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


March 4, 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
                God has a sense of humor!  I say this because last weekend, shortly after preaching about my experience climbing the mountain and inviting all of you to climb up higher with me on the mountain of prayer and of faith, beyond what is easy and beyond what is comfortable, I decided to go for a run on the bike path.  My plan was to run a 5k and to turn around and come back the way I came when I got to the half-way point.  I began my run and noticed that the entire thing was slightly uphill.  As you might imagine, I was excited when I was about to turn around, because I knew that it would be easier running downhill on the way back.  The funny thing is though, that as I began running back the opposite direction of my previous uphill climb, it still seemed as if I was running uphill.  After a while I was getting really tired, and so I turned round to look behind me and it looked flat behind me.  I won’t be surprised if right now you’re thinking either that I’m crazy or that I need to have my eyes checked!  I honestly can’t explain what happened, except to say that I think God wanted me to double down on the words that I had preached about not giving up and continuing forward, pushing through whatever in life might be difficult.  I can’t count how many times I wanted to slow down – to quit running and slow the pace to a gentle jog – but I kept running.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that I did slow down somewhat, but it wasn’t because I decided to put in less effort.  You see, when it comes to anything that we do, we can’t control the results, but we can always control the effort that we put in.  The important thing when it comes to our faith-journey is that we always put in full effort, even when it’s tough and when we feel like we’re slowing down.  It didn’t feel good at the time, but when I finished my run and achieved the goal distance that I had set out for, it felt great knowing that I had accomplished it.  When it comes to our spiritual lives, the joy from that we receive from remaining faithful to the end is incomparable!  So whenever life feels like it’s uphill both ways, continue to give your all, know that God is on the journey with you, and that He’ll give you all that you need to make it to the finish line.
God Bless,
Fr. Romke

February 25, 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 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

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

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From the Desk of Father Romke

                                                                  Welcome!RomkeKeith
 
 
 
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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