Fr. Mainzer transitioning to the Diocese of Wichita after serving Diocese of Dodge City

Fr. James Mainzer stands in front of St. Nicholas Church in Kinsley, Kansas, where he has served since 2019. The parish is in the Diocese of Dodge City. Father is returning to the Diocese of Wichita next month. (Courtesy photo)

Father James Mainzer prefers the word transition to the word retirement.

Bishop Carl A. Kemme announced in the last edition of the Catholic Advance that Fr. Mainzer, who is on loan to the Diocese of Dodge City, will retire on Wednesday, July 6. Fr. Mainzer has been pastor of St. Nicholas Parish in Kinsley and St. Joseph in Offerle since 2019.

Fr. Mainzer, who was ordained in 1987 at age 35, said he responded to the call to the priesthood later because he was in retail business.

The decades went quickly

After his ordination, he said service as a parish priest seemed a long way in the future. That long look into the future changed after three decades, he said in a telephone interview last week from Kinsley. “Now it’s only been 35 years. It’s kind of incredible!”

Fr. Mainzer served most of his three and a half decades in parishes in the Wichita metro area and in Hutchinson.

“I’ve been really blessed in each place,” he said. “One hopes to be able to be fruitful in ministry for the good of people there, for God, but at the same time, they impact our priestly formation even as we work to form them in the Gospel. We were formed in our priesthood by the people that we serve, so it’s really been quite a blessing.”

We’re in a pagan world

Fr. Mainzer said the world has become more pagan since he was ordained. Quoting a book Bishop Carl A. Kemme gave all the priests of the diocese, he said it seems our culture is in the same situation as early Christendom was. “It’s like we’re starting all over again like in the early church.”

A young man considering the priesthood should try to understand how much of a blessing the vocation is, he said. “Though our humanity is limited, fraught with weakness, and disposed to sin, He walks with us anyway giving us the strength and courage to persevere and even to flourish despite ourselves.”

Fr. Mainzer said every parish he has served at is Christ’s parish and that he only tried to do what he could and depended on him to provide any difference needed.

Will help his brother priests

In his transition, Fr. Mainzer said he hopes to be available to his brother priests filling in where needed.

Fr. Mainzer was ordained on May 23, 1987, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. He served at All Saints in Wichita before his assignment as a chaplain and teacher at Trinity Jr./Sr. High School in Hutchinson. In 1992 he began serving at St. James the Greater in Augusta. In 1999 he was named pastor of St. Michael Parish in Mulvane and as chaplain of Villa Maria there. He was named pastor of St. Mary in Newton in 2005. He became pastor of St. Jude Parish in Wichita in 2015.

Fr. Ben Green has been released by Bishop Carl A. Kemme for missionary service to the Diocese of Dodge City for three years.