Spending time with the Lord
How adoration helps Catholics grow in faith
By DIANE SCHLINDWEIN
There is a sacred silence that surrounds adorers in the adoration chapel at Blessed Sacrament Church in Springfield. Many people come there at their scheduled times, faithful in their holy obligation. Others come in when life has thrown them a curve, and they need to feel the special presence of Our Lord. Still others visit to say thanks for prayers answered. It’s that way in all adoration chapels, it seems.
Blessed Sacrament Parish is just one of the many places around the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois that offer adoration — either many hours every day like Blessed Sacrament does, or with a designated shorter time period each week in other places. Remarkably, July marks 30 years since HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham first began having adoration in their chapel. Currently, ongoing adoration takes place there from Tuesdays at noon through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.
“One of the great ministries here at Blessed Sacrament Parish is perpetual adoration,” wrote Father Jeff Grant, pastor of Blessed Sacrament, in a recent parish bulletin. “Our goal is to have someone praying before the Blessed Sacrament in the adoration chapel at all times. A volunteer — or volunteers — commits to covering a given hour. They show up and pray or spend time with the Lord. It takes a large number of volunteers to make this happen.”
Adoration has been taking place at Blessed Sacrament since Jan. 5, 1997, and was started with the help of long-time parishioner Merle King, said David Senger. Senger is one of the parishioners in charge of keeping adoration going at Blessed Sacrament. He serves along with his wife Barb Senger, as well as Eric and Susan Portz. People who pray there are all ages, including some younger people who stop in. “However, I’d say that the majority of the people who take part are at least in their 30s, and a lot of the people are retired,” Senger said.
The adoration chapel at Blessed Sacrament is currently open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the monstrance is not exposed at Masses. “We have about 140 of our spots filled, and generally we have about 30 that are not filled, and we do have a substitute list,” Senger said, noting that during the day “most of the spots are filled.” He says people sign in at the chapel when they arrive. “There’s also a book where people can ask for prayers. And there’s a thank you book,” he said.
He says as a leader of the program, he takes shifts, as do his wife, and the Portz’s. When he enters the adoration chapel, Senger immediately begins his hour by “thanking God for all the gifts He has given me.” “If someone has passed away, I pray for them,” he said. He also prays the breviary or reads the Bible.
Adoration at Blessed Sacrament is open to parishioners at Blessed Sacrament and also to volunteers from other Catholic parishes. “They just have to get a hold of us,” said Senger. The easiest way to volunteer for adoration is to check the Blessed Sacrament Parish website at www.bsps.org/Perpetual-Adoration, sign up by email at , or contact the parish office at (217) 528-7521.
As Senger pointed out, not all adorers are older people. For example, Maggie Deckard, a young author in her early 20s and schoolteacher at St. John Neumann School in Maryville, worked on her poetry and Scripture book while participating in adoration when she was still in college at SIUE.
“I knew I wanted the poems to tell a story, and I wanted the book to end in a place of hope,” Deckard said. “So, one day, I printed out all the poems in the book and I sat in the adoration chapel at Mother of Perpetual Help (in Maryville), and I created the order of the poems in front of Jesus. The poems came before the Scripture quotes. I wanted Jesus to have the final word on the book, so Scripture felt like it was the best way to do that. The process was not too hard, because again, Jesus helped me. I matched most of the poems and Scripture during one afternoon in the adoration chapel.”
Father Dominic Rankin, a priest of our diocese, also feels strongly about adoration. “One Christmas when I was a boy, my mom and dad gave me a watch that, if you pushed the right buttons and stood still for several minutes, would actually synchronize with satellites and update itself to the exact current time,” said Father Rankin, who is master of ceremonies and priest secretary to Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, and promoter of vocations for the diocese.
“Adoration is kind of like that,” Father Rankin said. “We give our attention to God, we open our hearts to God, and if we’re willing to invest that quiet time with Him, we find that He was already giving us His attention, and heart, and by staying there with Him, we find our hearts synchronizing with the beat of His.”
All adoration is fulfilling, depending on each individual’s experience, concludes Senger. However, in speaking about adoration, perhaps the late Pope Benedict XVI said it best: “In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light, particularly to those who are suffering.”
Women across diocese honored at annual Mass
By DIANE SCHLINDWEIN
On Saturday, June 24 dozens of women from across the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois were honored at the annual Our Lady of Good Counsel Women of Distinction Award Celebration. The day included Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, followed by an awards banquet, both hosted by the Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW).
Every year parishes in our diocese are invited to choose one woman to represent all the outstanding women in their parish, and then at Mass they are acknowledged and receive their award. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki was the main celebrant at the Mass and presented the awards. Concelebrants were Father Allen Kemme, pastor of Little Flower Parish in Springfield and spiritual advisor for the SDCCW, along with a number of parish priests.
The celebration also honored several recent high school graduates with scholarships from the SDCCW. These include Gabrielle DeWerff of St. Louis Parish in Nokomis; Allison Kirts of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Ste. Marie; Shelby Seiler of Holy Cross Parish in Auburn; and Laney Wright of Immaculate Conception Parish in Mattoon. (All these young women were profiled in the June 25 issue of Catholic Times.)
Mary Bakos, St. Cecilia, Glen Carbon
Angeline Clark-Hellon, St. Jerome, Troy
Karen Daiber, St. Elizabeth, Marine
Kathy Dohnal, St. Mary and St. Mark, Madison
Laurie Horn, St. Mary, Alton
Betty Howard, Holy Angels, Wood River
Rose Krystopa, St. Elizabeth, Granite City
Gertrude Petty, Holy Family, Granite City
Sharon Rexford, Ss. Peter and Paul, Alton
Cheryl Schenhoffer, Mother of Perpetual Help, Maryville
Doreen Whalen, St. Lawrence, Greenville
Maria Wilson, St. Boniface, Edwardsville
Kathleen Wittich, St. Ambrose at St. Ambrose, Godfrey
Linda Zacha, Queen of Peace, Bethalto
Janet Zerr, St. Ambrose at St. Michael, Godfrey
Rita Allen, St. Francis Xavier, Jerseyville
Ramona Berry, St. Alphonsus, Brighton
Denise Cadmus, St. Joseph, Benld
Donette Clark, Ss. Simon and Jude, Gillespie
Annette Cole, St. Patrick, Girard
Karen Crabtree, All Saints, White Hall
Juanita Greeling, St. Michael the Archangel, Staunton
Linda Hacker, Sacred Heart, Virden
Rosie, Kiel, Blessed Trinity, St Joseph, Brussels
JoAnn Kirn, Blessed Trinity, St. Mary’s, Brussels
Patricia Kuebrich, St. Mary, Fieldon
JoAnn Marquess, St. Louis, Nokomis
Barbara Marten, Holy Family, Litchfield
Charlene Modla, St. Agnes, Hillsboro
Martha Rawe, St. Michael, Greenfield
Becky Reed, St. John the Evangelist, Carrollton
Edith Reed, St. John the Evangelist, Medora
Kathryn, Stankoven, Ss. Mary and Joseph, Carlinville
Nan Stork, Holy Ghost, Jerseyville
Barbara Thomas, St. John Paul II Parish, Mt. Olive
Ruth Buchanan, St. Rose of Lima, Montrose
Lucy Campanis, St. Charles Borromeo, Charleston
Ethel Dhom, Our Lady of Lourdes, Oblong
Sue Dickerson, St. Thomas the Apostle, Newton
Barbara, Enlow, St. John the Baptist, Arcola
Carol Evans, Immaculate Conception, Shelbyville
Mary Lou Gier, St. Francis of Assisi, Teutopolis
Eileen Hartrich, St. Elizabeth, Robinson
Sheila Keys, St. Aloysius, North Arm
Mary Klein, Sacred Heart, Effingham
Anna Marie Logsdon, St. Joseph, Ramsey
Pat Sheehan, Immaculate Conception, Mattoon
Karla Slifer, St. Isidore the Farmer, Dieterich
Ann Stock, Mother of Delors, Vandalia
Ann Swingler, Sacred Heart, Lillyville
Karen Todd, St. Mary, Paris
Barbara Vonderheide, Annunciation, Shumway
Teri Wortman, St. Anthony of Padua, Effingham
Cindy Zumbahlen, St. Mary Help of Christians, Effingham (Green Creek)
Bernice Dittmer, St. Edward, Mendon
Lois Fessler, St. Joseph, Quincy
Manuela Kitson, St. Mary, Pittsfield
Susan Kuhl, St. Peter, Quincy
Debbie Maas, St. Brigid, Liberty
Mary Beth McGee, St. Francis Solanus, Quincy
Dorothy Obert, St. Thomas, Camp Point
Alice Rakers, St. Anthony of Padua, Quincy
Marilyn Scott, St. Mark, Winchester
Cindi Allender, Cathedral of the
Immaculate Conception, Springfield
Janice Anderson, St. Joseph the Worker, Chatham
Michelle Campbell, St. John Vianney, Sherman
Ann Carr, Holy Family, Decatur
Amanda Closs, Resurrection, Illiopolis
Traute Cox, Ss. James and Patrick, Decatur
Linda Curtis, Our Savior, Jacksonville
Mary Lou DeVera, St. Thomas the Apostle, Decatur
Pam Fahey, Christ the King, Springfield
Marie Ginter, St. Jude, Rochester
Veronica Goebel, Our Lady of the
Holy Spirit, Mt. Zion
Linda Hacker, Holy Cross, Auburn
Barbara Kern, St. Agnes , Springfield
Sister Rose McKeown, ASC, St. Mary, Taylorville
Martha Norville, St. Rita, Kincaid
Mary C. O’Bryen, Church of the
Little Flower, Springfield
Susan Schmillen, St. James, Riverton
Nancy Schrenk, St. Aloysius, Springfield
Nancy Standridge, St. Cabrini, Springfield
Shirley Stewart, St. Peter, Petersburg
Kay Tasset, Holy Family, Athens
Patricia Towner, St. Joseph, Springfield
Dianna Wagner, Our Lady of Lourdes, Decatur
Biking 600 miles in six days for one cause — saving lives
By ANDREW HANSEN
The July heat in the Midwest can be stifling, so imagine biking 100 miles for six straight days. Regardless of the weather, that’s the game plan for missionaries who are riding in this year’s Biking for Babies, which sees dozens of life-minded and in-shape bike riders taking to the streets to raise money for pregnancy resource centers across the country. Several groups of riders start from various locations in the Midwest July 10, all finishing together in St. Louis July 15. Two of the riders are from our diocese, Father Dominic Vahling (chaplain of Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield) and Vincent Moore of Springfield (St. Katherine Drexel Parish).
“I am a missionary with Biking for Babies because I feel called by God to actively proclaim the Gospel of Life,” said Father Vahling, who is partnering with First Step Women’s Center in Springfield. “Biking 600 miles is certainly a unique way to do this, but it's a way that I can unite my prayers with physical activity and offer everything as a prayer for the conversion of hearts. When Roe v. Wade fell a year ago, it became clearer than ever that pregnancy resource centers are an amazing way to support young mothers and families. Planned Parenthood tells our culture that abortion is the best solution to the ‘problem’ of an unplanned pregnancy, but that's simply not true. Pregnancy resource centers are a place of unconditional love and respect for each person who walks in the front door.”
“The fact of evil is self-evident, so how is a human to respond?” said Moore, who is partnering with Two Hearts in Springfield. “(You can) fight evil with violence, and the weapons of the world; run away from evil, ignore it, or numb oneself to its existence; or enter into it with love and by doing so, transform it. Our Lord Jesus picked Option C (love). He showed us how God responds to evil, and because of Him, I see how I can fight evil as a Christian man. I'm training, fundraising, servant-leading a route, partnering with a pregnancy resource center, and riding 600-plus miles in July because that is my way of trying to do Option C.”
Father Vahling’s route starts in Columbus, Ohio, which then includes stops in Charleston and Springfield before finishing in St. Louis. Father Vahling, who has a lot of experience with running, says that running has helped him with both the physical and mental endurance that biking requires.
“What I am hoping for through this whole experience is just to grow in my faith and in my relationship with God,” Father Vahling said. “Biking for Babies is something that I think God has guided me to do, so I hope to use my gifts to glorify Him and be a source of encouragement and compassion for His people. I am also excited to get to know my team better. We have regular Zoom calls, but I'm sure that biking across three states will be a good experience of Christian community. Also, as a priest, I will be happy to celebrate Mass each day for the team and our host parishes.”
Moore’s route starts in Ann Arbor, Mich., and includes stops in Urbana and Springfield before finishing in St. Louis. While Father Vahling is more of a runner, Moore has loved the two-wheel approach for decades.
“Ever since I was a child, I've loved riding my bicycle,” Moore said. “So, the motivation to train has never really been a problem for me. I ride three to four times per week, usually for 30-40 miles, with one of the rides typically being longer such as 75-100 miles. So far, I've ridden more than 1,500 miles in 2023 for training.”
After each night of riding, the missionaries are hosted by families or parishes in each location. The missionaries ask for your prayers, prayers for a culture of life, and support. To donate financially, go to bikingforbabies.com.
“Taking part in Biking for Babies has allowed me to talk about the pro-life movement many times, in the bike shop, on an airplane, in the classroom, or on the street,” Father Vahling said. “When somebody asks about my summer plans, it's a perfect chance to remind them about the sanctity of life, and how we can help promote that in our culture.”
“My goal, and the goal I've set for my team is to grow closer to Christ, our Creator and Lord,” Moore said. “Insights, stories, and overcoming a huge athletic challenge are the ‘door prizes’ of this experience, transformation is the grand prize. I want to grow closer to Christ, because I want to be His follower, not just His admirer. It can be demoralizing to live in this sinful age, and the evil one often wants me to believe that I'm all alone. But the experience of Biking for Babies is a clear reminder to me that I'm not alone, and that I need my brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Want to support Father Vahling, Vincent Moore, and Biking for Babies?
A Pilgrimage to Poland - Father Rosa takes 36 pilgrims to his home country
By DIANE SCHLINDWEIN
Every summer, Father Michal Rosa, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Effingham, goes home to visit his parents Eugeniusz and Grazyna Rosa in his hometown of Tarnów, Poland. This year, he made the trip as usual, however, he took 36 parishioners and friends along with him. The pilgrimage took place from May 21 to June 2. “People had been wanting to take this pilgrimage with me for quite a while,” Father Rosa said, adding that he always waits until the school year has ended before he goes home. “They would say, ‘Father, we want to visit the place you grew up.’”
As it turned out, the pilgrimage was originally planned for 2020, but was postponed because of COVID and later, because of the war in nearby Ukraine. In the end the group was made up not only of parishioners from Sacred Heart, but other Catholics from nearby parishes as well.
Gene Niemerg of St. Isidore Parish in Dieterich says he and his wife Ellie enjoyed the trip, which they made with several of his wife’s family members, including Christy Schackman and Carol Hakman, and Hakman’s two teenage grandchildren, Hope and Will Speiser. “The grandchildren added an extra insight into the contrast in culture,” Niemerg said.
The Polish people have a great devotion to Mary, and are so appreciative of receiving the sacraments, he said. “Most impressive were the first communicants, who have a tradition of visiting holy shrines the weekdays after their first Communion. They seemed to be everywhere in their white outfits, especially at the church where the Black Madonna painting was enshrined. We celebrated daily Mass with Father Michal at different chapels, shrines, and churches with homilies appropriate for the feast days and to emphasize the particular church.”
The food in Poland was good, too, Niemerg added. “The meals arranged by Father Michel were traditional, common meals that Father enjoyed in his youth, with cabbage prepared in at least five different recipes, red beets, and potato dumplings or boiled potatoes. The last night we celebrated with cheese, mushroom, and sausage perogies,” he said. “The hospitality of the three parish centers that were our hosts on several evenings were greatly appreciated.”
The pilgrims also met with some Ukrainian refugees, who are in Poland because of the war in their country. “While we were in Poland, we were able to see some of the facilities where Ukranian refugees are being helped,” said Father Rosa. “We were able to see firsthand how the money from our parish, our parishioners, and our community is being used to help the Ukrainian people.”
Although the pilgrims felt safe at all times, they knew that in Ukraine, the situation is very difficult. “At one point, a guide said we were 100 miles from the Ukraine border, which certainly makes you stop and think and say a prayer,” said Nina Jackson, a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Effingham. “I just felt we were in good hands and just took in all the sights and experiences and enjoyed the trip.”
The trip included some very sad and disturbing aspects of Poland’s history. “We also visited the concentration camps,” said Hakman, who is also a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Effingham. “It’s hard to believe people could do the horrible things they did. We saw a room filled with the hair the Nazis shaved from their heads before they gassed them. The horrific living conditions they forced them to endure was heartbreaking. That experience will stay with me forever.”
“I am glad we toured Auschwitz, but it is such a sad part of history,” Jackson added.
Carol Toney, another member of Sacred Heart Parish in Effingham, agreed. “As difficult as it was, we went to Auschwitz. The smell of death and the atrocities that happened are still hanging in the air,” she said. “It was an overcast and misty day, so it really set the atmosphere for seeing it.” She said her head was filled with thoughts “of those horrible things that those people endured and especially St. Maximilian Kolbe (who died in Auschwitz).”
Toney also described the visit to the St. John Paul II museum. “That man has been our only Polish pope and the people love him! He was a holy man that loved people, especially the youth — he started World Youth Day,” she said. “The car that he was riding in on the day of his attempted assassination is in the museum and his vestments with the blood and gunshot hole are hanging in the museum. His kayak and snow skis, along with many pictures, dot the walls. My favorite was his visit to prison to forgive his assailant, Mehmet Ali Ağca.”
The pilgrims were happy to meet Father Rosa’s parents and found them to be warm and welcoming. “Father’s parents were so nice,” said Hakman. “They traveled with us to a few places and were appreciative of our visit.”
“Father’s parents seem so kind and loving,” added Jackson. “They are good representatives of their country.”
Several people on the trip said other parts of the trip were outstanding. “I personally liked being in the mountains,” said Jackson. “I also enjoyed seeing the churches and the old buildings standing after all these years. I liked looking at the house styles as we rode along in our bus.”
“The salt mine history and tour near Kralow was impressive,” said Niemerg. “We went down to the third level which was 350 below ground level. The maximum depth was 900 feet down. The beauty of the mountains and the river float boat ride near the edge of the mountains were fantastic.”
“I had no idea Poland was such a beautiful country,” Hakman said. “(There are) mountains and rivers and lakes. The weather was gorgeous — no humidity!”
Hakman added that overall Poland is a place where faith is also beautifully apparent. “The holiness and the religious atmosphere there was amazing,” she said, describing when they saw the Black Madonna. “We saw the place where miracles happened and it affected all of us emotionally. It’s hard to explain unless you experience it. I think they (her grandchildren, among others) will be forever affected by the love and holiness they felt there.”
“We had a great group and saw many interesting sites and several churches,” concluded Father Rosa. “It was wonderful to see my parents and visit my hometown and see the beautiful scenery. It was a nice trip, and I think everyone enjoyed it.”
During Mass we sometimes say the Nicene Creed and sometimes the Apostles’ Creed. What determines which Creed is to be said?
Mary in Springfield
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) is the document that governs the celebration of the Mass and provides directives for how the Mass is to be celebrated and what parts are to be included. The Creed is required to be either sung or said on every Sunday and on every Solemnity (cf. GIRM, no. 68). The purpose of the Creed within the Mass …
“is that the whole gathered people may respond to the word of God proclaimed in the readings taken from Sacred Scripture and explained in the homily and that they may also call to mind and confess the great mysteries of the faith by reciting the rule of faith in a formula approved for liturgical use, before these mysteries are celebrated in the Eucharist” (GIRM, no. 67).
Because of its importance, the recitation or signing of the Creed may not be omitted when it is required.
The Roman Missal itself (the book containing the prayers of the Mass) allows the use of either the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed or the Apostles’ Creed. Ultimately, the choice of which one to use is up to the discretion of the celebrant. The Roman Missal offers him a little guidance: “Instead of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, especially during Lent and Easter Time, the baptismal Symbol of the Roman Church, known as the Apostles’ Creed, may be used” (no. 19).
While we are discussing the Creed, please allow me to note an important gesture that the laity are to do when reciting the Creed — one that is frequently overlooked. The GIRM directs that “a bow of the body, that is to say a profound bow” is made by everyone “in the Creed at the words Et incarnatus est (by the power of the Holy Spirit … and became man)” (no. 275b).
Father Daren Zehnle is pastor at St. Augustine in Ashland and is the director for the Office of Divine Worship and the Catechumenate for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
The Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey are excited to announce the establishment of Corpus Christi Priory on the grounds of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis Convent at 4867 Laverna Road in Springfield, which includes daily prayer, Mass, and confession times open to the public at the beautiful St. Francis of Assisi Church beginning July 2nd.
In what has been several years in the making, seven priests from the Norbertine Fathers (based in Orange, Calif.) have now established a community at Corpus Christi Priory. Many in Central Illinois are familiar with the buildings and grounds as this is the former site of the Chiara Center, operated by the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis. The Hospital Sisters continue to live in the convent on the property. The Norbertine Fathers have also established the Evermode Institute at Corpus Christi Priory, which will serve Catholic teachers, administrators, and formators, offering a complete curriculum in the fundamentals of the Catholic faith that is confident in its Catholicism and clear in its approach.
Immersed in the 900-year tradition of their order, the Norbertine Fathers live a common life of liturgical prayer and care for souls. Their life at Corpus Christi Priory is organized according to prayer of the Church: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. “Seven times a day I praise You,” says the Psalmist, and by chanting together the prayers of the Divine Office, Norbertine canons “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.”
Monday - Saturday:
SDCCW honors four young women with scholarships
By DIANE SCHLINDWEIN
Once again, the Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women has announced the names of four young women who are being awarded scholarships to go toward their educations. The recent high school graduates will be recognized at the 2023 Women of Distinction Mass celebrated by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, which is followed by a luncheon, on Saturday, June 24.
These college-bound women were selected from 64 applicants and will receive $1,500 each from SDCCW, said Shirley Dallmier, scholarship chair. “These young women are chosen because they best represented the young Catholic women of today,” she said. “Tribute goes to their parents and local parishes for their formative roles. May they continue to set high examples and inspiration. Thank you to all the Christian and holy persons who played a part in molding these young women in being an example of our faith today.”
Gabrielle DeWerff is the daughter of Michael and Danielle DeWerff of Nokomis and is a member of St. Louis Parish. She is a recent graduate of Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield. She is an active member of her parish and is a eucharistic minister, frequent altar server, and a member of the choir. In high school she was one of the Kairos retreat leaders and was a member of the St. Louis Ministry Evangelizers. Gabrielle’s future goal is to become a pediatric neurosurgeon, beginning with her studies at St. Louis University this fall.
Allison Kirts, the daughter of Jeff and Martha Kirts of Newton, is a member of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Sainte Marie. She recently graduated from Newton Community High School. She serves the Church by leading younger children in prayer. She has assisted in her community at the homeless center and helps the elderly with odd jobs. She also prays outside of an abortion clinic and recently attended Catholic HEART Workcamp. Allison hopes to become an elementary school teacher and will be attending Olney Central College, followed by transferring to Eastern Illinois University.
Shelby Seiler, the daughter of Jeff and Carrie Seiler of Auburn, is a member of Holy Cross Parish. She recently graduated from Auburn High School. She considers her faith in God as her most prized gift, which she tries to honor any chance she gets. She is active in both church and community organizations. She has been especially active in BLAST, which helps fifth-graders stay aware of the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Shelby will be attending Illinois College, majoring in pre-med. She said she is grateful to her family and church community for installing solid Christian values in her.
Laney Wright is the daughter of Jeremy and Pamela Wright of Mattoon, where she is a member of Immaculate Conception Parish. She is a recent graduate of Mattoon High School. She is extremely active and well-regarded in her church community. Her list of activities in the Mattoon area include volunteering with Special Olympics, the food pantry, the animal shelter, and at Salvation Army, and fund-raising for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Laney plans to pursue a career in marketing following her studies at Eastern Illinois University.
Area Catholics invited to commemorate 126th anniversary of Quincy’s Father Tolton’s death
QUINCY —Area Catholics and others devoted to the Venerable Servant of God Father Augustine Tolton — who grew up in Quincy, ministered in Quincy, and is buried in Quincy —are invited to commemorate the 126th anniversary of his death with a pilgrimage procession on Sunday, July 9 in Quincy. Father Tolton is recognized as the first black priest in the United States and the Cause for his beatification and canonization of sainthood is ongoing in Rome.
The mile-long pilgrimage procession will begin 4 p.m. at the statue of Father Tolton outside St. Peter Catholic Church at 2600 Maine Street. After a few words of welcome and explanation, followed by a prayer, the pilgrimage procession will process along the south side of Maine Street where it will cross onto the east side of South 33rd Street. It will then process along the east side of South 33rd Street until it reaches St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery where Father Tolton is buried.
Upon entering the cemetery, the procession will stop at the grave of Father Tolton for the celebration of Evening Prayer at 4:30 p.m. Father Daren Zehnle will preside and Father Tom Meyer will preach.
Following Evening Prayer, the pilgrims will pray for an end to racism and for more priests through Father Tolton’s intercession, as well as for Father Tolton’s canonization as a saint. The pilgrimage procession will conclude with the singing of Holy God, We Praise Thy Name, Father Tolton’s favorite hymn.
Those who wish to participate in Evening Prayer but cannot walk in the procession are invited to park near the cemetery to meet the procession at the grave. Due to the small size of the cemetery, no one should park in the cemetery itself.
Chairs and bottled water will be provided at the cemetery for those who wish to participate in Evening Prayer.
Father Tolton was born into slavery in 1854. In 1862, he, his mother and siblings made a daring escape across the Mississippi River to Illinois. After settling in Quincy, he went to school at St. Peter’s Catholic School. He later went to seminary in Rome because no American seminary would accept a black man. Thinking he would minister in Africa, once he was ordained, he was instead sent back to Quincy, where he arrived to thousands of supporters. Known for his incredible singing and homilies, Father Tolton spent several years in Quincy before transferring to Chicago. He died of heatstroke at the age of 43 on July 9, 1897 and is buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Quincy. Most recently, Pope Francis declared him “Venerable” on June 12, 2019, the second step of four to becoming a saint in the Catholic Church.
Attend free premiere of documentary, God is Alive | Incredible stories of faith and miraculous events in Central Illinois, July 8 in Springfield
In a world full of selfishness, hardships, and despair, more and more people are asking, “God, are you up there?” God is Alive, an original documentary, created and produced by the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, answers that question in an adventurous, impactful, and local way. God is Alive takes viewers to Jerseyville, Springfield, Peoria, Quincy, and Decatur and features five incredible stories of faith/miraculous events that most will be surprised to learn about and touch on many things people struggle with such as prayer, feeling unforgivable, and dealing with an incredible hardship.
“If you are full of faith, clinging to faith, or have lost hope in faith, we invite you to watch this one-hour documentary during this special premiere night at SHG that will make you laugh and cry, but most importantly, get you inspired, move you to hope, and fall in love with faith in a whole new way,” said Andrew Hansen, creator of the documentary and editor of Catholic Times. “We set out to find ‘jaw-dropping’ stories of miraculous events and people — who despite pain or hardships found light and joy in unexpected ways. Miracles still happen, and they are happening in Central Illinois.”
In March, priests of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and Bishop Thomas John Paprocki were the first to watch the documentary.
“The documentary was awesome, and I encourage people to go see it,” said Bishop Paprocki, who will make a special guest appearance at the premiere July 8. “It tells some incredible stories of faith, healing, and real miracles, so go watch it.”
“What was so great was the stories,” said Father Steven Arisman, pastor of St. Francis Solanus Parish in Quincy. “Each one of the stories has something that is inspiring and so moving, and I really think they will shape people’s minds and really remind people that God is alive. Go check it out.”
The premiere takes place Saturday, July 8 at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield at 7 p.m. To R.S.V.P. to the free showing and watch the trailer, go to dio.org/documentary.