priests celebrate anniversaries of ordination
Story by RAFE MIDDEKE and photos by LIZ QUIRIN
Seven priests ordained for the Diocese of Belleville are celebrating anniversaries of their ordinations in 2012. Also celebrating his anniversary is Father Uriel Salamanca Capagauta, the administrator of St. Joseph Parish in Cobden and Hispanic minister in the area.
Family and friends gathered for a special anniversary liturgy June 5 at the cathedral in Belleville with Bishop Edward K. Braxton as principal celebrant and homilist.
The bishop named each of the priests and the number of years of ministry he was celebrating.
During his homily, the bishop spoke of the priest anniversaries in relation to the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council that is being celebrated this fall.
Two priests — Msgr. James Blazine and Father Gerald Miriani — were ordained during the summer of the same year the Council was convened in October.
When a priest is ordained he is committed to hold and teach the Catholic faith given by the apostles, the bishop said.
The bishop thanked the priests for their service to the church and to the diocese.
The diocese hosted a dinner in their honor after the liturgy at Fischer’s Restaurant in Belleville.
Celebrating his 60th anniversary is Father Wilbert Iffert.
Two priests are celebrating 50-year anniversaries: Msgr. James Blazine and Father Gerald Miriani.
Father Daniel Friedman and Father Bernard Goedde Jr., are celebrating their 40th anniversaries.
Celebrating their 25th anniversaries are Father Louis Koehr and Father James Nall and Father Uriel Salamanca, an extern priest ministering in the diocese from the Diocese of Engativa, Bogota, Colombia.
Following are summaries of the jubilarians’ ministries in the diocese.
Father Wilbert Iffert
Father Wilbert Iffert was born Dec. 20, 1923 in Wendelin, the son of William and Barbara Kuhl Iffert. After attending St. Henry and Cathedral elementary schools in Belleville, he spent a year at the former Cathedral High School in Belleville, continuing his high school education at Maryhurst Normal High School in Kirkwood, Mo.
After joining the Brothers of Mary and graduating from the University of Dayton in Ohio with a B.A. in Education, he taught for several years at Central Catholic High School in San Antonio and McBride High School in St. Louis. He began his studies for the diocesan priesthood at St. Louis Preparatory Seminary in St. Louis, and completed his theology studies at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., before his ordination June 3, 1952 by Bishop Albert Zuroweste.
Father Iffert’s assignments as an associate were at Sacred Heart in Du Quoin (1952-1955), and Holy Rosary in Fairmont City (1955-1958).
In 1958 he began a three-year assignment as a teacher at Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese and chaplain at St. Mary Home in Carlyle.
In 1961 Father Iffert was named to his first pastorate at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Renault (1961-1966) and also taught at the former St. Peter and Paul High School in Waterloo.
After serving for a year as the pastor of St. Pius V Parish in Walsh, he began his eight-year pastorate (1967-1975) at St. Edward’s in Fairfield and St. Sebastian in rural Mt. Carmel. He was the pastor of St. Polycarp in Carmi (1975-1976); St. Mary in Harrisburg (1976-1983); and at St. Joseph in Equality and St. Francis de Sales in Stonefort (1983-1990). He was also the chaplain at the Harrisburg Correctional Facility, where his activities included starting an Alcoholics Anonymous program.
Father Iffert retired in 1990 because of failing eyesight due to macular degeneration. A successful operation by a St. Louis doctor allowed him to continue his parish ministry, “all over” in his words, including weekend liturgies for five years at St. Michael in Radom and St. Barbara in Scheller. He continues to celebrate the Eucharist twice a week at Good Samaritan Regional Health Center in Mt. Vernon and assists at St. Mary Parish there. An anniversary Mass was celebrated at St. Mary’s June 3, followed by a dinner. Father Iffert resides in Mt. Vernon.
Msgr. James Blazine
James Blazine, the son of Frederic and Emma Laurenti Blazine, was born July 30, 1936 in West Frankfort.
Growing up in Royalton, he began his elementary education at St. Paul’s School in Johnston City for four years, completing it at the Royalton public school. After two years of high school in Royalton he continued his high school education at St. Henry Seminary in Belleville. He completed his seminary training at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill.
Father Blazine was ordained June 2, 1962 by Bishop Albert Zuroweste.
His assignments as an associate were at St. Martin of Tours in Washington Park (1962-1966) and St. Mary in Centralia (1966-1970).
His first pastorate was at St. Pancratius in Fayetteville (1970-1971 and 1974-1980). He served as a chaplain at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville (1971-1974). From 1980 to 1988 he was the pastor of St. Stephen Parish in Caseyville, and served as the dean of the East St. Louis Deanery for two terms. In 1988 he began an 11-year pastorate at St. Mary Parish in Belleville (1988-1999), and was the pastor of St. George Parish in New Baden (1999-2002). He was named a monsignor in 2002.
Father Blazine served as the assistant chancellor of the diocese in the 1970s, has been a consultor and a member of the Presbyteral Council. He has been the chaplain of the Caseyville Police Dept. for many years.
Currently retired, he is a resident at the Hincke-Sense Home and is a regular celebrant at weekend liturgies in parishes throughout the diocese. No public celebrations are planned.
Father Gerald Miriani
A native of Herrin, Father Gerald Miriani was born March 7, 1935, the son of Mario and Lena Perotta Miriani. After graduating from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish Grade School and Herrin High School, he attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale for two years. He continued his college education at St. Henry Seminary in Belleville for a year before continuing his priesthood education at St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Ind. He was ordained June 2, 1962 by Bishop Albert Zuroweste.
After a temporary associate assignment at St. Dominic Parish in Breese for two months, he was assigned as an associate at St. Patrick’s in East St. Louis (1962-1966), St. Cyril’s, East St. Louis (1966-1967), and St. Teresa’s in Belleville (1967-1969).
In 1969 Father Miriani was assigned as the director of the Religion Department at Gibault Catholic High School in Waterloo, with residence at the Gibault House, a clergy residence for Gibault faculty members. In December of that year he was assigned the temporary administrator of St. Michael’s in Paderborn, continuing on the Gibault faculty. In 1970 Father Miriani was assigned as a full-time faculty member at Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese as director of the Religion Department, with residence at St. Mary Parish in Trenton. Continuing as a member of the Mater Dei faculty, he was named the pastor of St. Barbara Parish in Okawville in 1975.
Two years later he began an 11-year pastorate of St. Mary Parish in Centralia. He then began a 10-year pastorate of Corpus Christi Parish in Shiloh.
Father Miriani retired in 1998, moving to Phoenix, Ariz. In Phoenix he has been active in liturgical ministry on weekdays and weekends and in a number of capacities at St. Pius X Parish, a huge suburban parish of 10,000 members. St. Pius X parishioners joined Father Miriani and St. Pius X staff May 13 for an anniversary Mass and reception, including a message of gratitude for his 14 years of pastoral involvement in the parish. Parishioners also gathered on June 2, the actual date of his ordination in 1962.
Father Daniel Friedman
Father Daniel Friedman was born Feb. 13, 1946, man, in Carmi. Graduating from the Centerville Consolidated Grade School in 1960, he attended St. Henry Seminary the first year of high school and completed his high school education at Carmi Township High School.
He attended Immaculate Conception Seminary, Conception, Mo., where he received his B.A. in Philosophy and Master’s in Divinity. He was ordained June 3, 1972 by Bishop Albert R. Zuroweste, at St. Peter Cathedral, where he also served as an associate pastor in his first assignment until 1976, when he was assigned the associate at St. Augustine of Canterbury Parish in Belleville.
In 1980 he was named to his first pastorate at St. Rose Parish in Metropolis and St. Paul Parish in Vienna, continuing until 1990. After 1986 he also served as the co-director and chaplain of the diocesan Camp Ondessonk, and also as the administrator of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Stonefort from 1990 to 1994.
Father Friedman has been involved in Boy Scout leadership at all levels. For 17 years he was a member of the U.S. bishops’ National Catholic Committee on Scouting.
Father Friedman has been the pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Aviston since 1995.
Father Bernard Goedde Jr.
The son of Bernard C. Sr. and Wilma Reeb Goedde, Bernard Goedde Jr. was born May 2, 1946. After graduating from Blessed Sacrament School in Belleville, he attended St. Henry Seminary for his high school education and one year of college, and Our Lady of the Ozarks for his second year of college, completing his philosophy and theology studies at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill.
After his ordination to the priesthood for the Belleville diocese June 3, 1972 by Bishop Albert R. Zuroweste, Father Goedde was assigned as the associate at Immaculate Conception in Columbia (1972-1975) and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Herrin (1975-1978).
In 1978 he began his first pastorate assignment at Holy Cross Parish in Wendelin, continuing until 1982, and was also the temporary administrator of St. Stephen in Flora. From 1982 until 1991 he was the pastor of St. Catherine Labouré in Cahokia. In 1991 he began a 5-year pastorate at St. Damian in Damiansville. He was named the pastor of St. James Parish in Millstadt in 1996, continuing until 2005.
Father Goedde spent a six-month sabbatical at the Vatican II Institute, sponsored by the Sulpician Fathers at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif. The Institute’s program includes updates in Theology and Scripture, as well as various areas of ministry and parish experiences.
After the sabbatical he began his current pastoral ministry at St. Mary Magdalen in Todd’s Mill and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Posen, with residence at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Father James Nall
James Nall was born Nov. 9, 1960 in Centralia, the son of William Nall Jr. and Mary JoDene Hollern Nall. He attended St. Mary Parish School in Centralia and graduated from Centralia High School. After a year of studies at Kaskaskia Junior College he began his studies for the priesthood at St. Meinrad College, St. Meinrad, Ind., receiving a B.A. in English in 1982, and a Master’s in Divinity from St. Meinrad School of Theology.
After his ordination June 6, 1987 by Bishop James Keleher, Father Nall was assigned as the associate pastor at St. Mary Parish in Mt. Carmel and St. Francis Parish in St. Francisville. In July of 1990 he was assigned as an associate at St. Peter Cathedral in Belleville.
A year later he was named the pastor of St. Stephen Parish in Flora, continuing until July of 1993, when he began a 3-year pastorate of St. Bruno Parish in Pinckneyville.
In June of 1996 Father Nall began studies in Canon Law at the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome, receiving a Licentiate in Canon Law two years later.
Returning from Rome in July of 1998 he was named the Judicial Vicar of the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal and assigned as the pastor of St. Agatha Parish in New Athens.
In January of 2000 his pastorate at St. Agatha’s was interrupted, with residency at St. Peter Cathedral in Belleville to devote full-time to work at the Tribunal, while assisting at parishes on weekends. A year later he was named the sacramental minister at St. Theresa Parish in Salem and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Kinmundy, continuing his Cathedral residency.
In June of 2002 he resumed his pastorate of St. Agatha in New Athens, continuing his assignment as the Judicial Vicar at the Diocesan Tribunal, the pastoral and diocesan ministries he currently continues.
Father Nall has served as a Diocesan Consultor and as a member of the Presbyteral Council.
St. Agatha Parish hosted an anniversary celebration June 10, beginning with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 2:30 p.m., followed by a dinner and reception.
Father Louis Koehr
Father Louis Koehr, a native of Belleville, was born Sept. 18, 1928 to Louis and Cordelia Wolfersberger Koehr.
After graduating from St. Mary Parish’s elementary school, the silver jubilarian attended St. Henry Seminary for his high school education and two years of college (1942-1948) and then studied philosophy at St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Ind. (1948-50).
He served in the United States Air Force (1951-1955).
In 1957 he received a B.S. in Psychology from St. Louis University in St. Louis. He continued his studies at St. Louis University while teaching at Lafayette public school in St. Louis, receiving a Master’s in Educational Administration in 1961, and completed his course work for a doctorate in Special Education. He taught at the Lafayette school until 1983.
He is certified as a teacher in learning disabilities in Illinois and Missouri.
In the Air Force Father Koehr served as a liturgy coordinator, choir director and chaplain service specialist. In his home parish at St. Mary in Belleville he taught CCD and served as Parish Liturgy Coordinator (1957-1973). He was a leader in the Charismatic Renewal Movement in the Belleville diocese.
Father Koehr was ordained a Permanent Deacon of the diocese Oct. 18, 1980. He was assigned to his home parish of St. Mary and the bishop’s liaison to the Charismatic Renewal Movement in the diocese. In January of 1984 he renewed his studies for the priesthood at Sacred Heart Seminary in Hales Corners, Wis. Ordained June 6, 1987 by Bishop James Keleher, he was named the administrator of St. Mary Parish in Mound City, St. Catherine’s in Grand Chain and Our Lady of Fatima in Ullin (1987-1989). His pastorate assignments were at St. Anthony in Lively Grove and St. Anthony in Coulterville (1989-1990), St. Mary in Sesser (1990-1999) and St. Bernard in Albers and St. Damian in Damiansville (1999-2003)
Retiring in 2003, he resides in Albers and continues to assist at liturgies in Albers, at Clinton Manor Nursing Home in Aviston and the Greenville Correctional Center in Greenville.
St. Bernard Parish hosted an anniversary celebration May 27, beginning with the Eucharist at 2 p.m., followed by a reception.
Father Uriel Salamanca Cipagauta
Father Uriel Salamanca Cipagauta was welcomed to the Diocese of Belleville in April of 2008 to assist in pastoral ministry to the growing number of Hispanic Catholics in the diocese.
A native of Bogota, Colombia, Father Salamanca was ordained to the priesthood Dec. 5, 1987 for the Diocese of Engativa, Bogota, Colombia. After his ordination he served as an associate and pastor in several parishes in Bogota, while also teaching at a secondary school for girls.
After his orientation to the diocese and study of English at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, he was assigned to Hispanic ministries in southern Illinois with residence at St. Joseph Parish in Cobden, and continuing his study of English in July of 2008 at John A. Logan Community College in Carbondale. A year later he was named the administrator of St. Joseph’s while continuing his Hispanic ministry. He spends much of his weekday time visiting families and responding to needs of the Hispanic community in the area.
Bishop Hector Gutierrez Pabon, the bishop of Engativa, has extended Father Salamanca’s initial three-year loan to the diocese indefinitely. Since Father Salamanca’s actual anniversary is in December no local celebration is planned at this time.
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