Bishop Carl A. Kemme
Writings from Bishop Kemme
A collection of writings regarding church news, reflections, messages, & more.
About Bishop Kemme
Bishop Kemme is the son of Donald and Marita (Kortte) Kemme. He has four brothers and one sister and grew up on a small family farm in rural Shumway, Illinois. His family attended and his parents are still members of the Church of the Annunciation Parish there.
He was a student at Shumway Elementary School and Beecher City High School and then attended St. Henry’s Preparatory Seminary in Belleville where he received his high school diploma. He entered the diocesan seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield in 1978, and then graduated from Cardinal Glennon College and Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, where he earned a bachelor of arts and a master of divinity degree.
Carl A. Kemme was ordained to the priesthood on May 10, 1986, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, Illinois.
After his ordination, he served as parochial vicar at St. Patrick, Decatur; Ss. Peter and Paul, Collinsville; and Blessed Sacrament, Springfield. He served as pastor of St. Mary, Brussels, St. Joseph, Meppen, and St. Barbara, Batchtown (1992-1996); Holy Family, Decatur (1996-2002); St. Peter, Petersburg (2002-2005); and St. John Vianney, Sherman (2005-2012).
In 2002, he was appointed vicar general and moderator of the curia by then-Bishop George J. Lucas. Additionally, he served as diocesan chancellor from January to June 2005. When Bishop Lucas was named head of the Archdiocese of Omaha, in June 2009, Msgr. Kemme served as diocesan administrator until June 2010, when Bishop Thomas Paprocki was installed for the Springfield diocese. Msgr. Kemme continued to serve as vicar general and moderator of the curia for Bishop Paprocki.
On Aug. 23, 2002, he was named a Prelate of Honor with the title Monsignor by Blessed John Paul II. Msgr. Kemme is a fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and a Knight of the Holy Sepulcher. He is chaplain for the Courage Apostolate in the diocese.
His Holiness, Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Kemme to be the 11th bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, Kansas. The appointment was announced Feb. 20 in Washington, D.C., by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop Kemme was ordained to the fullness of the priesthood on Thursday, May 1, 2014 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.
Coat of Arms
From the observer’s point of view, the left side of the shield represents the coat of arms of the Diocese of Wichita; the right side represents the personal coat of arms of Bishop Carl Alan Kemme.
The right side of the shield is in red, the color of love and of blood. It is the symbol of the infinite love of the Father who sent the Son to shed His blood for us in his supreme act of love. The chevron is a heraldic device best described as an inverted “V” and is one of the most ancient figures in heraldry. Frequently in Roman Catholic Church heraldry, it signifies the rafter which holds the roof of the church, symbolic of protection. In addition, the golden chevron appears on the Kemme family’s coat of arms.
The sheaf of wheat principally symbolizes the Eucharist, the presence of the Lord in the Eucharistic Bread which feeds our souls. It also recalls the farming character of the Midwest, the area in which Bishop Kemme was raised. It is in gold, a precious metal, symbol of the first virtue, faith. Indeed, it is by faith that we believe in the Eucharistic mystery.
The seven pointed star is a symbol of Our Blessed Mother. It is silver, a sign of transparency and of purity, the purity of the Virgin Mary to whom Bishop Kemme entrusts his pastoral service as Bishop of Wichita. For his episcopal motto, Bishop Kemme chose the Latin word “HUMILITAS” (HUMILITY) which appears on the coat of arms of Saint Charles Borromeo, Cardinal Archbishop of Milan from 1566 to 1584, Bishop Kemme’s namesake.
BlazonImpaled Arms. Azure, a pine tree on a terras accosted in base by two arrowheads, or, in dexter chief a crescent over all a fess argent.
SignificanceThis coat of arms is based on the coat of arms of Pope Leo XIII, who established the diocese in 1877. The tree rising from the terras in the Papal coat has been changed from green to gold. The comet in the heavens (“Lumen in Coelo, as this Pope was known) has been transmuted to a silver crescent, the symbol of the Immaculate Conception, under which title Our Lady is patroness of the Diocese of Wichita and of the United States of America and titular of the Cathedral. The two fleurs-de-lis have been changed to arrowheads to commemorate the Wichita Indians.
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Office of the Bishop
Catholic Diocese of Wichita
424 N. Broadway
Wichita, KS 67202
Phone: (316) 269-3900