On March 23, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki and Donna Moore, director of the Office for the Missions welcomed dozens of school children from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois for the Mission Mass. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, attendance in the Cathedral was much lower than at the usual annual Mass — normally the Cathedral is full — however, many school students watched the Mass on a live-stream.
Concelebrating Mass with Bishop Paprocki were Msgr. David Hoefler, vicar general; Father Brian Alford, rector of the Cathedral; and Father Michael Friedel, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, both in Decatur.
During his homily, Bishop Paprocki spoke about various topics, including questions people might have about the Catholic faith, about Peter and Paul traveling to Rome to make Jesus known to others, and also how all Catholics can be missionaries in their own ways. “Our faith is not only handed down from generation to generation, but from one person to another,” he said.
Before the students were dismissed from Mass, Moore spoke to the people, thanking them and all those watching on live-stream for their fund-raising efforts for Missionary Childhood Association. She announced that the top five award-winners recognized for highest per capita donation for the 2019-2020 school year were:
Fifth place: St. Agnes School, Springfield;
Fourth place: Our Lady of Lourdes School, Decatur;
Third place: St. Mary School, Taylorville;
Second place: St. Louis School, Nokomis;
Also, students in schools and parishes around the Springfield diocese participated in the annual Missionary Childhood Association Christmas Artwork Contest. Two students from St. Ambrose School in Godfrey won the national MCA art contest: Mya Pickens and Kenzie Ingram. It happened that all the MCA diocesan winners were from St. Mary School in Brussels: Charlotte Rose, Ellie Friedel, Riley Pohlman, Kate Schleeper, Alex Friedel, Blake Nolte, Abbey Jones, and McKenzie Balman.
Both representatives from the winning schools and the art winners who were present at Mass were invited to come up and receive their awards from Bishop Paprocki.
“I’m thankful to all the principals, teachers and catechists who promote support for the missions and encourage mission vocations in their schools and parishes,” said Moore.