By Penny Wiegert, Editor
February 15, 2018
AURORA—About 200 parents gathered Feb. 7 at Aurora Central Catholic High School’s auditorium to hear more details of the newly formed Pope St. John Paul II Catholic Academy.
 
Father Jerome Leake led the group in prayer before Father William Etheredge, chair of the Faith Forward Aurora Task Force, provided an overview of the task force’s... Read More
February 15, 2018
At the Cathedral of St. Peter on Feb. 13, about 170 women prepared for Lent with Mass and a reflection on ‘How to Make a Good Lent’ by Father Stephen St. Jules, rector, and a luncheon.
 
Father St. Jules’ talk called the holy season a time for change, with coming closer to God as the goal. “If I think I can make myself perfect in 4... Read More
February 15, 2018
FREEPORT— Aquin Schools junior high basketball coach Jim Jenkins is to be inducted into the IBCA Hall of Fame in May.
 
To celebrate that honor, which was announced last week, Aquin fans are being invited to “Jam the Gym” for the boys’ basketball games on Feb. 16. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with the fresh-soph tip-off at 6 p.m.&n... Read More
February 15, 2018
MORRISON—Deacon Alvin “Alvie” Swearingen, 80, of Chadwick, died Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, at Liberty Village Manor Court in Freeport.
 
Deacon Swearingen was born June 1, 1937, in Kewanee, to Russell D. and Frances (Jacobs) Swearingen. 
He was educated in the Kewanee grade schools and was a 1955 graduate of Kewanee High S... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
February 8, 2018
ROCKFORD—The annual Scout Sunday Mass where religious awards were presented to Boy Scouts, American Heritage Girls and Girl Scouts was held the afternoon of Feb. 4 at the Cathedral of St. Peter.
 
Father Colin Easton, diocesan chaplain for scouting, celebrated the Mass. He spoke of how Jesus went off by Himself to pray, and then created His disciple... Read More
By Louise Brass, Observer Correspondent
February 8, 2018
ROCHELLE—Of the many images and depictions of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, perhaps the Shroud of Turin is the most studied, memorable, and detailed image of all.
 
Numerous panels depicting the crucified Man of The Shroud, will be on display through Feb. 14 at St. Patrick Parish Center, 244 Kelley Dr., in Rochelle. 
Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
February 1, 2018

AURORA—Strenghtening Catholic Education in the Diocese of Rockford was and is the goal of the Faith Forward Strategic Planning process for schools, begun over two years ago all over the  11-county diocese. 

Finding solutions to maintain the high quality of Catholic education in schools around the d... Read More

By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
February 1, 2018
ROCKFORD—The 26th annual Catholic Women of the Year Banquet for the Rockford Deanery, Jan. 28, honored 17 women from 17 parishes for what Bishop David Malloy called “a great example and a great encouragement.”
 
“What a great group this is when we come, year after year, for the honoring of this service, and so often the humility of... Read More
February 1, 2018
BATAVIA—Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, will visit Holy Cross Parish, 2300 Main St., here, on Feb. 21. 
 
During his visit, there will be a 5:30 p.m. rosary for the sanctity and protection of the family, a 6 p.m. Mass, and a 7 p.m. talk, followed by a reception.
 
Bishop Schneider will talk ... Read More
February 1, 2018
Faith Forward Findings
 
Faith Forward is the result of a strategic planning process to strengthen Catholic education and address trends affecting our schools.
 
-- The Aurora-area schools have not been immune to the declining enrollments affecting schools throughout the Diocese and nation.... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
February 1, 2018
ROCKFORD—The “will to disbelieve” the results of contraception was at the forefront of Father Phillip Kaim’s talk on Humanae Vitae at Holy Family Parish’s 23rd annual Respect Life Banquet on Jan. 26.
 
That 1968 encyclical by Pope Paul VI presented the societal consequences of contraception. Most people don’t accept the... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 25, 2018
ST. CHARLES—“This Mass and this day, especially for those of you who are heading for the bus ... is filled with a lot of anticipation and no small amount of nervousness, anxiety,” said Bishop David Malloy as he began his homily for those who would soon be on the diocesan-organized bus and heading out for the 2018 March for Life in Washington, D.C.
 Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 25, 2018
CHICAGO – Respect of life is a serious cause, and it seems strange to say this, but the March for Life Chicago on Jan. 14 was fun.
 
“It’s a little closer than D.C.,” said Ken Konetzky with a grin as a bus headed out from the parking lot at St. Patrick Parish in St. Charles for downtown’s Federal Plaza. Konetzky is a member o... Read More
January 25, 2018
ROCKFORD—Changing needs and increased demands, coupled with increasing donations and additional volunteers made 2017 a notable year for Catholic Charities in the Rockford Diocese.
 
Patrick Winn, diocesan director of Catholic Charities, says several areas of service were busy in 2017. 
 
“School and comm... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 25, 2018
ROCKFORD—The January Life Breakfast, an annual event begun by Lutherans for Life and now sponsored by the International Organization for the Family, honored two young Catholic men posthumously and gave another award to an area Catholic family.
 
The Brian and Sandra Knabe family received the Family Heritage Award. Brian and Sandra have 10 children, ... Read More
January 25, 2018
AURORA—Father Ernesto Odilio Caicedo Ortega, a priest of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart will begin service as pastor of St. Therese of Jesus Parish on Feb. 1.
 
He was born in Sapuyes Nariño, Colombia, South America, on May 4, 1981, to Luis Edwardo Caicedo (who died in 2002) and Lupe Lucina Ortega. 
 
Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
January 25, 2018
DIOCESE—Each year Catholics in the Rockford Diocese are asked to make financial gifts to help diocesan ministries continue their important work. These gifts support diocesan ministries that form priests, affirm and form our youth, support life, build strong marriages, and help the poor and marginalized. 
 
The 2017 goal was $6,394,344 and the t... Read More
January 25, 2018
ELGIN—The Knights of Columbus, here, helped pay for an ultrasound machine for TLC, a pregnancy care center. 
 
“We’re grateful to the Knights of Columbus for the generous donation toward a new ultrasound machine,” said Vivian Maley, executive director of TLC. “This was a substantial expense not in our budget at this time... Read More
January 25, 2018
AURORA—On Jan. 15, Cardinal Bellarmine Council 4849 of Holy Angels Parish, here,  held a free throw contest. Twenty-eight students participated.
 
Winners were Ella Oester, Liam Schwartz, Mia Dominguez, Jackson Abalos, Alexander Powell, Vivianna Ruby, Kevin Lillwitz, Abigail  Vagnoni, Ean Wilson and Oliver King. 
 ... Read More
January 25, 2018
ROCKFORD—Msgr. Philip O’Neil, S.T.L., died Jan. 19  at St. Anne Center, 4405 Highcrest Road, here, where he was a resident.
 
Msgr. O’Neil was born Sept. 9, 1928, in Harvard to Daniel and Helen (Mecklenburg) O’Neil. He attended Harvard Community High School; Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa; and St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltim... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 18, 2018
ROCKFORD—After almost four decades of service to the Diocese of Rockford, Michael Cieslak, Ed.D., diocesan director of Research and Planning, is set to retire on June 1.
 
He served in religious education at Our Lady of Good Counsel, Aurora, for a year and at St. Patrick Parish, Rochelle, from 1974 to 1981, then earned a doctorate in Research and Ev... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
January 18, 2018
ROCKFORD—The Faith Forward Strategic Plan, which outlines objectives and goals to strengthen Catholic education throughout its 11-county region has been the foundation of some important work for schools throughout the diocese.
 
As previously reported in The Observer, several areas of the Rockford Diocese have been of particular concern including Ro... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 11, 2018
While some took vacations in the last few weeks, the Vocations Office didn’t, using the time to be “fishers of men.” The annual diocesan winter retreat for young men was a chance for quiet reflection about their futures. And crowd-pleasing antics from priests and seminarians on basketball courts entertained Catholics of all ages during the Christmas season.
... Read More
January 11, 2018
DIOCESE—The National Appeal, the first of the 2018 Combined Collections for the Universal Catholic Church, will take place at parishes of the Diocese of Rockford the weekend of Jan. 20-21.
 
The Rockford Diocese continues its tradition of bringing several annual appeals into one collection — for a total of three collections, plus one appeal to... Read More
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
January 11, 2018
ELGIN—Historic. This is how priests and parishioners at St. Laurence in Elgin consider the very first Mass offered completely in Spanish on Jan. 6, attended by about 100 people.
 
“It is very nice to see new faces and families and, it is historic. It gives me hope,” said Father Andrew Mulcahey, pastor. 
 
... Read More
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 11, 2018
ROCKFORD—“A lot of people forget about us in here,” said Robert, an inmate at the Winnebago County Jail who came for 9 a.m. Mass and sat alone for an hour before the Mass helpers arrived for the 10 a.m. Mass.
 
Even so, Robert called this sixth Christmas Mass celebrated by Bishop David Malloy at the jail, “such a blessing.”... Read More
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
December 21, 2017
WEST DUNDEE—Christmas angels do exist. They can be found at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, here, and its sister parish, St. Mary of Gilberts, and at St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Spring, Texas. 
 
Located 1,078 miles apart, parishioners in both states formed a special bond this Christmas and have given each other gifts of faith, hope, and ch... Read More
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
December 21, 2017
DIOCESE—After the Faith Forward Strategic Plan for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Rockford was completed and shared with the public, there was  still much work to do.
 
Task Force groups were formed in some areas of the diocese where schools were experiencing significant struggles with finance, enrollment and population shifts in the neighb... Read More
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