Honoring Father Jim Presta at the 2019 Rector’s Classic

Posted on September 20, 2019

Hundreds of Mundelein Seminary supporters attended a beautiful day of golf and an awards dinner honoring Father James Presta (Mundelein Class of 1986) at the 28th annual Rector’s Classic.

The seminarian-run event began with a round of golf at nearby Pine Meadow Golf Club and continued on campus with an evening reception and dinner at which Father Presta received the 2019 In Service of One Another Catholic Humanitarian Award, in recognition of his long service to the seminary and the Archdiocese of Chicago. Father Presta–known to many seminarians and alumni priests as “Papa Presta”–has inspired and nurtured countless vocations throughout his time as a seminary administrator, faculty member and parish priest. Many of his parishioners and fellow priests attended the Rector’s Classic to show their support.

“I’m sure that many of you can testify that Father Presta has an extremely generous heart and pastoral nature,” said assistant professor Father Brendan Lupton, who served alongside Father Presta on the Mundelein faculty. “I ask you to raise a glass to the ‘pater familias.”

Mundelein Seminary rector Father John Kartje also shared his reflections on Father Presta’s legacy as he presented the award.

“This is a priest who said yes in a wide variety of ministries and settings,” Father Kartje said. “The generosity of Fr. Jim was always very much in evidence. This award is designed to simply acknowledge someone who’s been able to set aside his own personal aspirations in service of the Church to make it a better place. Through his ministry in parishes and seminary work, he has certainly made the wider church a better place.”

Father Presta delivered heartfelt remarks reflecting on his priestly career and offering wise advice to the seminarians in attendance.

“Trust in the Lord Jesus, stay close to his Mother. Ask Mary to intercede to her son on your behalf. She’ll always keep you on the path to her Divine Son. Mundelein seminarians you remain near and dear to my heart. You are the best, and I’m proud of you and I’m proud of this seminary. I pray for all of you each day to persevere and be faithful in your calling to be happy, holy, and zealous priests after the heart of Jesus Christ. That’s not only my prayer, it’s our prayer, and that’s what we celebrate this night.”

- -Father Jim Presta '86, Our 2019 "In Service of One Another" Award Recipient -

The fundraising dinner featured an online auction with a variety of Chicago sports tickets, autographed memorabilia and excursions around the Chicago area, as well as a raffle and various golf prizes. Congratulations to all of the winners!

Beat the Seminarian

Tom Kiley (Longest Drive)

Mary Lou Paluch Rafferty (Closest to Pin)

Top Golf Scores

First Place (-11)

Tom Kiley
Jim Kiley
Tom Harmon
Frank Harmon

Second Place (-9)

Jim McNulty
Bob Hermes
John McGowan
Wade Gurysh

"Living as a Faithful Servant" - Reflections from Father Presta