Diane Schlindwein

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.

Just in time to offer assistance during the holiday season and also to observe a significant anniversary, Holy Family Food Pantry along with several Springfield Catholic Charities offices, have moved to 120 S. 11th St., the southeast corner of 11th and Washington streets.

Two members of the diocesan Department for Catechetical Services were in Rome recently to attend the International Meeting on the Pastoral Plan of Evangelii Gaudium. The meeting — which began on the afternoon of Sept. 18 and ended around midday on Sept. 20 — was overseen by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. It was held in Paul VI Audience Hall in Vatican City.

Lively young voices were raised in prayer and song Oct. 1 as approximately 700 children and their adult chaperones gathered in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield for the annual diocesan Mission Mass, hosted by the Office for the Missions.

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