- strong Catholic families who practice the Faith
- Catholics schools that actually teach the Faith
- faithful priests who model the Faith
“People really do live their faith here (in Wichita: 120,527 Catholics in 91 parishes) in a strong way.”
As number of Catholic priests declines in U.S., Wichita ordains 10
BY KATHERINE BURGESS
One by one, 10 men had their hands anointed with oil, symbolizing their participation in Christ’s priesthood. Soon, the newly ordained priests stood at the front of the Church of the Magdalen, administering the Eucharist for the first time.
In the United States, the number of priests has been declining even as the number of Catholics has increased.
Saturday’s ordination of 10 new priests in the Catholic Diocese of Wichita goes against the grain. Next year, another 10 priests who became transitional deacons last week will also be ordained.
Those 20 men will bring roughly a 20 percent increase to the number of active priests in the diocese.
A survey of the men newly ordained across the United States this year found they were more likely to have attended Catholic school than U.S. Catholics in general.
Kemme said Wichita is no better than any other place, but that he has found a “dynamic” Catholic life in the diocese.“That’s one, if not maybe the most important, component in the fostering of vocations to the priesthood and religious life,” Kemme said. “People really do live their faith here in a strong way.”Newly ordained priest the Rev. Andrew Bergkamp said there’s no magic formula to having so many people interested in ordination, but that it comes from having strong families and good examples set by local priests.He also pointed to Father Emil Kapaun, currently being considered for canonization, as perhaps playing a role in the blessings of the church.