Four ordained priests for Diocese of Wichita
Bishop Carl A. Kemme began his homily Saturday, May 29, by echoing the Gospel reading, thanking God the Father for the four men ordained to the priesthood at Church of the Magdalen in Wichita.
“Kirk Matthew Glazier, Andrew Johnathan Meng, Christopher Joseph Rumback, and William Patrick Stuever,” the bishop said, “you are a gift to me, to your brother priests, to the many people who will receive from you the gift of your ministry.”
He said the men are a gift to the diocese from our Heavenly Father to continue the work of Jesus. “The Holy Spirit whom you will receive when I and our priests impose our hands upon you in that powerful and ancient action will mark your soul with a permanent character, configuring you to Christ the Priest per omina secula seculorum – forever and ever!”
Bishop thanks all involved
He thanked everyone involved in their lives, family, teachers, seminary formators, and others for forming them into the men God chose to spread the Gospel.
He especially thanked the parents of the ordinandi for their gifts of their sons.
Bishop Kemme said he has been inspired by the response of the faithful of the diocese to the various invitations and opportunities to reflect on St. Joseph during this Year of St. Joseph.
“Many are going on pilgrimages to the parishes dedicated to St. Joseph. Many have or will make their consecration to St. Joseph; his litany has become more widely known and prayed. These and so many other things point to significant graces we can anticipate as we honor St. Joseph.”
St. Joseph connections
Shortly after the Year of St. Joseph began, the bishop said, someone sent him a holy card of St. Joseph, one that contained a pocket medal that reminds him daily of his desire to grow in devotion to St. Joseph. “I reflect often on his role as the head of the Holy Family and my role as the spiritual father of this portion of God’s family.”
Bishop Kemme said Father Stuart Smeltzer pointed out that the four men to be ordained have a special connection to St. Joseph: Deacons Meng and Stuever are members of St. Joseph Parish in Ost and Andale, and Deacons Glazier and Rumback are members of St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Madison and Hutchinson.
“St. Teresa had a deep and profound love for St. Joseph. She was once miraculously cured and she attributed her cure to the intercession of St. Joseph,’ he said. “She wrote beautifully of him in her autobiography when she said: ‘I have never known anyone who honored him by particular services, who did not advance greatly in virtue, for he helps in a special way those souls who recommend themselves to him.’”
To be ordained in the Year of St. Joseph is a blessing, Bishop Kemme said, adding that, like Mary, Joseph had his own fiat, an acceptance of God’s plan for his life.
“He responded with obedience, courage, and determination,” the bishop said. “Today, dear deacons, I sense that same fiat in each of you, for you have said the most important words thus far: ad sum, or present, which means more than just being here; it means I am here for you. Let Joseph inspire you daily to be present for Jesus and his Church in holy obedience and acceptance.”
Joseph was close to Jesus
Joseph is often depicted holding Jesus in his arms, Bishop Kemme said.
“The priests of the church must surely be close to his heart as they hold in their hands the sacramental Body of Jesus and offer him to hungry souls. Although St. Joseph was not chosen to be a priest or receive the Holy Eucharist, can we not sense him with us near the altar, which is our Bethlehem, our House of Bread?”
The bishop described St. Joseph as a faithful husband, loyal and true to Mary, regardless of the cultural and familial challenges his betrothal occasioned for this poor couple.
“How important are our priests to him who espouse themselves to the church, the Bride of Christ, who in our times is barraged with criticism and rejection,” Bishop Kemme said. “Joseph is honored as a just, righteous, chaste, and virtuous man. Other than Mary herself, can the priest imitate anyone better in living a life of purity, integrity, and innocence?”
Joseph the worker
Joseph is also known as a worker, he said, one who admires the priests who resist the temptation of laziness and who labor in the vineyard of the Lord.
“Joseph is the model of the interior life, a life that was simple, often hidden and reserved, a life of contemplation,” the bishop said. “How much must our priests develop their own interior lives, spending time each day gazing on the face of the Redeemer, observing periods of silence, allowing their souls to ascend to greater heights in the spiritual life.”
Bishop Kemme closed by reminding the faithful that Joseph died a happy death with Jesus and Mary at his side.
“How much Joseph must yearn for every disciple of his Son to have a priest at their deathbed to accompany them with the sacraments as they close their eyes to this world and open their eyes to the next,” he said. “We priests must always go quickly to the dying, for one day we too will die and – please God – will be blessed by the services of a holy priest.”
Bishop Kemme said he couldn’t say anything more important and urgent at the most sacred moment of their life than the words echoed centuries ago to a band of brothers who needed his help: “ Ite ad Joseph! Ite ad Joseph! Go to Joseph!”