Two will be ordained priests for Diocese of Peoria on May 29

By: By Jennifer Willems

Before the Year for Priests comes to a close in June, two more men will be ordained for priestly service for the Diocese of Peoria.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, will ordain Deacon Paul Carlson and Deacon James Pankiewicz to the priesthood on Saturday, May 29, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. As they take this step, they will be surrounded by many of the 270 priests ministering in central Illinois, as well as their family, friends, classmates and the seminarians of the diocese.

Music is being coordinated by Dr. Sherry Seckler, director of music for the Diocese of Peoria and cathedral organist. She has formed a choir with musicians from St. Patrick’s Parish in LaSalle and Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Nauvoo, and noted that the Immaculate Conception Children’s Choir from Monmouth will also lend their voices to the liturgy.

The new priests will greet people and offer their first blessings at a reception that will follow in the nearby Spalding Pastoral Center. The public is invited to the Mass and reception.

Father Brian Brownsey, director of the diocesan Office of Priestly Vocations, said that while ordination is always a joyful moment for the local church, this year’s ordination will hold a special place in the hearts of those who are giving their lives to God.

“Because people have been hearing about the Year for Priests and praying for their priests, maybe there’s a greater respect for the priesthood,” he told The Catholic Post. “Our young brothers who are being ordained on that day will have that added grace for the rest of their lives. They will know that all those prayers will be with them.”

It will also be a moment of grace for all the priests in St. Mary’s Cathedral — no matter how long they’ve been ordained, Father Brownsey said.

“If there’s one time a year when we get zapped by the Holy Spirit and reminded how important it is to be prayerful and faithful, it’s during ordination,” he explained. “I don’t think there’s a priest in the world who attends an ordination who does not remember the zeal he felt at his own ordination.”

Renewing that commitment to their own priesthood is one of the reasons Pope Benedict XVI called for the Year for Priests, according to Father Brownsey. “It wasn’t about making priesthood more popular.”

The son of Jill and Dennis Carlson of St. Pius X Parish in Rock Island, Deacon Carlson, 28, has been studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

Father Michael Driscoll, who encouraged him through words and example while serving at St. Mary’s Parish in Rock Island, will be Deacon Carlson’s vesting priest at the ordination liturgy.

His first Mass is planned for Sunday, May 30, at St. Pius X Church, 2502 29th Ave. The principal celebrants at the 11 a.m. liturgy will include Father R. Michael Schaab, pastor, and Msgr. Paul Showalter, vicar general of the Diocese of Peoria and former pastor.

The homilist will be Father Robert Lampitt, parochial vicar at St. Matthew’s Parish in Champaign and chaplain at The High School of St. Thomas More.
A reception will follow in the parish’s Farrell Hall.

Deacon Pankiewicz, 27, was born in St. Joseph, Mo., but claims St. Peter’s in Peoria as his home parish. The son of Thomas and Catherine Pankiewicz, he has been preparing for the priesthood at Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.

He has asked Father Robert Rayson, pastor of the Catholic parishes in LaSalle as well as St. Thomas in Dalzell and St. Benedict’s in Ladd, to be his vesting priest.

Deacon Pankiewicz’s first Mass will be Sunday, May 30, at 2 p.m. at St. Mark’s Church, 1113 W. Bradley Ave. Bishop Jenky will be the principal celebrant and homilist. A reception will follow in the St. Joseph’s Catholic Newman Center, which is next door to the church.

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