The season of Lent begins this year on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10, and ends just prior to the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, March 24, when the Paschal Triduum begins. Lent is the principal penitential season in the church year.

Three college students from parishes in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois were among those who shared in more than $2,800 in the Father Yunker Student Assistance Fund for the current academic year. Scholarship recipients must be of Lithuanian ancestry, be an active member of the Catholic Church and currently enrolled in an accredited college or university.

"On Feb. 10, the highly successful 40 Days for Life campaign returns to Springfield with 40 days of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil and community outreach," said Claudia Connelly, coordinator of the local campaign. "We pray that these efforts will help mark the beginning of the end of abortion in Springfield."

Parish organizers of pilgrimages to the 2016 March for Life in Washington, D.C., from throughout the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois drastically altered their plans as an intense low pressure system developed into a classic "nor'easter" that enveloped the nation's capital in monumental snowfall beginning on Jan. 22.

Sunday, 07 February 2016 15:46

CRS Rice Bowl offers meatless Lenten recipes

Fasting from meat on Fridays during Lent helps us "acquire a mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart." (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2043). Fasting is meant to free us. It helps us feel our physical hunger, and in turn, our spiritual hunger for the infinite love found only in God.

Sunday, 24 January 2016 16:04

Diocesan presence felt in D.C.

More than 250 central Illinoisans signed up for the annual trip to the nation's capital for the 2016 March for Life Youth Pilgrimage.

Buses departed early in the day Jan. 20 from various points throughout the Springfield diocese. Twenty-three groups representing 27 parishes or congregations were on board, including one group from the neighboring Diocese of Peoria.

"The opportunities that our seminarians have to be with one another and with the priests of our diocese are special times."

So said Father Brian Alford when asked for a takeaway from the winter gathering of seminarians, held each year between Christmas and New Year's while they are on break from their studies. Except for two studying in Rome, more than 20 seminarians attended the gathering Dec. 29-30, 2015.

When Lucy DeFrain was born at HSHS St. John's Children's Hospital in December 2009, she weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces. She was born at 27 weeks. In the first 30 days of her life, parents Megan and Dr. Chad DeFrain were told more than once that their baby may not survive.

Sunday, 24 January 2016 14:28

Friend(s) of Catholic education

The award is named "Friend of Catholic Education," but in the case of the McClains, it's friends ... with an "s."

The family of Elmo "Mac" and Margie McClain will be recognized Feb. 6 at the eighth annual "Friend of Catholic Education Award" dinner at the Quincy Quality Inn & Suites. The award is given annually by the Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools Foundation (QCES) to recognize significant contributions to Catholic schools in Quincy.

Sunday, 24 January 2016 14:25

New leadership at FMCHS

Father Jeffrey Goeckner has been named the first ever president of Father McGivney Catholic High School (FMCHS). He will continue in his current positions as pastor of St. Boniface Parish in Edwardsville and Dean of the Alton Deanery.

Penney Porter, the owner of Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County's 99th build known as the "Pope Francis house," was able to move into her new home just in time for Christmas and New Year's.

Bishop Emeritus Daniel L. Ryan passed away on Dec. 31, 2015 in Naperville. He was 85 years old.

He was born Sept. 28, 1930 in Mankato, Minn., to Leonard "Pat" and Irene Ruth Ryan. His family moved to Springfield in 1943, where he briefly attended Blessed Sacrament School and then began his freshman year at Cathedral Boys School.

Sacred Heart-Griffin High School recently announced that 37 seniors have been recognized as 2016-17 Illinois State Scholars.

Father McGivney Catholic High School Principal Mike Scholz recently announced that three of the 17 students from the graduating Class of 2016 at FMCHS have been recognized as Illinois State Scholars.

Christ the King Parish in Springfield hosted a Christmas Festival Sing-a-Long on Dec. 20 in the Parish Center which highlighted the Christmas story as told through carols, Scripture and witnesses of personal relationships with Christ.

Sunday, 10 January 2016 12:52

A corporal work of mercy: feed the hungry

The temperature on the late December morning was brisk, like most winter mornings. Dozens of people were waiting outside for the St. John's Breadline to open and begin serving a nutritious hot lunch. For some, it would be their only meal that day.

VIRDEN — Sacred Heart Parish in Virden recently celebrated 40 Hours of eucharistic adoration, held in advance of the just-opened Jubilee Year of Mercy that was officially proclaimed by Pope Francis.

Sunday, 13 December 2015 10:47

Discipleship is your greatest gift

All around the diocese I have come to encounter many profound examples of "Discipleship as a way of life." Loretta Koester is one of them.

In 1987 I moved to Effingham and from my first days of ministry there I heard of this woman of faith, defender of Life. It is one thing to say "I am pro-life" (which is good), but to be one who totally commits their life to defending human life from womb to tomb is true.

Twenty-four Sacred Heart-Griffin choral and band students were selected for the 2015 ILMEA District Festival in Macomb at Western Illinois University on Nov. 14 and are eligible for All-State Selection in mid-December.

Sunday, 13 December 2015 10:43

Church reconstruction project receives award

The Immaculate Conception (St. Mary) Church reconstruction project was recently submitted by HBD Construction, Inc., to the Associated General Contractors of Missouri (AGCMO) for the 2015 Construction Keystone Award.

The Keystone Award honors the achievement of member firms and their employees in building the facilities that support and enhance quality of life. The awards are in recognition of the skill, teamwork and spirit of innovation needed to address project-specific challenges to jobsite safety, communications, diversity and quality of construction.

Three women who reside in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois are being trained to instruct in the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System (CrMS) of Natural Family Planning (NFP), according to Carlos Tejeda, director of The Office for Marriage and Family Life. The future fertility care practitioners (FCPs) are Sue Deakos in Edwardsville, Kate Pruemer in Effingham and Melinda Osborn in Springfield.

Sunday, 29 November 2015 12:26

Father Harman named rector

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki announced on Nov. 23 that Father Peter Harman has been appointed rector of the Pontifical North American College (PNAC) in Rome effective Feb. 1, 2016.


Father Michael Ewert, OFM, died Nov. 12 at St. Francis Convent in Springfield. Father Michael, son of Michael and Ruth (Wilman) Ewert was born Aug. 16, 1932 in Dubuque, Iowa and baptized Joseph Michael.

Chiara Center is set to present its Franciscan Nativity Festival, a display of more than 100 Nativity sets, Dec. 4 from 2-7 p.m., and Dec. 5-6 from noon-4 p.m. The event is held annually at Chiara Center, 4875 LaVerna Road, Springfield on the grounds of St. Francis Convent, the home of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis.

Sunday, 29 November 2015 12:19

Twenty-third annual novena begins Nov. 30

The Marian Center of Springfield is sponsoring the 23rd annual Novena to the Immaculate Conception beginning Monday, Nov. 30 and continuing through Tuesday, Dec. 8, which is the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception.

The faith community of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Quincy will celebrate a four-day parish mission from Dec. 6-9. The principal message of the mission will take place each evening at 7 p.m. at the church at 2223 St. Anthony Road, with fellowship following.

Key Club at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield has just completed its "biggest project of the year," said Key Club President Elsie Andres, a junior at SHG.

LITCHFIELD — HSHS St. Francis Hospital celebrated the 140th anniversary of the arrival of the Hospital Sisters in Litchfield with a special gala held Nov. 7. The theme was "Celebrating Our Legacy" and was sponsored by the HSHS St. Francis Foundation. Gold sponsors for the event were HSHS St. Francis Hospital Auxiliary and Litchfield Family Practice.

EFFINGHAM — The public is invited to attend a free concert by the St. Hildegard von Bingen Schola at HSHS St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital's Chapel on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 4 p.m. The schola is a small choir of young women, 12 to 18 years old, who sing choral music focusing particularly on Gregorian chant and a cappella polyphonic compositions. The group, directed and founded by Barbara Konrad, is named after German Benedictine nun Hildegard of Bingen, acclaimed for her writings on music and medicine.

HIGHLAND — Dedicated St. Paul parishioners took their cue from Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' by doing their part earlier this month to be more sensitive to the condition of the Earth and the environment.

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