New assignments for 44 priests include Msgr. Ramer, Fr. Riordan to senior status

The granting of senior status to Msgr. James Ramer, left, and Father Patrick Riordan are among dozens of clergy assignments announced by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC. Msgr. Ramer is pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Mahomet while Father Riordan is pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Tolono, and St. Joseph Parish, Ivesdale. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

Forty-four priests serving in the Diocese of Peoria are affected by assignment changes announced this month by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC.

The moves, which are printed in full here, are highlighted by:

  • The granting of senior status to Msgr. James Ramer, 71, pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Mahomet, and Father Patrick Riordan, 70, pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Tolono, and St. Joseph Parish, Ivesdale. (Click on their names to see related stories.)
  • The withdrawal from the diocese of priests from the Institute of Charity (Rosminians) — a community that has served here since the diocese’s founding in 1877 — and the Salesians of Don Bosco, who have served in Champaign-Urbana for four years. Father William Miller will continue serving in Galesburg with the permission of the Rosminians.
  • The naming of new pastors for 29 parishes, new chaplains for Peoria Notre Dame High School and Marquette Academy in Ottawa, and the creation of chaplain teams at Central Catholic High School, Bloomington, and Schlarman Academy, Danville.
  • The appointment of new chaplains for St. John’s Catholic Newman Center at the University of Illinois and the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Newman Center at Western Illinois University.
  • The merging of St. Michael Parish in St. David into St. Mary Parish, Canton, and
  • The naming of new vicars forane for the Bloomington-Lincoln, LaSalle, and Macomb vicariates.

All appointments are effective on Wednesday, June 14.


Father Robert Lampitt has been named head chaplain of St. John’s Catholic Newman Center, which serves the 10,000 Catholic students at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.   He succeeds Father Luke Spannagel, head chaplain since 2014, who will now become pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Urbana.

Ordained in 2008, Father Lampitt is currently pastor of St. Thomas, Philo, and St. Mary, Pesotum. He served for five years as chaplain of The High School of Saint Thomas More in Champaign.

This is the first assignment as parish pastor for Father Spannagel, a former diocesan episcopal vicar for rural life who also served as chaplain of St. Francis of Assisi Newman Center in Macomb.

In Urbana, Father Spannagel succeeds Father Joseph Hogan, who will guide Our Lady of Lake Parish in Mahomet following the retirement of Msgr. James Ramer. Father Hogan has served as pastor of the Urbana faith community for 13 years, adding responsibility for St. Mary Parish, Champaign, in 2011. He has also served as pastor of parishes in Monticello, Bement, Chillicothe, and Spring Valley.

In Macomb, Father Adam Stimpson — administrator of St. Paul Parish since January — has been named pastor of that parish as well as St. Rose Parish in Rushville. In addition, Father Stimpson will succeed Father Dominic Vitaliano as chaplain of the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Newman Center at Western Illinois University.


With the departure of the Salesian priests from Champaign, Father Joseph Donton has been named pastor of Holy Cross Parish. Since 2013, he has been pastor of St. Malachy, Rantoul, and St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Thomasboro. A former diocesan director of vocations, Father Donton has also served as rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria and pastor of parishes in Washington, Eureka, and Ottawa.

Father Joel Phelps will become administrator of the Rantoul and Thomasboro faith communities.

Two priests will take on additional parishes to cover the departure of Rosminian Father Paul Stiene from St. Patrick Parish, Elmwood, and St. Matthew, Farmington. Father Joseph Dondanville, pastor of St. Mary, Kickapoo, since 2009, will now also guide the Elmwood parish, and Father Daniel Ebker, will serve the Farmington parish and remaining pastor of St. Mary, Canton, where he has served for eight years.

Also taking on additional parish duties is Father David Whiteside, who while continuing to lead faith communities in Havana and Manito will now serve as pastor of St. Mary, Lewistown.

In Ottawa, Father David Kipfer will serve as pastor of all three of the city’s parishes. Father Kipfer has been in the community for 20 years as pastor of St. Columba Parish. He will now guide St. Francis of Assisi and St. Patrick parishes as well, while relinquishing pastoral care for St. Mary in Grand Ridge.

Father Anthony Kwaku Fevlo, SMA, administrator of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Patrick in Ottawa since 2014, has been named pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Seneca; St. Theresa, Earlville; and St. Mary, Grand Ridge. Msgr. Philip Halfacre, who had served the Seneca parish for five years, will continue as pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Streator and add pastoral care of Sts. Peter and Paul in Leonore.

Msgr. Michael Bliss, who has served as a chaplain at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria for 21 years — and head chaplain since 1998 — will return to parish work as pastor of St. Edward Parish in Chillicothe. He succeeds Father Keith Walder, who has guided the Chillicothe faith community since 2011 and will now follow Father Lampitt as pastor of St. Thomas in Philo and St. Mary, Pesotum.

Father Fredi Gomez Torres, who has served St. Mary and St. Anne parishes in East Moline for three years, will now be pastor of three Champaign area parishes. He will succeed the retiring Father Patrick Riordan as pastor of St. Joseph, Ivesdale, and St. Patrick, Tolono, and also guide St. Mary Parish in Champaign. A native of Mexico, Father Gomez Torres is a former pastor of parishes in Mendota, Peterstown, Earlville, Moline and Silvis, and has served as episcopal vicar for Hispanic ministry.

The new pastor of St. Mary Parish in Moline and St. Anne Parish in East Moline is Father Antonio Dittmer, who had been serving as parochial vicar of St. Joseph Parish, Pekin. Father Dittmer is the former pastor of the LaSalle Catholic parishes and has served as chaplain of The High School of Saint Thomas More in Champaign and the St. Robert Bellarmine (now St. John Paul II) Newman Center in Normal.

In Bloomington, Father Matthew Deptula, administrator of Holy Trinity Parish and St. Patrick Parish, will also be administrator of St. Patrick Parish, Wapella. Father Dustin Schultz will continue as pastor of St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington and St. Mary, Downs, but has relinquished duties as chaplain of Central Catholic High School and pastor of the Wapella parish.

Father Johnathan Steffen, administrator of St. Mary Parish in El Paso, has been named its pastor, while remaining as chaplain of the St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center in Normal.


Chaplain vacancies at Peoria Notre Dame High School and Marquette Academy have been filled. The new chaplain of Peoria Notre Dame High School will be Father Kyle Lucas, who has served as parochial vicar of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Morton since his ordination in 2014. In Ottawa, Father Corey Krengiel, also ordained in 2014, will become chaplain at Marquette while also serving as parochial vicar of the three Ottawa parishes.

Meanwhile, Central Catholic High School in Bloomington and Schlarman Academy in Danville will now be served by chaplain teams. Comprising the team at Central Catholic will be Father Joseph Baker, Father Michael Pica, and Father Geoffrey Horton, all parochial vicars at area parishes. In Danville, the chaplain team at Schlarman will include three area pastors. Father Steven Loftus and Father Bowan Schmitt will serve Schlarman while continuing their duties as pastors of the Danville parishes of Holy Family and St. Paul, respectively, and will be joined by Father Thomas Gibson, newly appointed pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Hoopeston. Since 2015, Father Gibson has been parochial vicar at three Peoria parishes.

Father Patrick O’Neal, who had been chaplain at Schlarman and pastor of St. Anthony Parish, Hoopeston, has been named pastor of St. Augustine Parish, St. Augustine, and St. Bernard, Bushnell.




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