Reactions: thrilled, overjoyed, blessed beyond imagination

The joy of the Ordination Mass on May 24 carried into a luncheon and reception in the bishop’s garden outside the cathedral, where families and friends congratulated the newly ordained.

Deb Collins, mother of Father Dustin Schultz, said she was “ecstatic” at her son’s ordination. “He’s worked very hard for this,” she said.

“He’s going to be a fine priest,” predicted Steve Collins, Father Schultz’s stepfather.

For his part, Father Schultz said he felt “extremely blessed and graced. Our Lord has certainly bestowed his mercy on me.”

“It was an overwhelming sense of the Holy Spirit the whole time. I was weeping the whole time so much that I was using up all my tissues,” said Lynn Grandon, director of the diocesan Office of Respect Life and Human Dignity.

Her husband, Father Douglas Grandon — director of the diocesan Office of Catechetics since 2004 — is now the first married former Anglican priest to be ordained to the Catholic priesthood for the Diocese of Peoria.

Cathy Blake, mother of Father Gary Blake, said she had two moments of great joy during the liturgy. First, “when he first came out to sit in front of me,” and a second time when Bishop Jenky anointed the hands of the new priests.

“I just think that you’re near to God (at the anointing), because I believe God went through that,” she said.

Father Geoff Horton said he was “overjoyed” and “amazed” that he had been ordained a priest. “It’s nothing that I ever expected would happen,” he said.

However, his parents, Bill and Johanna Horton of Jacksonville, and sister, Beth Hilleke of Charleston, S.C., said they could see it a long time coming, well before he entered the seminary.

“I think all of us that are Geoff’s age (43) and younger are thinking, ‘What took you so long?’ It made sense,” said his sister.

“It just seems right — joyfully right,” said Father Horton’s mother. “It’s tremendously exciting. It’s such a thrilling liturgy.”

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