St. Rita, Boylan Graduate Celebrates First Mass at Oratory
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 Mass including Father Ervin Pio Caliente, current pastor of St. Rita Parish, and Deacon John Huntley who serves at St. Rita’s. Dignitaries from the Institute of Christ the King —Sovereign Priest were present.
Msgr. R. Michael Schmitz, vicar general and the Institute’s delegate for the United States, provided the homily, noting that, “Every priest, first is a man of sacrifice ... (and) has to make real the sacrifice of Christ among us.”
A reception followed the Mass downstairs.
Born in 1980 in Milwaukee, Canon Heidenreich’s family moved to Rockford in 1986. He attended St. Rita School through eighth grade and graduated from Boylan Central Catholic High School in 1998.
Canon Heidenreich studied philosophy and communication arts at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, graduating in 2001. From 2003 to 2006, he lived and studied philosophy and German at the Eberhard-Karls Universität in Tübingen, Germany. He received a master’s degree in German Studies from the Graduate School of Indiana University in 2010.
“It was at that time that God inspired me and gently guided me towards a priestly vocation,” Canon Heidenreich says. “I was greatly aided spiritually and intellectually during this period by the Franciscans of the Immaculate in Bloomington, Indiana, Canon Brian Bovee of the Institute of Christ the King, and Father Hugh Barbour of the Norbertines of St. Michael’s Abbey in Orange County, California.
“There was never really any question as to where I felt God wanted me to go: the Institute of Christ the King – Sovereign Priest.”  
He joined the Institute in 2010 as a candidate at the Institute’s apostolate in Bayerisch Gmain, Germany.  In 2011, he began the seven-year priestly formation at the Institute’s International Seminary at Gricigliano near Florence, Italy.
“It would be impossible to enumerate all the things that drew me to the Institute of Christ the King, but our motto sums everything up very well: Veritatem facientes in caritate, ‘Live the truth in charity,’” he says, “Everything that we do in the Institute revolves around our mission to put into reality the truths of the Catholic faith and to do so, always and without exception, for the love of God and for the love of our neighbor.  
“The Latin Mass, with its beauty, reverence and tradition, is not just the perfect expression of this mission, but is also the very source that brings it to life. ... So, in a word, what drew me to the Institute of Christ the King is that it simply does what the Roman Catholic Church has always done and will always do: glorify God and strive for the salvation of souls.”
Canon Heidenreich adds that the assignments for the year will be announced at the Institute’s general chapter meeting at the end of August, and that is when he will find out where he will serve.