U.S. Catholics Learning of Lebanese Hermit Saint
Relics Make Stop at Holy Cross in Batavia During Tour
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
August 17, 2017

BATAVIA—The relics of St. Sharbel Makhlouf from Lebanon were on display at Holy Cross Parish, here, on Aug. 5 and remained in the church for nearly 24 hours.

The relics were honored with prayer by those who venerate this saint and others who have now become more aware of St. Sharbel — also known as St. Charbel — and his humility, powerful miracles and relevance i... Read More

August 17, 2017

The Rev. Manuel F. Forero — to be Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish, Aurora, Illinois, effective Monday, Aug. 28, 2017.
 

The Rev. Alexander Matabajoy — to be Parochial Vicar of St. Joseph Parish, Elgin, Illinois, effective Monday, Aug. 28, 2017.

Given at the Chancery, Aug. 11, 2017

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
August 17, 2017

ROCKFORD—It was a morning to “celebrate, to learn from, and to appreciate” all that St. Clare brought to the world, said Bishop David Malloy who celebrated the saint’s feast day with Mass at the Poor Clares monastery chapel on Aug. 11.

Noting that St. Clare died that day “764 years ago,” the bishop said that she was not lost to them, but “... Read More

By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
August 17, 2017

ROCKFORD—Many hands, hearts and intentions were lifted in prayer at the Patriotic Living Rosary held Aug. 13 at Holy Family Parish, here.

A collaborative effort of the Rockford Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, the Rockford Deanery Council of Catholic Women and the Holy Family Women’s Guild, this year’s event focused on a patriotic theme rather than the interna... Read More

New Address, Bright Setting for OSF Nursing Students
Nursing College Opens on Campus of Rock Valley Community College in Time for Fall Semester
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
August 17, 2017

ROCKFORD—St. Anthony College of Nursing (SACN) has a new main campus and address: 3301 N. Mulford Road.

Located in the northeastern part of Rock Valley College, SACN occupies part of the third and all of the fourth floors of RVC’s brand new health sciences building.

The third floor has office space for faculty and administration while the fourth floor has a ... Read More

August 17, 2017

ROCKFORD—For the 16th year, Hope for Haitians is hosting the Evening in the Tropics dinner. It will be  Aug. 26, 6-9 p.m. at Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Road, in Rockford.  

The goal is to provide 60 families with a new home where they can live securely and in dignity, no longer fearing  the weather or other natural disasters. Learn about the 14th vil... Read More

August 17, 2017

SHANNON—The 15th annual Blue Mass honoring first responders will be held on Sept. 11, here.

Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. with the raising of a flag over Illinois Rte. 72 (Market Street) in downtown Shannon.

Fire trucks from a variety of locations will arrive later in the day to line the street. First responders from as far away as Iowa are expected to attend.<... Read More

By Penny Wiegert, Editor
August 10, 2017

DIOCESE—This year marks the 100th anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin Mary at Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal, to  three young children, Lucia Santos and her two cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
To celebrate what Pope John Paul II called “the most prophetic of modern apparitions,” Bishop David Malloy has issued a public invitation to all Catholics ... Read More

August 10, 2017

Steven Baldwin, Superintendent, Marian Central Catholic High School, Woodstock

Steven Baldwin is the new superintendent of Marian Central Catholic High School.

He comes to Marian after serving as the president and CEO of Guerin College Preparatory High School since August of 2012 and as an adjunct faculty member of Robert Morris University in Chi... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
August 10, 2017

ROCKFORD—The annual Sunday Mass at Festa Italiana welcomed dozens of people on a bright and cooler-than-usual morning, Aug. 6, the feast of the Transfiguration, to Boylan Central Catholic High School grounds just west of its athletic track.

A choir composed of mostly Holy Family Parish musicians continued their tradition of providing music at the Mass.

The Mass wa... Read More

August 10, 2017

DIOCESE—Denise Dobrowolski is now the director of Charitable Giving for the Rockford Diocese.

She comes to the position after beginning work at the diocese in 2008. She has worked for several departments including first as a web design and content specialist for the Education Office, developing the department’s previous website.

She then worked as business m... Read More

August 9, 2017

Young Observer -- Pro says his strength comes from his faith

St. Edward hosts summer fest

SCY (Catholith Youth Youth) take stage at Mary Fest in Freeport

Dominican Sisters need women to volunteer as reading tutors

Catholics on Guam pray for peace amid threats by North Korea

Wisconsin coalition direcgtor dies at 77

Bishop attends ICE meeting for mother of ill child

Catholic Relief Services film about orphanages

China. Vatican work on bishop appointments

Israeli archaeologists think they found lost Roman city of Julias

Pope tells Belgiam Brothers of Charity no more euthanasia for patients

Responding to priests, Vatican investigates Indonesian bishop

Sister Teresa Maya, new LCWR president, brings bicultural views to role

Pope expected to visit Myanmar in lat November

 

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’
Catholic Parishes Helping Others Adjust To Home in Different Part of Rockford
By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
August 3, 2017

ROCKFORD—Mr. Rogers, the late public television children’s show host, isn’t the only person of faith to ask, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Faith in action is also apparent in the “Family 2 Family” program, an outreach effort of Rockford churches, for residents of The Grove at Keith Creek.

The Grove is a new Rockford Housing ... Read More

Financial Director Retires After 34 Years with Diocese
CFO Leaves Diocese in Good Shape and Good Hands …
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
August 3, 2017

DIOCESE—Keeping track of the bottom line is never easy and sometimes it isn’t popular. That’s the life of an accountant.

Sometimes the accountants have to look beyond the bottom line and analyze what is fair and just. It is difficult work.

And if you ask long-time diocesan employees they will say Dr. Wayne Lenell did what was fair and just and they wer... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
July 27, 2017

ROCKFORD—“My attitude was, ‘Why not?’ ” said first time First Call camper Declan Barth, a sophomore at Marmion Academy in Aurora and parishioner at Holy Cross in Batavia.

He and about 20 other campers were  lunching on July 24 after a morning that included Mass, a talk, small group sharing, and an obstacle course followed by daytime prayer... Read More

By Sharon Boehlefeld, Features Editor
July 27, 2017

DIOCESE— Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson and Whiteside counties joined McHenry and Kane counties on Illinois’ list of flood disaster areas on Monday.

Most diocesan churches, as far as The Observer has been able to learn as of press time Tuesday, have been spared from damage.

Algonquin was among the first cities to declare a flood emergency on July... Read More

July 27, 2017

CHICAGO—Father John Peter Grigus, OFM Conv., 65, died Friday, July 21, 2017 at Felician Sisters Convent in Chicago. He was born May 17, 1952, in Poland.

He earned a bachelor’s degree at Oblate College in Washington, D.C.,  and received master’s of Divinity at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago in 1988.

Father John professed his first vows on Au... Read More

July 20, 2017

Everyone is welcome to take part in the 28th annual summer living rosary at 3 p.m. Aug. 13 inside Holy Family Parish, 4401 Highcrest Road in Rockford.

Founding sponsors, the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and the Rockford Deanery CCW are joined this year by the Holy Family Women’s Guild and Holy Family Legion of Mary.  

Lay volunteers are needed to lead t... Read More

July 20, 2017

ROCKFORD—Margo Jean Shifo, 65, long-time education leader in the Rockford Diocese, died July 11, 2017, at Serenity Home and Hospice in Oregon.

She had faced a long illness with dignity, grace and courage.

She was born April 23, 1952, in Rockford, the daughter of Frank and Margaret (Salamone) Shifo.

Shifo graduated from Rockford East High School in 1970 ... Read More

July 20, 2017

AURORA—Father Basil Yender, OSB, 74, a Benedictine monk of Marmion Abbey, here, died July 16, 2017, after suffering a long illness.

Father Basil was born on June 8, 1943, and was baptized Ronald at St. Brendan Church in Chicago. After attending St. Dorothy Church grade school in Chicago, he attended Marmion Military Academy in Aurora, and graduated in 1961.

He ent... Read More

July 20, 2017

Sisters of Providence

60-years

Sister Janet Gilligan

Sister Janet (Sister Janet Marie) Gilligan celebrates 60 years as a Sister of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., this year.

She entered the Congregation on Jan. 7, 1957, from St. Leo, Chicago. She professed final vows on Aug. 15, 196... Read More

Convocation Asks ‘Where Are We?’
Bishop, Others from Rockford Diocese Attend Florida Church Gathering
July 13, 2017

ROCKFORD—Bishop David Malloy and Msgr. Glenn Nelson, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, were among travelers to Florida for the “Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America.”

The July 1-4 meeting (see story on page 1) was called by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“The gathering was convened to allow ... Read More

July 6, 2017

ROCKFORD—A roomful of refugee families, volunteers, diocesan staff and dignitaries including the Rockford mayor, Winnebago County sheriff and two staffers from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops gathered June 20 at  St. James Parish Hall for a potluck dinner to celebrate World Refugee Day.

Refugee Resettlement Services, a mission of Catholic Charities in t... Read More

By Penny Wiegert, Editor
July 6, 2017

AURORA—The Faith Forward strategic plan for Catholic schools has spawned a lot of thinking, discussion, ideas and many meetings.

One such meeting was held in  mid-June at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish where pastors, principals, school commission members and financial leaders came together to discuss what they know from the findings of the strategic plan study and to c... Read More

July 6, 2017

WOODSTOCK—Families in the Woodstock area are needed to host students from China who will be attending Marian Central Catholic High School.

The school has partnered with a non-profit organization, the IPERC Foundation, to expand interactions with students and educators from China.

The goal is to share the cultures of each country in an effort to develop global lear... Read More

July 6, 2017

DIOCESE—The Observer staff won eight awards, including a first place for the diocesan directory and a second for newspaper of the year from among 2,688 submissions in 338 categories in the Catholic Press Association contest.

The awards were announced  during a banquet at the Catholic Media Conference in Quebec City, Canada, June 23.

The diocesan directory, wh... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
July 6, 2017

ROCKFORD—“Start by being generous ... to whatever Jesus calls you to,” Bishop David Malloy told 21 young campers on June 21 during the ending Mass at the Jeremiah Days Vocations Camp at Bishop Lane Retreat Center.

The bishop also encouraged the young men to continue to grow and mature, trusting that God “will give you the grace, the help” to discern t... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
July 6, 2017

AURORA—On June 16, eight campers enjoyed a Fantastic Friday at Abbey Farms, here.

Held on the grounds of Marmion Abbey, this second summer of kids’ activities featured an expanded schedule of Monday-Thursday camps during the last three weeks of June, each with different, age-appropriate themes.

The new Fantastic Fridays for kindergarteners through fifth-grad... Read More

By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
June 22, 2017

AURORA—Another version of the traditional Sacred Heart Parish Festival of Music and Food was “a Catholic and social event” said Bishop David Malloy, June 18.

“It was an opportunity to honor fathers, something very important now-a-days that also helps us strengthen families, particularly Catholic Hispanic families, “ he said to the crowd at RiverEdge p... Read More

June 22, 2017

DIOCESE—Five openings exist on the Diocesan Pastoral Council, one each for a lay representative from the Aurora, DeKalb, Elgin, McHenry and Sterling Deanery.

The council addresses matters of pastoral concern that Bishop David Malloy raises.

He may also invite the council itself to raise matters of pastoral concern that may be forwarded to the Presbyteral Council t... Read More

June 22, 2017

With five vacancies on the Diocesan Pastoral Council (see story above), recently retired member Cindy Augustine, who is a parishioner at Holy Cross in  Batavia and represented the Aurora Deanery agreed to talk about why she served.

“I was prompted to seek participation in the DPC as I had been actively involved in various ministries on a parish level and had a strong de... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 15, 2017

ELBURN—As she passed out programs at the June 11 dedication of the new St. Gall Church and altar, St. Gall parishioner Donna Shoop was all smiles.

Explaining that the stained glass windows had come from the old church, she said, “You go in and sit down, and it’s just like home.”

Shoop’s smile widened as she added, “We brought everythi... Read More

June 15, 2017

AURORA—The director and volunteers from the Dominican Literacy Center, here, are teaching free U.S. citizenship classes from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays at Santori Aurora Public Library, 101 S. River St.

The eight-class sessions will continue June 14, 21, 28, July 5 and July 12.

About 30 students attended the initial class May 24.

Classes are designed to pre... Read More

June 15, 2017

CRYSTAL LAKE—Four parishioners from St. Thomas the Apostle Church visited Louverture Cleary School (LCS), a tuition-free, Catholic, secondary, co-ed boarding school in Haiti, April 18-21.

Prior to the visit, Dawn Ahsmann, Kim Perhats, Tammy Kise and Tom Jackson participated in four months of education about poverty in Haiti, Catholic social teaching, and the mission and char... Read More

By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
June 8, 2017

ROCKFORD—Ministering to the poor while growing spiritually are just two of the many blessings connected with the outreach of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

So learned about 50 people from Rockford area parishes at an Ozanam Orientation, June 3. Named after Frederic Ozanam who began the St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Society in France in 1833, the orientation aims to familiariz... Read More

June 8, 2017

MENDOTA—Father Edward R. Hughes died June 3, 2017, at Heritage House, here, after a long illness. He was 83 years old.

Father Hughes was born in Chicago on January 19, 1934, to Edward J. and Irene (Rowland) Hughes.

He attended Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago before entering St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland. He was ordained to the priesth... Read More

June 8, 2017

The Observer salutes priests and religious jubilarians with six pages of bio's and photos in this week's issue (6-9-17)

60 years
Father Hilary Fischer, MSC
Father John Kraemer
Father Edward Gillespie

50 years
Father John Heraty
Father Charles Reichenbacher, OSB
Father... Read More

Simple Memorial, Profound Ministry
Somonauk Parish Remembers Unborn
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 1, 2017

SOMONAUK—The idea came from diocesan representatives at a cemeteries meeting where they discussed dedicating a section in parish cemeteries in memory of preborn children who had died through miscarriage or abortion.

That idea “spoke to the hearts” of several parishioners at St. John the Baptist Parish, here, said an information sheet handed out at the May 24 dedi... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 1, 2017

WINNEBAGO—There was a purpose to the presence of Dennis and Pauline L’Heureux at the Memorial Day Mass celebrated by Bishop David Malloy at Calvary Cemetery on May 29.

They have two sons in the military, both of whom are staff sergeants. The son who that day was leaving for Germany, Dennis says, has lost some of the soldiers under his command, and both have lost friend... Read More

June 1, 2017

Minh Nguyen, an eighth-grader at St. Charles Borromeo School in Hampshire, holds his trophy from the 2017 Kane County spelling bee hosted by the Kane County Regional Office of Education.

Minh took part in the Scripps National Spelling Bee May 28-June 4 in Washington D.C. His final standing was unavailable at press time.

He is the son of Thao and Cao Nguyen and is keepin... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 25, 2017

ROCKFORD—Jhonatan Steven Sarmiento Sierra, known in the diocese as Jhonatan Sarmiento, was ordained to the transitional diaconate on May 20, at the Cathedral of St. Peter by Bishop David Malloy.

He is the only one in his class — scheduled for ordination to the priesthood for the Diocese of Rockford in 2018. Additionally, he currently is the only Hispanic seminarian for... Read More

By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
May 25, 2017

AURORA— St Rita of Cascia, here, celebrated 90 years amid a variety of cultures.

“One characteristic of the parish is diversity,” said Father Oscar Cortes, parochial administrator. “We have people from different countries such as Poland, Nigeria, Philippines, Vietnam, Latinos and (we have) Anglos. Having  a big diversity of cultures is not an obstacle.... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 18, 2017

ROCKFORD—If the May 13 ordination date seemed a bit early this year, it was.

“Originally, it was scheduled for a different day,” the new-Father Robert Gonnella says. “However, we asked it to be moved because of the anniversary of Our Lady.”

He and Father Colin Easton blessed lines of well-wishers at the luncheon following their ordination t... Read More

May 18, 2017

DIOCESE—Appointments announced by the chancery May 5 included several priests who are becoming pastors in the Rockford Diocese. They are: Father Burt Absalon, Father Jonathan Bakkelund, Father Steven Clarke, Father Christopher DiTomo, Father Antoni Kretowicz, Father Bernard Sehr, Father Zdzislaw Francis Wawryszuk and Father Slawomir Zimodro.       &nb... Read More

May 18, 2017

DIOCESE—Five priests will retire at the beginning of June. They are:                   
 

Msgr. Eric Barr

Msgr. Eric Barr, S.T.L., retires effective June 1.

Born in Prairie du Chen, Wis.... Read More

By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
May 18, 2017

PROPHETSTOWN—Cooperation, dedication, and a welcoming spirit make a parish great, say members of the century-old St. Catherine Parish, here.

On May 6, Bishop David Malloy, pastor Father Zdzislaw Francis Wawryszuk, and several other priests and deacons, began the parish’s 100th anniversary celebrations.

Mass was first held in Pro-phetstown as early as the 170... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 18, 2017

ROCKFORD—A mixture of new and experienced leaders were installed at the annual Mass for Peace sponsored by the Catholic Women’s League and held at Corpus Christi Monastery the morning of May 10.

Bishop David Malloy served as main celebrant at the Mass, and spoke in his homily about the early Church described in the first reading, and how its work back then continues to... Read More

May 18, 2017

HUNTLEY—Father Dave Pivonka, TOR, a Franciscan priest who now works nearly full-time in a ministry of evangelization, has spent considerable time working at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.

He was the featured speaker at the Catholic Charismatic Day of Renewal, April 22, his first visit to the Rockford Diocese. The event was sponsored by the Diocesan Office of Ca... Read More

By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
May 18, 2017

ST. CHARLES—After nearly 15 months of planning, and with engines at full speed since last December, St. Patrick downtown church here is now rededicated and blessed.

“Behind the scenes,” said Msgr. Stephen Knox, pastor,    people working on electrical and sound systems, pews and flooring, sanctuary, altar, ambo, tabernacle, and other projects have g... Read More

May 11, 2017

The Observer presents a 20 page tribute to Bishop David j. Malloy's first five years as leader of the Catholic Diocese of Rockford.

By Observer Staff
May 11, 2017

EAST DUBUQUE—In January of this year, parents of St. Mary School students here were presented with grim realities  forcing a decision to close their school.

After that meeting and a passionate outcry from parents and area Catholics, Father Dean Smith, pastor of St. Mary’s and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary P... Read More

May 11, 2017

The Rev. Msgr. Eric R. Barr, S.T.L. — to retire for health reasons with the permission of The Most Rev. Bishop, effective Thursday, June 1, 2017.

The Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Sweeney, J.C.B. — Pastor of St. Mary Parish, Pecatonica, Illinois and Secretary for Administrative Processes for the Diocesan Tribunal, to retire with the permission ... Read More

May 11, 2017

Rev. Mr. Colin Easton

Rev. Mr. Colin Easton was raised as a Catholic in St. Bridget Parish in Loves Park. His parents, Michael (a retired state police officer) and Amy (a college nursing instructor), taught him the importance of fidelity, devotion, integrity, generosity and sacrifice.

His parents supported him... Read More

May 11, 2017

ROCKFORD—Deacon Ronald Magee died on April 27, surrounded by his family after a battle with cancer.

Born March 24, 1936, in Belvidere to Clarence and Marie (Moberg) Magee, he married Rosemary Altendorf in 1978 in Rockford.

He attended Genoa High School and graduated in 1988 from Rock Valley College with a degree in computer programing. He was employed at Rockford ... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 4, 2017

ROCKFORD—The theme of the 31st annual Caritas luncheon on April 26 — “Laughter ... the sound of children” — was illustrated by a small group of enthusiastic singers from the St. Elizabeth Catholic

Community Center preschool who opened the program.

The event is sponsored by the Catholic Charities Auxiliary to raise funds for projects that be... Read More

May 4, 2017

The Rev. Ruben Herrera — to be Parochial Administrator of St. Patrick Parish, Rochelle, Illinois, effective Saturday, April 29, 2017.
Given at the Chancery, April 26, 2017

May 4, 2017

ST. CHARLES—The 2017 North Central Region Meeting of the St. Vincent de Paul Society will be June 22–24, here.

The theme is “Hearts and Hands in God’s Service.”

A welcome retreat will be 3:30-5:30 p.m., followed by the opening Mass, which will be at 6:30 p.m. on June 22 at  St. John Neumann Parish, 2900 E. Main St., St. Charles

Read More
May 4, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), needs 50 volunteer runners to join its charity team in this year’s Army Ten-Miler on Oct. 8 in Washington, D.C.

The Archdiocese is counting on Team AMS to raise $60,000 in charitable donations to support vocations, evangelization, and other religious programs for Catholic families in the United Stat... Read More

May 4, 2017

DEKALB—Newman Catholic Student Center, 512 Normal Road, here, will kick off its finals week schedule on May 5 with a Reading Day BBQ from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the Student Ministry Team, it will be held downstairs in the Ahles Room and patio. Those who are able, are asked to bring a dish to pass.There will also be volleyball, bags, basketball and more to help colleg... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 27, 2017

DIOCESE—The 2017 Diocesan Appeal will be announced this weekend of April 29-30 at Masses across the Diocese of Rockford.

The pledge weekend is set for May 6-7. This year’s theme is: “The Lord is With Us.”

What is the Diocesan Appeal? It is an annual call to Catholics in the diocese to support the work of the diocese beyond and in support of indiv... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 27, 2017

ROCKFORD—Changes are coming to the Department of Educational Services for the Diocese of Rockford.

Margo Shifo has retired as assistant superintendent for curriculum, assessment and school recognition. She will be replaced by Vito DeFrisco.

Elizabeth Heitkamp has accepted the new post of assistant superintendent of schools in charge of professional development, tr... Read More

April 27, 2017

ST. CHARLES—Students at St. Patrick School, here, were invited to imagine various possibilities for their future beginning at an all-school Mass on the parish feast day celebrating St. Patrick, March 17.

That future might include religious life, as one St. Patrick graduate, Sister Anna Joseph VanAker, explained after the Mass.

Earlier when commenting on the Gospel... Read More

By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
April 27, 2017

BATAVIA—Ava Georgia Olson, 9, a student at Holy Cross School here, loves sports and is a big fan of the Chicago Cubs.

She and her mother Jodi, her father Ken, and brother Max, 11, enjoyed the thrill of the team’s first World Series Championship since 1908.

But the day after their team’s victory last Nov. 3, Ava’s life — but not her fighting... Read More

By Penny Wiegert, Editor
April 27, 2017

DIOCESE—The Faith Forward Strategic Plan for Catholic Schools in the Rockford Diocese will soon move into its next phase and that is to form smaller study groups in key areas of the diocese.
So far meetings with parents, pastors and educators have been held in Aurora, Elgin, McHenry and Rockford.

During those meetings, data gathered by the Meitler consultant group of... Read More

By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
April 27, 2017

 DEKALB—In God they trust — for good planting and growing weather, for a fine harvest, and for all the many elements needed to make hundreds of barrels of rye whiskey, corn bourbon and vodka each year, say the father and son farming team at Whiskey Acres Distillery Co.

They know that faith is a requirement for this job.

“It absolutely is,” s... Read More

April 27, 2017

AURORA—Three age-specific classes and Farmtastic Fridays are open for registration at Abbey Farms, 2855 Hart Road, here.

Farmtastic Friday is open to all children, kindergarten through fifth grade, 9-11:30 a.m. From the Jumping Pillow and Zipline to the MegaDrop Slide and Tractor Tire Mountain, there is fun to enjoy around every corner.

Registration is $20 per chi... Read More

April 27, 2017

ROCKFORD—Chris Rozanski will be the next principal at Boylan Central Catholic High School, here, beginning his new role this summer. He is a former Boylan assistant principal and teacher.
School President Amy Ott made the announcement during a brief press conference April 25 at Boylan.

Rozanski replaces Jerry Kerrigan who has served as principal for the past four yea... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 27, 2017

AURORA—After an all-school Mass on March 29, Bishop David Malloy shook everyone’s hand before walking over to the school to bless its new STEM lab classrooms.

The lab, made of two classrooms, was completed over the summer. Students in all grades have created a variety of things from paintbrushes to shelters made from newspapers, and solved problems such as what to do t... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 20, 2017

ROCKFORD—The annual Chrism Mass was held on Holy Thursday, April 13, at the Cathedral of St. Peter.

It welcomed people from throughout the Diocese of Rockford who represented their respective parishes and other Catholic entities to receive the holy oils to be used throughout the coming year.

In his homily, Bishop David Malloy told of a mute Parisian janitor played... Read More

April 20, 2017

AURORA—Beginning at Sacred Heart Parish and ending at St. Nicholas Parish, the Stations of the Cross were reenacted in what has become an annual Good Friday event, here.

The crowds of people who followed along increased at each station. Participating parishes included: St. Joseph, Sacred Heart, St. Rita of Cascia, St. Therese of Jesus, St. Peter, St. Mary, Our Lady of Good C... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 20, 2017

ROCKFORD—Following his morning Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter, Bishop David Malloy again brought Easter Sunday Mass to Winnebago County Jail inmates along with a message of hope — and a couple of assignments for attendees.

“I know most of you have Bibles,” he said, encouraging the men to read during the coming Easter week all four Gospel accounts of the... Read More

By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
April 20, 2017

ROCKFORD—People wanting to deepen their faith this Lent had a rare opportunity March 29.

More than 75 people visited the Poor Clare Colettines Corpus Christi Monastery for a chapel tour and slide presentation by Mother Abbess Maria Dominica Stein.

The event was part of “Engaging Lent,” a six week lecture series sponsored by Rockford Urban Ministries.... Read More

April 13, 2017

DIOCESE—“I think it’s fabulous,” said one parishioner, who was among a stream of penitents at St. Patrick Church in Rochelle, after receiving the sacrament of reconciliation on Be Reconciled Day, April 5.

The special day gives people an extra push, she said. “It’s good to have a day set aside to go to confession. I heard Bishop Malloy on the rad... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 13, 2017

ROCKFORD—Palm Sunday, April 9, brought the pageantry of palms to the start of Holy Week.

At the well-decorated Cathedral of St. Peter, Bishop David Malloy celebrated the 7:30 a.m. Mass. “Each year when we read the Passion, we’re reminded ... in a fundamental element (that faith) is not for the fainthearted,” he said.

The Passion of Jesus has all ... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 13, 2017

MCHENRY—On March 21, images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary were enthroned at Montini Middle School, here, following an all-school Mass celebrated at St. Mary Parish by its pastor, Father David Austin.

Father Austin spoke of the enthronement of the two images as a matter of giving them “a special place, a special home” in the school.... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 6, 2017

DIOCESE—About 50 people from the Diocese of Rockford joined 50 others from the dioceses of Springfield and Belleville on March 29 to encourage their state representatives to vote no on House Bill 40.

“If passed, the bill will allow for public funding of abortions, coverage for abortions in state health plans, (and) funding of organizations that perform abortions, like ... Read More

By Penny Wiegert, Editor
April 6, 2017

ELGIN—Parents from Elgin area Catholic schools gathered April 3 at St. Edward  Central Catholic High School to learn about the key findings and data, gain insights, and share feedback about the next steps in the Faith Forward Strategic planning process for diocesan Catholic schools.

Parents and parishioners of St. Joseph, St. Laurence and St. Mary met with Michael Kagan... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 6, 2017

SPRINGFIELD—Cathy Weightman-Moore, director of the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program for Catholic Charities, received the Culture Change Champion award from the Illinois Pioneer Coalition in March.

She was honored for her ongoing efforts to promote best practices at long-term care facilities.

Weightman-Moore has worked for Catholic Charities since 1985 and became h... Read More

April 6, 2017

AKRON, Ohio—“Chosen (Custody of the Eyes)” will make its debut appearance April 9 at the Athens International Film and Video Festival in Athens, Ohio, as a competition feature. “Chosen” was selected from 2,000 submissions.

The film is one of the outcomes of a 12-year collaboration between the cloistered Poor Clare Colettines of Rockford and Abbie Rees... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 6, 2017

By Amanda Hudson
News Editor
ALGONQUIN—Bishop David Malloy was honored by the Rockford Diocesan Council of Catholic Women on March 22 during a luncheon at the Golf Club of Illinois in Algonquin.

The DCCW holds the event every other year at various locations throughout the diocese.

Bishop Malloy spoke after the meal about the challenge to find volun... Read More

March 23, 2017

The Rev. Ronnie B. Custorio, OSA — to be Parochial Vicar at St. Nicholas Parish, Aurora, Illinois, effective Saturday, April 1, 2017
Given at the Chancery,
March 14, 2017.

March 23, 2017

Guide to Confession
The sacrament of penance, or confession, brings about a change of heart through God’s mercy and forgiveness. Experience the Lord’s compassion through the sacrament of penance, which is made up of the following parts:

Before Confession

How to Make a Good Confession

Confe... Read More

March 23, 2017

MCHENRY—In January, 14 ImaBridge team members made the organization’s 12th mission trip to Nigeria.

The charitable organization based in the Rockford Diocese (see box, below right) delivered supplies and visited several Nigerian villages to fulfill its mission of providing health, education, clean water and improving the economy in rural areas.

Read More
March 23, 2017

DIOCESE­—On Ash Wed-nesday, third grade students at St. Andrew School in Rock Falls decorated their paper hearts for the Heart to Heart program sponsored by The Junior Observer and the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women.

During Lent, the students have been praying, making sacrifices, and donating money for school supplies for the children in the Diocese of Chulucanas in ... Read More

March 23, 2017

ROCKFORD—Boylan Central Catholic High School senior Bridget Bishop has been named an Honorable Mention recipient to the 24th Annual IHSA All-State Academic Team.

The IHSA received nearly 475 nominations from member schools this year.

Bishop was one of 50 who were selected for honorable mention.

Nominees must possess a minimum GPA of 3.50 on a 4.0 scale ... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 16, 2017

ST. CHARLES—Chase Hilgenbrinck was 25-years-old when he reached what he saw as the Michael Jordan pinnacle of success. His Chilean soccer team had won the national championship.  

Chile takes soccer seriously, he told a good-sized crowd of parents and sports-loving students on March 5. It was the final event of the annual “Here I Am Lord” vocations conferenc... Read More

By Penny Wiegert, Editor
March 16, 2017

ROCKFORD—About 170 parents gathered at Boylan Central Catholic High School here, March 8, for a meeting about specific data gathered as part of the Faith Forward strategic planning process for Catholic schools in the diocese.

The data shared by Tom Heding of the Meitler Consultants was specific to the Catholic schools at the Cathedral of St. Peter, St. Bernadette and St. Jam... Read More

By Elizabeth Palmer, Observer Correspondent
March 16, 2017

What is it?

815Catholic is a group of young adults seeking to foster a community of individuals in which they can grow together in faith and fellowship.

815Catholic does not push a program, or a “cookie-cutter” model of what it means to be Catholic or some new Christian clique.

“We simply want to live life to the fullest (Jo... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 9, 2017

DIOCESE—The 2016 International Appeal is coming to parishes this weekend, March 11-12.

This combined collection brings together several efforts that assist the Catholic Church around the world as well as in the Diocese of Rockford.

The two diocesan collections are the Catholic Elementary... Read More

March 9, 2017

(A few names were submitted after the program went to press on Feb. 24 and are not included here.)

  Catechumen       ⇒ Candidate

Algonquin
St. Margaret Mary -- ⇒ Matt Menarek, ⇒ Daniel Wartsb... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 9, 2017

ROCKFORD—“The ‘I’ in Christ” is this year’s overall theme at the Cathedral of St. Peter School, here, and the theme has been expanded to include Lent.

Principal James Burns said that the theme is geared to remind students to act more like Jesus.

At the school’s Ash Wednesday Mass on March 1, student representatives processed up ... Read More

By Penny Wiegert, Editor
March 9, 2017

DIOCESE—Are you a volunteer at your parish or school? Then you have probably been asked to agree to a background check and to complete the Virtus online Protecting God’s Children training program.

Members of parish groups like the Knights of Columbus, Altar and Rosary societies and Home and School organizations have also been asked to complete the requirements for the ... Read More

By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
February 23, 2017

MCHENRY—Building a new life to escape long-term poverty is not easy, but the innovative Hope Takes Action program in McHenry has become a beacon of hope for those individuals who seek positive change.

A group of six men and women from McHenry County, ranging in age from 43 to 64, took the challenge and became the program’s first “investigators.”

... Read More

February 16, 2017

DIOCESE—This year, the Friday of Catholic Schools Week was also the Feast of St. Blaise.

St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, lived in the fourth century in Turkey and Armenia. For a time Blaise lived in a cave to escape persecution.

On his feast the church recalls a miracle cure associated with him and celebrates the blessing of the throats. Blaise apparently saved the... Read More

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