many of the seminarians’ friends and acquaintances have done, may have been tempting, Bishop Kemme said, but the seminarians have chosen to do something unique.

Listen to God

“It’s important to take this time to listen closely to God and his direction in your life because God has chosen a vocation for you…which may be, in fact, to be a priest for the Diocese of Wichita,” he said.

The bishop said their families, the clergy, and the faithful of the diocese thank the seminarians who have just started their studies and those who returned from the previous year.

“One of the things I want to encourage you to do is to be grateful for this time. All of this is provided – it’s offered out of love by our good people. This house, the house at Millwood Street, its chapel and this chapel, all of these things, the food that you will eat, the bed you’re going to sleep in, the desk you’re going to be working at, the recreation – all of these things are provided for you in order to help you to become the man that you are called to be.”

Be grateful he said, because it is given to them at a great sacrifice by many others.

Be grateful

Bishop Kemme also urged the seminarians to be grateful for the priests who will be working with them at the House of Formation: Fr. Chad Arnold, director of the House, and Fr. Joseph Gile and Fr. Garett Burns, the assistant directors.
“I am thrilled beyond thrilled that they said yes to this unique service. It’s not easy for guys like us to live with college-age men!”

The three priests are mentors, teachers, examples, he said. “And so, be grateful to God for them. They’re going to be living with you day by day, helping you, supporting you, encouraging you, challenging you, yes, correcting you, but they are doing that because they love you. And they know the church loves you.

A home of charity

Bishop Kemme said he hopes the House of Formation, now in its eighth year, becomes a home of charity, true charity, where Christians love each other, support each other, challenge each other, and even correct each other. The bishop reminded the men that they live in the house of the Lord, where Jesus is in the tabernacle day after day calling them to pray, to reflect, and to be consoled.

Ars pilgrimage inspirational

He then talked about the trip he took this summer to Ars, France, to the shrine of St. John Vianney, the patron of parish priests, and how he and those accompanying him were inspired by the pilgrimage.

St. John Vianney found the tabernacle to be a source of strength, Bishop Kemme said. “He would often go there in the wee hours of the night…and he would just spend time near the tabernacle.”

That spiritual assistance is also available to you, Bishop Kemme said to the seminarians.

He closed his homily by urging the men to work hard at their studies, to pray, and to give God their challenges, their discernment, their questions, and their doubts.

“After that, with the perfect sacrifice on the altar every day, God will take that, he will bless that, he will consecrate that, and return that back to you in incredible graces, graces that you cannot, nor any of us can, ever imagine or comprehend.”