Father John Iffert appointed Vicar General, Moderator of Curia

Bishop Michael McGovern has appointed Father John Iffert as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Belleville. The appointment took effect Oct. 1.

Father Iffert, 52, is currently pastor of St. Mary (Mt. Vernon) and St. Barbara (Scheller). He succeeds Msgr. John McEvilly who is retiring after 15 years of service as Vicar General.

In a letter to clergy and laity, Bishop McGovern thanked Msgr. McEvilly for his 15 years of dedicated service to the diocese as Vicar General.

“I am very grateful to Monsignor for all he has done for the Diocese of Belleville,” he wrote.

The Vicar General is the principal deputy of the diocesan bishop and assists the bishop with the governance of the diocese. The Vicar General performs administrative tasks as directed by the bishop. This includes handling personnel and financial matters. The work of the Vicar General allows the bishop more time for pastoral ministry.

“Father John is an excellent priest and a dedicated pastor, and he is widely respected in our diocese,” the bishop wrote in a letter to the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Belleville. “With his strong faith and many talents, I believe he will be an excellent servant leader, and bring a pastor’s heart to the work of administration.”

For the time being, Father Iffert will continue as pastor of St. Mary and St. Barbara parishes. “However, given the amount of responsibility that he will bear, there will have to be a change in his pastoral assignment,” the bishop wrote. The bishop intends to meet soon with parish leadership and discuss the qualifications needed in a new pastor for St. Mary and St. Barbara parishes.

In a letter to parishioners of St. Mary and St. Barbara parishes, Father Iffert said he was honored and humbled to receive the bishop’s vote of confidence, as well as the encouragement of so many of his brother priests who have reached out to congratulate him on this important appointment.

Father Iffert was born in Du Quoin, and is the youngest of John and Mary Iffert’s three children. His sisters are Kim (Steve) Dorsey and Kathy Nesbit.

He grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Du Quoin, and attended Sacred Heart School and Du Quoin High School.

After high school, he attended Illinois State University where he studied political science and economics. Upon graduation, he accepted a fellowship with the state of Illinois and worked as an analyst in Illinois’ Bureau of the Budget.

As a parishioner at St. Joseph Parish in Springfield, he served as a catechist, preparing 8th graders for Confirmation. He also became active in Koinonia and Teens Encounter Christ. He credits these movements as helping him develop the habits of daily prayer, daily scripture reading and daily Eucharist.

In August 1992, he entered Mundelein Seminary where he earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology and a Master of Divinity degrees. On June 7, 1997, Bishop Wilton Gregory ordained Father Iffert a priest for the Diocese of Belleville.

Father Iffert served as parochial vicar at the Cathedral of St. Peter and later as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Columbia. Father Iffert spent the next five years with the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great. As temporary vows ended, however, he returned to the Diocese of Belleville.

Father Iffert has served as the pastor of St. Mary the Immaculate Conception Parish in Mount Vernon and St. Barbara Parish in Scheller for the past 13 years. Until now, he has served as Vicar Forane and Vicar for Clergy for the North Central Vicariate.

He is a member of the College of Consultors, the Priest Personnel Board, the Diocesan Finance Council, and the planning committee for the Into My Vineyard program. He also serves on the Spiritual Ministry Team for the TEC Conference.

In Mount Vernon, Father Iffert worked alongside community and church leaders to found Lifeboat Alliance Family Shelter, where they “help people who are homeless weather life’s storms.” In 2013, this ecumenical ministry received the Governor’s Cup Award as an exemplary service project to the local community.

Father Joel Seipp will remain as the Associate Pastor at St. Mary and St. Barbara parishes.