The four pillars of Stewardship/Discipleship are hospitality, prayer, formation and service. Our diocese has put together a 28-page document focusing on these four pillars as well as a strategy to implement these pillars into the life of all 128 parishes of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
Msgr. Paul Heinen was pastor of my home parish, Ss. Simon and Jude in Gillespie for more than 10 years. He came to our diocese from Germany. He was pastor in Taylorville, Jerseyville and Fieldon, and in Gillespie. He was such a well-loved priest in our diocese. In my first years of priesthood in the late '80s and early '90s every year the priests of our diocese always asked for Msgr. Heinen to speak to us at our annual Priests' Jubilee. He was such a great speaker, had a great sense of humor, and was an inspiration to all of us as a happy, joy-filled priest.
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.
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.
If your phone rings it may be your parish pastor or parish facilitator calling you about becoming one of our diocese's over 600 lay leaders who will join in leading efforts to help the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois become a "Total Stewardship Diocese."
The Holy Spirit has chosen to lead our diocese in a direction that will greatly impact our local Catholic Church. It is all about "discipleship," the personal call inviting each of us to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who calls us to be his modern day disciples. For those who embrace this call it becomes a "total way of life."
As a pastor in Madison County, I am edified by the wonderful Catholic parishes that serve our communities. Along with great parishes come 11 outstanding Catholic schools. Our county and deanery have the largest active number of Catholics in our diocese, according to the recent October count, and they are great stewards of God's gifts in their support of the Catholic life and ministries offered to our people.