November 8: Msgr. Robert Hemberger


November 8, 2018

Msgr. Robert Hemberger

Monsignor Hemberger, 74, died Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018 in Florida. He was a priest of the Diocese of Wichita for 48 years and the brother of Father Kent Hemberger, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Andover. Robert Hemberger was born on Aug. 26, 1944, in Conway Springs. He studied for the priesthood at Conception Seminary College in Conception, Missouri, and at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He was ordained on May 30, 1970, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.

He served as an assistant at St. Anne and All Saints parishes in Wichita before being appointed chaplain of St. Francis Hospital in Wichita in 1973. Five years later Fr. Hemberger was named chaplain of Halstead Hospital, and diocesan director of Marriage Encounter. While continuing his duties at Halstead and with Marriage Encounter, Fr. Hemberger was named assistant chancellor for the diocese in 1980. Later that year he was named chaplain of St. Francis Hospital in Wichita while continuing his duties with M.E. and as assistant chancellor. In 1981 Fr. Hemberger became master of ceremonies for the bishop, along with his other duties.

In 1982 he was named chaplain of the St. Francis Regional Medical Center. Father Hemberger began studies for a licentiate in Canon Law in 1983 at Catholic University. Upon his return to the diocese in 1985, he was named judicial vicar of the Matrimonial Tribunal, diocesan liaison for Health Affairs, part-time associate pastor in residence at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. Father Hemberger served for a brief time as temporary administrator of Holy Cross Parish in Hutchinson beginning in October 1986. The next year he was named synodal promoter and moderator, while continuing his other duties, including liaison for Health Affairs.

In June of 1988 he Fr. Hemberger was named chancellor of the diocese and chaplain of Mt. St. Mary Convent, while continuing with his work in the tribunal and as liaison for Health Affairs. In 1998 he was named director of Diocesan Planning, in addition to his other duties.

He was named Prelate of Honor to His Holiness Pope John Paul II, or monsignor, in 2001. In 2002 Msgr. Hemberger was named chancellor, moderator of the Curia and vicar general. In 2003, when Bishop Thomas Olmsted was named the ordinary of the Diocese of Phoenix, Msgr. Hemberger was elected diocesan administrator. He served in that role until April 2005, when Bishop Michael O. Jackels was named bishop of the Diocese of Wichita. Msgr. Hemberger was then appointed as vicar general. After Bishop Jackels was named archbishop of Dubuque, Iowa, once again Msgr. Hemberger served as diocesan administrator from June 6, 2013, to April 30, 2014, when Bishop Carl A. Kemme was named to the Diocese of Wichita. Msgr. Hemberger retired on June 11, 2014. Msgr. Hemberger was buried at Ascension Cemetery in Wichita.