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 pass through Streator and Ottawa before they cross the finish line in Mendota on Friday, April 20th.
Schedule for Priests Pedaling for Prayers 2018
8:10 a.m. "Grand Depart" Assembly at Sts. Peter and Paul School, Nauvoo
1:45 p.m. Assembly at St. Paul School, Macomb
5:15 p.m. Mass, Potluck, and Program at St. Paul Parish, Macomb
7:00 a.m. Mass at St. Paul Church, Macomb
2:30 p.m. Assembly at St. Vincent School, Peoria
7:00 p.m. Holy Hour for Vocations at St. Mary's Cathedral, Peoria
9:00 a.m. Assembly at Peoria Notre Dame High School
11:30 a.m. Program at OSF St. Francis M.C.
1:30 p.m. Assembly at St. Patrick School, Washington
(ride to Streator)
7:00 a.m. Mass at St. Michael's, Streator
9:30 a.m. Assembly at St. Michael School, Streator
11:30 a.m. Assemblies at Marquette Academy, Ottawa (Grade School and High School)
2:00 p.m. Assembly at Holy Family School, Oglesby
7:00 p.m. Holy Hour for Vocations at St. Joseph Church, Peru
8:00 a.m. Assembly at Trinity Catholic School, LaSalle
10:30 a.m. Mass at Peru Catholic School, Peru
Early afternoon - "Finish Line" Assembly at Holy Cross School, Mendota