Bishop to ordain four men to the priesthood May 25

Four transitional deacons of the Diocese of Wichita will be ordained to the priesthood at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 25, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.

Bishop Carl A. Kemme will ordain the Rev. Messrs. Jesus Bañuelos, Matthew Cooke, Caleb Kuestersteffen, and Miles Swigart. The bishop will ordain seminarians Nicholas Samsel, Grant Huslig, and Joseph Mick, as transitional deacons at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at the Cathedral.

The Rev. Mr. Jesus Bañuelos

The Rev. Mr. Jesus Bañuelos is the son of Juan and Carmen Bañuelos, members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Wichita.

A student at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, Deacon Bañuelos said in an email that he is looking forward to serving the people of God through the living of the sacraments of the church, and of being an alter Christus, another Christ. “They are the moments that Christ comes to touch hearts, in a profound way. God has so much to give, and I get to be an instrument of that!”

He said he will miss the friends and classmates at Kenrick who will be moving on to other dioceses but plans to nurture those “life-giving” friendships.

“I will also somewhat miss the courses – but not the homework! My theology courses were one of the many ways I was drawn to prayer, so there is some sadness in leaving that channel of prayer. I will, of course, continue to be nourished by other means of learning, just not the same as in the classroom setting where I was with my friends and classmates.”

He said his family is excited that he is receiving the gift of ordination, something they will share.

“I would like to think that my mother and father are experiencing a bit of what Mary and Joseph did upon receiving Jesus Christ, priest, and victim, into their family,” Deacon Bañuelos said. “I am not in any way comparing myself to Jesus Christ – although we do share the same name. Obviously, I am not God.

However, the parallel is this: to see that your son is about to become a priest and give his life to God, like a victim.”

The Rev. Mr. Matthew Cooke

The Rev. Mr. Matthew Cooke is the son of Mike and Diane Cooke, members of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Wichita, and a student at Mundelein Seminary north of Chicago.

Hearing confessions and celebrating Mass are what he said he is most looking forward to after his ordination. “These are the sacraments that have fed me and have drawn me closer to the fire of God’s love. I hope I can be a bridge for God’s grace,” he said in an email. “Also, very simply I look forward to being back in the Diocese of Wichita.”

Deacon Cooke said he will miss his brother seminarians now that he is at the end of theology studies. “They have truly been a source of strength and growth for me. Also, I will miss the wide variety of topics the professors have on different aspects of the church and the world.”

The reality that he is being ordained to the priesthood has finally settled in for the family, he said. “I have received an overwhelming amount of support from different family members. There seems to be both excitement and anticipation of what is to come.”

The Rev. Mr. Caleb Kuestersteffen

The Rev. Mr. Caleb Kuestersteffen is the son of Michael and Christine Kuestersteffen, members of St. John Parish in El Dorado.

“What I am looking forward to most is the administration of the sacraments,” he said in an email from Mundelein Seminary.

“The desire for greater intimacy with Christ by standing in his stead, speaking with his voice, and imparting his grace has been growing more and more these past months,” he said. “At a more practical level, I’m looking forward to settling in one place for a while. For the last seven years, I’ve been moving out and in somewhere else about every four months. To have a place to call home for hopefully a few years and time to come to know my new community will be a joy for me.”

Leaving his seminary community where special bonds have been formed will be difficult, Deacon Kuestersteffen said.

“To be surrounded by so many solid men who prioritize the same kinds of things is a privileged place to come to know others and to be more deeply known,” he said. “These friendships will of course continue, but it looks different to be spread across the country rather than right down the hallway.

“Further, I have been so grateful for the time to engage the substance of our faith in a formal organized way. Future study and intellectual growth will have to take new forms, and will be more dependent on my own initiative. To have so much laid out by gifted, knowledgeable instructors has indeed been a great gift.”

Deacon Kuestersteffen said his family is excited and nervous about his ordination.

“They recognize the specialness of the moment and want to help me celebrate it well. I am so grateful for their support over these last many years, and look forward to being a little closer to home as I begin my life of priestly ministry.”

The Rev. Mr. Miles Swigart

The Rev. Mr. Miles Swigart is the son of John and Traci Swigart, members of St. Patrick Parish in Kingman, and a student at Mundelein Seminary.

He said he is looking forward to celebrating Mass and hearing confessions.

“If I only spend the rest of my life reconciling people to God and then bringing them to God in the intimate union of receiving the Eucharist, it will be a life far greater than anything I could have asked for,” he wrote.

Deacon Swigart said he looking forward to developing relationships with people in the diocese. “Those relationships were the best part of my pastoral internship in Independence and Cherryvale, and I am eager to have that again in my upcoming assignment.”

He said as his studies end he will miss the seminary community most.

“I developed incredible friendships with a lot of amazing people, and being able to live with my best friends every day has been a great gift that I have not taken for granted,” he said.

“I will also miss my classes. I have always enjoyed the opportunity to learn under my professors about everything, from literature and philosophy to theology, and I will definitely miss this part of seminary life.”