Pastoral Leadership Selected
At All Saints Catholic Academy
September 13, 2018
ROCKFORD—The Executive Pastoral Leadership for All Saints Catholic Academy, here, was announced this week to parents and parishes supporting the new consolidated school.
 
Father Stephen St. Jules, rector of the Cathedral of St. Peter, will serve as executive pastor and Father Kenneth Stachrya pastor of St. Bernadette Parish has been named vice-exec... Read More
September 13, 2018
Muslim visitor, Eda Uzun is one of four young Muslim students attending Paw Paw High School who have been welcomed by the congregation of St. James Parish in Lee.
 
The students have come from Muslim countries, and have attended Mass on a regular basis, witnessed most of the sacraments celebrated at the parish, and have helped at funeral luncheons.
... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
September 13, 2018
MAPLE PARK—Three parishes — St. Catherine of Genoa in Genoa, St. Mary of the Assumption in Maple Park and SS. Peter and Paul in Virgil — each honored one of their own at what was called the “first annual” DeKalb Deanery Women of Inspiration awards on Sept. 9 at Sorrento’s Restaurant, here.
 
Just over 60 parishioners an... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
September 13, 2018
DIOCESAN—The revelations of conduct and cover-up by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, the release of the grand jury report involving six dioceses in Pennsylvania and inquiries by the Illinois State’s Attorney regarding abusive priests was the main topic of discussion at the regular meeting Sept. 8 of the Diocesan Pastoral Council.
 
The function ... Read More
September 13, 2018
DIOCESE—Catechetical Sunday is a day to honor teachers of the faith. This year’s theme is “Enlisting Witnesses for Jesus Christ.”
 
In the Rockford Diocese, long-term awards will be given to catechists who are being honored for a milestone year of service.
 
Recipients of the Bishop O’Neill ... Read More
September 13, 2018
With Catechetical Sunday on Sept. 16, religious education will be getting underway at most of the parishes in the Rockford Diocese.
 
Here are a few tips from online resources to help the family get the most out of faith formation for the youngsters and youth in the home.
... Read More
Two Schools Start Year with Celebrations
Aurora Central Catholic kicks off 50th year with opening Mass Aug. 24
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
September 6, 2018
AURORA—Aurora Central Catholic High School started the celebration of its 50th anniversary with a Mass in the school gym at 8 a.m., Aug. 24.
 
Students, teachers, staff, a few alumni and parents attended.
 
The altar was decorated with a cross that used to be on top of one of the entrances of Madonna High School, t... Read More
By Sharon Boehlefeld, Features Editor
September 6, 2018
FREEPORT—The Legacy Foundation had a full house for its first Toast of the Town celebration and fundraiser for Aquin Catholic Schools on Aug. 25.
 
The night featured two comedians, a live auction, dinner, a silent auction and more. 
 
Allison Pierson, an Aquin Central Catholic High School graduate, was among ... Read More
September 6, 2018
DIOCESE—On Aug. 28, Bishop David Malloy of the Rockford Diocese issued a letter to all priests and parishes in the diocese with further information about the ongoing abuse revelations around the nation.
 
The letter was read at Masses and reprinted in bulletins in  diocesan parishes.
 
In addition to explainin... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
September 6, 2018
ROCKFORD—Aug. 30 seemed like Thanksgiving Day for the benefactors and beneficiaries of Empower Illinois Scholarships.
 
Families, principals, faith leaders and legislators including Rockford area state Senators Steve Stadelman and Dave Syverson and Rep. Joe Sosnowski, and Bishop David Malloy gathered to celebrate the first success of the Invest in K... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
September 6, 2018
AURORA—One liners from each of the Woman of Inspiration’s biographies provide insights into why they were nominated by their respective parishes for the honor.
 
Pastors, parishioners of the Aurora Deanery, friends and families came together Aug. 26 at Pipers Banquets to honor the women, who ranged in age from a junior in high school to those ... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
September 6, 2018
HUNTLEY—While on retreat in May 1990, young Max Striedl was encouraged to intentionally ask the Holy Spirit to come into his life. He did — and he didn’t feel anything happen.
 
“But everything was different,” now-Father Striedl said in his talk at a Sept. 1 seminar at St. Mary Parish in Huntley. “My faith took a big ju... Read More
September 6, 2018
Brady Schemehorn of Galena was recently recognized as an International Free Throw Champion by the Knights of Columbus.
 
Schemehorn took first place in the KC Free Throw Championship at the Council 696 competition in January.
 
After also taking first place at the district and regional competitions, the Galena eighth-gra... Read More
Academy Campuses Open in Aurora
Enrollment tops expectations as Pope St. John Paul II Catholic Academy campuses welcome first students
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor and Penny Wiegert, Editor
August 23, 2018
AURORA—This is a “new model to improve the quality of the education. It opens the door to many people who would like to enter in the Catholic School, but for many circumstances they cannot,” said Msgr. Arquimedes Vallejo, Vicar for Hispanic Ministry, and pastor of Sacred Heart Parish.
 
He was in charge of cutting the blue r... Read More
August 23, 2018
ROCKFORD—Bishop David Malloy of Rockford issued a statement on Aug. 16 regarding further abuse revelations in the U.S. Church. (See story above.) 
 
His earlier statement in response to revelations about Archbishop Theodore McCarrick appeared in the Aug. 10 issue of The Observer. 
 
In his latest remarks,... Read More
August 23, 2018
Bishop David Malloy took time after lunch Aug. 16 to say the rosary with staff members at the Diocesan Administration Building in Rockford. He also offered a prayer for the victims and others who have been hurt by the recent sex abuse revelations involving clergy.  In addition, he led everyone in the “Prayer for Healing Victims of Abuse” (below) from the U.S.Conference of ... Read More
August 16, 2018
ROCKFORD—Some Catholics make regular retreats, while others have never been on one. 
 
And while they happen year-round, summer is a great time to schedule one while thinking about vacation days.
 
There are retreats for kids, young adults, women, men and married couples.
 
T... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
August 16, 2018
WONDER LAKE—Pat Wightman, vice president of the McHenry Deanery Council of Catholic Women, arrived several hours before the International Living Rosary at Christ the King Church, here, on Aug. 11. 
 
The women of the McHenry Deanery hosted the 29th annual event for the Rockford Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. 
 Read More
August 16, 2018
On Aug. 10 in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at the Diocesan Administration Center in Rockford, seminarian Nathan Pacer of Holy Cross Parish in Batavia was accepted into the stage of candidacy in what Bishop David Malloy noted is a “startlingly brief” ceremony (right).
 
Attending were his parents, Michael and Lori, and his brother, J... Read More
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
August 16, 2018
ELGIN—The 11 a.m. Mass on Aug. 12 at St. Laurence Parish here was a singular one since it was the official Mass of the celebration of its 90th anniversary.
 
It celebrated  “this beautiful church where we have worshiped Him (God), adored Him … and ministered to each other,” said Father Andrew Mulcahey, pastor, to the parishio... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
August 16, 2018
MCHENRY—The music was spirited, the air was filled with enticing aromas, and a brand new outdoor shelter stood ready to shield parishioners from the hot summer sun. 
 
It was a day of many significant firsts as McHenry’s Church of Holy Apostles Parish celebrated its annual Summer Fiesta on its grounds, Aug. 12.
 
... Read More
August 16, 2018
HUNTLEY—On July 29 St. Mary Parish, here, held its annual picnic. More than 750 parishioners attended. 
 
The parish priests with help from the St. Mary Knights of Columbus Council 11666 and Ladies Auxiliary 73 organized and staffed the picnic. 
 
The picnic was a thank you from the priests to the parishi... Read More
August 9, 2018
The Catholic churches of McHenry County set up and staffed a booth at the McHenry County Fair, July 31-Aug. 5.
 
Fairgoers and volunteers were invited to line up for photos at the booth.
 
Booth organizers from Right to Life McHenry County say the youngest children run to see and touch the fetal models, which don’t... Read More
By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
August 9, 2018
ROCKFORD—Festa Italiana, the longest running festival in Rockford, celebrated its 40th year Aug. 3-5 on the grounds of Boylan Central Catholic High School, here.
 
Both new features and a line-up of favorite foods and attractions marked the anniversary event. 
 
New this year was a craft beer tasting  wit... Read More
August 9, 2018
 Festa Italiana is the largest fundraiser for The Greater Rockford Italian American Association (GRIAA), along with the men’s and women’s golf play days.
 
 GRIAA has raised $717,000.00 for scholarships over the last 39 years. The scholarship m... Read More
By Sharon Boehlefeld, Features Editor
August 9, 2018
ROCKFORD—With a new school year just days away in the Rockford Diocese, principals gathered for a leaders’ in-service day at St. Rita Parish in Rockford on Aug. 6.
 
Michael Kagan, diocesan superintendent of schools, started the morning with a prayer for principals. He followed that with a Hail Mary for Barbara Colandrea, the principal of St. ... Read More
August 9, 2018
DIOCESE—Several leadership positions at Rockford Diocese schools this year will be filled by new people.
 
Among them is Vito DeFrisco, assistant superintendent of schools for the diocese, who will also be acting as interim superintendent at Marian Central Catholic High School in Woodstock.
 
DeFrisco’s work ... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
August 9, 2018
ROCKFORD—Canon Peter Heidenreich was ordained as a priest of the Institute of Christ the King — Sovereign Priest on Aug. 2 by Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke in St. Louis. The new priest celebrated his first Mass at St. Mary Oratory on Saturday, Aug 4.
 
Several parishioners and staff members from both the Oratory and St. Rita Parish attended the M... Read More
Feeding the Hungry
Geneva’s St. Peter Parish serves steak and lobster to families who don’t always dine in high style.
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
August 3, 2018
GENEVA—More than 300 folks entered the school gymnasium at St. Peter Parish, here, on July 28 in quiet anticipation of a dinner hosted just for them. 
 
They were food pantry patrons and families served by neighboring not-for-profit agencies such as Hesed House in Aurora and Lazarus House in St. Charles.
 
Som... Read More
August 3, 2018
AURORA—Abbot David J. Cyr, OSB, a monk of Marmion Abbey, died July 21, 2018, at St. Patrick Residence in Naperville. He was 91 years of age. 
 
Abbot David was a native Auroran, born on July 26, 1926, to Edgar and Corinne (Quirin) Cyr. 
 
He was raised in Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish. He attended Our L... Read More
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
August 3, 2018
ELGIN—When Father Andrew Mulcahey received a proclamation (left) during the July 25 city  council meeting here, St. Laurence Parish started its  90th anniversary observance.
 
“I want to thank in a very special way Mayor (David) Kaptain and the City of Elgin for this special recognition for us,” said Father Mulcahey, pastor of ... Read More
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
August 3, 2018
CRYSTAL LAKE—“A parish without culture, it’s a parish without identity” said Father John Evans, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle in Crystal Lake, during the Kermes festival organized by the parish Hispanic Ministry here on July 29. 
 
The event lasted more than seven hours, starting with 10 a.m. Mass at the Pierson Street chur... Read More
August 3, 2018
DIOCESE—Knights of Columbus in Dixon and Huntley are planning major degree days for members in their areas.
 
In Dixon, new members, as well as those advancing to second and third degrees, may attend an Aug. 5 event at the Knights of Columbus Council 690 Hall, 506 W. Third St.
 
Ceremonies for the 1st degree will s... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
July 26, 2018
ROCKFORD— St. James, the oldest Catholic parish in the Rockford area celebrated its 165th anniversary with a Mass, blessing and parish picnic on July 22.
 
Bishop David Malloy called it a “great and particular joy” to gather for Mass on any day, and a “particular pleasure” to do so at the 165-year celebration.
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
July 26, 2018
ROCKFORD—The third and final diocesan vocation camp in 2018 welcomed Benedictine Father Antony Maria Minardi from Marmion Abbey in Aurora for Mass and a talk on Tuesday, July 17.
 
As with earlier camps, the First Call Camp looked at the concept of vocation from a wide perspective. The 19 young men attending the July 15-18 camp at Bishop Lane Retrea... Read More
Prayer and Action
Pace Ebbs and Flows at Jeremiah Days Camp for Boys
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
July 19, 2018
ROCKFORD—Morning prayer and Mass were followed by impromptu games with balls and Frisbees on Monday morning at the Jeremiah Days Vocation Camp at Bishop Lane Retreat Center. 
 
This camp for boys going into seventh to ninth grades moved from times of action to quieter activities — prayer, talks and sharing — and back to physical act... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
July 12, 2018
Girls and young women attending St. Therese Camp make a trip to the Poor Clares Corpus Christi Monastery for Mass with Bishop David Malloy and a visit with the cloistered nuns in the Rockford Diocese.
 
ROCKFORD—The annual St. Therese Camp brought 57 campers of all ages together with 15 religious sisters and four postulants the last week in... Read More
July 12, 2018
DIOCESE—Three openings exist on the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC), one each for a lay representative from the Aurora, Freeport, and Rockford deaneries. 
 
Prospective members may nominate themselves for three-year terms that begin with the Sept. 8, 2018 meeting. 
 
The council addresses matters of pasto... Read More
July 12, 2018
FREEPORT—The inaugural “Toast of the Town,” a fundraiser organized by The Legacy Foundation for Aquin Catholic Schools, will be Aug. 25. It will be held in the Grand River Hall on the sixth floor of the Rawleigh Building, 101 S. Liberty Ave., here.
 
The evening of drinks, dining, laughs and live and silent auction begins at 5 p.m. with ... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
July 12, 2018
ST. CHARLES— “I don’t have a string of degrees after my name, money in my pocket, or miles of travel, but I have been given many blessings,” said Sister Judy Nickels, OSF, as she reflected on her retirement and 32 years of active ministry at St. John Neumann parish, here.
 
The news of Sister Judy’s retirement evoked shared m... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
June 21, 2018
ROCKFORD—One word at a time, students from the Cathedral of St. Peter, St. Bernadette, St. Edward, and St. James schools revealed an invitation to join them at their new school during a scheduled recreation night at Sinnissippi Park, June 14.
 
A crowd of more than 50 parents, students, Joint School committee members, teachers and priests gathered t... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 21, 2018
ROCKFORD—Mary Gavan quotes Winnie the Pooh (author A. A. Milne) to summarize her upcoming retirement this summer after 44 years of service at Boylan Central Catholic High School: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
 
“Although I would say I am blessed rather than merely lucky,” she adds.Read More
June 21, 2018
GREEN BAY, Wis.—The Observer won a record number nine awards in the annual  newspaper competition of the Catholic Press Association for the United States and Canada. 
 
Among them was second place for general excellence for newspapers of 25,000 circulation or less, the second year in a row for that honor. 
 
... Read More
June 21, 2018
POLO—Parishioners of St. Mary Parish, here, have selected Nancy Adams to receive the 17th annual Woman of the Year Award. 
 
She and her husband, Jim, have been active in the parish for 26 years. They have one daughter, Abby, and a granddaughter, Everlie. 
 
Over the years, Adams has been a devoted and fa... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
June 14, 2018
CRYSTAL LAKE—It was a day of familiar faces, big smiles, and the exchange of experiences and memories for everyone who attended the St. Thomas the Apostle Parish 50th anniversary celebration of the Oak Street church dedication on June 9.
 
More than 175 people attended the Mass with celebrant Msgr. Daniel Hermes, pastor, and concelebrated with paroc... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
June 14, 2018
DIOCESE—Saying goodbye and reflecting on the past topped the agenda for the Diocesan Pastoral Council during its regular quarterly meeting, June 9. But also on the agenda were hellos to new leadership followed by more goodbyes as some councilors concluded their terms of office.
 
The June meeting marked the last for DPC executive secretary Dr. Micha... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
June 7, 2018
Some parents choose to move their children ahead of 2019-20 new school opening, leaving too few students to keep west side school open. Registered families are invited to make an early move to St. James campus.
 
ROCKFORD—St. Bernadette Parish announced this week that students and families at St. Bernade... Read More
June 7, 2018
ROCKFORD—Kevin Fuss is now the Director of Research and Planning in the Diocese of Rockford. 
He is replacing Dr. Michael Cieslak, who held the post for more than three decades before retiring June 1. 
“I found that the diocese offers something very unique in today’s world, and that is the opportunity to combine professional work wi... Read More
June 7, 2018
ROCKFORD—After 26 years as a theology teacher at Boylan Central Catholic High School, here, Jim Heim has had to leave his position due to symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
 
He and his wife, Socorro, and the family have decided that he will remain in their... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 7, 2018
ROCKFORD—The morning of June 2 was “one of those moments (when) heaven touches earth,” said Bishop David Malloy at a packed Cathedral of St. Peter shortly before ordaining one man to the priesthood and three to the transitional diaconate.
 
In his homily, he spoke first to Robert Blood, John Kladar and Charles Warren, saying that “... Read More
June 7, 2018
ROCKFORD—Deacon Robert “Bob” A. Bracken, 89, of Rockford, passed away Saturday, May 26, 2018. 
Born June 27, 1928, in Akron, Ohio, he was the son of Harold B. and Mary A. (Jamison) Bracken. He married Lois R. Schultz May 22, 1949, in Kewanee.
 
Deacon Bracken was a member of Holy Family Parish, and was ordained as a p... Read More
June 7, 2018
DIOCESE—The St. Timothy Youth Award is a national recognition award given to youth by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry in collaboration with the Diocese of Rockford Catholic Education Office. 
The award is frequently given near graduation.
It is the highest recognition from the NFCYM to a teen who demonstrates the following qualit... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 7, 2018
AURORA—The homily and talks were upbeat, but there was predictable sadness as St. Therese of Jesus School in Aurora hosted its final all-school Mass on May 30.
 
“We gather here to celebrate 93 amazing years at St. Therese,” said Father Ernesto Caicedo, a Missionary of the Sacred Heart priest who began service at the parish ... Read More
June 7, 2018
AURORA—St. Therese of Jesus, St. Peter, Our Lady of Good Counsel and St. Joseph schools are combining to create one new, two-campus school called Pope St. John Paul II Catholic Academy, here.
 
The campuses will be located at St. Joseph (north) and Our Lady of Good Counsel (south) and will begin serving students this fall. 
 ... Read More
Parishes Enter School Agreement
Pastors from eight Rockford parishes ink an agreement to support a new school scheduled to open in the 2019-20 academic year.
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
May 31, 2018
ROCKFORD—Eight pastors gathered May 15 at Bishop Lane Retreat Center, where several were on retreat, to sign an historic agreement to form and to financially and spiritually support a new school in Rockford. The new school will be located on the campus of St. James Parish. 
 
Pastors from the Cathedral of St. Peter, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Be... Read More
May 31, 2018

Flags and a sign greeted those coming to Calvary Cemetery May 28 for the annual Memorial Day Mass celebrated by Bishop David Malloy.

Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus escort the bishop to a tent where Mass was held on the hot, but slightly breezy morning.


Guests shared coffee and donuts frosted with white icing and red, white and blue sprinkles after the Mass.<... Read More

May 31, 2018
ROCKFORD—Father Kyle Manno begins service as the new director of vocations for the diocese on June 18. 
 
Born in Arlington Heights, he attended Palatine High School, Northern Illinois University and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein. 
 
He was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 2016, by Bisho... Read More
May 31, 2018
Father Carl Beekman, St. Mary, Sycamore
 
Father Carl Beekman will be the new pastor at St. Mary Parish in Sycamore beginning June 18.
 
Born in Terre Haute, Minn., he attended Bedford North Lawrence High School in Bedford, Ind., Indiana University, the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now Universit... Read More
May 31, 2018
Msgr. Daniel Hermes
 
Msgr. Daniel Hermes will retire on June 18.
 
Born in Dixon, he attended Newman Central Catholic High School, St. Meinrad College and Seminary, and later earned a master’s degree in Community Mental Health from Northern Illinois University. He was ordained to the priesthood by... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 31, 2018
AURORA—“He was the perfect altar server,” said Franciscan Sister Kathryn Frankovich who came from Lemont to the ordination of her former student as he became Father Antony Maria Minardi, OSB, on May 26 at Marmion Abbey.
 
She was serving as director of religious education at Plano and Yorkville in the Joliet Diocese when the future pries... Read More
By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
May 24, 2018
Why do Catholics create artwork featuring saints, Our Lady, and Jesus Christ, and display these works prominently? Why is making icons called “writing icons?” And, how do we know how to depict the holy ones?
 
It all boils down to tradition — and a lot of research.
 
The term “writing icons”... Read More
May 24, 2018
The Rev. Msgr. Daniel J. Hermes, V.F. — Pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Crystal Lake, Ilinois, to retire with the permission of The Most Rev. Bishop, effective Monday, June 18, 2018.
 
The Rev. Paul M. Lipinski — Pastor of St. Mary Parish, Sycamore, Illinois, to retire with the permission of The Most ... 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
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