QUINCY — Quincy Notre Dame High School recently announced that QND senior Meredith Siebers has been named to the 2020 IHSA All-State Academic Honorable Mention Team and her twin brother Luke Siebers is among the 10 finalists for the “This I Believe” essay program, sponsored by the National Public Radio (NPR) Illinois and the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise.
During the week of March 8-14, the Dominican Sisters of Springfield celebrate the blessings of their consecrated life and ministry and invite the public to experience the lives of Catholic sisters more directly.
For the Dominicans, the week is an opportunity to share the joy that comes from lives dedicated to seeking God, walking with others, and responding together to the needs of the world.
Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, best-selling author of 33 Days to Morning Glory, will give a talk about God the Father at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Springfield on Thursday, March 19 from 7-8 p.m. During the free event that’s open to the public, Father Gaitley’s presentation will center around this book that emphasizes a total consecration to the Father through Jesus based on the Gospel of John. The book 33 Days to Morning Glory will be available for purchase, and Father Gaitley will also sign books after the talk.
There is much excitement in the air as the Sacred Heart-Griffin (SHG) High School Music Department prepares for the 2020 spring musical, Mary Poppins, which will bring the SHG Dominican Hall Theatre to life Friday, March 20-Sunday, March 22 and Friday, March 27-Sunday, March 29. This is the first time that a high school has performed Mary Poppins, the musical, in Central Illinois.
St. Jude Thaddeus, Apostle of the Lord and preacher of the Good News, is the patron of hope and of difficult situations. This Lent, through the intercession of St. Jude, all are welcome to join the parishioners of St. Aloysius Parish in Springfield as they pray for God’s grace in letting go of what keeps us spiritually “stuck” in the quagmire of life’s difficulties.
All women are invited to attend the 2020 Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW) Lenten retreat March 24-25 at Villa Maria Catholic Life Center on Lake Springfield. Father Brian Alford, pastor of St. Jude Parish in Rochester and vocation director for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, will serve as retreat master.
The Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW) is offering four $500 scholarships to recognize outstanding Catholic female high school seniors. Applicants will be judged on how they exemplify the SDCCW’s mission values of leadership, faith and service.
In honor of Black History Month, here are some examples of extraordinary Catholics who are black and who advanced our faith and are models for discipleship today. In honor of Black History Month, here are some examples of extraordinary Catholics who are black and who advanced our faith and are models for discipleship today.
QUINCY — Father John P. Carberry, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois for nearly 40 years, died on Jan. 21 at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. He was 92 years old.
He was born on May 15, 1927, in Springfield, to Thomas and Margaret (Sullivan) Carberry and they preceded him in death.
CHICAGO — Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, known as “The Holy Goalie,” along with Chicago Blackhawks alumni, will take to the ice for the 10th annual “Hockey with Bishop Paprocki” at the United Center in Chicago on Sunday, March 8 at 2:10 p.m. to benefit Catholic Charities Legal Services (CCLS), which provides free legal assistance in civil matters to those with little to no income living in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amid the throng of hundreds of thousands of people carrying banners and signs in the nation’s capital on Jan. 24 at the 47th annual March for Life were close to 500 members of the faithful of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. The Springfield diocese was represented by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, a number of priests, religious sisters and seminarians, other adult chaperones and of course, hundreds of youth.
Bishop Paprocki met the pilgrims in Washington, D.C., celebrating a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, visiting with various diocesan groups and then taking part in the march.
JERSEY COUNTY — It was the impact of saints and their stories that led David and Kendel Williams to the Catholic faith in 2010 in St. Louis. After moving to Brighton, in Jersey County in 2017, the couple, who has six children, now call Ss. Peter and Paul in Alton their home parish.
Do me a favor and please read this all the way through, not stopping until you get to the end.
Growing up, there were two basic rules at home (there were more than two but two in particular really stick out in my memory). One was that you were to get a job when you turned 16; the second was that you went to Mass every Sunday and holy day. If you were too sick to go to Sunday Mass, then you were obviously too sick to do anything else. When we would go on vacation, the first thing my dad would do when we got to our hotel was to find out where the nearest Catholic church was and what their Sunday Mass schedule was. You can take a break from work, school, and many other things in life, but you can’t take a break from God. Imagine for one moment if he took a break from us (and you think this world is messed up now?); it would be cataclysmic.
Sunday Mass is an obligation. The Third Commandment handed down by God to Moses is that the Sabbath Day is to be kept holy. In our Christian tradition, the church understands this as participating at Mass on Sundays. Sunday is the Christian Sabbath (the original day being Saturday) because it was on Sunday that our Lord rose from the dead to new and everlasting life. Participation at Sunday Mass is a precept of the church and to willfully miss Sunday Mass, without serious reason or without a dispensation, is a grave sin according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2181).
When an act is determined by the church to be gravely sinful and the act is done freely and knowingly as being gravely sinful, then it is mortally sinful. What does this mean? The church teaches that mortal sin that is not repented of excludes a soul from heaven. Having said this, in the same section of the Catechism, the church teaches that final judgment ultimately belongs to the justice and mercy of God (CCC 1861). For those who willfully miss Sunday Mass or Mass on holy days of obligation, the Cathedral offers daily opportunities to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation.
So why am I bringing this up? Last weekend Mass attendance dropped significantly. This happens from time to time, sometimes due to holiday weekends and sometimes due to reasons known only to God. Last weekend I suspect it was due to the cold weather. It’s not fun going out in the cold. For some, they should not venture out in extreme weather due to the necessity of not endangering their personal well-being. For others, it is not so much about necessity but convenience or preference.
At times, we can fall into the trap of misplaced priorities or false judgments about what is good and what is better: vacations, kids’ sporting events, too much “fun” on Saturday night, personal comfort, etc. If we are contemplating missing Sunday Mass (not including being sick or caring for someone who is, or having to work for the sake of being able to live), we have to honestly ask ourselves if there is a duty or serious reason that necessitates our absence; put another way, is what I am doing instead of going to Mass going to deepen my relationship with the Lord or weaken it and possibly break it? Furthermore, if I am responsible for others getting to Mass, like children, how is this judgment going to help or hinder their relationship with God?
Am I casting judgments or aspersions? No; but I am trying to fulfill both my sacred duty as a shepherd of souls as well as fulfilling the prophetic call that we all have by virtue of baptism by calling folks back to right relationship with God. Like the prophets of old, I may be risking having stones thrown at me but I care enough about the salvation of those who come to this Cathedral that I am willing to risk the displeasure of some.
I have focused on the “negative” aspects of missing Mass but the positive reasons should be our greater motivation. First and foremost, we come to Mass for love of God and in gratitude to him for his graces and mercies; even here, the goodness of God cannot be outdone because when we come to Sunday Mass not only do we encounter him but we are able to receive him truly and totally in the Eucharist. If we truly want to be disciples, holy Mass is where that desire should be strengthened and renewed each week: “the Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice (CCC 2181).”
Sunday Mass is far more of an opportunity than an obligation. Faithfully coming to Mass on Sunday will not necessarily make your life easier nor will it make your problems and crosses disappear. It will, however, draw you closer to God and give you graces to push forward through challenges and difficulties, and families that worship together at Sunday Mass will find their bonds strengthened. Absence from Sunday Mass is absence from the divine presence in the Eucharist; removing ourselves from the Eucharist puts us, spiritually, on a dangerous and slippery slope.
So, literally, for love of God, come to Sunday Mass (and on holy days too). God in his goodness has given us 168 hours each week; rendering one hour back to him in praise and thanksgiving is truly not too much to ask. Sometimes it may not be convenient, but so goes life. By faithfully participating at Mass you will find that the Lord will offer you more than you can offer him and you will be all the better for it … we will be all the better for it because together we are the Mystical Body of Christ, called to be his presence in the world.
Father Chris House is rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield and Chancellor for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. This column appeared in Cathedral Weekly Jan. 26.
While many of us have been contemplating and beginning to carry out our New Year’s resolutions for 2020, Father Daniel Bergbower spent several weeks in 2018 and 2019 fulfilling his own personal pilgrimage resolution by completing the Camino de Santiago, known in English as the Way of St. James.
The pilgrimage is an epic journey of 500 miles, leading pilgrims to the Shrine of the Apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where the remains of St. James are buried.
CHARLESTON — Angie Buescher didn’t go looking to be a youth minister. She actually called St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Charleston to see if they needed help with teaching religious education. After being told all the spots were filled, she learned there was one opening: youth ministry. Fast forward 22 years and Buescher would have never guessed she would be the youth minister, and it would become her passion.
“Although I told them I had no idea what a youth minister’s role was, I got the job and was guided by the priest,” she says.
A story from 1995 reports that when St. Pope John Paul II was visiting the United States, on his last day in Baltimore, the pope said that after greeting seminarians outside St. Mary’s Seminary, he wanted to spend some time inside, to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
EFFINGHAM — The Effingham Knights of Columbus Council held its 13th annual Keep Christ in Christmas Poster Contest this year and 340 posters were submitted. In addition to the age groups that go on for higher level judging, the Council also has a contest for children age 4 and under. The first-place winners of the other age groups were submitted for judging at the diocesan and state levels. The Council winners were presented their awards at a ceremony held on Dec. 18.
On Dec. 3, Msgr. David Hoefler, vicar general of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, was one of the speakers at the 12th annual Nativity dedication ceremony at the Illinois State Capitol. Several dozen people from various Christian churches were on hand in the rotunda to pray and sing together and to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
PEORIA — In the last edition of Catholic Times, there was an article announcing that Pope Francis had approved the Beatification Mass of Archbishop Fulton Sheen to take place Dec. 21 in Peoria. Hours after Catholic Times went to press, it was announced Dec. 3 the Beatification Mass would be postponed.
Student demand for Illinois’ tax credit scholarship is at an all-time high. This school year, 377 students in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois received scholarships valued at $1,073,290.31 thanks to generous donations to Illinois’ tax credit scholarship program. When you learn, however, that 1,326 students in our diocese applied, it’s clear the demand is far exceeding the supply.
By traditional measures, I was always a good Catholic. I went to Mass every Sunday and on all Holy Days. I observed the laws about fasting and abstinence. I regularly sought the sacrament of reconciliation. I paid my church support and observed the marriage laws of the church. But 25 years ago, on a quiet night, with tears of pain rolling down my face, I got down on my knees and asked God to come into my heart and to heal my brokenness. For the first time in my 35 years as a “good” Catholic, I asked God to truly become the Lord of my life.
After Mass on Aug. 15, 1996 at a parish in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a woman approached the priest saying that she found a consecrated Host in the church. The priest — following proper procedures in such a case — placed the Host into a glass of water so it would dissolve and put the Host into the tabernacle. Days later, to the priest’s amazement, the Host appeared bloody and had a flesh-like appearance.
INDIANAPOLIS — Nearly 180 students, chaperones, and priests from all over the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois joined more than 20,000 people from across the country for the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis Nov. 21-23.
“If there is ever one event a high schooler should attend, it’s NCYC,” said Tony Cerveny, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the diocese. “The work of the Holy Spirit was profound — from adoration to the speakers, to the music to the message, NCYC was an incredible experience and left a positive impact on our students.”
As Sabrina Carter works with students in the Ball-Chatham School District as a psychologist, a job that brings her joy and the satisfaction of personally helping the lives of young people, it’s not uncommon for her to think about her own life and the selfless gift given to her. What would her life be like today if it weren’t for this gift? How much pain would she be in? Would she even be alive?
It all started in 2015. After going to her doctor with stomach pains, tests determined she had Stage 3 kidney disease. Over the next year and several visits to doctors in places like Chicago and St. Louis, no one could determine why her kidneys were failing and getting worse by the day.
The Chiara Center is hosting their 13th annual Franciscan Nativity Festival — a display of more than 100 Nativity sets, a majority of which are new to the annual event. The event is free and open to the public on Friday, Dec. 6 from 2-7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec. 8 from noon-4 p.m., at Chiara Center, 4875 LaVerna Road, Springfield — on the grounds of St. Francis Convent.