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.
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.
PEORIA HEIGHTS ― Earlier this year, June Kriesel, a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Mattoon, received the Rite of Definitive Promises with The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Peoria Heights. Her Carmelite name is Mary Therese of the Immaculate Heart.
In the 1880s, Pope Leo XIII had just finished celebrating Mass when he stopped dead in his tracks and saw something that shook him to the core: A vision of demonic spirits, gathering on Rome, came alive before him. A further account says the pope also heard two voices, that of God and of Satan. Satan boasted to God that he could “destroy the church” but asked God for 100 years and more power to do so. God responded, permitting it. After this vision, with a pale and fearful look, Pope Leo XIII immediately composed the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and decreed that it be said after Masses throughout the world.
RIVERTON — On Sept. 1, the Knights of Columbus Marian Council 3914 of Riverton sponsored their first Silver Rose Prayer Service at St. James Church. “Participants were asked to sign and date a pledge to Our Lady of Guadalupe to be prepared to accept the gift of new life and promise to defend human life from conception until the moment when our Lord calls each person to his presence,” says Grand Knight John Marruffo.
On an otherwise dreary and drizzly Sunday afternoon, the sun appropriately came out to shine through the windows of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception just as long-married couples from all over the diocese renewed their commitment to one another.
It was a touching moment for many at the Sept. 8 Mass for Couples Married 50 Years or More, and seemed especially so for Bob and Kathy Kulhan, who traveled to Springfield from Greenville, where they are members of St. Lawrence Parish. “I looked up at my husband and he was crying,” said Kathy after Mass. “Then I got so (flustered) that I couldn’t find what I was supposed to read.
The Office for Catechesis of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, in conjunction with local parishes throughout the diocese, offers faith formation and enrichment courses for adults. These courses, which are open to everyone, are designed to help Catholics grow in faith, respond to questions about the church, and equip people to make faith-filled decisions in their lives.
Candidly, as a father of five not-yet-confirmed children, when I first heard of the concept of “restored order of the sacraments of initiation,” I thought it was a terrible idea to lower the age of confirmation to third grade. As I listened and learned, however, I found myself saying to Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, “Please confirm my children as soon as possible!”
I know many parents and grandparents have the same initial reaction to restored order, so I want to share what changed my mind. Here are answers to the common questions I originally had and what friends ask me today. I hope you find this helpful.
As Catholics, we are all called to discipleship, to be not only followers, but imitators of Christ. It’s a lifelong journey, a slow transformation that starts with “humbly recognizing two things — the truth about ourselves and where we fall short, and the truth about what we are made for — living and loving like Christ” (Into His Likeness by Edward Sri). Of course, imitating Christ requires that we first know Christ.
The diocesan Office for Pro-life Activities and Special Ministries asks that people from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois choose a patron saint for the Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope (DCJH). In this issue, as in the Aug. 18 issue, we are highlighting two of the four saints. We invite everyone to vote for one of the four, either with a coupon that will run in an upcoming issue of Catholic Times, or with an online vote at www.dio.org/dcjh/patronsaint.html. Votes will be due Oct. 6.
CHARLESTON — Deacons play an integral part in the life of our church. Whether it’s weddings, baptisms, reflecting on the Sunday readings, or providing spiritual advice and encouragement, the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is blessed to have 56 permanent deacons ministering to the faithful.
These men are raising children, working full-time jobs, and staying present to their wives, all while serving the church. It can be a challenging lifestyle, but one every deacon says is rewarding and joyful.
After serving 63 years in Japan, a Hospital Sister of St. Francis has returned home to America and Springfield. Sister Elreda Huser, OSF, came to Springfield earlier this year to celebrate the 100th birthday of her sister, Sister Elvon Huser, OSF, in March. While she had intended to remain in the United States until September and then return to Japan, she has requested to remain here permanently.
On June 6, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki issued a decree barring Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton from receiving holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and advising all Illinois Catholic lawmakers who supported extreme abortion legislation to not present themselves to receive holy Communion. The decree came as these lawmakers showed obstinate and persistent support for promoting and advancing the evil of abortion.
EDWARDSVILLE — The Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW) will hold its annual convention on Wednesday, Sept. 25. Different deaneries traditionally take turns hosting the event. This year the Alton deanery is hosting, so the convention will be at St. Boniface Church, 110 N. Buchanan in Edwardsville.
The Key Club at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Springfield, has installed its new student officers for the 2019-2020 school year. Amanda Brown was installed as club president. Additional officers include Vice-President John Schmidt Jr., Secretary Anna Shea, Statistical Secretary Payton Nicoud and Treasurer Caroline Braud. The Key Club at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Springfield, has installed its new student officers for the 2019-2020 school year. Amanda Brown was installed as club president. Additional officers include Vice-President John Schmidt Jr., Secretary Anna Shea, Statistical Secretary Payton Nicoud and Treasurer Caroline Braud.
As we celebrate Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week July 21-27, Catholic Times is highlighting the physical, spiritual, and psychological benefits of NFP, the health risks associated with birth control, and the reasons why the Catholic Church promotes NFP.
So, what is NFP? The United States Council of Catholic Bishops writes that NFP is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. These methods are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Couples using NFP to avoid pregnancy abstain from intercourse during the fertile phase of the woman’s cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy.
Natural Family Planning (NFP) refers to the scientific, fertility-awareness based methods of — you guessed it — family planning. Unlike artificial contraception, NFP takes an all-inclusive approach and is proven to work better than its synthetic counterparts.
On July 21, Chris Malmevik, the director of the Office for Catechesis, will observe her 25th anniversary at the Springfield Catholic Pastoral Center. The very next day she will begin her retirement, bidding farewell to friends in the Springfield office and in parishes throughout the diocese.
Although her titles have changed over the years, Malmevik, who is a member of St. Joseph Parish in Springfield, says she always has been responsible for faith formation and catechesis and all that they involve. It is something she understands well.
PEORIA ― A little more than a week after the mortal remains of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen were transferred from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, on July 6, Pope Francis formally approved a miracle attributable to Archbishop Sheen’s intercession, paving the way for Archbishop Sheen’s Beatification, which will grant him the new title of “Blessed.”
ALTON — The Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George will celebrate the first profession of a novice and the reception into the novitiate of three postulants during holy Mass at 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 2.
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki will be the main celebrant of the Mass, held at St. Mary Church in Alton. He will be joined by several bishops and local and visiting priests.
Collinsville — The ladies of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Collinsville invite you to Women’s Day 2019: “Prove it, God! And he did.” The event will be held Saturday, Aug. 10 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the parish fellowship hall, 207 Vandalia in Collinsville.
Nationally known speaker Patty Schneier will be on hand to describe her journey of discovery, repentance and renewal. The presentation will be enlivened by the strong sense of God’s presence, the power of his Word, and the amazing way he worked to bring a “cafeteria Catholic” to conversion. Through song, Scripture, and journal writing, Schneier will share the story of her challenge to God and his daily response.
An eight-week crash course in learning the Italian language. That’s what seminarians at the Pontifical North American College in Rome go through before they start attending classes in the “Eternal City.” Those classes are taught in Italian. While it is a daunting task to learn a new language in a new city so quickly, for seminarians from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, it’s worth the stress to be chosen to study among the saints in Rome.
How you can help build a home for someone in need?
When you think of the tools you need to be a disciple, do you think of a hammer or saw? Yes, being a disciple can require labor, hard work, and even a little sweat. This fall, you are called to be an active disciple with your mmer, saw, sweat, and all! That’s because parishes from the Springfield deanery are coming together and partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County for a Catholic Build.
For Quincy native Father Peter Harman, there are plenty of perks of living full-time in Rome: the food, culture, history, and architecture for starters. Then, there is living within a five-minute walk of St. Peter’s Basilica, not to mention living among the saints, in the heart of the church universal. That said, there is still no place like home.
The ceiling of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield is inspired from the ceiling of St. Mary Major in Rome, a papal basilica that houses a spectacular and large piece of the Holy Crib, where Jesus lay after his birth in Bethlehem.
Ashley (Puglia) Noronha’s mantra is to live in the present and to simply follow God’s plan. Little did she know, that plan was for a world-wide adventure. After attending Springfield’s Christ the King School and graduating from Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in 1992, she went off to the University of Dayton in Ohio. While working in the world of marketing in Milwaukee after college, she received a master’s in theology.
Springfield — As part of Religious Freedom Week (June 22-30), the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is hosting Denise Burke, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, to discuss the issue of religious freedom, current attacks on this fundamental right, how people can fight back, and victories in the courts.
St. John’s College of Nursing in Springfield will begin a Nursing Preparatory Pipeline Program (NP3) this fall for high school students. The program will give participants a sneak peek into the nursing profession and will provide them with early mentors within the Springfield nursing community.