St. Patrick's ChurchSt. Patrick Church

 A Parish in the Diocese of Rockford 

612 Highland Ave.
Dixon, IL 61021

815-284-7719 phone
815-284-4758 fax

St. Patrick Church email

February 18, 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Gospel reading that we’re given of the transfiguration helps us to see that there is always more beneath the surface and more than meets the eye.  Of course in the case of Jesus, as the 3 apostles saw, there is so much more glory present in Him than we will even be able to handle or understand!  The very same thing is true for each of us.  My guess is that we sometimes forget that we have the Holy Spirit alive within us to such a huge degree.  Unfortunately in our case, we also have stuff hidden within that we would LOVE to have stay hidden and unknown.  Perhaps we cringe to ponder what others would think of us if they really knew some of our faults and failings.  Now, my guess is that over time we become pretty good and hiding these things and putting on a mask that tells the world that we have it all together.  But even if we do this, we ourselves still know that there is junk in the closet of our heart.

Thankfully God offers us an opportunity (free of charge!) to clean this stuff out, without anyone else noticing, so that it can all truly be GONE and so that we no longer have to hide!  This of course happens in the sacrament of confession!  I so desperately want to you to be renewed and set free from whatever might be hidden, and so this upcoming Tuesday the 27
th, at 6:30p.m. we will be having a penance service in which we will bring in multiple priests from throughout the deanery, so that you can get everything out, let Jesus take it away, and glow with the glory of God.  I know for a fact that God wants for you to shine and to be who you are – to not have to hide and pretend like you’ve got it all together.  The beautiful thing is that even if we aren’t perfect (I know I’m not!) that when we invite Jesus in fully, He perfects us and lets us shine with His glory.  So I hope that you take God up on His offer and I hope to see you there!
Also, on Monday night at 7:00 I’ll be giving a talk on discernment that includes a holy hour with live praise and worship music.  Then, on Wednesday night I’ll be giving a talk titled: “Why Me? Finding and Answer in the Face of Suffering.”
God Bless,
Fr. Romke

February 11, 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Last week all of the priests of the diocese gathered together for our annual 3-day clergy conference.  It is a time for prayer, fraternity, rest, and continued education as we listen to speakers who reignite and re-energize the fire of the Holy Spirit within.  We had the opportunity to pre-screen a new movie about St. Paul, which was great, and throughout the movie one thing that was very evident was the persecuting of the Christians in Rome.  It was shocking to visually see men and women giving their lives and dying for the things they believe in.  

This got me thinking, on a much, much smaller scale, am I willing on a daily basis to let my own ideas, plans, and desires "die" so that I can follow Christ?  Unfortunately, sometimes the answer is no.  Sometimes I resist to sacrifice in even a small way because I want things to be comfortable and easy.  I'll at times channel my inner Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka: "I want it, and I want it now!"  There are countless men and women thoroughout history who relied on Christ to give them strength to give up everything - because they knew that they would gain everything in return!  Yet I struggle to give up just a bit sometimes.

As we enter into Lent this week, let's pray about how we can set aside our own stuff so that we can embrace Christ and His life-giving cross in a greater way.  Let's arrive to repeat with St. Paul: "It is no longer I who will live, but Christ who lives in me."

Happy Lent, God bless you,

Fr. Romke

January 28, 2018

Dearest Brothers and Sisters,

                When I was away last week, many of you probably received my message that I sent out on the “MyParish” App.  (If you don’t already have the app on your smartphone, you can get it by going to the App store, downloading the app, and then selecting to register for our parish to receive important messages and reflections!)  The main gist of what I was experiencing when I was in Rome was how tangible the Faith was no matter where you were.  The Churches are huge, there are nuns and priests everywhere in the streets, and the religious goods stores are plentiful.  Even people who don’t believe in God will make a point of visiting St. Peter’s Basilica because of its grandiose nature and the beauty of all of the art inside.  You can’t help but have God and His Church on the forefront of your mind when you are there.

                In the midst of all of this, I began to realize that these same things unfortunately cannot be said of our day to day lives in the United States.  We, in fact, have to work a little harder to make the Faith come alive and to be able to experience it in a deep way each day.  But we shouldn’t let the fact that we have to work a little harder hold us back from experiencing God and His love for us on a deeper level!  What I want to invite all of us to do is to set ourselves up for success in making the Faith come alive more in our surroundings!  Perhaps we can do this by putting our favorite image of Jesus or Mary or one of the saints as the screensaver on our phone or computer at work or at home.  Maybe we put a statue of Jesus on our desk at work, keep a rosary in our car, and a crucifix above our bed.  Any small thing that we do to place a physical and tangible reminder of God’s presence in our lives will certainly help remind us to pray and to reach out to Him in moments of need or even simply to help us to be grateful when things are going well.

                So too, another way to keep Christ in the center of our lives and in the forefront of our minds is by availing ourselves of the many opportunities that we have to learn more about our Faith!  One perfect opportunity is the upcoming “Light of the World Retreat” which I wholeheartedly desire every single parishioner to experience within the next couple of years (so if this year’s dates of Feb. 9th-12th don’t work for you – then you’d better get ready for next year!)  This is a truly life-changing experience that is right here in your own backyard!  If you’re on the fence about going or not – let this letter be your sign that the Holy Spirit wants you to go!  Call the office to sign up today!

                The final thing that I’ll mention is that the Catholic Church doesn’t only consist of beautiful buildings, statues, music, and art – the Church consists of the people who gather each week to worship – and so while my journey to Rome allowed me to experience the beauty, richness, and depth of the Faith there was one part that was missing that I personally greatly missed – and that was all of you!  I’m glad to be home and to be able to worship God together with all of you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a living example of God’s love in the world.

God Bless You,

Fr. Romke

February 4, 2018

Dear Parish Family,

Catholic Schools Week has now come and gone, but for all of our current students, our adults who are alumni, as well as all who are currently involved in the running of the school, the effect that our parish school continues to have is astonishing!

I cannot tell you how many people in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s tell me about how they know that their experience in Catholic school as a child formed them into who they are today and gave them the foundation of faith that they have relied on each day as they’ve gone forward in life.  As I mentioned in my homily last week, our Catholic Faith is not something that most people experience out and about as they go about their days.  For all of our kids who attend St. Mary’s or Newman High School, we CAN say that the Faith is something that forms them explicitly each day.

Selfishly I’ll also add that I love our school because it gives me an opportunity to spend time with the kids daily, and visiting them is often the highlight of my day.  My hope and prayer is that if the kids see that priests are normal people who deeply care about and who want what’s best for them, then later in life when things get tough, they’ll remember that a priest was there for them when they were growing up and so they’ll turn to a priest who can help them in that moment.

It truly was a great Catholic Schools Week that was just capped off with a beautiful Mass with Bishop Malloy on Friday!  I also want to encourage all parents to prayerfully consider sending their kids to St. Mary’s school.  If you would like to know more about the school or better yet if you would like a tour, please don’t hesitate to call myself at the parish or our principal Jean Spohn at the school.

Let me finish by thanking all of you for your prayers and support of our school.

God Bless,

Fr. Romke

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From the Desk of Father Romke

It is truly a joy to be the administrator of St. Patrick parish here in Dixon!  From the time that I joined the diocese as a seminarian in 2003, as an 18 year-old who had just graduated from High school in Elgin, up until the day before I arrived here and began calling St. Patrick’s my home, I heard people speak about how loving, caring, and vibrant this parish is.  As I made my way through 4 years of Philosophical Studies at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Nebraska, followed by 4 years of studying Theology in Rome, I wondered with great anticipation what parishes I would serve as an associate priest after my ordination in 2011, and ultimately what my first parish as administrator would be.  I served as an associate at Holy Cross Parish in Batavia and St. Bridget Parish in Loves Park along with being the Diocesan Director of Vocations since 2013.  When the time came that the bishop entrusted me with shepherding my own parish, and I was told I’d be coming to St. Patrick Parish in Dixon, I was thrilled and humbled to be asked to minister to the people of such a great community and parish.  Know that I am ready and willing to help everyone and anyone however I can so that we can all continue to grow in our love and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

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