The annual novena honoring the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary begins Dec. 1 this year, because the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is transferred this year to Dec. 9. The novena will be celebrated each evening from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., except on Dec. 9 when the novena will conclude with the 5:15 p.m. Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. All are welcome to attend the novena, which will be held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield.

Sunday, 24 November 2019 08:32

Diocesan native observing silver jubilee

TRAPPIST, Ky. — Brother Aaron Schulte, OCSO, celebrated his Silver jubilee with the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, commonly called Trappist at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky in May of this year.TRAPPIST, Ky. — Brother Aaron Schulte, OCSO, celebrated his Silver jubilee with the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, commonly called Trappist at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky in May of this year.

Sunday, 24 November 2019 08:31

Soup ministry celebrates decade of giving

GREENFIELD — With chilly weather already here and Thanksgiving just around the corner, our thoughts naturally turn to warm meals, good fellowship and counting our blessings. This year St. Michael parishioner Martha Rawe is giving thanks that in Greenfield, a soup ministry that she helped to start has been warming people’s stomachs — and hearts — for 10 years and counting.


Veterans are the backbone of our great nation. Their sacrifice, dedication to freedom, and helping the people of the world — we are forever indebted to their service.

The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is blessed to have several priests who also served our country. One of those is Father Stephen Thompson, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Mt. Sterling and St. Thomas Parish in Camp Point.

Father Thompson embodies honor, courage and commitment, values that have deep meaning to him as a Marine. He served our country for four years in the early 1990s as an E-4 corporal as a data communications operator. He served in the Persian Gulf War under Desert Shield and Desert Storm with the 1st Marine Division and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit under the United States Navy on the U.S.S. Okinawa.

ST. JOSEPH, MICH. — During 22-year-old Amber Robinson’s senior year at college at Northern Illinois University, she knew she wanted to do missionary work but didn’t know where. Today, the Glen Carbon native who attends Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Collinsville finds herself in St. Joseph, Mich., working directly with youth, challenging these vulnerable Catholics “to love Christ and embrace the life of the church.”

Sunday, 10 November 2019 10:21

Diocesan planning study under way

Parishioners encouraged to attend Focus Group meetings and/or participate in online survey

The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has launched a planning study to determine the level of support for a diocesan-wide capital campaign.

Representatives from the Steier Group, a Catholic development and fundraising firm, will be conducting interviews in the diocese until mid-November. They are seeking feedback on support for seminarian education throughout the diocese.

In 1988, Springfield’s Christ the King’s (CTK) Over 50 and Dinner Club had 20 members. Today, they boast 200 with members coming not just from Christ the King Parish, but several other parishes in the area. While the club is a great place for those who passed the half-century mark to meet other Catholics, eat a delicious meal every month, and hear from interesting speakers, the club has put most of its resources and generosity toward one thing: the church’s future.

On Oct. 30, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was filled with enthusiastic students and faculty members who traveled from all over the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois for the annual Mission Mass. Since many of the students had never been to the Cathedral, some of the groups took tours of the church before Mass and waited patiently afterwards to have photos taken with Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, who was the main celebrant.

There is an interesting form of biblical scholarship that focuses on the meaning of numbers known as numerology. One that we might be most familiar with is the number 40, which is a number that signifies trial, testing and waiting. The great flood was 40 days and 40 nights. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert before beginning his public ministry. And 40 days after the resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven.


Sunday, 13 October 2019 09:22

Using his talent for the church

Springfield teen learning to play organ at Cathedral

Visitors from Ohio were at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield one afternoon this summer, admiring the stained-glass windows and striking beauty of the church. They were also given a rare treat: beautiful organ music, filling the church with rich sounds. Little did they know it was a 14-year-old playing, who had just picked up the organ in February.

EDWARDSVILLE — On April 20, 2019, 42-year-old Deegee Kienstra of Edwardsville officially became Catholic, receiving three sacraments at the Easter Vigil at St. Mary Parish in Edwardsville: baptism, confirmation and Communion. The road to that powerful day is filled with moments where the Holy Spirit planted seeds of inspiration.


Springfield Catholic schools are big winners

It became a spectacle in Springfield week after week this past summer as thousands of people packed the Knights of Columbus Hall on Springfield’s west side and other satellite locations, hoping to be the big winner in the Knights of Columbus Council 364’s Big Raffle, which grew to $625,000. This, after the fund had been growing for two years because week after week, the person selected never correctly picked the jackpot square. (The game originally started with 100 squares, and each week one would be eliminated until the jackpot square was correctly chosen.) Finally, last month, Cindi Fleischli’s ticket was drawn and she picked the jackpot square.

Sunday, 13 October 2019 08:59

Family Camp celebrates 30 years

CARLINVILLE — The 30th annual Family Camp for persons with special needs and their families and friends, was, as usual, a fun time for everyone involved, reports Elaine Vonderheide, who directs the weekend every year. This year’s camp took place Sept. 21-22, at Lake Williamson Christian Center.

Attendees and their guests participated in a variety of activities, including swimming, square dancing, playing mini golf, creating crafts and singing. The camp closed with Sunday Mass, celebrated this year by Father Chris House, rector of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish and vicar judicial in the Office of the Tribunal.

Sunday, 29 September 2019 10:22

Cathedral packed for national speaker

It was a unique energy inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield on Sept. 19 as 700 people, Catholics and non-Catholics, from across the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, came to give their lives a recharge. Chris Stefanick, a nationally known Catholic speaker, presented REBOOT!, an experience of learning how to better apply the beauty and genius of the Gospel to every aspect of life.

PEORIA HEIGHTS ― Earlier this year, June Kriesel, a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Mattoon, received the Rite of Definitive Promises with The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Peoria Heights. Her Carmelite name is Mary Therese of the Immaculate Heart.


Sunday, 29 September 2019 10:17

Origin of Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

In the 1880s, Pope Leo XIII had just finished celebrating Mass when he stopped dead in his tracks and saw something that shook him to the core: A vision of demonic spirits, gathering on Rome, came alive before him. A further account says the pope also heard two voices, that of God and of Satan. Satan boasted to God that he could “destroy the church” but asked God for 100 years and more power to do so. God responded, permitting it. After this vision, with a pale and fearful look, Pope Leo XIII immediately composed the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and decreed that it be said after Masses throughout the world.


Sunday, 15 September 2019 09:04

Riverton Knights sponsor silver rose service

RIVERTON — On Sept. 1, the Knights of Columbus Marian Council 3914 of Riverton sponsored their first Silver Rose Prayer Service at St. James Church. “Participants were asked to sign and date a pledge to Our Lady of Guadalupe to be prepared to accept the gift of new life and promise to defend human life from conception until the moment when our Lord calls each person to his presence,” says Grand Knight John Marruffo.


On an otherwise dreary and drizzly Sunday afternoon, the sun appropriately came out to shine through the windows of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception just as long-married couples from all over the diocese renewed their commitment to one another.

It was a touching moment for many at the Sept. 8 Mass for Couples Married 50 Years or More, and seemed especially so for Bob and Kathy Kulhan, who traveled to Springfield from Greenville, where they are members of St. Lawrence Parish. “I looked up at my husband and he was crying,” said Kathy after Mass. “Then I got so (flustered) that I couldn’t find what I was supposed to read.

 The Notre Dame Club of Central Illinois will host its 2019 Hesburgh lecture on Thursday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. at the University of Illinois, Springfield (UIS) Student Union on the UIS Campus, 2251 Richard Wright Dr.

F. Clark Power will speak on the topic “Youth sports in crisis: A new direction for the future.” At the University of Notre Dame, Power is a professor in the Program of Liberal Studies, a concurrent professor in the Department of Psychology, director of the Play Like A Champion Program, and a member of the graduate faculty of Teacher and Leadership Education Programs. He received his Ed.D. in human development from Harvard University and his master’s in systematic theology from the Washington Theological Union. He works in the area of moral development and education, the psychology of religious development, and sports and character education.

The Office for Catechesis of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, in conjunction with local parishes throughout the diocese, offers faith formation and enrichment courses for adults. These courses, which are open to everyone, are designed to help Catholics grow in faith, respond to questions about the church, and equip people to make faith-filled decisions in their lives.


Your questions, answered

Candidly, as a father of five not-yet-confirmed children, when I first heard of the concept of “restored order of the sacraments of initiation,” I thought it was a terrible idea to lower the age of confirmation to third grade. As I listened and learned, however, I found myself saying to Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, “Please confirm my children as soon as possible!”

I know many parents and grandparents have the same initial reaction to restored order, so I want to share what changed my mind. Here are answers to the common questions I originally had and what friends ask me today. I hope you find this helpful.

As Catholics, we are all called to discipleship, to be not only followers, but imitators of Christ. It’s a lifelong journey, a slow transformation that starts with “humbly recognizing two things — the truth about ourselves and where we fall short, and the truth about what we are made for — living and loving like Christ” (Into His Likeness by Edward Sri). Of course, imitating Christ requires that we first know Christ.

Sunday, 01 September 2019 08:56

Office seeks your vote for DCJH patron saint

The diocesan Office for Pro-life Activities and Special Ministries asks that people from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois choose a patron saint for the Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope (DCJH). In this issue, as in the Aug. 18 issue, we are highlighting two of the four saints. We invite everyone to vote for one of the four, either with a coupon that will run in an upcoming issue of Catholic Times, or with an online vote at Votes will be due Oct. 6.


CHARLESTON — Deacons play an integral part in the life of our church. Whether it’s weddings, baptisms, reflecting on the Sunday readings, or providing spiritual advice and encouragement, the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is blessed to have 56 permanent deacons ministering to the faithful.

These men are raising children, working full-time jobs, and staying present to their wives, all while serving the church. It can be a challenging lifestyle, but one every deacon says is rewarding and joyful.


After serving 63 years in Japan, a Hospital Sister of St. Francis has returned home to America and Springfield. Sister Elreda Huser, OSF, came to Springfield earlier this year to celebrate the 100th birthday of her sister, Sister Elvon Huser, OSF, in March. While she had intended to remain in the United States until September and then return to Japan, she has requested to remain here permanently.

Sunday, 04 August 2019 13:33

Arming the faithful

Answers to questions regarding Bishop Paprocki’s recent decree

On June 6, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki issued a decree barring Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton from receiving holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and advising all Illinois Catholic lawmakers who supported extreme abortion legislation to not present themselves to receive holy Communion. The decree came as these lawmakers showed obstinate and persistent support for promoting and advancing the evil of abortion.

Sunday, 04 August 2019 13:30

SDCCW plans annual convention

EDWARDSVILLE — The Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW) will hold its annual convention on Wednesday, Sept. 25. Different deaneries traditionally take turns hosting the event. This year the Alton deanery is hosting, so the convention will be at St. Boniface Church, 110 N. Buchanan in Edwardsville.


Sunday, 04 August 2019 13:20

Key Club at SHG installs student officers

The Key Club at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Springfield, has installed its new student officers for the 2019-2020 school year. Amanda Brown was installed as club president. Additional officers include Vice-President John Schmidt Jr., Secretary Anna Shea, Statistical Secretary Payton Nicoud and Treasurer Caroline Braud. The Key Club at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Springfield, has installed its new student officers for the 2019-2020 school year. Amanda Brown was installed as club president. Additional officers include Vice-President John Schmidt Jr., Secretary Anna Shea, Statistical Secretary Payton Nicoud and Treasurer Caroline Braud.

As we celebrate Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week July 21-27, Catholic Times is highlighting the physical, spiritual, and psychological benefits of NFP, the health risks associated with birth control, and the reasons why the Catholic Church promotes NFP.

So, what is NFP? The United States Council of Catholic Bishops writes that NFP is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. These methods are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Couples using NFP to avoid pregnancy abstain from intercourse during the fertile phase of the woman’s cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy.

Sunday, 21 July 2019 09:08

What they never told you in sex ed

10 reasons why NFP beats birth control

Natural Family Planning (NFP) refers to the scientific, fertility-awareness based methods of — you guessed it — family planning. Unlike artificial contraception, NFP takes an all-inclusive approach and is proven to work better than its synthetic counterparts.

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