Annual Mass Welcomes Many Jubilarian Priests
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 5, 2022
ROCKFORD—St. Rita Church, here, again was the setting for the annual Jubilarian Mass honoring priests of, and/or serving in, the Diocese of Rockford who celebrate significant (10, 25, 40, 50, 60 years) anniversaries of ordination to the priesthood this year.
The April 26 Mass welcomed dozens of priests for the Mass and following luncheon. Six jubilarian priests joined Bishop David Malloy around the altar along with Msgr. Stephen Knox, Vicar for Clergy, and St. Rita pastor, Father Brian Grady.
“This Mass for jubilarians unites us in the sharing of the call to live faithfully the priesthood that the Master Himself entrusted to us,” Bishop Malloy said in his homily, adding that, “Our Mass …honors not only those priests, but also their years of fidelity … sometimes a service that is quiet and unobtrusive seemingly more recognized and followed by God than the more human applause.”
He called it good to celebrate “the accumulation of fidelity … taking delight in the good, in the recognition and the service, the sacrifice of others,” and also delighting in the “thanksgiving to God for the calling” of all of the priests.
“None of us has merited this call, and yet here we are to celebrate the years that are filled with God’s gifts and with God’s grace,” the bishop said, reflecting on the day’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles and its description of the early Christians, with the apostles there, he said, giving witness to the resurrection and living that message in their lives.
“For us too, our witness is not just in our homilies or in the confessional guidance that we give,” he said, “It is also the witness of our joy, the witness of our simplicity, the witness that we just live and say to people, “it’s true, and it’s the greatest news that we can possibly have.”  
He spoke of the variety of work done by priests in parishes, schools and nationally, and of how older priests can inspire younger, and vice versa. “All of us,” he said, are “united by the daily Mass, by the breviary, (and) by the promises we just renewed” on Holy Thursday.
“Our warmest congratulations, our thank you to God,” Bishop Malloy concluded, addressing the jubilarians in particular. “You continue to give to the rest of us an image and encouragement to be faithful, to live those promises that we’ve made. Every one of us has received so many gifts; we have received so many graces; we have received the call to be faithful.
“Thank you for showing us all of those gifts, all of those graces, and how to live it.”
Editor’s note: Diocesan priests celebrating jubilees will be featured in the June 17 issue of The Observer. 
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