The Church of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL. was the site of an Oblate Jubilee Celebration featuring men commemorating anywhere from 25 to 60 years of priesthood on August 31, 2015.
(Oblate Jubilarins L-R) Fr. Rudolph Nowakowski, Fr. Joseph Hitpas, Fr. James Brobst, Fr. James Allen, Fr. Paul Wightman, Dr. Salvatore De George, Fr. William Woestman, Fr. James Deegan. Not Pictured, Fr. William Clark)
The Jubilarians celebrated either years of priesthood (ordination), or years in religious life, which begins during formation when an individual takes their first religious vows.
(Pictured below on right are novices: (L-R) Nishan Priyadarshana, Joshua Nash, Amila Perera, Steven Montez)
(Pictured above L-R Fr. James Allen, Fr. James Deegan)
Oblate Novices led the procession for the Celebratory Mass which featured Fr. James Deegan, OMI presiding and Fr. James Allen, OMI delivering the thanksgiving-themed homily.
Afterwards Oblates and guests went to the Shrine restaurant for a meal. After dinner, Jubilarian, Fr. Jim Brobst, OMI (Pictured on right) introduced each Jubilarian who then said a few words about their Oblate lives and ministries.
One of the most unique personal stories came from Fr. Paul Wightman, (Pictured on left) a long-time spelunker who is recognized as the earliest surveyor and explorer of the Fogelpole Cave System in Monroe County, Illinois. Recently the land around the cave has been purchased for preservation and in honor of Fr. Wightman’s work, it has been named the Paul Wightman Subterranean Nature Preserve.
Celebrants at the Church on Monday were:
Rev. Paul Wightman, OMI 65 Years of Religious Life, 60 Years of Priesthood
Rev. William Woestman, OMI 65 Years of Religious Life
Rev. William Clark, OMI 60 Years of Priesthood
Rev. Rudolph Nowakowski, OMI 60 Years of Religious Life
Rev. Salvatore De George, OMI 50 Years of Priesthood
Rev. James Allen, OMI 50 Years of Priesthood
Rev. Joseph Hitpas, OMI 50 Years of Priesthood
Rev. James Deegan, OMI 50 Years of Religious Life
Rev. James Brobst, OMI 25 Years of Priesthood
Jubilarians Unable to Attend this Celebration:
Rev. Donald Dietz, OMI 65 Years of Religious Life
Rev. Edward Figueroa, OMI 60 Years of Religious Life
Rev Michael Hussey, OMI 60 Years of Religious Life
Rev. Paul Marx, OMI 50 Years of Priesthood
Rev. William Sheehan, OMI 50 Years of Priesthood
Rev. Paul Waldie, OMI 50 Years of priesthood
Rev. Edward De Leon, OMI 40 Years of Religious Life
Rev. Robert Leising, OMI 25 Years of Religious Life