Fr. Ivan Eck elevated to monsignor
Fr. Ivan Eck was anticipating the birth of Our Lord when his phone rang on Dec. 15.
“The bishop called and wanted to know if I’d be home,” he said last week. “I said yes, and he said, ‘How about 2 o’clock?’ and I said I’d be here.”
When Fr. Eck opened the door for Bishop Carl A. Kemme he was holding a bag. “I couldn’t figure out what that was all about,” Father said.
After about 30 minutes of discussion, Bishop Kemme told him he wasn’t there just to visit but that he had something to show him.
“Then he showed me the document,” Fr. Eck said. “I’m 95 years old and not expecting anything like that.”
The bishop gave Fr. Eck a document stating that he “has been bestowed with the papal honor…Chaplain to His Holiness” and given the title of monsignor.
Bishop Kemme explained that the most recent priest of the Diocese of Wichita named monsignor was Fr. John Gilsenan, Fr. Eck said, and that it was time for another. “So he picked on the oldest one.”
Msgr. Eck said he was thankful to all the priests for their good wishes. “And my family is delighted but at 95 years old I’m just going to take it easy.”
Bishop Kemme said: “I was delighted to deliver the joyful news that Pope Francis had named Father Ivan Eck a monsignor. Msgr. Eck received this news with his characteristic graciousness and humility. Having served this diocese and the church for over 70 years as a priest and having done so with great distinction and dedication, Msgr. Eck is most deserving of this papal honor and recognition.”
Fr. Gilsenan was named a monsignor by (Saint) Pope John Paul II, on March 4, 1998.
The title is given to a priest who has distinguished himself by many years of exceptional service to the church. It is honorary and doesn’t affect the priest’s duties or ministerial assignment.