Newly ordained Father Kevin Stolt, IVE, grateful for example of Galesburg priests

Father Kevin Stolt, IVE, celebrates his first Mass at St. John Baptist de la Salle Church in Chillum, Maryland, on Dec. 13. (Provided photo)

GALESBURG — It wasn’t in big ways that Father Kevin Stolt, IVE, realized God was calling him to priestly ministry. Rather, it was by staying focused on God’s will in the little things of everyday life, and he couldn’t happier.

“I feel a great joy and a peace in my heart, to share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ,” he said, just days after he was ordained by Archbishop Wilton Gregory on Dec. 13 at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. “In ordination our soul is changed — we don’t see it visibly, but we do see its effects. In myself I feel just a great joy and a peace.”

He also feels a sense of gratitude for the example of the priests of the Diocese of Peoria, particularly Msgr. Ernie Pizzamiglio, former pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Galesburg, and Father Bill Miller, current pastor of the Galesburg faith communities. Father Kevin’s parents, James and Dr. Susan Stolt, associate superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Peoria, are members of Immaculate Heart of Mary and it became his spiritual home during family visits.

“Even though God didn’t call me to the Diocese of Peoria, I feel the priests here have been such a support for my vocation,” Father Kevin told The Catholic Post. “I know they’ve been praying for me and offering Masses for me.”

The two Galesburg priests were at his Mass of Thanksgiving at Immaculate Heart of Mary on Dec. 21, and Father Miller was the homilist. Also concelebrating was Father Mariano Ruiz, novice master of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, Father Kevin’s religious community.

CHANGED BY SACRAMENTS

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Father Kevin also lived in North Dakota with his family. When they moved to central Illinois in 2003, he went to Massachusetts to study computer science and electrical engineering at MIT. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and then moved to California to work as a software engineer for Google.

He continued to go to Mass on Sundays and eventually started to seek out perpetual adoration at Our Lady of Peace Parish in Santa Clara, which was between work and home.

“Gradually I felt the sacraments calling me more and more. I felt more of a peace, I felt the desires of my heart changing,” he said. “Over a period of a year or two I started going to Mass every day.”

The parish is also known for the sacrament of confession, with each priest hearing up to 12,000 confessions a year. It proved to be another life-changing sacrament for him.

“Growing up I had always wanted to get married and have kids. During a period of discernment, I realized God was calling me to a different vocation, one that I maybe hadn’t considered as much growing up, and it was to the priesthood.” — Father Kevin Stolt, IVE

“Growing up I had always wanted to get married and have kids,” Father Kevin said. “During a period of discernment, I realized God was calling me to a different vocation, one that I maybe hadn’t considered as much growing up, and it was to the priesthood.”

In 2011 he quit his job and entered the Institute of the Incarnate Word. The community’s charism is the evangelization of the culture, which can apply to many different apostolates, Father Kevin said. That includes parish ministry, houses of mercy for the disabled, the elderly, and orphans, schools, and teaching in seminaries, among other things.

He attended the Venerable Fulton Sheen Seminary in Chillum, Maryland. In addition to studying philosophy for three years and theology for four years, the seminarians take an active role in cooking, cleaning and maintaining the seminary property and the parish that is attached to the community, St. John Baptist de la Salle.

Father Kevin celebrated his first Masses there and at St. James Church in nearby Mount Rainier. He has been assigned to serve as parochial vicar at St. James and as assistant novice master for the Institute of the Incarnate Word.

Before returning to the East Coast, he also planned to celebrate Mass and hear confessions at Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara, “where I discovered my vocation.”

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