80 priests share joy, prayers with jubilarians, ordinands

The blessing of serving as a priest brings many joys, but among the greatest is “the joy to simply be what we are — a gift of God.”

So said Father David Roche, a priest for 50 years, in a homily at the Diocese of Peoria’s annual Mass in Honor of Priests Celebrating Jubilees and those newly ordained.

Eighty priests from throughout the diocese gathered at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria last Wednesday for the Mass. Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, was principal celebrant of the afternoon liturgy.

As he welcomed the assembly, the bishop recalled the joy of the recent ordinations of six new priests and two transitional deacons. The May 24 Ordination Mass also reminded Catholics of the Diocese of Peoria that “priests are ordained to serve others, and not to be served,” he said.

In his homily, Father Roche prayed “a double portion of God’s Spirit” be granted to all priests of the diocese. The first reading of the Mass told of the prophet Elisha asking for a double portion of the Holy Spirit just before Elijah was taken up to heaven on a fiery chariot.

“My prayer today is that God will make us a friendly, prayerful and caring priestly fraternity,” he said.

At the conclusion of the Mass, Msgr. Paul Showalter, vicar general of the diocese, recognized 36 jubilarian priests and the six newly ordained priests, asking each of them to stand as their names were called and leading a round of applause for their years of devoted service.

Among the honorees and their years of ministry were Father Richard Raney (70), Father John King and Msgr. Robert O’Connor (60); Father John Gaughran, Father Leo Gildner, Father James Purcell and Msgr. Joseph Zube (55); Father Richard Bresnahan, Father Raymond Lukoskie, Father Roche and Father Francis Ryan (50); Father Richard Brunskill and Father Thomas Taylor (25); and newly ordained priests Father Gary Blake, Father Douglas Grandon, Father Geoffrey Horton, Father Robert Lampitt, Father Kevin Lucas and Father Dustin Schultz.

Father Raney, the priest with the most seniority in the diocese, also was given a special round of applause.

A reception and banquet for the jubilarians and new priests was held after Mass at St. Vincent de Paul Parish Hall in Peoria.

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