Father Greer worries so the bishop doesn’t have to
When Father Gabriel Greer does his job well, you don’t notice.
That’s his goal as the master of ceremonies for the Diocese of Wichita.
“You’re almost like the traffic director for the liturgy,” he said last week after recovering from the Chrism Mass and the Triduum liturgies.
Those attending an episcopal event might notice Father Greer, vested much like an altar server, when he takes Bishop Carl A. Kemme’s miter or crosier and hands it to an altar server, or when he points to a place on a page of the Roman Missal for the bishop.
Fr. Greer’s job is to worry about the details so that Bishop Kemme doesn’t have to.
One of those details is working with the episcopal servers, students from the Cathedral and Bishop Carroll and Kapaun Mt. Carmel high schools, who have been trained to serve at liturgies with the bishop.
“I take care of the planning behind the scenes, getting the servers and making sure I know specifically what’s going on in the liturgy,” he said.
One book is very helpful
One book that is always within his reach is the Ceremonial of Bishops, a 340-page guide for liturgical celebrations. “I read specifically about each of the liturgies, because, believe it or not,” he said, “Rome has given us directives on how those liturgies are to be celebrated.”
When does the bishop hold his crosier? When does he wear his miter? When does he take off his zucchetto? When does he breathe on the Holy Chrism? When Father Greer needs an answer, the Ceremonial has it.
“I think the main role of the M.C. is to allow the bishop to pray the Mass, to take care of all the details,” he said. “My job is to make sure that I know what’s going to happen and make it happen.”
Many others assist him in the planning of the liturgies, including Sister John Patrick Beckius, director of the Office of Worship.
Now is his most hectic time
He can use the help now, the busiest time of the liturgical year.
Father Greer’s busy time begins in February when the Confirmation season becomes more hectic. Bishop Kemme has up to 30 confirmation ceremonies between February and early June. Father’s work really picks up before Easter with the Chrism Mass, and the Triduum, which includes the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday. Then there are four Catholic high school graduations, a baccalaureate Mass for Newman University, and ordinations to the diaconate and the priesthood.
His passion for the liturgy began when he was a young man at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Pittsburg, he said. “I loved to pay attention to the details and to the rubrics within the missal.”
Seminarians get a little practice as a master of ceremonies, Fr. Greer said, but certainly not as much as practicing to celebrate Mass. He got his first experience in the Diocese of Wichita in 2017 when he was asked to assist Father Sam Brand and Father Daniel Duling at the ordination of 10 men to the priesthood at Church of the Magdalen. A week later Bishop Kemme called Father Greer to say he was appointing him as assistant master of ceremonies. He was appointed master of ceremonies in June of 2018.
Father Greer said ultimately the master of ceremonies taking care of the details allow the bishop to pray for his flock. “That’s his chief role when he’s celebrating the Mass, to pray for us and to offer that sacrifice and worship to God and to lead us in that.”
There is one other detail to his job as master of ceremonies. “I take care of the driving when we’re on the road, so the bishop can continue to work in the car.”
Just another way Father Greer makes sure Bishop Kemme gets to the right place at the right time.