01 April 2017

New priestly assignments are not April Fool's jokes

This weekend, priests across the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois - myself included - are announcing the new assignments they have received from His Excellency the Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki, most of which will take effect July 1, 2017.

The decree of appointment I have received from His Excellency reads as follows:
Reverend Daren J. Zehnle is appointed Pastor of Saint Augustine Parish, Ashland, Illinois, and Adjutant Judicial Vicar, while retaining duties as Judge of the Diocesan Tribunal, and as Bishop’s Delegate for Matrimonial Concerns, from Parochial Vicar of Saint Agnes Parish, Springfield, Illinois, and Chief Master of Ceremonies to the Bishop, effective August 1, 2017. He is also appointed Director of the Office for Divine Worship and the Catechumenate, and to post-graduate studies in the summer program for the degree of Master of Arts in Liturgy at theLiturgical Institute of the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois, effective May 1, 2017.
Included in this weekend's bulletin at St. Agnes Parish where I presently serve as Parochial Vicar is a letter I wrote to the parishioners, the text of which follows:
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, 
Shortly after I arrived here among you at St. Agnes Parish, a number of you asked how long I would serve as your Parochial Vicar. I answered honestly when I said I did not know because my assignment came with no expiration date, but that I hoped it would be for a long time. 
I have enjoyed my time among you and ministering alongside Father Bob, but the needs of the Diocese will soon require me to leave St. Agnes Parish to take up the Pastorate of St. Augustine Parish in Ashland, effective August 1, 2017. At that time, I will also become Adjutant Judicial Vicar while remaining Judge of the Diocesan Tribunal and the Bishop’s Delegate for Matrimonial Concerns. 
Beginning May 1, 2017, I will become the Director of the Office for Divine Worship and the Catechumenate and no longer serve as Chief Master of Ceremonies to the Bishop. In order to facilitate my work in the Office for Divine Worship and the Catechumenate, Bishop Paprocki has asked me to return to The Liturgical Institute in Mundelein, Illinois over the course of the next five summers to obtain a Master of Arts in Liturgy (M.A.L.). These studies will require me to be away from St. Agnes Parish from June 9 through July 21. 
I am grateful for the welcome you have extended to me and for the many kindnesses you have shown me these past many months, and look forward to my remaining time among you. Please remember me in your prayers in these coming weeks, as I will continue to remember you in mine. May our heavenly patroness, Saint Agnes, intercede for each of us, that with her we might be faithful lambs of the Good Shepherd and counted among his flock.
Attentive readers may note what might, at first glance, appear to be something of an April Fool's joke (which, I assure you, is unintentional). Not all of the effective dates I provide in my letter match those given in the Bishop's decree. The original text of the decree was altered after my letter was written and printed; I was unaware of the new dates until it was too late. I regret the error, small though it might seem.

Please, in the charity of your prayers, remember me as I seek to fulfill the tasks entrusted to me. 


  1. We are excited for you to come to Ashland! Father chuck planted many seeds amoug the young parishioners and we are eager to see where our church is going! -Colleen flinn

    1. Thank you, Colleen! I remember being among you for the 140th anniversary of the parish and look forward to serving you as we seek to enter ever deeper into the heart of Christ!