Msgr. Virgil W. Mank, a retired priest of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, died surrounded by his family, on June 28 at Mt. Carmel West Skilled Nursing Facility in O’Fallon, Mo. He was 76 years old.

Born on Christmas Day in 1939 in New Baden to William C. and Louise A. (Wierich) Mank, he was the oldest of seven children. He was ordained to the diocesan priesthood by Bishop William A. O’Connor on May 22, 1965 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

A retired priest of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, Father Donald E. Knuffman of Quincy died July 1 at St. Vincent’s Home, Quincy. He was 77 years old. He was born on Oct. 5, 1938 in Quincy, a son of Everett and Mary (Welsh) Knuffman. Father Knuffman was ordained by Bishop William A. O’Connor at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on May 22, 1965. He celebrated his 50 year jubilee last year.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was filled on the morning of June 25 when Bishop Thomas John Paprocki ordained 11 men to the permanent diaconate for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Those men are: Deacon James Robert Baxter, Deacon William Jeffrey (Jeff) Beals, Deacon John Douglas Kay, MD, Deacon Thomas Scott (Scott) Keen, Deacon Gregory Maynerich, Deacon James Michael Melton, Deacon Dominic Anthony (Mick) Palazzolo, Deacon Ricky Joe Schnetzler Sr., Deacon Neil Wayne Suermann, OFS, Deacon Jay William Wackerly Sr., and Deacon Jeffrey Kenneth Wolf.

Sunday, 10 July 2016 17:17

Greenville hospital joins HSHS

A longtime business in Greenville has changed names after Springfield-based Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) assumed management of Greenville Regional Hospital and renamed it HSHS Holy Family Hospital.

“The Hospital Sisters of St. Francis have a long history of answering the call to serve,” said Mary Starmann-Harrison, president and CEO of HSHS. “Bringing our health care ministry to Greenville and having the local hospital join our family continues that tradition.”

Msgr. John Renken, former vicar general and moderator of curia and later, vicar general and moderator of canonical and civil affairs for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, has been appointed dean of the faculty at St Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario effective July 1.

Once a week my family observes an entire day of rest from gain, worry, and distraction. We keep the Sabbath and the Sabbath keeps us. No, we are not Jewish, we are Catholic. Sunday in our home is the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, the day of holy rest.

The most overlooked Commandment among modern Christians is the one that calls us to rest. Many of us think observing the Lord’s Day simply means attending Mass, but celebrating the Eucharist is not a complete observance of Sunday. We are also called to refrain “from those activities which impede the worship of God and disturb the joy proper to the day of the Lord or the necessary relaxation of mind and body.” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 453)

The Hospital Sisters of St. Francis celebrated the Jubilee of eight sisters on June 4 in St. Francis of Assisi Church in Springfield. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki. Father John L. Ostdiek, OFM, who resides at St. Clare’s Villa in Alton, was the homilist. “And now with a Jubilarian’s eye, look back on how the years in your religious life and ministry matured, blossomed in full,” Father John said in his homily. “Think back to your ministry, ‘To heal the broken-hearted … to bring good news to the poor … to tell the people that the Lord will save them.’ (Isaiah 61:1-11). Through countless efforts to care and even cure, you brought Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan, the story of St. Francis of Assisi caring for lepers, and the example of many, many Hospital Sisters, into reality.”

From Dec. 8, 2015 through the feast of Christ the King on Nov. 20, Catholics around the world are celebrating an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy as decreed by Pope Francis. The jubilee began with the opening of the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome and concludes with closing the same Holy Door. The faithful are invited to pass through the Holy Door as a sign of spiritual pilgrimage and receive a plenary indulgence.

“The honor and glory belongs to God alone for all of the contributions of our honorees, but we rejoice in the fact that they have said ‘yes’ to God’s will in their lives ... .”

So said Bishop Thomas John Paprocki in recognizing more than 60 recipients of Our Lady of Good Council Women of Distinction awards who gathered for Mass on June 18 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. “Along with ... Mary’s obedience to God’s will, these honorees encourage all of us to be more open to his working through us, not to draw attention to ourselves, but to give glory to him ...”, continued Bishop Paprocki.

On May 22 at the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2016, the Sacred Heart-Griffin High School community inducted Sergio “Satch” Pecori into the SHG Hall of Fame. He was honored for the exemplary ways in which he has integrated the mission of SHG into his life.


Poor junior high kids! They’re often too old to feel cool at Vacation Bible School and too young to go on big mission trips that older teens enjoy. They’re overlooked to serve as lectors, greeters and eucharistic ministers. They truly are in a “middle” place.

We as older members of church would be wise to see that we have a rich opportunity to form the “young” church in a unique way. Young people are still open to a fuller “Yes!” to God as members of the wider church. Because there are few opportunities to help form young disciples, the Timothy Retreat boasts the ability to provide a vibrant faith experience for sixth-, seventh- and eighthgrade members of our parish communities. So where did the Timothy Retreat come from?

Last year the church celebrated the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council. Next year the church will celebrate another golden anniversary in its life when she celebrates 50 years since the renewal of the permanent diaconate as one of the fruits of the council. From the earliest days of the church, as we see in the Acts of the Apostles, the diaconate was at the heart of the church’s mission in modeling the servanthood of Christ. Deacons were the conscientious co-workers with the Apostles and the bishops who succeeded them. However, around the fifth century, the presence of deacons as a permanent order of the clergy gradually disappeared in the western church.

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki will ordain 11 men to the permanent diaconate on Saturday, June 25 during 10:30 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The class of 2016 is the fourth permanent deacon class to be ordained in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Previous classes were ordained in 2007, 2009 and in 2012. With this class ordained the Springfield diocese will have 57 deacons. A few of these deacons were ordained elsewhere but now serve in this diocese.

ST. MEINRAD, IND. — Deacon Sean Caveny, a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and a student in the graduate theology prog r am at Sa i nt Meinrad Seminary a nd School of Theology, wa s recently awarded a master’s degree in pastoral theology.

ST. LOUIS — Diane Schlindwein, associate editor of Catholic Times, has added to her list of peer recognitions.

The Catholic Press As sociat ion (CPA) selected Schlindwein’s January 2015 profile of Sister M. Pauletta Overbeck, OP, for second-place in the “Best Personality Profile: Non-Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, Circulation 25,001 or more” catagory at the organization’s annual awards banquet June 3 in St. Louis.

Charlene S. Aaron begins June 1 as the new chancellor of St. John’s College of Nursing in Springfield. She succeeds Brenda Jeffers who is retiring. “Dr. Aaron will be an asset because of her distinguished experience with nursing education,” said E.J. Kuiper, president and CEO of HSHS Central Illinois Division. “She is passionate about educating students to be great nurses and increasing diversity of nursing students and faculty members.”

Bishops urge lawmakers to oppose taxpayer-funded abortions, yet again

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki joined the other Illinois Catholic bishops last month in sending a letter to Illinois House members to reject House Bill 4013 and its call for public funding of abortions. House Bill 4013 passed the House Human Services Committee on a partisan 8-6 vote in March 2015, but was sent back to the Rules Committee after a short availability for a vote on the House floor.

The 2016 class ordained to the priesthood were about 17 when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood. Seven in 10 (70 percent) say they were encouraged by a parish priest, a friend (48 percent), parishioners (46 percent) and mothers (42 percent). On average, they lived in the diocese for which they will be ordained for 15 years before entering seminary. Religious ordinands knew the members of their religious institute an average of five years before entering.

The annual Our Lady of Good Counsel: Women of Distinction Award and Luncheon will be held on Saturday, June 18 beginning with a 10:30 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield.

The Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites recently granted the establishment of the St. Joseph, Faithful Guardian of Carmel Group in Quincy — the first and only Carmelite group in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

Father Arnaud Devillers, FSSP, is the group’s spiritual assistant. They meet the first Saturday of each month at St. Rose of Lima Parish Hall.

Sister Margaret Joanne Grueter, OP, announced recently that she will leave her long-time post as principal at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School (SHG) in Springfield effective June 30.

Sister Margaret Joanne served at SHG for 20 years: four years as assistant principal and 16 as principal.

Priests in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois will gather on Tuesday, May 3 at Villa Maria Catholic Life Center on Lake Springfield for the annual Priests’ Jubilee Celebration with Bishop Thomas John Paprocki. This year’s special presenter is Msgr. Ross Shecterle, president-rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Franklin, Wis. Msgr. Shecterle is a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and has his Ph.D. in pastoral counseling from Loyola College in Maryland.

On the Friday within the Octave of Easter, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki ordained four seminarians to the transitional diaconate during an evening Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield.

Hundreds of people were at the April 1 Mass to support Michael Friedel, Ronnie “Ron” Lorilla, Rafal Pyrchla and Wayne Stock as they received the sacrament of holy orders, ordaining them to the order of deacon as a transitional step toward being a priest for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

Sunday, 17 April 2016 10:28

Funeral Mass held for Father O’Reilly

Father Joseph F. O’Reilly Jr. died April 5, just days before the 67th anniversary of his ordination as a priest for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. He was 93 years old.

Born Dec. 17, 1922, he was the son of Joseph and Frances (Reiss) O’Reilly. He was ordained at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on April 17, 1949, by Bishop William A. O’Connor.

In 1970, married couples with children constituted 40 percent of American households. By 2012, that figure had fallen to less than 20 percent. Thus it is timely and fitting that His Holiness Pope Francis has issued his post-synodal apostolic exhortation on Love in the Family bearing the Latin title, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). The title is taken from the document’s opening line, “The joy of love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church.”

More than 400 people came to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on April 3 where Bishop Thomas John Paprocki presided at a celebration of the Divine Mercy.

The afternoon prayer service included eucharistic exposition, Divine Mercy Chaplet, Liturgy of the Word, The Praises of the Divine Mercy and the sacrament of reconciliation. Eight priests heard confessions.

Pro-life advocates from across the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois kicked off the annual Life Advocacy Day April 6 at the Capitol on the positive note that a House bill that would have allowed pharmacists the ability to prescribe birth control pills failed resoundingly in committee the previous day.

On Friday, April 1 Bishop Thomas John Paprocki ordained four seminarians to the transitional diaconate during 6 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield. During the last weeks of Lent, Michael Friedel, Ronnie Lorilla, Rafal Pyrchla and Wayne Stock took time to share their thoughts on their upcoming ordinations.

Sunday, 03 April 2016 17:40

Church welcomes 288 new members

The Easter Vigil is the premier time each year for the making of Catholic adults through the celebration of the sacraments of Christian initiation. For the purposes of baptism, “adults” are those of catechetical age (about the age of 7 and older). This year, in 60 parishes and one university within the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, 288 people came to the Easter Vigil to celebrate rites that joined them to the Catholic Church.

Although the Easter Vigil is the normative time for the baptism of adults and children of catechetical age (about the age of 6 or 7 and older), it is not the only time the Roman Catholic Church “makes” new Catholics. Infants of Catholic parents are regularly baptized soon after birth.

Adults and older children, who have been raised in other Christian churches, can become Roman Catholic outside of the Easter season if they have already been baptized. The parish can celebrate the rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into the full communion of the Catholic Church whenever readiness for the sacraments is established. This liturgy usually takes place at Sunday Mass in the parish. The candidate makes a profession of faith using the Nicene Creed (the one Catholics proclaim each Sunday), is then confirmed by the parish priest, and comes to the Eucharistic table to eat and drink the Body and Blood of the Lord.

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