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7 priests elevated to monsignor

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Nov. 23, 2012 at 5:23 a.m.

Bishop David Fellauer proceeds into Our Lady of Victory during evening prayers where seven area Catholic priest were awarded the title Honorary Prelate from the Pope in Rome.

The Most Rev. Bishop David E. Fellhauer presided over a prestigious honor for seven Victoria Diocese priests Monday, who were elevated to monsignor.

The service was held at Our Lady of Victory Cathedral, where the priests were honored during the Liturgy of the Hours Evening Prayer and presented with a parchment document from the Vatican in Rome, naming them to the honor.

"I think it's certainly an honor for them, and an honor, actually, for the Diocese," Fellhauer said. "They are senior priests who have served well and faithfully over many years, and I'm very pleased the Vatican has chosen to honor them."

The title of monsignor is centuries old, formerly given to members of the papal household. It's a title of honor, Fellhauer explained, though it does not change the official duties of the priests.

"There are many priests in our diocese who are deserving of the honor, but only a few can be given that honor," the Bishop said.

Here's a look at the seven priests elevated to monsignor this week.



The Rev. Msgr. Lawrence Matula

CHURCH: St. Robert Bellarmine Parish

CITY: El Campo

AGE: 76

QUICK FACT: Matula is fluent in Spanish and has an interest in Hispanic ministry.



The Rev. Msgr. Casimir Jarzombek

CHURCH: Holy Cross Parish

CITY: Bay City

AGE: 79

QUICK FACT: Jarzombek was born on the Feast of the Assumption, Aug. 15, a major feast day in the Roman Catholic tradition and public holiday in more than 20 countries.



The Rev. Msgr. John C. Bily

CHURCH: St. Michael Parish

CITY: Weimar

AGE: 79

QUICK FACT: Bily has served in more than a dozen parishes in Texas, and stays active by mowing the church and school lawns.



The Rev. Msgr. Celestino Say

CHURCH: Our Lady of Lourdes Parish

CITY: Victoria

AGE: 84

QUICK FACT: Say was born in Manila, Philippines, and was ordained a Benedictine priest in 1958. He earned his American citizenship in the 1970s.



The Rev. Msgr. John Peters

CHURCH: Sacred Heart Parish

CITY: Hallettsville

AGE: 64

QUICK FACT: Peters' favorite movie is "The Sound of Music." He served as chaplain for many years with the Texas Army National Guard, the Junior Catholic Daughters of the Americas and state chaplain of the KJT Catholic Union of Texas.



The Rev. Msgr. Gerard Cernoch

CHURCH: Our Lady of Guadalupe

CITY: Bay City

AGE: 82

QUICK FACT: Cernoch was honored by Pope John Paul on March 17, 1985, with the rank of Prelate of Honor.



The Rev. Msgr. Joseph Hybner

CHURCH: Sacred Heart Parish

CITY: Flatonia

AGE: 76

QUICK FACT: Hybner speaks English, Spanish and Czech fluently.

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