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Newly ordained priest hopes for return of stolen vestments

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, at 8:17 p.m.

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If the person who broke into the tan 2000 Mercury Sable station wagon near 13th and Maize Road on Feb. 16 feels a bit strange, it could be because people are praying for him … and for the return of the backpack he stole.

Inside the backpack was a young priest’s alb and cincture, the items he was wearing in December when he was ordained a priest in Rome.

“I had been preparing (to become a priest) for 17 years of my life,” said the Rev. Frederick Keiser, 30. “Now that I am starting to live it, I’m loving it. It was like a dream come true.

“The two items that I lost are an external symbol that I arrived. They were given to me by two good Italian friends I had made. I wanted to hang on and use them. … They were a symbol of all the hard work and memories I had.”

People are praying that Keiser’s white linen vestment and the cincture used to secure his waist be returned.

Linda and Fred Keiser, his stepmother and father, put an item in The Eagle’s Opinion Line on Sunday: “To whoever stole my son’s backpack from our car: That isn’t an ordinary white robe and rope. It is the alb and cincture he wore when he was ordained as a priest in Rome in December. Please return it to us somehow. It means a lot to him and us.”

Frederick Keiser said he was 11 when his mother died in an icy accident near Kingman in April 1994. She was on her way to pick him up at the airport.

He later graduated from a seminary in New Hampshire, part of his journey to the priesthood.

“Since then, I’ve been all around the world in becoming a priest,” he said Monday.

He leaves Tuesday for a three-year assignment in Chile. He will be away from home for at least two years.

Lt. Doug Nolte said Wichita police are investigating the theft, which occurred outside the family’s west Wichita home. If anyone has any information, they are encouraged to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111.

Linda Keiser said if the items are found, she will mail them to Frederick Keiser in Chile.

“We just want these to come back to us,” she said.

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.

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