Effingham Catholic Charities picked up a C.E.F.S. Community Service Excellence Award recently for being an outstanding community partner in serving the needs of low income households, seniors and persons with disabilities.
C.E.F.S. (which stands for Clay, Effingham, Fayette, Shelby) noted what really set Catholic Charities apart was its willingness to assist with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
The sixth annual Oktoberfest, to benefit the St. Hedwig Haus of Hospitality and the Servant of God Augustus Tolton House of Hospitality will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24 at the Eastern Illinois University Newman Catholic Center, 500 Roosevelt Drive, in Charleston. Families are invited to the afternoon activities that will benefit the continuing ministry of the Catholic Worker Community.
The Jubliee Year of Mercy sacred art exhibition came to a close Sept. 17. Winners were announced in August when the exhibit opened at the Quincy Art Center. Organizers acknowledge and thank the Quincy Art Center and Director, Jen Teters; Betsy Dollar, director, Springfield Art Association; and Victoria Dhabalt Compton, director, diocesan Office for Missions. Sher Lanham, Karen Boshart and Jeff Boshart were also tireless in their art exhibit committee work.
Louis S. Schwartz of Witt, father of Father Rodney Schwartz of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, passed away at the Nokomis Rehab and Health Care Center on Aug. 8.
He was born on July 8, 1933 to John and Florence (Hoehn) Schwartz and was the youngest of 12 children. He resided in Witt his whole life. He married Mary Boehler in 1962, and she survives.
Father Austin Albers, OFM, age 80, of St. Vincent’s Home, Quincy died on Aug. 9, in the home. Father Austin was born July 7, 1936 in St. Louis, a son of Anthony and Margaret (Wienstroer) Albers.
Father Austin was the youngest of 10 children. He decided to follow in the footsteps of his brother Father Edwin, and became a Franciscan priest. He entered the Franciscan Order on June 21, 1956, and was ordained on Jan. 19, 1964 by Bishop Henry Ambrose Pinger, OFM, at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Teutopolis.
At the summer games, Ryan Held competed as part of the U.S. freestyle relay team after narrowly missing out on a individual slot by just three-hundredths of a second in the Olympic trials.
A 2014 graduate of Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, Held was a multiple state champion and record-holder and named Illinois state swimmer his senior year.
With the 2016-2017 school year now under way, six Catholic grade schools in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois are under the direction of new principals.
Brandi Borries, who recently took on the position of superintendent of schools, led the principals in a day-long meeting at the diocesan Catholic Pastoral Center on Aug. 2. “I am looking forward to a great school year with a super group of new administrators who’ve joined our wonderful team of experienced principals,” says Borries.
The Office for Catechesis of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, in conjunction with local parishes, is pleased to offer faith formation courses for adults in locations across the diocese. These courses, which are open to everyone, are designed to help Catholics grow in their faith, respond to questions about the church, and make faith-filled decisions in their lives.
Sister Kelly Moline, OP, professed her first profession of vows as a Dominican Sister of Springfield during the Eucharistic liturgy on Aug. 7 at the Sacred Heart Convent chapel in Springfield.
The Minnesota native met the Dominican Sisters when she moved to Springfield for work. “I kept bumping into Springfield Dominicans where I worked, at the Springfield Area Young Adult Mass, and at Cursillo in Quincy,” she recalls. “I’d been thinking about religious life already. The joy I saw in those first three sisters I met — Sister Maxine, Sister Concepta, and Sister Loyola — made me want to learn more about Dominican life. Now here I am!”
“In sharing ‘The Grace of Yes’ with participants at the upcoming In Her Cherished Heart retreat, I hope to help those who attend the day to find the joy of emulating Mary’s fiat in their own lives.
I truly believe that when we offer God our own unique and worthy ‘yes’ to his will for our lives, we have the potential to bless ourselves and our families, but also the world around us which is so greatly in need of love.
Blessed Sacrament School in Springfield held an unusual raffle this summer which required Father Jeff Grant to take his first-ever helicopter ride. “The things you do as a pastor,” Father Grant joked at the conclusion of a June Sunday Mass as he made an announcement that more raffle chances were still available.
Since 2012, Catholic dioceses throughout the United States arrange special obeservances and rallies to highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. This year, Fortnight for Freedom began on June 21 — the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More — and concluded on July 4 — Independence Day. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is largely credited with originating the concept of Fortnight for Freedom that was eventually adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Father Anthony Schmidt died in his home on June 27. He was 92 years old and had been the oldest diocesan priest in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Father Schmidt was ordained to the diocesan priesthood on May 27, 1950 by Bishop William A. O’Connor at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. His slightly younger brother, Father Carl Schmidt, was ordained with him that day.
Msgr. Virgil W. Mank, a retired priest of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, died surrounded by his family, on June 28 at Mt. Carmel West Skilled Nursing Facility in O’Fallon, Mo. He was 76 years old.
Born on Christmas Day in 1939 in New Baden to William C. and Louise A. (Wierich) Mank, he was the oldest of seven children. He was ordained to the diocesan priesthood by Bishop William A. O’Connor on May 22, 1965 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
A retired priest of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, Father Donald E. Knuffman of Quincy died July 1 at St. Vincent’s Home, Quincy. He was 77 years old. He was born on Oct. 5, 1938 in Quincy, a son of Everett and Mary (Welsh) Knuffman. Father Knuffman was ordained by Bishop William A. O’Connor at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on May 22, 1965. He celebrated his 50 year jubilee last year.
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was filled on the morning of June 25 when Bishop Thomas John Paprocki ordained 11 men to the permanent diaconate for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Those men are: Deacon James Robert Baxter, Deacon William Jeffrey (Jeff) Beals, Deacon John Douglas Kay, MD, Deacon Thomas Scott (Scott) Keen, Deacon Gregory Maynerich, Deacon James Michael Melton, Deacon Dominic Anthony (Mick) Palazzolo, Deacon Ricky Joe Schnetzler Sr., Deacon Neil Wayne Suermann, OFS, Deacon Jay William Wackerly Sr., and Deacon Jeffrey Kenneth Wolf.
A longtime business in Greenville has changed names after Springfield-based Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) assumed management of Greenville Regional Hospital and renamed it HSHS Holy Family Hospital.
“The Hospital Sisters of St. Francis have a long history of answering the call to serve,” said Mary Starmann-Harrison, president and CEO of HSHS. “Bringing our health care ministry to Greenville and having the local hospital join our family continues that tradition.”
Once a week my family observes an entire day of rest from gain, worry, and distraction. We keep the Sabbath and the Sabbath keeps us. No, we are not Jewish, we are Catholic. Sunday in our home is the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, the day of holy rest.
The most overlooked Commandment among modern Christians is the one that calls us to rest. Many of us think observing the Lord’s Day simply means attending Mass, but celebrating the Eucharist is not a complete observance of Sunday. We are also called to refrain “from those activities which impede the worship of God and disturb the joy proper to the day of the Lord or the necessary relaxation of mind and body.” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 453)
The Hospital Sisters of St. Francis celebrated the Jubilee of eight sisters on June 4 in St. Francis of Assisi Church in Springfield. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki. Father John L. Ostdiek, OFM, who resides at St. Clare’s Villa in Alton, was the homilist. “And now with a Jubilarian’s eye, look back on how the years in your religious life and ministry matured, blossomed in full,” Father John said in his homily. “Think back to your ministry, ‘To heal the broken-hearted … to bring good news to the poor … to tell the people that the Lord will save them.’ (Isaiah 61:1-11). Through countless efforts to care and even cure, you brought Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan, the story of St. Francis of Assisi caring for lepers, and the example of many, many Hospital Sisters, into reality.”
From Dec. 8, 2015 through the feast of Christ the King on Nov. 20, Catholics around the world are celebrating an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy as decreed by Pope Francis. The jubilee began with the opening of the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome and concludes with closing the same Holy Door. The faithful are invited to pass through the Holy Door as a sign of spiritual pilgrimage and receive a plenary indulgence.
“The honor and glory belongs to God alone for all of the contributions of our honorees, but we rejoice in the fact that they have said ‘yes’ to God’s will in their lives ... .”
So said Bishop Thomas John Paprocki in recognizing more than 60 recipients of Our Lady of Good Council Women of Distinction awards who gathered for Mass on June 18 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. “Along with ... Mary’s obedience to God’s will, these honorees encourage all of us to be more open to his working through us, not to draw attention to ourselves, but to give glory to him ...”, continued Bishop Paprocki.
Poor junior high kids! They’re often too old to feel cool at Vacation Bible School and too young to go on big mission trips that older teens enjoy. They’re overlooked to serve as lectors, greeters and eucharistic ministers. They truly are in a “middle” place.
We as older members of church would be wise to see that we have a rich opportunity to form the “young” church in a unique way. Young people are still open to a fuller “Yes!” to God as members of the wider church. Because there are few opportunities to help form young disciples, the Timothy Retreat boasts the ability to provide a vibrant faith experience for sixth-, seventh- and eighthgrade members of our parish communities. So where did the Timothy Retreat come from?
Last year the church celebrated the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council. Next year the church will celebrate another golden anniversary in its life when she celebrates 50 years since the renewal of the permanent diaconate as one of the fruits of the council. From the earliest days of the church, as we see in the Acts of the Apostles, the diaconate was at the heart of the church’s mission in modeling the servanthood of Christ. Deacons were the conscientious co-workers with the Apostles and the bishops who succeeded them. However, around the fifth century, the presence of deacons as a permanent order of the clergy gradually disappeared in the western church.
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki will ordain 11 men to the permanent diaconate on Saturday, June 25 during 10:30 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The class of 2016 is the fourth permanent deacon class to be ordained in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Previous classes were ordained in 2007, 2009 and in 2012. With this class ordained the Springfield diocese will have 57 deacons. A few of these deacons were ordained elsewhere but now serve in this diocese.