Large crowd expected for monsignor's funeral Mass
DANVILLE – Such a large crowd is expected for the funeral Mass for Monsignor Charles B. Motsett on Monday that arrangements have been made to televise the services.
In addition, a special visitation and recitation of the rosary were held Friday for the staff and students of Schlarman High School.
"We wanted to have a special time for the staff and students of Schlarman," Principal Raymond Broderick said. "He was special to the school, and we thought the turn out (would) be so large that the special memorial time (would) help alleviate a little of that, too."
Public visitation for the 98-year-old priest who served as pastor of St. Paul's Parish from 1948 through 1974 and as a chaplain at the former St. Elizabeth Hospital from 1982 through 1986 is set for 1 to 4 p.m. today and Sunday at the church.
The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Monday by Daniel R. Jenky, bishop of the Diocese of Peoria, with assistance from the Rev. Greg Nelson, pastor of St. Paul's, and the Rev. Ted Pracz, pastor of Holy Family churches.
"We're expecting anywhere from 100 to 150 priests," Nelson said. "The homily will be delivered by the bishop as well as tributes from selected family and friends."
The church, at 1303 N. Walnut St., has a capacity of around 350 people. Arrangements have been made to have ushers available to assist people wishing to attend the services, and the overflow will be directed to the St. Paul's Grade School gymnasium, which will seat between 400 and 450 people in chairs and on the bleachers.
Insight Communications will televise the funeral service to the gymnasium through a closed circuit arrangement. The service is expected to last around an hour and a half and is scheduled to be broadcast on Insight's public access channel from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday and 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 23, barring any technical difficulties in taping the service.
Due to the amount of parking and traffic assistance needed, the city has approved parking on both sides of Walnut from Voorhees to Roselawn as a staging area for the procession to the cemetery, and extra police escorts will block traffic at key intersections to ensure the smooth movement of traffic, according to Danville Police Deputy Director Bob Richard.
The funeral procession is expected to take Vermilion Street south to Seminary Street, turn east to Bowman Avenue and proceed south to Perrysville Road then east to Cleary Avenue to Resurrection Cemetery.
"We knew there were just certain things he wanted," said Jim Mulvaney, a personal friend and legal adviser.
Father Motsett's final requests included a list of those he wished to serve as pall bearers to a request to serve coffee and doughnuts at the rectory for the priests who come.
Honorary pall bearers will include: Glen Trimble, Tom Bott, Fred Faulstich, Dr. Hal Heffernan, Bill Harmon, Lawrence Hawker, Lou O'Brien, John O'Rourke, John Pittman and Randy Skaggs.
"I just found out he had asked for me today," said Skaggs who teaches and coaches at Schlarman. "It is a tremendous honor. Of all the people he has touched – that he asked for me, I was shocked.
"He was such a man of passion for his faith and for our school. I loved his sense of humor. How he always added humor for the kids," Skaggs said of Father Motsett's sermons. "He told them they needed to live their Christian faith and support each other and remember to give back to those who give so much to them."
As a pseudo-coach, Father Motsett had advice too.
"He hardly ever missed an athletic event. He'd come see me after a game and usually put a finger to my chest and say, 'Make sure you keep working hard and do the right thing.' "
Even when his eyesight was failing, he would attend events. At a cross country race, a caretaker would tell him when a Schlarman athlete was coming and Father would clap and shout, "You go girl!"
"He always had time for the kids," Skaggs said.