Father Edmond and to his son, Fr. Philip.
"I don't know if I ever said this--because I wanted to wait until it actually happened--but the first thought that crossed through my mind in the room there, when Mom died was that 'my dad would become a priest,'" Philip said.
"I can't explain where it came from."
Philip said that he knew his father "couldn't kind of just sit around and make money," and that "I knew he had a mission."
Philip never told anyone about his thoughts, he said, instead choosing to place his trust in God.
"I never said a single word about that thought. Because if it came from the Lord, it would bear fruit," said Philip.
During his transitional diaconate year, Edmond was assigned to serve at the same parish where he had spent time as a missionary. His first temporary assignment, which begins on July 1, will also be at the parish.
"I arrived [at the parish] with no plans for the priesthood, and the cardinal and the other people had no idea of where they were going to assign me, but that is where they wound up sending me -- to the place where my vocation started," he told CNA.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Fr. Edmond will not find out his permanent assignment until later in the summer. Normally, priestly assignments in the Archdiocese of Newark begin on July 1, but that will be delayed this year until September 1.
The father and son priests told CNA that they are particularly grateful for the community of the Neocatechumenal Way, which Philip described as "the instrument that God used to save my family."
The Ilgs were introduced to the Catholic program of spiritual renewal during a tumultuous time in their marriage, shortly after the loss of an infant son in childbirth.
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The father and son vocations "didn't just happen sort of in an isolated setting," Philip explained. "It happened because there was a community which nourished faith and allowed faith to grow."
"Throughout the years, I really have seen the faithfulness of God through the Neocatechumenal Way," said Philip. Without the community's support, Philip told CNA that he does not think neither he nor his father would be priests.
"If it weren't for a community of faith, which nourished us in faith and formed the body in which it was able to handle us," he said, they would not have had such a remarkable Father's Day.