Inspired by a call to grow in holiness, Deacon Eugene Uptmor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Mattoon is among more than 100 attendees of the two-year Catholic Spiritual Mentorship Program at the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas. This is the largest class since the program began in 2011.

"Around the world … the threat [to religious freedom] is immediate and deadly, as when the terrorists of the Islamic State murder Christian martyrs for an international audience," said Matthew J. Franck of the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J. "In other places the threat seems at first to be trivial by comparison … as when our Catholic Charities adoption services lose their state licenses because they will place children only with families headed by a married man and woman, or when the federal government threatens the Little Sisters of the Poor with crippling fines because they will not compromise their witness to the church's teaching on contraception."

On June 20 the Springfield in Illinois Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW) presented the fourth annual Our Lady of Good Counsel Women of Distinction Award to 67 women. More than 500 people attended the 10 a.m. Mass celebrated by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, which was followed by a luncheon at Northfield Inn and Conference Center.

PEORIA — Sister Mary Lenore Highland, OSF, professed perpetual vows as a Sister of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception during a Mass on June 11 at the motherhouse chapel on Heading Avenue. She is the daughter of the late Elmer and Eleanore Highland of Chicago.

With the new school year starting in just about a month, Stacie Reichensperger is ready for the challenge as the new associate superintendent for Catholic schools. An educator for 20 years, she joined the office in late June and succeeds Marilyn Missel who retired earlier this year.

QUINCY — Quincy University exceeded its $1 million QU Fund goal for the fifth straight year, with more than $1,093,000 raised. The QU Fund supports technology upgrades, campus enhancements and faculty development, as well as the endowment which ensures the university's longevity. Giving increased 5 percent over 2013-14 with a 3 percent increase in giving participation by alumni and friends.

DECATUR — The Friends of St. Mary's Hospital has changed their name to HSHS St. Mary's Foundation to better reflect their role as the philanthropic arm of the Decatur hospital.

Sunday, 12 July 2015 12:27

SHG coach receives award

Springfield's Sacred Heart-Griffin High School head football coach Ken Leonard is the recipient of the 2015 Randy Walker Doing Great Award. This special award is given annually since 2008 on behalf of the American Football Coaches Foundation (AFCF) and the Randy Walker family to recognize an Illinois high school football coach who has served as a role model and life mentor for youth both on and off of the field.

After an absence of four years, Diocesan Music Day will return to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield on Aug. 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"It is our hope that participation in the Music Day will once again make this an annual event," said Eliot Kapitan, diocesan director of the Office for Worship and the Catechumenate.

Giving by Illinois second highest among U.S. states

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — As Catholics throughout the United States prepare for Pope Francis' visit this summer, the Knights of Columbus has been preparing in a special way, with record-setting charity.

Editor's note — On the occasion of beginning his fifth year as bishop, I invited Bishop Thomas John Paprocki to reflect on five questions. His responses follow, edited only for space. SM

Laudato Si', On the Care of Our Common Home is addressed to "every person living on this planet"(§3). Pope Francis is calling on the world to accompany this event with renewed attention to environmental degradation and to remember that "the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us." Pope Francis calls this "intergenerational solidarity," which he says "is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice"(§159). The Holy Father said of his encyclical, "Let us pray that everyone can receive its message and grow in responsibility toward the common home that God has entrusted to us."

Thirty-one central Illinois organizations that benefit people living in poverty received grants from the Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope (DCJH) sponsored by the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. The awards were given out by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki during a luncheon June 8 at the Cathedral Atrium in Springfield hosted by the Office for Social Concerns and Respect for Life.

Sister Lillian Marie Brown of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis died on June 17 at St. Francis Convent in Springfield. She was 92 years old.

Sister Lillian Marie was born in Denver on June 30, 1922, the daughter of Edward and Lilly Morgan Brown. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1953, and professed her religious vows on Oct. 4, 1956.

Thanks to the grand generosity of an anonymous benefactor, a large pledge from HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield, and other donations, a hard-working Springfield grandmother soon will be living in a new home in Springfield.

An anonymous donor gave Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County $60,000 to go toward the total home-building cost of $100,000, says Executive Director Colleen Stone. The Habitat for Humanity build for the 99th family — known around the area as the "Pope Francis house" — is set to start early in the fall.

LITCHFIELD — HSHS St. Francis Hospital's St. Clare Center Food Pantry received the Agency of the Year Award for 2015 from the Central Illinois Foodbank. The award was given at the Foodbank's annual agency conference held in Springfield in May. The theme for the conference was "Growing Forward."

DECATUR — HSHS St. Mary's Hospital received the 2015 Greenhealth Partner for Change Award by Practice Greenhealth, the nation's leading health care community that empowers its members to increase their efficiencies and environmental stewardship while improving patient safety and care through tools, best practices and knowledge.

During a Mass on May 17, the Dominican Sisters of Springfield welcomed 14 new Dominican associates — women and men who have made a personal commitment to accompany the Springfield Dominican Sisters on a life-long journey of prayer, study and preaching. Since 1990 more than 300 other Springfield Dominican associates in the United States and Peru have come to share the Dominican spirit and mission of preaching the Word and witnessing Gospel values.

ST. LOUIS — Pallottine Renewal Center, the retreat center in St. Louis' North County, has named Marillyn Webb, as its new executive director. She assumed the role in April.

Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church will celebrate its feast day with Mass on June 28 at 10 a.m. at the Liberty Bank Amphitheater along the Mississippi River. The celebration will be filled with music from the church choirs as well as representatives from various organizations including the Boy Scouts and the "God Squad" youth group.

Sunday, 14 June 2015 15:42

SHG names two men to 2015 Hall of Fame

On May 24, at the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2015, Sacred Heart-Griffin High School inducted Simon R. Cory and Paul John (PJ) Staab II into the SHG Hall of Fame. They were recognized for the exemplary ways in which they integrated the mission of SHG into their lives.

HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield and HSHS St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital in Effingham each have been awarded the 2015 Greenhealth Partner for Change Award. The award is given by Practice Greenhealth, the nation's leading health care community that empowers its members to increase their efficiencies and environmental stewardship while improving patient safety and care through tools, best practices and knowledge.

TEUTOPOLIS — The 41st Annual Day of Prayer for Life will be held Wednesday, June 24, at St. Francis Church, 203 E Main St., Teutopolis. All are welcome to come and pray for renewed respect for all human life, and in reparation for our nation allowing 57 million pre-born human lives to be ended by abortion since 1973.

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki will again lead the public in a prayer rally in front of the Illinois state Capitol on Tuesday, June 23 at noon. In the event of rain, the rally will be held in the Howlett Building auditorium.

Participants in the Prayer Rally for Fortnight for Freedom will assemble at the Lincoln statue on South Second Street and Capitol Avenue.

CHICAGO — Illinois Catholic bishops have updated their 1999 publication on gambling in light of the possibility of an expansion of gambling (SB 1382) to help address the dismal finances of both the state and the city of Chicago.

Media reports indicate that a city-owned casino in Chicago is being considered, in addition to four other casinos located throughout the state and smaller so-called "satellite" casinos in central and southern Illinois. Additionally, slot machines may be allowed at horse-racing tracks.

QUINCY — What began as a short conversation at a parish meeting ended up with one large Quincy family making international news.

According to his daughter, Donna Lane, Leo Zanger was talking to a friend from St. Rose of Lima Parish in March and commented that he and his wife Ruth were about to become grandparents again — for the 100th time! Thinking that this kind of event would be newsworthy in a town where the Zangers are already very well-known, that man passed the information on to a reporter at the Quincy Herald-Whig.

On Saturday, May 23, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki will ordain four men priests for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois during 10:30 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Recently, Deacon Samuel Bagyo Jr., Deacon Adam Prichard, Deacon Martin Smith and Deacon Jason Stone — all who are completing their theology studies at Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein — shared with Catholic Times how they look forward to serving in the future.

Sunday, 17 May 2015 18:01

Father Weitzel passes at age 88

Father Eugene J. Weitzel, CSV, a priest of the Viatorian community, died April 30 in Rushville at age 88.

He was born March 5, 1927, in Chicago, the son of Frank and Frances Julia Quinn Weitzel. He graduated in 1945 from Cathedral Boys High School in Springfield. Father Weitzel pronounced his first vows with the Clerics of St. Viator in 1951 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1959.

Two Sacred Heart-Griffin High School students will present their Silver Cross Recitals in voice on May 17.

Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC) in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois held its first ever "Senior Springboard" event April 26 in the Jim Belz Gymnasium at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield. Originally begun with professional athletes, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki said that he and other American bishops believed getting much younger people involved in CAC would provide early benefits.

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