The community of Geneva recently experienced the loss of a man who had become a spiritual beacon within their midst. The Reverend Jonathan Bakkelund, a trusted and devoted leader of St. Peter Catholic Church, has passed away, leaving behind a legacy of faith and service.
Reverend Bakkelund, who had been at the helm of St. Peter Catholic Church since 2016, was known for his unwavering dedication to his parishioners and to the broader Catholic community. His journey to priesthood was realised in 2011, marking the beginning of a decade-long service that impacted many lives.
During his vocation, Reverend Bakkelund’s path took him to several places of worship, including Saint Mary Catholic Church in Huntley and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Crystal Lake. Additionally, he held significant responsibilities within the diocese, such as serving as the Diocesan Master of Ceremonies for Bishop John Malloy of the Rockford Diocese and taking on the role of Director of the Office of Divine Worship.
The depth of Reverend Bakkelund’s faith and his commitment to enhancing the spiritual well-being of those around him were evident in every aspect of his work. His departure from this world was confirmed early Thursday morning by church officials, as he succumbed to his health challenges while under hospice care.
Reverend Jared Twenty of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Batavia Township communicated the grievous news to the parish, revealing the Reverend’s battle with alcoholism. In a heartfelt message shared with the parishioners, Reverend Twenty disclosed that after exploring all possible medical solutions, Reverend Bakkelund had transitioned to hospice care.
Despite Reverend Bakkelund’s struggles, Reverend Twenty shared that he maintained a tranquil disposition as he faced his final days. “I want to assure you that he is at peace, taking this time to prayerfully prepare to meet the Lord,” Twenty wrote, highlighting the Reverend’s serene acceptance of his fate.
Reverend Bakkelund’s story, marked by both dedication and personal hardship, serves as a poignant reminder of the human experience shared by all, including those within the clergy. His efforts to create a spiritually nourishing environment at St. Peter Catholic Church were rooted in his belief that the Mass should leave parishioners feeling spiritually fulfilled and strengthened.
Upon his arrival at St. Peter’s, he had expressed his vision for the church, one centered on spiritual enrichment for all who attended services. His impact was acknowledged by Reverend John McFadden, the Parochial Vicar at St. Peter’s, who spoke on behalf of the grieving faith community. “The whole Geneva faith community is joined in prayer praying for Fr. Bakkelund to our Heavenly Father whom Fr. Bakkelund loved and served so well,” McFadden reflected, capturing the collective sense of loss and the deep respect held for Reverend Bakkelund.
Ultimately, the narrative of Reverend Bakkelund’s life and service stands as a testament to his profound influence on the lives of those he guided and served, as well as to the enduring spirit of community that binds the members of St. Peter Catholic Church together in times of joy and sorrow.