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By DIANE SCHLINDWEIN
Managing Editor 

As the 2022-2023 school years gets under way, one Catholic high school and 11 Catholic grade schools in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois are relying on new principals to lead the way into the future. On Aug. 2, those individuals gathered at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Springfield to meet with Brandi Borries, superintendent of Catholic schools, as well as other diocesan representatives, to prepare for the upcoming school year and their new leadership roles. 

Borries was happy to meet with the new principals and has this to say about them, “We are excited to welcome 12 new principals to leadership in our diocese. They bring a wealth of experience and connections to their schools. With much gratitude to our teachers, staff, and all of our administrators, who have been tireless in their efforts in recent years, we are looking forward to another fantastic year full of faith, fun, and academic excellence.” 

Let’s visit with the new principals and see what they have to say about their lives and how they aspire to make a positive impact on their staff members and students.

Berhorst LisaLisa Berhorst
Blessed Sacrament School
Quincy

The new principal of Blessed Sacrament School in Quincy is Lisa Berhorst. She is excited to have just begun leading 20 staff members and 215 PreK-8 students. 

Berhorst has a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from Culver-Stockton College, an MBA degree from Mississippi State University, and a master’s degree in early childhood administration from National Louis University. 

She has been the director at 10th Street Children’s Academy in Quincy as well as an adjunct professor at Culver-Stockton College. 

Berhorst says she is looking forward to what her new job has to offer — and what she has to offer her staff and students. “This role will allow myself to grow our student’s faith in everyday life,” she said. 

Berhorst and her family are members of Blessed Sacrament Parish.  She and her husband  B.J. have seven children — two at Quincy Notre Dame High School and five at Blessed Sacrament. 


Bjorkman BrookeBrooke Bjorkman
Holy Family School
Granite City 

Brooke Bjorkman is the new principal of Holy Family School in Granite City, where she is leading a staff of about 16 to 18 individuals and approximately 160 students in PreK to eighth grade. She has her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Saint Louis University and her master’s in educational leadership from SIUE. 

Bjorkman began her career teaching second grade in Mehlville School District before moving to Arizona where she taught grades 1-3 for the Tempe School District. After four years of teaching in Arizona, she moved back to the St. Louis area where she was able to stay home with her children for 10 years, and attained her master’s degree. She then worked part-time as a reading specialist in the Collinsville School District before moving to Florida, where she taught children in grades K-5. “At the end of the 2021-2022 school year, I had the opportunity to move home,” she said. “At that time, I am honored to say I was hired as the new principal of Holy Family Catholic School.”

As a principal she feels passionate about guiding her school to be successful, both academically and spiritually. “This is an ever-changing and complex world we live in; it is important that our students are prepared through their faith to navigate the obstacles ahead of them,” she said. “I deeply believe in every individual in my care and am driven to keep Christ at the center of our academic days.” 

Bjorkman says she is the proud mom of five vibrant kids — two that are freshman at SIUE, one that is a high school junior and two that are beginning their freshman year of high school. 


Brummer JenniferJennifer Brummer
Our Lady of Lourdes School
Decatur

Jennifer Brummer has been hired as the new principal of Our Lady of Lourdes School in Decatur, where she is heading up a staff of about 25 individuals as well as 220 students in grades Pre-3 through eight. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Illinois College and a master’s degree in education administration from Grand Canyon University. 

Brummer has been the assistant principal at St. Teresa High School in Decatur for the past three years. She was the junior high science teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes from 2010-2018.  She has also taught science for the Pana School District, at Franklin Middle School in Springfield, and at Warrensburg-Latham Junior High. 

A member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Brummer says through a variety of life experiences, God has been preparing her to be a Catholic school principal. “All my paths keep leading me back to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School,” she said. “I am equipped with the faith, passion, commitment, drive, grit, and history that it takes to be an effective leader. One of the many blessings of being in a Catholic school setting is feeling closer to God through interactions with others, enabling me to strengthen my own Catholic faith and identity and allowing me the opportunity to share my beliefs and witness with the students, families, and faculty in our Catholic school community.” 

Brummer says one of her favorite quotes is, “God’s gift to you: potential. Your gift to God: developing it.” She said, “Being the principal at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School will help me continue my quest of getting the most out of the potential God has given me and I pray that my influence will help those around me to do the same.”

Brummer and her husband, Mark Brummer, have four children. Morgan is a 2021 graduate of St. Teresa; twins Matthew and Joseph are seniors at St. Teresa; and their youngest, Julianne, is a fifth-grader at Our Lady of Lourdes. 


Burch GwenGwen Burch
St. Norbert School
Hardin

Gwen Burch has accepted the position as principal of St. Norbert School in Hardin, where she is leading five teachers and 56 students in grades K-8. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management and leadership from Blackburn College, and a master’s of business administration from Quincy University. 

Burch says that leading St. Norbert reminds her that she has come full circle at the school. “I had the pleasure of attending St. Norbert School as a child, and the lessons learned, especially those relating to faith formation, I have carried throughout my life,” she said. “I have closely observed and been involved in operations of the school as a parent of two current students, in addition to having served for several years on the advisory board and support club.

“Having served in those roles, combined with my experience managing the operations of our parish office, I believe will allow for a smooth transition wherein I will be able to effectively administer the operation of our school. I am excited for this opportunity to lead St. Norbert School. I look forward to working with our wonderful faculty to provide quality Catholic education for the children of our community.”

Burch continues that she is prepared to do her personal best for the school. “I will do my best, along with the staff, to instill in our students the values of our Catholic faith, and to continue the legacy of our school whereby our students have gone forth from our halls to be shining examples of scholarship, leadership, and service.”

Burch and her husband, Charles, live outside of Kampsville, with their two daughters, Charlee who is in fifth grade, and Greta who is a third-grader.  They are members of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Hardin. 


Carlson MichaelMichael Carlson
St. Patrick Catholic School
Springfield  

After teaching for over 10 years, Michael Carlson says he is looking forward to leading the 65 students in grades PreK-5 and 12 staff members at St. Patrick Catholic School in Springfield. 

Carlson,  who has his master’s in religion and literature from Yale Divinity School and a master’s in English from Eastern Illinois University, says his background in teaching humanities subjects in Catholic and private schools will help him to help others.

“The mission of Catholic education brings good news to the poor; in the case of St. Pat’s, the students are low-income and hungry for both academic and spiritual truth,” said Carlson, who is a member of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish.  “We live that mission if we treat every St. Pat’s student as Christ in unfamiliar form, inspire their minds to see the ultimate truth, and guide every soul to faith in action. I want to lead St. Pat’s because I believe that this school truly brings good news to our students and their families.” 


Coady JoanneJoanne Coady
St. Mary School
Taylorville

Joanne Coady is proud that she is the principal of St. Mary School in Taylorville, the place where she attended when she was a girl. There she is leading 20 staff members and approximately 35 preschool students and 100 students in grades K-6. 

“I am a graduate of St. Mary School as well as my children,” she said. “I am actively involved in the parish through singing in the choir, eucharistic minister, RCIA team member, and a PSR teacher, preparing students for sacraments.” 

Coady has both  a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in special education from Eastern Illinois University, as well as endorsements in general administration and special education supervision from that university. 

Coady and her husband, Mark, are the parents of Danielle (deceased), Jennifer, Johnathan, Joshua, Matthew, and Elizabeth. They also have 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. 

She spent nine years with Mid-State Special Education, as a teacher of self-contained elementary special education for students in grades 3-5 for eight years, and resource and self-contained teacher for grades 7-12 for one year. Additionally, Coady spent 15 years as a teacher at Central A & M CUD #21, Kemmerer Village Residential Treatment Center for grades 6-12 and then 10 years as principal at that same place. 

“My inspiration to become a teacher came from my first-grade teacher at St. Mary’s, so what better way to end my career in education than at the school where it all began. I love what I do and I want to be that same inspiration to my students,” she said.  “My life has come full circle.” 


Harmon TimothyTimothy J. Harmon
Marquette Catholic High School
Alton 

Timothy Harmon was named principal of Marquette Catholic High School in Alton after spending part of the 2021-2022 school year as the interim principal.  At the school he is leading 45 to 50 faculty members and 415 students. He has a bachelor’s degree in history with a secondary education teaching certificate, a master’s degree in history, and is working on his education specialist degree.

Harmon has been at Marquette since the 2012-2013 school year. “I have held several positions at Marquette, from dual credit teachers, to boys soccer coach, to girls soccer coach, to boys tennis coach, to National Honor Society faculty monitor, to assistant athletic director, to bus driver, to dean of students, to principal,” he said, adding that he always tries to lead by example. 

“In particular, I believe it is important for me as principal to show that I am strong in my faith, support the Catholic Church, have a presence in the Church, both through attending Mass and through volunteering,” he said. “I think it is important to lead with compassion. I want to show students, parents, faculty, and staff that they have a leader who cares about them and wants the best for them.

“I want the students to know that I support them through everything they do, not just schoolwork, but friendships, their walk in faith, and their overall well-being. For parents, I want them to know that they have someone who supports their mission for their sons and/or daughters in a Catholic education,” he said. “As for the faculty and staff, I want them to know they are supported in doing their jobs how they need to be done and that I am here for them whatever they may need. I believe that leadership can truly make or break a school and I hope to be a great leader for Marquette Catholic, now and in the future.” 

A member of St. Mary Parish in Fieldon, Harmon and his wife, Natasha, have one daughter, Ava, who attends St. Francis/Holy Ghost in Jerseyville. 


Hart RussRussell Hart
St. John Neumann Catholic School
Maryville

Russell Hart says he is ready for a good year at St. John Neumann School in Maryville, where he is now leading 31 staff members and 240 students in grades PreK-8. His personal education includes a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Ball State University, a master’s degree in school administration from University of North Texas, and a bachelor’s in nursing from Wright State University.

Hart was principal of St. Joseph Freeburg for three years, principal of Gibault Catholic High School for 15 years, and for the last three years, has been a teacher at Father McGivney Catholic High School in Glen Carbon.

“Catholic schools are special places because their values do not change, they bring structure and moral direction to all those in the building,” he said. “The opportunity to serve again later in life is a blessing I just could not pass up.” 

Hart is a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Columbia. He and his wife, Diana, have two sons, Brian and Brett. 


Hogg ElizabethElizabeth Hogg
St. Mary School
Alton

Elizabeth Hogg is the interim principal at St. Mary School in Alton. This year she is leading 25 teachers and over 15 additional staff members, along with 320 students in grades PreK-8. 

She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and has spent the last 27 years at St. Mary. “This is my 28th year, with 23 years in the classroom and four years as dean of students,” she said.

“St. Mary’s has become a family to me,” she said. “We have a fantastic staff. I feel blessed to have this interim position.”

Hogg and her husband, Jim, live in Alton. They have a grown son who is a paramedic at Alton Memorial Hospital. She is a member of St. Mary Parish. 


Kenny BryanBryan Kenney
Holy Family School
Decatur

Bryan Kenney is leading Holy Family School in Decatur, where he has not only attended, but has also taught in the past. There he is leading 25 staff members and approximately 250 students who are in PreK 3 through eighth grade. 

Kenney has his associate’s degree in science from Richland Community College, his bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Millikin University, his master’s in elementary education from Greenville University, and his master’s in educational leadership from the American College of Education.

He taught mathematics and was athletic director at Our Lady of Lourdes in Decatur for seven years, taught mathematics and PE at Holy Family for one year, and taught mathematics for two years at Johns Hill Magnet School. 

“I have been involved in some way with the Catholic school system my whole life,” he said. “I am a proud Holy Family and St. Teresa graduate, as was my mother. It is my hope that my kids will also be Holy Family and St. Teresa graduates. I have seen firsthand how great a Catholic school can be in providing an excellent faith-based education. Being in a leadership position allows me to work with the excellent staff currently in place to ensure a successful school and future for Holy Family.”

Kenney is a lifelong member of Holy Family Parish. He and his wife, Holly, have two children, Howie, 3, and Rookey, 2. 


koger J dahJ’dah Koger
St. Louis Catholic School
Nokomis

J’dah Koger spent the 2021-2022 school year as assistant principal of St. Louis Catholic School in Nokomis. This year she began her first year as principal of the school, which has 17 staff members and 65 students who are in PreK through eighth grade. 

Koger has her bachelor’s degree in radio, TV, and digital media from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in education administration. She was formerly a teacher’s assistant and a student activities assistant. 

Koger is a parishioner at St. Louis Parish and has three children, two who are students at St. Louis School.


Radel JulieJulie Radel
St. Francis Solanus School
Quincy

Julie Radel is the new principal at St. Francis Solanus School in Quincy, where she is leading 24 teachers and 256 students in grades PreK-8. 

Radel has a bachelor’s degree in education from Illinois College and a master’s degree in elementary education with a specialization in early childhood education from Western Illinois University.  Moreover, she has 33 credit hours beyond a master’s. 

Although she has been teaching first and second grade at St. Francis over the past five years, Radel spent 25 years as a public school teacher, instructing younger students. 

“St. Francis is a family,” she said. “Generations are committed to Catholic education. It is such a faith-filled community with a Franciscan tradition.” 

Radel is a member of St. Peter Parish.  She and her husband, Ted, have a son, Joseph, who is a sophomore at Quincy Notre Dame. 

‘Why are you Catholic?’

How that one question from one special person made Sean Hussey, a record-breaking high school quarterback who played at the University of Illinois, fall in love with the faith, work for the Church, and now teach theology at St. Anthony High School in Effingham 

By ANDREW HANSEN
Editor 

One thing Sean Hussey is known for at Charleston High School is dominance. A 2013 graduate, Hussey spent many Friday nights tearing apart defenses as a star quarterback. A First Team All-State selection, he holds records for passing yards, touchdowns, and completions in a game, season, and career at the school. After graduation, he then made the University of Illinois football team as a walk-on quarterback before transferring to Eastern Illinois University. 

While his mind as a teenager was focused on athletics, he was going through the motions of living our faith. That’s when one special person asked a very simple but profound question that led him on a journey he would never expect, including becoming a theology teacher at St. Anthony High School in Effingham this year. 

Catholic Times editor Andrew Hansen interviewed Hussey to share his story of how falling in love with our faith changed everything. 

Hussey 6Q. You grew up in a Catholic household and went to Mass every Sunday and would go to confession, but despite that, you have said during that time in your life, “Your heart was far from God. You had no relationship with Him.”

A. My parents are unbelievable people. “Saints” Kevin and Kathy. They taught me and my four older siblings to love God, and that was clearly the priority of their life. So, I had a really solid foundation of what should be the priority or what should be essential to my life. For whatever reason, especially in middle school and high school, during these high school football days, being Catholic to some degree was important to me. I would lead prayers before and after the game and that would become a tradition, so there was clearly something in me my parents fostered, but I was living this double life. Going through the motions, I didn’t really see, while important, how it (the Catholic faith) really applied to my life. So, on the one hand, professing to be a Christian, but I lived another way and became entrenched in a life of sin, a life of selfishness, and my life was fixed on “all about me.” I’ve heard the more entrenched we are in sin, the more rational it becomes, and that was where I was at in high school. 

Hussey 4Q. It was your senior year in high school when a question was asked of you from someone you least expected. A classmate, Paige, who was a prayerful Protestant and one you were interested in, asked you, “Why are you Catholic?” Take us back to that moment, what you remember?

A. The more I thought (about that question), the more it hit me. For whatever reason, that was never a question that I ever considered. She loved Jesus, and she was pursuing a relationship with Him, and that was a really clear part about her life, and there was something about her life I was attracted to beyond just her physical beauty, and that was it — that she was different than my other classmates. She prayed every day, and she read Scripture every day, which are two things I never thought of doing. 

From her perspective, (asking that question) didn’t come from a place of hostility necessarily. She just didn’t see how somebody could claim to follow Jesus and be a Catholic. So, she wanted to know why I was Catholic. 

Do you remember what you said?

Nothing good. I think I said my family is Catholic, and I’m raised Catholic, but I don’t know, and beyond that, I’m not really sure why. As soon as I left (for college), this question was going through my mind, and I started to spend a lot of time thinking about it and diving more into that question.   

Q. Tangibly, that simple question then started a whole new journey for you?

A. Because of the foundation I had, I never considered not going to Mass. So, I continued to do that. Meanwhile that summer, I had a real intellectual pursuit of that question, and the first place I did that was reading Scripture for the first time on my own, especially the New Testament. I was very moved by the New Testament and Jesus, the Apostles, and their writings. I was convinced I was seeing Catholicism everywhere. These things that I grew up being taught, things like the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the necessity of baptism, the necessity to confess our sins — all these things I was seeing reading the New Testament. Paige (who I was dating then) was reading the New Testament so I thought this is a great place to start, and we read through it together. As I was having this intellectual discovery, I was having this intellectual conversion. I became not only convinced of Catholicism, but the foundation of Catholicism, Jesus Christ. 

I remember some Tuesday morning before workout, going to the chapel on campus, and having my first honest confession. If this is true, and I believe it is true, then my life needs to look different, and what I need first is mercy. 

Q. After college, you worked for a parish in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and then for the diocese itself in ministry. Were you expecting to work for the Church?

A. Early on after that conversion, I never expected it. But there was a person I met who really made an impact on my desire to want to work for the Church, and his name is Norm. I met him actually at the University of Illinois. Norm is a Protestant Christian. Norm really discipled me. Norm was just a model for me on what it looked like to be a disciple. Norm taught me not only to know things about Jesus, he taught me how to follow Him. How to cultivate a daily prayer life, how to read Scripture every day, how to make Scripture an essential part of your life, how to hear God’s voice through Scripture, and how to witness your faith. 

That kind of approach is what I became attracted to. I had the opportunity in college to do that with my peers, to meet with people one-on-one, to lead small groups and things like that, and throughout that time, I really felt like the Lord was calling me to that for a career.  

Hussey 1Q. This year, you are teaching theology at St. Anthony High School in Effingham. Why did you choose to teach theology and come back to Central Illinois?

A. The Lord opened some doors to make that happen. I feel like the Lord is asking me to share the Gospel with my life and make sure I am doing that in the context of relationships and certainly what I was doing with the Archdiocese allowed me to do that. I wasn’t really looking to leave the position I was in actually, but at the same time, I got married to Paige, we have two little kids now, and we had been praying intentionally the past couple of years for an opportunity to move closer to Charleston. I didn’t know how that would work out but if God wanted us to come back, He would open up a door. Father Michael Berndt (parochial vicar at St. Anthony Parish), a friend of mine, called me and told me about this position. There were a lot of things that looked like this wouldn’t work out, but all the doors, the Lord opened those, and a great opportunity for us to continue to work for the Church and move closer to home.

Q. So many young adults and teens who are Catholic are not practicing our faith. How do you hope to bring them back as a theology teacher?

A. Pope Benedict XVI said that being a Christian is not the result of being an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but it’s an event, it’s an encounter with a person. I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I don’t have a relationship with theology. Jesus is who set me free. St. Paul says in Galatians, “It is for freedom (that) Christ has set us free.” More than anything, I hope to introduce students to the person and the work of Jesus Christ. Hopefully anything I say or the theology we study is just a means to an end, a means to encounter Jesus more fully in their life. Hopefully, I can model what it looks like. 

Q. You are now married to Paige as you mentioned, who also converted to Catholicism. You have two children. In a culture that is seeing less people get married and so many broken marriages, you two are embracing the sacrament. What has made marriage special for you?

A. Paige is an amazing woman, and I love being married to her because she leads me closer to Jesus every day. That is what marriage is all about. It’s a vocation. It’s something we discern. I have discerned the call to the vocation of marriage. Being married to Paige, we have a responsibility, primarily, to lead each other closer to Christ. it was important for us to get married in the Church because it’s not about us but a unified pursuit of Christ, and together we can help in leading one another and our children to Heaven. 

Hussey 7Q. You are also the host of a popular podcast called Cold Brews and Catholic Truths with more than 15,000 subscribers. Why did you start it, and what is it all about?

A. I felt like I was given certain gifts to teach, and I would love to share some of the things in my own conversion and make a few videos about those things. So, I made a few videos and put them on YouTube. I thought probably no one would see them but some friends and family would and that will lead to some good conversations, and that would be it. Then, COVID shut the world down and we were at home and my wife sat me down and she said that she thinks I have gifts to speak and to share the Gospel and talk about the truth of Catholicism, and I should take that YouTube Channel a little more seriously. Initially, I was not that interested because it sounded like a lot of work, which it is. Providentially, one of those videos I made six months (prior), caught some traction and started to take off on YouTube. It seemed like a clear sign to commit to doing one a week and see how this goes. It was out a desire to share the beauty and truth of Catholicism, and specifically some of the things I have found so convincing that have brought me so much joy to my life as a Catholic. 

Q. What is your message to teens and young people today who seem to only care about becoming a celebrity and have become so disconnected from faith?

A. All of those things will pass away. St. Paul says that the things that are seen and are transient are passing. It’s the things that are unseen that are eternal. Our identity is being a child of God. That is the only thing that can never be taken away from us. 

Blessed Chiara Badano (1971-1990) was a young teenager, a beautiful woman, was very popular, had a lot of friends, was an athlete, was good at tennis, and had a lot of going for her in the eyes of the world and a lot of these things we seek after. In the midst of all that, she was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor/cancer. She started to lose all these things she could have defined herself by. She started to lose her physical appearance, she started losing her hair, she started to lose friends and popularity and relationships, and lost her athletic ability. Ultimately, she lost her life. But, in the midst of that tremendous suffering, she was somebody who knew that as good as any of those things are, all of those things can and will pass away, but my identity as a daughter of God cannot. She had this deep sense of joy, this deep sense of peace that no matter what things she lost in this world, she knew she would never lose her relationship with Christ. So, don’t seek after those things. Seek after the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.   

Q. So, when you think back to that question Paige asked you in high school, “Why are you Catholic?” what is your response today?

A. Because Catholicism is true. G.K. Chesterton said that there are 10,000 reasons why I am Catholic all amounting to one reason which is that Catholicism is true. I believe that Jesus is God, I believe that Jesus came in the flesh to redeem us from our sins, to reconcile man back to God. The good news is that God demonstrates His love for us and while we are sinners, Christ died for me. I am so grateful for the gift of salvation and the fullness of that gift is given to us in the Catholic Church, the Church Jesus Himself established. He gives His grace to us through the Church and through the sacraments. So, those are the reasons I am Catholic.  

Answers taken and edited from Andrew Hansen’s interview with Sean Hussey on Dive Deep, the official podcast of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. To hear their full conversation, go to dio.org/podcast or search “Dive Deep” on all the major podcast platforms. 

Tuesday, 09 August 2022 14:45

What's in a church (part 1)

Objects you’ve seen before but didn’t know the name or rich history/symbolism behind them
(Part 1 of 2)

By RYAN KEHOE and GRANT WILSON 
Special to Catholic Times

There are dozens of objects used during Mass, seen on the walls of our churches, and found in the sanctuary. Whether it is the name of the object, the history, the symbolism behind why it is used, or how it came about, Catholic Times presents to you interesting facts about objects found in our churches that may make you say, “I didn’t know that!”

(Photos by Andrew Hansen taken at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield.)

1Sanctus bells — These are struck once at the epiclesis when the priest celebrant calls down the Holy Spirit over the bread and wine. The bells are then traditionally rung three times each when the priest celebrant shows the sacred Host and when he shows the chalice following the consecration. This ringing has been a tradition in Catholic churches for 800 years. The ringing of these bells is optional, but it helps signal to the faithful that the liturgy has reached its high point.


2Icon — Traditionally associated with Eastern Christianity, an icon is a sacred image used in religious devotion. This icon was commissioned for the sesquicentennial celebration of the diocese and is entitled The Mother of God, the Life-Giving Spring. Mary is depicted holding Jesus, surrounded by angels and various holy men and women. On her left is the title "Mother of God" and on her right is the title "Life-Giving Spring." Icons are filled with rich symbolism, some of it clearly seen and some hidden.

We call the candles in front of icons and statues "votive candles.” Catholics may make use of votive candles in prayer, asking Mary or a particular saint to pray for their needs. Just as we ask our friends and family to pray for our intentions, so we can also ask the saints to pray for our intentions, since the saints are with God in Heaven.


3Paschal candle — This represents the risen Christ whose light has come into the world to scatter the darkness. Each parish purchases a new one each year, and a priest blesses it. It is used during the Easter season and other special occasions, like baptisms and funerals.  

Each Paschal candle has a cross, the Greek letters “alpha” and “omega” to show that Jesus Christ is the beginning and end, the one who created everyone and everything; the current year, to show that God is with his people today; and five wax-covered incense grains that are inserted with nails into the candle to represent the five wounds of Jesus on the cross.


4Statues —This is a statue of Mary and St. Ann, Mary’s mother. Catholics put statues of saints in churches, homes, and businesses because, just as we ask our friends and family to pray for us when we need help or support, we ask saints to pray for us. We use statues or images to remind us of their help and presence in our lives. Also, just as people display pictures of family and friends in their homes, Catholics display images of saints because they are our family and friends in Christ.


5Stations of the Cross — This is a series of 14 images that depict scenes from the day of the Lord Jesus’ passion and death. Done especially during the season of Lent, but at any time of the year, Catholics pray and meditate on these events by processing or walking from image to image. This tradition originated in the Holy Land in the 1400s, where pilgrims followed a certain route and made stops at places where significant events in Jesus’ life happened all the while meditating and remembering his passion and death.


6Confessional — Most churches have a small room or kneelers which are built to face each other but which are separated by a wall or other barrier called a “confessional.” This is where Catholics confess their sins to a priest, who acts in the person of Jesus Christ and forgives them. Catholics believe that Jesus delegated the authority to forgive sins to his Apostles, an event recorded in the Gospels of Matthew (16:18) and John (20:22). Jesus gave this authority to priests — to forgive the sins of those who come to confess. 

The tradition of confessing sins is mentioned by early Christians, such as St. Irenaeus, who was taught by a disciple of St. John the Apostle; by Origen, a Christian writer from the 200s, and by St. Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, Italy from the 300s, who said that the right of hearing and forgiving sins “is given to priests only.”


7Holy water font — These are usually found near the entrances to a church and have holy water in them which is blessed water by a priest or deacon. When Catholics enter church, they dip their finger in the holy water and make the Sign of the Cross to remind them of their own baptism. Holy water is called a sacramental, a sacred object or action which signifies spiritual effects and helps people to receive the sacraments. 


8Pew and kneeler — Kneelers were not used in early Christian churches. They are a modern development and have only been a part of the Catholic Mass since the 1500s. During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church encouraged people to use them during Mass to emphasize each person’s humble position before God.  


9Papal flag — Pope Pius XI adopted the current Papal flag in 1929 when Vatican City became an independent state. It is modeled on the earlier flag used by the Papal States. The flag has the triple papal tiara, the pope’s crown, which symbolizes his authority. Below the crown, there are two keys, one silver and one gold. These represent the keys to the kingdom of Heaven which Jesus gave to Peter. The two different colored keys symbolize that Peter and his successors have both spiritual and worldly power. In many churches, the Papal flag and the national flag can be found.


10Crucifix — The image of Jesus nailed to the cross is called the “crucifix.” Catholic churches have used this image for over 1,000 years. It is used as a witness to Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and death and to honor what Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians: “We proclaim Christ crucified.” According to liturgical law, every church must have a crucifix on or near the altar. 

Why, with already so many of the rubrics and language changes in the New Mass, would there be a good reason for omitting the Confiteor from being said at the Sacrifice of the Mass? (Editor’s note: The Confiteor is the prayer that begins with, “I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words … .”
Maxine in Collinsville/Maryville

In the Order of Mass, Mother Church provides three possible options for the Penitential Act (nos. 4-6). The Order of Mass does not indicate if one of the three options is to be preferred over another. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal also does not indicate if one of the options is to be preferred. Rather, it simply says, “the Priest calls upon the whole community to take part in the Penitential Act, which, after a brief pause for silence, it does by means of a general confession. The rite concludes with the Priest’s absolution, which, however, lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance” (no. 51).

Of these three options, the third form is likely the one with which most Catholics are familiar. The priest invites the congregation to call to mind their sins, after which the priest or the deacon says three invocations directed to Christ Jesus. After each of the invocations, the congregation responds with either “Lord, have mercy” or with “Christ have mercy” (no. 7). This third option does not involve the praying of the Confiteor (the beginning of which, in English, is, “I confess to Almighty God … .”). 

The second option provided for the Penitential Act is, for whatever reason, rarely utilized. The priest invites the congregation to call to mind their sins, after which he says, “Have mercy on us, Lord,” to which the people reply, “For we have sinned against you.” The priest then says, “Show us, O Lord, your mercy,” to which the people say, “And grant us your salvation.” Then follows the non-sacramental absolution and “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.” This second option also does not involve the Confiteor.

In the first option for the Penitential Act, the priest invites the congregation to remember their sins, after which all pray the Confiteor together. Then follows the non-sacramental absolution and “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.”

Because the liturgical books do not provide a hierarch for these three options, the celebrant of the Mass is free to choose whichever option he prefers. It may be that a priest might choose the first option on more solemn occasions and use one of the other options other days. Regardless of which option a priest uses, we should remember that what the Church allows, the Church allows.

 - Father Daren Zehnle is pastor at St. Augustine Parish in Ashland and is the director for the Office of Divine Worship and the Catechumenate for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. 

08 07 2022 OSMM mater dolorosa paintingOur Sorrowful Mother’s Ministry
Looking back at 25 years of healing and reconciliation in Vandalia
By DIANE SCHLINDWEIN
Managing Editor 

VANDALIA — It was 1997 when, with a bare bones budget, Debbie Pryor and Vanessa Keck founded Our Sorrowful Mother’s Ministry (OSMM) in Vandalia. What they did have was a fervent desire to provide a place of love and mercy that encouraged reconciliation with one another and with God. Today OSMM continues to flourish, and holds frequent retreats, priests talks, confession, Mass, and has active prayer teams. 

Ann Stock, a devoted community member of Our Sorrowful Mother’s Ministry said, “Initially, their goal was to provide knowledge and evangelization to our immediate community and parish. Our pastor at the time, Father Stephen Sotiroff, was very supportive and saw this as what was needed for the parish and even the world to grow in their faith life.” 

The ministry has always had the purpose of personal healing for people, she said. “As the years have passed, we have moved on to helping people grow in their interior lives, spiritual growth, forgiveness, and reconciliation with God and others.”

Father Peter Mary Rookey, OSM, was an internationally known healing priest who became a mentor to Pryor and Keck and was instrumental in encouraging them in the beginning of the ministry. Many other priests have provided advice and guidance over the years including Father John Titus, Msgr. Stuart Swetland, Father Bill Casey, CPM, and all the various pastors at Mother of Dolors. Most recently, Father Chad Ripperger has been a mentor and spiritual father to OSMM. 

Currently Father Seth Brown, pastor of Our Mother of Dolors Parish in Vandalia and St. Joseph Parish in Ramsey, is the chaplain and spiritual advisor to the ministry. “We are so grateful to have Father Seth here,” said Pryor. “He is a real gift of support and encouragement.”

Pryor adds that they have “been blessed with two holy bishops” who led them to the truth of the Church and have been close advisors. Bishop (now Archbishop) George Lucas led the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois for the first years and now, of course, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki is the diocesan bishop. Bishop Paprocki initiated and carried out the designation of OSMM as a Private Association of the Faithful. He also named and blessed the 6,000-square-feet Sanctuary of the Sorrowful Mother, which was built in 2012.

“The Sanctuary came about because of our need for our own building,” Stock said. “For the first 15 years, we rented the local school buildings and the Mother of Dolors parish center for our retreats. Because of the growth of the ministry, it became apparent that we needed our own building to house all we needed to host those events. The number of books and sacramentals we had also grown, and we needed a place to display them. 

“With much prayer, it was discerned that we would build our own place,” she said. “A number of community people confirmed this, but one in particular was in the position to put up the initial finances to get started. With the building well under way, this person became ill and was not able to complete the project. Through the generous support of donors, the building and the ministry in general is able to continue.  It all God’s Providence.” 

The Sanctuary, where Mass is said and retreats are held, holds about 100 people, and has a reception area, a gift shop, and several side rooms and chapels. The Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the Stabat Mater Dolorosa chapel. There are several other buildings on the grounds including Bethany House, which is reserved for priests to stay during the retreats and also has a chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved; House of Mary and Martha, which is used privately; and House of the Immaculate, which was recently purchased and will be a place where prayer teams meet. 

Of course, Pryor and Keck are both still leading the ministry with the help of the OSMM community, a group of people who assist them in a variety of ways during retreats. The helpers are members of prayer teams, handle welcomes and registration, make announcements and introductions, work in the bookstore, provide meals for speakers and other community members, and complete other tasks that help to accommodate participants. 

“I think an important thing for people to understand about OSMM is that it is Our Lord’s and Our Lady’s ministry,” Stock said. “We did not begin with a plan. We just took one step and hosted our first event. Then God showed us what was next through people who discerned God’s will or advice from trusted priests.”   

Stock says even after a quarter of a century, OSMM is not well known. “Even though we have been doing this for 25 years, we often hear people from our own diocese say they had no idea that this ministry is in Vandalia. People would have to travel all over the country to hear the speakers we have hosted.

“When people visit OSMM, they can expect to meet people just like themselves. People who love the faith and the Church and want to share that with others,” Stock said. “It is a relaxed experience, where people can just come and listen to speakers, come and go as they please. More often, people come and feel the presence of the Holy Spirit here. They find themselves becoming more engaged and speak and visit with community members and often share their faith stories. We have many people who have been coming for years and we know them as friends. We are always welcoming new people and forming lasting relationships.” 

OSMM is open only during retreats. “We do have people call and we will meet them there to show them around or shop at our store,” she said. “We have hosted small groups, also.” 

Stock says OSMM’s future continues to be in God’s hands. “Whether it was to step out in faith and purchase a building knowing the funds would somehow be provided, or to take another direction with our retreats, it was all through Divine Providence,” she said. “Our response has been open to wherever we are led. Like Mary’s ‘Fiat,’ when God asks us to do something, we do it without question. It has been this way the entire 25 years. There is still no master plan we have for the ministry; we will continue until God tells us to stop.”

For more information about Our Sorrowful Mother’s Ministry, to see a list of their upcoming events/talks, and learn about their retreats, go to www.osmm.org.

In the part of the Mass where we recite the Nicene Creed, one line says, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” If that be the case, then no one is in Heaven yet because no one will be risen until judgement day?
Ray in Staunton

We cannot earn Heaven — it is by total grace. However, we will be judged by God based on how we have used our free will in this earthly life (cf. Matthew 25:40,45 … “whatever you did or did not do ... ,” among many other citations in Scripture). Catholics believe that there will be two judgements by God at different moments: a particular judgement on an individual basis, which happens immediately after death, and a last or final judgement on a public or all-encompassing basis. 

When you die, you will receive what is called a “particular judgement.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church states it this way: “[E]ach will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith.” This means that those who have already gone before us have received their particular judgement from God. Upon death, one’s soul is either sent to Hell immediately or rewarded with Heavenly paradise (either immediately or eventually through purification in purgatory). Therefore, many souls are already enjoying Heaven right now. Eternal life exists without bodily resurrection. The “perfection” of eternal life is the union of body and soul in Heaven (the only two people who have achieved this already are Jesus and Mary). 

Put another way, righteous souls who have passed away and that are currently in Heaven are not yet “complete,” however, as they do not have their bodies. We also profess in the Nicene Creed the “resurrection of the dead,” in which our souls will be reunited with our glorified bodies. This is where the Last Judgement comes into place, in which the good we did or did not do in our life will be seen by all (CCC 1038, 1039 and Matt 25:31, 32, 46).

This all may sound rather frightening, but if taken in the right way, it should call us to conversion while there is still time. It should also make us desire Heaven over all earthly things! God desires everyone to be in Heaven, yet some reject His grace. The Church encourages us to hope, pray, believe, and to “stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13).

Father Michael Berndt is parochial vicar at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Effingham.

08 07 2022 women of distinction WOD honoree sue green accepts honor

They are selfless, faith faith-filled Catholics who are prayer warriors, disciples of Christ, and dedicated to building up the Kingdom of God. On July 23, dozens of women from parishes across the diocese were honored for their outstanding leadership and service to God, the Church, and their parish at The Our Lady of Good Counsel Women of Distinction Mass and Award Celebration at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Springfield. This event was hosted by the Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW). 

Parishes in our diocese are invited each year to choose one woman to represent all the outstanding women in their parish. Several priests, deacons, family, and friends of the honorees were in attendance. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki was the principal celebrant of the Mass and presenter of the Women of Distinction Awards. 

The celebration also honored several high schoolers with scholarships from the SDCCW. Those include Ava Kessler (Holy Cross Parish in Wendelin), Grace Lynch (Holy Family Parish in Decatur), Jenna Ochs (St. Mary’s Assumption Parish in Sainte Marie), Monica Wendle (St. Mary Parish in Alton). 

Alton Deanery

  • Peggy Butkovich, Holy Angels, Wood River
  • Charlotte Charbonnier, St. Elizabeth, Granite City
  • Patricia L. Klasner, St. Ambrose, Godfrey
  • Linda Leleniewski, Holy Family, Granite City
  • Patricia Mueller, St. Jerome, Troy
  • Kathy Jo Parker, Mother of Perpetual Help, Maryville
  • Brenda Tebbe, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Bethalto
  • Shirley Caperton, St. Elizabeth, Marine
  • Benna Denue, St. Boniface, Edwardsville
  • Patti Kruegel, Ss. Peter and Paul, Alton
  • Delores Bruncic, St. Mary and St. Mark, Madison
  • Shirley Landolt, Sacred Heart, Livingston
  • Shirley Potthast, St. Lawrence, Greenville

Jerseyville Deanery

  • Shelley Becker, St. John Paul II, Mt. Olive
  • Cindy Borklund, Holy Family, Litchfield
  • Janice R. Charnisky, St. Louis, Nokomis
  • Eduvigas “Vicky” Crye, Sacred Heart, Virden
  • Julie Goetten, St. Mary, Fieldon
  • Teresa Goetten, Holy Ghost, Jerseyville
  • Marlene Marten, St. Raymond, Raymond
  • Carolyn Masinelli, St. Michael the Archangel, Staunton
  • Mary Kay Newman, Ss. Simon and Jude, Gillespie
  • Barbara Ryan, St. Agnes, Hillsboro
  • Mary Jane Schmidt, St. Mary, Farmersville
  • Joyce Vaughn, St. Francis Xavier, Jerseyville
  • Denise Linn, St. John the Evangelist, Carrollton
  • Rose Marie Tebbe, St. Joseph, Benld

Mattoon Deanery

  • Barbara Bierman, St. Isidore the Farmer, Dieterich
  • Lori Creek, St. Columcille, Sullivan
  • Sue Green, St. Anthony of Padua, Effingham
  • Jeanne Gross, Immaculate Conception, Mattoon
  • Carole Halloran, St. Aloysius, North Arm
  • Lucille (Lucy) Hewing, Sacred Heart, Effingham
  • Pat Jackson, Mother of Dolors, Vandalia
  • Linda Mertens, St. Thomas the Apostle, Newton
  • Jane Plummer, St. Rose of Lima, Montrose
  • Valerie Probst, St. Michael the Archangel, Sigel
  • Celeste Rogers, Forty Martyrs, Tuscola
  • Mardell Sheehan, Annunciation, Shumway
  • Judith Vaughn, St. Charles Borromeo, Charleston
  • Theresa (Teri) Whalen, Immaculate
  • Conception, Shelbyville
  • Sue Esker, St. Francis of Assisi, Teutopolis
  • Delores Jansen, St. Mary Help of Christians,
  • Green Creek
  • Patricia Kerner, St. John the Baptist, Arcola
  • Debra Kirsch, St. Mary, Paris
  • Kathy Staller, St. Elizabeth, Robinson
  • Carol Zellars, Our Lady of Lourdes, Oblong

Quincy Deanery

  • Tawny Benz, St. Anthony of Padua, Quincy
  • Carolyn Briddle, St. Francis Solanus, Quincy
  • Marjorie Kendrick, St. Edward, Mendon
  • Lorrie Klauser, St. Brigid, Liberty
  • Connie Marie Schrage, St. Peter, Quincy
  • Millie Venvertloh, St. Joseph, Quincy
  • Margaret J. Coon, St. Mark, Winchester
  • Mary Jo Ward, St. Mary, Pittsfield 

Springfield Deanery

  • Nancy Baker, Holy Family, Athens
  • Beverly Dortch-Smith, Cathedral of the
  • Immaculate Conception, Springfield
  • Debra Forbes, St. Maurice, Morrisonville
  • Stacie Henderson, St. John Vianney, Sherman
  • Michelle Marie Knap, Resurrection, Illiopolis
  • Judy Kohlrus, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Springfield
  • Barb Leaf, Church of the Little Flower, Springfield
  • Alice Rose Massey, Our Saviour, Jacksonville
  • Jan Mudd, Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, Mt. Zion
  • Lois Ryan, St. Mary, Taylorville
  • Jinny Sachsenmaier, St. Joseph the Worker, Chatham
  • Linda Schmidt, St. Joseph, Springfield
  • Frances Sperry, Ss. James and Patrick, Decatur
  • Linda Younkin, Christ the King, Springfield
  • Mary Lou Walker, Our Lady of Lourdes, Decatur
  • Deena Warrick, Holy Family, Decatur
  • Jeannette Waters, St. Jude, Rochester
  • Rita Guinan, St. Peter, Petersburg
Tuesday, 19 July 2022 09:06

Beauty Series - QU Chapel

QU7QU3St. Francis Solanus Chapel – Quincy University

The St. Francis Solanus Chapel at Quincy University has been a gem in the “Gem City” for over a century, when Brother Anselm Wolff, OFM, designed the glorious church as a miniature of his masterpiece, St. Anthony of Padua Church in St. Louis. Today, the chapel, which is bigger than many parish churches in our diocese, continues to offer students at Quincy University a foretaste of Heaven during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as they are surrounded by dozens of images of saints, beautiful artwork, and the Eucharist.

Father Daren Zehnle, pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Ashland, grew up in Quincy and attended Quincy University and says he is “struck by the sheer beauty of the space.” 

“It’s really a unique place in the diocese and probably in the country,” Father Zehnle said.

Stretching 123 feet in length, only the finest materials were used when the chapel was designed in 1910 and finished in 1912 including marble pillars, oak pews, and steel beams. The impressive stained-glass windows were created by a company in St. Louis and were imported from Germany. 

The chapel has gone through many changes over the decades. Years of neglect during the Great Depression resulted in damage. In 1956, the chapel was redesigned using the Byzantine style, which portrays figures of Jesus, Mary, angels, and the saints in more of a heavenly theme. Father Tom Brown, OFM, one of the Franciscan Friars at the university, was the creator of the changes.

QU6“He modeled it after the church of San Apollinare in Classe in Ravenna in the north of Italy,” Father Zehnle said. “When it was built there, it was the seat of the Roman empire, and the church still stands today. Over there, it was built in mosaic, but here he painted the various images on some sort of a canvas, and glued them up to the wall, but it’s a pretty faithful replication of what you see in Ravenna.”

One of the most decorative features of the chapel are the images of 70 saints that encircle the chapel. With male saints on one side and female saints on the other, each saint carries a symbol pertaining to their life.  

“The depictions of them always serves as a great reminder that we are all processing with them toward Christ the Savior,” Father Zehnle said. “They also serve as a reminder to us that if they can live a holy life, if they can be saints, then each of us can as well.” 

Another image that draws people’s attention is a copy of the famous the Good Shephard, a mosaic that is in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Italy. The most striking piece of artwork, however, hits you right when you walk in — a 16-foot painting of Christ the Pantocrator, the title of Christ as ruler of the universe. 

While Quincy’s Venerable Father Augustine Tolton, who escaped slavery to become the nation’s first black priest in Quincy never stepped foot inside this chapel, dying in 1897, he did attend Quincy University in 1878, which at that time was called St. Francis Solanus College. Today, Father Tolton is honored with a one-of-a-kind painting in the chapel. 

QU9“It’s a newer addition to the chapel, just a few years ago, and it was painted by Isabelle Armengol Lewis,” Father Zehnle said. “It depicts Father Tolton’s first Mass which he celebrated at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. She didn’t intend for it to be housed at the QU Chapel, but it found its way here. It mixes really well with the colors already present which I think is a great sign of Providence. She painted it a few years ago, and I think it’s a great way to have a greater connection to Father Tolton who not only grew up in Quincy as a boy after he escaped slavery in Missouri but also attended Quincy University before going off to Rome to study in the seminary, and then he was sent back to Quincy by Rome to be a priest here. He stayed in Quincy for three years, and then he went up to Chicago for seven years before he died. Now, he is buried in Quincy.”

To think of the all the students who prayed inside these walls, 14 of whom became bishops throughout the United States and several others who are now serving as priests in our diocese, this chapel at the only Catholic University in our diocese, has played a major role in the history of our Church and in the faith life of countless of souls who came from different walks of life and different parts of the world. 

“In that sense, this chapel serves in a real physical reminder of the universality of the Church that you wouldn’t most likely see in most parish churches in our diocese but because of the university involvement here, I think that all just sits right home,” Father Zehnle said. 

07 24 2022 Alton Franciscan Sisters next stepShown are the eight women who will take next steps in religious life for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George on Aug. 2 in Alton. Back row: Kathleen McMullin (Sister Mary Kolbe), Sister M. Xavier Schulze, Sister M. Pieta Keller, Elizabeth Buckley (Sister M. Gloria). Front row:  Sister M. Annuntiata Gangl, Sister Maria Christi Delaney, Sister M. Veronica Kennedy, Sister Bethany Marie Burnham.ALTON — The Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George will celebrate the final profession of four junior sisters, the first profession of two novices, and the reception into the novitiate of two postulants during Mass at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 2. Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki will be the main celebrant of the Mass, held at St. Mary Catholic Church in Alton. 

The four juniors who will make final profession are Sister Maria Christi Delaney, daughter of Kathryn Delaney and the late Thomas Delaney of Williamsville, N.Y.; Sister M. Xavier Schulze, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Schulze of Anna, Ohio; Sister M. Annuntiata Gangl, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Gangl of Brainerd, Minn.; and Sister M. Pieta Keller, daughter of Mr. Philip Keller of Loveland, Ohio, and Ms. Cynthia Janson of Cincinnati, Ohio.

The novices who will make first profession are Sister M. Veronica Kennedy, daughter of Mr. John Kennedy of Chicago, and Ms. Nancy Kennedy of Parker, Colo.; and Sister Bethany Marie Burnham, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Burnham of Lake Charles, La.

The postulants who will receive their habit and veil and their new religious names are Kathleen McMullin (Sister Mary Kolbe), daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Scott McMullin of Brandon, Miss.; and Elizabeth Buckley (Sister M. Gloria), daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Buckley of St. Louis.

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George invite you to participate and share in their joy via watching the Mass on livestream at www.altonfranciscans.org/feastday .

Photo courtesy of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George

07 24 2022 New Dominican AssociatesShown are members of the 2022 Dominican Associate class with associate sponsors, and Dominican Sisters. Row 1: Molly Murphy, Sister Martha Carmody, Sister Agnes Ann Pisel, Lisa Barnett, Jan Montgomery. Row2 (seated): Stella Shaw, Sister Teresa Marron, Cyndi Goeahl, Margaret Greco, Jantzen Eddington. Row 3: Sister M. Joan Sorge, Sister Georgiana Stubner, Charlotte Vollmer, Ann Moroff, Sister Patricia Stark, Delia Lising, Sister Bernice Juip, Peter Ellersten, Debbie Ellersten. Row 4: Lucinda Buescher, Sister Marilyn Jean Runkel, Keith Buescher, Sister Judith Pfile.  For the first time since 2019, the commitment ceremony for a Springfield Dominican Associate class was held in-person at Sacred Heart Convent Chapel last May.

The new associates prepared for commitment by participation in nine monthly sessions of prayer and study about the history of the Order of Preachers and the Springfield Dominican congregation, about the theology of mission and ministry, Catholic Social Teaching, and liturgy and prayer. Each candidate was accompanied by a sponsor — a sister or an associate — who answered their questions and offered encouragement during their period of discernment before commitment.

Dominican associates embrace the Dominican traditions of prayer, study, community, and ministry. They respond to God's call to share the Gospel by preaching it through the witness of their lives.

Each associate was called forward by the associate program director, Sister M. Joan Sorge, OP. They stated publicly their commitment to “preach the Word and witness Gospel values,” and received an associate pin from Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP, prioress general of the congregation.

The new associates include:

  • Lisa Barnett, parishioner at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, whose commitments include volunteering for the homeless and at Jubilee Farm. 
  • Keith Buescher, parishioner at St. Joseph Church, Springfield, whose commitments include study of the Bible and using his voice to speak against injustice. 
  • Lucinda Buescher, parishioner at St. Joseph Church, Springfield, whose commitments include sharing her faith with her family and helping at Jubilee Farm. 
  • Jan Montgomery, parishioner at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, whose commitments include serving in RCIA ministry at Cathedral, fighting racial injustice and human trafficking, and working for the right to life for all. 
  • Ann Moroff, parishioner at Christ the King, Springfield, whose commitments include being a compassionate presence in her work, supporting members of the Cor Unum community with her prayer, and engaging in study and spiritual reading.  
  • Molly Murphy, parishioner at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, whose commitments include continuing study of the Gospel and of Catholic teaching, and witnessing to her students through acts of service and discipleship. 
  • Charlene Vollmer, member of the Church of the Little Flower, Springfield, whose commitments include serving as a volunteer and eucharistic minister at Springfield hospitals and volunteering at St. Martin De Porres Center. 
  • Margaret Greco, parishioner at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Chatham, whose commitments include co-chairing the Right to Life ministry at her parish and studying her faith. 

The first Springfield Dominican associates made commitments in 1991. Since then, hundreds of women and men, baptized Christians in the United States and Peru, have become associates.

Dominican associates undertake individual volunteer ministries in their own parishes and communities. They may also join the sisters on committees and boards, work side-by-side with the sisters in their ministries, or provide logistical support for the congregation’s public events. To learn more about becoming a Springfield Dominican Associate and other ways you can participate in their mission visit Springfieldop.org/dominican-mission or call Sister M. Joan Sorge, OP, at (217) 787-0481.

Photo courtesy of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield

As my grandchildren receive the sacrament of confirmation and first holy Communion, we have been letting them pick out a rosary. It concerns us that they didn't know what a rosary was. Whose responsibility is it to teach children how to use/pray the rosary? Should parents do this or does the Catholic schools include it in their teachings? I plan to take them to the next rosary at their church. 

  • Anonymous in the diocese 

As a priest, I always find one of the most powerful parts of the Order of Baptism of Children is the blessing over parents reminding them that they are the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith, and that they “may, by word and example, prove to be the first witnesses of the faith to their child.” I do not believe this blessing is intended to “lay more guilt” on our parents but rather a reminder to be open to God’s ever-present grace in fulfilling their vocation. How wonderful that grandparents are also ready, willing, and able to assist with our young people’s faith formation as well. As the late Father Don Meehling used to say, “Our children should never remember a time when they didn’t come to Mass.”  

Coming into the Catholic Church in my 20s, I can say learning to pray the rosary, the meditative prayer of the Gospel, was an important part of my journey. 

Even with their limited time constraints, I hope every Catholic school and faith formation program is able to introduce the rosary to our students. The Catholic schools/faith formation programs that I am familiar with in our diocese does this. But, like every other teaching and practice of our faith our schools and faith formation programs attempt to impart on children, the teaching of the prayers, mysteries, and form of the rosary will have minimal impact unless our young people see it lived in their own homes and in the lives of the people they love the most. As Roy Lanham, director of Campus Ministry for our diocese, likes to say, “This is not a question of an either/or but a very Catholic both/and.” Children “learn” what they are taught at school when they experience it being modeled for them at home.   

One of the great benefits of the growing Family of Faith model of religious formation in our schools/parishes is children are not simply “dropped off” at Catholic school or religion class, but parents are actively engaged in ongoing formation and working with their children themselves. This provides an opportunity for this new generation of parents, who may not be familiar or comfortable praying the rosary themselves, to learn more about this biblical prayer and to learn how to incorporate the mysteries of our faith in the life of Christ and Our Lady in their own lives. 

Searching online for “How to teach children to pray the holy rosary?” will produce a wealth of suggestions and resources to assist parents and grandparents. Taking the time to help our children learn the prayers, to become familiar with the stories of each of the mysteries, to think about similar experiences in their own lives, and perhaps naming someone to pray for on each bead, will help children embrace what can become the practice of a lifetime. I always like to remind students they do not need to have an actual rosary to pray the rosary. Just praying with our 10 fingers is an amazing way as Pope St. John Paul II pointed out “to contemplate with Mary the face of Jesus Christ.”          

Father John Titus is pastor Immaculate Conception Parish in Mattoon and St. Columcille Parish in Sullivan.              

07 24 2022 Sacred Heart Oconee 150th parishioners fixed By ZETTA WOLF 
Special to Catholic Times

OCONEE — Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Oconee is celebrating a special milestone in 2022— 150 years as a parish. 

Most of the current parishioners are descendants of the pioneers who worked hard to establish and build the parish.  As German settlers began to open fields and farm the land around Oconee in the 1860s, they likewise started to search out any German-speaking priest who traveled through the area, to invite him to say Mass in various homes in the Oconee area. 

In 1868, Gerhardt Herman Rakers Sr. and his family came to Oconee and Rakers was instrumental in finding a German-speaking priest.  Father Weis (stationed in Vandalia) would say Mass and distribute the sacraments when he could.  He urged the men to build a small but modest chapel. The congregation could gather there each Sunday to pray the rosary together and the children could be instructed by a layman. With a priest visiting on a regular basis, the congregation grew, and a wooden structure measuring 18 feet by 36 feet was built.  This church had no pews; the parishioners brought chairs or buckboard benches to sit on during Mass. 

The church and parish were dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on May 9, 1872.  In June 1888, Bishop James Ryan came to Sacred Heart of Jesus and confirmed a class of 23 young people. By the 1890s the little church was outgrown and the plans for a 60 feet by 36 feet wooden structure with a 65-foot bell tower were planned.  The brick for the foundation was bought and hauled by the parishioners from north of Ramsey.  The cornerstone was laid in October 1891 and the new church was dedicated a year later.  In early 1900, the bishop offered to supply a resident priest if proper housing could be provided.  (Before the rectory could be built, the priest used the sacristy as an office, took meals, and roomed with the William Eckholt family.) 

The first resident priest, Father Francis Harbe, arrived in 1903.  Work on the church was delayed due to lack of funds, but began again in 1904 after the rectory was complete.  In early 1909 lightning struck the church causing damage mostly to the front and vestibule. Labor and money were again invested in the church, from concrete floors in the basement to a heating system, an altar, the communion rail, and ceiling redecorating. 

Sadly, In September 1911, at 1:30 one morning, the church spire was struck by lightning and the church and rectory burned to the ground.  When it was apparent that they would not be able to save the buildings, Father Pachlhofer and parishioners courageously saved the Blessed Sacrament and any items they could.  The parishioners worked diligently to clear the remains and begin again.  During the rebuilding process, the first church was used for services.  Father Pachlhofer stayed at the Turner house.

07 24 2022 Sacred Heart Oconee 150th Penecost MassThe loss of the church and rectory was only partially covered by insurance.  With parishioners, friends, and neighbors supplying labor, donations, and furnishings, the present church was a labor of faith and love.  The design is in the Roman style of architecture, constructed of steel skeleton with red brick foundation and lining.  The cornerstone for the current church was laid on Sept. 8, 1912. The first Sunday Mass was celebrated on Palm Sunday of 1913. 

Many changes have taken place in the decor of the church but the steadfast devotion to the Sacred Heart and our Blessed Mother remains strong within the parishioners of today.  An outdoor eucharistic procession is observed each year on the feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The annual May crowning of the Blessed Mother dates to 1915.  From 1922 to 1978, the parish provided a Catholic education for eight grades being instructed by the Ursulines of Decatur. 

Fall is a busy time for the parish. For almost 90 years, it has been hosting an annual Trap Shoot on the first Sunday in November. Additionally, the popular Family Fall Festival is held the last Sunday of September and the first two Sundays of October. 

Parishioners are grateful for each priest who has served the parish, especially the beloved current priest, Father Rodney Schwartz.  Sacred Heart Parish of Oconee is truly a family through our labors of love and dedication to our faith. 

Zetta Wolf is the parish secretary for Sacred Heart Parish in Oconee. 

07 11 Stop Ilinois poster 11x17Governor wants more pro-abortion laws passed in special session

By ANDREW HANSEN 
Editor

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, it was a monumental victory not only for the pro-life movement, but for babies in the womb and mothers across the country. At the same time, however, the decision meant Illinois would play an even larger role in the Midwest for abortion access. 

In Illinois, abortion is a “fundamental right” under the law, there is taxpayer funding for abortion, minors can get an abortion without even notifying their parents, and abortion is legal throughout the nine months of pregnancy. Now, the spotlight is on Springfield, as Governor J.B. Pritzker and some legislators are wanting even more pro-abortion laws including, among other things, having non-doctors perform abortions, and passing these laws during a special legislative session.    

On that note, enter a statewide grassroots effort to stop Illinois from becoming the Midwest’s abortion hub, organized by a group of women from the Diocese of Joliet.

“When the Supreme Court announced the reversal of Roe V. Wade, there was hope again,” said Sarah Turk of Joliet who is spearheading the effort. “We have a long way to go but we have hope! We realize the pressure on this state to become the Midwest abortion provider, and we must try to stop it. We also realize that this evil is so massive that only God can stop it. That is why this group of lay Catholics are making the effort to spread the prayer and fasting on Fridays message.”

Turk and several other lay Catholics have teamed up to contact all six dioceses in Illinois to spread the word as quickly as possible, asking Catholics, if they are able, to pray and fast every Friday on bread and water alone for the conversion of Illinois. They are hoping to reach 800 or more parishes in the state. Several parishes in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois are participating by hanging posters and having prayer cards available for people to take home.

“Fasting strengthens and helps us to focus on prayer,” Turk said. “When we fast, we are saying we are serious that we need this evil (abortion) to be cast out. Fasting isn’t easy especially today when we have every kind of food and drink available to us 24/7. While it can be most powerful to fast only on bread and water, there are many ways to fast. It can be giving up a meal, sweets, alcohol, coffee, etc. You could also pray a rosary or go to Mass on Friday if this is something you would not normally do.”

The prayer card starts with a Scripture passage from Matthew 17:21, which says, “But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.”

The prayer reads:

Heavenly Father, You have given us great hope by gifting us with the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Bless the State of Illinois with good and holy leaders to guide and place us on the right path. We offer You our prayers and fasting in thanksgiving and for this intention.

“We are simply thanking God thereby acknowledging His part in this and petitioning Him, recognizing there is more to be done to satisfy His law,” Turk said. “We are extremely grateful to these brave justices and to all the individuals and organizations who have been in this fight to protect these precious lives. This battle is just short of 50 years — It needs to end!” 

The call to prayer and fasting from this grassroots effort is also a good reminder for Catholics that every Friday (unless the Friday is a solemnity), Catholics must abstain from meat, even outside of Lent, unless some other form of penance or work of charity is done on that Friday (canon 1251). 

07 11 scan of Pray and Fast prayer card both sides

paprocki at tolton site 1Photo by Jay Niles, The Catholic MissourianQUINCY – About 150 Catholics devoted to the Venerable Servant of God Father Augustine Tolton who grew up in Quincy, ministered in there, and is buried in there, commemorated the 125th anniversary of his death with a pilgrimage procession on Saturday, July 9 in Quincy. Father Tolton is recognized as the first black priest in the United States and the Cause for his beatification and canonization of sainthood is ongoing in Rome. 

The mile-long pilgrimage procession began at the statue of Father Tolton outside St. Peter Catholic Church. After a few words of welcome and explanation, followed by a prayer, the pilgrimage procession processed to St. Peter Catholic Cemetery where Father Tolton is buried. The celebration of Holy Mass then took pace with Bishop Thomas John Paprocki as the celebrant.

The pilgrims also prayed for an end to hatred and violence, greater respect for life, and for more priests through Father Tolton’s intercession, as well as for Father Tolton’s canonization as a saint. The pilgrimage procession concluded with the singing of “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name,” Father Tolton’s favorite hymn.

“When he left Quincy for Rome, Father Tolton promised not to forget the people of the Gem City, so we must not forget him either,” said Father Daren Zehnle, pastor of St. Augustin in Ashland and who organized the event. “It is fitting to remember him on the anniversary of his death to pray for his canonization, to ask his intercession, and to strive to emulate his virtues.” 

tolton processionPhoto by Scott Stadler“If we are to imitate the virtue of Father Tolton, we, too, must seek to be united to the sufferings of Christ throughout our lives so that we might also be glorified with him,” Bishop Paprocki said in his homily. “A most important way for us to be united to sufferings of Christ is to imitate the courageous patience of Father Tolton, especially in a society that is so quick to rage. There is unquestionably no shortage of occasions for each of us to practice this same virtue of courageous patience in our own lives. Opportunities for long-suffering abound in our families, in our places of employment, in our schools, and in society generally. What is needed for us is that we be stout-hearted and wait for the Lord, as Augustine did.” 

Father Tolton was born into slavery in 1854. In 1862, his mother and siblings made a daring escape across the Mississippi River to Illinois. After settling in Quincy, he went to school at St. Peter’s Catholic School. Tolton later went to seminary in Rome because no American seminary would accept a black man. Thinking he would minister in Africa, once he was ordained, he was instead sent back to Quincy, where he arrived to thousands of supporters. Known for his incredible singing and homilies, Tolton spent several years in Quincy before transferring to Chicago. He died of heatstroke at the age of 43 on July 9, 1897 and is buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Quincy. Pope Francis declared him “Venerable” on June 12, 2019, the second step of four to becoming a saint in the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, 06 July 2022 10:52

2 tank Catholic trips

Wednesday, 06 July 2022 08:52

How does one dispose of blessed objects?

How does one dispose of blessed objects? Is there a place in the diocese that will accept these? If not, I need guidance on what to do with them.
Kathy in our diocese

It is not an uncommon experience for a Catholic to acquire blessed objects, be they books, statues, pictures, medals, rosaries, etc. After a time, some of these accumulate in great number or may no longer be needed or wanted. This leads to Catholics to wonder what they can do with these blessed items.

Traditionally, the Church recognizes three options: They may be given away to another person who may benefit from them; they may be buried; or they may be burned. Blessed items are not to be sold; if they are sold, they automatically lose their blessing.

Blessed items should not be given away simply to be rid of them and to clear up space in the closet. When considering giving away a blessed object, it should be considered who might actually benefit from this item. 

When burying blessed objects, they may be buried in a place where they are unlikely to be accidentally dug up. While the diocese does not have a program to accept blessed objects, some Catholic cemeteries or funeral homes may have reserved space for the burial of these items.

When burning blessed items, it should done quietly and reverently, in a way so as not to draw attention to what is done. Also, the same fire not ought to be used for roasting hot dogs or making s’mores. Should a blessed object unintentionally be broken, it may simply be discarded, though this should be done quietly.

Father Daren Zehnle is pastor at St. Augustine in Ashland and is the director for the Office of Divine Worship and the Catechumenate for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. 

By DEACON ADAM COX
Special to Catholic Times 

Many Catholics across the country are starting a three-year journey. This journey is about Eucharistic Revival, and it is intended to wake up that inner longing for Jesus in the most intimate way possible by placing the proper emphasis on the Blessed Sacrament. 

Coming from a Protestant background, I saw Communion as purely symbolic, and this view is held by many denominations still today. The Eucharist is still a mystery to me in some respects, but as a deacon, I can’t imagine my life without it and the wonderful graces I receive from it. I will be the first to say that it wasn’t always this way. In fact, I was somewhat skeptical when I went through the RCIA program and all the way up to when I received holy Communion for the first time.  

From that very moment at the Easter Vigil, my life changed, and I didn’t take holy Communion for almost another year. I experienced something and it scared me. I felt love, not just any love, but something that welled up from deep inside my inner being. I won’t get into why that scared me because I have a long and complicated past, but for once in my life, I was accepted for who I am. 

My love for the Eucharist has only grown stronger over the years, and I am saddened by how in some places, it has been taken for granted. To receive the Eucharist, is to receive a friend, a friend who will give anything for your wellbeing. This is not something to take lightly but should always be respected and something we should always be grateful for. The Eucharist should never be part of a “list” of items that we will get to for the week, but in some cases, it is treated as such. 

The Eucharist is an experience and once you feel that experience, it will shake you to your soul. That experience will vary from person to person, but in the end, you cannot help but be changed for the better. 

When I assist at Mass, I always have the upmost respect for the Eucharist, and there is always a moment of grief when I place the ciborium back in the tabernacle because I’m closing the door on my Lord. As I genuflect, I need to remind myself that Jesus is always present, and it’s not “Goodbye,” but, “See you next time.” It may sound ridiculous to some, but once you are touched by the love of Jesus, you will continue to crave that connection. 

Over the next three years, the goal of the nationwide Eucharistic Revival is to spread a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament that for some reason has diminished. We need to rekindle the love and respect for the Eucharist because Christ is truly and unequivocally present in all tabernacles of the world. Next time you are at Mass, and you present yourself for holy Communion, that is not some altar bread from a supply house but a King, a friend, and our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Deacon Adam Cox serves at Mother of Perpetual Help in Maryville.

Monday, 27 June 2022 11:54

Beauty Series - St. Mary in Madison

St20Mary204St20Mary202By ANDREW HANSEN
Editor  

The honor of being one of the most unique churches in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois belongs to St. Mary Church in Madison, mainly because of its domed structure. People who visit here say it reminds them of the Pantheon in Rome because that historic church is known for its dome. The dome at St. Mary spans 93 feet in diameter, much larger than what appears on the outside. 

“Being where the location was picked to build the church, because of the location itself and the property, it fit better to have a dome rather than a traditional rectangle or square building,” said Father Stephen Thompson, pastor. 

Completed in 1954, the church is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, under the intercession of Our Lady of Czenstochowa. Beyond the rarity of having a dome, the church has other beauty not found in many churches. The church has three side chapels: the Chapel of the Sacred Heart, the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Chapel of St. Joseph. Suspended over the altar is a baldachin or canopy on great iron bents tipped with gold and aluminum. Situated under that is a valuable mosaic of our Lady of Czenstochowa, a gift of a parishioner. The walls of the church are covered in glaze tile to prevent maintenance of a plaster interior. The Stations of the Cross are mosaic, designed by a French artist and various statues of saints can be seen throughout the church, surrounding the faithful attending Mass. The interior of the church is lighted mostly be a 25-foot diameter skylight, sitting 45 feet above the floor. 

St20Mary201“The first thing that strikes me when I walk in is the focus on the altar,” said Father Thompson. “The statues and the chapels that we have, it just has that old feel and Franciscan feel. You feel the Franciscan mark on this church, which they had a lot of influence here.” 

St20Mary203The first Catholic church built in Madison opened to the faithful in 1912. In 1925, St. Mary School opened with an enrollment of 265 students. The Franciscan influence Father Thompson talks about began in 1936 when the Franciscan Fathers of the Sacred Heart Province assumed charge of the parish, led by Father Engelbert Bienek, OFM. He had such a profound impact on the parish and its growth, his image can be found in the back of the church today. In 1952, plans began for erecting the new church. On Thanksgiving Day in 1954, St. Mary Church opened to the faithful. 

“In the design of the church, the whole focus was to be on the altar, so even though you have the circular building, if you notice how the pews are facing, it’s all focused on the altar,” Father Thompson said.

The history of this parish has a heavy influence from Eastern Europe, with many of the parishioners having family histories that come from places like Croatia, Serbia, and Poland. Father Thompson describes the people here as “very warm and very welcoming.”

“I think part of that is the immigration of people here of them trying to find a home themselves, so making this a home for others,” Father Thompson said.

How does one dispose of blessed objects? Is there a place in the diocese that will accept these? If not, I need guidance on what to do with them.
- Kathy in our diocese

It is not an uncommon experience for a Catholic to acquire blessed objects, be they books, statues, pictures, medals, rosaries, etc. After a time, some of these accumulate in great number or may no longer be needed or wanted. This leads to Catholics to wonder what they can do with these blessed items. 

Traditionally, the Church recognizes three options: They may be given away to another person who may benefit from them; they may be buried; or they may be burned. Blessed items are not to be sold; if they are sold, they automatically lose their blessing.

Blessed items should not be given away simply to be rid of them and to clear up space in the closet. When considering giving away a blessed object, it should be considered who might actually benefit from this item.

When burying blessed objects, they may be buried in a place where they are unlikely to be accidentally dug up. While the diocese does not have a program to accept blessed objects, some Catholic cemeteries or funeral homes may have reserved space for the burial of these items.

When burning blessed items, it should done quietly and reverently, in a way so as not to draw attention to what is done. Also, the same fire not ought to be used for roasting hot dogs or making s’mores. Should a blessed object unintentionally be broken, it may simply be discarded, though this should be done quietly.

Father Daren Zehnle is pastor at St. Augustine in Ashland and is the director for the Office of Divine Worship and the Catechumenate for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. 

By DIANE SCHLINDWEIN
Managing Editor 

The Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW) recently announced the names of four young women from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois who will be recognized at the Women of Distinction Mass and luncheon on July 23. These young women were selected from 46 applicants and will receive $1,000 from SDCCW.

“These young ladies, along with all the other outstanding applicants, are fruit of the earth and hope for all,” said Mary Ann Sullivan, the SDCCW scholarship chair. “Tribute goes to their parents and all those in their lives that have taught them their faith by word and example. They are a witness and inspiration to all of us.” 

The 2022 winners are: 

Kessler2C20AvaAva Kessler, daughter of Dan and Kim Kessler of Newton, is a member of Holy Cross Parish in Wendelin. She is a graduate of Newton Community High School. 

She is president and an active member of her parish youth group, attended March for Life in Washington, D.C., two times, and has gone on three mission trips with Catholic HEART Workcamp. Active in sports and band, Ava was also named captain of the girls’ basketball team.  She was teacher assistant in the fifth-grade classroom and volunteered at the COVID vaccination drive-thru.  She is also a volunteer umpire for local Little League games. Ava will be attending the University of Illinois where she will be enrolled in General Studies. “I am thankful for my parish and family that have formed me into the young lady I am today,” she said. 


Lynch2C20GraceGrace Lynch, who is from Sullivan and a member of Holy Family Parish in Decatur, is a home school graduate.  She is the daughter of Melissa and Brian Lynch. Her Church-related activities include being a church organist/pianist, a lector, a Vacation Bible School volunteer, and a Catholic Charities volunteer for five years. Grace is a dance teacher at Sullivan Dance Studio and created her own dance classes for under resourced home-schooled students, inventing her own curriculum and marketing the program across Central Illinois. She is now teaching over 25 classes using Zoom for homeschoolers and for other students, as well during COVID. She received the Girl Scout Gold Award, has been a house manager for professional theater, and dance captain for multiple productions. She is also founder of non-partisan group Teens in Politics and is active in Right to Life activities. Grace will be attending University of Notre Dame studying political science toward a career as lawyer.


Ochs2C20JennaJenna Ochs is from West Liberty, is a member of St. Mary’s Assumption Parish in Sainte Marie, and graduate of Newton Community High School. She is the daughter of Jeff and Lisa Ochs. At her parish she is an altar server, lector, parish Youth Group member, and a Living Stations participant. She also attended the March for Life for three years. Jenna was also captain of her school volleyball team and volunteers as a junior volleyball coach. Additionally, she is an active member and officer in FFA earning a State degree, and is a long-time 4-H member. Jenna will attend Illinois Central College to study sports medicine/physical therapy. “I strive to lead by example and by my faith to others,” she said.


Wendle2C20MonicaMonica Wendle is from Godfrey, is a member of St. Mary Parish in Alton, and is a graduate of Marquette Catholic High School. She is the daughter of Eric and Marci Wendle. She reads Scripture daily, is a eucharistic minister, cantor, and lector. Monica created a nail painting booth for parish picnic fund-raiser and organized a prayer group for eight-grade students in the parish grade school. She was a member of Campus Ministry Club at her high school where she created a project that included making biblical message cards with candy attached for students.  She organized caroling and the collection of Christmas cards for local nursing homes. Monica donated 11 inches of her hair to Children With Hair Loss.  She also enjoys sewing and made 16 lap quilts for hospice patients. Monica will attend Lewis and Clark Junior College and then move onto Ave Maria University to study education and communications. “I am so humbled and blessed to receive the SDCCW scholarship award,” she said. 

Tolton headshotQUINCY — Area Catholics and others devoted to the Venerable Servant of God Father Augustine Tolton who grew up in Quincy, ministered in Quincy, and is buried in Quincy, will commemorate the 125th anniversary of his death with a pilgrimage procession on Saturday, July 9 in Quincy. Father Tolton is recognized as the first black priest in the United States and the Cause for his beatification and canonization of sainthood is ongoing in Rome. 

The mile-long pilgrimage procession will begin at 10 a.m. at the statue of Father Tolton outside St. Peter Catholic Church at 2600 Maine St. After a few words of welcome and explanation, followed by a prayer, the pilgrimage procession will process along the south side of Maine Street where it will cross onto the east side of South 33rd Street. It will then process along the east side of South 33rd Street until it reaches St. Peter Catholic Cemetery where Father Tolton is buried.

Upon entering the cemetery, the procession will stop at the grave of Father Tolton for the celebration of Holy Mass at 11 a.m., with Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, as the celebrant.

Following Mass, the pilgrims will pray for an end to hatred and violence, greater respect for life, and for more priests through Father Tolton’s intercession, as well as for Father Tolton’s canonization as a saint. The pilgrimage procession will conclude with the singing of Holy God, We Praise Thy Name, Father Tolton’s favorite hymn.

Those who wish to participate in the Mass but cannot walk in the procession are invited to park near the cemetery to meet the procession at the grave. Due to the small size of the cemetery, no one should park in the cemetery itself. Chairs and bottled water will be provided at the cemetery for those who wish to participate in the Mass.

Father Tolton was born into slavery in 1854. In 1862, his mother and siblings made a daring escape across the Mississippi River to Illinois. After settling in Quincy, he went to school at St. Peter’s Catholic School. Tolton later went to seminary in Rome because no American seminary would accept a black man. Thinking he would minister in Africa, once he was ordained, he was instead sent back to Quincy, where he arrived to thousands of supporters. Known for his incredible singing and homilies, Tolton spent several years in Quincy before transferring to Chicago. He died of heatstroke at the age of 43 on July 9, 1897 and is buried at St. Peter Cemetery in Quincy. Pope Francis declared him “Venerable” on June 12, 2019, the second step of four to becoming a saint in the Catholic Church.

For more information about this event, please contact: Father Daren J. Zehnle at (217) 321-1109 or .

What is the doctrine of the Catholic Church in regard to administering drugs to terminally ill patients at, or near end of life, to end suffering and pain? If one is designated with others as a Health Care Power of Attorney for a terminally ill person and allows a Hospice nurse to administer drugs such as morphine and muscle relaxers, are they guilty of helping with euthanasia? 
-Louise in Alton

A person who is caring for a terminally ill or an actively dying person or is their Health Care Power of Attorney may find himself or herself in a situation where he or she is consulted by those treating their loved one about which treatments he or she might wish to receive or how to alleviate pain.   This can be a very intimidating role and two basic principles that are found within this question may appear to be at odds. 

Firstly, we understand the dignity of every human life in every stage of its existence and can never morally act to end or shorten it. Secondly, we wish to help alleviate the pain and suffering of the person.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have assisted us in making such decisions in accord with our Catholic faith. Their Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (Sixth Edition #62), helps us understand the validity of both of the principles here:

“Patients should be kept as free of pain as possible so that they may die comfortably and with dignity, and in the place where they wish to die. Since a person has the right to prepare for his or her death while fully conscious, he or she should not be deprived of consciousness without a compelling reason. Medicines capable of alleviating or suppressing pain may be given to a dying person, even if this therapy may indirectly shorten the person’s life so long as the intent is not to hasten death. Patients experiencing suffering that cannot be alleviated should be helped to appreciate the Christian understanding of redemptive suffering.”

Great advances in what is called “palliative care,” such as Hospice, where we are caring for while unable to treat or heal a dying person, allow us to balance the dignity of life and address their pain. While we never actively intend to shorten life, a dying person’s pain can morally be managed so long as we are not intending to hasten their death. One could ask for the minimal amount of medication required to keep the patient comfortable. One is not engaging in euthanasia if one is attempting to alleviate pain with this intention in mind.

Father Peter Harman holds a Doctorate in Moral Theology from the Catholic University of America and is rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

 

st anthony 6The history of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Effingham is about as deep as any in our diocese. It all started in 1858 with a brick church on what is now the site of Goff Gym with the first Mass taking place on Christmas day. It was the first church in Effingham, a city known for its religious heritage. St. Anthony was a mission parish when it began, served by priests from the neighboring villages until 1871. Today’s church, built in 1875, is one of the most prominent structures in Effingham, attended by several generations of Catholics.

“They have all this history, and many are so willing to tell it to you, and it is such a rich history,” said Father Al Allen, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish. “You can tell a lot of that by looking at the beautiful stained-glass windows and the memorials that are on the windows that mention the families. Most of them are in German it goes back that far. To talk to these people and they will say, ‘This was my great-great-great grandparent,’ it’s overwhelming at times. It is just beautiful.”

Inside the church, your eyes will be drawn to the immense ceilings and beautiful woodwork seen throughout. Like several churches in our diocese, the stained-glass windows are probably the most striking feature, which were installed in 1911. Images of saints, Mary, Jesus, and scenes from Salvation history line the walls, all displaying fine details and rich colors, which pour into the church on sunny days. A more recent window, installed in 1958, is behind the choir loft. It beautifully depicts St. Anthony holding the baby Jesus. For Father Allen, his favorite thing about the church is the baptismal font.

st anthony 5“You can hardly find someone who hasn’t been in a long line of family members who have been baptized here,” Father Allen said. “I think this beautifully designed font, coordinating with the church itself, is just so great, and it makes the baptisms just warm and a very familiar feeling.”

The church has undergone several renovations over the past century and a half, including one in 1996. That renovation removed the old wallpaper, and the statues and Stations of the Cross were completely restored and repainted.  

One place that Father Allen says is “well-kept secret,” even though the parish does not want it to be secret, is a prayer area behind the tabernacle.

st anthony 4“I call it a meditation chapel because it has a lot of the things a chapel would have like the sanctuary light which serves the chapel and the church,” Father Allen said. “We have a lot of people who dedicate themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, and we have those images on the wall. So, it affords people a place to come and meditate whenever they want to. It’s a quiet place and normally the lights are off in the church, so it gives the adorer a private and nice place to be. It’s one of things you just don’t think about until you experience it. I find it very handy during the day and when there is a little tension, you can come relax and pray and spend some time with the Lord.”

Serving the Catholic community in Effingham for more than 160 years, the history here is profound, something the 1,300 current families at the parish recognize and honor every time they step inside. 

“One of the things that really gets me when you walk into St. Anthony is the peace,” Father Allen said. “The peace and the calm. You can be as tense as you can, but when you walk into the church, as big as it is, which is kind of odd — you would think it would be intimidating, but when you walk in, there is a certain peace. You can feel the grace. As I like to tell people, that is the spirit that is in this church. The spirit of the years and years of rich history that help you become calm.” 

05 15 2022 QU scholarship winner driscollQuincy University (QU) has announced Jack Driscoll as the 2022 Bishop’s Scholarship recipient. Driscoll graduated this spring with honors from Mt. Zion High School and will begin at QU this coming fall. 

“I am thrilled for both Jack and Quincy University to award the Bishop’s Scholarship to a student who is striving every day to live authentically for Christ,” said Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. “Jack not only has a strong academic record, but his commitment to building up the Kingdom of God in our diocese is an example of his faithfulness. He has been a constant volunteer at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Parish in Mt. Zion, helping children better understand the faith in PSR classes. He has served at the table of the Lord as an altar server and as an usher, and he was his brother’s confirmation sponsor. He is also involved in building up a culture of life and helps distribute holy Communion to those in nursing homes. I was struck by his active involvement in the Church, and with the joy he carries out his mission as an intentional disciple.” 

The university awards the $10,000 Bishop’s Scholarship to one student on the recommendation of Bishop Paprocki. To be eligible for consideration, a candidate must belong to a parish in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and have applied to QU. Candidates must be admitted to QU, choose to enroll, and submit a statement describing their involvement in their local parish, the diocese, or the Catholic Church.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to attend QU in the fall as the Bishop’s Scholarship recipient,” Driscoll said. “I would like to thank my family, OLHS Catholic Church, Dr. McGee, and Bishop Paprocki, who played integral roles in me receiving this scholarship. I am excited to attend QU as my parents, aunts, and uncles did. For many years, I have listened to my family tell story after story of their experiences at QU. I am excited to finally be able to chime in with my own QU stories.” 

During my 12 years of Catholic education in the 50s and 60s, we were taught that those who committed suicide were guilty of the sin of despair and could not have a Catholic funeral Mass or be buried in consecrated ground. At some point, the Church realized that those who died by their own hands were probably mentally ill and not fully responsible for their actions. Are these souls entitled to a Catholic service these many years later if requested by their loved ones? 

- Mary A. in Springfield 

Thank you for taking the time to write your question, as I am sure that it is something that many people have wondered about, but were not sure how to ask it.

The Church teaches that the act of taking one’s own life is gravely wrong because it violates God’s own love of the individual, just love of self, and the good of others who will suffer because of the act (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2281). However, as you alluded to in your letter, the Church also recognizes that in many, many cases, if not all, one might argue, the person who commits such an act does not do so freely because it goes against the natural inclination of self-preservation. 

The Catechism states that “Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide” (CCC 2282). The Church teaches and believes that “We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to Him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives” (CCC 2283). Sadly, many Catholics do not know this aspect of the Church’s teaching. The Church has come a long way in her understanding of suicide; in fact, there are specific prayers in the Order of Christian Funerals for those who die by suicide. Sadly, many among the faithful still do not know that the Church has come to this deeper understanding of the tragedy of when someone takes his or her own life. I am sorry for the pain, suffering, and fear that many have experienced because of this. 

Prayers can always be offered for the faithful departed and in various ways. The most efficacious prayer that can be offered for someone who has gone before us in faith is to have a Mass offered for him or her. In cases like you mentioned, a loved one’s grave can always be blessed by a priest or deacon along with other prayers being offered on their behalf that God will grant that person light, joy, and peace forever in heaven with all his saints.

 - Father Christopher House, S.T.L., J.C.L. is pastor at Christ the King Parish in Springfield and is the Vicar Judicial for the Office for Tribunal Services for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois

 

06 12 2022 Lesupati Samples Ordination new priests all smilesFather Zach Samples and Father Paul Lesupati are all smiles after their ordination.By DIANE SCHLINDWEIN
Managing Editor

It was a beautiful Easter season day both outside and inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception May 28 as Bishop Thomas John Paprocki ordained Father Paul Lesupati and Father Zachary Samples to the priesthood for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

Over 65 priests, a number of deacons, and hundreds of family members and friends were at the Cathedral as the two men, who both attended Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology but came from quite different backgrounds, took their vows to the priesthood, were ordained, and then shared a common joy that day. 

In his homily, Bishop Paprocki called the ordination Mass “a glorious occasion for all of us and for the entire Church.” He explained that Father Lesupati came to the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois after Father Jeff Grant, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Springfield, met the young social worker while he was on sabbatical in Kenya.  Smiling, Bishop Paprocki gave credit to Father Grant and said, “Note to priests, if you ever go on sabbatical, you will be expected to bring back at least one seminarian!” 

Zach Samples, the younger of the two men, was a “home-grown” seminarian, born in central Illinois and baptized by Father Dan Bergbower at Our Lady of Lourdes in Decatur. Speaking once again with a smile, Bishop Paprocki said, “Good job, Father Bergbower, it stuck!” 

On a more serious note, Bishop Paprocki noted that as a priest a man offers himself to Christ, so Christ can use him as an instrument of salvation. “Every priest is a missionary,” he said, “because every place is a missionary place.” He said that now, as priests, the two men are “standing where Christ stood.” “It is an adventure and a sublime destiny.” 

As a priest, Father Lesupati said, “I am so excited and I am looking forward to celebrating the sacraments, especially the sacrament of reconciliation, the sacrament of mercy, and celebrating the Eucharist. I am also excited to serve the people of God as a priest, journeying with them by listening and accompanying them in their day-to-day struggles.” 

Father Samples had a similar statement. “I often joke that it is ‘company policy’ for a future priest to say that he is most excited to celebrate the Mass. This is obviously not a joke — it’s a reality. Without question, I am most excited to celebrate Mass, to confect the Eucharist, and to bring Christ to his people in a very real way. I’m also excited to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation, to meet people in the midst of their struggles and pain, and to bring Christ’s light into that darkness. Finally, I am just ready to fully invest in parish life, and to put into action all that I have learned during these years of seminary formation.” 

Beginning July 1, Father Lesupati will be a parochial vicar at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, while Father Samples will be parochial vicar at St. Peter Parish in Quincy and associate chaplain Quincy Notre Dame High School.

oconnerThe following is an undated homily given by Bishop William O’Conner, who served our diocese from 1949-1975. This was provided to Catholic Times by the Office for Archives and Record Management for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

Tonight, my dear friends, when darkness shall have once again triumphantly descended, routing the light of the day and claiming the city as his own, to reign unchallenged through the silent hours while the tired city sleeps, a taint red glow will faith­ fully and valiantly defend the altar of this church against the night-long siege of the surrounding shadows. Tonight, in all the Catholic churches of the city, in all the Catholic churches of the land, other vigilant sentinels will keep the altar bright, though the rest of the church be enveloped in impenetrable darkness. Why is this unusual custom so universally observed? Why has each church such a luminous sentry ever on guard; as a guard of honor, it would seem, tor it is evidently a futile protector? And why is this tiny flame so distinctive of our churches? For each of us would know with satisfying certainty that he was in a Catholic church, were he to see scarcely anything else but this little red flame on guard before the altar. And why is it that at night this tiny light should help to produce in men the same feeling of reverence and awe which the characteristic holy stillness of a Catholic church brings during the day?

These are questions which any observant non-Catholic might ask. He would naturally say to him­ self that this unusual custom must have a meaning, that this strange impression of his in Catholic churches must be due to some definite and constant cause. Surely every Catholic could answer these questions. He need but state this one basic truth, that a Catholic church is in a true and most wondrous sense the house of God. Yet how strange to his own ears may sound these words that express the truth to which he has assented all his lite. Perhaps only then will the vivid realization of just what this tremendous truth means and implies flash across his mind and hold him entranced and fearful. He is asked to explain why the light of the sanctuary lamp is never extinguished. He is asked to explain the strange impression of vitality and of awe that a non-Catholic feels when he enters a Catholic church. He answers, but his answer cannot but provoke the curious interest of the inquirer. The resultant questions and answers must force upon the Catholic himself the realization of the practical meaning of this wondrous fact. He answers, "The light of this lamp burns night and day, because it signifies that God is really present in this church." Then the flow of question and answer begins, "Is not God present everywhere?"

"Yes, but on our altars, God is present in a different manner. Jesus Christ, the God-man, now gloriously reigning in Heaven, is really, actually, physically present in this church, as truly as when in Galilee he went about among men, doing good."

"But where on that altar is the God-Man, Jesus Christ?"

"He is in the tabernacle, behind that bright metal door."

"But how can anyone believe that a man could get into a small chamber such as that?

"Our Lord is there present under the appearance of bread."

"How is that possible?"

"By the power of the words which the priest says over the bread, the substance of bread ceases to exist, although the appearances of the bread remain, and Our Lord becomes present under those appearances.  

"Who gave the priests this power to bring God from Heaven to earth?"

"Christ Himself, and He not only gave them this power, but He commanded them to use it."

"Is that why this light is always burning?"

"Yes. When a Catholic sees this light, he knows that Christ is present on the altar. He genuflects to adore Him."

"Is it in this that Catholic churches differ so much from other churches?" 

“Yes, that is the reason of that curious double impression of a real though mysterious presence and of reverence."

"Can the Catholic Church prove her teaching about Christ's real presence?"

"Yes, the Church proves her teaching by the testimony of Infallible Truth, Christ Himself.”

You see my dear friends, how quickly our habitual belief in Christ's real presence in the Blessed Sacrament can be sharpened into a practical, conscious realization of its actual significance, now, at this moment, in this very church. The questions of a non-Catholic force us to bring our minds to think of this truth of our faith, force us to understand clearly what we believe in order to explain such Catholic customs as genuflecting and the sanctuary lamp. It is at such times of clear advertence that we rebuke ourselves for growing accustomed to the presence of Our Lord, so accustomed that we are scarcely conscious of what we mean when we genuflect, so accustomed that entering the church no longer means coming into the house of God, into the dwelling-place and audience chamber of Our Lord Jesus Christ. But we must not be discouraged. 

Our Lord does not demand this actual and clear realization at all times. He knows how prone to habit is our human nature and how inclined to became absorbed in tangible, material realities. But surely, we owe at least an occasional reflection to Him Who gives Himself as our spiritual food, Who stays with us here on earth that we may never feel God is far away and does not think of us. Nor need we wait until the questions of some inquirer force on us such reflection on the reality of Christ's presence. Sunday Mass, Benediction, any service of unusual meaning and interest, such as the sight of children making their First Communion, or a newly ordained priest celebrating his first Mass, should serve to bring home to us anew the tremendous truth that our God is not far from us, that He has in a most marvelous manner taken up His abode with the children of men.

But, my dear friends, this realization of Christ's real presence, even with its consequent renewed fervor of love and devotion, is not all that we owe to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Our duty is only partially fulfilled when we have made this effort to pay Our Lord the conscious homage of our mind and heart. It is equally our duty to know the reason why we can and must, as reasonable men, believe in Christ's presence in the Blessed Sacrament. For the proof of this doctrine is as strong and solid and satisfying to the reason as her doctrine itself is satisfying to the religious yearnings of the heart. Christ's infallible Church has defined as a truth to be believed by all Catholics, that Christ is present in the Blessed Sacrament truly, really, and substantially. For the Catholic, that is enough; that is the best possible proof. But we must not forget that there are other solid and certain proofs of this doctrine whose force even they must admit who do not acknowledge the claim of the Catholic Church to divine institution and to infallibility in matters of faith. It is this rational justification for his faith in the Blessed Sacrament that a Catholic should be prepared to explain to seekers after the truth. Does he not owe it to our Lord to wish to make known this greatest gift and expression of His love and of His generosity?

"And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took break and blessed, and broke and gave to His disciples and said, ‘Take ye and eat. This is My Body.’ And taking the chalice, He gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, ‘Drink ye all of this. For This is My Blood of the New Testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins’” (Matt. XXVI,26-28).

In these words from St. Matthew's gospel, the Church finds a clear proof of Christ's real presence. This same solemn institution of the Holy Eucharist is narrated by St. Luke and St. Mark likewise. St. John provides an independent and equally strong argument when he tells at great length in the sixth chapter of his gospel, how Our Lord foretold and promised to give Himself as the "Bread of Life" about a year before His passion.

Then it was that He said so plainly in order to prepare the minds of His apostles for the actual institution, "I am the living bread which came down from Heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world." And then it was that the Jews understood His words in their literal meaning, for St. John tells us how "the Jews murmured at Him because He had said I am the living bread which came down from Heaven.’"

Other strong proofs of the teaching of the Church are to be found in Holy Scripture, to say nothing of the argument from the clear and unanimous testimony of the Fathers of the Church, who witness the unbroken tradition and faith of the ages. But we will center our attention on Christ's words as given to us by St. Matthew. Let us see how clearly they show that Our Lord really gave His Apostles His Body to eat and His Blood to drink.

On what occasion were these words, "This is my Body, This is My Blood," uttered by Our Lord? They were spoken the last night of Our Lord's life on earth, only a few hours before He was captured by the Jews. Surely then if Our Lord wished to deliver an important message to His Apostles, a message He wished them to remember throughout their lives and to teach all men, He would use the simplest and the clearest possible language. Any other style of speech might be misunderstood; only plain speech would be understood clearly. In these solemn moments, then, Our Lord takes bread and says, "This is My Body." He could not mean these words to be understood in any other than their natural and obvious sense. For He knew the implicit faith and trust of His Apostles in Him; they would most readily believe His every word. He knew that they were not highly educated scholars, but humble, unlettered fishermen, who were not inclined to look for any hidden meaning in such plain speech. Further, He foresaw that they would understand Him literally; that they would believe that they were to eat not bread, but His very Body and that, fulfilling His command to do themselves in commemoration of Him exactly what they had seen Him do, they would teach this literal meaning of His words to all men. Now, if Christ did not mean just what His words clearly signify, He would have had to correct His apostles then and there. He, the God of Truth, could not allow or permit His Church to err in such a matter. But does He correct the Apostle's interpretation?

No, He rather insists the more that He means exactly what they understand. For He takes the chalice of wine and says, "This is My Blood, which is shed. Drink it." It is impossible that the apostles would have understood these words in any sense but their natural sense. It is equally impossible for our Lord to have expressed more simply or more clearly His real presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

These are the points to be remembered clearly. Just as we know Jesus Christ is God, because He said that He was God, and proved it by His miracles, so we believe that this same Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, is present under the appearances of bread in the Blessed Sacrament, because He said so. Who can say that we have not true proof for this marvelous doctrine when we have the words of Jesus Christ Himself? 

This then should be our resolution. To reawaken our realization of what Our Lord’s presence among us means and to renew our intellectual grasp of the reasons for our faith in this mystery. Then, by our living faith and fervent devotion, shall we give Our Lord the perfect service of our minds and hearts, and, perhaps, bring to His love, new souls for which He hungers.

MonstranceJoin the National and diocesan movement to revive devotion and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist 
By Andrew Hansen
EDITOR

Launching on the Feast of Corpus Christi on June 19, Catholics across the United States and our diocese, will begin a movement to invite Catholics into a deeper understanding and devotion of the holy Eucharist. This movement of Catholics is about healing, conversion, formation, and becoming a unified Body of Christ by focusing on encountering the real Body of Christ, present to us in the Eucharist.  

In 2019, a Pew Study indicated what many had long suspected. Few Catholics, approximately 30 percent, fully believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This stark reality inspired the bishops of the United States to action. More than an event or a program, they envisioned a true revival to rediscover the Eucharist through a deep commitment of prayer, pilgrimage, and worship on the part of the entire Church in the United States. The advent of the pandemic only accelerated these plans, revealing their urgency and importance. Too many Catholics still have not returned to Mass to celebrate the central mystery of the Church.

Over three years and beyond, every Catholic diocese, parish, school, apostolate, and family is invited to be a part of renewing their faith to the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Chalice and EucharistIn our diocese, here are just some of the things the Eucharistic Revival will entail over the next several years (mark your calendars for some of these!):

  • Corpus Christi Eucharistic processions on June 19 at your parish or a parish near you;
  • Catholic Times’ Build a Church Lego Contest happening now for students (www.dio.org/buildachurch);
  • Launching Eucharistic adoration or expanding Eucharistic adoration at parishes;
  • Parishes hosting the traveling Eucharistic Miracles of the World display;
  • Video series on the Eucharist and national speakers coming to parishes; 
  • A diocesan Year of the Eucharist starting Dec. 8. This Year of the Eucharist coincides with the celebration of the 100th year of the transfer of our diocese from Alton to Springfield. A special Mass at Ss. Peter and Paul in Alton kicks off the diocesan Year of the Eucharist Dec. 8 with the concluding Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Dec. 8, 2023;
  • A diocesan Eucharistic Congress at the BOS Center in Springfield on Oct. 28, 2023. National speakers, Bishop Robert Barron and Scott Hahn, will give talks in the arena. Other events focusing on the Eucharist and other topics will also take place at the BOS Center before a special Mass in the arena where nearly 8,000 Catholics from our diocese will attend; 
  • The first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in almost 50 years will take place July 17-21, 2024 in Indianapolis. 

May 20, 2022

I fully support and earnestly commend Archbishop Cordileone’s action in regard to Speaker Pelosi. All politicians who promote abortion should not receive holy Communion until they have repented, repaired scandal, and been reconciled to Christ and the Church. 

Full Letter to Public
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