Celebrating 25th anniversary priestly jubiliarians May 29

Continuing with the Diocese of Peoria’s annual jubiliarian recognitions, May 29 marks 25 years of priesthood for Father Charles Klamut, and Father Robert Rayson.

Father Charles Klamut

The call to priesthood is unique for each. For Father Charles Klamut, his calling came while reading “Les Miserables” the summer before his junior year of college. His heart and imagination were captured by the character of Bishop Myriel Bienvenu and he wanted to imitate the Bishop’s example and be able to impact others’ lives.

The son of Kenneth and Mary Ellen Klamut and brother of Mark and Ben, he was born in Waukegan on August 4, 1973. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville, he attended Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.

Father Klamut was ordained May 29, 1999 by Bishop John J. Myers at St. Mary’s Cathedral. He celebrated his first Mass the next day at St. Mary in Kickapoo.


His first assignment was parochial vicar at St. Philomena Parish in Peoria. In 2002, he became chaplain of Peoria Notre Dame High School. While chaplain, he also took on the role of pastor of St. Mark Parish in Peoria in 2006.

After twenty-five years of being a priest, I am humbled, grateful, and amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness as well as that of the good people of God . . . . What an undeserved blessing it is to have a job in God’s vineyard.” —  Father Charles Klamut

Relocating to Champaign in 2011, he become the assistant chaplain at the St. John Newman Center. In 2014, he was assigned as pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Milan and chaplain team coordinator of Alleman High School in Rock Island. In 2016, he was also named pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Andalusia. Since 2020, Father Klamut has served as Pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Bartonville.


Highlights from Father Klamut’s priesthood include helping souls draw closer to the love of Christ, developing and teaching a class on “Lord of the Rings” at Peoria Notre Dame, a pilgrimage to Rome in 2013 for Pope Francis’s inauguration Mass and a pilgrimage to Israel in 2022.

As well, Father Klamut has long been inspired and has inspired others through music. His fifth solo music CD “Psalms,” released in 2022, was the subject of an article in The Catholic Post (October 14, 2022).

A favorite prayer he prays often is: “Lord, when they see me, may they see you; when they hear me, may they hear you.”

Father Robert Rayson

Father Robert Rayson’s was a call to the priesthood influenced by the example of many holy priests who mentored and supported him — particularly the Conventual Franciscans who staffed his home parish in Indiana.


Reflecting on the 25th anniversary of his ordination, Father Rayson was grateful for these role models, as well as for Bishop Edward Rice, his spiritual director at the seminary, Msgr. Paul Showalter, Msgr. Philip Halfacre, and Father David Kipfer.

He was born on May 22, 1969, in Gary Indiana, the son of Russell and Rita Rayson, and he has a sister, Laure.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Calumet College of St. Joseph in Hammond, Indiana (previously a satellite campus of St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana) and a master’s degree from Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.

The priesthood is truly a life of service but it cannot be reduced to a function either. What a priest does flows from who he is: configured to the person of Jesus Christ, Head of the Body that is the Church.” —  Father Robert Rayson

Ordained on May 29, 1999 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria by Bishop John J. Myers, his first Mass as a priest was celebrated at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Gary, Indiana on May 30, 1999.

Father Rayson’s first assignment was at Sacred Heart Parish in Moline in 1999. In 2001, he relocated to Holy Trinity Parish in Bloomington.

From 2001 through 2006, he held administrator and pastor roles at the parishes of St. Patrick in Camp Grove, St. Dominic in Wyoming and St. John in Bradford.

In 2006, he was named pastor of four parishes in LaSalle – Resurrection, St. Hyacinth, St. Patrick and Queen of the Holy Rosary – and Sacred Heart in Dimmick. In 2007, he became rector for Queen of the Holy Rosary Shrine in LaSalle.


He was named pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Dalzell and St. Benedict Parish in Ladd in 2009, then in 2012 became pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Champaign and St. Boniface Parish in Seymour. In 2016 he was named vicar forane of the Champaign Vicariate.

His current assignment is pastor of St. Mary Parish in El Paso and St. John Parish in Benson, where he has been since 2018.

One of the greatest privileges of Father Rayson’s priesthood is walking with God’s holy people in the different facets of their lives.

Whether celebrating Mass, reconciling someone to the Church in confession, celebrating baptisms or witnessing marriages, anointing and visiting the sick, offering a funeral Mass and striving to console those who mourn, or teaching and preaching, he feels the Lord has blessed him in accompanying God’s holy people on their ultimate pilgrimage to heaven.

He is grateful to celebrate his 25th anniversary with his brother priests, family and friends, and current and former parishioners.


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