Church law requires that the group of priests appointed to the College of Consultors meet to elect an administrator within eight days after a diocese becomes vacant through the death, resignation or transfer of the diocesan bishop. On June 3, Bishop George J. Lucas, who headed the Springfield diocese for more than nine years, was named the new head of the Archdiocese of Omaha. He was installed as archbishop July 22 at St. Cecilia Cathedral there.
As diocesan administrator, Msgr. Kemme has many of the powers and obligations of the diocesan bishop. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the diocese, and for maintaining the normal ministries and activities of the diocese until a new diocesan bishop is selected and installed. He must reside in the diocese for the duration of his administration.
“I am deeply humbled by the decision of the College of Consultors electing me as diocesan administrator,” Msgr. Kemme said. “I have worked closely with Bishop, now Archbishop Lucas over the last seven years and his appointment to Omaha is a great loss to the Springfield diocese. But I am confident, with the support of all our priests, deacons, and lay faithful, we can all look forward to the naming and installation of a new bishop. I will do my best to help the diocese prepare for this historic moment and to carry on the good work of the parishes, institutions and curia of this beloved diocese.”
Msgr. Kemme was ordained May 10, 1986, and was named Prelate of Honor to His Holiness (Monsignor) on Aug. 23, 2002. He was parochial vicar at St. Patrick in Decatur (1986-1989); Ss. Peter and Paul in Collinsville (1989-1990); and Blessed Sacrament in Springfield (1990-1992). He served as pastor at St. Mary in Brussels, St. Joseph in Meppen and St. Barbara in Batchtown (1992-1996) and Holy Family in Decatur (1996-2002) while also serving as parochial administrator at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit in Mt. Zion (1996-1997). He was dean of the Decatur Deanery from 2001 to 2002. In 2002, he was named vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Springfield diocese and became pastor of St. Peter in Petersburg. He has served as pastor of St. John Vianney in Sherman since 2005.
Members of the diocesan College of Consultors are: Father Joseph Carlos, OFM, (chair), Father David Hoefler, Msgr. Carl Kemme, Father William Kessler, Father Thomas Meyer, Father Joseph Ring, Father Richard Weltin and Father David Zimmerman.