June 4, 2015
Dear Parishioners of St. John parish in Clonmel,
I have asked Father Jarrod to share this important letter with you as it pertains to the pastoral leadership of the parish.
As you no doubt already know, I appointed the Reverend Andy Kuykendall to be the pastor of St. John replacing Father Jarrod. After considerable discernment and consultation and with the agreement of Father Andy, I have decided to rescind this appointment. The sole reason for this decision is the recognition that it would be best for Father Andy to remain where he is, in residence at the Priest’s Retirement Center and in service as Chaplain to the Catholic Care Center. He was very open to coming to St. John and in fact was looking forward to returning to parish ministry, but in the end, he concluded that the Diocese would be better served if he would remain in the ministry of pastoral care to the residents at Catholic Care Center. This would also support his ongoing efforts to improve his health concerning which he has made significant progress. I would like to thank Father Andy publicly for helping me make this decision by being very open to what the Holy Spirit was telling us.
Making this decision however places me in a somewhat challenging situation of providing pastoral leadership to St. John Parish, given the limited number of priests available at this time. With that said, I have put in place a way of providing pastoral leadership here that will require your cooperation and understanding. I have asked Father Bernie Gorges, the pastor of St. Peter in Schulte to serve also as your pastor. He has agreed to accept these additional responsibilities. I have also asked Father Tom Hoisington, whom I just appointed as Chaplain to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters of Wichita, to assist Father Bernie in the pastoral care of the both St. John and St. Peter. Father Hoisington will live in the rectory of St. John, not as pastor, but as priest in residence and in service to Father Bernie. Both will rotate in the Mass schedule and be in service to both parishes as they work together.
I cannot be certain how you receive this news, but I want to assure you that I have made these decisions with the best of intentions, keeping in mind many factors. Some may conclude that I am demoting the parish, which is the farthest thing from the truth. St. John’s is still a parish in its own right and has not become a mission parish. I have no intentions of closing the parish, which may be a fear of others. That also is incorrect. I am simply trying to put in place for now what I hope will provide adequate pastoral care of this parish. As we move forward, I will be monitoring this situation and will remain open to whatever directions seem clear by the grace of the Holy Spirit and the wise counsel of our people. I would ask that you welcome Father Bernie and Father Tom as your parish priests.
Please know of my prayers for you during the difficult time of transition. I would humbly ask your prayers for me as I remain,
Your humble servant,
Bishop Carl A. Kemme