New Marian Feast May 21
Pope Francis decrees day honoring Mary, Mother of the Church
May 17, 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS)—The Catholic Church doesn’t often add new celebrations to its pretty full liturgical calendar, but in a month of May crownings and special rosaries, a new feast day will honor Mary, Mother of the Church on May 21. 
 
Pope Francis decreed that Latin-rite Catholics around the world will mark the feast of “the Blesse... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 17, 2018
ROCKFORD—Bishop David Malloy celebrated the annual Mass for Peace sponsored by the Catholic Women’s League at a gathering at the Poor Clares Corpus Christi Monastery chapel on May 9.
 
He was joined by Father Leonard Jacobs, pastor of St. James Parish in Rockford and spiritual director for the Catholic Women’s League; Father Nicholas Fed... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
May 17, 2018
S he was raised by a Navy family and while living in Massachusetts her sights after high school were set to attend the Naval Academy and become an officer. But God had other life plans for Franciscan Sister Alicia Torres. 
 
Instead she received an ROTC Scholarship to Loyola University Chicago and earned a bachelor of arts degree in theology, ... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 10, 2018
ROCKFORD—Priests from across the diocese gathered to honor priest jubilarians and to celebrate the priesthood itself at a Mass and luncheon on May 1 at St. Rita Parish.
 
It was the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, and Bishop David Malloy brought thoughts about the saint and the priesthood together in his homily.
 
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
May 3, 2018
CARPENTERSVILLE—A room full of people at St. Monica Parish here are among those who know what the V Encuentro is about.
 
They gathered as part of the Rockford Diocese’s preparation for a national event scheduled this fall in Texas.
 
The V Encuentro — or Fifth Meeting — of the U.S. Catholic Churc... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
May 3, 2018
St. Edward joins the previous three-school collaboration as St. James is tapped to be home to the yet-to-be-named new school. Eight parishes will support it spiritually and financially.
 
ROCKFORD—The effort to strengthen Catholic elementary schools in the city of Rockford, became larger and stronger, announced the Diocesan... Read More
May 3, 2018
AURORA—Seventeen athletes from the Class of 2018 at Rosary High School here have signed letters of intent to pursue their sport at the college level. 
 
The 17 athletes represent 23 percent of the graduating Class of 2018. 
 
Four will swim, four will play softball, two volleyball, two basketball, ... Read More
Caritas Luncheon Fades into History
Catholic Charities Auxiliary No Longer Able to Manage Annual Spring Luncheon
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 3, 2018
ROCKFORD—Something was missing in April on Administrative Professionals Day — invitations to the Caritas annual spring luncheon.
 
The fundraiser, organized for some three decades by the Catholic Charities Auxiliary, indeed is “Missing In Action” this year. 
 
The dozen or so active members o... Read More
Love Focus of Diocesan Appeal
Kick-off Weekend April 28-29
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 26, 2018
DIOCESE—“Love One Another” is this year’s theme for the 2018 Rockford Diocese Annual Appeal.
Ministries supported by the Diocesan Appeal include Catholic education provided through Catholic schools, religious education programs and adult formation. That includes the diocesan-wide Ministry Formation Program, which has educated and certified 1,380 lay m... Read More
April 26, 2018
STERLING—Msgr. Thomas E. Bales died April 21, 2018, in the home of his sister, here, where he lived. Msgr. Bales was born on Sept. 20, 1945, in Dixon, to James E. and Elizabeth A. (Moerschbaecher) Bales.  
 
He attended Dixon High School, St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, and Illinois State University in Normal. 
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 26, 2018
ROCKFORD—Periodically, Bishop David Malloy’s public schedule lists visits to seminarians at their respective seminaries, something he has done since his first year as Bishop of Rockford.
 
He makes those visits once a year, he says, calling each “an opportunity to see them in the context of their formation ... an opportunity for the bish... Read More
Art in Our Churches
Bishop Malloy Says Love, Care At Heart of Church Decorations
By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
April 26, 2018
Fine artwork can be a statement, a signpost, or a guide to understanding a message.
 
Art in our churches should be a link directing us to the Divine, and the message of Jesus, according to the 2000 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) liturgical guidelines.
 
Each work of art in a church—statue, gl... Read More
By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
April 26, 2018
LOVES PARK—The fusion of food and faith played a powerful role in leading one young man to his priestly vocation.
 
During his teens, Father John McNamara said he gravitated to the kitchen during family gatherings. After finishing a degree in hospitality management at Harper College in Palatine, Father McNamara went to work as a corporate chef. ... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 26, 2018
ROCKFORD—Holy Family Parish here continues to welcome gifts and pledges for an expansion of its facilities and to make needed maintenance updates to its existing school and parish office building.
 
Father Phillip Kaim, pastor, announced the campaign on Feb. 25. A team of 80 volunteers visited several hundred parish families to invite them to partic... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
April 26, 2018
ROCKFORD—Cathedral of St. Peter students gave a classmate who is battling leukemia a huge surprise. 
 
The students, some of their family members, teachers, friends and representatives from Make-A-Wish Illinois gathered March 23 for a surprise send-off for 11-year-old Bella Meyer and her family to the Bahamas for spring break. 
Read More
By Sharon Boehlefeld, Features Editor
April 19, 2018
DEKALB—Even the panelists were amused as a seminar about religion reporting began April 12 at Northern Illinois University.
 
After all, they were an imam, a rabbi, a bishop and an Evanglical church spokesman.
 
But the discussion, sponsored by the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association, at times lighthearted, als... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 19, 2018
ROCKFORD—The celebration of the new North Tower at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center was spread out over several days in early April.
 
A ribbon cutting on April 5 was followed by a Community Day on April 7. The four-story building was then blessed on April 13. 
 
Dignitaries at the blessing, including several Si... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 19, 2018
ROCKFORD—A “Dinner in the Upper Room” event was held the evening before Holy Thursday at the Cathedral of St. Peter.
 
Sponsored by the diocesan Office of Vocations, the gathering provided an opportunity for men who are pondering the possible vocation of priesthood to hear from both Bishop David Malloy and Father Keith Romke, director of... Read More
April 19, 2018

“Chosen, Custody of the Eyes,” the documentary about the Poor Clare Colettines of Rockford, will be shown April 22 at the Nordlof Center in downtown Rockford.

Visit https://www.chosenthefilm.com/store/rockford-screening-april-22 to check ticket availability.

Additional screenings o... Read More

By Penny Wiegert, Editor
April 12, 2018
ROCKFORD—How to pass on the Catholic faith, and how to add and retain members in church organizations and ministries were two of the questions being examined at the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s Biennial Convention.
 
Women from parish organizations throughout the Diocese of Rockford traveled to St. James Parish, here,  April 7 for... Read More
April 12, 2018
ST. CHARLES—Father Robert A. Balog died in the Pine View Care Center, here April 5. He was 74. 
 
Father Balog was born in Aurora, June 4, 1943, to Stephen J. and Teresa Kabai Balog.  He graduated from Marmion Academy in 1961 and attended St. Ambrose College (now University) in Davenport, Iowa, Mount St. Bernard Seminary and Aquinas Instit... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 12, 2018
GENOA—Most of us should be able to imagine ourselves somewhere in Jesus’ passion, perhaps as the Roman soldiers who were doing their job and along came Jesus. 
 
Michael Barkey and Jerry Mlodzianowski played two of 12 Roman soldiers in this year’s production of “The Mystery of the Passion of Christ.”
 ... Read More
By Sharon Boehlefeld, Features Editor
April 12, 2018
ROCKFORD—When Dr. Kelly John saw a need, she acted on it.
 
And so the first foot clinic at The Carpenter’s Place was offered on Holy Thursday, March 29.
 
Dr. John admits she was inspired by Jesus, who washed the feet of His disciples on the first Holy Thursday. She even brought a painting of the scene from ... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 5, 2018
ROCKFORD—The Cathedral of St. Peter was filled with the faithful from all parishes and Catholic entities of the Diocese of Rockford the morning of March 29 for the annual Chrism Mass.
 
“We are standing at the doorway of the Sacred Triduum,” said Bishop David Malloy as he began his homily, which was addressed in turn to the priests of th... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 5, 2018
ROCKFORD—Calling it a “heartfelt privilege,” Bishop David Malloy again this year celebrated Mass for inmates at the Winnebago County Jail on Easter Sunday. It has become a spring tradition since he became bishop of the Rockford Diocese in May of 2012.
 
This year the Mass was held in a classroom with about 17 inmates and two Catholic gua... Read More
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
April 5, 2018
AURORA—In the morning of March 30, Fulton, Union and Liberty streets in Aurora looked as if they traveled back in space and time to Jerusalem where Jesus died.
 
Through those streets passed the procession of the Stations of the Cross that started at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Parish.
 
There were people with typical ... Read More
By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
April 5, 2018
SOUTH BELOIT—Legion of Mary members from around the diocese gathered at St. Peter Parish, here for a morning of prayer and reflection to honor Mary. 
 
The annual Acies of Mary celebration included a rosary procession, prayer and Mass at which Legion of Mary members rededicated themselves to the Blessed Mother.
 
Read More
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
April 5, 2018
AURORA—Bishop David Malloy blessed an extension of Sacred Heart Parish, here, on Palm Sunday, March 25.
 
The addition to the right front of the church includes offices, two bathrooms, overflow space for Mass and a cry room. 
 
The ceremony started with a procession from the rectory to  inside of the pari... Read More
April 5, 2018
ROCKFORD—Registration and payment to attend the diocesan Millennial Conference are due by April 10. 
 
Cost is $20 per person, which includes a catered lunch. Discounts are available to groups with more than five people.
 
The April 17 conference will be at St. Mary Parish, 10307 Dundee Road in Huntley.
... Read More
April 5, 2018
AURORA—Father Timothy Mulcahey became pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Aurora on March 12.
 
This 1979 Boylan Central Catholic High School graduate also attended Rockford College in Rockford.
 
He began seminary studies with the Legionaires of Christ in Cheshire, Conn., eventually attending Legionairies... Read More
April 5, 2018
AURORA—Anthony Wilkinson will begin serving as Rosary High School head of school on July 1. Wilkinson has more than 25 years of experience as a leader in education.
 
Austin Dempsey, chair of the Rosary governing board, made the announcement. 
 
The Dominican Sisters of Springfield staff and operate the high s... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 5, 2018
ROCKFORD—Ideas flowed aplenty at a March 19 workshop on FORMED, held at St. Rita Parish.
Staffs and pastors learned how to make the most of FORMED, a parish resource for evangelization and faith formation that can be used in most parish ministries.
 
The digital resource platform is offered by the Augustine Institute. Dan Donaldson, d... Read More
April 5, 2018
The Rockford Diocese held its fifth Be Reconciled Day, March 21.
 
Bishop David Malloy inaugurated Be Reconciled Day during his first Lent in the Rockford Diocese.
 
He asked the priests of every parish to set aside one day — the Wednesday before Holy Week — to hear confessions for as much of the day as possi... Read More
April 5, 2018
After a lunch to begin their March 15 gathering, representatives of parishes with cemeteries heard presentations from Robert Weinstein, director of business development for American Wilbert Vault Corp., and Carol Giambalvo, director of cemeteries for the Rockford Diocese.
 
Weinstein opened the afternoon presentations with a slide show and accompanying ph... Read More
By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
March 22, 2018
LOVES PARK—St. Bridget Parish honored St. Joseph with an altar overflowing with edible delights, March 17 and 18. 
 
It was the work of many in the parish and persons from other parishes who came to share their talents to build the altar in the Mitchell Center.
 
Msgr. Daniel Deutsch, pastor, blessed the altar... Read More
March 22, 2018
JOHNSBURG—1st Way Life Center is holding its annual Pathway to Hope Banquet, April 6. 
 
This year’s event is a gala celebration highlighting its 40th anniversary as a pregnancy care center in the community. It will be held at D Andrea Banquets and Conference Center, 4419 Northwest Highway  in Crystal Lake.
 Read More
By Sharon Boehlefeld, Features Editor
March 22, 2018
HUNTLEY—Organizers are encouraging “anyone interested in helping parish ministries engage better with young people” to attend the Millennial Church Conference, April 17, here.
 
Despite statistics that highlight the absence of Millennials in Catholic churches, “We are all going to need to work together to create a culture in our pa... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
March 15, 2018
SOUTH ELGIN—Peace embodies the atmosphere and care at the Corbella Clinic here. Formerly known as the Fox Valley Pregnancy Center, its new name launched last year, corbella, means “beautiful heart.” 
 
“This is a place where women and couples make lifetime decisions when facing unexpected pregnancies,” said Kathy Hopkins... Read More
By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service
March 15, 2018
WASHINGTON—Every story has a message within. So does every movie — and every biblically based movie as well.
 
“It was real important to tell the story of God’s mercy,” said Eric Groth  of ODB (originally Outside da Box) studios in St. Charles. Groth  is one of the executive producers for the new movie “Paul, ... Read More
‘Chosen’ Rockford Screening March 18
Film about Rockford’s Poor Clares to be shown near the anniversary of the day St. Clare left her parents’ house to follow St. Francis of Assisi.
By Sharon Boehlefeld, Features Editor
March 8, 2018
ROCKFORD—After a decade in the making and a year on the international film festival circuit, “Chosen — Custody of the Eyes” will make its public debut here on March 18.
 
The film by Abbie Reese and the Poor Clare Colettines of Corpus Christi Monastery in Rockford follows a novice from her early days with the nuns through her vows ... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 8, 2018
DIOCESE—The International Appeal combined collection will be taken up in parishes across the Diocese of Rockford the weekend of March 10-11.
 
This annual opportunity to assist the Church at work beyond our parishes will benefit four international causes:
 
 Aid to ... Read More
March 8, 2018
SANDWICH—Father Donald D. DeSalvo died here Feb. 28 at the age of 80.
 
Father DeSalvo was born March 21, 1937, in Chicago to Dominic and Virginia 
(Wawrzyniak) DeSalvo. 
 
Father DeSalvo attended Blue Island High School in Oak Lawn, Thornton Junior College in Harvey, and Chicago Medical Te... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
March 8, 2018
DIOCESAN—What is poverty? Who are the poor? Who is responsible for poverty and for responding to those who endure it?
 
These were some weighty questions for a spring-like Saturday morning as the Diocesan Pastoral Council gathered for its quarterly meeting March 3.
 
The Diocesan Pastoral Council assists the bishop... Read More
By Sharon Boehlefeld, Features Editor
March 8, 2018
AURORA—A pair of veteran Catholic educators are ready to set up the curriculum and community at Pope St. John Paul II Catholic Academy here next year.
 
Sister Ann Brummel, OP, will be head of schools and Karen Behrns will join her as principal.
 
“I am excited to be a part of this new beginning,” said ... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 1, 2018

On a chilly, gray Feb. 23, a crew of workmen place a newly delivered columbarium at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Elgin

ELGIN—Mt. Hope Cemetery was the setting for a gathering of several granite columbaria on Feb. 23.

After a one-m... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
March 1, 2018
BATAVIA—The road that led Bishop Athanasius Schneider to preside over the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan in 2011 was paved by his deep-rooted faith and personal history, inspirational parents and strong German roots. 
 
He aspired to be a priest since he was 10 years old and joined the order of the Canons Regular of the Hol... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
March 1, 2018
BATAVIA—Bishop Athanasius Schneider from the Diocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan, has traveled the world defending the family and its true place as the seed of the Catholic faith.
 
On Feb. 21, he brought his message to Holy Cross Parish in Batavia where more than 650 people attentively listened to the soft-spoken Bishop Schneider, who w... Read More
March 1, 2018
Confessions at Parishes in the Diocese
Algonquin
St. Margaret Mary, 111 S. Hubbard St.
Be Reconciled, March 21, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
Amboy
Read More
Diocese Holds Rite of Election Feb. 17
More Than 300 Step Nearer to Catholic Faith
February 23, 2018

Hundreds step forward in their Catholic faith at the annual Rite of Election held at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Rockford. The rite was conducted twice, once in English and once in Spanish.

⇒ = Catechumen   ♦ = Candidate

Algonquin
St. Margaret Mary: ⇒ Amy Ebel, ⇒&... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
February 15, 2018
AURORA—About 200 parents gathered Feb. 7 at Aurora Central Catholic High School’s auditorium to hear more details of the newly formed Pope St. John Paul II Catholic Academy.
 
Father Jerome Leake led the group in prayer before Father William Etheredge, chair of the Faith Forward Aurora Task Force, provided an overview of the task force’s... Read More
February 15, 2018
MORRISON—Deacon Alvin “Alvie” Swearingen, 80, of Chadwick, died Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, at Liberty Village Manor Court in Freeport.
 
Deacon Swearingen was born June 1, 1937, in Kewanee, to Russell D. and Frances (Jacobs) Swearingen. 
He was educated in the Kewanee grade schools and was a 1955 graduate of Kewanee High S... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
February 8, 2018
ROCKFORD—The annual Scout Sunday Mass where religious awards were presented to Boy Scouts, American Heritage Girls and Girl Scouts was held the afternoon of Feb. 4 at the Cathedral of St. Peter.
 
Father Colin Easton, diocesan chaplain for scouting, celebrated the Mass. He spoke of how Jesus went off by Himself to pray, and then created His disciple... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
February 1, 2018

AURORA—Strenghtening Catholic Education in the Diocese of Rockford was and is the goal of the Faith Forward Strategic Planning process for schools, begun over two years ago all over the  11-county diocese. 

Finding solutions to maintain the high quality of Catholic education in schools around the d... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
February 1, 2018
ROCKFORD—The 26th annual Catholic Women of the Year Banquet for the Rockford Deanery, Jan. 28, honored 17 women from 17 parishes for what Bishop David Malloy called “a great example and a great encouragement.”
 
“What a great group this is when we come, year after year, for the honoring of this service, and so often the humility of... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 18, 2018
ROCKFORD—After almost four decades of service to the Diocese of Rockford, Michael Cieslak, Ed.D., diocesan director of Research and Planning, is set to retire on June 1.
 
He served in religious education at Our Lady of Good Counsel, Aurora, for a year and at St. Patrick Parish, Rochelle, from 1974 to 1981, then earned a doctorate in Research and Ev... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
January 18, 2018
ROCKFORD—The Faith Forward Strategic Plan, which outlines objectives and goals to strengthen Catholic education throughout its 11-county region has been the foundation of some important work for schools throughout the diocese.
 
As previously reported in The Observer, several areas of the Rockford Diocese have been of particular concern including Ro... Read More
January 11, 2018
DIOCESE—The National Appeal, the first of the 2018 Combined Collections for the Universal Catholic Church, will take place at parishes of the Diocese of Rockford the weekend of Jan. 20-21.
 
The Rockford Diocese continues its tradition of bringing several annual appeals into one collection — for a total of three collections, plus one appeal to... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
December 21, 2017
DIOCESE—After the Faith Forward Strategic Plan for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Rockford was completed and shared with the public, there was  still much work to do.
 
Task Force groups were formed in some areas of the diocese where schools were experiencing significant struggles with finance, enrollment and population shifts in the neighb... Read More
A Subscribers Guide to Reading
The Observer Digital Edition.

- Click Here -

Learn how you can share that 'special year' in your life
by sponsoring The Observer archive pages!

(Click here to check them out)
For more info on sponsorships email observer@rockforddiocese.org

Subscribe/Renew Now to The Observer Digital Edition