On Thursday, August 6, St. Mary Mokena hosted Bishop Richard Pates of the Diocese of Joliet, who accepted four seminarians as official candidates to the priesthood. Three of the four seminarians—Brother John Abulag, Greg Alberts, and Brian Geary—are from St. Mary. The fourth seminarian, Tom Logue, is from St. Isaac Jogues in Hinsdale.
The Mass of Candidacy is a formal recognition that a seminarian has entered a mature relationship with the Church and intends to be ordained a priest. Bishop Pates likened it to a “courtship” where the seminarian and Church will see if they’re “right” for each other over the last couple of years of formation. During the ceremony, the seminarians announce their intentions to become priests while standing before the bishop.
One of the candidates, Brother John Abulag, has served at St. Mary for the past two years. Since Brother Abulag’s parents were unable to attend the Mass of Candidacy, St. Mary parishioners came out to support him in the pews.
“I truly feel honored and accepted as a potential priest in the Diocese of Joliet, and this makes me feel very happy and motivated to do more the glory of God and His people,” says Brother Abulag.
He continues, “I wish to thank the Catholic community of St. Mary’s Church in Mokena for their wonderful friendship and support. I will always be grateful for all of you. May God bless you!”
Father Dindo Billote, the pastor of St. Mary Mokena, concelebrated the Mass with the bishop. “It warmed my heart to see these St. Mary men receive this step toward the priesthood,” he said. “God is good and has blessed the Church with our awesome future priests!”
At the end of the Mass, Bishop Pates thanked St. Mary parish for implementing the safety protocols necessary to safely celebrate the Mass during the Covid-19 pandemic. “It is very safe right here in St. Mary,” he said.
Watch the full Mass of Candidacy below:
Featured Photo From Left: Father Steven Borello, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Joliet, Brother John Abulag, Greg Alberts, Bishop Richard Pates, Brian Geary, Tom Logue, Father Dindo Billote