Congratulations to our students in our PSR program who are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this weekend! I wish to thank our teachers in the our PSR program for their dedication in teaching our young people the Faith. This is our last group of students to be fully initiated before the Cathedral Parish implements the restored order of the sacraments that you have read about in the Catholic Times and that was promulgated as a result of our Fourth Diocesan Synod. Our children will now be making their first celebration of Reconciliation in second grade and receiving Confirmation and their first Holy Communion in third grade.
As you have read in previous letters, our own Father Stock will be leaving us at the end of June to become pastor of the parishes in Bearsdtown, Arenzville, and Virginia and Father Friedel will become the new chaplain at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in addition to being parochial vicar here at the Cathedral. As Father Stock leaves us, we will welcome Father Dominic Rankin as our newest parochial vicar here at the Cathedral. Father Rankin will be coming to us from finishing advanced studies in marriage and family life in Rome. Father Rankin was ordained for our diocese in 2018. In addition to welcoming Father Rankin, we will also welcome another seminarian for the summer: Grant Wilson, who is a native of Jacksonville and finishing his second year of theological studies in Rome, will be with us for about six weeks from the beginning of July until mid-August. Grant will be present through the parish in various activities.
Other assignments to mention: Father Marty Smith, who served here from 2015-2017, has been appointed pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Jerseyville and St. Patrick Parish in Grafton. Father Braden Maher, who served here from 2016-2018, has been appointed pastor of St. Charles Parish in Charleston and chaplain of the Newman Center at Eastern Illinois University. Last, but not least, our own Deacon David Beagles has been assigned to serve the parishes of St. Anthony in Effingham and Annunciation Parish in Shumway for the summer. Please pray for them and for all of our priests, deacons, and parishes who are in transition this summer.
Finally, with all of these changes, I wish to offer my thanks to you, the parishioners and friends of the Cathedral, for the love and support that you give to the men who come to train and serve here. Maybe we don’t get to hold on to them as long as we would like, but you make it so that, when they leave here, they are ready for the challenges ahead. All of the assignments that I have mentioned are good for us, our diocese, and the greater Church. Let us give thanks to God for these blessings.
I find it hard to believe that Memorial Day weekend is here, that next weekend marks the beginning of June, and 2019 will soon be half over! In the midst of the flying-by of time, please take a moment this weekend to offer a prayer for those who have given their lives in the service of our nation. May the Lord give us the grace to be the people that we aspire to be: one nation, under God. May God bless you and yours!
Father Christopher House is the Rector of the Cathedral and serves in various leadership roles within the diocesan curia, namely Chancellor and Vicar Judicial.