While many of us have been contemplating and beginning to carry out our New Year’s resolutions for 2020, Father Daniel Bergbower spent several weeks in 2018 and 2019 fulfilling his own personal pilgrimage resolution by completing the Camino de Santiago, known in English as the Way of St. James.
The pilgrimage is an epic journey of 500 miles, leading pilgrims to the Shrine of the Apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where the remains of St. James are buried.
CHARLESTON — Angie Buescher didn’t go looking to be a youth minister. She actually called St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Charleston to see if they needed help with teaching religious education. After being told all the spots were filled, she learned there was one opening: youth ministry. Fast forward 22 years and Buescher would have never guessed she would be the youth minister, and it would become her passion.
“Although I told them I had no idea what a youth minister’s role was, I got the job and was guided by the priest,” she says.
A story from 1995 reports that when St. Pope John Paul II was visiting the United States, on his last day in Baltimore, the pope said that after greeting seminarians outside St. Mary’s Seminary, he wanted to spend some time inside, to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
EFFINGHAM — The Effingham Knights of Columbus Council held its 13th annual Keep Christ in Christmas Poster Contest this year and 340 posters were submitted. In addition to the age groups that go on for higher level judging, the Council also has a contest for children age 4 and under. The first-place winners of the other age groups were submitted for judging at the diocesan and state levels. The Council winners were presented their awards at a ceremony held on Dec. 18.
On Dec. 3, Msgr. David Hoefler, vicar general of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, was one of the speakers at the 12th annual Nativity dedication ceremony at the Illinois State Capitol. Several dozen people from various Christian churches were on hand in the rotunda to pray and sing together and to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
PEORIA — In the last edition of Catholic Times, there was an article announcing that Pope Francis had approved the Beatification Mass of Archbishop Fulton Sheen to take place Dec. 21 in Peoria. Hours after Catholic Times went to press, it was announced Dec. 3 the Beatification Mass would be postponed.
Student demand for Illinois’ tax credit scholarship is at an all-time high. This school year, 377 students in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois received scholarships valued at $1,073,290.31 thanks to generous donations to Illinois’ tax credit scholarship program. When you learn, however, that 1,326 students in our diocese applied, it’s clear the demand is far exceeding the supply.
By traditional measures, I was always a good Catholic. I went to Mass every Sunday and on all Holy Days. I observed the laws about fasting and abstinence. I regularly sought the sacrament of reconciliation. I paid my church support and observed the marriage laws of the church. But 25 years ago, on a quiet night, with tears of pain rolling down my face, I got down on my knees and asked God to come into my heart and to heal my brokenness. For the first time in my 35 years as a “good” Catholic, I asked God to truly become the Lord of my life.
After Mass on Aug. 15, 1996 at a parish in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a woman approached the priest saying that she found a consecrated Host in the church. The priest — following proper procedures in such a case — placed the Host into a glass of water so it would dissolve and put the Host into the tabernacle. Days later, to the priest’s amazement, the Host appeared bloody and had a flesh-like appearance.
INDIANAPOLIS — Nearly 180 students, chaperones, and priests from all over the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois joined more than 20,000 people from across the country for the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis Nov. 21-23.
“If there is ever one event a high schooler should attend, it’s NCYC,” said Tony Cerveny, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the diocese. “The work of the Holy Spirit was profound — from adoration to the speakers, to the music to the message, NCYC was an incredible experience and left a positive impact on our students.”
As Sabrina Carter works with students in the Ball-Chatham School District as a psychologist, a job that brings her joy and the satisfaction of personally helping the lives of young people, it’s not uncommon for her to think about her own life and the selfless gift given to her. What would her life be like today if it weren’t for this gift? How much pain would she be in? Would she even be alive?
It all started in 2015. After going to her doctor with stomach pains, tests determined she had Stage 3 kidney disease. Over the next year and several visits to doctors in places like Chicago and St. Louis, no one could determine why her kidneys were failing and getting worse by the day.
The Chiara Center is hosting their 13th annual Franciscan Nativity Festival — a display of more than 100 Nativity sets, a majority of which are new to the annual event. The event is free and open to the public on Friday, Dec. 6 from 2-7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec. 8 from noon-4 p.m., at Chiara Center, 4875 LaVerna Road, Springfield — on the grounds of St. Francis Convent.
The annual novena honoring the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary begins Dec. 1 this year, because the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is transferred this year to Dec. 9. The novena will be celebrated each evening from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., except on Dec. 9 when the novena will conclude with the 5:15 p.m. Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. All are welcome to attend the novena, which will be held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield.
TRAPPIST, Ky. — Brother Aaron Schulte, OCSO, celebrated his Silver jubilee with the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, commonly called Trappist at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky in May of this year.TRAPPIST, Ky. — Brother Aaron Schulte, OCSO, celebrated his Silver jubilee with the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, commonly called Trappist at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky in May of this year.
GREENFIELD — With chilly weather already here and Thanksgiving just around the corner, our thoughts naturally turn to warm meals, good fellowship and counting our blessings. This year St. Michael parishioner Martha Rawe is giving thanks that in Greenfield, a soup ministry that she helped to start has been warming people’s stomachs — and hearts — for 10 years and counting.
Veterans are the backbone of our great nation. Their sacrifice, dedication to freedom, and helping the people of the world — we are forever indebted to their service.
The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is blessed to have several priests who also served our country. One of those is Father Stephen Thompson, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Mt. Sterling and St. Thomas Parish in Camp Point.
Father Thompson embodies honor, courage and commitment, values that have deep meaning to him as a Marine. He served our country for four years in the early 1990s as an E-4 corporal as a data communications operator. He served in the Persian Gulf War under Desert Shield and Desert Storm with the 1st Marine Division and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit under the United States Navy on the U.S.S. Okinawa.
ST. JOSEPH, MICH. — During 22-year-old Amber Robinson’s senior year at college at Northern Illinois University, she knew she wanted to do missionary work but didn’t know where. Today, the Glen Carbon native who attends Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Collinsville finds herself in St. Joseph, Mich., working directly with youth, challenging these vulnerable Catholics “to love Christ and embrace the life of the church.”
The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has launched a planning study to determine the level of support for a diocesan-wide capital campaign.
Representatives from the Steier Group, a Catholic development and fundraising firm, will be conducting interviews in the diocese until mid-November. They are seeking feedback on support for seminarian education throughout the diocese.
In 1988, Springfield’s Christ the King’s (CTK) Over 50 and Dinner Club had 20 members. Today, they boast 200 with members coming not just from Christ the King Parish, but several other parishes in the area. While the club is a great place for those who passed the half-century mark to meet other Catholics, eat a delicious meal every month, and hear from interesting speakers, the club has put most of its resources and generosity toward one thing: the church’s future.
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.
There is an interesting form of biblical scholarship that focuses on the meaning of numbers known as numerology. One that we might be most familiar with is the number 40, which is a number that signifies trial, testing and waiting. The great flood was 40 days and 40 nights. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert before beginning his public ministry. And 40 days after the resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven.
Visitors from Ohio were at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield one afternoon this summer, admiring the stained-glass windows and striking beauty of the church. They were also given a rare treat: beautiful organ music, filling the church with rich sounds. Little did they know it was a 14-year-old playing, who had just picked up the organ in February.
EDWARDSVILLE — On April 20, 2019, 42-year-old Deegee Kienstra of Edwardsville officially became Catholic, receiving three sacraments at the Easter Vigil at St. Mary Parish in Edwardsville: baptism, confirmation and Communion. The road to that powerful day is filled with moments where the Holy Spirit planted seeds of inspiration.
It became a spectacle in Springfield week after week this past summer as thousands of people packed the Knights of Columbus Hall on Springfield’s west side and other satellite locations, hoping to be the big winner in the Knights of Columbus Council 364’s Big Raffle, which grew to $625,000. This, after the fund had been growing for two years because week after week, the person selected never correctly picked the jackpot square. (The game originally started with 100 squares, and each week one would be eliminated until the jackpot square was correctly chosen.) Finally, last month, Cindi Fleischli’s ticket was drawn and she picked the jackpot square.
CARLINVILLE — The 30th annual Family Camp for persons with special needs and their families and friends, was, as usual, a fun time for everyone involved, reports Elaine Vonderheide, who directs the weekend every year. This year’s camp took place Sept. 21-22, at Lake Williamson Christian Center.
Attendees and their guests participated in a variety of activities, including swimming, square dancing, playing mini golf, creating crafts and singing. The camp closed with Sunday Mass, celebrated this year by Father Chris House, rector of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish and vicar judicial in the Office of the Tribunal.
It was a unique energy inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield on Sept. 19 as 700 people, Catholics and non-Catholics, from across the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, came to give their lives a recharge. Chris Stefanick, a nationally known Catholic speaker, presented REBOOT!, an experience of learning how to better apply the beauty and genius of the Gospel to every aspect of life.