3 Peoria priests cycle 340 miles for vocations

They called it Priests Pedaling for Prayers. It began on April 24 as Fathers Tom Otto, Michael Pica and Adam Cesarek dipped their tires into the Mississippi River, marking the border between Illinois and Iowa.

According to a Catholic News Service report in the National Catholic Reporter (May 6, 2017), the three young priests were sent forth with the blessing of students from Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy in East Moline, IL. As the priests began their adventure the students from the academy lined the street outside the school to cheer them on.

The report notes at most stops, they received pledge cards from children and adults with promises of prayer, sacrifice and good deeds to support them on the ride and ask God for an increase in vocations.

“What’s been really neat to see is the goodness of the people of our diocese. That’s been, for me, absolutely the most powerful part,” said Cesarek, who is parochial vicar at four faith communities in central Illinois.

“The overwhelming support we had from each and every place we went, the joy that each place had and the excitement that they maintained … really invigorated me and gave me an incredible hope for our diocese,” he said.

“There are so many priests out there who will do anything and everything and they don’t get recognition for it,” Fr. Pica said. In fact, these men prefer to remain behind the scenes.

For the entire NCR report, click here.

San Francisco Archbishop Emeritus George Niederauer dead at 80

Archbishop Emeritus George Niedaurer. Photo courtesy of CNS/Catholic San Francisco via NCR.

Former San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer, who headed the archdiocese from 2006 to 2012 died on May 2 of pulmonary thrombosis at a Catholic care center in San Rafael, Calif. according to The Salt Lake Tribune (May 2, 2017). He was 80.

For the entire report, click here.

For the National Catholic Reporter (May 3, 2017) summary, click here.

Pope Francis names bishop of Davenport and auxiliary bishop of San Diego

Bishop-elect John Dolan. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of San Diego

On Wednesday, April 19. Pope Francis named Father John Dolan auxiliary bishop of San Diego and Monsignor Thomas Zinkcula bishop of Davenport, IA.

Bishop-elect Dolan, 54, a native of San Diego, was ordained a priest of the Diocese of San Diego in 1989. He currently serves as Episcopal vicar for clergy and pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish.  He holds a Master of Arts degree in Liturgy form St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, CA. In addition Bishop-elect Dolan served in a wide-array of pastoral assignments.

His episcopal ordination is scheduled for June 8, at 2:00 p.m. at Saint Therese of Carmel Church in Del Mar.

Bishop-elect Thomas Zinkula. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Dubuque

Bishop-elect Zinkula, 60, a native of Mount Vernon, IA was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque in 1990.  He replaces Bishop Martin Amos whose resignation was accepted due to reaching the age limit.

He attended Catholic University in Washington, DC, where he earned a master’s in Theology in 1990. In 1998, he received a licentiate in Canon Law from St. Paul’s University, Ottawa, Canada.  He also earned a law degree from the University of Iowa in 1983 and he holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, economics and business from Cornell College in Mount Vernon where he played championship football during his time there.

For the USCCB News Release, click here.

For Rocco Palmo’s Whispers in the Loggia blog, click here.

For the Archdiocese of Dubuque’s release, click here.

For the Diocese of San Diego News Release, click here.


Jesuit Father James Martin appointed consultor to Vatican communications department

Pope Francis has appointed Fr. James Martin, SJ one of 13 new consultors to the Vatican Secretariat for Communications. Fr. Martin, editor-at-large for America, the Jesuit journal, is a frequent contributor to major media outlets in the United States and is a member of an Off-Broadway theater company in New York City according to a Catholic News Service (April 12, 2017) posting on the National Catholic Reporter web site.

Fr. Martin was one of six priests, six laymen and one laywoman to be the new consultors or advisers to the communications body, which is led by Msgr. Dario Vigano and coordinates the Vatican’s diverse communications and media operations. The consultors are an advisory group separate from the secretariat members — a group of 16 cardinals, bishops and laypeople the pope named last year.

For the America magazine (April 12, 2017) report, click here.

For the CNS report, via NCR, click here.

Tulsa priest named auxiliary bishop of Seattle

Bishop-elect Daniel Mueggenborg. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Tulsa

On Thursday April 6, Pope Francis appointed Monsignor Daniel H. Mueggenborg, a priest of the Diocese of Tulsa, auxiliary bishop of Seattle.

Bishop-elect Mueggenborg, 54, a native of Okarche, OK, was ordained a priest in 1989. He is the second priest from the diocese to be appointed a bishop.

In 1984 he earned a Bachelors degree in Geology from Oklahoma State University. He attended St. Meinrad Seminary and the Pontifical North America College in Rome from 1985-89, where he also earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1990.

Besides serving in a variety of pastoral assignments, Bishop-elect Mueggenborg has served as Chaplain of The University of Tulsa Newman Center; Adjunct Professor at St. Gregory’s University/Pastoral Studies Institute; Adjunct Professor at the Gregorian University; Director of Clergy Education; Director of the Diocesan Synod; Director of Pastoral Renewal; Adjunct Professor at the Religion Department at The University of Tulsa and has served on multiple boards in the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma—including the Board of Governors of Catholic Charities.

For the USCCB News Release (April 6, 2017), click here.

For the Diocese of Tulsa News Release (April 6, 2017), click here.

For the Catholic News Agency (April 6, 2017) summary, click here.


Jesuit Father Greg Boyle to receive Notre Dame’s 2017 Laetare Medal

Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ. Photo courtesy of Notre Dame News, University of Notre Dame

Father Greg Boyle, SJ, the inspirational founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, a social enterprise based in Los Angeles to help young people avert a life of gangs, drug abuse and street violence, will receive the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, according to a Catholic News Service report appearing on the National Catholic Reporter (March 28, 2017) web site.   

Homeboy Industries employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises. The program also provides other therapeutic and educational services, tattoo removal and work readiness and job training.

In a statement announcing the award on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday, Notre Dame president, Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, said, “For nearly 30 years, Father Boyle has served men and women who have been incarcerated and involved with gangs, and, in doing so, has helped them to discover the strength and hope necessary to transform their lives,”

“Father Boyle’s solidarity with our sisters and brothers at the margins of society offers an inspiring model of faith in action. We are grateful for the witness of his life and honored to bestow this award on him,” Father Jenkins added.

The university established the Laetare award in 1883 as an American counterpart of the Golden Rose, a papal honor that dates to before the 11the century. The medal has been awarded annually at the university to a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrates the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity. It will be presented at the university’s commencement ceremony on May 21.

For the entire NCR report, click here.

Cardinal William Keeler dead at 86

Cardinal William Keeler, who headed the Archdiocese of Baltimore from 1989 to 2007 died on March 23 while under the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor at St. Martin’s House for the Aged in Arbutus, MD. He was 86.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1955 he quickly rose through the ranks of the Catholic Church. He earned a doctorate in canon law in 1961 and worked in the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa. Harrisburg Bishop George Leech invited him to accompany him to the Second Vatican Council.

He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Harrisburg in 1979 and named bishop of Harrisburg in 1984.

Cardinal Keeler was president of the then National Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1992-1995.

According to the Catholic News Service (March 23, 2017), Cardinal Keeler developed a reputation for effectively building interfaith bonds. He is particularly noted for his work in furthering Catholic-Jewish dialogue. He was appointed moderator of Catholic-Jewish Relations for the USCCB.

In addition, Cardinal Keeler was an ardent promoter of the Catholic Church’s teaching on the sanctity of all human life. He twice served as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities and testified at all levels of government on legislation ranging from abortion to euthanasia to capital punishment.

As of this writing, funeral arrangements are pending.

For the CNS report, click here.

For the Baltimore Sun (March 23, 2017) report, click here.


South Dakota priest named bishop of Cheyenne

Bishop-elect Steven Biegler. Photo courtesy of the USCCB

Pope Francis appointed Father Steven Biegler, a priest of the Diocese of Rapid City, SD, as bishop of Cheyenne. He replaces Archbishop Paul Etienne, who was appointed Archbishop of Anchorage in late 2016.

Bishop-elect Biegler, 57, a South Dakota native was ordained in 1993. He attended the School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Minnesota. He also holds a Bachelor’s of Sacred Theology degree (S.T.B.) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and a licentiate of sacred theology (S.T. L., Scripture) from the Pontifical University

He has served in a wide variety of pastoral and administrative assignments and is currently vicar general. He was diocesan administrator in 2010-2011.

His episcopal ordination is scheduled for June 5.

For the USCCB Press Release, click here.

For the Catholic News Agency (March 16, 2017) report, click here.

For a report from Rocco Palmo’s (March 16, 2017) blog, click here.

Update on the Catholic Second Wind Guild

Father Ron Knott, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville and founder of the Catholic Second Wind Guild, a ministry to help bishops and priests in the Caribbean islands of the Grenadines and Barbados, is looking for priests who would consider a “mission vacation” in the Caribbean.

We wrote about the Catholic Second Wind Guild in NFPC This Week, #675 – 8/28-9/3/2016 [http://nfpc.org/?s=Catholic+Second+Wind+Guild].

To find out more about a “mission vacation,” click here for a PDF.  Or contact Fr. Ron at (502) 303-4571. E-mail: [email protected]

Father Stanley Rother to be beatified in September

Fr. Stanley Rother. Illustration courtesy of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

The Catholic News Service (March 13, 2017) reported that Father Stanley Rother, a priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, who was gunned down in his rectory by assassins in Guatemala in April 1981 will be beatified on Sept. 23.

In an interview published March 13 by The Oklahoman daily newspaper, Archbishop Coakley said Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, will be representing the pope at the beatification ceremony in Oklahoma City. It will take the priest one step closer to sainthood. In general, following beatification, a miracle attributed to the intercession of the person being considered for sainthood is required for that person to be declared a saint.

The Vatican congregation recognized Father Rother’s martyrdom last December. [See NFPC This Week, #688 – 11/27-12/3/2016]

A 2015 biography of Fr. Rother, published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing described the life and ministry of the Okarche, OK priest. The book written by Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda, is titled “The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run: Fr. Stanley Rother, Martyr from Oklahoma.”   

For the CNS report, click here.

For the NFPC This Week annotated review of Fr. Rother’s biography, click here.