Diane Schlindwein

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois was extremely well-represented at the Jan. 22 March for Life in Washington, D.C., said Becky Bauerle, youth minister for Mother of Perpetual Help Parish in Maryville.

Sixth-graders from Springfield Catholic grade schools, a few Sacred Heart-Griffin High School students and a number of school leaders were on hand Jan. 20 at St. Agnes School to take part in a gathering to celebrate National School Choice Week, which happened this year Jan. 25-31.

Although she is the oldest professed Springfield Dominican, Sister Mary Pauletta Overbeck, OP, isn't planning on slowing down anytime soon. In fact, just days before her 100th birthday on Jan. 4, she was looking forward to a gathering with her religious sisters and attending several other "engagements" to celebrate with her friends.

Though countless Catholics are familiar with these words from Matthew, two men from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois have taken it to heart. They were among the seven people from throughout the state who were recently honored for completing an intensive 15-month prison ministry leadership program that was co-sponsored by the Catholic Conference of Illinois and Lewis University in Romeoville.

Most parents look forward to celebrating their baby's first birthday, complete with photos, gifts and funny hats. However when your child has overcome several life-threatening conditions, that celebration becomes even more important; just ask Michele Levandoski and her husband Charlie McVay, who recently sang Happy Birthday to their baby, Theo.

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