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Coat of Arms as Bishop Emeritus

 

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Commemorative Issue

Honoring the

Most Rev. Ronald M. Gilmore

 

Pages 1-4; 5-8; 9-12; 13-16; 17-20; 21-24;

25-28; 29-32; 33-36; SPANISH; PUZZLES;

Biography of Most Rev.

Ronald M. Gilmore

Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore was born on April 23, 1942 in Pittsburg, Kansas. He attended St. Mary's Elementary School from 1947 to 1956; St. Mary's High School from 1956 to 1959, and gradated from St. John Vianney High School in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1960.

He attended Immaculate Conception Seminary in Conception, MO from 1960 to 1962. From 1962 to 1963, he worked for Catholic Social Service in Wichita in the Cuban Refugee Program. He worked with approximately 20 Cuban boys at what was then called Mariana House.

He attended the University of Ottawa in Canada from 1963 to 1969. He received two degrees in Philosophy, a B.A. and a B.Ph. and three degrees in Theology.

On June 7, 1969, Father Ronald M. Gilmore was ordained to the priesthood.

His first pastoral assignment was at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Wichita. From 1971 to early 1973, he then returned to Canada for doctoral studies in Theology.

In 1973, he was assigned to the Passionist Monastery in St. Paul, KS, doing weekend supply work in various parishes.

He was assigned to the Church of the Magdalen, Wichita, from 1973-1975 and he also worked in the Chancery Office as the Assistant Chancellor.

From 1975-1981 he was assigned to St. Teresa Parish, Hutchinson. During this time his primary duties were at Trinity High School where he worked as chaplain and teacher of religion, and at Holy Family Center, Wichita, where he acted as Chairman of the Executive Committee and as a teacher of religion.

He was appointed administrator of St. Agnes Church, Castleton, from August 1981 to June 1982.

In June of 1982, he was appointed the first pastor of the new St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish on the west edge of Wichita.

He was appointed chancellor in August of 1983 and was appointed Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia in June of 1988.

In May 1998, he was elevated to the rank of monsignor.

He was ordained and installed as the fifth Bishop of Dodge City on July 16, 1998.

 

Bishop Gilmore's Columns:

He sent them to every town and place...

By Bishop Emeritus, Ronald M. Gilmore

Catholic Diocese of Dodge City

On the Feast of Saint Luke, we read that the Lord singled out seventy others, and sent them into every town and every place where he himself was about to come (Luke 10: 1).  And that has remained true through all the checkered ages of the Church. 

It certainly does in our own heavily-checkered age.  It is true for each bishop, priest, monk, nun, and lay person of our time.  All of us are sent to hand on what we have seen and heard of God.  The Lord never stops coming to our towns and places, and so he never stops sending seventy, and another seventy.

What with all our failures, and scandals, and division, and fighting, it is very hard just now.  We have neglected the hurting least among us.  We are covered with confusion.  Our courage fails.  Our energy flags.  It is easy to feel like the lamb, when the wolves are snarling around you. 

But that’s all right.  Our sins have brought it upon us.  It can help us re-focus our eyes.  His message is his message, first, not our message.  It is not something we make.  Left to ourselves, John said, we can make nothing.  It is a gift he makes to us. 

He asks us to go to the heart of his message, and to proclaim nothing but Christ, and him crucified.  He wants us to sweep aside all peripheral and incidental things, and to see the substance, and to say the substance, and to cling to the substance. 

This is the time to bear the shock, and the shame, and the hurt of our own sinfulness.  It is the season to bow our heads to the deep purification now come upon us.  To set our faces like flint, and to go on to the next town: it may be there that he is to come today. 

 

Los envió a cada pueblo y lugar ...

 

En la fiesta de San Lucas, leemos que el Señor escogió a setenta discípulos y las envió a todas las ciudades y lugares adonde pensaba ir (Lucas 10, 1).  Y eso ha seguido siendo verdad a través de todas las edades de la Iglesia. 

Ciertamente lo es en nuestra propia época, muy accidentada.  Es cierto para cada obispo, sacerdote, monje, religiosa y laico de nuestro tiempo.  Todos nosotros somos enviados a entregar lo que hemos visto y oído de Dios.  El Señor nunca deja de venir a nuestros pueblos y lugares, y por eso nunca deja de enviar a setenta, y a otros setenta.

Con todos nuestros fracasos, escándalos, divisiones y luchas, esto es muy difícil ahora.  Hemos descuidado a los que más pequeños entre nosotros, que sufren.  Estamos cubiertos de confusión.  Nuestra valentía flaquea.  Nuestra energía flaquea.  Podemos fácilmente sentirnos como el cordero, cuando los lobos gruñen a su alrededor. 

Pero eso está bien.  Son nuestros pecados los que nos han traído esto sobre nosotros.  Esto puede ayudarnos a reenfocar nuestros ojos.  Primero: el mensaje de Jesús es de Él, no nuestro.  No es algo que nosotros hacemos.  Dejados a nosotros mismos, dijo Juan, no podemos hacer nada.  Es un regalo que él nos hace. 

Nos pide que vayamos al corazón de su mensaje, y que no proclamemos nada más que a Cristo, y a él crucificado.  Él quiere que barramos todas las cosas periféricas e incidentales, y que veamos la sustancia, y que proclamemos la sustancia, y que nos aferremos a la sustancia. 

Este es el momento de soportar el choque, la vergüenza y el dolor de nuestro propio pecado.  Es el momento de inclinar la cabeza ante la profunda purificación que ahora nos llega.  Para poner nuestras caras como el pedernal, e ir a la siguiente ciudad: tal vez Él llegue allí hoy. 

 

‘Clay in the hands of the Lord’

Remembering Bishop Gerber

Bishop Eugene J. Gerber was six years a Bishop in Dodge City, twenty-five years a Bishop in Wichita, and seventeen years a Bishop-Emeritus also in Wichita: after almost forty-two years a Bishop, he returned on Saturday to the Father who made him, and the Son who called him, and the Spirit who shaped him. 

That’s the outside of the story, but there is an inside to the story as well.  Some of that inside concerns you, the priests and people of the Diocese of Dodge City.  He wasn’t the same man, you see, when you were through with him in 1982.

He came back to Wichita a changed man.  Those who knew him longest, those who knew him best … they saw it right away, even if they could not quite put their finger on it.  He was just … well … different.

Monsignor John Gilsenan came close to getting at it when he said Bishop Gerber was more reflective somehow, after all he had seen and heard and done in Dodge City. 

He did not rightly know what you did for him.  I do not know now what you did for him, or how you did it.  But you, priests and people of Dodge City, you broadened him, that I do know.  You deepened him.  You molded him into the man who was so widely loved in Wichita and all of southeast Kansas. 

He took delight in his people, the psalmist said.  You helped him treasure that line.  The delight never left him all the days of his life. 

Nor is it any wonder.  From you he learned how to bishop.  The way you responded to him helped deepen him even as he learned.  He hoped that you delighted in him half as much as he delighted in you. 

Because you belonged to the Lord, he came to belong to the Lord, and in ways that surprised him right up to his last days.  He was clay in the hands of the Lord to the very end, because the Lord made him clay in your hands at the very beginning.

 

‘Arcilla en las manos del Señor’

Mons. Eugene J. Gerber fue obispo de Dodge City durante seis años, veinticinco años obispo en Wichita y diecisiete años obispo emérito también en Wichita: Después de casi cuarenta y dos años de obispo, regresó el sábado al Padre que lo creó, al Hijo que lo llamó y al Espíritu que lo formó. 

Ese es el exterior de la historia, pero también hay un interior de la historia.  Parte de eso tiene que ver con ustedes, los sacerdotes y el pueblo de la Diócesis de Dodge City.  No era el mismo hombre, cuando terminó su vida con ustedes en 1982.

Regresó a Wichita cambiado.  Los que lo conocieron por más tiempo, los que lo conocieron mejor... lo vieron enseguida, incluso aunque no pudieran identificarlo.  Solo estaba... digamos... diferente.

Monseñor John Gilsenan estuvo cerca de entenderlo cuando dijo que Mons. Gerber estaba más reflexivo de alguna manera, después de todo lo que había visto, oído y hecho en Dodge City. 

Él no sabía exactamente lo que ustedes le habían hecho.  No sé ahora lo que hicieron por él, o cómo lo hicieron.  Pero ustedes, sacerdotes y pueblo de Dodge City, hicieron de él un hombre más grande, eso sí lo sé.  Lo profundizaron.  Lo transformaron en el hombre que era tan amado en Wichita y en todo el sureste de Kansas. 

Se deleitaba con su pueblo, dijo el salmista.  Ustedes lo ayudaron a apreciar ese versículo.  El deleite nunca le abandonó todos los días de su vida. 

Tampoco es de extrañar.  De ustedes aprendió a ser obispo.  La forma en que ustedes respondieron a él lo ayudó a profundizar incluso mientras aprendía.  Él esperaba que ustedes se deleitaron en él al menos la mitad de lo que él se deleitó en ustedes. 

Debido a que ustedes pertenecían al Señor, él vino a pertenecer al Señor, y de una manera que lo sorprendió hasta sus últimos días.  Él fue arcilla en las manos del Señor hasta el final, porque el Señor lo hizo arcilla en las manos de ustedes desde el principio.

Remembering Father Schoenmakers

 On 28 July, we marked the death of an early Jesuit missionary, Father John Schoenmakers.  He died in 1883, late on a Saturday afternoon, in Osage Mission, now known as St. Paul, Kansas.   

He was in the 76th year of age, the 50th year of his priesthood, the 49th year as a Jesuit, and the 36th year of his service in Kansas.  His place gave birth to my place, the home parish where I grew up.  My work brought me to live, for some months in his place, on the very spot where he founded his Mission.  I was drawn again and again to his grave in that tiny parish cemetery.  He fills that whole place still.

“There was nothing dynamic about the man, nor was he unusually gifted,” an historian said.  I am not an individual, he said in a letter to his Superiors, I am an institution.  The first was submerged in the last. 

Superior of the local community, manager of the Mission, spiritual Father to the Sisters of Loretto, doctor, postmaster, steward, lawyer, judge, catechist, preacher to the Native Americans, he submerged himself … effaced himself … in his work, rarely spending time in his own rooms, and rarely leaving the Mission compound.

His Jesuit Superiors were not always pleased with him.  They were forever reprimanding him about his spending, forever reminding him to stay within his budget, forever shaking their heads at his seeming inability to understand and to follow instructions.  Some members of the Mission community found him too driven, too exacting, and too apt to interfere in their own work, which perplexed and discouraged them. 

But the members of the Osage Tribe, they came to love him with a fierce loyalty.  They had only a living oral language, passed down from person to person, no written language.   And when they came to make their own word for “priest,” the sound they chose was Schouminka.  His name, his presence, his energy, his work … he was priest to them.  We should all be so lucky.

 

 

‘…Make us whole’

By the Most Rev. RONALD M. GILMORE
Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City

For nearly 50 years, we have been praying you never cease to gather a people to yourself (3rd Eucharistic Prayer).  That has been a comfort to us, a reminder of the end-to-end power of the Redemption, a hint of the invisible working of Grace. 

But in these 50 years of gathering, Mass attendance has all but fallen off the table.  Only 23 percent of us go to Mass weekly these days.  Seventy-seven percent of us Catholics cannot be bothered.  If three-fourths of the family doesn’t see being with the family as something important, then the family has almost ceased to be a family. 

He is gathering; we are ungathered.  There is something way wrong with this picture.  What “is” going on here?

I am not smart enough to know the answer.  My Faith is not deep enough, perhaps.   My Hope is not energetic enough.  My Love is not lively enough.  I know one thing only (as the old Wisdom writers used to say), only two things do I know.

I know a young man who could look upon the consecrated Host, raised on high in a long, dark, Basilica, and he could see all of Hebrew history contained in that slight round wafer.  He could see all of Christian history there too, and all of world history there too, and even all of his own personal history there as well.  The Consecrated Host was like a concave mirror to him, drawing all those things from wide corners into itself.  Could I but grasp what is in that host, he thought, I would know all I need to know.   

I know an old man who now spends his time with the disappointed, the disenchanted, the wounded, the hurting, and the weary, with those who come to a religious retreat, sometimes out of desperation.  There is in them a hunger to make sense of their motley lives.  Where did they come from, why have these hard things fallen upon them, where are they going?  They are driven to make sense of all this.  Their thoughts and their feelings seek a center.  They need that concave mirror. 

Despite all the bare Churches they have known, they are drawn still … somehow … to the Bread … the Bread of the Word, and the Bread of the Altar.  I know one thing only, only two things do I know.   O slight, mute, wafer: fill us now and make us whole. 

 

 

Bishop Emeritus Ronald M. Gilmore
Bishop Emeritus
Ronald M. Gilmore

Ordained & Installed
Bishop of Dodge City
July 16, 1998

 

Diocese of Dodge City


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