Pedaling Priests Coming to Mendota

4/03/2018 - Mendota, Illinois

  • Pedaling Priest

Priests. Brothers. Passionate. Crazy? That’s what you may think of Father Tom Otto, Father Michael Pica and Father Adam Cesarek when you hear about their plans. The trio is back at it again for the second year, biking across the Catholic Diocese of Peoria. Why? They are avid cyclists, but their purpose is much bigger than a hobby. They are answering a higher calling. “We are convinced that God is calling a number of young men to be priests, and it may be hard to answer that call. This idea is to show them that the call to priesthood is life-giving. It's vibrant. We are here to change the perception that priests are only older in age or that their life can be lonely,” explains Father Tom Otto, Chaplain at OSF Holy Family Medical Center in Monmouth and Parochial Vicar at Immaculate Conception Church.  Father Tom previously served as Parochial Vicar at Holy Cross, Mendota, St. Theresa, Earlville and at St. Peter and Paul in Peterstown.

Father Michael is the mastermind behind the ride. After becoming a priest, he had the idea to take his love of cycling and turn it into a way to build up vocations across the Diocese. “We have Diocese across the state of similar size to Peoria, they have maybe 50 seminarians (a student/man recognizing his call to priesthood) at a time. Right now, our Peoria Diocese has a low census. If we are joyful and living our life, the world needs to see that and see what is possible!”

This ride isn’t a fundraiser. It’s a prayer-raiser.

These three heard the call to priesthood, and they now hope many others can see their ride, reflect and pray on the journey God is calling on for everyone – no matter where that may lead…

“When you are called to something and understand it, it’s beautiful,” Father Adam explains of being called to priesthood. Father Adam is currently serving as the Parochial Vicar at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Pontiac. “We want to express the importance of joy in the world. We see a depressed world so often. God has a way of working on us and through us. This is an attempt to help people understand the most important thing - Christ.”

2018 Priests Pedaling for Prayers kicks off on Monday, April 16th and plan to cross the finish line at Holy Cross School, Mendota, with an early afternoon assembly on Friday, April 20th.

Schedule for Priests Pedaling for Prayers 2018

Monday 4/16/18

8:10am  "Grand Depart" Assembly at Sts. Peter and Paul School, Nauvoo

1:45pm  Assembly at St. Paul School, Macomb

5:15pm  Mass, Potluck, and Program at St. Paul Parish, Macomb

Tuesday 4/17/18

7:00am  Mass at St. Paul Church, Macomb

2:30pm  Assembly at St. Vincent School, Peoria

7:00pm  Holy Hour for Vocations at St. Mary's Cathedral, Peoria

Wednesday 4/18/18

9:00am  Assembly at Peoria Notre Dame High School

11:30am  Program at OSF St. Francis M.C.

1:30pm  Assembly at St. Patrick School, Washington

(ride to Streator)

Thursday 4/19/18

7:00am Mass at St. Michael's, Streator

9:30am  Assembly at St. Michael School, Streator

11:30am  Assemblies at Marquette Academy, Ottawa (Grade School and High School)

2:00pm  Assembly at Holy Family School, Oglesby

7:00pm Holy Hour for Vocations at St. Joseph Church, Peru

Friday 4/20/18

8:00am  Assembly at Trinity Catholic School, LaSalle

10:30am  Mass at Peru Catholic School, Peru

Early afternoon - "Finish Line" Assembly at Holy Cross School, Mendota



JoEllyn Gahan
Community Relations Specialist
(815) 539-7461