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.
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.
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.
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki delivered to priests at their annual convocation in September his reflections on some of the most important matters facing the diocese. He also recently shared with the curia at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Springfield his self-described "state of the diocese."
A local non-profit organization first profiled in Catholic Times last year has begun making the difference it promised in the healthcare of those with no access to general medications.
Twelve Baskets Full, Inc. of Springfield last month accepted its first-ever donation of medications, many of which were sent on a mission trip to Honduras. The Sangamon County Sheriff's office made the donation.
Effingham Catholic Charities and HSHS St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital are cooperating in a couple of programs to benefit the health of area residents.
Just in time for Christmas gift-giving and holiday decorating, St. Joseph's Home of Springfield has released its latest Springfield city ornament, which pays tribute to the Henson Robinson Zoo. "This year marks the 23rd ornament in the Springfield City ornament series," says Director of Development Terri Hempstead. "Who could have predicted that it would remain so popular for so long?"
"How many seminarians do we have this year?" As I travel around the diocese, this is one of the most common questions that I receive from both the clergy and members of the laity. People are understandably impressed when I mention that we have more than doubled our numbers over the past five years, going from 11 seminarians to our current number of 23.
On Oct. 17 Bishop Thomas John Paprocki celebrated a White Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, with a reception following hosted by the Office for Marriage and Family Life.
DECATUR — Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy, a live theatrical drama, will be presented at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 3850 Lourdes Dr. in Decatur on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m.
QUINCY — Quincy University recently honored Alumnus of the Year Paul Brown (Class of 1965) at the annual Homecoming alumni dinner and reception. Brown, who also has an MBA from the University of Chicago, served Quincy College from 1967 until 1984 in senior management, as assistant to the president and director of management services.
Nearly 1,000 students from schools and parishes across the diocese participated in the 2015 Diocesan Youth Days, which ran this year from Oct. 13-17. The Office for Catechesis, Ministry to Youth and Young Adults, sponsors Youth Days.
On Sunday, Oct. 4 about 115 long-married couples and their guests joined together at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield as Bishop Thomas John Paprocki celebrated the annual Mass for Couples Married 50 or More Years. Not only did the couples who took part in the Mass receive certificates recognizing their long marriage, but they also attended a reception in their honor and many had their photo taken with Bishop Paprocki.
As our diocese goes about beginning the journey to becoming a "Total Stewardship Diocese" filled with thousands of true "Intentional Disciples," one great reminder must consistently be voiced and promoted: Discipleship/Stewardship is a "way of life" which we will be encouraging all our Catholics in the diocese to embrace.
One senior citizen said it best when he first walked into the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Oct. 7. After looking at the pews filled with uniform-clad Catholic school children from all over the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, he remarked with a smile, "Isn't this beautiful? This is our future!"
Holy Family Parish in Decatur welcomes former pastor and now Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita, Kansas to lead a three-day parish mission from Oct. 26-28. The message will take place each evening at 6:30 p.m. in the church, located at 2400 S. Franklin St. A gathering in the Parish Center will follow each presentation.
On Sept. 28, Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County officially kicked off construction of its 99th home, in honor of Pope Francis. The blessing and kick-off was held just across the street from the build site of the home, which is on the corner of South Ninth Street and Wellesly Avenue in the Springfield neighborhood known as Harvard Park.
My family and I were part of the diocesan pilgrimage last month to Philadelphia for the VIII World Meeting of Families. Sept. 22 through Sept. 25 was the Congress portion of the meeting and it was a marvelous lineup of some incredible presenters already familiar to American Catholics: Bishop Robert Barron, Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Janet Smith, Professor Helen Alvaré, Christopher West, Chris Stefanick, Dr. Gregory and Lisa Popcak, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers just to name a few. Some others who were likely unknown to most American Catholics were Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle (Archbishop of Manila, Philippines), Pastor "Rick" Warren (Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.) and Erika Bachiochi (independent scholar and speaker). These and countless others were "diamonds in the rough" ready to be discovered by WMOF Congress attendees.
DECATUR — Catholic Charities of Decatur has added three new members to the advisory board. Natalie Beck, Janet Ernst and Lynn McElroy began their three year terms in September.
GRANITE CITY — Just like last year, brisk autumn winds greeted hundreds of participants Oct. 3 who joined Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, pastors and the Knights of Columbus in Granite City to pray the rosary and "peacefully and prayerfully" sing and walk to The Hope Clinic for Women, the only facility within the diocese's borders that performs surgical abortions.