HIGHLAND — Dedicated St. Paul parishioners took their cue from Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' by doing their part earlier this month to be more sensitive to the condition of the Earth and the environment.
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki delivered to priests at their annual convocation in September his reflections on some of the most important matters facing the diocese. He also recently shared with the curia at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Springfield his self-described "state of the diocese."
A local non-profit organization first profiled in Catholic Times last year has begun making the difference it promised in the healthcare of those with no access to general medications.
Twelve Baskets Full, Inc. of Springfield last month accepted its first-ever donation of medications, many of which were sent on a mission trip to Honduras. The Sangamon County Sheriff's office made the donation.
Effingham Catholic Charities and HSHS St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital are cooperating in a couple of programs to benefit the health of area residents.
Just in time for Christmas gift-giving and holiday decorating, St. Joseph's Home of Springfield has released its latest Springfield city ornament, which pays tribute to the Henson Robinson Zoo. "This year marks the 23rd ornament in the Springfield City ornament series," says Director of Development Terri Hempstead. "Who could have predicted that it would remain so popular for so long?"
"How many seminarians do we have this year?" As I travel around the diocese, this is one of the most common questions that I receive from both the clergy and members of the laity. People are understandably impressed when I mention that we have more than doubled our numbers over the past five years, going from 11 seminarians to our current number of 23.
On Oct. 17 Bishop Thomas John Paprocki celebrated a White Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, with a reception following hosted by the Office for Marriage and Family Life.
DECATUR — Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy, a live theatrical drama, will be presented at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 3850 Lourdes Dr. in Decatur on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m.
QUINCY — Quincy University recently honored Alumnus of the Year Paul Brown (Class of 1965) at the annual Homecoming alumni dinner and reception. Brown, who also has an MBA from the University of Chicago, served Quincy College from 1967 until 1984 in senior management, as assistant to the president and director of management services.
Nearly 1,000 students from schools and parishes across the diocese participated in the 2015 Diocesan Youth Days, which ran this year from Oct. 13-17. The Office for Catechesis, Ministry to Youth and Young Adults, sponsors Youth Days.
On Sunday, Oct. 4 about 115 long-married couples and their guests joined together at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield as Bishop Thomas John Paprocki celebrated the annual Mass for Couples Married 50 or More Years. Not only did the couples who took part in the Mass receive certificates recognizing their long marriage, but they also attended a reception in their honor and many had their photo taken with Bishop Paprocki.
As our diocese goes about beginning the journey to becoming a "Total Stewardship Diocese" filled with thousands of true "Intentional Disciples," one great reminder must consistently be voiced and promoted: Discipleship/Stewardship is a "way of life" which we will be encouraging all our Catholics in the diocese to embrace.
One senior citizen said it best when he first walked into the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Oct. 7. After looking at the pews filled with uniform-clad Catholic school children from all over the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, he remarked with a smile, "Isn't this beautiful? This is our future!"
Holy Family Parish in Decatur welcomes former pastor and now Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita, Kansas to lead a three-day parish mission from Oct. 26-28. The message will take place each evening at 6:30 p.m. in the church, located at 2400 S. Franklin St. A gathering in the Parish Center will follow each presentation.
On Sept. 28, Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County officially kicked off construction of its 99th home, in honor of Pope Francis. The blessing and kick-off was held just across the street from the build site of the home, which is on the corner of South Ninth Street and Wellesly Avenue in the Springfield neighborhood known as Harvard Park.
My family and I were part of the diocesan pilgrimage last month to Philadelphia for the VIII World Meeting of Families. Sept. 22 through Sept. 25 was the Congress portion of the meeting and it was a marvelous lineup of some incredible presenters already familiar to American Catholics: Bishop Robert Barron, Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Janet Smith, Professor Helen Alvaré, Christopher West, Chris Stefanick, Dr. Gregory and Lisa Popcak, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers just to name a few. Some others who were likely unknown to most American Catholics were Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle (Archbishop of Manila, Philippines), Pastor "Rick" Warren (Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.) and Erika Bachiochi (independent scholar and speaker). These and countless others were "diamonds in the rough" ready to be discovered by WMOF Congress attendees.
DECATUR — Catholic Charities of Decatur has added three new members to the advisory board. Natalie Beck, Janet Ernst and Lynn McElroy began their three year terms in September.
GRANITE CITY — Just like last year, brisk autumn winds greeted hundreds of participants Oct. 3 who joined Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, pastors and the Knights of Columbus in Granite City to pray the rosary and "peacefully and prayerfully" sing and walk to The Hope Clinic for Women, the only facility within the diocese's borders that performs surgical abortions.
COLLINSVILLE — The faith community of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Collinsville will celebrate a four-day parish mission experience from Oct. 18-21. The principal message of the mission will take place each evening at 7 p.m. in the church, located at 207 Vandalia. Each talk will be followed by fellowship.
Media coverage of Pope Francis' announcement that priests worldwide will be able to absolve women who had abortions caused widespread confusion since, according to Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, most priests in the United States, including the Springfield diocese, already have such authority in the sacrament of reconciliation.
If your phone rings it may be your parish pastor or parish facilitator calling you about becoming one of our diocese's over 600 lay leaders who will join in leading efforts to help the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois become a "Total Stewardship Diocese."
Now that the new school year is under way, nearly two dozen diocesan seminarians are settling in to their studies at a number of different seminaries, says Father Brian Alford, director of Vocations.
QUINCY — On Oct. 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order is sponsoring a Day of Reflection at St. Francis Solanus Parish Center, west of 18th and Elm streets in Quincy. The theme for the day is "In Touch with God: Three Ideas from St. Francis."
Daily events occurring throughout the Diocese.
Special observances in the Year of Concecrated Life are approaching. In a letter earlier this summer to pastors, parochial administrators, other parish officials and major superiors, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki encouraged parishes and schools to celebrate consecrated life during the week of of Sept. 13-20. On the evening of Sept. 20, Bishop Proprocki will celebrate vespers, or evening prayer, with religious of the diocese at 6:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield.