Rev. Dale Maxfield: Divorced Father of Five is Belleville Diocese's Newest Priest

Father (in more ways than one) Dale Maxfield
Fifty-seven-year-old Dale Maxfield became the Belleville Diocese's newest priest at a coronation ceremony on Sunday.

According to the diocese's newspaper, The Messenger, Maxfield has always wanted to be a father -- in the clerical sense.

For college Maxfield went to seminary in Quincy, Illinois, and briefly served with the Franciscan order before "an incident made him reconsider his call to join a religious order."

Maxfield would then go on to marry a woman from Quincy and father five children with her. All the while, Maxfield continued to have close ties to the Catholic Church, working for various southwestern Illinois parishes as a religion educator and director.

Along the way Maxfield's marriage began to fall apart. "I kept thinking that if I tried harder, everything would work out," Maxfield tells The Messenger.

After getting a divorce, Maxfield successfully appealed to have the church annul his marriage.

He then pursued his lifelong dream of becoming a priest. Maxfield declined an interview this week with the Belleville News-Democrat. The paper also tried to contact Maxfield's ex-wife but she could not be reached. Too bad. Something tells me she'd provide an interesting perspective.

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