ST. RITA CATHOLIC CHURCH
6254 Valley Knoll Drive Rockford, IL 61109 815.398.0853
Fr. Gerald Kobbeman, Pastor of St. Rita's, was born on November 22, 1941, the third oldest child of 11 born to Harry Joseph Kobbeman and Mary Burke. Father Kobbeman was born on a farm south of Rock Falls that the family still owns. Fr. Kobbeman had seven brothers and three sisters; one brother and one sister have already died.
Fr. Kobbeman attended St. Andrew's Catholic Grade School in Rock Falls. Newman Catholic High School in Sterling, St. Ambrose Catholic College in Davenport, Iowa. It was there that he made his decision to transfer to the Seminary Department and completed four years majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Latin. From there Bishop Loras Lane sent Fr. Kobbeman to the Gregorian University in Rome for theological studies. Residence during those four years was at the North American College in Rome. Those were truly exciting years from 1963 to 1967.
The Vatican Council was going on at that time and it was quite an experience to be present with the Bishops when they met in some of the General Assemblies in St. Peter's Basilica. Fr. Kobbeman was ordained on December 17, 1966 at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and again that was an awesome experience.
As a priest of the Diocese of Rockford, Fr. Kobbeman was assigned for five years to St. Bernadette Parish in Rockford as an Associate from 1967 to 1972. Four of those five years, Fr. Kobbeman also worked as the Secretary of the Matrimonial Tribunal and as the Director of Family Life for the Diocese of Rockford.
It was during Father's time as Director of Family Life that Marriage Encounter was introduced to the Diocese of Rockford. In 1975, Fr. Kobbeman was transferred to St. Patrick's in St. Charles as an Associate until 1977. In 1977, Fr. Kobbeman was appointed Pastor of St. Patrick's in Dixon, where he enjoyed a ten-year Pastorate until 1987 when he was appointed Pastor of Holy Angels in Aurora, IL, until July 2000.
Fr. Kobbeman was assigned to St. Rita Church on July 1, 2000.
Father Matthew Camaioni
Reverend Matthew Camaioni, Parochial Vicar of St. Rita Parish, was born on October 22, 1971. He is the middle child with an older brother and younger sister. He grew up in Geneva attending St. Peter Parish and was first attracted to the priesthood as an altar server. Fr. Camaioni developed an interest in biology in high school and received a Bachelor's in biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago. While attending UIC, he became active in the Newman Center and also took up Catholic apologetics as a means of understanding and maintaining his Catholic faith.
After working for a year Fr. Camaioni returned to science receiving a Masters in Biology from Illinois State University. His involvement in the ISU Newman Center helped him to continue to grow in faith and relationship with God, and provided him with the atmosphere to open up to a vocation to the priesthood. Fr. Camaioni graduated from Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland with a Master of Divinity, and was ordained a priest on May 19th, 2007.
He enjoys hiking, camping, praying for the Cubs, swing jazz, and classic movies of the 30's to early 60's - especially anything with John Wayne, Abbot and Costello, or Cary Grant.