On Oct. 30, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was filled with enthusiastic students and faculty members who traveled from all over the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois for the annual Mission Mass. Since many of the students had never been to the Cathedral, some of the groups took tours of the church before Mass and waited patiently afterwards to have photos taken with Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, who was the main celebrant.
Concelebrating with Bishop Paprocki were Father John Burnett, Father Jeff Grant, Father Ron Lorilla and Father Stephen Thompson. The choir from Christ the King School led the music for the Mission Mass and St. Boniface School in Edwardsville and Blessed Sacrament School — and a few other students from other places — assisted with the Liturgy, as did the Cathedral staff and the servers.
Bishop Paprocki gave the homily and took the opportunity to speak to the students about the Cathedral and reminded the students of the importance of going out to preach the Good News. Since it was Oct. 30, he also spoke about the Christian meaning behind Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
Before the children were dismissed from Mass, Vicki Dhabalt Compton, the former director of the Office for the Missions who was filling in for Deacon Patrick O’Toole, spoke to the people at Mass and thanked them
for “embracing your missionary discipleship.”
She then recognized five schools “for their tremendous fund-raising efforts for Missionary Childhood Association.” “All of these schools have created a strong mission identity,” Compton said before inviting the winners up to receive their awards from Bishop Paprocki, who was assisted by Superintendent of Catholic Schools Brandi Borries.
Those winners were:
Fifth place: St. Agnes School, Springfield;
Fourth place: St. Mary School, Taylorville;
Third place: Ss. Peter and Paul School, Alton;
Second place: St. Mary School, Brussels;
First place: St. Louis School, Nokomis.
Also, last year students in schools and parishes around the Springfield diocese participated in the annual Missionary Childhood Association Christmas Artwork Contest. All entries are submitted to the diocesan Office for the Missions and local winners are selected to be sent on to the national competition. At the time of judging, both the children’s names and their schools are kept anonymous, Compton said. These winners were recognized, and also received their awards from Bishop Paprocki and Borries.
Those winners were:
Kindergarten: Jae’ Maria Davis, St. Patrick Catholic School, Springfield;
First grade: Lorelei Hartman, St. Mary School, Brussels;
Second grade: Eve Schleeper, St. Mary School, Brussels;
Third grade: Conley Klocke, St. Mary School, Brussels;
Fourth grade: Alex Friedel, St. Mary School, Brussels;
Fifth grade: Madyln Nolte, St. Mary School, Brussels;
Sixth grade: Taylor Carey, St. Mary School, Brussels;
Seventh grade: Lizzy Blickhan, St. Dominic School, Quincy and McKenzie Baalman, St. Mary School, Brussels;
Eighth grade: Emma Vogel, St. Mary School, Brussels.
Finally, one student’s artwork was selected for further competition and she was a national winner: Megan Elliot from St. Ambrose School in Godfrey. She will be recognized at a ceremony in December at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., and her artwork will be displayed at the shrine during Advent. Megan was on hand to receive congratulations and the replica of her artwork, which is for display at St. Ambrose.