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Praying for seminarian Brian Bergkamp: “He was never about himself”


Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/11/16

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The search continues for the body of the Wichita seminarian who was swept away while kayaking over the weekend, and friends are remembering a young man of great faith: 

As of Sunday, crews were still looking for the young man in the swollen waters of the Arkansas River. Bergkamp, 24, had been kayaking with four friends, a man and three women, Saturday morning on the Arkansas River when they hit churning water under the 21st Street Bridge. Police say one of the women fell into the water, and Bergkamp left his kayak to help her. The woman was able to reach safety, but the currents were too strong for Bergkamp, and he was swept under. Now, friends and family are gathering to grieve, pray and remember the man who they say always strove to imitate Christ. Jimmy Schibi got to know Bergkamp during the time they spent together in seminary. He called Bergkamp a “man of great faith.” “He was never about himself, always looking to do something for others, never thinking of himself,” Schibi said. “He was a really an inspiration to us in the seminary and really a man that you want to model yourself after.” Bergkamp, the son of Ned and Theresa Bergkamp, grew up in Garden Plain as one of seven children. He attended one year at Benedictine College before deciding to enter Conception College Seminary in Missouri and become a Catholic priest. He was in Wichita for the summer after completing his second year of a four-year program. Father Mike Simone, vocations director for the Diocese of Wichita, has known Bergkamp since the young man first came to him six years ago expressing an interest in joining the priesthood. “He is just an upstanding young man,” Simone said. “He’s a kind of quiet, behind-the-scenes type of guy, with a wonderful sense of humor, and always has a bright smile, as you can see in his picture on our website.” Haberly worked side by side with Bergkamp at the Lord’s Diner. She said she couldn’t stress enough how special Bergkamp was. She recalled his intentionality, compassion and dedication to those around him.
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