The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield will host a novena to honor the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary starting Nov. 30.
It’s a spiritual work of mercy, to pray for the living and the dead. The Catholic Church teaches that not only does Purgatory exist but praying for the souls who are being purified of their sins benefits them and hastens their journey to Heaven.
As a veteran, he could have been buried for free at Camp Butler in Springfield. As a former mayor of Springfield, it would have also made sense to be buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery. But for Ossie Langfelder, he chose to be buried alongside his wife, Midge, at Calvary Cemetery. Why? Ossie’s daughter, Julia Frevert, says it all came down to one thing: our Catholic faith.
Traveling to Springfield from around the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, approximately 60 couples were at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Oct. 25 for the annual Mass for couples married 50 years or more. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki concelebrated the Mass with Msgr. David Hoefler, vicar general.
At the end of September, our diocese launched the “Be Not Afraid” campaign to address the many fears that we face as human beings, especially during these uncertain times. As people of faith, we have the words of Jesus, who repeats on multiple occasions in the Gospels: “Be not afraid.” One of the early videos released during this campaign was a set of testimonies from several of our seminarians, sharing the fears that they faced upon entering the seminary and how they have overcome those fears. Their words, spoken from the heart, are inspiring to hear and they show how when we choose to trust in the Lord’s plan for us; he will never abandon us, but will provide for what we need, especially in helping us to overcome our fears.
In June 2002, Bishop George Lucas started the permanent deacon program in the diocese and the first class was nearly or completely formed. One Sunday morning my pastor, Father Bob Jallas, asked me if I would be interested in joining them. I did not think about it long when I told him that I didn’t feel called to it. I told my wife, Helen, about our conversation and she did not say much. Over the next few weeks, various people in my life such a woman who worked in the parish office, Helen’s aunt, and other friends and family, told me that they felt I would make a good deacon. I always repeated that I didn’t feel called. Helen always seemed to be there when these conversations occurred. She told me after still another one of these invitations, “I don’t think the call will come on the telephone; you ought to just consider it.”
I applied and was accepted to be in the second class of deacons, scheduled to be ordained in spring 2009. I was confident that I was at least of average ability academically, and I knew I would enjoy the “church things” that we would be learning about and experiencing. I did have one nagging fear that stayed in the back of my mind. We were told that we would be given an assignment at another parish as part of our training. It would mean that my formation would be public. I had always held my faith as a private thing. I went to Mass every week and was active in my parish. However, my faith — what I held in my deepest part of myself — was kept private. I did not want to make it a public thing. What if I failed? Would I make it through the formation program and be ordained?
In my second year of formation, I was assigned to one of the largest parishes in the diocese, The Church of St. Peter in Quincy. My fears were unfounded. The people of St. Peter’s were generous and welcoming to me. They allowed me to make mistakes and let me grow. In the spring of my third year of formation, I underwent a rough patch in my formation, and I was considering dropping out of the program. I remember it was a Friday afternoon and I was coming home from work. When I pulled into our driveway, I decided to find out the procedure for doing so. In the mailbox was a note from a parishioner of St. Peter’s, a wonderful woman. She thanked me for being in the permanent deacon program and for the things I did at St. Peter’s. It was just the lift I needed to get through the rough patch. It also showed me that people appreciate it when we try our best to serve God and the people of God.
I still have fears — I am human. I pray every day that on those days that I am not at my best, whether I am tired, or if I am not totally aware of a situation, that something I say or do does not offend a member of the parish. I am sure it has happened in the past and to any of those people I apologize. I ask that you give me another chance. I have come to realize that any success I have had as a deacon comes from God. It is only by trusting him that I, or anyone in the church, can continue.
Deacon Wayne Zimmerman of St. Francis Solanus Parish in Quincy
The initial jump into seminary can intimidating. Fear can be present when we venture into something new. A fear or concern I had in joining seminary was: Can I really be fulfilled in living out a vocation of celibacy? After all, marriage is a wonderful thing. Can I really sacrifice that? As seminary progressed, I became convinced that God could truly fulfill the deepest longings of my heart. I also became convinced that if God were calling me to be a priest that he would supply for all of my needs.
I discovered the fulfillment in pursuing God’s call for my life and my relationship with him. In addition, I found the fraternity with my brother seminarians to be deeply fulfilling. As time progressed, my original concern dissipated. Now as I live my vocation as a priest, I continue to find fulfillment in my relationship with God, my brother priests, and lay faithful in the parish. The question is not: Can God fulfill me in any vocation? — for he can. The question to ask is: What is God calling me to?
Father Michael Trummer, parochial vicar at Our Lady of Lourdes in Decatur and St. Thomas the Apostle in Decatur
My little sister recently gave me this quote when I made my first profession of vows this summer with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George: “The one thing that we owe absolutely to God is to never be afraid of anything.” (Blessed Charles de Foucauld). Before entering the convent, I had some fears about responding to the Lord’s call. My greatest fear, however, was leaving my family. I have always been very close to my parents and siblings, and I still am. I knew, that by responding to the Lord’s invitation to follow him in religious life, my relationship with my family would change. Entering the convent was a choice that I was making, but I was asking my family to embrace this with me.
I know that there is nothing to be afraid of when I am following Jesus and living his will for my life. And yet, knowing that in my head and knowing that in my heart are two different things. Fear is never from the Lord. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) The beautiful thing is that the Lord never takes anything from us. As we grow in trust and freely give ourselves to him, he will always return more than we could ever imagine.
Over the past three years, it has been amazing to see how the Lord has been faithful to our family. As I surrender my family to him every day, he is caring for them in ways beyond anything I could ever do. My family has truly embraced my vocation and our community. They love coming to visit me at the convent and being with the sisters. It brings them great joy to be able to spend time with the sisters and give of themselves to the community. It is not to say that it is not still hard at times, but it is a way we can unite ourselves to the Cross and grow in love of Christ and each other. It is an ongoing surrender that leads to a good. The peace and joy I have experienced since entering is amazing. I know there is nothing to fear as long as I continue to surrender to the Lord each day.
Sister M. Rose Thomas Weighner of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in Alton
In my journey of faith, the concepts of vocation and mission are forever entwined. Growing up in a very Catholic family, going to Catholic grade school and high school, and being very active in my home parish, I had naturally thought of being a priest over the years. But I never seemed ready. In grade school at Holy Family School in Decatur my best friend, Randy, and I had planned to be missionaries together. Then I discovered girls.
In 1972 I graduated with a mathematic degree from Millikin University. I was on my way to graduate school at the University of Illinois when all my hopes and dreams were dashed. I was drafted into the United States Army! It was during the Vietnam War. After training, in the spring of 1973, I was sent to Korea as new troops were no longer being sent to Vietnam as a slow withdrawal had begun.
In the summer of 2003, Kramer Soderberg was listening to a coach give a motivational talk that used an analogy of different size cups and filling your cup, regardless of the size. This singular speech motivated him to be the best basketball player that he could be — as well as the best Catholic he can be. Little did Soderberg know how that speech would lead him to writing a book, Fill Your Cup for Christ, which illustrates practical ways to evaluate your spiritual cup.
From the depths of the night a sound jolted me from my peaceful sleep. I thought, “This is it; someone is breaking in!” I always imagined that when confronted with this situation, my 5-foot-1-inch self would turn into a Ninja Warrior. To my dismay, that did not happen. In fact, the fear shot through my entire body completely paralyzing me. As time seemed to freeze, so did my arms. I was holding my breath for fear I would create an ounce of noise. I could not reach for my phone — paralyzed with fear — even though it was a mere 6 inches away from my head. Eventually, I realized I had to do something and was somehow able to unlock my arms to call for help.
DECATUR — The statistics are reported daily across all kinds of media outlets: How many people tested positive for COVID-19. How many are hospitalized. How many died. For Father Joe Molloy, pastor at Holy Family Parish in Decatur, he became one of those statistics on Aug. 1 when he found out he was positive for COVID-19 or also called the coronavirus.
What are you fearful of? Is something holding you back? How often do you turn to God when you face something fearful in your life? Women needing a spiritual boost during such an uncertain time and anxiety-filled world are in luck as the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is hosting “Freedom from Fear,” a women’s overnight retreat Nov. 21-22.
JACKSONVILLE — Earlier this year, Routt Catholic High School (RCHS) administrators had the privilege of selecting then-junior, Abigail “Abby” Beddingfield, as the recipient of the Francis J. Clancy/Kiwanis Citizenship Award. The award is presented annually to an underclassman to recognize the student’s efforts in service and leadership. Abby completed an incredible 192 service hours during the 2019-2020 school year.
My friend was attending Mass at the University of Notre Dame, just like any other weekend with her friends in graduate school. She was always drawn to this one particular priest who happened to be celebrating Mass that day. This priest was tall and large in stature, he had a boisterous voice that seemed to reach throughout the chapel easily, with or without a microphone. He had a way of drawing people in. His homilies always spoke to her, he remembered people’s names, and he knew about their studies. He celebrated the Eucharist like it was his last.
GLEN CARBON — With COVID-19 keeping so many people isolated from family and friends, 5-year-old Matilda Kassel has been doing her part to provide happiness to folks who might not otherwise have much contact with the outside world. Shortly after the pandemic began, with the help of her mother, Matilda began sharing her talent — sending out her youthful and beautiful artwork to brighten the days of others.
MORGAN COUNTY — Opening up a personal letter from a friend is always special. But when you receive a creative, colorful card from a stranger who recognizes the value of you, it’s extra special. That’s what 82-year-old Lin Beeley, a parishioner at Our Saviour Parish in Jacksonville, has been doing for years — creating original cards with personal messages of thanks, prayer, and joy to veterans at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.
In 1991, Stephen Dyer was a 33-year-old U.S. Army JAG officer stationed in Hawaii doing medical malpractice defense for the Army hospital there, when he started experiencing chest pains that would not subside.
He called the chief of Cardiology, a friend, whose first question was about his family history for heart disease. Dyer, adopted at birth through Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, responded, “I don’t know a single person on the planet genetically related to me.”
ROCHELLE — Father Ryan McDaniel, a priest who occasionally offers ministerial services at Eastern Illinois University’s (EIU) Newman Center, St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Charleston, and teaches at EIU’s Catholic Scholars Program, received high praise for his role in the fight against COVID-19, serving as a Catholic chaplain for troops in the Illinois National Guard. Father McDaniel (Ch, Capt) and his Religious Affairs Specialist, Specialist (SPC) Brian Neice, were recently commended for their service to troops supporting multi-agency operations at a 330,000-square-foot warehouse in Rochelle, where the state is storing emergency supplies related to the COVID-19 response and other Federal Emergency Management Agency related resources.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought a time of uncertainty, discomfort, and illness. We could never imagine empty pews at the Cathedral for Sunday Mass or asking priests to celebrate Mass alone and share it online with their parishioners. Many of us are unsure of the year ahead and the changes still to come which may cause disruption in our lives. However, during challenging times we are called to respond as disciples. The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought a time of uncertainty, discomfort, and illness. We could never imagine empty pews at the Cathedral for Sunday Mass or asking priests to celebrate Mass alone and share it online with their parishioners. Many of us are unsure of the year ahead and the changes still to come which may cause disruption in our lives. However, during challenging times we are called to respond as disciples.
TROY — At the end of September, St. Jerome Catholic Parish will mark two anniversaries: the 150th of the parish, and the 1,600th of the death of its patron saint.
In 1870, the Catholic Christians of Troy began celebrating Mass in a rented room above a blacksmith’s shop. Priests from Highland served at Troy until the late 19th century, when the parish managed to secure a resident pastor. The parish campus has been at its present location along South Main Street since the 1890s. The current church building was dedicated in 1987.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA. — Duane O. Haag of St. Simons Island, Ga., father of Father Michael Haag of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, passed away at his home on Aug. 22. He was 83 years old and had formerly lived in Morton.
Tom Purcell of Effingham will be serving as an intern in the Office for Pro-Life Activities and Special Ministries from September 2020 through May 2021. In his new role, Purcell will be visiting and talking to parishes and principals to increase awareness about the annual Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope (DCJH) program and ways people can help increase understanding and support for DCJH.
NOKOMIS — When Pierre “Nic” Antoine arrived as the new principal of St. Louis School in Nokomis on Aug. 1, he knew challenges were ahead because of the coronavirus pandemic, one of them being financial. With large groups being unable to gather, most fundraising events are not possible. But Antoine says that he an optimist, relying on his faith and his fellow Catholics who are committed to Catholic education.
The Catholic Church in the United States has designated the third Sunday in September as Catechetical Sunday, an annual opportunity to recognize everyone involved in the ministry of catechesis in the parish. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) writes on their website, “Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel.” As a church, we give thanks to those who dedicate themselves to the ministry of catechesis and commission those in the service of the church for this important ministry.
The Catechist Formation Process is a religious studies and Christian experience process for all catechists in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. The process is offered and administered by the Office for Catholic Education, and its general purpose is to provide opportunities for catechists to enrich their love and knowledge of the Catholic faith in order to be more effective communicators of the Gospel to those whom they are called to minister.