Special ACC Mass First in a Year, Last for Father Etheredge
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 14, 2022
AURORA—Eighth grade students from Aurora Deanery Catholic schools joined Aurora Central Catholic High School students, teachers and area priests for a special Mass the morning of April 5 in the Aurora Central Catholic gymnasium.
The annual Mass is usually held during Catholic Schools Week. It was delayed for more than a month this year and not held at all in 2021 because of the pandemic. 
Additionally, earlier this year, Father F. William Etheredge, area superintendent and chief administrative officer for Aurora Central Catholic for the past 22 years, announced that he will be concluding his service at the school. 
Plans are for him to transition to a parish assignment once his successor is hired.
As in the past, Bishop David Malloy celebrated the Mass accompanied by Father Etheredge and several priests from Aurora Deanery parishes. 
“This Mass is a special moment each year that involves all of us in the community,” Bishop Malloy said, adding that “every school Mass is the high point of the week or the month … the reality is it is the high point of the school year itself (because) it is central to our faith of how Jesus has entrusted Himself to us.”
The bishop also encouraged students to make the Catholic faith their own as they move beyond high school, noting that “One of the things about becoming an adult … is that conviction of faith.”
He also asked everyone present to pray for the success of the following day’s “Be Reconciled” effort where the sacrament of confession would be offered at parishes throughout the Diocese of Rockford, in many from morning until evening. 
“Pray for those who probably are not even aware you pray for them,” he said. “It’s a great moment of grace here in this diocese …”
Although their superintendent’s transition was not mentioned at the Mass, Bishop Malloy did alert students to what he said, “I don’t think Father Etheredge will tell you …”
“Before I forget … I wanted to just put a mental date on your calendar,” he said, “and that is two weeks from Friday, that would be the 22nd of April, … is the date that 40 years ago Father Etheredge was ordained a deacon. A year later he was ordained a priest at Holy Angels (Church in Aurora).”
Of that ordination to the transitional diaconate, Bishop Malloy noted that Father Etheredge “was ordained at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome by the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, and the reason I know this is because I was there with him. We were classmates. 
“But I wanted to ask you to keep that date in mind and … I hope that every one of you will go up and congratulate him on 40 years of his life given to the Church especially through ordination. I didn’t think he would tell you, that’s why I (am).”
At the end of Mass, Bishop Malloy again brought up priestly vocations. He asked the young men in the audience to pray and to consider if God might be calling them to explore it. 
“Are you being called to be a priest … to offer your life in service to Christ and in service to the eternal life of your brothers and sisters,” Bishop Malloy said, asking, “What could we do that is more fulfilling, more important … than that?” 
He asked the young women “to pray for the guys in your class” in that discernment, and he noted all their prayers are “a part of our Catholic faith; it’s part of the beauty and greatness of everything that you’re able to come for this education and be so a part of eternal life, yours and [that] of others.”
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