Meet the candidates for ordination to the priesthood for Spring 2022

Men become priests through the sacrament of holy orders, a celebration rich in symbolism and tradition. By ordination, priests receive a wide variety of responsibilities, particularly celebrating the Mass and granting forgiveness of sins through the sacrament of reconciliation. Priests also preach the Gospel, and celebrate the sacraments of baptism, matrimony, and anointing of the sick. Diocesan priests make promises of life-long celibacy, prayer for the people of God, and obedience to their bishop at their ordination. It is also expected that priests will lead a life of simplicity consistent with the people they serve.

Bishop Ron Hicks will ordain the following three men to the priesthood at 11 a.m. on Sat., May 21. Watch the livestream here: https://youtu.be/hIc4MwdL1RU

By Diocese of Joliet Communications

Deacon Greg Alberts, 25

Home parish: St. Mary Catholic Church, Mokena

Parents: Daniel and Patricia Alberts

Assignment: Visitation Catholic Church in Elmhurst, effective July 1. He will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at 8 a.m. on Sun., May 22, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Mokena.

During the summer after his freshman year in high school, Greg Alberts started thinking about God. That wasn’t surprising, since he was attending a diocesan youth leadership conference at Lewis University in Romeoville.

But it was the tone of those thoughts that may shock some, especially when he went to confession.

“I was not particularly convinced about this whole Christianity thing,” Alberts said. “But I went to the sacrament, and I was very vulnerable with the priest. I told him what I was thinking and feeling and where I was at.”

And then something happened.

“It was the grace of the sacrament that broke through and came pouring out,” Alberts said.

From then on, Alberts dedicated himself to learning more about the Catholic Church and her catechism. By the end of his sophomore year, when attending another youth leadership conference, he was thinking about the priesthood. He discerned with the Congregation of the Holy Cross at the University of Notre Dame, and after two years, applied to Holy Cross College to further his discernment.

“My 50-year plan was mission work, followed by a bit of parish work, then get my degree in something I liked, and then teach at Notre Dame until I die,” Alberts said.

Yet when he started talking with his parish priest, Fr. Dindo Billote, he realized he had not given the life of a parish priest enough consideration.

“That opened a whole new set of floodgates,” Alberts said, and he applied to St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

After college seminary, he student taught religion to seventh- and eighth-grade students at Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee.

“I really liked my students,” Alberts said. “I liked the subject matter that I was teaching. And I really liked the challenge of learning my way around the classroom.”

As part of his studies at Mundelein Seminary, he was assigned to the Church of St. Jude in Joliet from 2018 to 2020 on the weekends, before he did a rotation as a chaplain at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield. He finished his parish work in St. Mary Immaculate Parish in Plainfield.

“There is a lot of satisfaction in parish life because you’re the place where people receive the sacraments,” Alberts said. “You’re the general practitioner.”   

Deacon Brian Geary, 31

Home parish: St. Mary Catholic Church, Mokena

Parents: William and Eileen Geary

Assignment: Holy Family Catholic Church in Shorewood, effective July 1. He will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at 11 a.m. on Sun., May 22, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Mokena.

While he was in grade school, Brian Geary developed a love for music and was drawn to the saxophone. As he grew into high school, he became involved in marching band, concert band and jazz band.

“I just saw how much music helped me in terms of teamwork, focus and determination,” Geary said. “There are so many life skills that I gained through music.”

It was no surprise then, when he entered the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a music education major. What he was not interested in, however, was the university’s “party culture,” since he had started taking his Catholic faith more seriously during high school.

So, when a room opened up in second semester at St. John’s Catholic Newman Center on campus, Geary moved in.

“I found people who were on fire for their faith and lived out that faith in a really vibrant community,” he said. “The priests loved being around others, praying, saying the Mass and sharing the faith. I found myself fired up about that.”

After graduation in 2013, Geary taught band at schools in Algonquin and Frankfort.

“It seemed like everything was falling into place for me,” he said. “And yet, there was still something missing there. So, through prayer, I started asking the Lord if maybe there was something else he was asking me to do with my life.”

Geary contacted some friends who were seminarians, as well as his parish priest and the diocesan vocation director. As part of his seminary formation for the diocese, he completed his philosophy studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, before enrolling in Mundelein Seminary.

He spent his summers teaching Totus Tuus, at the Institute of Priestly Formation in Omaha, Nebraska, and learning Spanish in Lima, Peru. As part of his parish assignments through Mundelein, he served at Immaculate Conception Church in Elmhurst and St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Winfield.

Drawing upon his education background, he recalls teaching religious education classes or serving in the parish grade school as highlights.

“Those have been really special moments of being able to pass on the faith and help people discover how beautiful our faith is,” Geary said.

Deacon Tom Logue, 29

Home parish: St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church, Hinsdale

Parents: Thomas and Geralyn Logue

Assignment: St. Raphael Catholic Church in Naperville, effective July 1. He will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at noon on Sun., May 22, at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church, Hinsdale.

Tom Logue III first became fascinated by God at the age of five, when he began attending daily, evening Mass with his father at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church in Hinsdale.  

“I just recognized, there’s something very sacred and important going on here,” Logue said. “When I looked at the priests and the Mass, I just had this sense that’s going to be me someday.”

His path to “someday” took many twists and turns, as he brushed aside any thoughts of the priesthood in a society turning increasingly secular amid a Catholic Church tarnished by scandal. Yet Logue says he still felt pulled toward his faith, so that when the sacrament of reconciliation was offered at his Catholic high school during his sophomore year, he mustered up his courage and stood in line to go to confession for the first time since second grade.

“It was awesome,” Logue said. “I just remember feeling so good after that.”

That experience encouraged him to learn more about the Lord, eventually landing him on an overnight Kairos retreat for high school students when he was a senior. Overwhelmed by the experience of love and acceptance, Logue went to his room at the retreat house, and, recalling a diaconate ordination he had once witnessed, he lay prostrate on the floor in front of a crucifix.

“I remember looking up at Jesus and saying, ‘I’ll do whatever you want – just show me what it is,’” Logue said.

He eventually found himself spending his lunch hour and study halls in front of the Eucharist in the chapel at his school. The summer after graduation, he helped to lead a Kairos retreat at which he went to confession, pouring out his heart to the priest, listing all the ways he had failed Jesus.

“And what I got were the words of absolution and the embrace of Christ,” Logue said.

With that mindset, he entered the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lived at St. John’s Catholic Newman Center, where his pursuit of the Lord dramatically evolved.

He went on a freshman retreat, got involved with Koinonia, FOCUS and the Knights of Columbus, joined a discernment group, began taking spiritual direction, and started attending daily Mass. When he returned home on Christmas break, he went on a men’s retreat offered by the Diocese of Joliet, in which he met some seminarians. The following fall, he entered the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and then entered the university’s St. John Vianney College Seminary his junior year.

After graduation, he took some time to work as a youth minister at a parish in Elmhurst for two years before resuming his life as a seminarian and entering Mundelein Seminary in 2018.

He remains in awe of the Lord’s love.

“When you look into his eyes, you will see the heart of someone who is more innocent than a newborn baby and who loves you more fiercely than the most devoted mother. And by his goodness and mercy, this divine man offers us his friendship.”