A trio of priests will be biking across the Catholic Diocese of Peoria for the second year, including trips to Ottawa and Streator.
The Revs. Father Tom Otto, Father Michael Pica and Father Adam Cesarek are avid cyclists. 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,” said Otto, Chaplain at OSF Holy Family Medical Center in Monmouth and Parochial Vicar at Immaculate Conception Church, in a press statement. “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.”
The 2018 Priests Pedaling for Prayers kicks off Monday, April 16 with plans to pass through Streator and Ottawa on Thursday, April 19 before they cross the finish line in Mendota on Friday, April 20.
Otto previously served as Parochial Vicar at Holy Cross, Mendota, St. Theresa, Earlville and at St. Peter and Paul in Peterstown.
Pica is the mastermind behind the ride, according to an OSF Health Care press release. 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,” Pica said. “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.”
The ride isn’t a fundraiser. It’s a prayer raiser, they said.
“When you are called to something and understand it, it’s beautiful,” said Cesarek, Parochial Vicar at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Pontiac, in a press statement. “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.”