It was a joyous occasion at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception June 19 as Bishop Thomas John Paprocki ordained six men priests. The six were part of a class of eight, representing the largest class of new priests in our diocese since 1964. The priests will begin their first assignments July 1 in parishes across the diocese. Catholic Times asked each of the newly ordained why they chose the priesthood.
“I want to be a priest because Jesus Christ has called me to follow him in this very particular way,” said Father Michael Meinhart. “Jesus called, and I surprisingly listened. He has shown me the joy of priestly ministry along the way, and that I can live a happy, holy, and fulfilled life as his priest.” Father Meinhart’s first assignment will be at St. Boniface Parish in Edwardsville.
“Ultimately, it is a calling from the Creator, based on great faith in his benevolent goodness,” said Father Michael Berndt. “I believe that God had a plan for me before I was even born. It took a while to get around to realizing it, and then finally telling a priest that I felt God is calling me to Holy Orders, but I finally got the gumption to do it, and I haven’t looked back. I figure if God is good, then nothing else will satisfy. We all have a role to play in the drama of salvation, and I feel honored to be called to the priesthood in God’s great plan. That may sound poetic or sentimental, but I believe it wholeheartedly.” Father
Berndt’s first assignment will be at Christ the King Parish in Springfield.
“I want to be a priest to work on my vocation to holiness and more effectively help others in their vocations to the holiness of life,” said Father Peter Chineke. “This is our primary vocation as baptized Christians. Just like in other historical periods in the church, amid challenges at every point in time, a life of discipleship will always be the best solution to curb these challenges.
“To make relentless efforts toward modeling this life of discipleship by believing what I read, teaching what I believe, and practicing what I teach, will be an effective way to help people be more committed and attentive to their faith.” Father Chineke’s first assignment will be at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield.
“When I entered seminary, I knew somehow that God wanted me to be a priest, but I didn’t necessarily want to be a priest myself or understand why God would want that for me,” said Father Dominic Vahling. “Over time, I have found my own desire for priesthood increasing, and I came to understand that God wants to show his love to the world through me in a special way. This is when I truly discovered that my vocation is ‘to love,’ as St. Therese said. Ultimately, I have the conviction that Jesus has chosen me for the priesthood, but not because I have earned it or am better than anybody; I can think of many people who are smarter, holier, and better speakers than I am! However, I trust in the call I have received through prayer and through the church.” Father Vahling’s first assignment will be at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield.
“I want to manifest the love and life-transforming power of Jesus Christ,” said Father Michael Trummer. “Each human person has a longing for God in the deepest part of their soul, and as a priest, I can help facilitate that encounter between God and humanity.
“The goal of any priest, including myself, is to abide in Christ the Vine so that we may be branches that bear fruit. I think the primary thing to help less engagement is being rooted in daily prayer, specifically in the presence of the Eucharist. I think the charisms and spiritual gifts can sadly be forgotten. I hope to develop the charisms and spiritual gifts that we have been given at baptism and confirmation, which was given to us for the purpose of building up the church. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit will be the greatest source of renewal, so I hope to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit and let him lead.” Father Trummer’s first assignment will be at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Decatur.
“I want to promote Christ-centered values to a modern world hungry for them,” said Father David Beagles. “We can curb any issue facing our church by celebrating our amazing Catholic faith with boldness and joy! In her long history, the church has weathered many challenging times, and always endures. We must remember that Christ has already won the victory, and the Holy Spirit is alive and well!” Father Beagles’ first assignment will be at St. Francis Solanus Parish in Quincy.
Last month, Bishop Paprocki ordained Father Piotr Kosk, whose first assignment will be at St. Paul Parish in Highland and Father Pawel Luczak, whose first assignment will be at St. Peter Parish in Quincy.
Also at the June 19 ordination Mass, Bishop Paprocki ordained Chris Trummer a transitional deacon. Deacon Chris Trummer and Father Michael Trummer are brothers.
Please pray for these men, future vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and for all holy vocations.