Diocesan priests recall memories of Msgr. William Carr
Several priests of the diocese shared their thoughts and feelings about Msgr. Carr, after his passing.
Fr. James Weldon said in an email that he always held Msgr. Carr in high esteem.
“When I was in junior high our family would occasionally attend his Masses at St. Paul Parish at Wichita State. He was definitely a teacher. You always learned something about sacred Scripture.”
He said he remembers him using large poster-board with a Greek word on it. “Msgr. Carr was the first one to teach me the word, ‘koinonia,’ the Greek word for fellowship. Even though he was a little gruff and demanding, I always felt that his life was at the service of the fellowship to which all disciples are called.”
Fr. Weldon, the pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Wichita, said Msgr. Carr preached at his first Mass. “I always admired his preaching and his love for the Word of God. I am personally very grateful to him. I am sure that many others came to know the beauty of the Scriptures through his teaching.”
Fr. Andy Kuykendall, chaplain at the Catholic Care Center in Wichita, said Msgr. Carr celebrated his 60th jubilee there.
“He sang a couple of songs for staff and administration here at the care center,” Fr. Kuykendall said. “That’s one of the great things he loved to do – even at Mass.”
Msgr. Carr also loved to pray,” the chaplain said, adding that “He suffered greatly here towards the end.”
Fr. Kuykendall said he loved the sisters at the care center and often talked about his mother, with whom he was very close.
Father Eric Weldon, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Colwich, added: “Msgr. Carr was a great intellect who challenged me to think and grow in faith and knowledge of Scripture through every homily I heard from him.”
Fr. Michael Nolan, chaplain of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, described Msgr. Carr as a master of the communications media and an expert in biblical and liturgical studies.
“He was self taught in the ancient biblical languages,” he said. “In Chanute, he had a weekly program on the local cable access channel. He wrote for Sunday Missal Service for 40 years. He produced a series of VHS tapes teaching the faith.”
In the implementation period of the Second Vatican Council, he said, Msgr. Carr led the Liturgical Commission in the diocese and worked in providing materials to help priests in the implementation and to educate the people and the clergy.
Father Nolan said Msgr. Carr will be honored this fall. In October, he will be remembered at the 50th Anniversary Convention of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions as one of the local giants across the country who were instrumental in the implementation of the renewed liturgy after the council.
Father Stephen M. Thapwa, now a retired priest of the diocese, said since the first moment of his introduction to Msgr. Carr more than 20 years ago he felt very strongly that he looked at him not as a priest from Burma, but as a brother in the Father, a fellow priest in the Christ, and a consecrated brother in the Spirit.
“Msgr. Carr is a Catholic priest patently and consummately!” he said.
Fr. Matt Davied, parochial vicar at Church of the Magdalen in Wichita, said Msgr. Carr was a childhood pastor of his with whom his family kept in close touch, visiting him often at the Catholic Care Center in his final few years.
“He always seemed to know that I would be a priest someday,” Fr. Davied said, “when I was a young boy, when it wasn’t the slightest thought in my head. And so he continued to pray for me, and I am grateful for his prayers as I believe they were truly fruitful in guiding me to my vocation.”
Father Davied said he took a trip to Rome during spring break when he was a senior in college and asked Msgr. Carr about the Eternal City before I did any other research.
“He visited the Holy See over 20 times,” he said. “He could give me a full tour of the city just by walking through his memory.