The general election on Nov. 8 offers Illinois residents the opportunity to vote for candidates for U.S. president, Congress and the state legislature.

The Catholic Church is nonpartisan, and does not endorse candidates nor tell parishioners which candidates they should elect. The church does, however, offer guidance for discernment as parishioners make their decisions on how to vote with a properly formed conscience.

Sunday, 09 October 2016 20:57

Did you vote in the primary election?

I have heard many complain, dissatisfied with our two candidates for the presidency. The commentators in the media will often ask, “What is wrong with our political system?” suggesting that it needs to be reorganized and improved.

There is nothing wrong with our system.  

The problem is us!

 Best-selling author and founder, editor of, Lisa Hendey, spent the weekend of Sept. 9-10 in Springfield as the featured speaker at two separate events.

“A lot of people think that I’m going to come and say ‘technology is evil, we must ban it from our homes,’” said Hendey as she began her Sept. 9 presentation sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Holy Family Council 4179 and the diocesan Office for Youth and Youth Adult Ministry at the K. of C. Lake Club. “The truth is that the church is all over this [technology] including Pope Francis’ personal use of technology. It’s good for us who want to be on the front lines of sharing the Good News to understand the opportunity that exists in the digital realm.”

Sunday, 18 September 2016 11:56

Father Hembrow, beloved pastor, passes away

Father William H. Hembrow, a beloved priest of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, passed away unexpectedly at the rectory of Holy Ghost Parish on Sept. 6. He was 84 years old.

He was born in Jerseyville on April 26. 1932, and was one of three children born to the late Charles and Mary (Dougherty) Hembrow.

Father Theodosius “Ted” Anthony Schelich, OFM, of Springfield, former chaplain of HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield, passed away on Aug. 31 in St. Francis Convent in Springfield. He was 84 years old.

He was born on July 18, 1932 in Washington, Mo., a son of Frank and Mary (Whalen) Schelich. He attended grade school at St. Francis Borgia Catholic School in Washington, Mo. He continued his four-year high school education at St. Joseph Seminary in Westmont near Chicago along with two years of college. He spent the following year learning about the Franciscan habit and the vows of priesthood. His next three years were spent studying philosophy in Cleveland, Ohio, followed by another three years in theology in Teutopolis. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and education and his master’s degree in theology.

A pilot program intended to benefit women and children who live in developing countries or who are suffering from poverty will run for three months in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, thanks to Vicki Dhabalt Compton, director of the Office for the Missions. The program, entitled Women of Mercy, has been approved by Catholic Relief Services and will run in October, November and December.

Sunday, 18 September 2016 11:30

Christ the King tackles Parish Catalyst

Leadership team from CTK travels to California

A parish leadership team from Christ the King Parish in Springfield — Father Joe Ring, pastor, Madonna Jones, pastoral associate and Linda Younkin, director of music ministries — traveled to Los Angeles to participate in a creative and collaborative leadership learning community with 11 other leadership teams from across the United States.

Dr. Megan Boccardi recently became one of only three people who have received the Fulbright Award at Quincy University.

The Fulbright Program offers the prestigious award to those with leadership potential, strong academic background, and the desire to bring together an understanding of differing cultures in the form of a successful Fulbright project.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016 11:05

Effingham CC awarded for public service

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.

Sunday, 24 July 2016 01:19

King’s House celebrates 65 years

In 1951, the King’s House Retreat and Renewal Center opened its doors in Belleville to welcome people to their quiet retreats and over the years gained a reputation for the many and varied programs they provided.

St. John’s College of Nursing in Springfield has received approval from the Higher Learning Commission to offer a master’s of science in nursing (MSN). Between 10 and 20 full- and part-time students are expected to be admitted into the new program each year.

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George will celebrate the reception into the novitiate of two postulants and the Golden Jubilee of Sister M. Bernard Simmons during Holy Mass at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

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.

Sunday, 10 July 2016 17:17

Greenville hospital joins HSHS

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.”

Msgr. John Renken, former vicar general and moderator of curia and later, vicar general and moderator of canonical and civil affairs for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, has been appointed dean of the faculty at St Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario effective July 1.

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)

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