Years of preparation, prayers give four new priests to the Diocese of Peoria
EDITOR’S NOTE: An album of photos from the ordination of Father Ignacio Cárdenas Morán, Father Daniel Dionesotes, Father Nathan Hopper and Father Patrick Wille has been posted to The Catholic Post’s page on Facebook. In accompanying stories, Father Chase Hilgenbrinck, diocesan vocation director of recruitment, describes the Diocese of Peoria’s newest priests, while their parents tell how their vocations blossomed.
It was the day they had been waiting for — and with them, people across the Diocese of Peoria — when Deacon Ignacio Cárdenas Morán, Deacon Daniel Dionesotes, Deacon Nathan Hopper and Deacon Patrick Wille were ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Louis Tylka on May 27.
The Mass was celebrated at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria and drew priests, permanent deacons, consecrated women and men, and lay faithful from throughout central Illinois, as well as the family and friends of those to be ordained. A special moment came when Bishop Tylka welcomed, in Spanish, Deacon Cárdenas Morán’s mother and sister, who traveled from Mexico to share his special day.
“We also extend greetings to the extended family who today join us through the livestream of this Mass,” Bishop Tylka added, still speaking in Spanish. “Although we may be separated by many miles, we nevertheless are united today by our faith in Jesus and in our love for the Church.”
That hospitality extended to the readings for the Mass of Ordination, which were proclaimed alternately in Spanish and English. The worship aid was also in both languages.
Among the special guests was Bishop Emeritus Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, who attended in choir and would receive a sign of peace from each of the new priests. It was he who had accepted the men as seminarians for the Diocese of Peoria.
THE STRONGEST SIGNAL
The candidates for ordination were seated in chairs in front of the first pews of St. Mary’s Cathedral when the Mass began. Directly behind them were their smiling families.
As the Rite of Ordination started, each of the four men was called by name. Standing, they answered, “Present,” in a loud, firm voice. Then Father Patrick Henehan, diocesan vocation director of formation, asked Bishop Tylka to ordain them.
“As you live your priestly promises, might I suggest that you keep the strongest signal, the widest bandwidth, which only comes from Christ, at the center of each day. Christ is the ‘network’ which supports us now and bridges us to eternity.” — Bishop Louis Tylka
Before they returned to their seats the four changed positions, and lined up according to height. Bishop Tylka would remark on this a moment later, noting that they looked like the bars on a cellphone.
“From small to tall — four bars is the strongest signal,” he said as he started his homily. “While we all might laugh as you stand together physically spanning from 5 feet, 7 inches to 6 feet, 9 inches, the insightful reality is that you are all capable in your bandwidth to be a priest of Jesus Christ!”
Whether it’s in John’s Gospel, when Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Do you love me?” three times or in the old commercial that repeated, “Can you hear me now?” over and over again, the real issue is connection, Bishop Tylka said.
“How well are you connected? More importantly, to whom are you connected? There is, I believe, one obvious answer — we must be strongly connected to Jesus,” he told the ordinands. “All of us disciples must be connected to Jesus — especially you, my sons, who are to be his priests.”
Bishop Tylka urged them to configure their lives to Jesus and truly take to heart the obligation to teach, govern and sanctify the church.
“As you live your priestly promises, might I suggest that you keep the strongest signal, the widest bandwidth, which only comes from Christ, at the center of each day. Christ is the ‘network’ which supports us now and bridges us to eternity,” Bishop Tylka said.
PRIESTLY MINISTRY BEGINS
As the Rite of Ordination continued, Deacons Cárdenas Morán, Dionesotes, Hopper and Wille indicated their resolve “to discharge unfailingly, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the office of the priesthood in the presbyteral rank, as trustworthy coworkers with the Order of Bishops, in feeding the Lord’s flock.”
They also resolved to “carry out the ministry of the word worthily and wisely,” and “celebrate the mysteries of Christ reverently and faithfully . . . especially in the Sacrifice of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, for the praise of God and the sanctification of the Christian people.”
Each would go to Bishop Tylka, seated in the cathedra, and place their joined hands between his to promise respect and obedience to him and his successors. Then they prostrated themselves on the floor of the sanctuary as the Litany of the Saints was sung.
Deacons Cárdenas Morán, Dionesotes, Hopper and Wille would kneel for the laying on of hands by Bishop Tylka, an ancient gesture of prayer imparting the Holy Spirit. The priests present followed him to pray over the candidates for ordination.
The prayer of consecration followed and the new priests were vested with a stole and chasuble by priests they chose to assist them. Father Cárdenas Morán, was vested by Father Joel Phelps, pastor of St. Malachy in Rantoul and St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Thomasboro; Father Dionesotes was vested by Father Jeffrey Stirniman, pastor of Holy Trinity and Historic St. Patrick, both in Bloomington; Father Hopper was vested by Father Timothy Hepner, pastor of Immaculate Conception in Monmouth and St. Patrick in Raritan; and Father Wille was vested by Father Jonathan Meyer, a priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
Another key moment would bring each of them back to Bishop Tylka, who anointed their hands with Sacred Chrism and then wrapped them in linen gremials.
The parents of the new priests brought forth their chalices, which were presented to them by Bishop Tylka.
The rite ended with a sign of peace from the bishop and all the priests present, but priestly ministry had just begun for Father Cárdenas Morán, Father Dionesotes, Father Hopper and Father Wille, who joined Bishop Tylka at the altar of St. Mary’s Cathedral to celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
After assembling on the balcony of the Bishop’s Residence with Bishop Tylka, diocesan officials, and vesting priests, the newly ordained went to the Spalding Pastoral Center to greet family and friends and offer their first blessings.
Their first assignments, which are effective at noon on Wednesday, June 14, are:
- Father Ignacio Cárdenas Morán, newly ordained, to parochial vicar of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Streator, and Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Leonore.
- Father Daniel Dionesotes, newly ordained, to parochial vicar of St. Philomena Parish, Peoria.
- Father Nathan Hopper, newly ordained, to parochial vicar of Corpus Christi Parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish and St. Patrick Parish, all in Galesburg, and Sacred Heart Parish, Abingdon.
- Father Patrick Wille, newly ordained, to parochial vicar of St. Mary Parish, Moline, and chaplain of Alleman High School, Rock Island.