By Observer Staff
June 20, 2019
ROCKFORD—Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law an abortion bill that Illinois’ Catholic bishops said eliminates “even minimal limitations on abortions under previous law” and whose passage by the legislature marked “a sad moment in our history as a state.”
 
Read More
New Name, Still Some Camp-Style Fun
Annual vocations camps get updates for 2019 season
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 20, 2019
ROCKFORD—The trio of vocations summer camps — St. Therese, Jeremiah Days and First Call — have been renamed but still have some just-for-fun things planned as well as many activities to encounter Jesus.
 
The new name for each of them is “Encounter Retrea... Read More
Kathy Whitcomb Retires after Decades of Service
Martha Fetterhoff to follow Whitcomb in service to new diocesan vicar
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 20, 2019
ROCKFORD—Kathy Whitcomb began serving the Church in Rockford as a volunteer in 1981 when she moved to Rockford and Holy Family Parish from farther south in Illinois.
 
“I guess I was (at Holy Family) so much, they thought they might as well hire me,” she says with a laugh.
 
She began fulltime work as s... Read More
June 20, 2019
 ROCKFORD—Kevin Fuss, executive secretary and diocesan director of Research and Planning, announced three openings on the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) at its June 1 meeting. 
 
One representative is needed  from each of the Aurora, Elgin and McHenry deaneries.
 
Criteria for serving on the DPC are... Read More
June 20, 2019
AURORA—Aurora’s Dominican Literacy Center closed its yearlong 25th anniversary celebration June 1 with “Finding Mystery in the Ordinary,” a retreat for 20 DLC staff and anniversary committee members.
 
Keynote speaker was Sister Ann Willits, OP, from Sinsinawa Mound in Wisconsin. The morning event was held at Casa Santa Maria, a ne... Read More
June 20, 2019
DEKALB—Catholic Daughters, Immaculate Conception 996 from St. Mary Parish in DeKalb supported teachers at St. Mary schools in DeKalb and Sycamore this school year. 
 
Members picked a teacher as a “secret pal” for the school year, sending notes of encouragement and thanks, little gifts, and surprises for the holidays.  Read More
June 20, 2019
Over 600 volunteers from the two St. Charles parishes — St. John Neumann and St. Patrick — joined together to pack 132,192 meals for people who have little or no food and are in jeopardy of starving in Third World countries.
 
The event was organized by the St. Charles Knights of Columbus Council 12497 and the St Charles Ladies Auxiliary and c... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
June 13, 2019
DIOCESAN—Members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council were updated on legislation protecting and threatening  life  around the U.S. and in Illinois during their meeting June 8.
 
A report on Be Reconciled Day and Ministry Day opened the agenda followed by a preview by Bishop David Malloy on the proposed changes and updates coming from the Unit... Read More
Ground Cleared for Campus Changes
Legal Barriers Hurdled, Demo Under Way at Old Chancery
Observer Staff
June 13, 2019
ROCKFORD—After months of meetings, petitions, protests and waiting for decisions, the former chancery and convent are being razed to make way for prayer gardens and parking at the Cathedral of St. Peter campus here.
 
Judge Donna Honzel ruled May 31 that a group calling themselves “Save Piety Hill” had no legal standing and therefore can... Read More
June 13, 2019
DIOCESE—Registration is open for this year’s Silver and Gold Anniversary Mass, to be celebrated by Bishop David Malloy on Aug. 18 at St. Mary  Parish in Huntley. 
 
Mass will begin at 2:30 p.m. and will be followed by a cake and punch reception in the parish hall.
 
Couples from the Rockford Diocese... Read More
By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
June 13, 2019
SYCAMORE—Young adults gathered to hear the importance of making a decision to follow Christ, during “A Pentecost Evening of Reflection” with author and speaker Pete Burak, May 28.
 
Burak’s ministry focuses on helping lead young adults to become missionary disciples and to live more deeply the life of faith through the Holy Spirit.... Read More
June 13, 2019
DEKALB—On May 7 the Catholic Daughters of the Americas’ local court, Immaculate Conception 996, presented awards to winners of this year’s national education contest. 
 
The contest is open to and encourages students of the community, local schools, CCD classes, homeschooled children, and even adults, to use their imagination and fr... Read More
June 13, 2019
POLO—Kay Tyne was selected as the recipient of the 18th annual Woman of the Year Award from St. Mary Parish in Polo. 
 
This year Carol Glenn presented the award to Tyne at a luncheon on May 19.
 
Tyne and her husband, Ed, have been active in the parish for more than 30 years. They have two children, Brian and... Read More
June 13, 2019
ELGIN—The Elgin Deanery Council of Catholic Women (EDCCW) collected women’s toiletry items for the 16th year and delivered gift bags to women in area shelters in time for Mother’s Day. 
 
With help of ladies from St. Patrick, St. Charles; St. Laurence, Elgin; St. Catherine of Siena, Dundee; and St. Thomas More, Elgin, 152 gift bags ... Read More
June 13, 2019
MCHENRY—St Mary Council of Catholic Women here presented a check for $600 to McHenry Home of the Sparrow on May 20. 
 
As part of its ongoing mis sion to serve, St. Mary’s CCW initiated a Wishing Well fund-raiser to buy a tent for parish events, announcing that a portion would be given to Home of the Sparrow. 
 ... Read More
June 13, 2019
FREEPORT—Adam Acevedo will attend Stanford University with a full-ride academic scholarship. 
 
A parishioner of St. Mary in Freeport, Acevedo will be heading to California this fall after graduating in the top five of his class at Freeport.
 
During his high school career he has taken part in Showtime (an ann... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 6, 2019
ROCKFORD— “These are good guys; they are good guys,” was the happy hum of one of the priests behind the scenes at the June 1 ordination of three men to the priesthood and one to the transitional diaconate.
 
Robert Blood, John Kladar and Charles Warren became priests, and Jack Reichardt became a transitional deacon as the ordination rite... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 6, 2019
ROCKFORD—As is his custom since coming to Rockford, Bishop David Malloy celebrated Mass on Memorial Day under a tent at Calvary Cemetery near Rockford.
 
Although it was windy, the holiday’s rain was avoided. The crowd, many of whom wore red, white and blue, seemed a bit larger than at last year’s Mass.
 
June 6, 2019
Early on the morning of June 1, demolition crews began the work of removing the old chancery on the Cathedral of St. Peter campus in Rockford.
 
Work stopped well before ordination began at 11 a.m.
 
Once the old diocesan chancery and unused parish convent are cleared away, work will begin on the planned prayer garden.... Read More
June 6, 2019
Today is a dark day in the history of the State of Illinois. 
 
With today’s vote by the Illinois Senate to approve the horribly misnamed Reproductive Health Act, that body has declared that abortion in Illinois is a fundamental right.  This legislation strips the unborn of any protection or rights under the law, and demonstrates a grievou... Read More
June 6, 2019

Several priests and sisters were honored  for their Jubilees in the June 7 issue of The Observer. The jubilarians, listed below, along with their photos and bio's appear in this week's issue of The Observer.

60 Years:
Abbot Vincent Bataille, OSB (Marmion Abbey)
Father Salvadore J. Guagliardo
Father Leo Ryska, OSB

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Boylan Grads Walk Toward Priesthood Together
Three to be ordained as priests, one as transitional deacon for the Rockford Diocese on June 1
May 23, 2019
ROCKFORD—On June 1, three young men will be ordained as priests for the Rockford Diocese and one as a transitional deacon, taking another step toward the priesthood.
 
While the ordinations are not unusual, the fact that all four are graduates of Boylan Central Catholic High School in Rockford is.
 
Transitional de... Read More
May 23, 2019
Father Jerome Leake
 
AURORA—Father Jerome Leake will retire effective June 17.
 
Born in Evanston, Father Leake attended Quigley High School in Chicago, graduating in 1960. He then attended St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa, and Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., graduating in... Read More
May 23, 2019
ST. CHARLES—On June 17, Msgr. Stephen Knox, S.T.L., becomes diocesan Vicar for Clergy and Religious and the pastor of St. Bridget Parish in Loves Park. 
 
The Woodstock native attended McHenry High School there, graduating in 1978. He attended Rock Valley College, McHenry College and Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. He then studied at St... Read More
May 23, 2019
Father Barch Heading West
 
BYRON—Father Howard C. Barch, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Byron, will become pastor of St. Michael and St. Mary parishes in Galena and Holy Trinity Parish in Scales Mound on June 17.
 
Born in Detroit, he studied at Brother Rice High School in Birmingham, Mich., ... Read More
May 16, 2019
The Rev. Jerome L. Leake — Pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Aurora, to retire with the permission of The Most Rev. Bishop, effective June 17, 2019.
 
The Rev. Robert J. McClellan — Parochial Vicar at St. Peter Parish, South Beloit, to retire with the permission of The Most Rev. Bishop, effective June 17, 2019.Read More
May 16, 2019
CRYSTAL LAKE—Rosemary Blazier was selected the Woman of Inspiration by the St Thomas the Apostle Woman’s Club here at its annual Woman’s Club spring luncheon, on May 2. 
 
Blazier has been an active parishioner at St Thomas for over 60 years, having taught high school religious ed, served as a lector, provided leadership in the Marr... Read More
By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
May 2, 2019
ROCKFORD—Those “who began a good work” in the life of Boylan Central Catholic High School alumnae, Amanda Clement, are sharing in the performer’s success as Clement made a visit to her alma mater April 29. 
 
She spoke to choir students about her role in the Chicago production of the Broadway musical “Hamilton.”Read More
By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
April 11, 2019
MAYTOWN—St. Patrick would be proud! The people of the church named for him in Maytown have kept faith with the founding families and maintained the church building through thick and thin for 100 years.
 
Although the population in the area has thinned in recent decades, today 48 families keep this parish alive and vibrant. While others have moved on... Read More
By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
April 11, 2019
MAYTOWN—The roots of St. Patrick Parish in Maytown go back almost 180 years, and the founding families planted those roots deep.
 
This parish was started in 1840, before the Civil War. The first Mass was said in the home of William Dolan, just a few miles from the current church site, at 1336 Maytown Road.  A Vincentian priest, Father Parody, ... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 4, 2019
SPRINGFIELD—It was a busy day March 20 at the State Capitol as an estimated 4,000 pro-life advocates from around Illinois gathered to lobby their elected officials and participate in an afternoon rally against bills that are moving through the House and Senate that would radically deregulate and encourage abortions in Illinois.
 
In a related effort... 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
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
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
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
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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