New seminarian chapel dedicated
Bishop Carl A. Kemme related the first question asked by God to those attending the St. Joseph House of Formation’s chapel dedication Monday evening, Nov. 4.
God asks Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:9, “Where are you?” the bishop said. They were hiding out of shame and guilt, Bishop Kemme explained, after eating the forbidden fruit and falling into sin.
“This is a really a powerful and deep question that reveals so much about God and about us. God, to be sure, is always in search of us, looking for us, and we, because we bear the same guilt and shame, are often hiding from him.”
God asks all of us the same question, Bishop Kemme said: “Where are you?”
Jesus asked his disciples many questions, he said, not for his benefit, but for theirs.
The bishop said two questions were contained in the Gospel readings of the day:
“Who do the people say that I am?” and “But who do you say that I am?”
The apostles answered the first question replying John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or another of the great prophets. But Simon, responding to the second question, states: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Church founded on Peter
Jesus responds, Bishop Kemme said, by proclaiming that Peter is rock, “and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
Today the work of building the church is entrusted to us, he said, “building God’s kingdom here on earth through evangelization, discipleship, and stewardship.”
The St. Joseph House of Formation was begun two years ago as a service to the Diocese of Wichita in building up the church, he said.
“Today we make this house into a true home, where seeds of evangelization, discipleship, and stewardship planted in your personal homes, parishes, and schools, will continue to be nurtured, and tended to as you discern a call to be priests for this diocese.”
The completion of the chapel, he said, through the generosity of our people, signifies that the men formed at the house of formation have everything they need to answer the questions posed to them by God.
“Here will be your very own consecrated space, set apart for that interior dialogue between you and God,” the bishop said. “Here these walls will echo in the silent moments of your daily routine the question: Where are you? For he searches for you, longs for you, wants to find you in his company.”
Bishop Kemme added that through the altar and the tabernacle, God will ask the seminarians the question: “Who do you say that I am?”
Like the many who have gone before us and, God willing, after us, we can say with confidence: “You are the Christ, the Eucharist, Lord, my friend.”
St. Charles Borromeo, patron of seminarians
Bishop Kemme closed his homily by talking about St. Charles Borromeo, the patron of seminarians, on whose feast day the chapel was dedicated.
“He was a model priest and bishop of his time and he ushered in a long age of renewal,” he said. “It is fitting that we dedicate this chapel today on his feast day and ask that he will intercede for us here as we imitate him and offer our lives in service to God and the church.”
Bishop Kemme said he hoped St. Charles Borromeo would inspire the men to be model seminarians and to be open to the great questions God will pose to them in their lives.
“If indeed it is God’s will and you accept it, may the words of St. Peter’s first letter ring true for you: may you come to the Lord, a living stone, chosen and precious in the sight of God and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
Twenty-one men are part of the St. Joseph House of Formation.