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Fathers’ Day: When a dad became a priest, like his son

Edmond Ilg, 62, has been a father since the birth of his son in 1986. 

But on June 21, he became a “father” in a whole new sense: Edmond was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark. 

It was Father’s Day. And making the day more special, it was Edmond’s son — Fr. Philip — who vested his father at ordination. 

“To be with Philip is a tremendous gift,  and to have him pray over me and invest me is the greatest gift,” said Edmond. His son was ordained in 2016 for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and travelled to Newark for the day. 

Fr. Edmond never thought he would become a priest. He had a wife, a chemical engineering degree, and a successful career. But after his wife died of cancer in 2011, he began to consider a new vocation. 

At his wife’s wake, a family friend wondered out loud that “maybe Ed will become a priest,” Fr. Edmond told CNA. That day, it seemed like a crazy suggestion, but Fr. Edmond now calls the encounter “extremely prophetic,” and said the remark planted an idea in his mind. 

Edmond did not grow up Catholic. He was baptized a Lutheran, and he told CNA that he went to religious services “about half a dozen times” until he was 20. He met his wife at a bar, and they began a long-distance relationship. 

While they dated, he became a Catholic and attended Mass with his future wife, Constance – everyone called her Connie. They married in 1982. 

After Connie died, Edmond, who along with his family participates in the Neocatechumenal Way, quit his job and embarked on what is called an “itinerancy,” a period of travelling missionary work organized by the Neocatechumenate. Edmond told CNA that, at least in the beginning, “priesthood was never anything in my mind.” 

Read more at Catholic News Agency

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