Sunday, 15 November 2020 17:43

Helping Our Neighbors - Pass it On


It was never a part of my career plan to become an intern after I retired. The phrase “We plan, and God laughs” applies to my life. I was surprised to learn that approximately 159,000 people in our diocese live below the poverty line. I have lived in Effingham County for over 30 years and never knew so many people were hungry, lack proper shelter, require clothing, and need assistance finding employment.

Purcell TomThe Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope (DCJH) helps neighbors and friends in our communities. How could I not know about it? My excuse was being too busy working around the world and not looking around my hometown. There are homeless shelters and missions close to home.

It is shocking that so many people need our help, but the next step is the most important: What can we do to help? St. Mother Teresa had a beautiful saying: “Do what’s in front of you.”

The Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope is one way. All the funds raised stay here. That’s right — the funds raised are granted to approved organizations within the diocese.

The DCJH collection is on the weekend of Nov. 21-22. It will be in every one of our 129 parishes. The more generous we are on DCJH weekend, the more people we can help.

This past year we awarded grants to 18 organizations throughout our diocese. Each has a project to help the needy. The following pages have examples of these projects. It is exciting to learn about all the good work being done from Quincy to Paris.

As we go into the Christmas season, please give generously to help our neighbors. Please pray and use your time, talent, and treasures to help those who are in need.

Tom Purcell
DCJH Intern

Community Mission Center celebrates 10 years of service

11 15 2020 DCJH Community MIssion Pana 2PANA — The Community Mission Center is based in Pana. We are celebrating 10 years of service to Pana and surrounding communities by being a central point for collection and distribution of clothing, furniture, household items, linens and personal hygiene items for those less fortunate.

We have served 1,444 families for a total of 4,238 individuals in 2019. We have 30 volunteers.

We used the DCJH grant funds to drastically improve the lighting on the retail floor, work area, and basement storage areas. LED lighting was installed throughout. The lighting makes the shopping experience better and safer. Our energy bills are much less and there is little to no maintenance.

Other programs we provide are school supplies for children; food for the weekends for children (Share & Care); coats and pajamas for children (Warm Hearts); and help with utility bills and a stay in a hotel for the homeless (Servant’s Fund).

Options Now/ThriVe® Metro East supports women

11 15 2020 DCJH Options nowGODFREY — Options Now/ThriVe® Metro East is based in Godfrey. Their projects are centered around spiritual and emotional support for women.

ThriVe® Metro East was privileged to receive a generous grant from the Springfield Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope. These funds were partly used to recertify a sonographer. One patient who came to our center determined on abortion was introduced to her baby for the first time via ultrasound. When she saw her baby, she shared, “It’s a baby. It’s fully formed. Having an abortion just seems like it would be murder.” Lives are saved at our center every day, and the ultrasound is an important tool that God uses!

The remaining funds were used for an after-abortion Bible study retreat. Led by women who have walked through their own healing experience, attendees receive care as they work through the steps of restoration. Hearts are healed, intimacy restored, peace instilled, and joy returned.

Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County helps families in need

SANGAMON COUNTY — Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County seeks to end poverty through providing safe housing for all of God’s children. Poverty housing is defined as unsafe, unhealthy, and/or overcrowded.

ConstructionHabitat has “delivered” 113 houses! The most recent house was dedicated on Oct. 22.

At Habitat for Humanity, we believe that every man, woman, and child in the world deserve a safe and affordable place to call home.

Habitat serves only hard-working, low income families in need. Currently we have five families (all led by single moms) waiting for their home build to begin. Each of them have served the required number of sweat equity hours to be eligible for their project. It is now Habitat’s duty to fulfill our promise to them.

The beginning of a house build, or renovation project is funding. We need to raise $90,000 per project through in kind labor, donated material, or cash to pay for items not donated.

In 2020, we began a campaign called the Unity Build. Supported by the Diocese of Springfield Campaign for Justice and Hope, Habitat strives to bring together all walks of life with one goal in mind: to build a forever home for a family in need. On April 24, 2021, Habitat will host its first ever Walk for Humanity in Enos Park to raise awareness and funding for this build.

Go to our website to learn more:

St. Hedwig Haus explains how grant money will be used

11 15 2020 DCJH St. Hedwig HausCHARLESTON — St. Hedwig Haus in Charleston is one of three houses under one organization: St. Hedwig, Tolton Haus, and Dorothy Day Haus. These houses are for women and children only and they assist those who have fallen on hard times. Some have experienced domestic violence, drugs, etc.

The goal of the project “In the Company of Sisters” is to create self-sufficiency in the women. They will be able to get jobs and earn money to care for themselves and their children. The DCJH grant is being used to fund “In the Company of Sisters” workshops started in early November. The group of eight to 10 women meet at the EIU Newman Center.

By the end of the workshop, the women will have built up their self-worth and be able to work through obstacles. The women will have developed relationships with different women in similar situations. They will have become a “community.”

The Haven gives thanks for DCJH grant

Executive Director - The Haven

11 15 2020 DCJH The HavenMATTOON — First and most importantly, I would like to offer my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois for the generous grant that we received through the Campaign for Justice and Hope campaign. At The Haven, we serve a broad and diverse segment of our community at our Emergency Homeless Shelter and our Community Kitchen. We applied for this grant to purchase computers, in order to enable our guests to access online job applications, write resumes and gain basic computer skills.

Originally, we had thought that we would be able to purchase up to six computers. Luckily for us, one of our staff is also very passionate about computers. We teamed up to find as many possible quotes as possible and to find the most responsible way to maximize the grant we received. After a lot of research and debate about the best course of action we decided to purchase 17 chrome books and 50 flash drives. This will allow us to offer several new day programs to multiple guests, allow multiple guests to research at the same time and allow our guests the ability to save their resumes and personal information for future use. For us, this is the tip of the iceberg as to how this grant will benefit our organization and the guests we serve.

2020 Grant Recipients

St. Vincent de Paul Society of Our Saviour, Jacksonville

Mt. Olive Care Center

Grounds of Grace, Springfield

St. Hedwig Haus of Hospitality, Charleston

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Effingham Family Camp for People with Disabilities

Community Mission Center, Pana

Choices Pregnancy and Hope, Paris

Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County, Springfield

Collinsville Faith in Action, Collinsville

Staunton Helping Hands Center

Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Blessed Trinity and St. Francis of Assisi Conference, Hardin/Calhoun County

Options Now/ThriVe Metro East, Godfrey

St. Vincent de Paul of Immaculate Conception, Mattoon

The Haven (PADS), Mattoon

A Beacon of Light (ABL) Pregnancy Help Center, Maryville

Springfield Right to Life

St. Francis Solanus Parish Community Assistance, Quincy

Highland Area Christian Service Ministry (HACSM)

How to apply for a DCJH grant

Projects/organizations that help the vulnerable and people living in poverty may apply for a Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope grant. Grants are awarded on an annual cycle and do not imply subsequent years of funding. Recommendations for grant awards will be made to Bishop Thomas John Paprocki by the Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope Committee for organizations/projects that operate within the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and have a diocesan affiliation.

Organizations interested in receiving a Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope grant are required to complete and file a grant application no later than Feb. 22, 2021. Grants may be awarded up to $3,000. Decisions on the funding and notification will be made in May 2021. Grants will be awarded in June 2021. The grant period is from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

If you have questions about the DCJH Campaign, please call (217) 698-8500 or email . The DCJH guidelines can be found on our website at Please send or email completed applications by Feb. 22, 2021 to or

Office for Pro-Life Activities and Special Ministries
Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope
1615 West Washington St.
Springfield, IL 62702