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.