By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 21, 2019
DIXON—The biennial Bishop’s Luncheon hosted by the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women drew 136 women and men to the Brandywine Banquet and Event Center in Dixon on March 13.
 
The event began with time to meet and greet Bishop David Malloy, socialize at tables, sign spiritual bouquet cards and buy tickets for a cash raffle and several raffle i... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
March 21, 2019
GENEVA— What’s the easiest way to connect with God? 
 
“Send Him a knee-mail,” said actor Brad Ellison, as he warmed up the 400-plus early afternoon audience attending the Cross and Light musical at St. Peter parish in Geneva on March 17. 
 
Father Jonathan Bakkelund, pastor, hoped the f... Read More
March 21, 2019
ROCKFORD—Caritas, the auxiliary of Catholic Charities in the Rockford Diocese, is holding a raffle to raise funds to support its work.
 
The “Spring Fling” raffle  prizes range from one winner  of $1,000 cash, two winners of $500 and three winners of $250.
 
The drawing will be held April 1.... Read More
March 21, 2019

Substantial donations from two anonymous donors provided tuition help for special student populations at two diocesan Catholic elementary schools,  as well as assistance to the Catholic Charities Ombudsman program, which serves residents of nursing homes.

Both Patrick Winn, director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Rockford, and Michael Kagan, superintendant of dioces... Read More

March 21, 2019
ELGIN—The seventh annual Latino Film Festival Elgin will kick off at 5:30 p.m. April 5 with a reception at Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Dr., in the Spartan Auditorum.
 
Viewers will see “Lo que siento por ti (What I Feel For You).” The movie depicts pro-life stories of a mother caring for her two autistic youngsters; a couple tr... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 14, 2019
ROCKFORD—John Jelinek has long been familiar with now-retired John McGrath’s work in the Diocese of Rockford.
 
That “makes it all the more daunting,” says Jelinek as he takes up the leadership reins as director of Religious Education and Formation in the Department of Educational Services of the Diocese of Rockford.
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 14, 2019
ROCKFORD—At 10 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. on March 9, people from parishes across the Diocese of Rockford gathered at the Cathedral of St. Peter for the Rite of Election.
 
The first rite was held in English, the second in Spanish.
 
“How welcome you are, all of you,” Bishop David Malloy said in his homily,... Read More
March 14, 2019
AURORA—Marmion Academy inducted five members into the Marmion Athletic Hall of Fame during halftime of a basketball game on Feb. 8. They are:
 
Tom McLean, class of 1984, was honored posthumously for  his athletic success at Marmion in tennis and cross country despite the debilitating effects of his lifelong lung disease, Cystic Fibrosis. ... Read More
Collection Helps Around the World
International Appeal Weekend, March 9-10
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 7, 2019
DIOCESE—The second combined collection for 2019 will be taken up in parishes this weekend of March 9-10.
 
The International Appeal, says Bishop David Malloy, provides “an opportunity to stand in solidarity with those who suffer and are marginalized throughout the world.”
 
The one collection benefits s... Read More
Landmarking Moves Forward Despite Opposition
Rockford Historic Preservation Commission votes to move decision on old chancery to the City Council.
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
March 7, 2019
ROCKFORD—The Rockford Historic Preservation Commission voted Feb. 28  to approve landmark status for the former chancery for the Diocese of Rockford, a former convent and the Cathedral of St. Peter School, all located on the Cathedral of St. Peter campus, despite strong opposition from the diocese.
 
After a 5-0 vote, the petition filed by a Ro... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 7, 2019
“Katie” has an inner joy that sparkles out, particularly when she talks about God.
 
Her deep happiness, rooted in God’s mercy, is hard won. Now in her mid-50s, Katie continues to recover from her two abortions, the first done when she was a high school sophomore and the second when she was a high school senior.
 Read More
March 7, 2019
DIOCESE—Bishop David Malloy asked that his Feb. 28 letter about abortion laws in Illinois be read at all weekend Masses on March 2 and 3. The text of the letter follows:
 
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
 
I write to you at a moment of profound challenge to the citizens of the State of Illinois. I... Read More
March 7, 2019
DIOCESE—In what has become an annual trek, Catholics in the Diocese of Rockford will be traveling to Springfield to visit with legislators on March 20.
 
Sponsored by the Life and Family Evangelization Office, the focus of this year’s trip will be expressing opposition to newly proposed changes in Illinois abortion laws. Read More
March 7, 2019
Abortions laws are in flux in the United States, ranging from a New York law that allows abortion up to delivery to a Missouri law that bans abortion when the heartbeat of an unborn child can be detected.
 
Catholic News Service reports new abortion legislation  working its way through Vermont — increasing availablity — and Tennessee &mda... Read More
March 7, 2019
ROCKFORD—The Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble will offer inspirational music for Lent at a March 16 concert titled “What God Tells Me.” 
 
The free public concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter Parish, 1243 N. Church St. 
 
The professional ensemble features a b... Read More
By Sharon Boehlefeld, Features Editor
February 28, 2019
AURORA—Youngsters at Holy Angels School in Aurora suffered not just from a hard lockdown Feb. 15, but also from the injury of one of their fathers, a first responder who was injured during the mass shooting at the Henry Pratt Co. warehouse.
 
“One of the first responding officers that was shot is a long-time parent here,” said Principal ... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
February 28, 2019
ROCKFORD—“People want to talk with us because we have a wife (and maybe) children,” said Deacon Ignacio Felix.
 
Deacon Thomas Petit agreed. “People see us (as someone who) has walked in their shoes,” he said. “They think they have a better chance to be understood.”
 
They were a... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
February 28, 2019
BATAVIA—In addition to this year’s Catholic keynote speaker, Eric Groth, the 50th anniversary Batavia Brother hood Banquet also honored Msgr. William J. Donovan.
 
“It’s good to meet together and lift up the name of Jesus,” said Bob Dahlstrom, in his welcoming remarks to more than 350 men at the banquet Feb. 19 at Immanuel Lu... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
February 28, 2019
GENEVA—While there are many options in the diocese for Lent retreats and thought-provoking presentations, St. Peter Parish here is offering a new one this year.
 
The nationally acclaimed musical and multi-sensory experience, Cross and Light, is an adaptation of Christ’s passion, death, resurrection and gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost com... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
February 21, 2019
AURORA—Few people ever think the end of the week will mean the end to life.
 
But that’s exactly what happened Friday, Feb. 15 in one community in the Rockford Diocese. 
 
It was on that day that Aurora was added to the tragically long list of cities rocked by an act of senseless gun violence. A 45-year-... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
February 21, 2019

Landmark status of one diocesan and two parish buildings debated at Rockford commission hearing Feb. 12. Diocese plans prayer grotto for cleared space.

ROCKFORD—For nearly three hours Feb. 12, members of the City of Rockford’s Historic Preservation Commission heard presentations supporting and opposing a ... Read More
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
February 21, 2019
ELGIN—Ninety-five Anglos and Hispanics from parishes in all corners of the Rockford Diocese gathered for an Ultreya Grande Bilingüe (Bilingual Grand Ultreya) on Feb. 9 at St. Laurence Parish, here.
 
The annual event is held “to maintain friendship ties” among cursillistas, people who have made Cursillio retreates in English or Span... Read More
By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
February 21, 2019
While many churches in the diocese have acclaimed artwork, there is no doubt St. Peter in Geneva, which continues to be lauded for its strong basilica architectural form with inventive use of natural light, seems surely to be an appropriate place for the worthy paintings of noted local artists. 
 
And, while many are called to follow Christ, few are ... Read More
February 21, 2019
HANOVER—Deacon David P. Wilbricht, 85, of Hanover, died Tuesday, Feb. 12.
 
He was born June 22, 1933, to Lester and Gertrude Wilbricht in Dubuque, Iowa. 
 
He married his wife, Sue Ann, on Feb. 4, 1961. 
 
Deacon Wilbricht was a teacher and worked in social service for ... Read More
February 21, 2019
DIOCESE—On Feb. 13, two new abortion bills were introduced in the Illinois General Assembly. 
 
They are House Bill (HB) 2467: Parent Notice Abortion- Repeal, and HB 2495: The Reproductive Health Act.
 
“There is also a push on in Illinois to ‘modernize’ Illinois’ abortion laws,” ... Read More
February 21, 2019
DIOCESE—A vote is expected on Feb. 25 in the U.S. Senate on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S. 311/H.R 962). 
 
If passed, it would require health care providers to care for an abortion survivor as they would any newborn.
 
Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chairman of the USCCB committee on Pro-Lif... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
February 14, 2019
JOHNSBURG—From roots established in a log cabin 175 years ago to students involved in robotics today, St. John the Baptist School has endured and progressed as a foundation of faith, family and education.
 
McHenry County’s first Catholic school marked its historic anniversary and legacy of academic success with an open house on Jan. 27 at the... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
February 14, 2019
ROCKFORD—The annual Scout Sunday Mass and religious awards was Feb. 3 at the Cathedral of St. Peter.
 
Bishop David Malloy celebrated the Mass and presented the awards to youths and adults afterwards. He noted in his homily that he is not surprised when those who have a Scouting background are pointed out to him. The virtues and leadership skills le... Read More
February 7, 2019
ROCKFORD—Boylan Central Catholic High School held Mass Jan. 29 on its campus for nearly 1,400 students from across the Rockford Deanery and beyond in honor of Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 27–Feb. 2.
 
While the weather postponed or delayed some planned celebrations throughout the diocese, the gathering at Boylan fit in between a snow day and th... Read More
Snow Days Just Aren’t What They Used to Be
Internet keeps diocesan students, teachers connected despite weather
By Sharon Boehlefeld, Features Editor
February 7, 2019
ROCKFORD—Back when parents used to walk uphill both ways to school, snow days meant fun.
 
But in several Rockford Diocese Catholic schools, it just means working in a different way.
 
In some cases, paper packets went home with children ahead of the polar vortex cold front last week. But for many students from the... Read More
February 7, 2019
CHICAGO—Illinois’ six Catholic bishops issued a statement on Feb. 4 urging state lawmakers to vote “no” on upcoming legislation to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
 
The bishops together are represented by the Catholic Conference of Illinois
 
The statment reads:
 Read More
February 7, 2019
ROCKFORD—The Vatican Congregation for the Clergy has informed the Diocese of Rockford that Pope Francis has approved its recommendation regarding Father Aaron Brodeski, a priest of the Rockford Diocese since 1998.
 
The decree was issued as a result of actions committed in early 2014.
 
The decree states that Fathe... Read More
February 7, 2019
ROCKFORD—Singers throughout the Diocese of Rockford are invited to form the choir for the Rite of Election. This Mass will take place at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Rockford at 10 a.m. March 9.
 
Volunteers are asked to attend at least two rehearsals from among these dates: 
 
– Feb. 27 —... Read More
February 7, 2019
ROCKFORD—The Vocations Office will be hosting a vocational discernment “Nun Run” for women 18, college-age and older who are interested in a religious vocation.  
 
The March 8–12 trip will include visits with sisters of different orders with different apostolates.
 
The young women will... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 31, 2019
ROCKFORD—The predicted snow held off until after this year’s Women of Inspiration banquet, allowing a crowd of just short of 600 people to give plenty of applause and cheers for the Rockford Deanery women who were honored.
 
The 27th annual event sponsored by the Rockford Deanery Council of Catholic Women was held at Giovanni’s Restauran... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
January 31, 2019
CRYSTAL LAKE—The decision to engage in an apostolic life has true meaning for four individuals who made a commitment to dedicate themselves to the welfare of young people.  
 
They have chosen to accept God’s personal invitation to His service as Salesian Cooperators and to be guided by the “Salesian Spirit” example of St... Read More
January 31, 2019
ELGIN—Members of the Knights of Columbus in the Elgin  area want everyone to mark Feb. 23 on the calendar.
 
That’s when they’ll be hosting their 21st Chili for Charity dinner, 3:30-7 p.m., at St. Thomas More School gym, 1625 W. Highland Ave.
 
Tickets are $8 at the door or $7 in advance. Contact C... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 31, 2019
ROCKFORD—On Jan. 25, the speakers at the 24th annual Respect Life Banquet at Holy Family Parish talked a lot about miracles.
 
Michael O’Neill, known professionally as The Miracle Hunter, introduced the keynote speaker by talking about some of the criteria required for a miracle to be used for a cause for canonization.
 Read More
January 31, 2019
AURORA—Marmion Academy here is inviting young artists to take part in its Middle School Art Invitational.
 
Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students may submit their artwork for the invitational. 
 
Students interested in participating need to complete an online participation form at www.marmion.org/art.&nbs... Read More
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
January 24, 2019
ST. CHARLES— Bishop David Malloy said a 6:45 p.m. send-off Mass on Jan. 16 at St. John Neumann Parish here for 93 Diocese of Rockford pilgrims who were going to Washington, D.C., for the Jan. 18 March for Life. Some parishioners also attended to support the travelers. 
 
In all, about 250 people traveled to the march from the Rockford Diocese, ... Read More
Observer Salute to Catholic Schools
Catholic Schools Week is being celebrated Jan. 27-Feb. 2
January 24, 2019
Catholic Schools Week  is being celebrated Jan. 27-Feb. 2 in the Rockford Diocese and across the nation.
 
As it did last year, the theme of this week proclaims Catholic schools as a place where students “Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.”
 
Catholic schools from all around the Diocese of Rockford provided sn... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
January 24, 2019
It’s too early to tell how many of this year’s applicants to the Empower Illinois program are from the Rockford Diocese.
 
DIOCESE—The good news about Empower Illinois has gotten around, and lots of families — more than 30,000 — are taking part. 
 
According to... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 24, 2019
ROCKFORD—The annual January Life Breakfast sponsored by the International Organization for the Family was held Jan. 16, the morning of the departure to Washington D.C. of diocesan March for Life buses.
 
The ecumenical event at Giovanni’s restaurant welcomed Bishop David Malloy to give the invocation, while Rev. Kevin Olson of Redeemer Luthera... Read More
Collection Aids Work in U.S. and Diocese
National Appeal Weekend Jan. 19-20
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 10, 2019
DIOCESE—The 2019 National Appeal, a collection in parishes across the diocese that combines what would otherwise be six separate collections, will take place the weekend of Jan. 19-20.
 
Calling them “established efforts to share the faith here in the United States,” Bishop David Malloy in his letter to parishioners across the diocese to... Read More
Rockford City Hall Delays Old Chancery Demolition
Rockford group seeks historic status for the 1929 building
January 10, 2019
ROCKFORD—Planned demolition of a former parish convent and the former diocesan chancery building, scheduled for safety reasons during the Christmas break at the Cathedral of St. Peter School, was denied by the City of Rockford just days before the buildings were to be razed. 
 
Work was halted because a local Rockford group called the Friends o... Read More
Bishop Visits Jail on Christmas Day
For the first time, Bishop David Malloy also meets with women at Winnebago County Jail.
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 10, 2019
ROCKFORD— For the seventh time since becoming Bishop of the Diocese of Rockford in May 2012 Bishop David Malloy celebrated Mass on Christmas Day for men inmates at the Winnebago County Jail.
 
This year for the first time he was able to minister also to a roomful of female inmates. An earlier than usual Mass time for the men made it possible to arra... Read More
January 10, 2019
Rev. Jhakson A. Garcia — to be Parochial Administrator at St. Patrick Parish, Rockford, Illinois, effective Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2019.
 
Rev. Johnson Lopez — to be Parochial Administrator at St. Edward Parish, Rockford, Illinois, effective Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2019.
 
Rev... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 10, 2019
ROCKFORD—Although John McGrath retired as director of ministry formation and religious education for the Diocese of Rockford at the end of December, he doesn’t plan to disappear.
 
“My vocation has been to be an educator and a teacher,” he says. “That won’t change with retirement. I’ve let go of some of the admini... Read More
January 10, 2019
WOODSTOCK—Father Louis Tosto retired effective Dec. 1, 2018.
 
His was a later-in-life vocation, entering seminary studies at age 44 and ordained at age 49. 
 
The schools he attended include Forest View High School in Arlington Heights, college at Cardinal Stritch in Milwaukee, Wis., and Sacred Heart School o... Read More
January 10, 2019
DIOCESE—Last year it was basketball at three high schools. This year it was only two schools, but Rockford Diocese priests and seminarians took their basketball and volleyball skills on the road during  Christmas break.
 
The second “holiday tourney” featured games at Newman Central Catholic High School in Sterling on Dec. 26 and at... Read More
December 20, 2018
DIOCESE—Lunch time became a cause for upset and it was not because of bad food on Dec. 13. 
 
Around noon that day, several sites in the Diocese of Rockford were caught up in a nation-wide email hoax containing a threat to explode a bomb. 
 
St. Rita Parish, Rockford; St. Mary Parish, McHenry and the Dioc... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
December 20, 2018
ROCKFORD—As a child, Sandra Dettori lived in Italy and was captivated by the crèche scenes there and in other parts of Europe.
 
“As a young child, you’re fascinated,” she says of the village scenes surrounding the nativity. “You imagine what’s going on.”
 
Little did she ... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
December 20, 2018
HUNTLEY—“The opening of Simbang Gabi is a sign that the Lord is near,” said Bishop David Malloy, “and the third rose candle of Advent reminds us all of hope and joy.”
 
In anticipation of what was to come, both excitement and reverence was apparent among more than 800 members of the Fox Valley Filipino community gathered for ... Read More
Making Room in the Inn
Aurora’s House of Peace Offers Lodging for Women in Need
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
December 13, 2018
AURORA—A decent home and spiritual support are the mainstays at the House of Peace (Casa de la Paz) at St. Nicholas Parish here.
 
The residence is for women going through difficult times  who need a temporary place to live. The home also serves adult students looking for affordable, clean and safe lodging while they finish their classes.
... Read More
By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
December 6, 2018
If walls could talk there would be a lot of history to reveal.
 
Stained glass windows in the walls of churches do talk — virtually speaking — and tell the stories of heroes and saints, while also reflecting Catholic symbols and truths.
 
Even the most casual visitor to a Catholic church, cathedral, or basili... Read More
Diocesan Bishop Lane Retreat Center Renovated
New Entrance Makes Main Building More Accessible
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
December 6, 2018
ROCKFORD—Making Bishop Lane Retreat Center ”handicapped accessible ... was our number one goal,” says Kristen Sapoznik, director of  the center southwest of Rockford.
 
Although the second floor of the retreat center’s main building has long been accessible via a back driveway and a door leading into its chapel, the first floo... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
November 22, 2018
ROCKFORD—Bishop David Malloy and Cathedral of St. Peter Rector Father Stephen St. Jules announced changes and improvements to the Cathedral of St. Peter campus during an informational meeting Nov. 19. 
 
About 35 people gathered in the fellowship hall to find out about the next chapter in parish and diocesan history.
 
... Read More
November 15, 2018
ROCKFORD—The Diocese of Rockford on Nov. 14, released a list of those priests, deacons, and religious against whom a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has been reported.
 
The list includes the names of six diocesan priests, one permanent deacon and eight religious order priests who served for a time in the Diocese of Rockford.Read More
November 15, 2018
“With all my heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments. In my heart I treasure your promise that I may not sin against you.” (Ps 119:10-11)
 
In January 2004, the Diocese of Rockford published a four-page report to the people of the Diocese of Rockford which outlined the history of sexual abuse of minors in the dioc... Read More
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