Congratulations and God Bless our Priest Jubilarians
Celebrating 60 and 50 years
June 15, 2023

60 years: Msgr. Thomas Dzielak
Born in Rockford to John and Anna (McGuire) Dzielak, Msgr. Thomas Dzielak attended St. Thomas High School (1952-1956) there and Loras College in Dubuque (1956-1960), earning a B.A. in philosophy and history. He then studied at North American College in Rome (1960-1964) graduating with a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL). He later earned an M.A. degree in religious education at Notre Dame (1974).

He was ordained to the priesthood in Cristo Re, Rome on Dec. 18, 1963. He was made a Prelate of Honor with the title Monsignor on Jan. 3, 1996.

Msgr. Dzielak first served as a parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish, Sterling (1964-1965), at St. Patrick, Amboy (1965-1966), and at St. James, Belvidere (1966-1970), then served on the faculty at Boylan Central Catholic High School in Rockford (1970-1973).
 
He was director of religious education at Aquin Central Catholic High School in Freeport (1973-1976). He became pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Sterling (1976-1978), serving also as director of religious education at Newman Central Catholic High School during those years. He was pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Freeport (1978-1990).
 
He became spiritual director for the Rockford Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DCCW) in 1990 and continues to serve that organization.
 
Msgr. Dzielak was rector at the Cathedral of St. Peter (1990-1995) and chaplain of the Rockford Serra Club (1994-1995). He served as pastor at St. Andrew Parish in Rock Falls (1995-2016), retiring from there. He also was administrator of St. Mary, Tampico (2006-2016), and served for a couple of months in 2016 as administrator at SS. Peter and Paul, Virgil, and St. Mary, Maple Park. He resides in Maple Park.
 
Additionally, Msgr. Dzielak served as a member of Diocesan Consultors (1995-1999), as associate director of ecumenism (1999-2001), as dean of the Sterling Deanery (2001-2016), as a member of the Diocesan Ecumenical Commission (2003-2012), as diocesan exorcist and as a parish priest consultor.
 
60 years: Father Melvyn Vlasz
Born in Chicago to Julius and Julia (Werth) Vlasz, Father Melvyn Vlasz attended East Aurora High School (1947-1951), and earned a B.A. in philosophy at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa (1955-1959). He attended St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore (1959-1963), earned a Master of Divinity at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore (1973) and also a Ministry of Education and Justice (MEJ) law degree at Boston College (1978).
 
Father Vlasz was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Loras T. Lane at St. James Church in Rockford on May 25, 1963. He served as parochial vicar for two month at SS. Peter and Paul, Cary (1963), at St. Mary, Elgin (1963-1964), at St. Anne, Dixon (1964-1967), and at St. Thomas the Apostle, Crystal Lake (1967-1970).
 
He was a faculty member at Aurora Central Catholic High School (1970-1973), then at Boylan Central Catholic High School, Rockford (1973-1982). During his time at Boylan, he served also as administrator at St. Peter, South Beloit (January-July 1976), and as a notary at the diocesan Tribunal (1978-1981).
 
He was assistant secretary at the diocesan Tribunal and chaplain at Maria Linden home (1982-1985). He then served as parochial vicar at St. Jude in Atlanta, Georgia (1985-1987) and at Sacred Heart there (1987-1988).
 
Returning to this diocese, Father Vlasz was parochial vicar at St. Bridget, Loves Park (1988-1989), the pastor at St. Mary, Sycamore (1989-1990), then took a leave of absence (1990-1992). He then served as parochial vicar at the Cathedral of St. Peter (1992-1995) before retiring for health reasons in September 1995, serving then until January 1998 as chaplain at Cor Mariae (formerly Maria Linden). He now resides in Rockford.
 
60 years: Msgr. Robert Willhite
Born in Freeport to Albert and Lillie (Rodebaugh) Willhite, Msgr. Robert Willhite attended Freeport High School (1946-1950), then earned a B.A. in philosophy at Loras College in Dubuque (1955-1959), and a degree in theology at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
 
Msgr. Willhite was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Loras T. Lane at St. James Parish in Rockford on May 25, 1963. He was made a Chaplain of His Holiness with the title Monsignor in March 2005.
 
He served first as a parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish, Elgin (1963-1965), at Holy Family/New Cathedral Parish (1965-1968), and at St. Mary, Sterling (1968-1970).
 
Msgr. Willhite then served at a mission parish in Montero, Peru, South America, (1970-1975). He returned to serve as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish, Aurora (1975-1981), then returned to South America to serve in a mission parish in Ayabaca, Peru (1981-1984).
 
He was in residence at St. Joseph, Elgin for a few months in 1984 before becoming pastor there (1984-1986). He became coordinator of Spanish speaking ministry in McHenry County (1986-1987). He then served as pastor at St. Rita of Cascia Parish, Aurora (1987-2008), serving also as dean of the Aurora Deanery (2004-2008). He retired July 1, 2008, and continues to reside in Aurora.
 
50 years: Father Paul Lipinski
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Paul and Virginia (Gonsalves) Lipinski, Father Paul Lipinski grew up in Mount Prospect and graduated from St. Laurence High School in Chicago (1961-1965). He attended St. Mary of the Lake in Niles (1965-1967), Lewis University in Lockport, and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Joliet (1967-1969). He completed theology courses at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore (1969-1973).
 
He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Arthur J. O’Neill at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Rockford on June 9, 1973.
 
Father Lipinski began his service as a parochial vicar at St. Rita of Cascia, Aurora (1973-1975), serving also in Campus Ministry at Waubonsee College, Aurora (1974-1975). He did graduate studies for a few months in 1975 at Loyola University, Chicago. He then served as a parochial vicar at St. Patrick Parish in Rockford (1975-1979).
 
He began years of service at central Catholic high schools as faculty member and spiritual director at Boylan CCHS in Rockford (1979-1990). He was assistant principal at Newman CCHS, Sterling (1990-1991), also serving then as administrator of St. Mary Parish, Tampico. He served as sacramental minister at Rockford College (1986-1990), then was assistant principal and spiritual director at Marian CCHS, Woodstock (1991-2001), also serving as administrator at St. Patrick, Hartland (1999-2001). 
 
He served as superintendent and principal back at Newman CCHS, Sterling (2001-2008) and as administrator of Sacred Heart Parish there (2007-2008). He was acting principal at Boylan CCHS (2008-2010) before becoming superintendent and principal there (2010-2013).
 
He served as pastor of St. Mary Parish, Sycamore (2013-2018) before retiring June 18, 2018. He resides in Prairie Grove.
 
50 years: Father Timothy Piasecki
Born in Chicago to Raymond and Irene (Kochanski) Piasecki, Father Timothy Piasecki attended St. Mary Preparatory, Crystal Lake (1961-1965), then studied philosophy at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa (1965-1969). He was at Kenrick Seminary, St. Louis (1969-1970) and completed his theology studies at St. John University in Collegeville, Minn. (1970-1973).
 
He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Arthur J. O’Neill at the Cathedral of St. Peter, Rockford, on June 9, 1973.
 
Father Piasecki served as parochial vicar at St. James Parish, Belvidere (1973-1977), then headed to Peru, South America, to serve at the diocesan mission (1977-1981). He served as administrator at Sacred Heart Parish in Aurora (1981-1985) and then as pastor there (1985-1997). He also was sacramental moderator at St. Nicholas Parish, Aurora (1990-1992).
 
He served then as pastor at SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Rockford (1997-2005), then as pastor at St. Mary Parish, Aurora (2005-2022). He retired on June 15, 2022 and resides in Aurora.

 

Shop Religious items at HOLYART.COM