This Easter, the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is set to receive more than 200 peopleThis Easter, the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is set to receive more than 200 peopleinto the Catholic Church. Effingham’s Rebecca McIntire was in their shoes just last year. Catholic Times checks in with her to see how things are going, what she loves about the faith, and what we can learn from her conversion story.
JACKSONVILLE — Lent is an important time to repent and reevaluate one’s life, especially in high school. Every day high schoolers face stress and hardships. They must overcome the temptations of life while finding themselves and their place in the world and in Christ. That’s why students at Routt Catholic High School in Jacksonville are focusing on identity during the Lenten season.
In 2015, Janet Chipman, an English teacher at Routt, began making a Lenten devotional booklet written by and for Routt students. Her brainchild continues to touch the lives of its readers. This year Chipman asked her freshmen and seniors to explore their identity in Christ.
Our priests need our prayers and they need them consistently. That’s the mission behind Seven Sisters, a prayer group at Sacred Heart Parish in Effingham. As part of the Seven Sisters Apostolate, which has local groups in parishes throughout the world, the Effingham group started in January of 2018.
QUINCY — Quincy University’s Board of Trustees entrusted Brian McGee, Ph.D., with Quincy University’s mission during a formal ceremony Feb. 28. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois joined other religious leaders, city officials, community leaders, and members of the campus community in celebration at the official inauguration of Quincy University’s 24th president in St. Francis Solanus Chapel.
On the weekend of Feb. 29-March 1, the first weekend of Lent, approximately 200 men, women and children from 50 parishes in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois came to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to take part in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion. That number included catechumens, uncatechized Catholics and baptized Christian candidates. They were accompanied by priests, deacons, RCIA leaders, sponsors, godparents, families and friends.
Since I was a kid, I have had a great relationship with chocolate. We just go together. Throughout our relationship there have been very few rocky moments. The chocolate hits my taste buds and it’s like heaven melting in my mouth. Now, do I think heaven is that sweet? No, I think it’s better! However, I do hope there is chocolate in heaven.
Unfortunately, on Jan. 1, chocolate and I decided we needed to take a break. It wasn’t anyone’s fault; it was just one of those decisions that hurts a little but is for the better. Have you ever had a relationship like that?
In addition to chocolate, I took a break from quite a few other foods. Last week when I was in Mass, with my stomach rumbling a little bit and as I was consuming the Eucharist, I thought, “This tastes like heaven.” In that very moment it hit me, it was a piece of heaven!
I took two things away from that moment. One, it’s easy to forget the miraculous event that is occurring at Mass: a glimpse of heaven right there for us to consume every day if we so choose. Christ is coming to us, to the inside of our very core. The second is a reminder that fasting really does allow us an opportunity to bring Christ closer.
For me, I know it is easier to focus on what is not there, the empty stomach or the item being denied from me instead of focusing on what I am gaining. Certainly, not just better health, but in this instance, Christ himself.
I don’t know if chocolate and I will end up back together, although I highly suspect we will. What I do know is that my true soulmate is found in the Eucharist at Mass.
Amber Cerveny is Marketing Communications and Community leader for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
The ninth annual Women of Distinction Mass and luncheon is scheduled for June 13. This event is hosted by the Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. Each parish in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is asked to select an honoree in appreciation for her service to God, parish and community.
QUINCY — Quincy Notre Dame High School recently announced that QND senior Meredith Siebers has been named to the 2020 IHSA All-State Academic Honorable Mention Team and her twin brother Luke Siebers is among the 10 finalists for the “This I Believe” essay program, sponsored by the National Public Radio (NPR) Illinois and the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise.
During the week of March 8-14, the Dominican Sisters of Springfield celebrate the blessings of their consecrated life and ministry and invite the public to experience the lives of Catholic sisters more directly.
For the Dominicans, the week is an opportunity to share the joy that comes from lives dedicated to seeking God, walking with others, and responding together to the needs of the world.
Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, best-selling author of 33 Days to Morning Glory, will give a talk about God the Father at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Springfield on Thursday, March 19 from 7-8 p.m. During the free event that’s open to the public, Father Gaitley’s presentation will center around this book that emphasizes a total consecration to the Father through Jesus based on the Gospel of John. The book 33 Days to Morning Glory will be available for purchase, and Father Gaitley will also sign books after the talk.
There is much excitement in the air as the Sacred Heart-Griffin (SHG) High School Music Department prepares for the 2020 spring musical, Mary Poppins, which will bring the SHG Dominican Hall Theatre to life Friday, March 20-Sunday, March 22 and Friday, March 27-Sunday, March 29. This is the first time that a high school has performed Mary Poppins, the musical, in Central Illinois.
St. Jude Thaddeus, Apostle of the Lord and preacher of the Good News, is the patron of hope and of difficult situations. This Lent, through the intercession of St. Jude, all are welcome to join the parishioners of St. Aloysius Parish in Springfield as they pray for God’s grace in letting go of what keeps us spiritually “stuck” in the quagmire of life’s difficulties.
All women are invited to attend the 2020 Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW) Lenten retreat March 24-25 at Villa Maria Catholic Life Center on Lake Springfield. Father Brian Alford, pastor of St. Jude Parish in Rochester and vocation director for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, will serve as retreat master.
The Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW) is offering four $500 scholarships to recognize outstanding Catholic female high school seniors. Applicants will be judged on how they exemplify the SDCCW’s mission values of leadership, faith and service.
In honor of Black History Month, here are some examples of extraordinary Catholics who are black and who advanced our faith and are models for discipleship today. In honor of Black History Month, here are some examples of extraordinary Catholics who are black and who advanced our faith and are models for discipleship today.
QUINCY — Father John P. Carberry, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois for nearly 40 years, died on Jan. 21 at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. He was 92 years old.
He was born on May 15, 1927, in Springfield, to Thomas and Margaret (Sullivan) Carberry and they preceded him in death.
CHICAGO — Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, known as “The Holy Goalie,” along with Chicago Blackhawks alumni, will take to the ice for the 10th annual “Hockey with Bishop Paprocki” at the United Center in Chicago on Sunday, March 8 at 2:10 p.m. to benefit Catholic Charities Legal Services (CCLS), which provides free legal assistance in civil matters to those with little to no income living in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amid the throng of hundreds of thousands of people carrying banners and signs in the nation’s capital on Jan. 24 at the 47th annual March for Life were close to 500 members of the faithful of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. The Springfield diocese was represented by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, a number of priests, religious sisters and seminarians, other adult chaperones and of course, hundreds of youth.
Bishop Paprocki met the pilgrims in Washington, D.C., celebrating a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, visiting with various diocesan groups and then taking part in the march.
JERSEY COUNTY — It was the impact of saints and their stories that led David and Kendel Williams to the Catholic faith in 2010 in St. Louis. After moving to Brighton, in Jersey County in 2017, the couple, who has six children, now call Ss. Peter and Paul in Alton their home parish.
Do me a favor and please read this all the way through, not stopping until you get to the end.
Growing up, there were two basic rules at home (there were more than two but two in particular really stick out in my memory). One was that you were to get a job when you turned 16; the second was that you went to Mass every Sunday and holy day. If you were too sick to go to Sunday Mass, then you were obviously too sick to do anything else. When we would go on vacation, the first thing my dad would do when we got to our hotel was to find out where the nearest Catholic church was and what their Sunday Mass schedule was. You can take a break from work, school, and many other things in life, but you can’t take a break from God. Imagine for one moment if he took a break from us (and you think this world is messed up now?); it would be cataclysmic.
Sunday Mass is an obligation. The Third Commandment handed down by God to Moses is that the Sabbath Day is to be kept holy. In our Christian tradition, the church understands this as participating at Mass on Sundays. Sunday is the Christian Sabbath (the original day being Saturday) because it was on Sunday that our Lord rose from the dead to new and everlasting life. Participation at Sunday Mass is a precept of the church and to willfully miss Sunday Mass, without serious reason or without a dispensation, is a grave sin according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2181).
When an act is determined by the church to be gravely sinful and the act is done freely and knowingly as being gravely sinful, then it is mortally sinful. What does this mean? The church teaches that mortal sin that is not repented of excludes a soul from heaven. Having said this, in the same section of the Catechism, the church teaches that final judgment ultimately belongs to the justice and mercy of God (CCC 1861). For those who willfully miss Sunday Mass or Mass on holy days of obligation, the Cathedral offers daily opportunities to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation.
So why am I bringing this up? Last weekend Mass attendance dropped significantly. This happens from time to time, sometimes due to holiday weekends and sometimes due to reasons known only to God. Last weekend I suspect it was due to the cold weather. It’s not fun going out in the cold. For some, they should not venture out in extreme weather due to the necessity of not endangering their personal well-being. For others, it is not so much about necessity but convenience or preference.
At times, we can fall into the trap of misplaced priorities or false judgments about what is good and what is better: vacations, kids’ sporting events, too much “fun” on Saturday night, personal comfort, etc. If we are contemplating missing Sunday Mass (not including being sick or caring for someone who is, or having to work for the sake of being able to live), we have to honestly ask ourselves if there is a duty or serious reason that necessitates our absence; put another way, is what I am doing instead of going to Mass going to deepen my relationship with the Lord or weaken it and possibly break it? Furthermore, if I am responsible for others getting to Mass, like children, how is this judgment going to help or hinder their relationship with God?
Am I casting judgments or aspersions? No; but I am trying to fulfill both my sacred duty as a shepherd of souls as well as fulfilling the prophetic call that we all have by virtue of baptism by calling folks back to right relationship with God. Like the prophets of old, I may be risking having stones thrown at me but I care enough about the salvation of those who come to this Cathedral that I am willing to risk the displeasure of some.
I have focused on the “negative” aspects of missing Mass but the positive reasons should be our greater motivation. First and foremost, we come to Mass for love of God and in gratitude to him for his graces and mercies; even here, the goodness of God cannot be outdone because when we come to Sunday Mass not only do we encounter him but we are able to receive him truly and totally in the Eucharist. If we truly want to be disciples, holy Mass is where that desire should be strengthened and renewed each week: “the Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice (CCC 2181).”
Sunday Mass is far more of an opportunity than an obligation. Faithfully coming to Mass on Sunday will not necessarily make your life easier nor will it make your problems and crosses disappear. It will, however, draw you closer to God and give you graces to push forward through challenges and difficulties, and families that worship together at Sunday Mass will find their bonds strengthened. Absence from Sunday Mass is absence from the divine presence in the Eucharist; removing ourselves from the Eucharist puts us, spiritually, on a dangerous and slippery slope.
So, literally, for love of God, come to Sunday Mass (and on holy days too). God in his goodness has given us 168 hours each week; rendering one hour back to him in praise and thanksgiving is truly not too much to ask. Sometimes it may not be convenient, but so goes life. By faithfully participating at Mass you will find that the Lord will offer you more than you can offer him and you will be all the better for it … we will be all the better for it because together we are the Mystical Body of Christ, called to be his presence in the world.
Father Chris House is rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield and Chancellor for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. This column appeared in Cathedral Weekly Jan. 26.
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.