DECATUR — Approximately 900 people attended the 2016 Diocesan Adult Enrichment Conference (DAEC), which was held Nov. 4-5 at the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel. This was the 20th biennial event and was entitled “Harvesting the Fruits of Discipleship.” Attendees participated in prayer services, listened to keynote speaker Greg Willits, took part in breakout sessions and were also encouraged to visit the 40 booths of exhibitors who were at the event.

Weeks before the Chicago Cubs made history by winning the World Series after 108 years Father Chuck Edwards wondered out loud, “Wouldn’t it be something if the Cubs played the Indians? It’s been so long since either of them has won.”

As it turned out Father Edwards, who is director of Stewardship and Discipleship and pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Ashland, was correct in his prediction. Moreover, as a Cubs fan for 50 years, he is one excited guy. He watched the final game of the World Series with some friends at the Knights of Columbus 364 Hall in Springfield. Since the game went into overtime and there was a rain delay, he got home late and admits he was “really tired” when he got up early Thursday to celebrate daily Mass that morning.

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki has announced to pastors and his curia staff to begin preparations for a diocesan synod to be held next year. Among the bishop’s mandates for the synod is to put in diocesan statute his vision of defining the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois as a “stewardship and decipleship” diocese.

Just in time for holiday decorating and Christmas gift-giving, St. Joseph’s Home of Springfield has released its latest city ornament. The annually-released collectible pays tribute to yet another historic place in the capital city: the Lincoln Depot, also known as the Great Western Railroad Station. It also celebrates President Abraham Lincoln’s farewell address.

VANDALIA — Rich in history, Vandalia served as the state capital of Illinois from 1819 until 1839 when a young legislator named Abraham Lincoln led the effort to move the seat of state government to Springfield where it remains today. Located just off Interstate 70, one of the busiest highways in the country, Vandalia, population 7,000, is the unlikely home to a worldwide ministry of prayer, healing and reconciliation.

On Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m., members of the combined choirs of two west side Catholic churches, Blessed Sacrament and Christ the King, will present a pre-service concert of sacred music at Sacred Heart Church, 730 S. 12th St. in Springfield. Musical selections include Mozart’s Ave Verum, Franck’s Panis Angelicus, and Palestrina’s Sicut Cervus, in addition to other works. The concert is a tribute to St. Cecilia, known as the patron saint of musicians and poets, whose feast day falls on the same date.

Physician-Jesuit speaks after White Mass

The late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin is remembered fondly by Catholics for, among other things, his courageous end-of-life battle with cancer. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki speaks often with reverence for the prelate for whom he served as chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is also revered by Father Myles Sheehan, SJ, who lauded the late prelate as he began his Oct. 15 presentation following the White Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

ST. MEINRAD, Ind. — Father Christopher House, chancellor of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and pastor of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, has been named to two advisory boards at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology.

DECATUR — Catholic Charities of Decatur has added four new members to their Advisory Board.  Karen Barding, Laura Birschbach, Scott Bundy and Barb McElroy began their three-year terms in September.

A few years ago at our annual Priest Jubilee Day, Bishop Edward Rice, then Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis, was asked to offer some reflections on the priesthood.He made a point that really stuck in my mind. He told all of us that we were all vocation directors. What he was saying is that all of the priests share in the responsibility for promoting vocations. In my time as the diocesan vocation director, I am more convinced than ever that these words are true. The vast majority of the men who approach me about a vocation have already been working with a priest that they know and trust. It is only after that important work of accompaniment and encouragement that a young man is sent in my direction.

Sunday, 02 October 2016 21:12

QU sets freshman record

Quincy University welcomed 287 freshmen to campus for the new school year — the largest class in more than two decades and a three percent increase over 2015. In addition, QU enrolled 88 transfer students along with 669 returning full-time undergraduate students for a total full-time undergraduate population of 1,044. Including part-time undergraduate and graduate program students, the overall enrollment for the 2016-2017 academic year stands at 1,171.

Continuing a tradition that has lasted for more than three decades, Blessed Sacrament Parish in Springfield is again offering PSR for Exceptional People, a weekly Catholic study gathering for developmentally disabled children and adults. All developmentally disabled individuals — children and adults — who are at least 7 years old and live in the Springfield diocese are welcomed. 

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 CatholicMom.com, 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.

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