06/25/13Father William Kummer will be leaving Plymouth after serving St. Michael Catholic Church and School for nearly eleven years. His final mass at St. Michael will be on July 14 (except morning of July 16,) or 11 years and fifty weeks since he first came to the church. He has been appointed by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades to fill an unexpected vacancy at St. Joseph Catholic Church-Hessen Cassel in Ft. Wayne.
Father Kummer said, “Bishop Rhoades wanted me to start at St. Joseph on July 16 to coincide with the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.” He said he will be holding a very early mass in Plymouth on July 16 before heading to Ft. Wayne. The membership at St. Michael is 1,100 or some 3, 700 people, according to Father Kummer; however, St. Joseph has a membership of only 400 that translates in about 1,200 individuals.
The move to Ft. Wayne is somewhat of a homecoming for Father Kummer. He was born and raised in Ft. Wayne where he attended the former St. Peter Elementary School before going to the Wawasee Preparatory School. He said, “My siblings have long since left Ft. Wayne, but my sister lives in the Pierceton/Larwill area. Now she is 35 or so minutes east of me and when I move to Ft. Wayne, she will be 35 minutes west of me.”
This will mark the fifth location for Father Kummer since he was ordained 38 years ago in May, 1975. He is a Diocesan priest which means that he serves the South Bend-Ft. Wayne Diocese.
Father Kummer said he had several reactions to hearing of the new appointment only two weeks ago. He said, “At first, I was surprised; then second, shocked; and lastly, had some sadness.” He added, “Going isn’t bad, but leaving can tear your heart out.”
He said jokingly, “I hope I’m not totally forgotten by October. I really hope to be invited to parish activities.” He also hopes to keep his friends and associates in the Plymouth area. He said, “They are God’s gift to me-and I never want to lose it.” He said he believes that his role should be to be involved in the community and lists his membership in the local 741 Moose, Marshall County Ministerial Alliance, the Kiwanis Club, and the Marshall County Historical Society as some of his interests. He is also well known for his competitive bridge playing with a local group.
Father Kummer said he is glad that the transfer comes during summer vacation for the students at St Michael Catholic School. He said, “There is nothing that compares with their commotions and smiles-and it would be difficult to look into their eyes and say goodbye.” He said he believes that a school is a tool and an expression of the church for generations. “The school is a ministry of this parish.” Father Kummer said.
Diocesan Secretary for Communications, Sean McBride, said, “We are very grateful for Father Kummer accepting this position. We know it will be a challenge.” He added, “We know some folks will be upset to lose Father Kummer at St. Michael as he is a beloved priest. “ “We ask that people pray for him upon his departure.” McBride said a new priest has been chosen for St. Michael and will be named this Sunday.
Father Kummer said he had to tell those in attendance at masses this past weekend that he is leaving Plymouth. He said he expressed his love for them saying, “You’ve been my families and my friends.”