Calling it “the greatest day of my life,” Vandalia native Zach Edgar was ordained as a Catholic priest in Springfield on Saturday morning and conducted his first Mass in his home church on Saturday evening.
“I’m not worthy of this,” Edgar told parishioners at Mother of Dolors Catholic Church. “This is an absolutely amazing gift of a vocation that I’ve been given. I come before each one of you saying thank you for showing me the love of God.
“In the end, it isn’t about me; it’s about the priesthood of Jesus and his love for us.”
Also at the Mass on Saturday, the Rev. Joseph Havrilka, the current priest at Mother of Dolors, addressed Edgar.
“This is a momentous and wonderful celebration of the love of God,” Havrilka said. “What a pleasure it is to call you ‘Father Edgar.’ We pledge our love, prayers and support as you begin your journey as a priest of God.”
Edgar, a 2003 graduate of Vandalia Community High School, is the son of Kim and Paula Edgar of Vandalia. His sister, Hannah, recently graduated from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville with a degree in accounting. He attended SIU-E for three years, majoring in education and intending to teach and coach his beloved sport of baseball. But those plans were interrupted by his decision to finish his undergraduate degree at Kenrick-Glennon Catholic Seminary in St. Louis. He also earned a degree in philosophy from St. Louis University. During his four years at Kenrick-Glennon, he earned master’s degrees in theology and divinity, graduating on May 4.
When he was ordained on Saturday morning, Edgar became the first native son from Mother of Dolors Catholic Church to be ordained into the priesthood.
Following his ordination, he will be serving as a parochial vicar at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, beginning July 2.
“We pray every day for God’s grace,” Edgar said during his first Mass. “That grace should flow through us. I pray that I won’t be an obstacle to people coming to the grace of God.”
Added his mother, Paula: “It’s unbelievable that it’s really happened, that he has become a priest. It’s the beginning of a new life for him. We are so thankful for all the people who have supported him through this process. He is very happy.”
Also participating in the Mass were Vandalia area natives Braden Maher and Wayne Stock, who also are moving along in the process toward the priesthood.
"It's been an amazing month for my classmates and me," Edgar said following the ordination and first Mass on Saturday. "I'm very excited about serving in Springfield. And, yes, there will be times I can get down to see some Cardinal games."