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Mercy Leading 2016 Appeal
Diocesan Appeal Weekend April 30-May 1
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 21, 2016

DIOCESE—“God’s Mercy Leads Us” is the theme of the upcoming 2016 Diocesan Appeal. The appeal supports the work of the Diocese of Rockford at the diocesan level.

Diocesan administration includes ministries that give nuts-and-bolts assistance to parishes, such as the Department of Finance/Administrative Servic... Read More

April 21, 2016

ROCKFORD—Caritas’ 30th Anniversary luncheon and fashion show will take place on April 27, at Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Road, here.

The celebration theme is “Children... Precious As Pearls.”

There will be a social hour with silent auction beginning at 10:30 a.m.

There will als... Read More

By Penny Wiegert, Editor
April 21, 2016

ELGIN—A new principal and superintendent has been named for St. Edward Central Catholic High School here.

Barb Villont, a familiar face in the educational system of the Rockford Diocese will begin duties at the school July 1.  Her appointment was announced April 20 at St. Edward and at her current school, Marian Central ... Read More

By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
April 21, 2016

ROCKFORD—For a couple of months Terri Hill, program director at St. Elizabeth Catholic Community Center here, has been painting the walls in the center with “positive messages.”

Hill wants “a welcome environment for the people who come in here, because I don’t want this place to look so institutionaliz... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 21, 2016

ROCKFORD—“We have families who are similar, and who are also very different,” says Chris Hawes as she reflects on the never-ending need for foster parents.

Hawes supervises the licensing department for foster parents at the Rockford office of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. She has been with LSSI for 14 year... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 21, 2016

PALOS HEIGHTS—Many of the ups and downs of foster care have been part of Laura Barkley’s life and joy in her five years as a foster parent.

She and her husband, Craig, initially fostered through the Rockford LSSI office until they moved to Palos Heights in 2013. They now foster through an office in Augustana.

... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 21, 2016

GALENA—The Cologne Cathedral in Germany captivated St. Mary parishioner Ron Fox a few years ago.

He talks in awe of the commitment it took for artisans to build that mountainous cathedral without the advantage of modern machinery.

A second trip overseas introduced him to the myriad artistic details of the churches ... Read More

By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
April 21, 2016

WOODSTOCK—Saving the monarch butterfly from extinction means promoting plants that support its annual journey from Mexico, through the United States to Canada, say members of the Care of Creation Team at Resurrection Parish in Woodstock.

It’s all about saving our common home, as promoted by Pope Francis, said team membe... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 21, 2016

BATAVIA—A quote from Bilbo Baggins in “The Lord of the Rings” fits the story of Mike and Lori Pacer quite nicely: “You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.”

Looking back, Lori Pacer sees the Holy Spirit at work in how she a... Read More

By Penny Wiegert, Editor
April 21, 2016

AURORA—“It’s a small world” isn’t just a cliché or a Disney tune. When people connect with each other through faith, service and culture, the world doesn’t seem so huge and unfamiliar.

When people come together by better understanding each other, they build friendships and sometimes a whol... Read More

By Penny Wiegert, Editor
April 21, 2016

DIOCESE—The data is in and on schedule.

That in a nutshell is where the diocese is in its Strategic Planning Process for Catholic Schools.

A report from the Meitler group, the professional strategic planning firm hired to consult with the Rockford Diocese, was presented to the steering committee on April 14. That c... Read More

April 21, 2016

Junior Observer

Prayer hour offers hope and healing after abortions

Ask Him In, A prayer led her back to faith

Ways to make your visits to the elderly mean more

Woodstock parish simple supper unites community

Rosary plant sale to be held offsite at Schaefer's Greenhouse May 14

Much time remains to celebrate Jubilee of Mercy

Vocations office encourages prayers at church and home

Diocesan Appeal -- God's mercy leads us

A woodworkers love of mercy for his church

Outside Da Box wins Gabriel Award

Elgin Freshman's book tells Jesus's story

Pope prays for refugees, brings 12 Syrians home

Syrian Christian families who fled to Europe begin to return home

Pew study tracks effects of faith on lives

Young nun, postulants among hundreds of earhquake victims in Ecuador

Religious groups say 'yes' to supreme court's idea

$1.5 million grant boosts study of science, faith in seminaries

Pope names Papal Nuncio to Mexico to be new Nuncio in U.S.

In Iraq, U.S. Catholic leaders challnged to work for peace

Pope to visit Armenia in June, then Georgia, Azerbaijan in autumn

Help end death penalty, debt burden, war, pope tells activists

Kenyan bishop hopes Year of Mercy helps Catholics avoid devil worship

Papal Foundation makes generous donation to pope's efforts

Pakistan Catholic officials back plea not to demonize all Muslims


By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
April 14, 2016

WOODSTOCK—It was a morning of reverence, prayer, song and total commitment to Mary. One could nearly feel Mary’s presence and the showering of graces given from a loving mother’s approval.

More than 50 members of the Legion of Mary from the Rockford Diocese gathered at St. Mary Parish in Woodstock on April 9 to ce... Read More

How will I know?
Discernment house helps women hear the call in their hearts
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 14, 2016

“Sometimes people will ask me what is the point of the Nun Run and other vocations events,” says Father Keith Romke, diocesan director of the Vocations Office. “My response is always the same: without them I might not be a priest as I am a product of our summer vocations camps!  

“I guess you could resp... Read More

April 14, 2016

John Sentovich carried the cross for the 11th station during Pope Francis’ Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) at the Colosseum this year.

He is the father of Rockford Diocese seminarian Nick Sentovich, who is studying for the priesthood at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

One of Nick’s professors hel... Read More

By Sharon Boehlefeld, Features Editor
April 7, 2016

AURORA—Spontaneous applause doesn’t happen much when films end in theaters, but that was how the audience of “The Original Image of Divine Mercy” reacted March 30 at Rosary High School here.

“I thought it was awesome,” said Kathy Longmeier of Holy Cross Parish in Batavia. “It was beautiful,... Read More

40 Pilgrims + 1 Day = 8 Diocesan Holy Doors
Father Phillip Kaim Leads Pilgrimage from Cary through Seven Deaneries on March 30
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
April 7, 2016

ELGIN—A group of 40 people left SS. Peter and Paul Parish in Cary at 5:30 a.m. March 30 to embark on a one-day Year of Mercy pilgrimage.

They were traveling from one end of the Rockford Diocese to the other, visiting all eight churches with Holy Doors.

Father Phillip Kaim, parochial vicar of the parish, led the tri... Read More

By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
April 7, 2016

ROCKFORD—As part of the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday at the Cathedral of St. Peter, a small group gathered to view the film, “The Original Image of Divine Mercy.”

Kim Swenson of Holy Family Parish in Rockford attended the viewing at the invitation of her son. She said that she felt a special devotion to the ... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 31, 2016

ROCKFORD—Nathanial Davis has attended more than one Mass celebrated by Bishop David Malloy at the Winnebago County Jail, where he is an inmate.

He says he appreciates the encouragement given by the bishop. Then he reminisces a bit about working with his father on a paper route in Rockford when he was a kid. His dad now lives ... Read More

March 31, 2016

The Hispanic tradition of a Stations of the Cross procession begins at Sacred Heart Parish and ends at St. Nicholas Parish.

Members of other Aurora parishes also take part.

Msgr. Arquimedes Vallejo, diocesan Vicar for Hispanic Ministry, said “People (are) more fervent, it (has) greater participation,” since t... Read More

March 31, 2016

ELGIN—Pat Szpekowski, a correspondent for The Observer, received several honors, including one first place, in the Illinois Woman’s Press Association 2016 communications contest.  

The first place was in the PR materials category for a brochure created for Aquatic Therapy and Wellness LLC in Algonquin.  

... 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 t... Read More

By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
March 25, 2016

Embracing the ancient colorful art of decorating Easter eggs, or pysanky, is a meaningful tradition for Laura Perry.

She and her husband Edward and their four children — Theresa, 12; Arianna, 9; James, 3, and Rosie, 1 — moved to Johnsburg from Wheeling in 2010 and joined St. John the Baptist Parish.

Perry fon... Read More

March 25, 2016

DIOCESE—One week after Easter, the Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday.

The novena for the celebration begins on Good Friday. The novena prayers are at

Parishes in the diocese plann... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 18, 2016

MCHENRY—Blessed Mother Teresa’s quote about “doing little things with great love” is an inspiration for Father Godwin Asuquo, a priest of the Rockford Diocese.

His love of sharing stories, food and culture of his native Nigeria, mixed with a hungry college student, prompted the beginning of an organization c... Read More

By Sharon Boehlefeld
March 18, 2016

On March 4, Maddie Thompson and her family drove from Hannibal, Mo., to visit Aquin Central Catholic High School in Freeport to thank her friends there.

“Mighty Maddie,” as she is known on her Caring Bridge page, is a 7-year-old cancer warrior. Her mom, Katra (Schirmer) Thompson is a 1995 Aquin alumnus.

Her g... Read More

March 18, 2016

ROCKFORD—The GSB Scholarship, a fully-funded four-year scholarship, is open to Boylan-registered eighth graders, who might not otherwise be able to attend Boylan.

The selection process is  based upon academic talent, a desire to serve, and financial need.

To apply, candidates must go to Read More

March 18, 2016

Benjamin Ali, a freshman at Marmion Academy in Aurora, has been selected as a delegate for the Congress of Future Medical Leaders, which will take place in Lowell, Mass., June 25-27.

The Congress of Future Medical Leaders is an honors-only program for high school students who want to become physicians or go into medical research fi... Read More

February 26, 2016

ROCKFORD—The Diocese of Rockford began airing a new program for the Year of Mercy on WREX-TV Channel 13, here,  Feb. 21 at 6 a.m.

The new program replaces Real Faith TV, which had been broadcast Sunday mornings before the weekly 6:30 a.m. Catholic Mass produced by the Rockford Diocese.  

“You Did It... Read More

By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
February 19, 2016

ST. CHARLES—When it comes to dating violence, teens who recognize the “red flags” of danger — like constant blaming, extreme jealously and constantly texting or calling by a boyfriend or girlfriend — can escape and find a safe zone.

That could save their lives, said Jim Kintz, domestic violence and abu... Read More

By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
February 5, 2016

ROCKFORD—“This is not your grandfather’s pro-life movement” is just one of the slogans that Eric Scheidler has seen in his work as a pro-life advocate.

The irony of this message is not lost on Scheidler, who was the keynote speaker at the annual pro-life banquet held at Holy Family Parish Jan. 29.

... Read More

By Sharon Boehlefeld
February 5, 2016

ROCKFORD—The health — or illness — of a marriage is at the heart of an annulment, Msgr. Glenn Nelson told  more than 75 people, Jan. 31.

“In-valid,” he said, stressing the end of the word “doesn’t mean (a marriage is) not real. It was in-valid.

It was injured from the beginn... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
November 13, 2015

AURORA—“This is an important day for the Diocese of Rockford,” said Michael Kagan, superintendent of schools, to a group of priests, principals and other lay school leaders the morning of Nov. 5. “For the first time in our 105-year history, we are going to be embarking on … a plan, a blueprint for (diocesan) sch... Read More

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