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The National Council
of Catholic Women,
in the wake of the recent violence across the United States,
joins the Knights of Columbus
in their call to families
and all people of good will
to pray a novena
-- nine days of prayer --
from July 14-22 by praying
St. Francis of Assisi’s
Prayer for Peace:


Plans for Building Project Ok’d
St. Joseph Parish in Elgin Starts Fundraising for Bigger Church
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
July 21, 2016

ELGIN—When it appeared there was a decrease in the number of parishioners attending Masses, Father Jesus Dominguez, pastor of St. Joseph Parish here, broke with the paradigm of loss and launched into a plan to build a new church with greater capacity.

He had  noticed a number of parishioners had begun to avoid going to St. Joseph because the building couldn’t hand... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
July 21, 2016

ROCKFORD—“It’s fabulous,” said Terri Swegle as she expressed her appreciation for the diocesan Office of Vocations summer camps.

She and her husband, Mark, brought their son, David, up from their Dixon home to the First Call Camp for young men in high school and college. Although it was David’s initial First Call Camp, he and his parents are familiar ... Read More

Pray for Priests
Loves Park Parish Revives 40 Hours
July 21, 2016

LOVES PARK—St. Bridget Parish, here, is adapting a Catholic tradition — more than 500 years old — to pray for priests of the Rockford Diocese.

Called Quarant Ore or Forty Hours, it is continuous adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for a 40-hour period.

Forty Hours organizers encourage other individuals and parishes in the diocese to join them in the dev... Read More

July 21, 2016

Junior Observer -- Abraham asks God to spare a sinful city

Bishop Malloy installs Fathers Draper and DeBlock

Aurora Police Chief visits St. Rita

Pastor blesses St. Mary Memorial Garden, statue in DeKalb

Belvidere K of C installs officers

Johnsburg parish hosts Healing Mass

Benefit raffle to aid immigrants

U.S. House members in bipartisan vote pass Conscience Protection Act

No direction shift likely at Masses

El Salvadore amnesty law struck down

Castile funeral at St. Paul Cathedral sign of mercy for family, mourners

Mobile medical unit from Vatican hits Rome's peripheries to help poor


July 14, 2016

This year from July 10-13, the Jeremiah Days Vocation Camp welcomed 28 boys for activities, games, prayer and talks from seminarians and priests.

On Monday morning,  seminarian John Kladar organized an obstacle course, demonstrating each task before the relay event began.

Campers jumped rope, tossed balls and checkers into containers, shot hoops, stacked game piece... Read More

July 14, 2016

JOLIET—The Diocese of Rockford Catholic Charities was among four Catholic Charities organizations honored by Presence Health, a Catholic health system, with its 2016 annual INSPIRE Award.

Also honored were Catholic Charities from the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Diocese of Joliet and the Diocese of Peoria.

The Presence Health INSPIRE Award honors leaders or organiz... Read More

July 14, 2016

The Rev. Alejandro del Toro, S.T.L. — Pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Rockford, Illinois, to be also Bishop’s Delegate for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, effective Friday, July 1, 2016.

The Rev. Ryan B. Browning, S.T.L. — Parochial Vicar of St. Bridget Parish, Loves Park, Illinois, to be also Censor Librorum for the Diocese... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
July 7, 2016

ROCKFORD—“How right and just it is for us to be here this morning,” said Bishop David Malloy as he began the 8 a.m. Mass in honor of 100 years of the Poor Clares in the Diocese of Rockford.

In his homily, the bishop acknowledged that the Corpus Christi Monastery Chapel was filled to overflowing with people of all ages from near and far before he spoke about the &... Read More

July 7, 2016

DIOCESE—Candidates to fill four openings on the Diocesan Pastoral Council are being sought.

There are DPC openings for one lay representative each from the DeKalb Deanery and the Elgin Deanery.

Two openings also exists for a young adult representative from the central part of the diocese (either the Rockford or DeKalb deanery) and the eastern part (from the Aurora... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
July 7, 2016

GENEVA—Bishop David Malloy celebrated Mass with religious freedom in mind on July 4 at St. Peter Church here.

He welcomed a crowd, many of whom dressed in combinations of red, white and blue.

The bishop briefly compared America’s quest for freedom, which acknowledged God, with the French Revolution that tried to eliminate God from society.

The Fre... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
July 7, 2016

“Born free, as free as the wind blows … born free to follow your heart.”

Singing a couple of lines as he began his homily for the Dec. 8 feast of the Immaculate Conception, Father Joel Lopez says he was hoping that Mary, born free of original sin, would come to his listeners’ minds whenever they heard that song.

“Sometimes I sing during my... Read More

July 7, 2016

DIOCESE—The annual Rockford Diocese Silver and Gold wedding anniversary Mass is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., Aug. 21, at St. Mary Parish in Huntley.

Couples celebrating the milestone wedding anniversaries of 25, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70 or more years of marriage in 2016 are invited to the Mass, which will be celebrated by Bishop Davi... Read More

July 7, 2016

Editor’s note: Information from several sisters who are celebrating jubilees in 2016  and have served in the Rockford Diocese did not arrive in time for The Observer’s jubilarian issue on May 27. Here are their biographies.
A celebration is planned July 24 for Clinton (Iowa) Fransican, Sister Martinelle Bonnell.


60 years<... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 30, 2016

JOHNSBURG—“I had this dream,” said Bishop David Malloy to the congregation at St. John the Baptist Church on June 26.

He deliberately paused, and the crowd chuckled.

Many had seen the fire truck parked outside the church as firefighters slowly swung an enormous crane in a dry run of what was soon to come.

The bishop’s dream had him loo... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 30, 2016

ROCKFORD—Bishop David Malloy celebrated Mass in the chapel at Corpus Christi Monastery here on June 21 for the St. Therese vocations camp.

The camp, held annually for girls and young women, includes a variety of activities — some just for fun, some to introduce campers to religious life, and some to provide time for participants to pray and begin to learn how to ask Go... Read More

By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
June 30, 2016

HUNTLEY—When memories of serious hurts won’t go away, giving those thoughts to God can make things right, said Dawn Eden, a best-selling Catholic author and journalist. That, coupled with sincere prayer, should be done as soon as painful memories surface, Eden said.

She knows — she’s been hurt.

But no one should expect  painful memories to s... Read More

June 30, 2016

The Rev. Alexander Matabajoy — to be Parochial Vicar at Sacred Heart Parish, Aurora, Illinois, effective Monday, June 27, 2016.

Given at the Chancery, June 27, 2016

By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
June 23, 2016

STERLING—Volunteers who distribute food to hungry children are heroic, says Darrin Driscoll, a veteran of the second Iraq War, during a Let’s Feed Our Children free lunchtime distribution.

The meals go to children who normally would receive free or discounted lunches at school.

“I’ve seen heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan ... but I’ve seen mor... Read More

June 23, 2016

The Rev. Canon Benjamin  I. Coggeshall — at the nomination of his Provincial Superior and by appointment of The Most Reverend Diocesan Bishop, to be Rector of St. Mary Oratory, Rockford, Illinois, effective Friday, July 1, 2016.

Given at the Chancery,  June 15, 2016

June 23, 2016

AURORA—Rosary High School senior Alexis Yager, a member of the Rosary Beads swim team, will be competing at the 2016 U. S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, June 26 through
July 3.

She has qualified in four events:

  • - 400 Individual Medley (competion June 26)
  • - 100M Breaststroke - (competion June 27)<... Read More
June 23, 2016

To Help Let’s Feed Our Children

Sterling area volunteers for the Let’s Feed Our Children free lunch program may add their names to the sign-up sheet in the narthex at Sacred Heart Parish, 2222 Avenue J.

Volunteers from Sacred Heart will be packing and distributing free lunches at Macedonia Baptist Church in Sterling during the month o... Read More

June 23, 2016

ST. LOUIS—Catholic media in the Rockford Diocese took home several awards from the annual Catholic Media Conference, here.

Among honors from the Catholic Press Association was a first place for best coverage of a routine, sacramental event. The award for “Be Reconciled Again Draws People to Confession,” went to the reporting team of Amanda Hudson, The Observer ne... Read More

June 16, 2016

Bishop David Malloy issued this statement regarding the deaths in Florida last weekend:

I ask all people to join with Archbishop Kurtz, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said that “Waking up to the unspeakable violence in Orlando reminds us of how precious human life is. Our prayers are with the victims, their families and all those affected ... Read More

By Penny Wiegert, Editor
June 16, 2016

DIOCESE—Members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, spent a sunny Saturday morning taking up the weighty issue of vision, governance and enrollment for Catholic schools.

The ongoing strategic planning process, now called “Faith Forward, Building our Blueprint for Catholic Schools,” was the centerpiece of the DPC’s regular meeting June 11.

Michael K... Read More

June 16, 2016

Father Kyle Manno, who was ordained June 4, returned to Christ the Teacher University Parish in DeKalb on June 12 to offer his first Mass in sign language as a priest.

As a student at Northern Illinois University, Father Manno was a member of the parish and began his vocation discernment there.

Msgr. Glenn Nelson who, in addition to being Vicar General and Moderator of ... Read More

June 16, 2016

DIOCESE—Seven members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council completed their terms of service at the June 11 meeting.

“As they say in the game shows, we have lovely parting gifts for you,” Bishop David Malloy joked as he presented each retiring member with a wooden crucifix that he had blessed.

“Seriously,” said Bishop Malloy, “This is just... Read More

Parade of Famous People Marches On
Students Recreate Favorite Project to Honor Retiring Fourth-Grade Teacher
By Natalie Droeske, Observer Correspondent
June 16, 2016

AURORA—With the closing of the 2015-2016 school year, Mary Ellen Bender of St. Rita of Cascia School will retire after 30 years of dedicated service to the school and church.

But among her “infamous” projects is a parade of famous persons.

For the project, students research a famous person and give a presentation to other classes.

Her studen... Read More

June 16, 2016

AURORA—Women from St. Joseph Parish, here, inspired by the Year of Mercy and women from St. Patrick Parish in Maytown, have created dozens of clothing items for needy children.

Seamstresses were Irene Geltz, Rita Lempa, Cindy McManamon, Lynne Monaco, Lenore Blatner, Kathleen Hettinger, Joan Lutz, Carolyn Michels and Pat Oleck.

Their efforts started with a December... Read More

Joy Overflows at Ordination
Three Men Begin Service as Priests of the Rockford Diocese
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 9, 2016

ROCKFORD—Speculating that God’s angels rejoice not just over one sinner who repents but also over one new priest, Bishop David Malloy began his homily saying, “Perhaps on a day like this, when there are three of you, not just one, the joy of heaven is such that God is asking his angels to ‘Hold it down over there.’ ”

Before, during and af... Read More

June 9, 2016

DIOCESE—Father James Father Keenan, pastor of St. Mary Parish here, has been appointed Vicar Forane of the Sterling deanery. His appointment by Bishop David Malloy is effective, June 20.

Father Keenan succeeds Msgr. Thomas Dzielak who served the deanery for 15 years.

Each vicar forane, or dean, is responsible for the common pastoral activity in his area of the dio... Read More

By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
June 2, 2016

NAPERVILLE—Brian McCaskey’s journey through the worlds of sports, business, and health challenges has shown him good days and bad days.

Through it all he has learned to surrender each day to God.

The senior director of business development for the Chicago Bears talked of his ups and downs, wins and losses at a business breakfast program sponsored by Relevant... Read More

June 2, 2016

AURORA—On May 15, the Catholic Church celebrated its anniversary, and to mark the occasion St. Rita of Cascia parishioners wore outfits representative of their cultures during the 10:15 a.m. Mass.

“St. Rita Parish is recognized by its cultural diversity,” said Father Oscar Cortes, parochial administrator.

“We have parishioners who come from diffe... Read More

June 2, 2016

DIOCESE—This year, 125 students in the Rockford Diocese are being honored with the St. Timothy Award.

It is given to youth by the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry in collaboration with the Diocese of Rockford Education Office.  

It is the highest recognition from the federation that a diocese can confer on a junior or senior high ... Read More

May 26, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Father Michael Fuller, has been named executive director of the Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The appointment was made May 24 by Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, USCCB General Secretary, and is effective Aug. 8.

“I congratulate Father Fuller on the news today of his appointment to... Read More

By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
May 19, 2016

DEKALB—For students, final exams can be filled with stress, anxiety, nerves on high alert and sometimes even hunger in the middle of the night.

But those needs can be filled during the week-long “24 Hour Study!” program at Newman Catholic Student Center at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. The program is held twice a year during finals.

From May ... Read More

By Sharon Boehlefeld, Features Editor
May 19, 2016

ROCKFORD—Perhaps fittingly, a cancer center named for a vibrant woman is home to the American Cancer Society’s newest wig boutique.

And, except that it lacks a wash sink, walking in is like entering a small hair salon just off the entrance to the OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center’s Patricia D. Pepe Center for Cancer Care. The boutique, formerly housed at the cance... Read More

March 31, 2016

ROCKFORD—Abbie Reese is continuing her collaboration with the Poor Clare Colettines of Rockford.

Her book, “Dedicated to God: An Oral History of Cloistered Nuns,” was the first selection for The Observer’s One Diocese, One Book program.

She expects the documentary film, “Chosen (Custody of the Eyes),” will be ready for release this ye... Read More

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