Sunday, 10 January 2021 14:03

Our favorite photos from 2020

It was the year of COVID-19, but it was so much more

The year 2020 was unlike any year ever. We went weeks without the public celebration of Mass due to the coronavirus pandemic, the return to school included safe distancing and mask wearing, our diocese ordained the most priests (eight) in more than 55 years, dozens of parishes are now offering livestreaming of Masses, neighbors stepped up in big ways to help neighbors in need, and the list goes on.The year 2020 was unlike any year ever. We went weeks without the public celebration of Mass due to the coronavirus pandemic, the return to school included safe distancing and mask wearing, our diocese ordained the most priests (eight) in more than 55 years, dozens of parishes are now offering livestreaming of Masses, neighbors stepped up in big ways to help neighbors in need, and the list goes on.

As we look back on a memorable year, here are some of our favorite photos that appeared in Catholic Times in 2020. May you and your family have a blessed, safe, and healthy new year!

— Andrew Hansen, Editor

Father Daniel Bergbower, pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Springfield (right) with other pilgrims walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain in 2019, with him telling his story to Catholic Times in the Jan. 12 edition. Also known as the Way of St. James, this pilgrimage is an epic journey of 500 miles, leading pilgrims to the Shrine of the Apostle St. James the Great, where the remains of St. James are buried. Hiking an average of 15 miles a day, Father Bergbower said, “Pilgrims, all people, need to have people who care enough to really listen. Thus, the destination is really the journey itself. The true destination lies within the pilgrim, in the insights and peace gained during this time on the walk.”Father Daniel Bergbower, pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Springfield (right) with other pilgrims walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain in 2019, with him telling his story to Catholic Times in the Jan. 12 edition. Also known as the Way of St. James, this pilgrimage is an epic journey of 500 miles, leading pilgrims to the Shrine of the Apostle St. James the Great, where the remains of St. James are buried. Hiking an average of 15 miles a day, Father Bergbower said, “Pilgrims, all people, need to have people who care enough to really listen. Thus, the destination is really the journey itself. The true destination lies within the pilgrim, in the insights and peace gained during this time on the walk.”
Photo courtesy of Father Daniel Bergbower

Kimeka Robinson (left), her son, Nazsier (middle), and Robinson’s mother, Pat (right), gather in their new home in Springfield. Called “The Catholic Build,” Catholic parishes and other Catholic organizations in Sangamon County teamed up to donate money, products, time, and their skilled labor to build the home for the Robinsons as part of Habitat for Humanity. The project was led by Steve Koch, a parishioner at St. Joseph the Worker in Chatham and the home was dedicated and blessed by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki on Dec. 18, 2019.Kimeka Robinson (left), her son, Nazsier (middle), and Robinson’s mother, Pat (right), gather in their new home in Springfield. Called “The Catholic Build,” Catholic parishes and other Catholic organizations in Sangamon County teamed up to donate money, products, time, and their skilled labor to build the home for the Robinsons as part of Habitat for Humanity. The project was led by Steve Koch, a parishioner at St. Joseph the Worker in Chatham and the home was dedicated and blessed by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki on Dec. 18, 2019.

This photo appeared in the Jan. 26 Catholic Schools Week edition of Catholic Times. Kindergartner Marie Conner, left, gets help opening her present from Sacred Heart-Griffin High School student, Isaiah Davis, as students from SHG delivered gifts for the students at Dubois Elementary School in Springfield.This photo appeared in the Jan. 26 Catholic Schools Week edition of Catholic Times. Kindergartner Marie Conner, left, gets help opening her present from Sacred Heart-Griffin High School student, Isaiah Davis, as students from SHG delivered gifts for the students at Dubois Elementary School in Springfield.
“I just love seeing the joy in their hearts,” Davis said. “Bringing joy to all these kids is amazing, it fills my heart with joy and it’s like the best part of Christmas.” SHG students spent the day in groups delivering presents that they bought and wrapped to all the 420 students. 
Photo courtesy ofJustin Fowler/The State Journal-Register

Students, faculty, and staff at St. John Neumann School in Maryville dressed in grey, the symbol of brain cancer awareness, to show their support for a family with a parent fighting brain cancer. This photo appeared in our Catholic Schools Week edition last January. Students, faculty, and staff at St. John Neumann School in Maryville dressed in grey, the symbol of brain cancer awareness, to show their support for a family with a parent fighting brain cancer. This photo appeared in our Catholic Schools Week edition last January. 
Photo courtesy of St. John Neumann School

Students at Blessed Sacrament School in Quincy celebrated Veterans Day by visiting the Illinois Veterans Home and attending the annual patriotic recognition of the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. While at the VA, students also visited residence halls to deliver cards and wreaths they made and beautifully serenaded them with God Bless America and Proud to be an American. This photo appeared in our Catholic Schools Week edition last January.Students at Blessed Sacrament School in Quincy celebrated Veterans Day by visiting the Illinois Veterans Home and attending the annual patriotic recognition of the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. While at the VA, students also visited residence halls to deliver cards and wreaths they made and beautifully serenaded them with God Bless America and Proud to be an American. This photo appeared in our Catholic Schools Week edition last January.
Photo courtesy of Blessed Sacrament School

Youth from the GC Rock group, representing Holy Family and St. Elizabeth parishes in Granite City, stand together with Father Michael Meinhart (when this picture was taken, he was a deacon) in Washington, D.C., during the 2020 March for Life on Jan. 24. Youth from the GC Rock group, representing Holy Family and St. Elizabeth parishes in Granite City, stand together with Father Michael Meinhart (when this picture was taken, he was a deacon) in Washington, D.C., during the 2020 March for Life on Jan. 24. 
Close to 500 people from across the diocese made the trip to stand up for the unborn, most of them students from schools across the diocese. 
“In each of the past three years that I’ve been going on the march, the magnitude of it all has grown. More people. More support. Same cause. It’s incredible,” said Matthew Gierer, a student at Father McGivney Catholic High School in Glen Carbon.
“I go on these marches because I am more afraid of God showing me what I failed to do in life, and if I show that I failed to even uphold the dignity of life itself, I will truly hold within my soul no chances of receiving life everlasting. No child wants to be a disappointment to their parents, and I do not want to disappoint my Father in Heaven,” said Drew Timmermeier of Ss. Simon and Jude in Gillespie.
Submitted photo

Father Aaron Kuhn, then parochial vicar at the Church of St. Peter in Quincy, elevates the Body and Blood of Christ during one of his Masses closed to the public during the coronavirus pandemic last March. During the period when public Masses were not available, priests offered their Masses “for the people.”

Betty Parquette of Springfield (left) stands with her daughter Veronica outside Planned Parenthood holding up her sign, hoping to help women who are there to get an abortion. Betty graced the cover of the March 8 edition of Catholic Times where she told the story of how her two abortions brought her to the lowest point of her life. Feeling broken and hating herself, she turned to the Catholic Church and Rachel’s Vineyard for healing, ultimately setting her free.Betty Parquette of Springfield (left) stands with her daughter Veronica outside Planned Parenthood holding up her sign, hoping to help women who are there to get an abortion. Betty graced the cover of the March 8 edition of Catholic Times where she told the story of how her two abortions brought her to the lowest point of her life. Feeling broken and hating herself, she turned to the Catholic Church and Rachel’s Vineyard for healing, ultimately setting her free.
Submitted photo

Kayleigh and Peyton Pollock of Alton kneel for Mass at home while watching Mass online with the priests of St. Mary Parish in Alton. Dozens of parishes across the diocese livestreamed their Masses while there was no public celebration of Mass for several weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jett, Cheryl, and Knox Morman, parishioners at St. Mary Parish in Taylorville show off their exquisite art project on their driveway. Cheryl said the Easter season is the perfect time to “have this drawing on your driveway.” Jett, Cheryl, and Knox Morman, parishioners at St. Mary Parish in Taylorville show off their exquisite art project on their driveway. Cheryl said the Easter season is the perfect time to “have this drawing on your driveway.” 
Submitted photo

The reflection from the raised chalice is seen lighting up the Host raised by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki during Holy Thursday Mass on April 9.The reflection from the raised chalice is seen lighting up the Host raised by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki during Holy Thursday Mass on April 9. Photo by Darren Price

A parishioner at St. Boniface Parish in Edwardsville, received the Eucharist from Father Jeffrey Goeckner May 17 just outside the church on a rainy Sunday. Catholics across the diocese were able to receive holy Communion publicly for the first time since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. One parishioner told us, “I didn’t realize how much receiving the Lord would bring me peace.” Another said that receiving Jesus in the Eucharist after such a long gave her a “sense of renewal.”A parishioner at St. Boniface Parish in Edwardsville, received the Eucharist from Father Jeffrey Goeckner May 17 just outside the church on a rainy Sunday. Catholics across the diocese were able to receive holy Communion publicly for the first time since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. One parishioner told us, “I didn’t realize how much receiving the Lord would bring me peace.” Another said that receiving Jesus in the Eucharist after such a long gave her a “sense of renewal.”
Photo by Father Michael Trummer

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki led a rosary June 3 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in response to the tragic death of George Floyd, in solidarity with those protesting for justice, for an intercession for peace and healing, and the end of violence in our communities. The rosary was streamed LIVE on diocese’s website and Facebook page. More than 200 people participated in the LIVE rosary with hundreds more praying along later, on replay.Bishop Thomas John Paprocki led a rosary June 3 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in response to the tragic death of George Floyd, in solidarity with those protesting for justice, for an intercession for peace and healing, and the end of violence in our communities. The rosary was streamed LIVE on diocese’s website and Facebook page. More than 200 people participated in the LIVE rosary with hundreds more praying along later, on replay.
“It’s clear that we need to pray,” Bishop Paprocki said. “We invoke our Blessed Mother, Mary, who is the Queen of Peace, and we ask her to intercede for us to bring peace to our nation and to our world. We also call Mary by her title as Mirror of Justice, and so we pray for justice to be done in the case of the murder of George Floyd. We also call Mary the Mother of Christ and the Mother of the Church. She gave life to our Savior Jesus Christ, and she gives life to each one of us in the church as adopted sons and daughters of God. So, we turn to her for a greater respect for all human life.” 

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Ed Rexroad provides a meal to Jan Brady of Decatur, as part of the Decatur Catholic Charities Meals on Wheels program.

At St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Chatham, the Scherschel family – Kira, Jonah, Josie, and Paul – attend 8 a.m. Mass June 7, the first weekend the public celebration of Masses were available to the faithful after public Masses were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. At St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Chatham, the Scherschel family – Kira, Jonah, Josie, and Paul – attend 8 a.m. Mass June 7, the first weekend the public celebration of Masses were available to the faithful after public Masses were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. 
“Oh, it’s good to be back,” Kira Scherschel said. “This is so much better than watching on TV.”
The joy was equally felt across the diocese.
“Returning to church for Mass filled me with joy and gratitude,” said Shana Albert, a parishioner at Sacred Heart Parish in Effingham. “Being able to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection with my parish family, receiving the Body of Christ, and genuflecting and kneeling in the presence of Jesus was truly a beautiful experience.” 
Photo by Diane Schlindwein

With the Mississippi River as the stunning backdrop, graduates from Marquette Catholic High School in Alton, walk up a brick road. While graduations in 2020 looked differently and many parties were cancelled due to the coronavirus, these seniors all took it in stride. With the Mississippi River as the stunning backdrop, graduates from Marquette Catholic High School in Alton, walk up a brick road. While graduations in 2020 looked differently and many parties were cancelled due to the coronavirus, these seniors all took it in stride. 
Submitted photo

Eleven Men from the diocese’s Legion of Valor took part in a four-day adventure pilgrimage to Wyoming in August. The men completed 30 miles of hiking through the Cirque of the Towers, which is known as one of the most beautiful and picturesque high alpine locations in the United States. In this picture, the men stop and admire the beauty. The trip also included cliff rappelling, climbing, daily Mass, praying the rosary, and fellowship. Eleven Men from the diocese’s Legion of Valor took part in a four-day adventure pilgrimage to Wyoming in August. The men completed 30 miles of hiking through the Cirque of the Towers, which is known as one of the most beautiful and picturesque high alpine locations in the United States. In this picture, the men stop and admire the beauty. The trip also included cliff rappelling, climbing, daily Mass, praying the rosary, and fellowship. 
Photo by Father Dominic Rankin

It was a joyous occasion at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception June 19 as Bishop Thomas John Paprocki ordained six men priests and one deacon. The six were part of a class of eight, representing the largest class of new priests in our diocese since 1964. The priests began their first assignments July 1 in parishes across the diocese. In this “view from Heaven,” the men lay prostrate on the floor as a sign of humility before they were ordained. It was a joyous occasion at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception June 19 as Bishop Thomas John Paprocki ordained six men priests and one deacon. The six were part of a class of eight, representing the largest class of new priests in our diocese since 1964. The priests began their first assignments July 1 in parishes across the diocese. In this “view from Heaven,” the men lay prostrate on the floor as a sign of humility before they were ordained. 
Photo by Nathalie Corbett

After having just professed their final vows, these six women from the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in Alton, sing the song Take, Lord Receive. This profession of final vows Mass was celebrated by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki Aug. 2 at St. Mary’s Church in Alton. Shown (l-r) are:  Sister Mary Francis Goodson, FSGM; Sister Karol Marie Baumgarten, FSGM; Sister M. Caterina Vola, FSGM; Sister Teresa Maria Leis, FSGM; Sister M. Lucy Gantt, FSGM; and Sister M. GemmaAfter having just professed their final vows, these six women from the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in Alton, sing the song Take, Lord Receive. This profession of final vows Mass was celebrated by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki Aug. 2 at St. Mary’s Church in Alton. Shown (l-r) are:  Sister Mary Francis Goodson, FSGM; Sister Karol Marie Baumgarten, FSGM; Sister M. Caterina Vola, FSGM; Sister Teresa Maria Leis, FSGM; Sister M. Lucy Gantt, FSGM; and Sister M. Gemma Kissel, FSGM. 
 Photo by Sister John Mary  Rainey, FSGM

Father McGivney Catholic High School principal Joseph Lombardi greeted students with the elbow tap on the first day of school in August. Despite wearing masks, students Emma Martinez (left) and Sofia Luna (center) joined their peers in their excitement at returning to school again. Father McGivney Catholic High School principal Joseph Lombardi greeted students with the elbow tap on the first day of school in August. Despite wearing masks, students Emma Martinez (left) and Sofia Luna (center) joined their peers in their excitement at returning to school again. 
Photo courtesy of Father McGivney Catholic High School

Baby Caleb graced the cover of the Sept. 20 Respect Life edition of Catholic Times. “Who has unexpectedly brought you joy? For me, it is my 1-year-old nephew Caleb,” said Laura Gundrum of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Chatham. “When I was lonely during the pandemic, I watched a video of Caleb, or for that matter, all 19 videos that my sister-in-law Mary sent of him. Through these videos, I watched Caleb grow from a mere baby into a boy. Caleb has taught me to appreciate life’s simple joys.”Baby Caleb graced the cover of the Sept. 20 Respect Life edition of Catholic Times. “Who has unexpectedly brought you joy? For me, it is my 1-year-old nephew Caleb,” said Laura Gundrum of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Chatham. “When I was lonely during the pandemic, I watched a video of Caleb, or for that matter, all 19 videos that my sister-in-law Mary sent of him. Through these videos, I watched Caleb grow from a mere baby into a boy. Caleb has taught me to appreciate life’s simple joys.”
Submitted photo

Ty’eona Croom, a student at St. Patrick School in Springfield, smiles behind her mask on the first day of school Aug. 10. It was a familiar scene across the diocese as the sound of laughter, greetings, students joyfully yelling their friend’s names, and teachers welcoming back students filled classrooms once again. Catholic schools reopened in August, although to different looks and dozens of safety precautions 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 were on new levels this year considering the coronavirus resulted in students learning from home in March, April, and May last school year. Ty’eona Croom, a student at St. Patrick School in Springfield, smiles behind her mask on the first day of school Aug. 10. It was a familiar scene across the diocese as the sound of laughter, greetings, students joyfully yelling their friend’s names, and teachers welcoming back students filled classrooms once again. Catholic schools reopened in August, although to different looks and dozens of safety precautions 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 were on new levels this year considering the coronavirus resulted in students learning from home in March, April, and May last school year. 
Photo by Andrew Hansen

Students at Sacred Heart School in Effingham showed their love for our Blessed Mother on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (Oct. 7), drawing a large, chalk rosary in the front parking lot. Students at Sacred Heart School in Effingham showed their love for our Blessed Mother on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (Oct. 7), drawing a large, chalk rosary in the front parking lot.
Photo courtesy of Sacred Heart Church

Using a cell phone with a LIVE feed, Father Joe Molloy taught religion to the eighth-grade class at Holy Family Catholic School in Decatur via Zoom. Father Molloy got the coronavirus in August and shared his story of leaning on our faith to overcome any fears in the Oct. 18 edition of Catholic Times. Using a cell phone with a LIVE feed, Father Joe Molloy taught religion to the eighth-grade class at Holy Family Catholic School in Decatur via Zoom. Father Molloy got the coronavirus in August and shared his story of leaning on our faith to overcome any fears in the Oct. 18 edition of Catholic Times. 
“The Lord is right there journeying through the virus with you,” Father Molloy said. “Yes, you have to be cautious and careful, for yourself and out of respect and concern for others. But I would say not to live in dread or totally isolate yourself. That can become just as bad or debilitating as COVID. Keep the faith, hope, and patience alive in your daily life. Stay in contact with your family and friends in whatever way is safe and possible. And pray, pray, pray.” 
Photo by Debbie Alexander

Five-year-old Matilda Kassel of Glen Carbon graced the cover of the Oct. 4 edition of Catholic Times. Here, she holds one of the more than 100 drawings she has sent to people all over the country who felt isolated during the coronavirus pandemic. Five-year-old Matilda Kassel of Glen Carbon graced the cover of the Oct. 4 edition of Catholic Times. Here, she holds one of the more than 100 drawings she has sent to people all over the country who felt isolated during the coronavirus pandemic. 
“I’m gonna draw them ‘till everybody is happy and normal,” Matilda said. “I’m gonna draw them until everybody is smiling!”
Photo by Kim Kassel

Priests, sisters from the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George, and dozens of pro-life advocates from across our diocese joined Bishop Thomas John Paprocki for the annual Respect Life Mass and Rosary Walk in Granite City Oct. 10, praying for an end to abortion and a respect for life. The day included Mass at Holy Family Parish, praying a rosary in front of Hope Clinic for Women (an abortion facility in Granite City), and a luncheon that included guest speaker Cara Paschal, executive director of Thrive Metro-East (pregnancy care center in Godfrey).Priests, sisters from the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George, and dozens of pro-life advocates from across our diocese joined Bishop Thomas John Paprocki for the annual Respect Life Mass and Rosary Walk in Granite City Oct. 10, praying for an end to abortion and a respect for life. The day included Mass at Holy Family Parish, praying a rosary in front of Hope Clinic for Women (an abortion facility in Granite City), and a luncheon that included guest speaker Cara Paschal, executive director of Thrive Metro-East (pregnancy care center in Godfrey).
Photo by Sister M. Consolata Crews, FSGM

Praying for our country and for an end to the coronavirus, priests from St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Springfield and more than 100 area Catholics joined for a eucharistic and rosary procession Oct. 10 through downtown Springfield. Processing with a statue of Mary and the Blessed Sacrament from Sacred Heart Church to the Illinois Statehouse, Catholics prayed the rosary. An altar was set up near the Lincoln Memorial for Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament. The group then processed back to the church while praying the rosary. Praying for our country and for an end to the coronavirus, priests from St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Springfield and more than 100 area Catholics joined for a eucharistic and rosary procession Oct. 10 through downtown Springfield. Processing with a statue of Mary and the Blessed Sacrament from Sacred Heart Church to the Illinois Statehouse, Catholics prayed the rosary. An altar was set up near the Lincoln Memorial for Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament. The group then processed back to the church while praying the rosary. 
Photo by Nathalie Corbett

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki (right), aka, the Holy Goalie, competes in a table hockey game with Quincy University President Dr. Brian McGee during a campus visit Oct. 7. Also looking on is Msgr. David Hoefler (vicar general for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois) and Father Dominic Rankin (Bishop Paprocki’s master of ceremonies and priest secretary). Bishop Thomas John Paprocki (right), aka, the Holy Goalie, competes in a table hockey game with Quincy University President Dr. Brian McGee during a campus visit Oct. 7. Also looking on is Msgr. David Hoefler (vicar general for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois) and Father Dominic Rankin (Bishop Paprocki’s master of ceremonies and priest secretary). 
Photo courtesy of Quincy University

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