Diane Schlindwein

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.

DECATUR — About 940 people from throughout the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois attended the 19th Diocesan Adult Enrichment Conference (DAEC) held Nov. 16-17 at the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel. The theme for this year's biennial conference, which is coordinated by the Office for Catechesis and made possible in part by the Annual Catholic Services Appeal, was "Growing Communities of Faith."

Nothing brings to mind the real meaning of Advent and Christmas more than seeing a Nativity scene — a lovely remembrance of the birth of Christ. That's why this year, as in several years past, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis will be hosting a three-afternoon Nativity Festival at the Chiara Center on the grounds of the motherhouse at 4875 LaVerna Road in Springfield.

Two speakers at the Diocesan Adult Enrichment Conference offered sound advice on how parents and grandparents can provide their families a fine beginning by teaching them about their Catholic faith.

LITCHFIELD — Several hundred people from the Litchfield deanery were at Holy Family Church in Litchfield on Nov. 23, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, for the annual "Thanks for the Harvest Mass." Bishop Thomas John Paprocki was the main celebrant with Father James Neuman, dean of the Litchfield deanery and pastor of Holy Family and of St. Agnes in Hillsboro, concelebrating the Mass. Deacon Sean Caveny proclaimed the Gospel and assisted at the altar. Father Brian Alford was master of ceremonies.

Just in time for decorating for the holiday season — or if you are looking for a special gift to share — St. Joseph's Home of Springfield offers its 22nd annual city ornament for sale. The 2014 ornament, the first-ever to be available in color, features The Pasfield House Inn.

DECATUR — As December approaches, HSHS St. Mary's Hospital is offering members of the Decatur community and beyond an opportunity to honor or remember loved ones by purchasing a light on a large and brilliant star that shines from atop the hospital each holiday season.

The Marian Center of Springfield, along with the Serra Club of Springfield, is once again sponsoring a Novena to the Immaculate Conception beginning on the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 30 and continuing through the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, which is Monday, Dec. 8.

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