10 01 2023 Hawaiian FMCHS aidFather McGivney students Jackson Erhman, Hayden Apotheker, Alexandra Uram, and Sarah Hyten are shown, with a check representing their school’s donation. Submitted photoBy ANDREW HANSEN

GLEN CARBON — Alexandra Uram loves Hawaii. Vacationing to the island of Maui with her family several times, most recently in 2021, the Father McGivney Catholic High School (Glen Carbon) sophomore has especially fallen in love with Lahaina, a town on the island.

“Great restaurants, fun activities including snorkeling and dolphin and whale watching, art galleries, and museums,” Uram said. “I thought it was a welcoming community with friendly, awesome people. My family and I love Maria Lanakila Catholic Church. It is architecturally beautiful and has vibrant parishioners. The singing at that gorgeous church, not just by the members of the choir, but by the entire parish, was angelic every time we attended. You just felt awesome and uplifted after attending Mass at Maria Lanakila, because God's presence was so powerful.”

Her personal connection to the island and its people made the images of the August wildfire that engulfed Lahaina and other parts of the island, killing at least 115 people, “hard to believe” and “absolutely chilling,” she said.

Miraculously, Maria Lanakila Catholic Church was spared, despite that everything around it had been reduced to ashes.

“That beautiful church, which is in the heart of Lahaina, will remain the heart of the city,” Uram said. “You just knew that God's hand was present when you saw that the church was unharmed.”

With the people of Maui and Lahaina in particular experiencing devastating losses, including family members, friends, pets, homes, possessions, schools, and jobs, Uram wanted to do something to help. So, she came up with an idea.

Father McGivney Catholic High School has a program that encourages students to support worthwhile causes. That program allows students to have dress down days (school uniforms do not have to be worn) in return for a contribution. A $5 donation is suggested, but students regularly exceed that amount. Principal Joe Lombardi further encourages participation by allowing the students to suggest the charitable causes to be supported. So, Uram suggested raising money for the people of the island. After getting the approval, the school held a dress down day, raising at least $2,300.

“It is important to let them (the people of Lahaina) know that people care about them and want to help,” Uram said.

The money will go to the Hawaii Knights of Columbus. Uran said they chose the Knights because they are already soliciting donations and distributing funds directly to those in need in Lahaina. For example, the Knights have already constructed a temporary school, as the school which was adjacent to Maria Lanakila Church, Sacred Hearts School, was destroyed in the fire. They are also distributing funds directly to those in need.

Uram’s efforts to help victims aren’t ending with just her school, expanding the scope across the diocese. She says Marquette Catholic High School in Alton agreed to have their students join the fundraising effort, as well as St. Mary School in Edwardsville, so that $2,300 donation will only grow.

“My Catholic faith, first learned at home and reinforced through years of Catholic education, has taught me to pay attention to the needs of others,” Uram said. “It has also taught me that we are called to help those in need, not just to sit on the sidelines. I would also like to ask anyone who reads this article to pray for and to support the Lahaina families.”

Where in the Bible does it say that a priest cannot be married, or is this something that was decided by the Church leaders? And, where in the Bible does it say that women cannot be priests, or is this something that was decided by the Church leaders?

– Sue in Troy

Hey, Sue! Both priestly celibacy and the male priesthood are well-attested to and rooted in Scripture, and moreover, in the life and ministry of Jesus Himself.

Let’s take the male priesthood first. It is clear from the testimony of the Old Testament that the Aaronic and Levitical priesthood was passed from father to son (cf. Leviticus 7:34 and Numbers 18, for example). This Old Testament priesthood is a type (a sort of prefigurement) of the priesthood established by Jesus Christ, and while Jesus clearly does some “new” things with those who He has called to the priesthood of Jesus Christ, in practice, He does not anywhere in Scripture abolish the Hebrew custom of an all-male priesthood. One would expect to see Christ overturn this praxis if He wished for women to participate in the ministerial priesthood, but He does not.

To our modern sensitivities, this might seem unfair or as though Jesus had left women out of His ministry, but that is certainly not the case. Jesus was not unfamiliar with the cultural norms of His day which tended to suppress the roles of women — and time and again, Jesus proved Himself above such limited human perspectives (cf. John 4:27 or Luke 7:36-50, for example). Yet His priests (the Apostles) were all men. Frankly, if Jesus were going to ordain any woman to the priesthood, it should have been His own mother, Mary; if we were abiding by human logic, she’s certainly the ideal candidate: sinless and perfectly obedient to the will of God!

Importantly, however, this does not mean that women are left out of the plan of Jesus; they are simply not ordained ministerial priests. All baptized Christians — men and women alike —participate in the common priesthood of the faithful, which is to say that we are called to offer to God the sacrifice of our lives. It may run contrary to our modern sensibilities that women are excluded from the ministerial priesthood, but this is the scandal of election that we see throughout the Scriptures: God consistently chooses one for the sake of all (He did it with Abel, Israel, David, to name a few; He deigned that Jesus become a Hebrew male and not a female Persian, for example). But when God chooses one (to the exclusion of something or someone else), He demonstrates over and again that it is always for the purpose that that “one” might exemplify His choice of all, to show forth His glory and invite all people to covenant with Him. Certainly, such is the case with the male priesthood.

As for the practice of priestly celibacy, that too is rooted in the witness of Christ Himself, to whom Scriptures never attribute a wife. But it is also demonstrated in Mt 19:12, wherein Christ instructs that there are those who choose to be eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Church has always seen this verse as a reference to those who choose celibacy (i.e., forgoing the good of sexual intimacy) for the sake of pointing to the greater fulfillment that will be ours in God alone. It is the practice of the Latin Church to choose such celibate men as her ordained ministers, precisely for their confirmation to the way of life that Jesus chose for Himself and for the sake of living as an eschatological sign (i.e., pointing to the fulfillment that comes in the Kingdom of God).

There are many arguments from fittingness and points of resonance in Scripture that point to why God may have chosen these disciplines for His Church, but unfortunately, it would be too much for our current discussion.

One last thought, though: the beauty of our Catholic faith is that we believe that God has chosen to reveal Himself not only through Scripture, but through Scripture and apostolic tradition. So, while it’s good for us to look for the truths of God in Scripture, we find the apostolic tradition as revelatory of God and importance for the adherence of our faith as well. God, beautifully, allows these not to contradict each other, so we would do well not to pit them against each other, either!

Father Michael A. Friedel is pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Decatur, chaplain at Millikin University, and associate vocations director for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

mannyJudge Colleen Lawless, who concundted the Naturalization Cermeny, with Father Manny Cuizon, who became a U.S. citizen on Aug. 30. Fr. Manny is pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Springfield Submitted photoBy Andrew Hansen

Growing up in Laoang, a small city located in the northern part of Samar Province in the Philippines, Father Manny Cuizon had no idea what was in store for his life. Little did he know growing up that not only would he become a priest, but his journey would stretch to the other side of the world to Central Illinois of all places and lead him to becoming a citizen of the United States.

“I came to America in March of 2012, the Feast of St. Joseph the husband of Mary,” Father Manny recalls. “To make the long story short, it was the help and support of Father Jeff Holtman, OSF, who was then the pastor of Holy Family Parish (Granite City) and St. Mary and St. Mark Parish (Madison) in the southern part of this diocese (Father Holtman is now pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul in Alton). He introduced me to Bishop Thomas John Paprocki about my intention to serve in the diocese. I am thankful that Bishop Paprocki gave me a chance to serve in the diocese up to now.”

Since 2013, Father Manny has served in several parishes in our diocese, currently as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Springfield. The process of him becoming a U.S. citizen he says took him nearly six years. On August 30, Father Manny took part in the Naturalization Ceremony on the campus of the University of Illinois Springfield, and declared his allegiance to the United States of America, officially becoming a U.S. citizen.

When asked what it’s like being a U.S. citizen, his response is simply that is makes him “happy.”

“I can’t believe that America is now my new home country,” Father Manny said. “I am feeling grateful to God and to the kindness and generosity of the people who helped me to begin this my new life in this land of freedom and the home of the brave. What I love most about America is the diverse and vibrant culture, values, and tradition of immigrant communities that make this nation great and stronger.”

Enrollment continues to grow at Quincy University. This fall, the university welcomed 327 freshmen. This marks the largest freshman class in 50 years and a 7% increase over last year. Combining freshman with new transfers, there are 411 full-time new students at QU, up slightly from last year and the highest since 1990. The total of full-time undergraduate students at QU for the Fall 2023 academic term is 1,011, a 2% increase over last year.

"Once again, Quincy University is breaking modern enrollment records because of the hard work of our faculty and staff and the accomplishments of our students," said Brian McGee, PhD, president of Quincy University. "Our Success by Design program, where each student has a personalized success plan, continues to make a difference in attracting students and families to QU. We are proud of all that is being accomplished at this wonderful Catholic and Franciscan university."

The class of 2027 comes to QU from over 240 different high schools, located in 31 states and 17 countries. Most students at Quincy University come from Illinois and Missouri, as has been the case throughout the history of the university.

I have just finished reading the book, Dressing with Dignity, by Colleen Hammond. In the book, it says how women’s clothing at Mass has become too revealing, not only for teens but for their mothers. St. Padre Pio was strict on who he’d allow in his confessional if necklines weren’t up high enough, and skirts weren’t low enough. The book also references what the Catholic Church teaches about appropriate modest dress, especially at church and if one isn’t dressed modestly, Communion can be refused. Why aren’t priests being more strict about this today? I feel like women would think twice about what they wear — especially to church — if they knew this. 

- Anonymous in Dieterich

First, I acknowledge that the topic of modesty in dress, especially in church, tends to be controversial. Many people get defensive and argumentative whenever it comes up. This is probably the main reason why priests and others in ministry avoid addressing it. There is also the idea of “picking your battles;” fewer people are coming to Mass and priests are afraid of offending people so that even fewer show up. But this is only a short-term strategy. We have to address modesty, even if some people choose to be offended.

Let’s begin with the big picture. The primary question is not so much the choice of one specific article of clothing over another or exactly how much of the body should be covered. To some extent, those questions are endlessly debatable and there is admittedly a cultural element at play (see CCC 2524). Rather, when we knowingly choose to dress in an immodest or inappropriate way, the underlying problem is that we do not take God seriously enough and, as a result, we do not take ourselves seriously enough.

God created man and woman — all of us — in His image and likeness (Gen 1:26). Every human person is therefore a profound mystery and has immense dignity. We also know that we are not souls with bodies, but we are both soul and body. Pope St. John Paul II taught that “the body expresses the person.” Of course, the clothing we wear is not part of us, but it is a kind of extension of our body. We could say that the body expresses the person, and clothing in turn expresses the body. It is part of our body language. Within the context of human culture and traditions, we choose clothing to express ourselves as persons, to communicate ourselves to the rest of the world.

Now, the question is this: Knowing that we are made in the image and likeness of God, how should we dress to proclaim this truth? Yes, we believe that the human body is beautiful, which means it is worthy of admiration and celebration. But we also believe that the body is sacred, which means it is worthy of respect and reverence. Therefore, clothing should not simply “cover up” or hide the body, but neither should it unveil the body to everyone indiscriminately. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden …  . It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons … .” (CCC 2521). Here we see that modesty is not some arbitrary limitation on our freedom but rather a virtue that protects our God-given dignity.

Immodesty is an offense against both ourselves and others. Christ’s second great Commandment is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:39). If we value and cherish ourselves, including our bodies, our clothing will reflect this. To dress modestly and appropriately for the occasion (a wedding is very different from the beach) also shows love and respect for all others present. It sends the message, “I take myself and you seriously.”

Finally, there is an additional consideration when it comes to the clothing we wear during Mass and other liturgies. Mass is not about you! Or me. Or any human being. It is about God and our coming into His presence to worship Him — period. Therefore, anything we do, say, or wear that draws attention away from Him and toward ourselves undermines true worship. Our personal preferences must die in the face of something infinitely more important. Since we are coming into the presence of God — and especially if we intend to receive Jesus in the Eucharist — our dress should express a certain seriousness. Mass is not just another human activity or gathering. We Americans have a reputation for being informal, especially in regard to clothing. Perhaps part of our immodesty in dress is a consequence of this general informality. After all, casual clothing tends to be more revealing, and women’s casual clothing tends to be more revealing than men’s clothing. This could explain why, even if men and women are equally guilty of dressing too casually for Mass, women are more often accused of dressing immodestly.

In closing, a famous exhortation of St. Paul perfectly brings together these themes: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:1–2).

  • Father Christopher Trummer, S.T.L, is parochial vicar at St. Agnes Parish in Springfield, associate delegate for Health Care Professionals, associate chaplain of the Springfield Chapter of the Catholic Physicians Guild/Catholic Medical Association and has a license in Sacred Theology in Moral Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Italy.

09 17 2023 highland korte jakelPete and Jane Korte and their family stand next to the beautiful outdoor Stations of the Cross after they were dedicated on July 16, along with Father Pat Jakel (center), Deacon Dave Bohnenstiehl (far left), and Father Rodney Schwartz (next to Deacon Bohnenstiehl). Submitted photoHIGHLAND — While searching for high-quality, beautiful outdoor Stations of the Cross for St. Paul Parish, Father Pat Jakel, pastor, came across some remarkable handcrafted pieces of art. They are custom molds of the Stations of the Cross in St. Ludwig Church in Darmstadt, Germany, that were hand-carved in 1905 by brothers and master sculptors Wilhelm and Franz Albermann. Incredibly, the originals  survived the bombing during World War II, mostly intact, and are the only set in existence. More recently an artist, Mark Gabriele, obtained special permission to spend two years transposing the original sculptures into relief carvings.

Because Father Jakel believed that these  Stations were far outside the financial reach of the parish, he put the idea to purchase them on the back burner. However, through the power of the Holy Spirit, a generous parish family came forward and offered to donate the cost of the Stations and their installation. Pete and Jane Korte and their family, including daughter Karen Boulanger,  offered this beautiful rendition of Christ’s Passion to the parish as a memorial to a beloved family member, Jon Boulanger, who passed away unexpectedly in 2021.

09 17 2023 highland station no. 14The 14th Station, Jesus is laid in the tomb. Submitted photoFather Jakel and his campus growth team then worked directly with Gabriele, and his company, Artisan Granite, to see the project through to completion. The entire process took nine months to complete and included work by Woltering Welding Service who created the pedestals and Station numbers and installed the Stations, and Korte & Luitjohan Contractors (Highland)  who donated the concrete work. These outdoor Stations are beautifully executed works of art and will be a fitting and lasting memorial for centuries to come.

On July 16, the Korte family and a large gathering of parishioners participated in a ceremony dedicating the Stations. The parish community of St. Paul invites all to come see them and pray.


     Special to Catholic Times


1School is back in session and just as it is important for students to learn about history, math, science, literature, and all the rest, so, too, is it very important that students learn about Jesus and our Catholic faith every week in faith formation classes at parishes such as PSR, our Catholic schools, but most importantly, at home.

I want to add something very important to the idea of Catholic formation of our young people. There is nothing more important to the formation of our youth, for their growth in the Catholic faith, and their love of Jesus, than the Eucharist! Nothing! The Eucharist is the most important ritual we Catholics celebrate and do. As Vatican II said in its document on the liturgy, “The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith.”

That said, I see students in our faith formation classes each week, but I don’t see them at Mass each week. I know the same is true at other parishes across our diocese that have Catholic schools. How can that be? Yes, it is great to have them at class to learn more about their faith and the Lord. But, for parents/guardians to not bring them to Mass each week is not only is a sin, but it says to children that Mass is not that necessary, doesn’t it? And nothing could be further from the truth.

That is why our diocese has special Year of the Eucharist going on now, part of the nationwide Eucharistic Revival. It is a time to focus on the centrality of the Eucharist in our faith. It is a vital part of our belief. Jesus told us at the Last Supper to “do this (the Eucharist) in memory of Me.” Yes, the Eucharist celebrates the suffering, death, and Resurrection of Jesus, and nothing is more
important than that. We need to teach our young people to obey the Lord’s command — the third Commandment of keeping holy the Sabbath Day, which means going to Mass.

May we all see the absolute necessity of the Eucharist in our lives. We receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ each time we gather. We remember how much He did for our salvation. See how easy it is to understand why the Eucharist is the summit of our faith? Ask yourself, “Is Jesus important to me?” If you answer “yes,” and I hope you do, then come visit and receive Him every Sunday. He’s there, waiting for you.

  • Father Joe Molloy is pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Chatham.

Niemerg TroyDiocesan seminarian to be ordained to transitional diaconate in Rome


     Managing Editor

On Sept. 28, Troy Niemerg, a seminarian for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois who has been doing his theology studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome,  will be ordained to the transitional diaconate at St. Peter’s Basilica.  He’s looking forward to that day, when he will share his joy with several members of his family who are traveling to be with him.  

“Fortunately, most of my immediate family will be able to make it to my ordination,” he said. “It’s certainly a huge request for me to make, but they have been looking forward to the ordination for a long time and never thought twice about coming. That’s just one more thing for which I am incredibly grateful.

“My parents and my upbringing were everything to me,”  said Niemerg, who calls St. Isidore the Farmer in Dieterich his home parish. “I don’t see how I could have ever discerned my vocation without them. My whole family has always practiced the faith, and we are lucky enough to live in a community that has always put faith and family first.”

Niemerg is the youngest of his siblings, but just barely.  “I am technically the youngest because I have a twin brother, Travis, who was born 16 minutes before I was,” he said. “That makes me the little brother, and no one lets me forget it!” Troy and Travis have three older siblings, Craig, Cory, and Candace, and they are all the children of Duane and Annette Niemerg, who live in Dieterich. He also has two nephews, Henry and Calvin, and one niece, Amelia.

Niemerg felt from age 11 that God may have been calling him to the priesthood. “It was nothing dramatic, no voices or grand epiphanies. It was more like a spark of a desire to serve God and His Church that slowly grew over time. I didn’t seriously consider a priestly vocation until I was 17, and I felt more confident that this persistent desire was more than just my own daydreams, but the actual will of God.”  

After his senior year at Dieterich High School,  he applied to the seminary.  “I completed my studies in philosophy at Marian University in Indianapolis while I lived at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary,” he said. “After four years of college, I was asked by Bishop (Thomas John) Paprocki to do my theology studies in Rome.”  A good friend from college seminary, Deacon Samuel Rosko from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, will be at Niemerg’s ordination to vest him.   

“Living in Rome has been one of the greatest blessings of my life,” he said. “Of course, moving from a town of 650 people to a huge and ancient European capital involved some unique challenges. While I credit the discovery of my vocation to my upbringing and family, that definitely meant it was difficult to be 5,000 miles away from them all, too.  The transition to life in Rome was the biggest in my life, but I fell in love with it just as soon as I got over the culture shock. I have been able to see and experience so much of the universal Church with new friends I’ll have for a lifetime, and for that I am grateful,” he said.   

Niemerg returned to the Springfield Diocese this summer to spend time serving at Immaculate Conception Parish in Mattoon. “I have been blessed in a big way by being assigned to Immaculate Conception with Father John Titus,” he said. “He is a model pastor and example of what it means to be a priest. Clerics are ordained to serve the people of God by configuring their lives to Christ. Among the many things I have learned from him this summer, one of the most important is to never forget that we are ordained for humble service. Bringing people to Christ and preaching the life-changing truths of His Gospel is what being ordained is all about.”

When speaking about younger people who wonder where God is calling them, Niemerg has some good advice. “I would just remind him or her that everyone has a calling from God. He has a plan for each of us, but it’s our responsibility to seriously pray and discern what that vocation is. God desires us to find perfect happiness and fulfillment in Him, but we can only do that by discerning and following His will for our lives. God will never fail to make His will known to those earnestly seeking Him in faith.”

Niemerg concludes that not only has he prayed for guidance, but he also appreciates it when people pray for him. “I would just like to thank everyone who has prayed for me and supported me throughout my time in the seminary. Please continue to do so! I have been blown away by the generosity and encouragement of all the great people in our diocese, and I’m so excited to minister to them in the near future.”

Suicidal fears and authentic accompaniment


When we realize that someone we love may be suicidal, it can be complicated to figure out how best to respond. The threat of suicide from a friend or family member obviously needs to be taken seriously, and we need to respond with loving support and accompaniment. Providing such help, however, will not necessarily be synonymous with granting every request or affirming every assertion they make.

Suppose that a friend shares that he has just lost his entire personal fortune in the most recent stock market crash. He tells you know that he is going to commit suicide unless his investment accounts somehow get shored up to the same levels they were prior to the crash. Even though you wish to show compassion to him in his difficult situation, and would want to do everything you could to deflect his suicidal thinking, it wouldn’t be appropriate to go along with his demands by replenishing all his accounts with your own funds.

That your friend is threatening suicide reveals that on some level, he has adopted a false understanding of himself, where he perceives himself as valuable only when he possesses substantial sums of money. To support him authentically would mean assisting him to break free of this illusion, so he can grasp the liberating truth that his personal identity and self-worth do not depend on his financial assets.

Clinical psychotherapist Lisa Marchiano shares another example: “If I work with someone who’s really suicidal because his wife left him, I don’t call his wife up and say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to come back.’ …We don’t treat suicide by giving people exactly what they want.”

Instead, a good psychotherapist helps a suicidal husband navigate his new situation by offering support and encouragement, and by assisting him to understand who he really is, despite the absence of his wife. His suicidal thinking indicates he has not fully grasped the fact that his own identity and existence still remain objectively good, dignified, and worthwhile even if his wife may have painfully walked away from their marriage.

Similarly, imagine a girl wants liposuction, despite the fact that she is thinner than a pencil from years of battling an eating disorder. She is very unhappy, and even suicidal, on account of her delusion that she is massively overweight. We could not encourage or consent to liposuction for her as an “affirmation strategy,” but would need to support her in addressing the mental and personal issues that underlie her morbid fear of gaining weight and the disturbed perception of her own body.

Dr. Paul McHugh, formerly Psychiatrist in Chief of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Psychiatry Department, offers a parallel analysis for the situation of gender dysphoria. He notes that the belief by a male that he is a female trapped inside a male body is similar to “the feelings of a patient with anorexia nervosa that she is obese despite her emaciated, cachectic [wasting away] state. We don’t do liposuction on anorexics. So why amputate the genitals of patients? …  We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia.”

Gender dysphoria is a particularly sensitive area that needs to be addressed with charity and truth-centered compassion. Those who struggle with gender dysphoria have significantly elevated rates of suicide compared to the general population. Regrettably, some physicians who prescribe puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones, or who perform transgender surgeries on young people, will use this higher rate of suicide to pressure parents to support so-called “gender-affirming” interventions for their children. The implication is that parents should do whatever their children ask for, to stave off a possible suicide.

In the case of a boy who declares he is actually a girl, if a parent expresses any hesitation about proceeding with surgeries to remove healthy sexual organs, some physicians have been known to ask, “What do you want? A dead son or a live daughter?” Such a query offers a false dichotomy, suggesting only two possibilities, while leaving out the third and most important option, namely a “live son” who is led away from his suicidality and false notions about his gender through professional supports, including appropriate psychotherapy, and through strong, loving familial and personal accompaniment.

When loved ones manifest an elevated likelihood of committing suicide, it makes no sense to adopt a posture of automatically yielding to every request they make, nor is it reasonable to affirm untrue assertions they may be focused on or even obsessed with. Rather, we need to care for them in a more truthful way — accompanying, supporting, and helping them to address underlying personal and psychiatric issues — so they can begin to find real healing and experience a new wholeness and integration in their lives.

Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, and serves as the Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. See and

PopeFrancis‘I will remember the people I met and the places I saw for the rest of my life’

Priests, young adults from our diocese have experience of a lifetime at World Youth Day



“Be not afraid,” Pope Francis told young Catholics Sunday at the closing Mass of World Youth Day (WYD) 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal, echoing the well-known call of his predecessor and the founder of the international youth gathering, St. John Paul II.

“Dear young people, I would like to look into the eyes of each one of you and tell you: Be not afraid, be not afraid,” he said Aug. 6 on a sunny morning in what organizers dubbed the “Field of Grace.”

3 priests“I tell you something very beautiful: It is no longer me, it is Jesus Himself who is looking at you in this moment, He is looking at you,” the pope continued. “He knows you, He knows the heart of each one of you, He knows the life of each one of you, He knows the joys, He knows the sadness, the successes and the failures.”

Pope Francis celebrated Mass on the Feast of the Transfiguration for an estimated 1.5 million people, where young people and their leaders had camped out overnight following a prayer vigil. Approximately 10,000 priests and 700 bishops concelebrated.

Amongst that crowd were several Catholics from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. That included Father Steven Arisman, Father Dominic Rankin, Father Zach Samples, Sam Doellman, Hope Glidewell, Nathaniel Ed, and Emily Kite. Their 14-day trip was an experience the group says they will always remember and one that inspired them in profound ways.

“The importance of World Youth Day is that it provides us with an opportunity to understand the universality of our Church and of our faith,” Father Samples said. “Looking out over the sea of 1.5 million people at the closing Papal Mass, you could see flags from every corner of globe. 1.5 million Catholics gathered to celebrate Mass with the successor of St. Peter is an incredibly moving experience of faith — to see so many young people gathered together to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ and with His Church filled me with hope, peace, and joy.”

fatima candles“Being my first time out of the country, I was amazed in seeing the sheer number of people from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds all gathered together,” Sam Doellman of Quincy said. “As different as we all seem on the surface, it’s only when we truly stop and get to know another that we see how similar we are. This was only enhanced through the shared values of our Catholic faith. Throughout our time in Portugal, God continuously reminded me of His deep love for me. I was reminded of this through the generosity of strangers, the growth of new and old friendships, and time spent in prayer, to name a few. I was honored to hold the prayers of so many with me throughout the pilgrimage and to share my experiences with others through updates on my social media. Allowing people from back home to experience this powerful pilgrimage with me from my updates was a joy and reminder that we are all in this journey of faith together. I look forward to bringing that joy experienced on World Youth Day home with me to my faith communities!”

Arriving in Libson on July 26, the group spent several days in the Diocese of Leiria-Fatima doing various activities, site sightseeing, and spiritual enrichment in that area. On July 31, the group returned to Lisbon for the opening ceremonies and Mass of World Youth Day on Aug. 1. Throughout that week, the group did a walking tour of Lisbon, attended several catechesis and festival events, participated in a prayer vigil, and attended more Masses.

group1“It is hard to describe with words just how much this World Youth Day experience has meant to me,” Emily Kite of Quincy said. “Since being home, one word has continued to ring in my mind — grateful. I am grateful for the opportunity to travel and explore a new culture. I am grateful to have met so many new people and grateful for the opportunity to foster both new and old friendships. Most importantly, however, I am grateful to be part of a Church that is truly universal and alive. It is very encouraging to see such a massive outpouring of joy, love, and faith from youth all around the world. We witnessed first-hand that the young Church is not only alive, but is on fire for Christ. This experience has rejuvenated my hope for the future of the Church and given me courage to continue to live out my faith in my everyday life.”

After World Youth Day, the group continued their pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal. At Fatima in 1917, Our Lady, the mother of God, appeared to three children: siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto and their cousin Lúcia dos Santos. This Church approved apparition is regarded as one of the most important, as Mary’s message reminds us that our future is in being with God in heaven forever, and that we are active and responsible partners in creating that future for ourselves and helping others to do the same. The group also took a day to visit Nazare, Batalha, and Alcobaca in Portugal and concluded their trip with a day at the beach.

SisterArismanWithSisterKarolyn“One of the major takeaways from my experience in Portugal is the reality that Christ dwells in His Mystical Body,” Hope Glidewell of Quincy said. “A common experience among the 1.5 million pilgrims is that we were all pretty vulnerable. Traveling to a foreign country, hiking in record heat, and living minimally in hostels and on gym floors reveals the reality that we need to rely on each other. If someone needed help, there was never a question about sharing resources, a helping hand, or simply an acknowledgment of solidarity. It did not matter if a person was with your group or from your country, you just helped and learned to receive help. It truly was an experience of Christ working through and in others and myself. The second takeaway I have is in regard to the architecture. When I travel to Washington, D.C., and look over the landscape, it all feels cultivated in a grandiose way to impress, hiding an ugly reality underneath. When I looked over the landscape in Portugal, it felt authentic. I think the difference is that D.C. was built in honor of men and is set up to impress. Europe (for all its current issues), was built in honor of God and is set up for worship.” 

Picture of opening mass from a world youth day“It was amazing seeing more than one million other young Catholics come together for Christ, crammed into a city that already has a population of a half million,” Nathaniel Ed of Springfield said. “We were crammed into public transportation like sardines, barely able to breathe, but it’s all part of the pilgrim experience. There’s so much that happened, and the days blur together. The most impactful part of the trip for me was praying at Fatima, in the chapel built on the very spot where Mary appeared to the children. It’s truly life-changing to be in such a significant place. We also got to see Pope Francis as he drove by, standing a mere 15 feet from him. Meeting people from a variety of different cultures was a strong reminder of the universality of Christ’s Church. It was fun just coming up to random people, asking where they come from, and learning more about them. Our new Australian friend, Aidan, even let me try some of his Vegemite. Overall, it was phenomenal, and I will remember the people I met and the places I saw for the rest of my life.”

The Man of the Shroud Exhibit coming to Vandalia



09 03 2023 vandalia shroudVANDALIA — You are invited to see a replica of the Shroud of Turin, which is believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus, and to learn about the history and science behind it by experiencing The Man of the Shroud Exhibit, coming to Mother of Dolors Parish in Vandalia for display Sept. 8-14.

The Shroud is one of the most scientifically studied religious icons in history. As science has progressed, so has the speculation on how the image of the crucified man of the Shroud was made. After decades of exhaustive and medical, historical, and scientific research, the Center for the Study of the Passion of the Christ and the Holy Shroud has developed a moving and informative mobile exhibit on the Shroud of Turin.

The centerpiece is a full-length canvas replica of the Shroud made by the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc. In addition, the mobile exhibit contains a large, crucified corpus showing the wounds of Christ corresponding to the passion narrative in the Gospel accounts and the wounds shown on the Shroud. The exhibit contains over 31 popup display banners detailing the history and science of the Shroud. The Conventual Franciscan Friars of the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe at Marytown in Libertyville are making this exhibit possible in Vandalia.

To check it out, visit Mother of Dolors Parish Center at 705 N. St. Clair St., Vandalia, IL 62471. There is no charge, and it's open to the public.

The exhibit is open on the following days and times:

Sept. 8: 5-7p.m.

Sept. 9: Noon-2 p.m.; 5-7 p.m.

Sept 10: 1-4 p.m., with Shroud scholar Mark Antonacci giving a talk at 2 p.m.

Sept. 11: 10 a.m.-noon; 5-7 p.m.

Sept. 12: 10 a.m.-noon; 5-7 p.m.

Sept. 13: 10 a.m.-noon; 5-7 p.m.

Sept. 14: 10 a.m.-noon

On Friday, Sept. 15 through Sunday, Sept. 17, Father Lawrence Carney will give a retreat on the "Devotion to the Holy Face" at Our Sorrowful Mother's Ministry in Vandalia, which will also include the Man of the Shroud Exhibit. More information can be found by visiting:

100 years of faith

WWII veteran Robert Edward Ryan of Alton shares century of advice




09 03 2023 Bob Ryan 100thALTON —It’s a Sunday morning in Alton. Fresh off a work week as a lawyer at his own firm, Robert Edward Ryan puts on his suit and tie and gets in his car and drives to his home parish of Ss. Peter and Paul for Mass. He gets there early because he is an usher at this morning’s Mass. He greets familiar faces and friends with a smile, charm, and pep in his step. Everyone calls him “Bob.” Envisioning these Sunday morning scenes, you would never know that on Sept. 23, Ryan turned 100 years old.   

“I’m short on wisdom; I’ve just lived my life and feel that God has smiled at me all my life in whatever I’ve done,” Ryan said.

Born in Alton, he has called the city home since. Married to Mary Jane for 53 years, Ryan is now widowed (she died in 2013). He has three children, one deceased, and three granddaughters.

Remembering his baptism date, Oct. 14, 1923, and the priest who baptized him, Msgr. E. L. Spaulding, VC, Ryan has called Ss. Peter and Paul his home parish since the very beginning, ushering there for half a century.

“I’m Catholic because I believe in what the faith teaches us down through the centuries, until now,” Ryan said.

Having a strong faith has come in handy over the past 100 years. Serving in World War II from 1943-1945, Ryan was captured and imprisoned for 11 months in a German war camp.

“Sometimes it was bad living conditions and sometimes not,” Ryan recalls. “Occasionally a priest came to offer Mass which was a great help. The worst was when the Russians were coming (our camp was southeast of Berlin). We were afraid if the Russians got us, we might be terminated. But at the end, we were evacuated, marched on and off for six days in snowy weather, finally loaded into box cars, traveling for three days until we were in American territory. The worst part of that was being in those box cars with no toilet, lights, seats, beds, windows, or heat. That was horrible. Also, the day we were evacuated we had a Field Mass which was a blessing.”

Ryan is known for his sense of humor, with pastor Father Jeff Holtman, OFS, calling him a “remarkable man.” When asked about pieces of advice Ryan can offer, his answer is simple, “Play by the rules, be kind, and be respectful. Many people don’t do this,” he said.

Ryan attends Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. He says he doesn’t like his prayer life to be just saying prayers for the sake of saying prayers. Over the past century, he has come to appreciate the power of prayer, something he calls “POP.”

“(There is) no doubt in my mind that when we were in combat, and then in the war camp, that I had family, friends, and others praying for me/us,” Ryan said.

With the busyness of today’s world, relationships with others, be it family, friends, co-workers, or even brief encounters with strangers, can be difficult to manage. Ryan says if you want to have authentic relationships, it starts with “being respectful to others no matter who they are.”

As Ryan thinks back on his 100 years, he recalls a story from a granddaughter’s wedding reception that sums up his life perfectly.

“Her dad got up and told the groom that he was becoming a part of the best family around. That’s the way I feel.”

09 03 2023 greene fields 2 resizedWant to visit?It’s harvest time!

Pumpkin patch, fall fun help Joehl family share their faith


    Managing Editor

09 03 2023 greene fields 3 resizedThe Greene Fields Farm u-pick pumpkin patch and farm is open weekends from Saturday, Sept. 9 through Sunday, Oct. 22. The hours are Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The farm is also open on Columbus Day, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are located at 311 Daum Station Road in Greenfield. GREENFIELD — When harvest time comes around every year, Regan and Christie Joehl always find many reasons to be especially thankful.  With five sons and another baby on the way, they know God has blessed them with a fine family, a working farm, and great friends. Now, thanks to an idea they came up with eight years ago, they are now heavily involved in the happy business of pumpkin farming and welcoming thousands of people to their Greene Fields Farm several weekends in the fall, starting this year on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Members of All Saints Parish in White Hall, Regan and Christie, who were both raised on farms in Illinois, were married in August of 2007 at St. Ambrose Church in Godfrey. Christie says she and her husband have a good life, and that was her life’s dream.  She says she has “always longed for space and a simple life.” “I knew in college that I wanted to marry a farmer, if possible,” Christie said. “Thankfully, I met Regan in college, in a soil science class of all things.”

09 03 2023 greene fields 6 resized “We have eight children,” Regan said. “Two, through miscarriage, are our family’s patron saints, and then there is Nathan (14), Caleb (12), Jeremiah (10), Ryan (8), Jackson (7), and we are pregnant with number eight, due in January.”

What began in 2016 as a 2.5-acre pumpkin patch, meant mostly to provide the family with affordable pumpkin picking in the fall, has led to an enjoyable and  profitable business venture in Greene Fields Farm. That was also the year the couple decided that Christie should leave her job as a high school agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor to focus on their young family full-time.

“I knew it would be difficult to afford to go to a pumpkin patch in the fall and having grown pumpkins as a kid, I decided to grow them ourselves,” Regan said. “We had such a good crop that we put it out on social media for our community to come out and pick our extras.” That first-year crop helped the family out financially, so they decided to expand — and expand they did!

09 03 2023 greene fields 8 resizedThere is no admission charge to visit the pumpkin patch and parking is provided. Concessions are for sale on-site. “This year our pumpkin patch is 30 acres along with 6,000 mums, two acres of apples, cut flowers, full concessions, and five acres just to park all the cars,” Regan said. “We grow every type of pumpkin, gourd, and squash that I can get seed for; this year we are growing 170 varieties. Every shape and color imaginable and all the way from a 300-pound giant pumpkin to a gourd the size of a ping pong ball. And beyond that, we grow 10 or so varieties of ornamental corn, beautiful zinnias and sunflowers, apples like you’ve never tasted before, not to mention mums in every color you can imagine. God creates amazingly and we do our best to showcase the vast intricacies of His creation, and His love for us, on our farm.”

Besides the autumn pumpkin, mum, flowers, and ornamental corn business, Regan, who also farms with his father, Tony Joehl, and his brother Drew Joehl, says homesteading is their gig. “We have way too many chickens, Berkshire pigs, a couple rabbits, a few beef cows, and two Jersey dairy cows that Christie and Caleb milk every day,” he said. “The boys each have their own unique interests, and disinterests for that matter, with the animals. While the animals don’t contribute much financially to the farm they do provide abundantly for our family in many ways.” Visitors to the pumpkin patch sometimes like to wander around and see all the animals.

Regan says pumpkins and mums are well-suited to thrive where they farm, but they certainly don’t grow themselves!  “Just like growing anything else, they come with tons of challenges and having a successful crop is nothing short of a miracle.  A miracle that takes a ton of work,” he said. “I’ve loved growing things since I was a kid and to be honest, I love the battle that it is to have a successful pumpkin season. We are constantly researching, talking with other growers, trying new things, pivoting with the weather, and discerning all the options before us.  And not just in the growing the crop but in marketing it and guiding our business.”

09 03 2023 greene fields 9 resizedFor more information go to Regan is quick to point out that Greene Fields Farm is all about family and the unique role each member plays in the business. Christie homeschools the boys, and Regan says they have “grown with the farm.” “They are a huge part of everything we do with the pumpkin patch; it’s just so intertwined with our family culture and identity,” he said. “Each one has their own callings within the farm and that’s the beautiful thing about it: the farm provides experiences varied enough to cater to each one of them. The pumpkin patch has been a great gift to our family as a medium to experience so many of the teachings our faith provides us.

“It is a great way to raise a family and we definitely talk about it being a part of their future if that is where they are called,” he said. “The challenge to me, as a father, is to use the farm to help them discover and discern their vocation and not to be trapped or overwhelmed by the demands of the farm. That is the big picture for now. While it’s a ton of work, we are having a lot of fun, and the boys are a huge help.”

Husband with pumpkin reizedOpening their farm and home to visitors is also a leap of faith. “I love that our business is an expression of who God made me to be,” Regan said.  “As a man, and an introverted one at that, I was made to create, and I love that what we can create as a family can speak to others in ways that I can’t otherwise do with words.”

On a busy weekend, the farm welcomes upwards of 5,000 people, Regan says. “Most of our year, especially our fall, revolves around preparing for those big weekends. It is busy! The insanity of fall has really helped us to appreciate and embrace the slower times of winter.”

Wife in field cutout resized“To serve God, support our family and allow our community an exceptional opportunity to experience the awe of God’s creation on the farm we’re entrusted with.” Greene Fields Farm mission statementSome of the Joehl’s favorite customers are those from who come from the Catholic community. “From the Cursillo community to our clergy, it’s always a great day when you show up. Three of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George (Alton) have been coming for a few years now and when they show up my radio blows up with, ‘The Sisters are here! The Sisters are here!’  Just their presence is  such a joyful witness and brings an energy to the patch that cannot be replicated. Habits, collars, and cassocks are welcome here!

“How cool is it that we get to use pumpkins to preach?” Regan asks. “Our calling to growth of the pumpkin patch has happened in a beautiful parallel with our calling to and growth in our Catholic faith. The farm has been a priceless medium for us to experience our faith together as a family and to be drawn to Christ and His Church. Beyond that, it is our ministry. When you come to our farm you will see Catholic artwork, statues, sayings, and Scripture. You are going to know we are Catholic.

“Then out in the field you are going to experience God in a way that so many of us have lost touch with; at the very crux of the vastness and intricacy of His creation,” he said. People might not be able to put it into words, he says, but they know they are experiencing something profound. He says his family hopes that, through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, God helps each and every person who sets foot of the farm on their journey toward Him.  “Really, it about so much more than pumpkins,” he said.

“It’s amazing to us, though, how God had been forming Christie and I for this long before we ever knew,” he said. “While we had been focused on other pursuits, He took all of our experiences, education, strengths, and passions and guided us into being pumpkin farmers. It’s amazing how to look back at how God formed us to fulfill this vocation and it’s exciting to look forward to what lies ahead.”

TPostcardhe Holiest Adventure days for moms/daughters and fathers/sons coming this fall — sign up now

Are you craving screenless quality time with your children? Join Catholics in our diocese for The Holiest Adventure — mother/daughter edition and father/son edition. These are two separate adventure days for moms and their daughters and dads and their sons. The days will be packed with fun activities, Mass, adoration, and delicious food.

The mother/daughter edition is Saturday, Sept. 16 and is for moms and their daughters in grades 4-9. The father/son edition is Saturday, Oct. 14, and is for dads and their sons in grades 4-9. Both events are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The mother/daughter edition will be at the St. Francis Convent, 1 Franciscan Way, Alton, IL 62002. The father/son edition will be at The Villa Catholic Life Center, 1903 E Lake Shore Drive, Springfield, IL 62712.

To register, go to Cost is $40.00 per mother/daughter or father/son pair. Each additional child is $5 extra. For questions, email Daniel Heffernan at .

John 6:53 says, “Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you.’” So, what about the faithful in other religions who do not believe in the true Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and therefore, do not receive Him?

-             Nancy in Springfield

Dear Nancy,

When my wife, Pam, and I became Catholic in 2003, we had some challenging conversations with family and friends. One of the issues that we had to address was to reassure our non-Catholic Christian friends that we did not think they were not real Christians or that they were not going to make it to heaven. Jesus said in Mark 16:16, “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.” And St. Paul said in Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

The reason that Pam and I became Catholic is because we wanted the fullness of life that is found only in the Roman Catholic Church. It is only here that God makes available all the gifts that God wants his people to have: all the sacraments, the Tradition, the teaching authority, and the bond of unity that comes from being in communion with the successor of St. Peter, the pope. All these gifts are only available to those within the Catholic Church. All other churches and Christian communities participate in the gifts of God to the extent that they remain close to the Catholic faith. The Eastern Orthodox churches retain more of the faith and so are considered true churches. The protestant denominations retain less, and so are not in the fullest sense but are still our brothers and sisters in Christ through faith.

As the document, Unitatis Redintegratio (Second Vatican Council's decree on ecumenism) says, “For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church” (quoted in the CCC 1271). Even those who, “through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart” can be saved (Lumen Gentium, quoted in CCC 847).

So, if a person who doesn’t know any better can receive eternal life without partaking of the sacred Body and precious Blood of Christ, why would anyone who does understand the richness of the Blessed Sacrament want to? Holy Communion brings the real presence of Christ into our lives in the most intimate and powerful way imaginable. How can I reject that knowing what is at stake and knowing how important it is to Jesus that I participate in the sacrament as Jesus’ words from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, which you quoted, show us?

- Father Scott Snider is pastor of St. Brigid, Liberty; St. Edward, Mendon; and St. Joseph, Quincy and is the Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

Eucharistic Congress web banner left 1024x758Seats for historic Eucharistic Congress in Springfield Oct. 28 filling up quickly
Inquire with your parish now to reserve your spot

The excitement for the first ever Eucharistic Congress in our diocese is growing as parishes are reporting many of their allocated seats for the historic event are taken, so if you want to go, you better act fast. 

The Eucharistic Congress takes place Saturday, Oct. 28 at the BOS Center in Springfield. Seats are free. The day-long event features four popular Catholic speakers, Dr. Scott Hahn, Sister M. Karolyn Nunes, FSGM, Father Chase Hilgenbrinck, Father Denis Robinson, OSB; inspirational videos; sacraments; and Mass with Catholics from across the diocese.  

The Eucharistic Congress will also celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the transfer of the See city of the diocese from Alton to Springfield, which took place on Oct. 26, 1923.

To attend, you must contact your parish office. If your parish has all their available seats reserved when you inquire, the public release of any more seats will be in September, if they become available.

At the Eucharistic Congress, food will be available for purchase at concession stands, and you will be allowed to exit and return to the BOS Center throughout the day. For families, a family room will be open in the basement of the BOS Center to allow children to play (the parent/guardian must stay with their child(ren) in that room at all times as the room will not be supervised by staff). Confession and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will be available throughout the day. Catholic vendors will have booths and the diocesan Office of Archives and Record Management will have a display of history and photographs to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the transfer of the diocesan See from Alton to Springfield. 

There is no assigned seating at the Eucharistic Congress as it’s on a first come, first serve basis. So, if you want seats close to the speakers and altar, it’s advised to arrive when the doors open at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 28 to claim your seats. Please be courteous, however, when choosing your seats, which also includes not leaving 1-2 empty seats between you and your neighbor. We’re expecting a full arena, so please sit next to someone to leave room for others when they arrive.

There will be no Masses at any parish in the diocese Oct. 28. For more information about the Eucharistic Congress including frequently asked questions, go to:


The schedule of the Eucharistic Congress on Oct. 28 

  • 10:30 a.m.: Doors open, family room open, vendor row open
  • 11 a.m.: Eucharistic adoration and confession available in basement (both end at 3:30 p.m.), concession stands open
  • 11:30 a.m. - 12:35 p.m.: Screening of documentary, God is Alive | Stories of incredible faith and miraculous events in Central Illinois
  • 12:50 p.m. – 1:35 p.m.: Dr. Scott Hahn presentation
  • 1:50 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.: Screening of The Chair, video that highlights the history of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and Bishop Paprocki's journey to Springfield
  • 2:30 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.: Sister M. Karolyn Nunes, FSGM, presentation
  • 2:50 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.: Father Chase Hilgenbrinck presentation
  • 3:10 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Father Denis Robinson, OSB, presentation
  • 4 p.m.: Mass

Schedule subject to change

Financially support/sponsor Eucharistic Congress

Are you interested in financially supporting this historic Eucharistic Congress? Please consider donating or becoming a sponsor. If you would like to make a financial gift to support the Eucharistic Congress, visit If you are interested in event sponsorship, contact Rachel Langdon at Thank you!

Aren’t Catholics supposed to oppose the death penalty?
Mike in Springfield

As the Church, which is entrusted with handing on what Christ taught, Catholics find themselves discerning how to live the radical call of forgiveness which was a hallmark of Christ’s teaching and life.  His Sermon on the Mount is a clear call to live differently than the world around us, realizing the challenge that this is, “You have heard it said, love your kinsmen and hate your enemy, but I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5: 43-48).

The Church also has stood for the right and duty of a society to protect its members from those who hurt others, who commit crimes which endanger others, and who pose a risk to those around them.   Throughout the centuries, this has included the right for societies to utilize capital punishment for those offenders who have committed the most serious crimes which endanger the lives of others when this is the only way to protect the innocent. For the majority of the history of the world, such a punishment would be the only way to secure the peace and of those convicted of the most heinous crimes.   However, while upholding the right of society to inflict capital punishment in theory, as societies have developed and methods of securing prisoners away from the general population are available, the question has been revisited.

Pope Francis’ Oct. 3, 2020 encyclical, entitled Fratelli Tutti, rejected capital punishment as a “false answer that … ultimately does no more than introduce new elements of destruction in the fabric of national and global society.” Citing centuries of death-penalty opposition by leading Catholic scholars and clergy and calling attention to the possibility of judicial error and the misuse of capital punishment as a tool of persecution by autocratic regimes, Pope Francis called upon “all Christians and people of good will” to work for “the abolition of the death penalty, legal, or illegal, in all its forms.” 

The pope presented his decree as a direct and inevitable successor to St. John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, condemning capital punishment “except in cases of absolute necessity … when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society.” Those circumstances, St. John Paul said, “… are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” 

“St. John Paul II stated clearly and firmly that the death penalty is inadequate from a moral standpoint and no longer necessary from that of penal justice,” Francis declared. “There can be no stepping back from this position. Today we state clearly that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible’ and the Church is firmly committed to calling for its abolition worldwide.”

Father Peter Harman is pastor of St. Anthony of Padua in Effingham and holds a doctorate in Moral Theology from the Catholic University of America. 

08 20 2023 tutus tuus recapThis was a common scene at all the parishes that hosted Totus Tuus this summer as children learned about the Catholic faith. Here, teacher Martin McGrath, also a seminarian of our diocese, discusses the Mass, with one young boy representing the priest. Photo by Rose KehoeTotus Tuus brings nearly 700 children closer to our faith

Totus Tuus, a popular weeklong faith-based program that was hosted by nine parishes this summer across our diocese, was about one thing: getting children to better understand our Catholic faith so they can grow more richly in their relationship with God. Whether it was going to daily Mass and receiving the Eucharist, going to confession, learning the mysteries of the rosary, eucharistic adoration, or reading the Bible, among other religious based activities, Totus Tuus combined faith and fun (games, funny skits, and outside activities) so children not only stayed engaged, but more fully learned about the beauty of the Catholic faith and the sacraments.

This summer, nearly 700 children participated, about 100 of which were in grades 7-12. Nine missionaries (college-aged students) formed two teams that traveled week to week to different parishes in the diocese, leading the program. 

“All three of my kids came back every day exhausted but happy,” said Elena Tejeda. “I heard them recount their day and the various faith centered activities they did, but what stood out was the impact of a member of the Totus Tuus team in each memory. At Totus Tuus, my kids were able to see joy filled people who love their faith as much as they do, it was inspiring to them.” 

Parishes hosting Totus Tuus this year were St. Francis Solanus (Quincy), Sacred Heart (Effingham), St. Boniface (Edwardsville), Our Lady of Lourdes (Decatur), Holy Family (Granite City), St. Isidore (Dieterich), St. Katharine Drexel (Springfield), St. Mary (Paris), and St. John the Evangelist (Carrollton).

The Office of Vocations for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, which helps organize Totus Tuus, is hoping for at least three teams of missionaries next year which will allow for more parishes in the diocese to host Totus Tuus.  

“The missionaries were absolutely amazing, the parishes were wonderful, and we’d love to welcome additional parishes to join next year,” said Daniel Heffernan, director of Totus Tuus. “The feedback we’ve received has been awesome as the experience really impacted children in a positive and holy way. Authentic friendships were formed, positive memories created, and faith boosted —a refreshing combination in today’s world.” 

Stay tuned next spring and summer to sign up your child for Totus Tuus

The night Jerseyville’s Father Marty Smith saw a UFO
What does the Church say about this phenomenon?

JERSEYVILLE — What was supposed to be a normal spring night for Father Marty Smith, pastor of several parishes in Jersey County, turned into something out of this world.

In 2018, Father Smith invited a friend to come over to his home in Jerseyville to have some pizza and sit by a fire outside, as the weather had finally warmed up enough, and it was a pleasant evening. After they ate, the two of them were sitting around the fire and talking about a variety of topics under a dark and clear sky. That is when things took an eye-popping turn.

“As we were talking, I detected movement out of the peripheral vision of my left eye,” Father Smith recalled. “Thinking it might be an owl, I turned my head and looked over my garage only to see not an owl, but something being dimly illuminated by the moonlight moving at an incredible speed. Staring for a moment to figure out what I was looking at, it suddenly became apparent that it looked like a giant black triangle seemingly the size of a house, with a dim white strip along the side. It had no lights on it, was making nearly no sound aside from a very slight whooshing sound, and it appeared to be flying at about 3,000-5,000 feet to the northeast.”

Father Smith then asked his friend if he was seeing it too. His friend confirmed the same. In just a matter of a few seconds, whatever it was shot across the sky, gone. 

“We both were shocked and perplexed by what we saw,” Father Smith said. “We spent some time discussing and explaining what it possibly could have been, but never figured out what exactly we saw. Now, I’m not sure what it was we saw that night, but as a former Army paratrooper, I am familiar with the altitude it appeared to be flying at because that was the altitude we often jumped from in the military. I am also familiar with a wide variety of military aircraft in flight, having seen many in my time in the service and at airshows throughout the years. Whatever it was, it looked like nothing I have ever seen. I also enjoy observing stars, tracking satellites, watching meteor shows, owls, and nighttime birds throughout the year. It was none of those. It moved across the sky so quickly, and it was so dark that even if there had been more time for me to grab my phone and attempt a picture, I’m not sure anything could have been seen on it. It could have been something natural, an optical illusion, it could have been a secret aircraft, or something else totally unknown. Whatever it was, it is a complete mystery, and it defied our explanation.” 

Other people in the area also saw it too, confirming it wasn’t just these two friends hanging out by the campfire.

Recently, there has been a renewed interest in UFOs (unidentified flying objects), now called UAPs (unidentified arial phenomena). This is in part due to the revelation by the Pentagon that between 2007 and 2012, it had been investigating this phenomenon in a program called A.A.T.I.P. (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program). That, along with the release of videos from U.S. Navy fighter jets that captured unknown flying objects, and the fact that these videos were confirmed as authentic by the Department of Defense and other high government officials, continues to grow interest in UFOs. In July, John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for the White House, said that “Some of these phenomena (UFOs), we know, are having an impact on our training ranges.” So, what does the Church say on this topic? 

“The Church doesn’t have a defined teaching on the topic of unidentified arial phenomenon or on extra-terrestrial life for that matter,” Father Smith said. “This is because first, we don’t know what these objects are and what the explanation for them is. Are they a natural phenomenon we do not yet understand? A secret technology being experimented by a government or group? Or, is it technology that didn’t come from this world? There are several different opinions on that question.

“I have heard people wrongly make the argument that if alien life were discovered, it would destroy religion or break down our faith and the Church. That is not true. Most of the time when I hear people make this claim, it comes from people who don’t have a very good understanding of what the faith, Scripture, and the Church are. Let’s say for a moment that alien life were discovered. It does nothing to change the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Revelation of God throughout humanity. It just means that there are still aspects of God’s creation that we do not yet know about, and that will always be true because God is the creator of everything, visible and invisible, seen and unseen. There are many aspects of our faith which are mysteries. A few examples are angels, demons, heaven, hell, miracles, creation, time, and the Holy Trinity. All of these things we can talk about with limited knowledge and experience by what has been revealed to us by God, but the vast majority of these things will remain a mystery to us on earth. If God chose to reveal more to us about these mysteries, it doesn’t end our faith, it enhances it and reveals more to us about God’s creation.”

Many people also wrongly assume that faith and science are opposed to each other. Father Smith points out that the two actually go hand-in-hand. Science can help answer the “how;” however, science cannot answer the “why.” Faith answers the “why” question, and that answer in its simplest form is God.

“The more we learn about science, the more it reveals to us how God has created things and the order in which He has established for how things work,” Father Smith said. “Our faith then strengthens our science to first make sure it is authentic and true, and then to strengthen our trust in God even in the things science cannot yet or never will be able to explain. When a mystery is before us, whether it’s something natural but unknown, manmade, or from another source that we don’t know about, we must realize that none of that changes our faith. Our understanding of things as humans or our choosing to believe or not believe in something doesn’t determine what reality is and what is true. Only God does that. He determines what is true. The topic of UFOs or any mystery is nothing we must worry or be anxious about because our trust is in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, and the Creator of all things.” 

Back to that story in 2018. The following weekend, as Father Smith was in the church preparing to celebrate the weekend Mass, he discovered that his friend who was with him that fateful night had told his dad of the account. His father, an older gentleman with a deep booming voice that could be heard clearly throughout the whole church, was sitting in the front pew with his arms resting on his walker. Father Smith describes the rest: 

“As I walk out to light the candles he says to me, ‘Father … what’s this I hear about you and my son, sitting by a fire, and seeing a UFO?’ I think every person who was already in the church at that moment stopped what they were doing, turned, and was listening. ‘It’s a mystery,’ is all I could say with a laugh. There are some things we may never know.”

Managing Editor 

As the 2023-2024 school year gets under way,  seven Catholic schools in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois are welcoming new principals to lead them into the future. One Aug. 2, those individuals gathered at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Springfield to meet with Brandi Borries, superintendent of Catholics schools; Dr. Mark Newcomb, who is the new director for the Department of Catholic Education; and Dawn Klinner, who is the new assistant superintendent of Catholic schools; to prepare for their new leadership roles. Other diocesan representatives also gave presentations to the principals, to introduce them to what roles they play with the  diocese and to offer assistance as the new leaders move forward.

“After a rejuvenating summer, I’m excited to begin the new school year and work with our Catholic education team, Dr. Newcomb and Mrs. Klinner, to help support our principals in promoting the mission of our Catholic schools,” said Borries. “We have a great group of new principals who bring vast experience with them, and we’re looking forward to a fantastic year.” 

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, students, and their parents.  

Friel Traci CYMKTraci Friel
St. Patrick School

Traci Friel, who is the new principal at St. Patrick School, says she has been looking forward to leading the faculty of 16 and the 190-plus students who are in grades PreK 3-8.

Because she has two sons who attend St. Patrick, she says she familiar with the school. “I have been part of this school as a parent and love the family atmosphere,” she said. “The kiddos that attend are amazing individuals and the faculty is top notch. I’m active in the Catholic faith and hope to keep that alive in our students and faculty.”

Prior to her new position, Friel taught six years at St. Teresa High School and spent one year teaching junior high students at St. Patrick. She holds a master’s from University of Wisconsin-La Cross and a master’s in education from the American College of Education. 

A member of Ss. James and Patrick Parish in Decatur, Friel is married and their two sons are 11 and 12 years old. 

Gonet Cheryl CYMKCheryl Gonet
St. Louis School

After having been a teacher for decades and being retired, Cheryl Gonet has headed back to school as the new principal at St. Louis School in Nokomis. There she will lead a staff of 10, and 64 students in PreK through eighth grade. 

Gonet has a master’s from SIUE and spent 32 years at North School in Nokomis, where she taught third- and fourth-graders. 

“I was truly called by God to step in out of retirement,” she said. “I went to and graduated from St. Louis School, as did my children. So, it is personal for me. This is a very special school. God is definitely at work here. The Holy Spirit is alive and well! St. Louis is a spiritual gem hidden away in Montgomery County. Practicing our faith and living a life of service is modeled daily. We (the teachers and Father Michael Meinhart) are committed to forming disciples who shine their light for others and love Jesus in a personal way. ” 

Gonet has three children and nine grandchildren in California, Alabama, and in the Chicago area.  She lives near her siblings and her mother, and has a brother in California.  A parishioner at St. Raymond Parish in Raymond, since she moved there three years ago, she enjoys traveling to visit her family when she is not in school. 

Killian Jennifer CYMKJennifer Killian
Little Flower School

Jennifer Killian is the new principal at Little Flower School in Springfield, where she leads a staff of 50 and 300 students in grades PreK-8. 

Killian holds a bachelor’s of business administration degree from Loyola University, Chicago and says all of her education-related work has taken place at Little Flower. 

She is dedicated to Catholic education. “I was fortunate enough to attend Catholic grade and high school and want to help make sure that opportunity continues to be available to future generations,” she said.

A member of Little Flower Parish, she is married to Brian. They have twin daughters who will be attending UIUC, a son who is freshman at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, and a son who is in the third grade at Little Flower. 

Knight Kim CYMKKim Knight
Our Lady Queen of Peace School

Kim Knight is the new principal of Our Lady Queen of Peace School in Bethalto, where she is heading up  a staff of 15, along with 114 students who are in grades PreK 3-8. 

Knight has a bachelor’s degree in early child childhood education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and this is her 21st year at Our Lady Queen of Peace.  She also taught second grade for two years at St. Bernard School in Wood River. 

“I am excited to lead my home school — where I attended grades 1-8 — as we work together to provide a wonderful education while celebrating our faith,” she said.

A member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Knight is married to Scott, who is an engineer with Crawford, Murphy and Tilly.  They have one son, Jake, who is beginning college at SIUE to study psychology. 

Riveria Mary CYMKMary Rivera
St. Mary School 

Mary Rivera is happy to be the new principal at St. Mary School in Alton, where she is leading a staff of 42 and a little more than 300 students in grades PreK 3-8. 

Rivera has a master’s in educational administration from Lindenwood University, and also attended Quincy University. She was an educator at Payson-Seymour High School for two years and at Marquette Catholic High School in Alton for 11 years. Additionally, she was a teacher assistant at Quincy Notre Dame High School early in her career. 

“I’ve always wanted to be an educator and have spent the majority of my life learning and teaching in Catholic/Christian education,” Rivera said. “My kids now attend St. Mary’s, so I’m excited to be a part of their Catholic journey with the best faculty and staff I could ever imagine or pray for.”

Rivera and her husband, Dustin, have three sons and a daughter: Korbin, Kolten, Kobe, and  Koralyn. They are members of St. Mary Parish in Alton. 

Saner Teresa CYMKTeresa Saner
Sacred Heart-Griffin High School

Teresa Saner is looking forward to the 2023-2024 school year as principal of  Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield, which has a staff of 73 and over 525 students in grades 9-12. She will be working with SHG’s new president, Dr. Bill Moredock. 

Saner has both her bachelor’s and her master’s in mathematics from St. Louis University. She has been an adjunct mathematics instructor at St. Louis University, and was a mathematics professor and division chairperson at Springfield College in Illinois, Benedictine University, and Lincoln University. 

Saner, an SHG graduate, says, “All of my formal education has been at Catholic institutions, and most of my teaching/administration career has been at Catholic institutions. After spending 29 years in higher education, opportunities became available at a secondary institution, Sacred Heart-Griffin. I took a leap of faith knowing this is where I was called to be. I believe in SHG and am honored to be leading this community of educators.” 

Saner, a member of Christ the King Parish, is married to Dave Saner and they have two sons, Matthew, and Andrew. 

Seaton Jill CYMKJill Seaton
Christ the King School

Jill Seaton says she is happy to be in back in her hometown as principal of Christ the King School in Springfield. At CTK she is leading 78 staff members and 540 students who range from preschool through eighth grade. 

Seaton has a bachelor’s from St. Mary of the Woods College and a master’s in education from Benedictine University. She has worked in education for 19 years, mostly in Catholic schools as a classroom teacher and most recently as an IT coordinator. 

“I have a true passion for Catholic education and for doing what’s best for kids,” she said. “Springfield is my hometown and Catholic education is part of who I am today. I am grateful to have been chosen to lead Christ the King School and am looking forward to a great year.”

Seaton, a member of Christ the King Parish, is has been married to her husband, Matt, for 21 years. “Together we have six children — a daughter who at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., two sons at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, and three more sons at Christ the King,” she said. 


In the Apostle’s Creed we pray, “(Jesus) suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell.” What do we mean that Jesus descended into hell?

  • Anonymous in diocese

In the Apostle’s Creed, we profess that Jesus “descended into hell” and that “on the third day he rose again.” If hell is the “state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1033), how can this be? Our difficulty with this is simply the difficulty of translation.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains why Jesus descended into the realm of the dead, what is meant here with the word hell:

The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was “raised from the dead” presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection (see Acts 3:15, Romans 8:11, I Corinthians 15:20, and Hebrews 13:20). This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ’s descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there.

This is why St.  Peter says, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey” (I Peter 3:18-20). This is the great mystery we celebrate the morning of Holy Saturday.

In its original use, our word “hell” referred to the abode of the dead, much like the Greek word Hades or the Hebrew word Sheol. With the passage of time, our word hell acquired the exclusive meaning of the realm of the devils or the state of final separation from God. As the connotation of the word changed, our English translation of the Apostles’ Creed did not likewise change.

When he descended into hell, into the realm of the dead where the righteous were because heaven was at that moment closed to them, he did not do so “to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him… The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfillment” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 633-634).

  • Father Daren Zehnle, C.L., K.C.H.S., 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 06 2023 tolton procession 1Hundreds honor Quincy’s Venerable Father Tolton

More than 200 pilgrims devoted to the Venerable Servant of God, Father Augustine Tolton, who grew up in Quincy, ministered in Quincy, and is buried in Quincy, commemorated the 126th anniversary of his death with a pilgrimage procession on 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 Church and concluded at St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery where Father Tolton is buried. Father Daren Zehnle (pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Ashland), shown in insert photograph incensing Tolton’s grave, presided, while Father Tom Meyer (pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy) preached.

08 06 2023 tolton procession 2Following Evening Prayer, the pilgrims prayed for an end to racism 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.

“Within the liturgy we often speak of the saints of those who ‘spent themselves’ in the service of God,” Father Zehnle said. “Father Tolton's example shows us how to do the same in humility and love.”

At the end of the gathering, Father Zehnle announced that a eucharistic procession that will be crossing the country from California to Indianapolis as part of the nationwide Eucharistic Revival going on now, will come through Quincy in the summer of 2024. The procession will go by Father Tolton’s grave.

08 06 2023 Fr. Rosa US Citizen‘It's good to be a U.S. citizen’
Father Rosa of Sacred Heart Parish in Effingham now a U.S. citizen


EFFINGHAM — Father Michal Rosa, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Effingham, officially became a U.S. citizen July 7 during his oath ceremony, the final step of the naturalization process.

“I love it (being a citizen),” Father Rosa said. “Really, I feel like nothing has changed. However, it does feel great knowing that I am a citizen. The feedback from the people is amazing, and I have received so much support. It's good to be a U.S. citizen.” 

A native of Tarnow, Poland, Father Rosa came to the U.S. in 2010, primarily to serve Polish people at St. Ferdinand Church in Chicago. He was there for two years before returning to Poland in 2012. 

It was during that time in Chicago when Father Rosa met Bishop Thomas John Paprocki.

“Long story short, he invited me to come and serve in the Diocese of Springfield,” Father Rosa recalls.

So, Father Rosa came to Effingham in 2014 and started as a parochial vicar at Sacred Heart (Effingham), St. Anthony of Padua (Effingham), and St. Mary (Shumway). In 2017, he became the pastor of Sacred Heart Parish. 

Gaining U.S. citizenship involves several steps and took Father  Rosa about 10 years. This includes a two-year working visa, a one-year process for a green card, living and working in the U.S. for five years while on a green card, and a naturalization process that takes over a year.

To obtain citizenship, you must complete all the steps mentioned above. To obtain a green card, you must have your fingerprints taken and be up to date with vaccinations. After that, you must pass the naturalization interview and test. Father Rosa completed these steps in March and attended his oath ceremony on July 7, which includes him promising to fulfill supporting and defending the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the United States against its enemies.

“I am proud to be a priest in the Diocese of Springfield, and it just felt natural to become a citizen,” Father Rosa said.

When asked what he loves most about America, his response?

“A lot of things. I love the people, especially in Effingham. The food is great, especially steaks. I like the language too, even though I still have a lot to learn.” 


Father Michal Rosa, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Effingham and born in Poland, is now a U.S. citizen.

Submitted photo

New documentary features Central Illinois miraculous events and incredible stories of faith

God is Alive, produced by Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, available to watch now for free



      Managing Editor


In a world full of selfishness, hardships, and despair, more and more people are asking, “God, are you up there?” God is Alive, an original documentary, created and produced by the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, answers that question in an adventurous, impactful, and local way.

1Father Michael Trummer and Andrew Hansen produced a documentary, God is Alive, using two cameras and cell phones.Andrew Hansen, host of the Catholic podcast Dive Deep, editor of Catholic Times, and former television personality on ABC, NBC, and FOX affiliates in Central Illinois, teams up with Father Michael Trummer, parochial vicar of St. Boniface Parish in Edwardsville and chaplain at Father McGivney Catholic High School in Glen Carbon, in a journey across Central Illinois, as they find five incredible stories of faith/miraculous events in five cities that will show God is alive and help move people to put their faith in action.  

“If you are full of faith, clinging to faith, or have lost hope in faith, we invite you to watch this one-hour documentary that will make you laugh and cry, but most importantly, get you inspired, move you to hope, and fall in love with faith in a whole new way,” Hansen said. “We set out to find ‘jaw-dropping’ stories of miraculous events and people — who despite the walls of pain or struggles closing in — found light and joy in unexpected ways. Miracles still happen, and they are happening in Central Illinois.”

God is Alive takes viewers to Jerseyville, Springfield, Peoria, Quincy, and Decatur and features Hansen and Father Trummer traveling to each city, discussing certain aspects of faith and their own marriage and priestly vocation stories, then a feature on the miraculous event/person of incredible faith, and then the two of them reacting to each story with Father Trummer discussing how each story can help people in their own faith journey. The five stories highlight miraculous events that people will be surprised to learn about and touch on many things people struggle with such as prayer, feeling unforgiveable, and dealing with an incredible hardship.

The five stories include:

  • 358612639 978660083330037 4896434635185077396 nThe cast of God is Alive: Bonnie Enstrom, Betty Parquette, Father Michael Trummer, Andrew Hansen, Grant Wilson, Father Marty Smith, Sarah Reichert, Hope Reichert.About a year before Father Marty Smith of Jerseyville was set to be ordained a priest, he had serious doubts about becoming a priest, until God answered his prayer in a miraculous way;
  • After having two abortions, Betty Parquette of Springfield felt broken and unforgiveable, that is until a conversation with a priest changed everything for her. That moment not only gave her life new purpose, but sent her on a mission to save lives;
  • Bonnie Engstrom of Washington (near Peoria) faced a new parent’s worst nightmare, delivering a child with no signs of life. Needing a miracle, she turned to one specific person to intercede for her lifeless son, James, hoping God could raise him from the dead;
  • Sara Reichert of rural Adams County (near Quincy) admits she used to equate intelligence with worth. Then, God gave her a daughter, Hope, that changed her entire outlook on life and faith;
  • Grant Wilson’s constant back pain due to having different leg lengths was always a challenge. After doctors advised against surgery, Grant turned to a healing service in Decatur. What happened there made people “gasp.”

SHG NightMore than 300 people attended the premiere of God is Alive at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield on July 8.“Sharing stories and testimonies is a very powerful thing for evangelization and building faith, and it’s encouraging because we are all struggling in some way,” Father Trummer said. “St. Paul says that faith comes from what is heard, so it’s really supposed to be part of our culture to share testimonies of ways God is active in our lives, and we are supposed to share that with other people.”

God is Alive was filmed over a five-month period using two cameras and cell phones, with Hansen and Father Trummer doing all the work.

“We want to take viewers on an authentic and raw journey with us as we travel Central Illinois, so it’s our hope that intimacy makes viewers connect more with the stories,” Hansen said.

“The documentary was awesome, and I encourage people to go see it,” said Bishop Thomas John Paprocki. “It tells some incredible stories of faith, healing, and real miracles, so go watch it.”

359537943 3549587622031315 4403999708317262928 n 1Shown is the playbill of God is Alive for its premiere showing at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield July 8.“The documentary was fantastic,” said Father Christopher Trummer (Father Michael Trummer’s brother), parochial vicar at St. Agnes Parish in Springfield. “I’ve noticed in my own life and in my ministry being with different people that there is really not a shortage of these stories of God touching people and God working in miraculous ways, but there is a shortage of us sharing about it. I just loved it, and I highly recommend it.”

To watch the documentary, click here.

God is Alive Part 2? Calling for incredible stories/miraculous events!

Catholic Times has been asked if there will be a sequel to God is Alive. That depends on if other people in our region have amazing faith or miraculous stories to share. If that’s you or you know someone who does, email Andrew Hansen at .

CathySPRINGFIELD DIOCESAN COUNCIL of CATHOLIC WOMEN 95TH Annual Convention, “CHRIST IS ALIVE,” will be held on Wed., Sept. 27, 2023, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM at Sacred Heart Griffin High School West Campus, 1601 W. Washington, Springfield, IL. Bishop Paprocki will be the main celebrant of the Mass at nearby St. Agnes Church at 11:00 am. The convention will be hosted by the Springfield Deanery Council of Catholic Women.

Cathy Becker is the key-note speaker.

Cathy has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and is a Nationally Certified Lay Ecclesial Minister.

Cathy currently serves as the Director of Faith Formation at St. Agnes Parish in Springfield, IL. At St. Agnes, Cathy has developed a Family Formation Program, Restored Order Sacrament Process and Adult Formation Ministries.

Cathy’s previous ministries include being a sales representative and catechetical resource for the Catholic Publisher RCL Benziger, Pastoral Associate at St. Katharine Drexel Parish, Springfield IL., and Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry Coordinator in parishes in Rockford, IL. and Greensboro, NC.

Cathy has been a teacher and author for the Center for Ministry Development and Benedictine University in Springfield, IL. and the NFCYM Pathways to Professional Ministry Focus Area.

Cathy has presented retreats, keynotes and workshops on spirituality and ministry leadership in several dioceses across the country including, Belleville, Colorado Springs, Boise and Honolulu.

Cathy resides in Springfield with her husband, Joshua and three daughters.

Cathy Becker will give two presentations: “New Maps for a New Landscape.”

Current statistics reveal that while 58% of Americans go to church only once a year or never, 93% believe in God (or a higher power) and almost 50% pray daily. Throw Covid, politics, generational differences and culture into the equation and it can seem as though the Catholic Church has no hope.

Nevertheless, there is always HOPE to be found in our God of Resurrection.

The landscape has changed for the Church but that has always been true; the only constant in our history is that there is always change.

Cathy will guide the participants in looking at the changing landscape of faith, find the fixed landmarks and chart a new map with new routes. Routes to help us welcome back the prodigals, engage new seekers and find comfort and hope in our new surroundings.

You can register via this link:

For, questions, contact Janet Zimmerman at  or 217-494-4743.

Residential home for at-risk pregnant women and their children opening this fall in Effingham

07 23 2023 Effingham residential homeEl Shaddai Homes will open this fall in Effingham.A home for pregnant women who are wanting to keep their baby but are facing hardships, women wanting to put their child up for adoption, women who are homeless with children, and women who are facing an urgent need to leave their current residence for safety reasons will soon have a warm, welcoming, and safe home to turn to in Effingham. This fall, El Shaddai Homes is scheduled to open, which will be able to house 10 women and their children. El Shaddai, which translates to God almighty, was founded by Lisa Krampe. With the help of area businesses, generous donors, and Catholics in Effingham County, the 19-bedroom facility will fill a tremendous need in the area.   

“I felt attracted to the empty for sale building that was once a living facility, after this happening a few times I began to pray about it,” Krampe said. “I felt like God was attracting my attention to this building. After much prayer He began to open my eyes and heart to a maternity home going there. I didn’t know much about a maternity home but began stepping out in faith.”

The home, located at 505 W Temple Ave., just a few minutes from St. Anthony of Padua Parish and Sacred Heart Parish in Effingham, continues to undergo renovations in preparation for its opening. Krampe says most of the supporters of this pro-life effort have come from the Catholic community in Effingham County.  

Once open, residents must attend church every Sunday, attend parenting and money management classes and finish high school or GED classes (if needed). If they are able, they must also have a job. They will also be responsible for their own cooking and cleaning the home. Women will be able to live at the home for the duration of their pregnancy and three months after the baby is born (they can apply for extension after that if they need additional time). If they can afford it, Krampe says they will charge $50 a month so the women have “some responsibility.” 

When asked what the goal of the facility is, Krampe answered that these women and children are “to be introduced to Jesus Christ and transition out into the community to be self-sufficient and live hopeful lives for themselves and their babies in our communities.”

El Shaddai Homes is funded by donations and, once they open, hopefully grants as well. Krampe says she has already received phone calls from pregnancy centers in the area asking if they are open because they have pregnant women who are homeless in need of support, love and care — so the need in the community is already there. Krampe would like area businesses, restaurants, health-care facilities, and pregnancy centers to have brochures of their facility to help spread the word about El Shaddai Homes. To support their mission, go to

07 23 202320Our20Lady20of20the20Highway20CYMKBetty Parquette of St. Katherine Drexel Parish in Springfield, prays at the statue of Our Lady of the Highways on West Frontage Road in Raymond. Our Lady of the Highways off I-55 provides hope and road to our savior
Special to Catholic Times 

I remember as if it were yesterday. Looking back, nearly 20 years have gone by as quickly as the signs on the highway. I relaxed in the passenger seat as my husband skillfully maneuvered our SUV through the swift traffic of I-55 toward St. Louis.

I watched the farms and fields fly by as I mindlessly gazed out the window. That's when it happened. That's when I saw her. She stood on a pedestal atop a wall of stone. Majestic, she looked with folded hands, she looked down at me  — at us — at every passerby.

As if being drawn by some unworldly voice calling to me, I found my hand raising gingerly to my forehead, then to my left shoulder, and again to my right. I did it. A Baptist girl made the Sign of the Cross

"What did you just do?" my shocked husband asked. Oh yes, silly me. I thought I had been pretty slick, making this gesture as quietly and subtly as possible. Nothing gets past a State Trooper (my husband) though. What on earth was I thinking? "Well, it can't hurt, right," I thought. True, it certainly doesn't hurt but for someone with my upbringing, it was a fairly scary and poorly executed sleight of hand. 

I remember as if it were yesterday. I made that Sign of the Cross, hoping and praying for the longing in my heart to come to fruition. And now, as I've made that prayer thousands of times over as a convert to Catholicism, I can honestly say my cup, the longing in my heart and soul, is full and spilling over. 

She called me that day, silently bidding from the highway and not just any highway. She called me from the old route, the one less travelled. Route 66 is fondly known as the Mother Road. It was the route for travelers back in the day, a day when families traveled and explored together. It was a dangerous road with many tragedies. And so it was, youth from the area wanted to bless the families who traveled this narrow road.

07 23 202320Our20Lady20of20the20Highway20220CYMKThe statue of Our Lady of the Highways has been in place near Raymond for over 60 years. More than 63 years ago, a group of youth scrounged and saved for a beautiful statue of Our Lady who would be there for those who desired to pray for safe passage and ask her intercession. Those dedicated young people collected $1,000 for the Carrera marble statue (that is $10,444.00 in today’s dollar). 

Our Lady of the Highways was dedicated in 1959 and has been interceding for everyone who has asked for her intercession, and as I can attest, for those who haven't yet asked. The youth had May crownings and rosary walks often together. I like to think that back then when I was just a babe, they were praying for me.

Though I've looked for her each time I've passed that way, I never stopped to take time with her to linger a while and pray. That changed a few years ago. She called to us again as we began a long trip out West. 

Though she is weathered from years of storms across the farm fields, she is to me as beautiful as any marble tribute to her in the basilicas of Rome. I see the road she is on running parallel to the faster, wider road and I think of the road less travelled — the road that Jesus tells us we need to be on.

Mary is there. She waits for us on this road. She walked the narrow road of her Son. She longs for us to stop and pray with her. We don't always know the way to go, but she wants to be our guide — and who better than she? 

I travel this road weekly now. It has become hard as I traverse to be with a loved one, my sister in hospice care. And, because I don't know the soul of the one I care so much for, I take her to Our Lady. 

My sister and I have not always been on the same path, in fact the paths have been quite different. One could say we haven't really known each other for quite some time. So, I stop at Our Lady of the Highway and ask for her prayers. I ask her to be with my sister, to guide her on her via dolorosa, her narrow path. 

Over the months, Our Lady has been with us and our relationship has been restored, or better yet, remade. It's a path that is both terrible and joyful, yet I wouldn't want it any other way. As I stop and pray, I see the cars and trucks hurling by. I ask Our Lady to intercede for them, to call them to the road less travelled. Come back. Come back to the narrow road — the Mother Road.

Betty Parquette lives in Springfield and is a parishioner of St. Katherine Drexel Parish in Springfield. She was also featured in the documentary, God is Alive, produced by the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Watch the documentary at

About Our Lady of the Highways 

  • Located at 22353 W. Frontage Road, Raymond
  • Project of the Litchfield Deanery Youth beginning in July of 1958
  • Groundbreaking on Feb. 11, 1959, and blessing of the statue on Oct. 25, 1959
  • On the property of the Francis Marten Farm
  • Two parking spots on either side of the Marten Farm drive are part of the original roadway of the old Route 66
  • The Carl and Tim Marten families continue to maintain the statue 
  • Carl was 6 years old when the shrine was dedicated
  • All are welcome to come pray at Our Lady of the Highways 
  • Restoration work has begun, beginning with cleaning the marble. If you are interested in assisting (cost) with the restoration, contact Carl and Marlene Marten at

07 23 2023 Cathedral Alton indulgence 1The diocesan-wide Year of the Eucharist going on now has a heavenly treasure of our Catholic faith attached to it. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki received permission from the Holy See, granting a plenary indulgence to those who make a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield or Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Alton (the “Old Cathedral”) from now through Dec. 8. One must also partake in the other usual conditions to receive this indulgence by going to confession, receiving the Eucharist, and saying prayers for the intention of the pope. These acts “may be carried out several days preceding or following the performance of the prescribed works. But it is more fitting that communion and the prayer for the pope’s intentions take place on the day the work is performed” (Handbook of Indulgences, Norms for Indulgences, 23.3). 

So, what is an indulgence? Many misconceptions remain regarding indulgences, but the Church has never done away with them. Put simply, an indulgence is a gift and grace that remits the temporal punishment due to a sin, which has already been forgiven but not rectified. The Church grants indulgences for specific pious actions (certain prayers and devotions, pilgrimages, carrying out the works of mercy, reading the Scriptures, etc.) to encourage such devout practices as aids to growth in holiness.

The Handbook of Indulgences describes an indulgence further:

The remission in the eyes of God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose culpable element has already been taken away. The Christian faithful who are rightly disposed and observe the definite, prescribed conditions gain this remission through the effective assistance of the Church, which, as the minister of redemption, authoritatively distributes and applies the treasury of the expiatory works of Christ and the saints (Norms for Indulgences, 1).

An indulgence can be either plenary (that is, full) or partial. This plenary indulgence for coming to the Cathedral/Ss. Peter and Paul Church may be offered for one’s own spiritual benefit or may be applied through prayer for the souls of the faithful held in purgatory.

07 23 2023 Cathedral Alton indulgence 2 CYMKThose coming to the Cathedral for the sacraments of confirmation and first holy Communion should be mindful to take advantage of this opportunity for a plenary indulgence. 

But what if you went to confession and received absolution for your sins — how is it that there is still temporal punishment for those sins? St. Augustine provides a helpful answer: “Man is obliged to suffer (in this life) even when his sins are forgiven, although it was the first sin that caused him to fall into this misery. For the penalty is of longer duration than the guilt, lest the guilt should be accounted small, were the penalty also to end with it. It is for this reason —either to make manifest the indebtedness of his misery, or to correct his frailty in this life, or to exercise him in necessary patience — that man is held in this life to the penalty, even when he is no longer held to the guilt unto eternal damnation.” 

The difference between forgiveness of the guilt and paying the penalty can be seen clearly in the sin of stealing. When a person goes to sacramental confession and is absolved of the sin of stealing, there is still an obligation in justice to make restitution, that is, to pay back or restore what was stolen. If the rightful owner also discharges the debt, in a sense that is an indulgence, since the rightful owner is being indulgent in pardoning the debt as well as the guilt. 

Similarly, a person who confesses to having used pornography is forgiven, but the desire to continue to look at pornography does not automatically go away and must be purged through mortification and penance. Thus, we have the pious practice of “offering up” our pains and sufferings in this life as penance for our sins. If that purgation is not accomplished before we die, it must be completed in purgatory or be remitted through various partial indulgences or a plenary indulgence. A plenary indulgence can be acquired only once a day, except for those who are on the point of death. 

So, take advantage of this immense treasure of our faith!

20230701 114449‘It’s all by God’s providence’
Norbertine Fathers open Corpus Christi Priory in Springfield, Evermode Institute to launch Aug. 15

20230701 105309Beautiful music and chanting filled St. Francis of Assisi Church in Springfield during a joy-filled celebration of the holy sacrifice of the Mass on July 1 as Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, priests, deacons, religious, and the lay faithful of our diocese welcomed the newest religious community to our diocese. The Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey have officially established Corpus Christi Priory on Springfield’s northeast side.

“It is a very happy and very exciting day seeing a lot of things come to fruition here, and I think it’s all by God’s providence,” Bishop Paprocki said. “No one sat down and said, ‘Let’s put all these pieces of the puzzle together in one piece.’ They really came from different aspects and different directions as the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis were trying to discern what to do with their community and with this property, and as the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey in Orange, Calif., were growing and wondering where they could go, where could they expand, and through conversations I had with both of these communities, eventually this came together. So, I really see God’s hand in all of this, the work of the Holy Spirit, and I am very grateful to Almighty God for all these blessings.” (Read a more detailed backstory of how the Norbertine Fathers came to Springfield in Bishop Paprocki’s column on pages 4-5). 

20230701 105512Immersed in the 900-year tradition of their order, the Norbertine Fathers live a common life of liturgical prayer and care for souls. Their life at Corpus Christi Priory is organized according to prayer of the Church: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. “Seven times a day I praise You,” says the Psalmist, and by chanting together the prayers of the Divine Office, Norbertine canons “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.” 

You can pray with the Norbertines every day and attend Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church (4867 Laverna Road in Springfield). Confessions are also offered three days a week (see the schedule on page XX).

“We are very excited to be here and begin our new life and ministry in Springfield at the new Corpus Christi Priory,” said Father Augustine Puchner, O.Praem., the prior of Corpus Christi Priory. “All of this is part of God’s providence. The response by the community to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the bishop’s invitation, it was months in the planning and my visits in the past months have all come to this day (opening Mass on July 1), and it’s a very joyful and happy day.

20230701 122333“We will do our best to be the Church at her best,” Father Puchner continued. “That is sort of our mission statement, to be the Church at her best. Our sacred worship with reverence, dignity, and beauty, in our ministry to teach and preach the authentic Catholic faith, and for our community life to be authentic religious, to live a joyful life, that’s really our mission and ministry.”

The Norbertine Fathers have also established the Evermode Institute at Corpus Christi Priory, which will serve Catholic teachers, administrators, and formators in our diocese and beyond, offering a complete curriculum in the fundamentals of the Catholic faith that is confident in its Catholicism and clear in its approach. 

“Our official launch date is Our Lady’s Assumption, Aug. 15, that’s when our learning management platform will be ready to go,” said Father Ambrose Criste, O.Pream, director of the Evermode Institute. “We already have plenty of people all set to be enrolled. We’ve already undertaken a couple of intense periods of filming to produce the online video content, the first-year curriculum, two semesters. Editing is happening right now. All the wheels are turning.”

The seven priests who call Corpus Christi Priory home are: Fathers Augustine Puchner, O.Praem., prior, Stephen Boyle, O.Praem., Gregory Dick, O.Praem., Godfrey Bushmaker, O.Praem., Benedict Solomon, O.Praem., Ambrose Criste, O.Praem, and Anselm Rodriguez, O.Praem. 

20230701 125240Many in Central Illinois are familiar with the buildings and grounds as Corpus Christi Priory is the former site of the Chiara Center, operated by the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis. The Hospital Sisters continue to live in the convent on the property. 

“It’s the end of the era on part of us, but it’s the beginning of something new, and we are very excited about it,” said Sister Janice Schneider, OSF. “We’re excited to work together. We are very happy they will be our chaplains (Norbertine Fathers), and we will get to celebrate with them, we will get to know them both personally and professionally because we will include them in some of our community activities. We hope they feel as at home with us as we do with them.”

Want to visit? Mass, sacraments, and prayer at St. Francis of Assisi Church at Corpus Christi Priory 

Monday - Saturday:

  • 5:45 a.m. - Office of Matins (Readings) and Lauds (Morning Prayer)
  • 7:00 a.m. - Holy Mass
  • 8:45 a.m. - Terce (Midmorning Prayer)
  • 12:00 p.m. - Sext (Midday Prayer)
  • 4:20 p.m. - None (Midafternoon Prayer)
  • 4:30 p.m. - Rosary
  • 5:00 p.m. - Vespers (Evening Prayer)
  • 7:30 p.m. - Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and silent adoration [and confessions on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until 8:30 p.m.] 
  • 8:20 p.m. - Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
  • 8:30 p.m. - Compline (Night Prayer)


  • 6:45 a.m. - Matins (Office of Readings) and Lauds (Morning Prayer)
  • 8:30 a.m. - Terce (Midmorning Prayer)
  • 9:00 a.m. - Holy Mass
  • 12:00 p.m. - Sext (Midday Prayer)
  • 4:20 p.m. - None (Midafternoon Prayer)
  • 4:30 p.m. - Rosary
  • 5:00 p.m. - Vespers (Evening Prayer)
  • 7:30 p.m. - Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and silent adoration  
  • 8:20 p.m. - Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
  • 8:30 p.m. - Compline (Night Prayer)


Confessions will take place in the church confessionals Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. All the Norbertine Fathers’ prayers will be open to the public. The church opens at 5:30 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m.

Like and follow the Norbertine Fathers on social media: Search, “Corpus Christi Priory” on Facebook.

Tuesday, 18 July 2023 07:44

Hey, Father! Is organ donation OK?

I have long thought organ donation was a loving and humane service to those in medical need. I have my desire to be an organ donor on my current license. Lately, I’ve been learning that organs cannot be extracted from anyone unless they are still alive. Also, declaring someone brain dead is a slippery slope because brain dead individuals might recover. This could mean killing one person to save another. What is the Catholic Church’s position on organ donation? Is it ethical according to Church teaching?

Nancy in Springfield

The Church not only regards organ donation as ethical but calls it “a noble and meritorious act and is to be encouraged as an expression of generous solidarity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2296). In the year 2000, Pope St. John Paul II gave an address in which he called organ donation “a genuine act of love” (Address to the 18th International Congress of the Transplantation Society). In your question, however, you raise legitimate concerns about the circumstances of organ donation which can indeed affect its moral legitimacy. Here is a summary of a few important criteria that should help to clarify the matter.

First, there are two basic kinds of organ donation: living donation and cadaver donation. In a living donation, as the name suggests, the donor is alive and donates some non-essential organ or portion of tissue. Common examples of living organ donations are kidneys and segments of the liver. Blood and bone marrow are also living tissue donations. The Church always approves and commends these living donations, provided the donor understands the procedure and freely consents to it. Cadaver donations are given after death and usually involve vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and liver. These donations are morally permissible provided that two criteria are met: 1) the patient or family must give free and informed consent to the organ procurement; 2) the patient must be deceased when vital organs are removed.

The second criterion of death is usually the debated point. When exactly should a person be declared dead? This question is especially relevant in the case of organ donation, as most organs can only be preserved outside of the body for a period of hours. The primary biological indicators used to determine death are cardiac death and brain death. Brain death has been the dominant indicator used in modern medicine for decades. Brain death is defined as the irreversible and complete loss of function in the whole brain. Using brain death to define death can lead to situations in which a person appears to be “alive” by other criteria, for example, continued heart and circulatory function with the use of a ventilator. In most cases, however, this is an artificially produced state of prolonged organ function that only resembles being “alive” in the proper sense of the word. There are difficult cases in which the recovery of brain function, while statistically very unlikely, is theoretically possible. Such cases are very technical and often debated.

The Church does not claim the competency to make judgements about complex biological and neurological criteria. In the same address cited above, Pope St. John Paul II said that “the Church does not make technical decisions” regarding such criteria. The human person is not reducible to material processes and death likewise is not merely a physical event but the disintegration of body and soul. Thus, no one can determine the precise moment of death, scientifically or spiritually. The Church’s concern is to safeguard human dignity at every stage of life and condition, including during sickness and the dying process. Therefore, all that is needed for vital organ donation to proceed legitimately is “moral certainty” that the person is deceased based on the best biological indicators available. Moral certainty is not perfect or mathematical, but it is sufficient and necessary to make reasonable choices. Once this certainty is obtained —and again, with informed consent provided — organs may be ethically procured.

To clarify, one may never directly end the life of one person (the donor) in order to extend or improve the life of another (the recipient). However, the use of artificial life support, which keeps blood oxygenated and circulating even after brain death, is not morally obligatory. Therefore, one may remove this life support and allow death to occur, at which point organs can be removed. Also, one may delay the removal of such organ-sustaining life support so that the organ recipient can receive the organ or organs as quickly as possible. Allowing death to occur by the removal of extraordinary (non-obligatory) means of care is not killing the person, even though death may follow the removal of this care almost immediately.

Catholics should prayerfully consider organ donation as “a genuine act of love.”  Many resources are available for those who have further questions. Because we as human beings are a unity of body and soul, organ donation “is not just a matter of giving away something that belongs to us but of giving something of ourselves” (John Paul II, ibid). In a way, Christ Himself gave us a beautiful example of this by giving us His own Body and Blood in the Eucharist. And in the end, we have His promise of bodily resurrection, which will restore and glorify all that was lost.

Father Christopher Trummer, S.T.L, is parochial vicar at St. Agnes Parish in Springfield, associate delegate for Health Care Professionals, associate chaplain of the Springfield Chapter of the Catholic Physicians Guild/Catholic Medical Association and has a license in Sacred Theology in Moral Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Italy. 

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