To celebrate the tenth episcopal anniversary of His Excellency the Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki, a good number of the priests of - or who serve in - the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois concelebrated the Holy Mass last evening with the Bishop in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. More than 250 of the faithful also came to pray with and for the Bishop.
A reception was then held in the Cathedral Rectory for the priests in which they had an opportunity to visit the third floor, the Episcopal Residence. Many priests who had served for decades in the Diocese had not yet been to the third floor and so enjoyed the visit.
In the between the reception and the dinner, the priests who were able to stay after the Mass - or who could attend the dinner but not the Mass - joined His Excellency on the steps of the sanctuary for a photograph to mark the special day:
At the conclusion of the dinner the priests of the Diocese - included many who were unable to join us last evening - presented a gift to the Bishop in gratitude for his pastoral ministry: a new crozier.
The Bishop was touched by the gift and expressed his gratitude to the priests for their pastoral service, together with the joy he experiences at being our Bishop.
This morning I took a full shot of the crozier:
The evening was a most enjoyable one and a great opportunity for priestly fraternity with our Bishop. Congratulations, Bishop Paprocki! Ad multos annos!