On April 9, 2015, the nation will mark the 150th anniversary of the surrender ceremony at the Appomattox Court House, which came to symbolize the beginning of reconciliation throughout the United States for a nation torn apart by civil war. The terms of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender were intentionally lenient as President Abraham Lincoln wanted to demonstrate to people in the South that they had a place in America. Confederate troops were paroled, allowed to keep their side arms, horses, their possessions and urged to return to their homes.
COLLINSVILLE — The annual Women's Day, sponsored by the ladies of Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Collinsville, will highlight the Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Mexico and the miracles that occurred there in 1531. The event, entitled "Our Lady of Guadalupe, Arrange the Roses in Our Lives," will take place on Saturday, April 18 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the K.C. Hall on Route 157 in Collinsville.
The Easter Vigil is the premier time each year for the making of Catholic adults through the celebration of the sacraments of Christian initiation. For the purposes of baptism, "adults" are those of catechetical age (about 6 or 7 years) and older. This year, in 64 parishes and two universities within the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, 323 persons will have come to the Easter Vigil to celebrate rites that joined them to the Catholic Church.
Adults and older children, who have been raised in other Christian churches, can become Roman Catholic outside of the Easter season if they have already been baptized. The parish can celebrate the rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into the full communion of the Catholic Church whenever readiness for the sacraments is established. This liturgy usually takes place at Sunday Mass in the parish. The candidate makes a profession of faith using the Nicene Creed (the one Catholics proclaim each Sunday), is then confirmed by the parish priest, and comes to the Eucharistic table to eat and drink the Body and Blood of the Lord.
More than a dozen cloistered nuns are experiencing their first Easter in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, just six months after relocating their Dominican Monastery of Mary the Queen from Elmira N.Y., to an area of Sacred Heart Convent, the long-time home of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield.
NEW ORLEANS — Let the record show that never in the nearly 300-year history of St. Louis Cathedral have Catholics seen a dancing bishop.
But when Bishop Fernand "Ferd" Cheri made his first remarks to the nearly 1,000 people gathered for his ordination as auxiliary bishop March 23, the native son couldn't resist breaking into spirituals and even moving a few body parts.
RAYMOND — Eighty-two diocesan priests listened, discussed and inquired about the spirituality of stewardship and discipleship as a way of life during their Spring Gathering March 10-11 at the Magnuson Grand Hotel and Conference Center near Raymond. Three priests and two laypersons from the Diocese of Wichita were their guests and presenters.
During Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday (March 29), Lent ends and the Easter triduum begins. A single three-day celebration of the Paschal mystery, the triduum opens with the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday evening, has its center in the Easter Vigil and closes with Vespers (Evening Prayer) on the Sunday of the Resurrection.
The current school year marked the return of available funds to award more than $2,700 in the Father Yunker Student Assistance Fund. Recipients of the college scholarships must be of Lithuanian ancestry, be an active member of the Catholic Church and currently enrolled in an accredited college or university.
On Feb. 15, the Springfield Area Young Adult Mass (YAM) celebrated its seventh anniversary. Msgr. John Ossola celebrated the Mass.
"It's truly amazing how far we've come since our first Mass seven years ago," Brad Baker, YAM Board president said. "This was a vision of several young adults in Springfield, to bring a young adult ministry to our area that would help bridge the gap between college and parish life, and to see the success is very rewarding."
SPRINGFIELD — Fourteen organizations in central Illinois have been awarded more than $21,000 in grants from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Rice Bowl and the Office for the Missions of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. The grants assist organizations in providing food for the hungry in various parts of the diocese according to Vicki Compton, director of the Office for the Missions.
Several Springfield area jurists and attorneys joined state and local office holders and politicians at a Red Mass celebrated March 10 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield.
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki wore red vestments in honor of the Holy Spirit whose wisdom and guidance is sought for judges, lawyers and civic leaders. Bishop Paprocki, himself a civil and canon lawyer, delivered the homily and expressed his desire that it become an annual opportunity available especially to members of the General Assembly and the Illinois Supreme Court, both of which were in session,
JACKSONVILLE — Our Saviour Parish will host a parish mission Sunday, March 22 through Wednesday, March 25 at 7 p.m. Mass will also be said each morning of the mission at 7 a.m.. in the upper convent sanctuary.
SPRINGFIELD — Sister M. Lucille Mertes, OP, died March 10. She was 99 years old. A funeral Mass and Rite of Committal was held on March 14, with Father Peter Witchousky, OP, presiding. Burial followed at Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Dominican Sisters Retirement Fund, 1237 W. Monroe, Springfield, IL 62704.
EFFINGHAM — The Associates of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis are hosting an information session on Monday, March 30 at 4 p.m. in the home of Carol Gapsis, 1003 N. Parkview St., in Effingham.
CARLINVILLE — Over 60 young people and their adult chaperones attended this year's Diocesan Youth Conference, held March 7-8 at Lake Williamson Christian Conference Center in Carlinville. The theme for the weekend was "Lord, you have the words of eternal life" and came from the Psalm from that weekend's Mass.
Truly the Lord was present in our midst, just as he promised, when on Ash Wednesday, March 1, 1995, we began perpetual adoration in the chapel at St. Mary's Hospital. This momentous time in the life of the church in Decatur, and the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois began on that day when Jesus' love and mercy poured into our hearts. We felt that day, the beginning of the great season of Lent that we would burst with joy as we prayed with praise and thanksgiving for this great gift. The chapel was filled to capacity with priests, Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, staff of St. Mary's Hospital and parishioners from all over the city for the prayer service which inaugurated the perpetual exposition of the sacrament. A small prayer group prayed for seven years for this day, and now it was finally realized. Not too many years after, newly-appointed Bishop George Lucas would write in his Catholic Times column that when he visited the chapel to make a visit, he "found something wonderful there." He continued to encourage eucharistic devotion here and throughout the Springfield diocese during the years of his episcopal ministry.
Over the first weekend of Lent, 312 people from 61 parishes and two university campuses attended the Rite of Election of Catechumens and of the Call to Continuing Conversion of Baptized Catholics. They came to the see city in spite of nearly a foot of snow that fell early in the day on Saturday and the bitter cold temperatures on Sunday — and they were accompanied by the priests, deacons, sponsors, godparents, families and friends who traveled with them.
Highland — Vocations are indeed alive and well in Highland and the Springfield diocese.
The Highland Knights of Columbus are very active as they continue their quest to support activities such as Respect For Life, the Newman Fund, and vocations of seminarians, sisters, those seeking vocation of religious life and priests.
With an eye toward the eighth World Meeting of Families (WMOF) later this year, the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has launched a new adult enrichment series during Lent in support of the family.
SHIPMAN — Religious items and furnishings from the Ursuline convent and chapel in Alton will be auctioned at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, at Harman Auction Service and Storage in Shipman.
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki has announced that a questionnaire available at the diocese's website will be part of the 2015 Ordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome next October. The theme of the assembly is "The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World."
The Holy Spirit has chosen to lead our diocese in a direction that will greatly impact our local Catholic Church. It is all about "discipleship," the personal call inviting each of us to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who calls us to be his modern day disciples. For those who embrace this call it becomes a "total way of life."
The Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW) is offering Diocesan Leadership Scholarships that recognize outstanding Catholic female high school seniors. Four $500 scholarships will be awarded this year. According to scholarship chair Mary Ann Scopel, applicants will be judged on how they exemplify DCCW's mission values of leadership, faith and service.
A delegation of three U.S. Dominican Sisters recently returned from a 10-day journey to Iraq that was meant to be a show of solidarity with their Iraqi Dominican counterparts. Not surprisingly, they came home with the determination to advocate — to speak out for displaced Christians and minorities in that country and also for refugees who are in Jordan and Syria.
For the fifth year in a row, Springfield Right to Life is sponsoring a local 40 Days for Life prayer vigil in the see city. This year the vigil began on Ash Wednesday and will conclude on Palm Sunday, March 29. The peaceful vigil is being conducted from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week during the 40 days, on the sidewalk in front Planned Parenthood at 1000 East Washington St.