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.
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.
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.
She received a standing ovation from her colleagues. Tears filled her eyes. She was filled with an emotional gratitude you could hear in her voice. That was the scene on Aug. 12 at Christ the King’s parish center as Bishop Thomas John Paprocki surprised Janine Desmarteau-Morris with the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois’ first annual St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award.
Edwardsville — Willie Jansen would have never guessed the path God had for him. Growing up in Dieterich, he went to high school in Teutopolis. Thinking about the vocation of priesthood, he studied in the seminary for our diocese for four years and graduated with a philosophy degree from Marian University in 2015.
It was a rich, colorful, and mesmerizing beauty as they had never seen before, but to get there, they had to endure battling Mother Nature, leave the comforts of a bed and a home, push their body and spirit, and drive 18 hours.
Eleven men, from across the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, took part in a four-day adventure pilgrimage to Wyoming July 31-Aug. 8. The expedition, focusing on physical endurance and boosting one’s faith life, was part of The Legion of Valor, a new men’s group in the diocese that focuses on brotherhood, virtue, and mission.
The sound of laughter, “hellos,” students joyfully yelling their friend’s names, and teachers welcoming back students is filling classrooms in Catholic schools across the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois once again. Schools have officially reopened, although to different looks and dozens of new safety precautions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite that, the feelings of joy, excitement, positive anticipation and looking forward to starting new friendships, celebrating school Mass, and learning are on new levels this year considering the coronavirus resulted in students learning from home in March, April, and May last school year.
St. Louis and Joliet to install new bishops in coming weeks
It was a joyous two-day celebration for tens of thousands of Catholics in Illinois as two of the dioceses in our province have new bishops. On July 22, Bishop Michael McGovern was installed as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Belleville at the Cathedral of St. Peter. Then, on July 23, Bishop Louis Tylka was installed as the coadjutor bishop of Peoria at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception.
Bishop McGovern comes from Chicago, where he was a parish priest. He replaced the now retired Bishop Edward Braxton, who was the leader of the Diocese of Belleville for 15 years.
“Looking back over the years, I would say that there were three key ‘influencers’ of my vocation as a priest: my family, my parish and Catholic schools,” Bishop McGovern said in The Messenger, the newspaper of the Diocese of Belleville. “They were formed in the Catholic faith through their own families, parishes and Catholic schools. The seed of faith was planted and nourished through the celebration of the sacraments, as well as the habit of prayer and devotions such as the rosary. They both strongly believed in the sanctity of human life and generously welcomed the eight children in our family.”
Bishop Tylka was also a priest in Chicago. As coadjutor of the Diocese of Peoria, he will work alongside current Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky. Bishop Jenky requested a coadjutor in advance of submitting his resignation at age 75 because of health issues.
“I look forward to many years getting to know you and walking with you on our path of discipleship,” Bishop Tylka said. “We are here to serve the Lord and bring Jesus to others, and we trust in the Holy Spirit’s trust and guidance. As I begin my ministry, I ask for your prayers for me as well as our local church that we may continue to grow closer to Jesus every day and that we can bring the message of our faith to all the parts of the world and our diocese in particular that need to know Jesus is here, walking with us.”
On July 17, Pope Francis named Bishop Ronald Hicks, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, as the next Bishop of the Diocese of Joliet. Ordained to the priesthood in 1994, he has served as auxiliary bishop of Chicago since 2018. A native of Harvey, Bishop Hicks, who is fluent in Spanish, will be installed at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet on Sept. 29.
“I am just humbled and delighted and excited to be named here,” Bishop Hicks said. “What a vibrant diocese — so many wonderful things going on in the name of the Lord — and to be a part of this and to be assigned here, what a beautiful call and gift.”
Meanwhile, Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, will be the next archbishop of St. Louis. He is replacing Archbishop Robert Carlson, who last year reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 and therefore, submitted his resignation to Pope Francis. Bishop Rozanski will be installed as the 10th archbishop of St. Louis on Aug. 25. “Parish priests are graced to be with people in such moments of their lives — weddings, baptisms, funerals, and that really establishes a relationship,” Archbishop-elect Rozanski told The St. Louis Review. “I miss those relationships I had as a parish priest, but it has also taught me that being a bishop does not mean being removed from that sort of interaction of ministry, of being involved in the lives of people and reaching out.”
Please pray for our bishops, priests, religious, and those discerning a vocation to religious life.