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05 15 2022 EAS winner Tepen teachingBy ANDREW HANSEN
Editor 

She received a standing ovation. Her family, including her husband, siblings, and children made sure they were there to see it. Every student gave her a hug. That was the scene at St. Mary Catholic School in Brussels after Maureen Tepen, the third/fourth grade teacher and fifth/sixth grade language arts teacher in the small, rural school, was announced as the winner of the 2022 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois during a surprise celebration and award presentation at the school May 4. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki presented Tepen with the award.

“God is so good, God is so good,” Tepen said, as she fought back tears from the podium during the event. “I decided to be a teacher when I was in first grade, and I had this little seed in my heart that I wanted to teach kids, and to have a spot they knew they could come to be encouraged and grow.”

Then, looking at all the students in the room, Tepen said, “I just love every single one of you students. You have done so much for me. You helped me to grow, and every day I get to see growth in you. You say that I help you become the best version of yourself, but it’s you guys that help me be the best version of myself. God has given each of you so many talents. I want you to find that talent and live it in your life. Keep God first and foremost in your heart and mind.” 

embraceThe St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award recognizes one Catholic teacher who is making a big difference in the classroom, who authentically lives out what it means to be Catholic and instills the Catholic faith into her students, and who embodies St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who founded Catholic schools in the United States.

Tepen has taught for 27 years in Catholic education, including 21 years at St. Mary in Brussels, five at St. Francis Xavier in Jerseyville, and one at St. John in Carrollton. 

The Office for Catholic Schools and Office for Communications for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, organizers of the award, received a record number of nominations — 72 teachers in all — from principals, teachers, parents, priests, previous students, and current students this year. A team consisting of former educators in the diocese poured through the nominations and read all the stories of impact about each teacher, narrowing the list to five finalists. In the end, Tepen rose to the top. 

05 15 2022 EAS winner Tepen and kidsA common theme throughout the nominations for Tepen, who belongs to St. Joseph Church in Meppen, part of Blessed Trinity Parish, is she is “Christ-like” and inspires her students to become the “best versions” of themselves.

“Mrs. Tepen is a loving person, and one time when I did not know how to do my work, and I was getting mad, she came over and said everything would be OK,” said Riley Pohlman, a current student of Tepen. “She spent a long time helping me, and I finally got it. She was so patient and calm the whole time. I was happy that she took time to help me. At church, she reads, sings, and she goes to church every single weekend, and she does it all for Christ.”

“Mrs. Tepen treats everyone like her own family and is someone you should go to if you’re having a rough day,” said Dayton Brundies, a previous student of Tepen. “She is very selfless and loves donating to the less fortunate. Mrs. Tepen is truly a saint and is dedicated to her religion. She has inspired me to take my religion more seriously.”

group shot“Her knowledge of the Bible and the Catholic faith is infinite,” said Rachel Wilschetz-Hartman, a colleague of Tepen. “Her dedication to God and her faith is exemplary. Her love for God is witnessed at Mass, in school, and with her family. She volunteers for all the extra activities, is in charge of our missions collections, and she handmakes collection boxes and successfully encourages students to donate money for the less fortunate. I am appreciative of her patience, uplifting advice, and support throughout the years. She has influenced me to examine my relationship with God and deepen my faith.”

“The genuine love Mrs. Tepen has for being a teacher shines through in the heart-felt projects she incorporates into her lessons, like the Christmas angels, self-portraits, and Mother’s Day yarn flowers,” said Becky Lorts, principal at St. Mary School. “She infuses faith-filled activities throughout all subjects she teaches. Her classroom is warm and nurturing. She inspires others to grow in their faith and spirituality. She is an excellent role model to others, not only in words but actions. She is a witness through her faithful participation in the sacraments. As her administrator, I look to her when I need guidance and even reassurance if I’m having a difficult day, because she is the epitome of kindness. St. Mary School is very blessed to have her as a veteran teacher, and I am so blessed to call her my friend.”

There are 43 Catholic schools in the diocese (36 elementary, seven high schools). Stay tuned in early 2023 as Catholic Times will announce how to submit a teacher for the 2023 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award.

What is the origin of the concept of purgatory? Some Catholics and Protestants insist that purgatory is absolutely never mentioned in the Bible or by Jesus Himself.  
Nancy in Springfield 


Witnessing the majestic revelation of the new and heavenly Jerusalem, the visionary John foresees the nations of the earth passing through its gates while explicitly noting, “nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does abominable or deceitful things … ” (Revelation 21:27).

No sin will be allowed into the presence of all-holy God. Yet we sin, and so will need to be purified in order to pass through the gates of Heaven. The Catechism of the Catholic Church confirms this: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death, they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (CCC 1030–1).

While the term “purgatory” is not mentioned in Sacred Scripture, the concept of a post-death purification of sin and its effects can be found in both the Old and New Testaments. The Book of 2 Maccabees, 12:41–45, for example, tells of deceased Jewish soldiers found to be wearing amulets of a pagan god, and thereby breaking the First Commandment. The surviving soldiers first pray for their dead comrades and then take up a collection to send to the Temple in Jerusalem to pay for sacrifices to expiate the sins of the dead.  

Interestingly, Second Maccabees was written about 100 years before Christ, and so the idea of purification after death would have been known and believed in by many Jews during Jesus’ lifetime. While our Lord never mentions this notion explicitly, neither does He deny or correct it.

The Gospel of Matthew, in fact, may be cited to show Jesus supported the teaching of purification of sin after death. In 12:32 He says, “And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Setting aside the question of the unforgivable sin, Jesus discloses that some sins may be forgiven in “the age to come.” Considering the way Jesus uses this term in other places (Mark 10:30, 13:39-40; Luke 18:20, 20:35; Matthew 28:20), He is certainly referring to a time of life after death and so provides a divine foundation for the Church’s current teaching on purgatory. 

The concept of purgatory originates in our need to be absolutely free from sin to enter into Heaven. Yet, people do die imperfectly purified, as witnessed to in the Scriptures. It is necessary, then, for God to provide a way of purgation, or purgatory, for those souls to enter into His presence. Such is found explicitly in the Old Testament and implicitly in the teachings of Jesus Himself. So, make sure to pray for the souls in purgatory so that they may more quickly gain admittance to Heaven.

Father Seth Brown is pastor of Mother of Dolors Parish in Vandalia and St. Joseph Parish in Ramsey. He is also chaplain of Our Sorrowful Mother’s Ministry, chaplain of the Vandalia Correctional Center, and research theologian for the Diocesan Curia.

 

Below: Watch and hear directly from Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla, the daughter of Italian saint, St. Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962) and Pietro Molla (1912-2010), on why she chose Springfield to establish the St. Gianna Beretta Molla and Pietro Molla International Center for Family and Life. She met with Bishop Thomas John Paprocki in Rome April 29, 2022.

Bishop with Dr. Gianna and clergy of SpringfieldAs part of his trip to Rome last month, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki met with Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla on April 29 to discuss the St. Gianna Beretta Molla and Pietro Molla International Center for Family and Life, which will be located in Springfield. Their visit together also included the celebration of Mass inside St. Peter's Basilica with Dr. Molla and other clergy from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois who were also visiting Rome. From left to right: Troy Niemerg (seminarian), Deacon Rob Sgambelluri, Dr. Molla, Bishop Paprocki, Father Dominic Rankin, Father Christopher Trummer, and P.J. Staab (Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception parishioner).

By Andrew Hansen
EDITOR

The daughter of one the most popular modern day Catholic saints announced plans to establish an international pilgrimage site and center in Springfield to help spread knowledge of and devotion to her holy parent’s virtues and, thus, to promote the holiness of the family and respect for the sanctity of all human life. 

The Saint Gianna Beretta Molla and Pietro Molla Foundation, a North Dakota non-profit corporation founded by Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, Father Timothy P. Elliott, founding pastor of the Saint Gianna Catholic Church in Wentzville, MO, and Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla, the daughter of Italian saint, St. Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962) and Pietro Molla (1912-2010), will establish the St. Gianna Beretta Molla and Pietro Molla International Center for Family and Life, which will be a peaceful place of prayer, learning, study, and spirituality for pilgrims. 

“I learned from my saint mom and holy dad to have deep faith and unwavering confidence in divine providence,” Dr. Molla said. “The establishment of this international center is one of those times I am trusting in God to show me the way and all those who are involved in the project. I am filled with humility to start this international center so we can promote and help families grow holier together.” 

Gianna Molla and Peitro meeting JP2 at canonizationGianna was canonized a saint by Pope St. John Paul II in 2004. At her canonization was her husband, Pietro, and children, including her daughter, Gianna Emanuela, whom she saved. They both met the Holy Father as this picture shows. It was the first time a husband witnessed his wife's canonization. Today, Saint Gianna is the patron saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children. Her feast day is April 28.Dr. Molla said that she chose Springfield because of Bishop Thomas John Paprocki’s faith filled leadership and his steadfast commitment to defend innocent life, Springfield is in the United States where there is much devotion to her holy parents, and because of Springfield’s central location, especially it being within driving distance of St. Louis and Chicago. Ultimately, she said, “It was God who chose Springfield.” Molla said she plans to live on the grounds once the center is open and when she is in the U.S.

The St. Gianna Beretta Molla and Pietro Molla International Center for Family and Life will be located near the St. Francis of Assisi Church and The Evermode Institute (4875 Laverna Rd, Springfield, IL 62707), which the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois announced its establishment in March, as part of the transition of ownership and care of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis’ convent and associated buildings and grounds. The Evermode Institute, a new center for Catholic spiritual and intellectual formation, will also soon include priests from the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey. 

The St. Gianna Beretta Molla and Pietro Molla International Center for Family and Life will include: 

  • a replica of the spousal home of Gianna and Pietro as it was in Ponte Nuovo of Magenta in Milan, Italy (with the help of the original photos and films);
  • a pilgrim center, located between the replica of the spousal home and the replica of the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Counsel, to be built in different phases, and according to the needs that arise;
  • a replica of the original Chapel of Our Lady of Good Counsel with attached rectory as it was in Ponte Nuovo of Magenta (with the help of the original photos); 
  • a shrine church of St. Gianna;
  • a rectory for visiting clergy;
  • a Way of the Cross and Way of the Rosary.

St. Gianna and Peitro on mountainSt. Gianna and Pietro, engaged, on the snow of Livrio, August 1955.“For years, Dr. Molla has been searching for a site to honor her holy parents and promote holy marriages and families, and if you want to see first-hand how divine providence can work, the story of how this all came together is the perfect example,” Bishop Paprocki said. “I happened to meet Dr. Molla in a shared car ride to a conference at the Napa Institute in California in 2019. That time in the car helped us form a friendship that resulted in Dr. Molla later reaching out to me asking about having this international center in Springfield. Then, in January, when a trust under the care of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois assumed ownership of the property of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, we announced plans to establish The Evermode Institute and having the Norbertine Fathers from Orange, Calif. establish a community there. By us having these faith enriching endeavors in place, it was an easy decision for Gianna to decide this international center should be built near the St. Francis of Assisi Church and The Evermode Institute. 

“The excitement of what is shaping up in Central Illinois is proof the Holy Spirit is guiding all of this. To think, Central Illinois will have The Evermode Institute, the St. Gianna and Pietro Molla International Center for Family and Life, our own Venerable Father Augustine Tolton in Quincy who is on his way to sainthood, and Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen in Peoria — this region of America will provide so much grace to people around the world who visit.” 

The center is expected to bring tens of thousands of pilgrims to Springfield every year from all over the world as St. Gianna is known as a saint for mothers, families, healthcare workers, and the pro-life cause, as she herself had four children, was a pediatrician, and died from complications after giving birth to her daughter Gianna. 

St. Gianna smiling at childSt. Gianna is known as a saint for mothers, families, healthcare workers, and the pro-life cause, as she herself raised four children, was a pediatrician, and died from complications after giving birth to her daughter Gianna Emanuela. In the picture: Gianna with Pierluigi and Mariolina, Ponte Nuovo of Magenta, Milan, 1959.While pregnant with her fourth child in 1961, St. Gianna felt much pain, which led to the discovery of a benign tumor in her uterus. Doctors discussed having an hysterectomy or an abortion together with the tumor removed to preserve St. Gianna’s life. Instead, St. Gianna chose to have only the tumor removed, understanding this could save her child but lead to further, perhaps deadly complications for her. St. Gianna’s faith gave her perfect clarity and confidence in this critical moment of choice. Both the baby and St. Gianna survived the surgery but knowing she could lose her life delivering her child, St. Gianna prayed to God and told Pietro, "If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate, choose the child. I insist on it. Save the baby." 

On April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela Molla was born. Over the next week, however, St. Gianna, the mother, dealt with further serious complications. Despite several treatments, St. Gianna died a week after giving birth by septic peritonitis. Her selfless act of love of choosing the life of her child over herself had been another astounding demonstration of her deep faith. 

As word spread of St. Gianna’s greatest act of love, the Catholic Church opened her cause for sainthood and faith-filled people from around the world started asking to St. Gianna for her intercession, leading to two Church approved miracles. She was beatified in 1994 and canonized a saint in 2004 by Pope St. John Paul II. At her canonization was her husband, Pietro, and children, including her daughter, Gianna Emanuela, whom she saved. They both met the Holy Father. It was the first time a husband witnessed his wife's canonization. Today, Saint Gianna is the patron saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children. Her feast day is April 28.

As Pope St. John Paul II said of St. Gianna, she was "a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love."

Want to learn more? Check out these links:

Effective July 1, 2022
(unless noted otherwise)

Pastor Emeritus

Reverend John P. Beveridge is appointed Pastor Emeritus of Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Collinsville, Illinois, from Pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Collinsville, Illinois.

Reverend Monsignor David S. Lantz is appointed Pastor Emeritus of Christ the King Parish, Springfield, Illinois, from Pastor of Saint Mary Parish, Taylorville, Illinois; Saint Rita Parish, Kincaid, Illinois; and Holy Trinity Parish, Stonington, Illinois; from Chaplain, Taylorville Correctional Center, Taylorville, Illinois; and from Chaplain, Springfield Chapter of the Catholic Physicians Guild/Catholic Medical Association. 

Pastor

Reverend Albert F. Allen is appointed Pastor of Saint Mary Help of Christians Parish, Effingham (Green Creek), Illinois, while retaining his appointment as Pastor of Annunciation Parish, Shumway, Illinois, from Pastor of Saint Anthony Parish, Effingham, Illinois, effective August 10, 2022.

Reverend David Beagles is appointed Pastor of Saint Elizabeth Parish, Robinson, Illinois, and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Oblong, Illinois, and Chaplain of the Robinson Correctional Center, Robinson, Illinois, from Parochial Vicar of Saint Francis Solanus Parish, Quincy, Illinois.

Reverend Michael B. Haag is appointed Pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Collinsville, Illinois, from Pastor of Saints Mary and Joseph Parish, Carlinville, Illinois; Saints Simon and Jude Parish, Gillespie, Illinois; and Saint Joseph Parish, Benld, Illinois; Parochial Administrator of Saint Louis Parish, Nokomis, Illinois, and from Chaplain of Blackburn College, Carlinville, Illinois; while retaining his duties as a Member of the Diocesan Finance Council. 

Reverend Peter C. Harman is appointed Pastor of Saint Anthony Parish, Effingham, Illinois; Bishop’s Delegate for Health Care Professionals; and Chaplain, Springfield Chapter of the Catholic Physicians Guild/Catholic Medical Association; from Rector of the Pontifical North American College, Rome, Italy, effective August 10, 2022.

Reverend Piotr Kosk is appointed Pastor of Saint Mary Parish, Taylorville, Illinois; Saint Rita Parish, Kincaid, Illinois; and Holy Trinity Parish, Stonington, Illinois, and Chaplain, Taylorville Correctional Center, Taylorville, Illinois; from Parochial Vicar of Saint Paul Parish, Highland, Illinois.

Reverend Florent Emmanuel Kanga, S.A.C., with the assent of his religious superior, is appointed Pastor of Saint Mary Parish, Farmersville, Illinois; Saint Maurice Parish, Morrisonville, Illinois; and Saint Raymond Parish, Raymond, Illinois; from Parochial Vicar of Saint Louis Parish, Nokomis, Illinois; Saint Mary Parish, Farmersville, Illinois; Saint Maurice Parish, Morrisonville, Illinois; and Saint Raymond Parish, Raymond, Illinois. 

Reverend Joseph Koyickal, S.A.C., with the assent of his religious superior, is appointed Pastor of Saints Mary and Joseph Parish, Carlinville, Illinois; Saints Simon and Jude Parish, Gillespie, Illinois; and Saint Joseph Parish, Benld, Illinois; and Chaplain of Blackburn College, Carlinville, Illinois; from Provincial Superior of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottine Fathers and Brothers), and is granted the faculties of the Diocese, effective August 1, 2022, and continuing for the duration of his residence in this Diocese. 

Reverend Michael Meinhart is appointed Pastor of Saint Louis Parish, Nokomis, Illinois, from Parochial Vicar of Saint Boniface Parish, Edwardsville, Illinois, and Associate Chaplain of Father McGivney Catholic High School, Glen Carbon, Illinois.

Reverend Paul C. Stein, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, with the permission of his Archbishop, is appointed Pastor of Saint Alexius Parish, Beardstown, Illinois; Saint Fidelis Parish, Arenzville, Illinois; and Saint Luke Parish, Virginia, Illinois; from Pastor of Saint Frances of Rome Parish, Cicero, Illinois and is granted the faculties of the Diocese, effective July 1, 2022, and continuing for the duration of his residence in this Diocese.  

Reverend Christopher Uhl, O.M.V., upon presentation by his religious superior, is appointed Pastor of Saint Mary (Immaculate Conception) Parish, Alton, Illinois, and is granted the faculties of the Diocese, effective July 1, 2022, and continuing for the duration of his residence in this diocese.

Parochial Administrator

 Reverend Ervin Pio M. Caliente, a priest of the Diocese of Rockford, with the permission of his Bishop, is appointed Parochial Administrator of Saints Mary and Joseph Parish, Carlinville, Illinois; Saints Simon and Jude Parish, Gillespie, Illinois; and Saint Joseph Parish, Benld, Illinois, from July 1 to 31, 2022, from Parochial Administrator of Saint Alexius Parish, Beardstown, Illinois; Saint Fidelis Parish, Arenzville, Illinois; and Saint Luke Parish, Virginia, Illinois, to begin a period of discernment with the Norbertine Community in Silverado, California, August 1, 2022.

Parochial Vicar

Reverend Paul L. Lesupati, newly ordained, is appointed Parochial Vicar of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, Illinois.

Reverend Paweł Łuczak is appointed Parochial Vicar of Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish, Newton, Illinois, and Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish, Sainte Marie, Illinois, from Parochial Vicar of Saint Peter Parish, Quincy, Illinois. 

Reverend Ramesh Babu Matta, a priest of the Diocese of Vijayawada, India, with the permission of his Bishop, is appointed Parochial Vicar of Saint Aloysius Parish, Springfield, Illinois, and Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini Parish, Springfield, Illinois, effective upon arrival in the United States with the required immigration visa and is granted the faculties of the Diocese at that time, continuing for the duration of his residence in this Diocese.

Reverend Wayne Stock is appointed Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Decatur, Illinois, and Saint Thomas Parish, Decatur, Illinois; and Chaplain, Saint Teresa High School, Decatur, Illinois; and Associate Chaplain, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois; from Medical Leave of Absence and Pastor, Saint Alexius Parish, Beardstown, Illinois; Saint Fidelis Parish, Arenzville, Illinois; and Saint Luke Parish, Virginia, Illinois.

Reverend Christopher A. Trummer is appointed Parochial Vicar of Saint Agnes Parish, Springfield, Illinois; and Associate Delegate for Health Care Professionals; and Associate Chaplain, Springfield Chapter of the Catholic Physicians Guild/Catholic Medical Association; from Graduate Studies for the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) in Moral Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy, and residence at the Pontifical North American College, Rome, Italy.

Reverend Michael Trummer is appointed Parochial Vicar of Saint Boniface Parish, Edwardsville, Illinois; and Associate Chaplain of Father McGivney Catholic High School, Glen Carbon, Illinois, from Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Decatur, Illinois, and Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish, Decatur, Illinois; Chaplain, Saint Teresa High School, Decatur, Illinois, and Associate Chaplain, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois.

Reverend Zachary D. Samples, newly ordained, is appointed Parochial Vicar of Saint Peter Parish, Quincy, Illinois; and Associate Chaplain of Quincy-Notre Dame High School, Quincy, Illinois.

Reverend Patibandla Zechariah, from the Diocese of Guntur, India, with the permission of his Bishop, is appointed Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish, Effingham, Illinois, from Saint Mary Parish, Taylorville, Illinois; and Saint Rita Parish, Kincaid, Illinois; and Holy Trinity Parish, Stonington, Illinois.

Graduate Studies

Reverend Peter Chineke is appointed to Graduate Studies in Canon Law at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., from Parochial Vicar of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, Illinois, and Co-Chaplain of Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, Springfield, Illinois.

Reverend Dominic Vahling is appointed to online Graduate Studies in Canon Law at Saint Paul’s University, Ottawa, Canada, and part-time teaching as a member of the Theology Faculty of Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, Springfield, Illinois, while retaining duties as Chaplain of Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, Springfield, Illinois, with residence at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, Illinois, from Parochial Vicar of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield, Illinois.

Chaplain

Reverend Paul Kallal, O.M.V., with the assent of his religious superior, is appointed Chaplain of Marquette Catholic High School, Alton, Illinois, while retaining duties as Campus Minister of Marquette Catholic High School, Alton, Illinois, with continued residence at Saint Mary (Immaculate Conception) Parish, Alton, Illinois. 

Senior Priest

Reverend Stephen J. Pohlman is appointed to Senior Priest status, from Leave of Absence.

Appointment Concluded 

Reverend John C. Burnette concludes his appointment as Parochial Administrator of Saint Mary Parish, Farmersville, Illinois; and Saint Maurice Parish, Morrisonville, Illinois; and Saint Raymond Parish, Raymond, Illinois, while retaining his appointment as Pastor Emeritus of Saints James and Patrick Parish, Decatur, Illinois. 

Reverend Sunder Ery concludes his appointment as Pastor of Saint Mary Help of Christians, Effingham (Green Creek), Illinois, while retaining his assignments as Pastor of Saint Michael the Archangel Parish, Sigel, Illinois; Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish, Neoga, Illinois; and Sacred Heart Parish, Lillyville, Illinois, effective August 10, 2022.

Reverend Christudasan Kurisadima, S.A.C., concludes his appointment as Parochial Administrator of Saint Louis Parish, Nokomis, Illinois; Saint Mary Parish, Farmersville, Illinois; Saint Maurice Parish, Morrisonville, Illinois; and Saint Raymond Parish, Raymond, Illinois; to return to the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottine Fathers and Brothers) in India.

Reverend Suresh Sambaturu concludes his appointment as Parochial Administrator of Saint Elizabeth Parish, Robinson, Illinois; Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Oblong, Illinois, and Chaplain of the Robinson Correctional Center, Robinson, Illinois, to return to the Diocese of Cuddapah, India. 

Reverend William F. Kessler concludes his appointment as Chaplain of Marquette Catholic High School, Alton, Illinois, while retaining duties as Pastor of Saint Alphonsus Parish, Brighton, Illinois, and Saint John the Evangelist Parish, Medora, Illinois. 

Reverend Paul Nguyen, O.M.V., upon notification from his religious superior, concludes his appointment as Parochial Administrator of Saint Mary (Immaculate Conception) Parish, Alton, Illinois, for reassignment to serve as Pastor of Holy Ghost Parish with the Oblate Community in Denver, Colorado.

Consultant

Deacon William E. Kessler is appointed Consultant for Health Care Ministry, from Bishop’s Delegate for Health Care Professionals, while retaining his appointment for Diaconal Ministry at Saint Ambrose Parish, Godfrey, Illinois.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022 16:10

St. Gertrude Parish celebrates 150 years

IMG 8196Photo by Debbie SchwarzBy DIANE SCHLINDWEIN
Managing Editor 

GRANTFORK — On Sunday, May 15, parishioners from St. Gertrude Catholic Church will welcome Bishop Thomas John Paprocki for a celebration of their parish supporting Catholics in Grantfork for 150 years. Bishop Paprocki will celebrate Mass at 10 a.m., followed by a luncheon in the parish hall. 

St. Gertrude was established on Sep 1, 1870 — way back when Ulysses S. Grant was president of the United States. At that time, a group of approximately 30 Catholic men from the Grantfork vicinity (then known as Saline) met with Father P. Peters of St. Paul Church in Highland to form a church for their community.  It was a few years before a simple brick structure, housing only those things necessary for worship, was completed in 1872. It stood on a block of ground donated by John Bardill of Grantfork. 

The parish was served by priests from St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Marine until January 1880, when Father Michael Weis became the first full-time priest.  By that time, the parish consisted of approximately 70 families.

A rectory was built in 1878.  Classes were also held there until the school was built. The original church was remodeled and enlarged in 1880 and on Sept. 15, 1881, the church was dedicated by Bishop Peter Baltes from Alton.  Concluding this dedication, Bishop Baltes confirmed 39 people.

The current church was built in spring of 1904 (using suitable material salvaged from the old building) and completed for a June 12, 1905, dedication by Bishop James Ryan from Alton. 

A new rectory was built in 1948 and was then demolished in 2020. The parish hall (formerly referred to as the confraternity hall) was completed in 1968.  It was dedicated on May 26, after which Bishop William A. O’Connor of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois administered the sacrament of confirmation to both children and adults of the parish. The pastor at the time, Father Edward Groesch, said the cost of the building was kept low because men and women of the parish volunteered their help with the painting, shingling, and tiling the ceiling. 

Over the years, there have been many changes made to the church and parish hall. Following the Second Vatican Council, interior changes were made in the current St. Gertrude Church so that liturgical guidelines would be followed.  Those changes were made in 1972 for the 100th anniversary. Bishop O’Connor offered a Mass at the parish in honor of the occasion. 

Tradition is important to the parishioners in Grantfork. The annual chicken dinner held on the first Sunday of June began in 1969 and was held through 2019 until being cancelled due to COVID restrictions. It will return this year as a drive-through only event and will hopefully eventually return to its earlier form in the future. 

Father Paul Bonk, the current pastor, was appointed pastor of St. Gertrude Parish in 2018.  This appointment also included St. Nicholas in Pocahontas and Immaculate Conception in Pierron.  The current congregation of St. Gertrude consists of 94 families who make up the active and ambitious parish.  Quarterly meetings are held by the Parish Pastoral Council and Finance Committee and the Altar Society meets various times throughout the year.  The Parish School of Religion (PSR) classes are now coordinated by a lay coordinator who is backed up by the parishioners.

Father John Farrell (now deceased) was the first to be ordained from St. Gertrude Parish in 1943. Father Pat Jakel was the second to be ordained from the parish. Father Jakel served as pastor or St. Gertrude for two years just prior to his current assignment as pastor at St. Paul in Highland.  

Father Jakel says the pastor at St. Gertrude during his teenage years, Father Henry Schmidt, was a profound influence on his personal vocation. “I always wanted to be a carpenter, get married and have children; however, over the years, Father Schmidt would say to me, ‘Pat, God is calling you, but you’re not listening.’ … It was at the end of that summer (after high school graduation) that I finally answered God’s call,” he said. “Due to the great support of Father Schmidt pulling strings, within two days I entered our Diocesan Seminary of the Immaculate Conception on Lake Springfield.

“Now after almost 37 years of priesthood, 34 of them as a pastor, I reflect back on the people who influenced me. First was my parents and family, then my parish priests, my friends, and lastly, but not least, my parish family of St. Gertrude, Grantfork. I started to list the families at St. Gertrude who were my influencers, but the list became too long.”

Father Bonk has had various committees formed and several events have been planned for throughout the anniversary year.  On Sunday, Feb. 27, a kick-off Mass was held at St. Gertrude. St. Gertrude parishioners will also be taking part in the annual Grantfork Homecoming which takes place in August.  On Sept.  18, there will be a 10 a.m. joint church service with the Grantfork United Church of Christ, which is also celebrating their 150th anniversary.  The service will be followed by a pot-luck lunch.  The Feast Day of St. Gertrude is Nov. 16, and on Sunday, Nov. 13, at the 8 a.m. Mass, St. Gertrude will celebrate their closing Mass of their 150th anniversary year.

Lawrence Schwarz, one of the three current lifetime members of St. Gertrude Parish, is compiling information for a book which will cover the history of the past 150 years.

Father Bonk says he feels very honored to be the current pastor at St. Gertrude and to be able to participate in the events planned for the special celebrations of the 150th anniversary year.

MaryAnn Frueh, a parishioner at St. Gertrude Parish, contributed to this article. Additional information came from newspaper clippings from Western Catholic and Catholic Times.  

St. Gertrude Parish in Grantfork is celebrating 150 years as a parish this year. Bishop Paprocki will be celebrating a Mass there on May 15.

siuebiblestudyStudents at SIUE take a quick break from their Bible study to snap a photo. Submitted photoBy ANDREW HANSEN 
Editor  

EDWARDSVILLE — When Kayla Bridick, a student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), took a class called Biblical Studies, the senior from Granite City said it was one of her favorite classes, but it opened her eyes to how little she knew about Scripture. For Joshua Coleman, a graduate student at SIUE, he was simply “coasting” through his faith life. Both of these students were in different places of their life spiritually, but they both recognized they desired something more. Little did they know that hunger would be filled through a Bible study, organized by FOCUS, a team of young adult missionaries serving on campus.

“I have been able to shape my understanding of the Bible through the Catechism, Catholic social teaching and doctrine, and at the same time, I have been invited to pray with Scripture and make connections with what the Lord is trying to say to me personally in my own life,” Bridick said. “This year, I have been lucky enough to take on the role of being a leader of my own Bible study group. Because I had witnessed such incredible transformations in my own relationship with God through Bible studies, I knew I wanted to help invite other women to do the same. I expected the Lord to provide everything I needed, but in His usual fashion, He has provided even more than I could ever have imagined.” 

“I have enjoyed not only the amazing community and friendships that I have formed, but the deeper understanding I have begun to develop about the Gospel,” Coleman, an Edwardsville resident, said. “Through that deeper understanding, I have been able to continue to grow in depths of my relationship with Christ that I never thought I would enter.”

These weekly Bible studies started in 2020 when FOCUS came to campus. This year, there are 11 different groups (men and women groups), with about 70 students as regular participants and at least 100 students have joined at least once. 

Some of the Bible studies are led by FOCUS missionaries, while others are student led. They begin with a prayer and then the flow normally goes: Scripture, questions, discuss, and repeat. Fellowship usually follows afterward. 

“I love to watch God’s grace move by seeing people grow in their relationship with Christ over time,” said Willie Jansen, the leader of the FOCUS team. “If someone is faithful to showing up and taking the next step Christ is inviting them into, He leads them on an incredible journey, and it has been fun to watch students walk this path. This highlights a key part of these Bible studies — they are deeply and intrinsically relational. So, while so much happens in the 60 to 90 minutes of Bible study, a lot happens in the time spent and conversations we have outside of that time.”

Jansen has seen firsthand the impact these Bible studies are having on students. 

“One of the many graces from Bible studies this year comes from a male, student led study,” Jansen said. “Early in the fall, Luke invited one of his classmates named Josh to join his Bible study. Josh accepted the invitation and has been loving it. He was not raised in any faith tradition, so he is taking a lot in. Josh has been joining for Mass, community events, and service with the Missionaries of Charity. This is a great example of what we hope for these Bible studies — these two men are not just in a Bible study together. They have an authentic friendship that is orienting their lives in the direction of Christ and His Church. It all started with a simple invitation, and it continues through real friendship, both with the other and with Christ.” 

Bridick can relate. Her group consists of four women who meet once a week to pray with Scripture, share in joys and sorrows of the week, and just be with each other.  

“My favorite thing about the study is that we are able to just be honest, vulnerable, and real with one another,” Bridick said. “On college campuses, it can be hard to find a safe space to connect with like-minded people especially on the topic of faith. I’ve been told many times by all of the women in my study that being a part of this group has changed their life — both spiritually and personally — and that it is the best part of their week.”

For Coleman, he says the Bible studies have helped him better understand the deeper levels of our faith. 

“There have been more ‘Now I get it!’ moments than I can count, but I think my favorite ones have been going through the Salvation history and growing in my understandings of Christ,” Coleman said.

While these weekly Bible studies are part of the SIUE Newman Catholic Community, they happen in places such as dorm rooms, apartments, and other places. 

“When people hear the words ‘Bible study,’ I think many people think of a Theology class or they assume they must perform and have a lot of previous knowledge,” Jansen said. “While I do hope the students are learning so much about who God is, who they are and what His plan is for their life, ultimately, I hope Bible studies lead students to deep covenantal relationship with Christ and His Church for a lifetime. I hope Bible studies lead them to a deeper receptivity to Christ in His sacraments. I hope it leads them into more receptive and consistent daily prayer lives. And I hope it leads them to an unshakable faithfulness to the Church’s teachings.” 

“As a Bible study leader, I have been hearing the voice of God and learning about my relationship with the Father in a whole new way,” Bridick said. “In order to lead my group of women well, I have to constantly be in relationship with and relying on the Father to provide everything we need.

“I can’t imagine where I would be in my faith journey without the community that the Lord has placed around me, whether it be as simple as a friend sitting next to me at Mass when I’m feeling alone or something larger, such as being pushed to spend my summer in another state with other students focused solely on growing in our faith,” Coleman said. “Each moment every day with this amazing community plays a pivotal role in pushing me closer to Christ.”

Honoring our teachers
Presenting the third annual St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award

We asked everyone from across the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois what Catholic teacher in our schools is making a big difference in the classroom? What teacher goes above and beyond, someone whose impact is deep and personal? What teacher authentically lives out what it means to be Catholic and instills our faith into his or her students? What teacher embodies St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who founded Catholic schools in the United States?

The Office for Catholic Schools and Office for Communications for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, organizers of the award, received a record number of nominations — 72 teachers in all — from principals, teachers, parents, priests, previous students, and current students this year. A team consisting of former educators in our diocese poured through the nominations and read all the stories of impact about each teacher, narrowing the list to five finalists, which Catholic Times presents in this edition along with quotes taken from nomination forms. Catholic Times will reveal the winner of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award in the May 15 edition. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination and thank you to all our teachers who work so hard! 


Vicki WentheVicki Wenthe
Sacred Heart School, Effingham
Fourth-grade teacher

“I first met Mrs. Wenthe when my oldest son began school at Sacred Heart School in 2013. My first impression of her was that she was someone who lived her faith in her life, every day, all day. It was apparent to me that God was center in her life and that resonated with me because that was something that I needed to work on in my own life. Seeing her was a great example for me. Mrs. Wenthe reinforces religion all day long and integrates it into her teaching. This is natural for her because she chooses to always keep God first in her own life. Mrs. Wenthe volunteers her time to stay after school and help students who need a little more time with her. It is important to her as an educator that every child succeeds, and she makes that happen by going above and beyond with giving of her time and talents to her students. She also volunteers her time to teach for our PSR program. She serves as a greeter for Mass, is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, and helps with social events.”
Billi Jansen, colleague

“I have known Mrs. Wenthe for eight years and in those eight years, I have worked with her in a variety of roles. She has been a principal, teacher, volunteer, and one of my beloved parishioners. In every role, she has taken and in every day of her life, she puts God first and lives her faith.

“Currently, as our fourth-grade teacher, I see Mrs. Wenthe focus on the academic excellence in her classroom, while maintaining Christ in the center of her lessons. She volunteers her time to tutor her students after school if they need extra help. She is a disciple of Christ and gives of herself to help others. 

“Mrs. Wenthe joins me for prayer in church on a regular basis, and this also brings her closer to Christ. She understands the importance of time with God and shows her students that also. She ensures that they are shown the importance of prayer by bringing them to church during the school day.”
Father Michal Rosa, pastor


Mrs. Amber TallmanAmber Tallman
St. Paul School, Highland
Second-grade teacher

“My daughter was blessed to have Mrs. Tallman as her second-grade teacher. Mrs. Tallman is innovative in the way that she teaches her students, and she loves and cares for her students like they are her own children. 

“When my daughter, Lillian, entered second grade, I was concerned about her reading abilities. Mrs. Tallman quickly noticed her challenges and reached out to me. From that point forward, she did anything and everything she could to support Lillian. Her expertise even helped her to realize that Lillian had a tracking problem and was in need of glasses. But she did not stop there. One of the things she knew about Lillian is that Lillian likes reptiles. Mrs. Tallman is an animal lover herself, and she had a bearded dragon at home that was no longer getting much attention from her own children. With our permission, she asked Lillian if she would like to take the bearded dragon, Lizzy, and take of her care of her for a while. One thing about Lizzy is that she really likes being read to, and Lillian would have to take time reading to her new friend. After a few months of Lizzy staying at our house, Lillian’s reading scores began to improve. To reward Lillian, Mrs. Tallman surprised Lillian by presenting her with an adoption certificate. A year later, Lizzy has become a part of our family. She is a constant reminder of the hard work Lillian has put in and of what a caring teacher Mrs. Tallman is. At the start of second grade, Lillian scored in the third percentile on her readying test and this year, she has moved up to the 56th percentile. Mrs. Tallman exemplifies what the love and support of a wonderful teacher can do for a student. She is truly an example of a teacher who brings light and love to her students in the same way Christ does for His followers.”
Susanne Himsel, parent of student

“My son, Matthew, struggled with reading, and that had led to behavior issues in first grade. We worked with him constantly, and he made little progress. With COVID and all the changes, it was a battle. Starting in second grade, he just wasn’t confident. Before the school year started, I spoke to his new teacher to make sure everyone knew he might need extra help. She was very reassuring and confident they could work on it. 

“About a month into the year, Matthew had changed. He had so much excitement to go to school each day! His reading level improved to his grade level. I sincerely couldn’t believe it. Matthew also received the Viking Award from the principal based on his kindness and behavior at school.

“We have four children, our oldest graduating from Father McGivney Catholic High School in 2018. We have experienced a lot of different teachers and teaching styles. I have never been so impressed with the attention, understanding, and passion Mrs. Tallman gives all her students. I am extremely grateful for all of the extra love and attention she has given Matthew.”
Suzanna Bushur, parent of student


Kate WestKate West
St. Agnes School, Springfield
Junior high literature teacher (grades, 6, 7, 8)

“Mrs. West always makes sure her students, no matter what their background or skill level is, understands and comprehends the material she is teaching. She spends so much time preparing lesson plans that meet the needs of all students. She also tries to make learning fun for the students by preparing activities to play on ‘Fun Friday’ that are related to the curriculum that is being taught. Mrs. West has improved mine and many others’ understanding of English and reading, and I feel like she has very much prepared us for high school, college, and beyond.”
Emma Johnson, current student 

“Mrs. West is always in a good mood no matter what. She always has a smile on every day. Mrs. West constantly strives to make sure every student gets the education they need and gives everyone enough time to complete any assignments. She is always focusing on the mental health of the students and worries about how each student feels. Every day at the start of class, she asks us how our day is going, as a way to ‘wind down’ as it comes toward the end of the day. She gave me great advice that I still keep with me today. She told me, ‘Separate yourself from people who put you down.’”
Gloria Ayilisungu, current student


Maureen TepenMaureen Tepen
St. Mary School, Brussels
Third/fourth-grade teacher, fifth/sixth-grade language arts teacher

“Mrs. Tepen exemplifies the ideal Catholic school teacher. She instills a love of God in all her students and her reach extends to each child’s entire family. She teaches with joy, love, and understanding. From the moment I saw in her parent orientation, I was in awe of her passion. She read the Starfish Poem, highlighting how small acts can make a big difference. In a world where it is easy to be distracted on what is important, Mrs. Tepen is focused on her faith and leads by example for all her students.

“One of the most impactful aspects of Mrs. Tepen’s teaching is her handwritten notes for each student. During parent-teacher conferences, she presented a three-page written letter highlighting my child’s strengths in the most beautiful words. She eloquently included areas my daughter needed to work on but made sure to express that all children have different talents, all children are not on their best behavior every day, and through all of it, God loves them. 

“Mrs. Tepen has been a teacher at St. Mary School for more than 20 years. Without a doubt, she has made a positive difference for every child blessed enough to be part of her classroom.”
Renee Rose, parent of student

“Mrs. Tepen will do anything for her students. She got to share the miracle of being a grandmother with all of us, her students. She is very dedicated to being Christlike and holy. She loves God with all her heart. She is really sweet and an amazing teacher. At Lent, she hand- makes boxes for students to put money in for the missions. She inspires me to be the best version of myself. She helps us all to love God, learn about God, and spread the Gospel. She loves anything Christlike.”
Conley Klocke, current student


Diane Keller HeadshotDiane Keller
Our Lady of Lourdes School, Decatur
Religion teacher (grades 3, 5, 6, 7, 8)

“Mrs. Keller organized over 60 students and led them during the March for Life. She spent hours during the weeks before explaining and teaching our Catholic belief that all life is sacred from the moment of conception to natural death. She walked alongside the students. I’ve always likened her to our very own St. Mother Teresa. Finally, Mrs. Keller makes every student feel loved. I’ve seen her wrap her arm around the shoulder of a student and say, ‘I love you,’ and “I hear you.’ You cannot be in her presence and not feel joy!”
Elizabeth Wherly, parent of a student 

“Mrs. Keller has been a pillar of Catholic education in Decatur for many years now. She taught for 25 years at St. Teresa Catholic High School, and everyone I’ve met who has had Mrs. Keller as a teacher loves and respects her greatly. With her at Our Lady of Lourdes, I watch the way her students interact with her, and I’m so impressed. She has their affection, their attention, and their utmost respect. When I’m in her classroom, I watch as student after student come in to give her a hug or tell her ‘Good morning.’ They truly love her — and she takes a vested interest in every aspect of their life. When they need to be loved and healed from the difficulties of young adolescence, Mrs. Keller is there. When they need to be challenged to rise to a better version of themselves, she is there.

“As a religion teacher, she is not teaching them — she is modeling for them what true discipleship is. I see this especially when Mrs. Keller has to challenge them to love and respect each other more. She simply does not shy away from the difficult conversations, but the way in which she addresses them with love and sympathy is unparalleled in my experience. I’m truly grateful to have her as a teacher at my school! I enjoy seeing her love for the students, and it’s a privilege to see the care and generosity that she has reached now with a second generation of students in Decatur.”
Father Michael Friedel, pastor

By DIANE SCHLINDWEIN
|Managing Editor

On Wednesday, May 4, priests from around the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois will gather at Villa Marie Retreat Center on Lake Springfield for a day of celebration. That day they will hear from special guest and speaker Bishop Michael McGovern, of Belleville. Additionally, they will take part in Evening Prayer, a social hour, and a dinner, after which Bishop Thomas John Paprocki and the priests will honor several priests who are celebrating Jubilees this year. Those priests include Father Louis Schlangen and Father Henry Schmidt, who are celebrating 65 years; Father Philip Kraft, Father Jerry Wickenhauser, MM, and Father Joseph Zimmerman, OFM, who are celebrating 60 years; as well as these priests who are celebrating 50 years or 25 years of priesthood: 

Beveridge JohnFather John Beveridge
50 Years

Springfield native Father John Beveridge grew up in the see city, where he, his parents and his siblings were members of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish. He attended Ss. Peter and Paul Grade School and then graduated from Griffin High School in 1964. He began his studies for the priesthood at the Diocesan Seminary of the Immaculate Conception on Lake Springfield and attended St. John’s Seminary in Little Rock, Ark., before continuing his studies at Our Lady of Angels Seminary in Quincy, and then completing his training at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis. On May 27, 1972, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop William A. O’Connor at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield. 

Over the last 50 years, Father Beveridge has held a number of assignments. He was an assistant at St. Paul in Highland from 1972 to 1976, at St. Anthony in Effingham from 1976 to 1980, at Our Lady of Lourdes in Decatur in 1980, and at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield from 1980 to 1984. In 1980 he was also a pastoral consultant in the Catholic Education Office.

He was named parochial administrator of St. John the Baptist in Quincy in 1984, before being named pastor there that same year. He remained pastor at that parish until 1999. He was also pastor of St. Brigid in Liberty and St. Thomas the Apostle in Camp Point from 1991 to 1994. He was dean of the Quincy Deanery from 1996 to 1999. In 1999, Father Beveridge was for a brief time parochial administrator of All Saints in Quincy. In 1999 he also began his longest assignment when he was named pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul in Collinsville, where he has been serving for almost half of his priestly life.

“It is a very humbling experience to look over all these years and realize how quickly they have gone,” Father Beveridge said. “There are many challenges, yet the Lord is always there, healing and strengthening for the mission that needs to be done. Each year has been a blessing whether it held a challenge, a question, or sheer joy and happiness.”

He says the Eucharist is his greatest joy. “It is the Easter celebration all over again. To share in that same Eucharist that has taken place over these many centuries brings me to my knees. He loves us with such a deep love, despite our weaknesses and sinfulness.”

Developing ministries, identifying gifts, and helping people use them for the good of the community is one of the most important parts of being a pastor, he said. Through it all, his parishioners have “embodied God’s love in an extraordinary way.” “May God bless them for their love, prayers and support over these many years,” he said.

On July 1, Father Beveridge will be assigned as pastor emeritus of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Collinsville.


Chiola RichardFather Richard Chiola
50 Years

Another Springfield native, Father Richard Chiola, was ordained by Bishop William A. O’Connor at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on May 27, 1972.

Looking back, Father Chiola says he was blessed to grow up surrounded with family and friends “who knew Jesus, went to church, and prayed.” He especially credits his late mother, Faye Chiola, for helping him discover his vocation. 

His first assignments were as associate pastor of St. Thomas in Decatur, St. Agnes in Springfield, and St. Bernard in Wood River. From 1984 to 1988 he was parochial administrator and then pastor of St. Louis in Nokomis and St. Barbara in Witt. 

“I remember after seminary I felt the need to continue my study of theology, so that I could explain our Catholic faith more clearly. Study and prayer kept me close to God. I did my postgraduate studies while I worked in parishes,” he said. He says the Ignatian Exercises, the 30-day retreat, was “formative of my prayer and practice of spiritual direction … .” 

Father Chiola has a Ph.D. in historical theology and a master’s in human development counseling, is a licensed professional counselor and certified sexual addiction therapist, worked in the Tribunal, and has taught at various universities. He worked with the Franciscan Hospital Sisters on integrating the Catholic healthcare mission in their hospital system.  For more than a decade he was a therapist and spent a few years teaching doctors how to become psychiatrists at SIU School of Medicine. Additionally, he has authored a book and served for a decade on the U.S. Catholic China Bureau’s Board of Trustees. He also gave retreats and workshops with the Missionaries of Charity in Central and South America. 

After many years teaching and serving in other areas, Father Chiola returned to the Springfield diocese. “When my father was dying in 2000, I moved back to the diocese until retirement,” he said. He was diocesan director for the ongoing formation of clergy for six years and the delegate for clergy health and wellness for three years. He was parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament in Springfield, at St. Agnes in Springfield, parochial administrator of St. Augustine in Ashland, and finally pastor at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini in Springfield from 2004 to 2015, when he became pastor emeritus at that parish. He also served as parochial administrator at St. Joseph the Worker in Chatham in 2016. 

Father Chiola is currently writing another book, continues to work as a spiritual director, assists in parishes as needed, and sometimes gives retreats and workshops in various dioceses and to religious women. “Next fall, I will teach a course in pastoral care at Aquinas Institute, a Dominican graduate school of theology in St. Louis. And this summer I will conduct a reading course for a priest from a Chinese seminary,” he said.

Looking back on the priesthood, Father Chiola surmises that he emphasizes a personal relationship with Jesus, and prayer. “There is one thing that cannot be avoided, that is suffering. Priesthood is not a career but a sharing of fullness of what the Spirit of God is doing in you. You will only be as compassionate toward God’s people as you are aware of God’s compassion toward you.” 


Nellikunnel George PhilipFather George Nellikunnel
25 Years

Father George Nellikunnel was born into a traditional Catholic family in India and entered the seminary as a teenager in 1984. He was ordained a priest on April 30, 1997.  “My parents were farmers, and I am the third in line of seven children,” he said. “My sisters and a niece are religious sisters.” 

During his earlier years as a priest, Father Nellikunnel served in a variety of places, often with youngsters. “I have participated in the International Catholic Agriculture Rural Youth Movement with my training in Germany and Sri Lanka. I have participated in the World Catholic Youth Day in Germany and Asian Catholic Youth Day in Hong Kong and in India, also worked for six years as a regional youth director in rural areas of Western and Central India and organized national and regional youth conventions for 16 dioceses. 

“I was very active with many youth groups and organizations in India,” he said. “I served as a pastor, manager, and principal of a school in Delhi for three years and then continued to work in the African land of Zambia as a pastor.” 

Having worked in the African mission areas of Zambia, Father Nellikunnel was asked to discern work in the United States and to support the Zambia mission. “Then the Springfield diocese needed priests and I was asked to come and minister to the diocese,” he says. He came to work at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, where he served as chaplain from 2014 to 2019. He has also been in various parishes, serving as pastor of St. John Vianney in Sherman from 2015 to 2021, Holy Family in Athens from 2019 to 2021, and at St. Aloysius and St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, both in Springfield, from 2021 to the present time. Before COVID, he was able to visit his family in his home country once a year. 

 Although he was incardinated with the Pallotine Fathers and Brothers, he is now ad experimentum in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.  “What I like here is the vibrant Catholic communities, rooted in Jesus Christ with the spirit of joy and collaboration and sharing Jesus through Eucharistic celebration,” he said. “The favorite aspect of my priesthood is the celebration of the Eucharist. Every priest is called to be a eucharistic priest. Without priests there is no Eucharist and without Eucharist there is no salvation.” 

Father Nellikunnel says the sacrament of confession is also especially important. “Another favorite sacrament for me as a priest is confession, because I have found unconventional mercy of God in it,” he said. “If I am merciful to others in my ministry and teaching, it is because I have been shown great mercy. Confession has proven to be the reminder of my own weakness and need for the mercy of God to live well this earthly life.” 

When a young man believes he has a vocation to the priesthood, Father Nellikunnel suggests “praying well to make the right decision” and “trusting in the Lord and His plan.” “It is not your desire, but God’s call and you need to make lots of sacrifices to follow the path of Jesus,” he said. “Attend daily Mass and pray the holy rosary. The Blessed Mother will inspire you and guide you to take the right choice.” 


Schulte MarkFather Mark Schulte
25 Years

Father Mark Schulte was ordained May 24, 1997, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield. Prior to becoming a priest, he was in the Army, where he was a skydiver and paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. He then received a degree in agronomics (crop science) and worked as a production manager for various tree and shrub nursing productions. However, his vocation to the priesthood was with him for years, he says. 

“I was ordained a priest at the age of 45. But the calling to priesthood started long before that,” he said. “There was no particular event that influenced me to be a priest, but many smaller things along the way, such as a strong Catholic family life while growing up, being an altar boy, praying the rosary, devotion to the Blessed Mother, and reading Catholic devotional books.” 

Father Schulte’s first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Agnes in Springfield. While serving there he also spent a year as chaplain for the University of Illinois at Springfield. From 2001 to 2005, he as pastor of St. Bernard in Wood River, and also spent 2004 to 2005 leading St. Matthew in Alton. He returned to Springfield from 2005 to 2010 and was pastor of St. Aloysius. Since 2010, he has been pastor of St. Mary in Pittsfield and St. Mark in Winchester. 

“Every parish is unique in its own way, whether it is a larger parish with a school, or a small-town parish,” he said. “My favorite aspect of being a priest is having the opportunity to minister to people in various stages of their life, but most importantly, having the opportunity to celebrate the sacraments — especially that of the holy sacrifice of the Mass. My favorite sacrament is the holy Eucharist. The mystery of the holy Eucharist, celebrating the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is all-encompassing.”

When he isn’t serving his parishioners, Father Schulte likes to spend his time outdoors. He once walked 85 miles raising money to fund a new altar during a renovation project for his church in Pittsfield. “I continue to walk the neighborhood for exercise, but I still hike through the woods and hill country. Walking is an excellent way to pray and meditate. 

“I do like to grow things in a garden and in the flower beds,” he said. “My background is in agriculture for the most part. But I also love to read, hunt, fish, and just generally spend time in the outdoors. I have always found it easy to encounter God in His creation; in the mountains, along the river, in the woods and walking in a beautiful field.” 

Father Schulte says that the past 25 years as a priest “have been very rewarding” and adds, “Any man who thinks he has a vocation to the priesthood should pursue it.” 

04 17 2022 effingham Fr Michal and Fr Marcin ukraine donations 2Sacred Heart, Effingham pastor Father Michal Rosa (left) stands with his friend Father Marcin Kokoszka from the Diocese of Tarnov in Poland. They are shown with a collection box used for donations to assist the Ukrainians who have fled their war-torn country and taken refuge in Poland. By DIANE SCHLINDWEIN
Managing Editor

EFFINGHAM — When Father Michal Rosa, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Effingham, first heard of the Russian attacks on Ukraine — and the plight of the people fleeing their home country for Poland — he was naturally concerned. His parishioners, knowing their pastor had grown up and was ordained in Poland, were especially eager to help the refugees and asked Father Rosa what they could do. Of course, he first requested that they pray. 

However, in March “after much consideration and prayer” Father Rosa decided to reach out to his friend, Father Marcin Kokoszka, to see if the Effingham parishioners could also help financially.  As luck would have it, Father Kokoszka had already planned to travel to see Father Rosa in Effingham, so the two friends went ahead with their visit. Together they also met with Bishop Thomas John Paprocki at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. 

Father Rosa says he knew Father Kokoszka, who lives in Poland two and a half hours from the border of Ukraine, would know what to do. Moreover, Father Kokoszka, who is the economist for the Diocese of Tarnov, has personally been actively involved in helping Ukrainian refugees.

Father Kokoszka agreed that if money was collected, he would ensure the funds were used to help the people in need. By the time Father Kokoszka completed his visit to the Springfield diocese and was set to return home, Sacred Heart parishioners had already donated close to $31,000. That money was carried to Poland by Father Kokoszka. Since that time the parish has collected nearly $8,400 more, with donations still coming in, from Sacred Heart parishioners and some others as well. 

“Growing up in Poland, Ukraine is Poland’s neighbor, three hours away from my parent’s house,” Father Rosa said. “So I am familiar with the areas that are now in the middle of the conflict. And I am in regular contact with my family, especially my parents, in Poland. The great openness of the hearts of the Polish people is being shown right now through their assistance to Ukraine people. And I know many priests with the Diocese of Tarnow. They are actively helping refugees every day.

“As for the people of my parish, they came to me and asked what they could do, and this was one way we could help right away, because we had a direct connection,” Father Rosa said.  “I am very happy that the people here were so generous.” 

Submitted photo 

04 17 2022 Paprocki LIFErunner award

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD — There are 19,281 LIFE Runners in 3,201 cities across 41 nations, and it was Bishop Thomas John Paprocki who received the LIFE Runners 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award at the LIFE Runners annual banquet in Omaha, Neb., March 25. LIFE Runners is the largest pro-Life team of runners who wear the "REMEMBER The Unborn" jersey.

Founded in 2008 by Patrick Castle after he said he had “an encounter with St. Padre Pio,” Bishop Paprocki has been the national chaplain for the group since 2011 and was also the recipient of the first LIFE Runner Man of the Year Award (2011). 

“Bishop Paprocki is a bold Catholic shepherd for the Gospel of Life,” said Castle, who is also president of LIFE Runners. “He inspires our team, leading by example at our national events. At our annual national race and the annual A-Cross America Relay finish line, he leads prayer at the local abortion facility. Bishop Paprocki is heroically pro-life. He is truly all in Christ for pro-life!”   

One can join LIFE Runners by registering for monthly updates, order a "REMEMBER The Unborn" jersey to wear as a public witness, and have a committed faith. Running is optional. Go to  liferunners.org/join.

In this photo, Bishop Paprocki speaks at the annual banquet in Omaha on March 25.

Submitted photo

04 17 2022 marquette hs Sydney Erhman related to PresidentSenior Sydney Erhman found out she is related to President Benjamin Harrison during her research in the Living History course at Marquette Catholic High School.By ANDREW HANSEN 
Editor

ALTON — In digging through your family history, imagine finding out you were related to a former president of the United States? That’s what Sydney Ehrman, a senior at Marquette Catholic High School in Alton found out recently. Her distant relative is President Benjamin Harrison, who lived between 1833-1901, and was our nation’s 23rd president.

The discovery was due to Ehrman taking the Living History course at Marquette Catholic, taught by Paula Mattix-Wand, the Theology Department chair and instructor in the Theology and History Department.

“I’ve enjoyed digging into my family history and learning more about my ancestors and where they came from,” Ehrman said. “I found out that a few of my family members traveled to Arkansas and got married there. The class has helped me to understand the struggles that my ancestors went through.”

Senior Adam Vowels was fascinated to find out that his family is from Kentucky. “Learning about the history of my name has given me more respect for my great-grandpa,” Vowels said. “He was a great man and learning more about where he came from really shows how much he did in his life.”

This is the first time Marquette Catholic is offering this class, open only to seniors. 

“We had a need for electives in the history department,” Mattix-Wand said. “I had offered to create this class a couple of years ago, but it didn’t materialize. This year, my schedule matched up with the need. I have training in genealogy research through my involvement with the Ninian Edwards Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and through my own family research. I began researching when I was a senior in high school through a home economics class.” 

The goals of the class are to become proficient in using an online genealogy service; to develop research skills and learn document analysis using public vital records; to understand the connection between historical events and the present; and to help students appreciate their place in modern history.

04 17 2022 marquette hs Chris Bams discusses ancestry with teacherChris Bams, a senior at Marquette Catholic High School in Alton, looks over his family's ancestry information with teacher Paula Mattix-Wand during the Living History course.“We started the semester by having them talk to their relatives and gather information on what is already known and available,” Mattix-Wand said. “Who are the historians in their families and what do they know? They talked to grandparents, aunts, uncles, anyone who had information. I received a grant from ancestry.com through their AncestryK12 Classroom Program. The classroom version of ancestry.com is very similar to the subscription and includes access to other online genealogy resources. The seniors research every day and help each other interpret documents and make connections. Seniors are free to call relatives during class and to clarify their research. When we have research or document questions that effect the entire group, we discuss it as a class.” 

That research has led to some interesting discoveries. One student found a connection to Daniel Boone, one of America’s first folk heroes. Another student discovered a connection to the Barnum and Bailey Circus. 

“This class is important because it gives students a different way to experience history,” Mattix-Wand said. “Instead of memorizing dates and places, this class allows students to learn the context of how history impacted their family. It’s also important because we are making connections with living relatives. Several students have mentioned how they have enjoyed spending time with their grandparents and learning about their lives. Finally, I think it’s important because we encounter and discuss difficult periods in American history. We have discussed slavery, poverty, immigration quotas, war, and difficult family relationships. These are not easy topics, but they have shown great maturity and compassion toward each other.”

Throughout the semester, the students have three big projects to complete: a pedigree chart listing the direct ancestors that they have found; a binder of documents including but not limited to: vital, census, military, and cemetery records; and a presentation which connects their family to an event in U.S. history.

“At first, the biggest challenge for the seniors is realizing that this project is never finished,” Mattix-Wand said. “In all of their other classwork, there is a definite end. With genealogy, there will always be more people to discover and more details to add to the family’s story.”

Interested in learning about your ancestors?  

You can use sacramental records to trace your family history. Baptism, first Communion, confirmation, marriage, and burial records are fantastic resources for genealogists. The Office for Archives and Records Management for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois accepts genealogy requests online or by mail.  Visit https://archives.dio.org/services/genealogy.html to learn more.  

If you already have experience performing genealogical research, they have partnered with Ancestry.com to digitize and index the sacramental records of the diocese that are considered open and accessible for genealogical research. Learn more about the partnership here: https://archives.dio.org/services/ancestry.html.

New to genealogy? Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Begin in the present. Collect information from resources you already have such as birth or marriage certificates, baptismal records, family Bibles, or obituaries. 
  • Collect information from relatives. Contact relatives to help fill in important details. Ask them to share their family stories.
  • Record your information and get organized. Record where information was found. Make notes of missing information so that you know what you still need to find. Use paper files or genealogical software. 
  • Check your local public library to see what genealogical resources they offer.

 

 

 

Who makes and divides up the holy oils that the bishop blesses during Holy Week each year?
 -Rosanne Wiatrolik, Springfield 

Rosanne, you have asked the right person! The past few years, I have had the happy work of setting up everything for the chrism Mass, which takes place during Holy Week, including preparing for the bishop to bless the holy oils. It is a fairly ordinary process! 

The holy oils that the Church uses in the sacraments are all composed of olive oil. So, we start with several dozen gallons of pure olive oil, and through a process perfected over many years, through the generous efforts of everyone willing to help (in recent years, our Knights of Columbus Council at Cathedral in Springfield has led the charge), we go about carefully filling more than 300 individual bottles using a conglomeration of funnels and old coffee urns, labeling them as “oil of catechumens,” “oil of the sick,” and “sacred chrism” as we go, and placing one such bottle in each box, which is labeled with the parish or institution to which it is destined to go. Before filling the bottles that will become sacred chrism, we mix in the balsam extract to the point where the scent is obvious, but not overpowering (and we don’t run out of balsam before filling all the bottles). 

Of course, we also fill the larger glass jugs that are used during the chrism Mass with oil as well and it is these that will be carried in procession up to the bishop for him to bless (oil of catechumens and oil of the sick) and consecrate (sacred chrism) at the proper points in the Mass. The boxes with their bottles are placed in front of bishop before the Mass begins.

After the Mass, the larger glass bottles are kept in the ambry at Cathedral, which is the place, often looking much like a tabernacle, that houses each of the oils in every parish, and all the pre-boxed sets of bottles are distributed to their various destinations. Most years, they are collected by the pastor or a delegated member from that parish, though during 2020, they were carried to each deanery by a few of the priests in Springfield because the lockdown didn’t allow for representatives from each parish to be at the chrism Mass. 

One interesting sacramental twist to the story: The rite of the Church seems to prefer that the bishop himself mix the balsam into the oil before consecrating the chrism, and thus that the oils only be distributed into smaller bottles after the chrism Mass. Thankfully, the Vatican has clarified that it is valid to mix and bottle everything ahead of time, and this is how we have done it here in our diocese in order to expedite the process of distributing them out to their various destinations after the Mass. 

Father Dominic Rankin is Master of Ceremonies and priest secretary for Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, is an associate vocations director for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, and has a license in Theology of Marriage and Family from the John Paul II Institute in Rome.

Jesus HandsBy FATHER ROBERT JALLAS 
Special to Catholic Times 

“Whoever is in Christ is a new creation. The old things have passed away, behold, new things have come. All this is from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation … so we are ambassadors of Christ, as if God were appealing through us” (2nd Corinthians 5:17-20).

The apostle Paul speaks frequently in his letters of entering a new creation, of allowing the mind and heart and attitude of the risen Christ to take over us, to “put on Christ.” This putting on of Christ began at our baptism and unfolds throughout our lives. We are aware that this takes place symbolically in clothing the newly baptized with a white robe. Indeed, across our diocese at the Vigil of Easter, more than one hundred people were to be so clothed in being initiated into the life of Christ and his Body, the Church.

But what does this putting on of Christ, this entering a “new creation” look like? The word of God this past Lent gives us some clues, one of which stands out in particular I find this year. It is compassion that ushers forth in forgiveness. Whether during liturgy, in personal prayer, study, or prayerful reading, many have the experience of listening to the word of God in a fresh way, of being struck by passages that are so familiar, yet one seems to really hear them for the first time.

I found such to be true this past Lent. The powerful and recklessly lavish parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), the electrifying encounter of the woman accused of adultery (John 8:1-11), or the cultivation of an attitude of compassion in Jesus’ saying to forgive “not seven times but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22). Again, we hear at times the familiar in a different or striking way given the circumstances of our lives and our world. 

I have come to see that the distinguishing mark of a disciple of Jesus, the sign that we have put on Christ, that Christ is taking us over, of entering a new creation as Paul speaks of, is compassion. Compassion that ushers forth in forgiveness. Such takes work. Such takes discipline. Such an attitude of compassionate forgiveness is a focus not only for Lent or even Eastertime, but for all our days. How that plays itself out in our lives is as unique as each one of us. But the freedom and freshness of spirit that such forgiveness brings are a taste of the new creation into which we are continuously invited. Such gifts! Easter blessings in the risen Lord!

Father Robert Jallas is pastor of St. Mary Parish in Edwardsville.

Dad.Mom Dad Country HouseGerald Broadwater's conversion story involves a promise he made to his wife, Viv, who died in 2020. "Viv asked me to promise her just one last thing-that after her death, that I too would be baptized into the Catholic Church so that we would one day be in Heaven together! I promised my beautiful wife that day that I would do just that… and I did!" Broadwater said.‘It was because of a promise’
Gerald Broadwater of Granite City shares his conversion story 

By ANDREW HANSEN
Editor 

GRANITE CITY — At 74-years-old, Gerald Broadwater’s conversion story to the Catholic faith involves a car accident that should have killed him and a promise to his wife that will bring a tear to your eye.  

Growing up in Granite City, Broadwater’s parents did not attend church of any kind, and they did not take him to church either. He does remember, however, neighbors who were a strong Catholic family that planted a Catholic seed in him that would not take root for more than a half a century. 

Gerald married his wife, Viv, in 1966 in a Methodist church at the age of 18, but after that, going to church was maybe once a year for the two of them. Fast forward to having two children, Machele and Bret, and Broadwater says, “Finally, once our children and grandchildren were baptized Catholic, Viv and I attended St. Elizabeth (in Granite City) many times throughout the years.” 

But attending Mass did not make them Catholic. They both remained unbaptized. Decades went by. Broadwater then retired from the Edwardsville School District as a custodian. Then everything in his life changed in 2020. What happened ultimately led him to become Catholic in 2021, receiving the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and first holy Communion. Now a parishioner at St. Elizabeth Parish in Granite City, Broadwater shared his conversion story with Catholic Times Editor Andrew Hansen and spoke about how his wife made all the difference.

You grew up a non-Catholic, but you had neighbors who were. What do you remember about the Catholic faith as a young person?

Growing up, we were neighbors with a very strong Catholic family, William and Louise Mank, and those neighbors were my only exposure to Catholicism when I was young. The Manks had seven children, and one of them, Virgil, even became a monsignor. I can remember vividly a time when the Manks took me to Mass at St. Joseph in Granite City. I remember the Mass being in Latin, and I also remember being intrigued by the clothing worn by the priests and nuns. I was honestly in awe of the mystery of it all! I also recall the Mank family going through some extremely hard times throughout the years. It was their genuine trust in God and dedication to their Catholic faith that guided them through those very difficult times, and that really stuck with me. Truly, a wonderful Catholic family.

In 2020, your wife of more than 54 years died. Her conversion story to the Catholic faith alone is inspiring. But it did not end with her. What happened?

My faith changed drastically after Viv’s death. Just nine months later, I was initiated into the Catholic Church — fulfilling a promise that I had made to her a few months before her death. 

You see, Viv had longed for years to be Catholic — we both had — but for various reasons, it just hadn’t happened. And then in February of 2020, after being told by her hospice nurse that she had only weeks left to live, Viv let us know her heartfelt desire to become a Catholic and to receive the sacraments before the day God would call her home. With that, our daughter flew into action, and thanks be to God, on March 7, 2020, just 16 weeks before her passing, Viv received the sacraments of reconciliation, confirmation, and first holy Communion from Father Zachary Edgar in our home. But that wasn’t all that happened that day. Just after Father Edgar initiated her into the Church, Viv asked me to promise her just one last thing — that after her death, that I too would be baptized into the Catholic Church so that we would one day be in Heaven together! I promised my beautiful wife that day that I would do just that — and I did!

You became Catholic in April of last year at the Easter Vigil. How has the Catholic faith helped you grieve better and remain close to your wife? 

I’m attending Mass every week at St. Elizabeth, and I’m praying more than ever before! While I miss my wife with every ounce of my being, because of my newly found faith, I am at such incredible peace.

Was there anything about the teachings of our faith that you struggled with and if so, how did you overcome that?

Not really. Our journey to the Church honestly began about 32 years ago when our daughter was married in the Church. Not long after that, our son married into a Catholic family as well. Soon, grandchildren were arriving, and because of their baptisms, confirmations, and attending St. Elizabeth School, we found ourselves at St. Elizabeth Parish many times throughout the years. And then once both of our children were baptized in the Church — more than 20 years ago — they began discussing with us the Church’s teachings, answering any questions that we had along the way, and all the while, hoping and praying that Viv and I would someday be led home into the Catholic Church.

Is there a saint you fell in love with, asking him or her for their intercession and if so, which saint and why?

I was drawn to St. Brendan the Navigator for two reasons: We share an Irish heritage and have both sailed the seas. St. Brendan was in search of the land of promise, and I served our country in the United States Navy aboard the U.S.S. Constitution. I felt a real connection to him.

On the day you became Catholic, you were baptized, and you received confirmation and first holy Communion. What was that day like?

It was a wonderful day! I felt so very blessed to have my children, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and several of my grandchildren present to see their 73-year-old father and grandfather being baptized, receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, and fulfilling a promise that I had made to their mother and grandmother.

What do you love most about our faith?

The Eucharist and the saints in Heaven!

When you look back over your journey to our faith, what stands out?

When I was 15, I was involved in a serious automobile accident. I went through the windshield of that car — ending up on the hood — requiring more than 100 stitches in my head and the top portion of an ear being severed. I also suffered a dislocated knee, hip, broken collarbone, and broken jaw. The day after surgery, my doctor came in and told me that I should have died in that accident, but that God had saved me for a reason. 

I lived with that all my life, wondering just what that reason was. It wasn’t until my faith journey that I finally came to realize that I was put on this Earth to be married to the love of my life for 54 years, to father two of the most beautiful children on this Earth, to be a grandfather to nine precious grandchildren, and to ultimately be granted the privilege to be Viv’s caregiver in the final months, weeks, and days of her life, and to love her, cry with her, and hold her throughout her sufferings and anxieties — up until the very moment she took her final breath. That was the reason God spared my life all those years ago. 

It was because of a promise that I made to my wife in the final months of her life, that I became a member of the Catholic Church, the church instituted by Jesus Christ! I am thankful to Him for every single second that He allowed me to be with Viv, and I am thankful to Him for bringing me to where I am today.

Catholics from across the diocese have been wowed to read and view 151 true eucharistic miracle stories from across the world over the centuries, depicted through photographs and historical descriptions on panels temporarily set up in parish centers, gyms, and vestibules. Several parishes in our diocese have already hosted this display, called The Vatican Eucharistic Miracles of the World exhibit. This exhibit was gifted to the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and is available to parishes and schools in the diocese free of charge.

The exhibit presents some of the principal Eucharistic miracles that took place throughout the ages in various countries of the world and which have been recognized by the Catholic Church. By means of the panels, one can “virtually visit” the places where the miracles took place. 

To request all or some of the panels at your parish or organization, contact Cindy Callan at the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois at 217-698-8500, ext. 137 for further information. Or email her at . When requesting panels for a showing, please consider sufficient lead time.  

2022.3.20Event4 2022.3.20 Event

IMG 8169By Melissa Presser
Special to Catholic Times 

“And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.”
Luke 6:17

Sometimes God just seems so far away. We may be praying for or about something with hearts broken and pierced and wondering where Jesus is. Does He hear me? Does He even know I am here? And even amongst good friends and family, we still feel alone because the cry of our hearts has gone unanswered. We may question God, wondering why Christ who came down to become man and stand among us feels a million miles away.  

The Lord reminds us that we cannot trust in human beings to do what only He can do. He reminds us that human beings are not God and that we must put our trust and hope in Him alone, even when we feel we are in a spiritual drought. This is why He came down on a level plain, so He could be right there with us, in the midst of our greatest problems and tragedies. Christ is an accessible God who walks with us and among us. He is never far away.

When I think about Christ on a level plain, I think about a God who came down as man. He became attainable, touchable, reachable. He is the God who hears me, sees me, and knows me. God is not far off or someone I can’t reach out for. In fact, I reach out for Him every Sunday when I receive Him in the Eucharist. 

I may “feel” that He is far off, but these feelings are deceptive. Having the sacraments with me reminds me that He is in fact on level ground with me - touchable, reachable, and attainable.

If you are feeling alone, misled, in grief, or rejected, know that whether you feel it or not, God is with you. He came down as man in the person of Jesus Christ to be accessible to you. As you receive Him in Holy Communion, take a moment to meditate on that level plain. He is right next to you, beside you, intimately involved in every detail of your life. 

Remember that on this side of heaven, you have the keys to the Kingdom in the Eucharist, the closeness of God here on earth.

This article originally appeared in www.missiodeicatholic.org, reprinted with permission. Missio Dei was founded by Phillip Hadden, parishioner of St. Alexius in Beardstown

IMG 8174By Kelly Ann Tallent
Special to Catholic Times

“God created man in His own image… male and female he created them”  (Gen 1:27). This verse taken from Sacred Scripture is used by the Catholic Church to proclaim the universal truth that all mankind is created equal. “We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers and sisters keepers, wherever they may be.” This teaching can be difficult for some, but this should not be difficult for Christians because God has given us the ability to see with more than our eyes.

As Catholic Christians, we are given seven beautiful ways of seeing through the eyes of faith, but in this article, we will only focus on two: The Sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of Communion. A Sacrament, “which is a visible sign of an invisible reality,” gives humanity a tangible means (something that can be seen, touched, heard, smelled, or tasted) and fuses it with the faith which God has commanded. For instance, in the Sacrament of Baptism, the water is the visible sign of the truth that “we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God… members of Christ… incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission” (CCC 1213).

The Sacrament of Communion has a specific correlation to the above-mentioned verse, and it is here where we will draw an even deeper understanding of this call to see with more than our eyes. The bread and the wine, which is the visible sign, is transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ. No one can see this happen, just as no one can see the invisible reality of Baptism, yet we have the faith that this visible sign has become what Christ proclaimed: “Take it; this is my body. This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many” (Mk 14:22-24).

When we believe this truth, and spend time adoring Christ in the Eucharist, adoring Christ in others is how we share in God’s way of seeing Christ in us. We no longer see national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences, we see Christ. We see the image of God (Jn 14:9). Just as Christ sees us and we see Him, so too can we truly see others and treat them with the love in which Christ showed us when He carried His cross to Calvary.

This article originally appeared in www.missiodeicatholic.org, reprinted with permission. Missio Dei was founded by Phillip Hadden, parishioner of St. Alexius in Beardstown

Holy Week starts April 10
What is the Triduum?

During Holy Week, which beings on Palm Sunday (April 10), Lent comes to an end before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, which is the beginning of the Easter Triduum. The three chronological days are liturgically one day and from what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops call “the summit of the Liturgical Year.”

These three days witness the most exalted liturgical celebrations of the year and help us to remember Christ’s Paschal Mystery: His passion, death, and Resurrection. 

The liturgical services that take place during the Triduum are: the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday (April 14), the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday (April 15), and the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord (Easter Vigil) on Holy Saturday (April 15). On Easter Sunday (April 16), the Church continues to celebrate the Resurrection and triumph of the Lord. 

The Triduum is concluded liturgically with Evening prayer in the late afternoon or early evening on Easter Sunday. This is the beginning of the Easter season, which is the 50 days from Easter Sunday until Pentecost. 

Triduum schedule around the diocese
The following parishes returned a request from Catholic Times for a listing of their Triduum schedule: 

SPRINGFIELD

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7 a.m., 10 a.m.

 

Blessed Sacrament

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 5:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

Christ the King

Holy Thursday 5:30 p.m. (Adoration until 10 p.m.)

Good Friday, 5:30 p.m. (Stations of the Cross, noon)

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10 a.m.

 

Little Flower

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m. (Adoration until 10 p.m.)

Good Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7:45 a.m., 10 a.m.

 

St. Agnes

Holy Thursday, 5:30 p.m. (Adoration 6:30-8:30 p.m.)

Good Friday, 5:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

 

St. Aloysius

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7 a.m., 11 a.m.

 

St. Frances Cabrini

Good Friday, 6 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

 

St. Joseph

Holy Thursday, 5:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 5:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

 

St. Katharine Drexel

(all at Sacred Heart Church unless noted otherwise)

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m. (Adoration until midnight)

Good Friday, 3 p.m. (Divine Mercy Novena and confessions to follow)

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7 a.m., 9 a.m. (St. Patrick Church), 10:30 a.m. (Latin), 12:30 p.m. (Spanish)

 

ALEXANDER

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 11 a.m.

 

ALTAMONT

St. Clare

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10 a.m.

 

ALTON

St. Mary

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m. (Living Stations of the Cross, 7 p.m.)

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 6:30 a.m., 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 6 p.m.

 

Ss. Peter and Paul

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m. (Adoration until 11 p.m.)

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10 a.m.

 

ARCOLA

St. John the Baptist

Holy Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10 a.m.

 

ARENZVILLE

St. Fidelis

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

ASHLAND

St. Augustine

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m. (Adoration until midnight)

Good Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 9 a.m.

 

ASSUMPTION:

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Holy Thursday, 6 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7:45 a.m.

 

ATHENS

Holy Family

Holy Thursday, 6 p.m.

Good Friday, 6 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10 a.m.

 

AUBURN

Holy Cross

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m. (Adoration until 10 p.m.)

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m. (overflow in parish center)

 

BEARDSTOWN

St. Alexius

Holy Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (bilingual) 

Good Friday, 6:30 p.m. (bilingual)

Easter Vigil, 6 p.m. (trilingual)

Easter Sunday, 11:30 a.m. (Spanish), 4:30 p.m. (French)

 

BENLD

St. Joseph

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7:45 a.m.

 

BELTREES

St. Michael

Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m.

 

BETHALTO

Our Lady Queen of Peace

Holy Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

BETHANY

St. Isidore

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

BRUSSELS

St. Mary

Easter Sunday, 6:30 a.m.

 

CAMP POINT

St. Thomas

Holy Thursday, 5:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 5:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10 a.m.

 

CARLINVILLE

Ss. Mary and Joseph

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 9 a.m.

 

CARROLLTON

St. John the Evangelist

Easter Vigil, 8:15 p.m.

 

CHARLESTON

St. Charles Borromeo

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m.

 

EIU Newman Center

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, noon

Easter Sunday, 11 a.m.

 

CHATHAM

St Joseph the Worker

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 5:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

COLLINSVILLE

Ss. Peter and Paul

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

DECATUR

Holy Family

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10 a.m.

 

Our Lady of Lourdes

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 (Spanish)

 

Ss. James and Patrick

Holy Thursday, 6 p.m. (St. James)

Good Friday, 3 p.m. (St. Patrick)

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m. (St. Patrick)

Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m. (St. James), 10:15 a.m. (St. Patrick)

 

St. Thomas

Holy Thursday, 6 p.m.

Good Friday, 6 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10 a.m.

 

DIETERICH

St. Isidore

Holy Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (at both St. Aloysius Church & St. Joseph Church), adoration following in the hall

Good Friday, 3 p.m. (St. Aloysius Church), 7:30 p.m. (St. Joseph Church), Living Stations, 7 p.m. (St. Aloysius Church)

Easter Vigil, 7:30 p.m. (St. Aloysius Church)

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m. (St. Aloysius Church), 10 a.m. (St. Joseph Church)

 

EDGEWOOD

St. Anne

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

EDWARDSVILLE

St. Boniface

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8:15 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m.

 

St. Mary

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

EFFINGHAM

Sacred Heart

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m. (adoration until 10 p.m.)

Good Friday, 6 p.m. (Stations of the Cross, 12:10 p.m.)

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 5 p.m. (Spanish)

 

St. Anthony of Padua

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7:30 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 11 a.m.

 

FARMERSVILLE

St. Mary

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

FIELDON

St. Mary

Easter Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

 

FRANKLIN

Sacred Heart

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

GILLESPIE

Ss. Simon and Jude

Holy Thursday, 5:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

 

GIRARD

St. Patrick

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

 

GLEN CARBON

St. Cecilia

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m. (Adoration, 8 p.m.)

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m., 11 a.m.

 

GODFREY

St. Ambrose

Holy Thursday, 5:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 5:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

GRAFTON

St. Patrick

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

GRANITE CITY

Holy Family

Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m.

 

St. Elizabeth

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m. (adoration until midnight, Night Prayer, 11:45 p.m.)

Good Friday, 3 p.m. (Stations of the Cross, 2:30 p.m., Divine Mercy Novena following 3 p.m. liturgy)

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m. (Divine Mercy Novena, 3 p.m., Blessing of Easter foods, 10 a.m.)

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

GRANTFORK

St. Gertrude

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

GREENFIELD

St. Michael the Archangel

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

GREENVILLE

St. Lawrence

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10 a.m.

 

HARDIN

St. Norbert

Easter Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

 

HIGHLAND

St. Paul

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m., 7 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m.

 

HILLSBORO

St. Agnes

Good Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

 

HUME

St. Michael

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

ILLIOPOLIS

Resurrection

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 6:30 p.m. (Stations of the Cross, 6 p.m.)

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10:15 a.m.

 

JACKSONVILLE

Our Saviour

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Vigil 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

JERSEYVILLE

Holy Ghost

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 11:15 a.m.

 

St. Francis Xavier

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10:15 a.m., 5 p.m.

 

KAMPSVILLE 

St. Anselm

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

 

KINCAID

St. Rita

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

LIBERTY

St. Brigid

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7:30 a.m.

 

LITCHFIELD

Holy Family

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m.

 

MADISON

St. Mary and St. Mark

Holy Thursday, 6 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10 a.m.

 

MARINE

St. Elizabeth

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

 

MATTOON

Immaculate Conception

Holy Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 6:30 a.m., 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

MARYVILLE

Mother of Perpetual Help

Holy Thursday, 6 p.m.

Good Friday, 6 p.m. (Stations of the Cross, noon)

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

MENDON

St. Edward

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

 

MEPPEN

St. Joseph

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

MICHAEL

St. Michael

Easter Sunday, 11 a.m.

 

MONTROSE

St. Rose of Lima

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 9 a.m.

 

MORRISONVILLE

St. Maurice

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10 a.m.

 

MOWEAQUA

St. Francis de Sales

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 9 a.m.

 

MT. OLIVE

St. Pope John Paul II

Easter Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

 

MT. STERLING

Holy Family

Holy Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Eater Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 6:30 a.m., 8 a.m.

 

MT. ZION

Our Lady of the Holy Spirit

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m. (Adoration until midnight)

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

 

NEW BERLIN

St. Mary

Easter Vigil, 7 p.m.

 

NEWTON

St. Thomas

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7 a.m., 10 a.m.

 

PANA

St. Patrick

Holy Thursday, 6 p.m.

Good Friday, 6 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

PARIS

St. Mary

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 5:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m.

 

PETERSBURG

St. Peter

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

PIERRON

Immaculate Conception

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10 a.m.

 

PITTSFIELD

St. Mary

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m.

 

POCAHONTAS

St. Nicholas

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

QUINCY

Blessed Sacrament

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10 a.m.

 

St. Anthony

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

St. Francis Solanus

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

St. Joseph

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 9 a.m.

 

St. Peter

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m.

 

St. Rose of Lima

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 12:30 p.m. (Stations of the Cross at noon)

Easter Vigil, 10:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 11 a.m.

 

RAMSEY

St. Joseph

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

RAYMOND

St. Raymond

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

RIVERTON

St. James

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m.

 

ROBINSON

St. Elizabeth

Holy Thursday, 6 p.m.

Good Friday, 6 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 6 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 7:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

ROCHESTER

St. Jude

Holy Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

SAINTE MARIE

St. Mary of the Assumption

Holy Thursday, 5 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8:30 a.m.

 

SHELBYVILLE

Immaculate Conception

Good Friday, 5 p.m.;

Easter Vigil, 7 p.m.;

Easter Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

 

SHERMAN
St. John Vianney

Holy Thursday, 6 p.m.

Good Friday, 6 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

STAUNTON

St. Michael the Archangel

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

ST. ELMO

St. Mary

Good Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 6 a.m.

 

ST. JACOB

St. James

Easter Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

 

STONINGTON

Holy Trinity

Easter Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

 

SULLIVAN

St. Columcille

Holy Thursday, 5:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

 

TAYLORVILLE

St. Mary

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 11 a.m.

 

TEUTOPOLIS

St. Francis of Assisi 

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 1 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

TROY

St. Jerome

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 11 a.m.

 

TUSCOLA

Forty Martyrs

Holy Thursday, 5:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 5:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 7:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 8 a.m.

 

VANDALIA

Mother of Dolors

Good Friday, 7 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10 a.m.

 

VILLA GROVE

Sacred Heart

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 7 p.m. (Stations of the Cross, 3 p.m.)

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10 a.m.

 

VIRDEN

Sacred Heart

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 11 a.m.

 

VIRGINIA

St. Luke

Holy Thursday, 5:30 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

 

 

WAVERLY

St. Sebastian

Good Friday, 6 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

 

WHITE HALL

All Saints

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10 a.m.

 

WINCHESTER

St. Mark

Good Friday, 5 p.m.

Easter Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

 

WOOD RIVER

Holy Angels

Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.

Good Friday, 3 p.m.

Easter Vigil, 8 p.m.
Easter Sunday, 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

 

 

 When I was growing up, one could not eat meat on Fridays at all, even outside of Lent (Editor’s note: This was Church law before 1966). If one did, that was sinful. Yet now, one can eat meat on Fridays, except in Lent. Since God is well aware of future laws and events, did He forgive those folks who did not abstain from meat on all Fridays? 
- Margaret of Springfield

The obligation to abstain from meat is found in the Code of Canon Law. Canon 1251 states: “Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Bishops’ Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.” The law of abstaining from meat on Fridays “binds those who have completed their fourteenth year” (canon 1252).

For the last several decades, we have been accustomed to abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent, but not necessarily on the other Fridays of the year. This is because canon 1253 allows the Conference of Bishops to determine another form of penance to be observed. In 1966, the United States Catholic Conference (now the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) ended the obligation to abstain from meat on the Fridays outside of Lent if some other form of  penance or work of charity was done; they kept in place the obligation to abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent (and on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) under pain of sin. 

The reason the bishops can make such a law is because of the power to bind and loose that Christ Jesus entrusted to the Apostles and their successors (see Matthew 16:19 and 18:18). The religious authorities in first century Judaism frequently spoke of the power of binding and loosing as the authority to make enforceable laws. Jesus, himself a devout Jew, gave this same authority to make enforceable laws for his Church to the Bishops. 

The Church does not oblige people to future laws; she obliges them to laws in force at a particular time. If someone willfully and knowingly chose to eat meat on a Friday at a time when he or she was obliged to abstain from meat under pain of sin, and if he or she knew at the time the act of doing so was mortally sinful, he or she committed a mortal sin. Such a sin would not be later forgiven simply because the law changed. For a mortal sin to be forgiven, sincere repentance must precede a sacramental confession or a perfect Act of Contrition with the intention of making a sacramental confession.

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

04 03 2022 Tutus Tuus preview CT file photo

By ANDREW HANSEN 
Editor 

After another year of the pandemic, children are probably itching to get out of the house, socialize, and have fun. Parents are probably just as eager to have their children try some new experiences. This summer, the Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is excited to have Totus Tuus, a fun and faith-filled experience, coming once again to several parishes across the diocese in June and July.

Totus Tuus is a weeklong Catholic youth program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness, and eucharistic worship. The program inspires in young people a true longing for holiness, a deep desire for daily conversion, and an openness to their vocation. 

A team of four college-aged teachers are traveling to different parish each week, hosting a five-day catechetical program for grades 1-12. The week is filled with faith, fun, and friendship. There are messy games and crazy skits, in addition to prayer, learning, and the sacraments. The college-age teachers also provide an authentic witness to the students. 

June schedule:

  • June 12-17: Our Lady of Lourdes, Decatur
  • June 19-24: St. Boniface, Edwardsville
  • June 26-July 1: Holy Family, Granite City

July schedule: 

  • July 10-15: St. Isidore, Dieterich 
  • July 17-22: St. Katharine Drexel, Springfield
  • July 24-29: St. Peter, Quincy

Costs vary by parish. For more information and to sign up your child, call the parish office that is hosting Totus Tuus near you.

Cutline: 

Students attending Totus Tuus at St. Boniface Parish last year pray after competing in a Catholic trivia game with their student leader, Joe Niemerg, at left. Totus Tuus is returning across the diocese this summer. Sign up at a parish near you.

Submitted photo 

04 03 2022 Shelby being baptizedShelby Barth of Highland shares her conversion story

By ANDREW HANSEN
Editor 

HIGHLAND — Growing up, 26-year-old Shelby Barth attended a non-denominational Christian church but was never baptized. Then God put someone in her life who changed everything. Little did she know that a man named Abe would not only become her husband but would also be the inspiration in her becoming Catholic last year. 

Barth, now a parishioner at St. Paul Parish in Highland, shared her story with Catholic Times Editor, Andrew Hansen. 

As you grew up a non-Catholic, what did you think about the Catholic faith? 

As someone who was not raised Catholic, I had a lot of questions about everything that happened during the Mass and the meaning/history behind it. I felt like there was so much to learn and a bit out of my element, but that also led me to want to learn more and gain a deeper understanding.

The Catholic witness of your now husband, Abe, played a major role, you could say even inspired you to become Catholic? 

Early on in our relationship, I could see how important Abe’s faith and upbringing was to him. So, I do feel as though his faith has inspired me from the beginning. He often invited me to attend Mass with him. From then on, our discussion of faith grew. I made the decision to join the Church shortly after our engagement but had been discerning the call to the Catholic faith for quite some time by thenHow often would you and Abe talk about the faith and answer your questions?

Before beginning the RCIA process, I was told that I would end up knowing more about the faith than Abe would, so I must say, I stumped him on a few questions! However, the RCIA process really did open a lot of doors to discussion of faith on a deeper level within our relationship.

04 03 2022 Shelby and husband before basptismal fontWas there anything about the teachings of our faith that you struggled with and if so, how did you overcome that?

I don’t specifically remember struggling with any of the teachings, but more so needing to gain a deeper understanding. My sponsor, Angie Rinderer, and the rest of the RCIA team were always willing to answer our questions and go more in depth of the teachings. 

Is there a saint you fell in love with, asking him or her for their intercession and if so, which saint and why?

St.  Brigid of Kildare was the patron saint that I chose for confirmation. She is best known for her generosity. Her selflessness is something that has inspired me and a saint I would pray to for intercession.

Last Easter, you were what the Church calls a Catechumen, someone who was unbaptized. On that day, you were baptized, and you received confirmation and first Communion, officially becoming part of our faith. What was that day like?

It was a night filled with so much meaning and the cultivation of my RCIA journey. The Easter Vigil Mass will forever hold a special place in my heart. I look forward to attending this Mass in the future to remember my commitment and support others as they make their own.

When you look back over your journey to our faith, what stands out?

I cannot speak highly enough of the RCIA process at St. Paul (Highland). The team and sponsors showed such determination and devotion throughout the weekly sessions. The team and my sponsor have truly helped me to grow spiritually in a foundation of faith. It is heartwarming to know the support and prayers the parish offered during my journey.

What do you love most about our faith?

There is so much to love and always something new to learn within the faith. I especially enjoyed learning about the sacraments. St. Augustine had described a sacrament as a visible sign of God’s invisible grace, and that really put the sacraments into perspective. 

Monday, 21 March 2022 13:50

Compassion during a crisis

12028229Photo by Marijn Fidder/Caritas International. A former Springfield Blessed Sacrament student, parishioner living in Poland, who is taking in Ukrainian refugees, describes the scene at the border, the devastation happening to innocent families, and stories of heroism

By ANDREW HANSEN
Editor

POLAND — Children cling to their parents. Families desperately try to find safety. Lines of people wait for food. Ambulance sirens blare. News media rush around. Makeshift fires and big tents are set up to provide some reprieve from the cold. Loud announcements and cries of desperation fill the air. 

This is the scene playing out in several cities in Poland along the Ukrainian border as more than 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees have fled their war-torn country. Despite the chaos, these cities in Poland have become beacons of hope for these refugees after Russian President Vladimir Putin had his country unjustly attack Ukraine, raging war on an innocent nation.

6“There’s no sense of time. Hours contract into minutes, and minutes stretch into hours. You arrive to pick someone up at 15:00 and they don't come through the border until after 21:00. You drive through the middle of the night, and still there is traffic all around, big buses, full of people, or empty, on the return trip to get more people. The sense of the place is warped as well. You’re in Poland, but mostly hear Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, English, German.”

Those are the thoughts of a former Springfield resident who attended Blessed Sacrament School and Parish and graduated from Springfield High School and who has been living in and out of Poland since 2014. She wished to remain anonymous. She is one of countless of people who is performing heroic acts of love and charity, compassionately taking in some refugees.

For the past several weeks, she has driven to Hrebenne, Poland, which sits on the border. There, tens of thousands of Ukrainian people have poured in. This is one of just many sites where one can witness true grace. This former capital city resident is one of many who are showing courage in the face of calamity, compassion in the face of chaos, and unending generosity in the face of uncertainty — a perfect of example of putting on the face of Christ.

22028129Photo by Marijn Fidder/Caritas International. “I've done something as simple as playing with children while exhausted mothers rest and also helping transport people from the border to destinations in Poland,” she said. “I've hosted refugees as well. Right now, I have a mother and her two daughters staying with me. The girls are 8 years old and 14 months. They fled Ukraine with less than $100 and their only possessions were the clothes on their backs. So, the past few days I've focused a lot on making them feel welcome, finding clothes and things for them like diapers, trying to organize school for the 8-year-old, and helping them navigate the situation in Poland.”

She has also helped organize community wide donation drives of medical supplies, clothes, toys, bedding, and things for babies, and she has helped coordinate accommodation, transportation, and assistance for Ukrainians once in Poland, such as finding legal services, opening a bank account, and arranging transportation out of Poland.

“Most Poles I know are hosting or have hosted a Ukrainian refugee family,” she said. “Business-owners, lawyers, journalists, and teachers — people from the most humble to the most exclusive echelons of Polish society, everyone has an open bed, a spare room, or a free flat that they are offering right now. Still, people keep coming, and coming. This massive inflow of people is especially visible at the train stations, where there are masses of people, bundles of clothes for donation, free food, and people sleeping on the floor, waiting for accommodation or for their train. Not all Ukrainians stay in Poland. Some go on to countries in the European Union, like Germany or Sweden. Many Ukrainians fear Putin and Russia will strike Poland next, so they don't want to stay too long.”

5Even for Ukrainians who are able to escape the physical danger, their mental anguish remains.  Thoughts of family members trapped back in Ukraine, fearing family members will be killed fighting the Russians, the devastation of their home country, and loved ones being lost to an unjust war. Men over 18 cannot leave Ukraine. They have to stay behind to serve in Ukraine’s territorial defense forces, something these men take pride in doing, with some Ukrainian men in Poland and throughout Europe returning on their own initiative to protect their country. 

“There are terrible reports of Russian military strikes on civilians,” she said. “At the beginning of March, Russia struck a maternity hospital. Entire families have been wiped out from attacks on civilian cars as people are fleeing. Families have been gunned down while walking through what was supposed to be a humanitarian corridor. Russian news is determined to pretend like these things did not happen, or that they were justified in happening. So, the Ukrainian people are suffering immediate harm of their country being invaded without provocation, the second harm of intentional attacks on civilians, and on top of that, those attacks are denied or justified. It is awful. Because of all this, when talking to refugees, I don't ask questions about their experience. But if they talk, I will listen and listen.”

Some of those stories she has learned has touched her profoundly, as she has several friends from Ukraine. One of her friends had their father missing. Later, it was discovered he died, killed under Russian fire while was crossing the street to buy groceries in the city where he's lived all his life. Another friend is a young man. He finished his studies and was excited about his new job. Now, he is spending most of his time in a bunker and making Molotov cocktails. Another friend is a neurosurgeon, as is her husband. She fled with her children, and the father stayed, to serve as a medic in the military. 

32028129Photo by Marijn Fidder/Caritas International. She also has Russian friends, who she describes as “very frightened.” Some have fled, but others remain. Russia has cracked down mercilessly on war protest and dissent. At the beginning of March, the Russian legislature voted unanimously to outlaw anything other than the official Russian government reports of the "operations in Ukraine,” including making it illegal to call it a "war." People can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 15 years. 

“A lot of coverage in the U.S. is using a U.S. or NATO-centric lens, but that lens ignores the history of these places and the words coming from Putin's mouth,” she said. “To a large degree, this war is about history and about Putin's legacy. Putin sees Ukraine as irrevocably part of Russia, to the extent of claiming that Ukraine as a state doesn't exist. From that mindset, he sees the separation of Russia and Ukraine as a mistake that needs to be rectified. He is willing to go to great lengths to bring the space and the people of Ukraine back under Russian control. But that is not what Ukrainians want. Ukraine is a sovereign country, and Ukrainians have the right to choose their country's direction.” 

42028229Photo by Marijn Fidder/Caritas International.The chaotic scene playing out in the border city of Hrebenne comes on the backdrop of what happened about 80 years ago in Bełżec, Poland, about 15 minutes away from Hrebenne. Bełżec was the site of one of the worst extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany during World War II. This site was not a concentration camp. The camp’s only purpose was to kill. There are still lines of sinister-looking train tracks marking the camp's former sight. Those who pass through Bełżec describe it as a place where you can feel the history in the air, which mixes with the deep apprehension of the present. In this part of Poland, with the wood and coal smoke in the air, old homes, and large tracts of farming land, if feels like you’ve stepped backward a century, to pre-war Poland.

“Given the circumstances that bring everyone to the border, it is hard not to reflect on the horrors that happened there, hard not to think about as we pass bus upon bus full of people fleeing, that once upon a time, this place saw train car after train car of people arriving, sentenced to death, judged, and condemned for their personhood, who they were. There are a lot of thoughts that come from the juxtaposition of the two situations.” 

There is also the best spiritual weapon we have as people of faith, which Bishop Thomas John Paprocki wrote about in his March 6 Catholic Times column: “Our strongest weapon, and the most important thing we can do is to pray, asking our Blessed Mother, the Queen of Peace, and her son Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to bring a peaceful end to this dire conflict.”

Wednesday, 09 March 2022 11:13

Hey, Father! Is intinction allowed?

In my last parish, I was told that intinction was not allowed.  Our parish priest does do intinction when he receives the Body and Blood of Our Lord. Is intinction OK for priests but not lay people?
Christine

For those unfamiliar with the practice, intinction is the dipping of the consecrated host into the Precious Blood and then receiving the “intincted” host in holy Communion.

According to the GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal), the detailed document that governs the celebration of Mass, the Precious Blood may be distributed in a number of ways: by drinking directly from the chalice, intinction, or by means of a spoon or tube. Receiving by spoon or tube, however, is not customary in the Latin Rite dioceses in our country.

Yet both the GIRM and the U.S. Bishops allow reception by intinction by both clergy and lay faithful when certain protocols are followed to ensure proper respect for the Precious Blood. 

For priests, the GIRM specifies that after the principal celebrant has received Communion in the usual way, the concelebrating priests wishing to receive by intinction “approach the altar one after another, genuflect, and take a particle, dip it partly into the chalice, and, holding a purificator under their chin, consume the intincted particle. They then return to their places as at the beginning of Mass” (249).

Concerning the laity, the GIRM instructs: “If Communion from the chalice is carried out by intinction, each communicant, holding a Communion-plate under the mouth, approaches the Priest who holds a vessel with the sacred particles, with a minister standing at his side and holding the chalice. The Priest takes a host, intincts it partly in the chalice and, showing it, says, The Body and Blood of Christ. The communicant replies, Amen, receives the Sacrament in the mouth from the Priest, and then withdraws” (287).

Notice what is required: a purificator for priests and a communion-plate under the mouth of the laity, as well as the imperative to receive the intincted host in the mouth. Both seek to prevent irreverences like the Precious Blood dripping onto the altar, floor, or one’s hands. Also, it is always the priest who intincts and distributes the host; neither deacons nor the lay faithful are to intinct the host themselves and self-communicate. 

So, in answer to your question, yes, intinction is allowed for both priests and laity when the appropriate prescriptions are followed. Yet, receiving directly from the chalice has been and remains the customary way of receiving the Precious Blood in the Roman Rite.

Father Seth Brown is pastor of Mother of Dolors Parish in Vandalia and St. Joseph Parish in Ramsey. He is also chaplain of Our Sorrowful Mother’s Ministry, chaplain of the Vandalia Correctional Center, and research theologian for the Diocesan Curia.

consecr1By DIANE SCHLINDWEIN
Managing Editor

EDWARDSVILLE — For nearly 19 years, Theresa Howard of Edwardsville has been in a unique vocation — she is a consecrated virgin living in the world. That means she has taken vows to live “consecrated to God, mystically espoused to Christ and dedicated to the service of the Church” (Canon 604). In short, she has taken a vow of living in perpetual virginity and is responsible to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, receives the sacraments, and is faithful to private prayer. 

Howard took her vows at St. Mary Church in Alton, with then-Bishop George Lucas consecrating her to this form of religious life on May 4, 2003. She was the first consecrated virgin the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. She is not known as “Sister,” and lives in her own home and is responsible for her own material needs. She does not wear a veil or any special clothing, but she does wear a special ring, which is her a symbol of her mystical marriage to Christ. 

Looking back on her spiritual journey, Howard, who is now a parishioner at Mother of Perpetual Parish in Maryville and a member of the United States Association of Consecrated Virgins, says she really had no idea God would lead her to this vocation, but she is sure she is living life exactly the way God had planned for her.  “As I look back at my childhood, I can see God at work through my mother who taught me about Jesus and Mary,” she said. “By her words and actions, she taught me how to pray and how to live my life for God.”

As she grew to adolescence, Howard, like many young women, went out on dates. “I dated in high school and a little bit afterwards, but I had no idea when I was younger, that God had a beautiful vocation set aside for me,” she said. 


consecr2In these photos, taken May 4, 2003, Theresa Howard makes her vows as a consecrated virgin living in the world to then-Bishop George Lucas at St. Mary (Immaculate Conception) Parish in Alton. 


However, by the time Howard was in her early 20s she began to hear God’s call. So, for many years she lived a private promise of perpetual virginity — long before she sought consecration. “For many years I searched and discerned where God was calling me to serve Him,” she said. “For many years I heard nothing but silence and yet I knew He wanted me to give my life to Him. During this time, I also worked, helped out with my parents before they died, attended college, volunteered in a couple of organizations in the community, was active in parish ministries, and went to the adoration chapel for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.” 

During the 1980s, Howard visited religious communities and by late in that decade, after spending time for about a year in one community, she talked to the vocation director. “The vocation director told me that they would like for me to enter that Aug. 1, upon completion of the psychological testing and a physical,” she said. However, that was when the unexpected happened.

“On my way home, I was in a near-fatal accident and ended up on life support. When I woke up, I asked God what He was trying to tell me. Was He telling me no to this community? Was He telling me no to religious life? Was He telling me no for now? I was so confused and later told the vocation director that I needed more time for discernment and would not be entering the community. Also, due to internal injuries and learning how to walk, it took me a year to recuperate.” 

As Howard recovered, she began to search for her calling once again. “I served as a lay Dominican associate for one year,” she said. “I then started preparation to the Secular Franciscan Order — my profession ceremony was Jan. 12, 1997. The evening before my profession, I felt that God was asking more of me.”

The next year, Howard went on to join St. Mary (Immaculate Conception) Parish in Alton. “In October of that year my new spiritual director mentioned the vocation of consecrated virginity,” she said. “I pushed that aside until some time later when another priest asked me if I had ever looked into that vocation. As I was driving home that day I thought ‘Why would God call me to that life?’ Upon arriving home, I heard God say, ‘Check it out.’”

That’s when Howard’s journey to her present vocation began in earnest. With the assistance of her spiritual director, she studied and prepared for her consecration. She was under the guidance of Bishop Lucas and had meetings with a Franciscan religious with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in Alton.  Her mentor was a consecrated virgin in Mexico, Mo.

Howard, who is now 70 years old, retired and a church volunteer, says she has had many challenges and opportunities to grow closer to God over the past 18-plus years. “All of those years that I spent searching for God’s will in my life were not wasted. The joy, peace, and freedom I experienced on my wedding day have grown these past years.” 

Although some people don’t understand Howard’s vocation, she is comfortable explaining it this way: “Since my consecration, people have asked me what I didn’t enter the convent or why I chose this vocation. I simply smile and tell them that God wanted me in the world. Also, God chose me to be His bride.” 


More about the vocation of consecrated virgins

The rite of the vocation of consecrated virgins traces its origins to Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew that some people renounce marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of God. The ancient Church had a liturgy for women who made this commitment. However, over time most women who were committed to chastity joined the many religious orders. 

On May 30, 1970, Pope Paul VI re-instituted the rite. 

Today, there are just over 250 consecrated virgins living in the United States and about 4,000 of these women worldwide. In the United States, consecrated virgins today include teachers, social workers, businesswomen, librarians, accountants, nurses, physicians, a fire fighter, a dance teacher, women employed in a variety of Church positions, retired women, women with disabilities, women dedicated to prayer, or devoted to the care of a family member, those dedicated to volunteer work, as well as other professions. 

Consecrated virgins hold much in common with one another. Their common spirituality is that of living as a bride of Christ, the spirituality of the Church herself, and of the Blessed Mother. Some members also follow preferred Franciscan, Benedictine, Carmelite or Ignatian spirituality. 

Catholic Times file photo 

'I realized I was thinking about God all wrong'
Nathan Grider of Springfield shares his conversion story

03 20 2022 Nathan is baptizedBy ANDREW HANSEN
Editor 

A self-described atheist at one point in his life, Nathan Grider’s passion is science. His love for the field led him to a career as a biologist for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. But it was during his pursuit of his degree when Grider started looking at different religions of the world and their history. He said that he “liked that the Catholic Church had a strong connection to science and seemed to embrace science more consistently rather than dispute it.”

His story to embrace the Catholic faith, however, wasn’t easy. As a scientist, Grider had to dive deep by asking questions, watching videos, and studying what the Church taught. What he eventually learned opened his eyes to another world — a world of faith. Grider became Catholic on Easter last year, receiving the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and first holy Communion. 

Catholic Times Editor Andrew Hansen interviewed Grider, a 37-year-old parishioner at St. Agnes in Springfield who is married with two daughters. 

What led you to even start looking at different religions? 
In more recent years, I started to recognize that I had many friends and colleagues who were scientists and Christians. I thought that was interesting and asked a few of them about their perspectives on science and religion with complete sincerity. They were usually brief conversations and we tended to land at a usual place, “There is a lot we don’t know or understand … .” These are great people, and I could see how their faith made them better at their lives and even their jobs. Keep in mind, I had been attending Catholic church with my wife and her family for about 12 years by this time. I was taking it all in, but reluctant to just let go of my stubbornness that had me thinking that I had it all figured out through studying science. All the while, I knew church was a good thing and good for society, so I figured it didn’t hurt for me to go. As my belief in God continued to develop, a lot of things I heard while attending church with my family started to make more sense. I still wrestle with some of the details, but I knew I was ready to explore it further, so I joined the Church.    

At one point in your life, you considered yourself an atheist. Was there a moment during your search when you thought, “I am wrong. God does exist, and I want a relationship with Him!” 
A few years ago, I started to realize that I was thinking about God all wrong. A few things helped open my mind. One was a book called Proof of Heaven, given to me by a family member and fellow scientist. I recommend it for anyone struggling with these questions. This book is about “near death experiences” (NDEs), which lead me to learn more about them. There is a common theme reported from people who experience NDEs and for me, actual evidence of God started to take shape there. Further, I came to understand, at least in my mind, that God really is the energy all around us that makes up everything and has influence on everything — the source of the universe and what lies beyond it, before it, and after it. I don’t picture an old, bearded man in the clouds as it had been presented to me before or even a “He or She” necessarily. The power that is God that I have come to know is beyond needing to fit biology and the natural world that we understand. I’ll refer readers to Episode 3 of The Search (The Search is a video series that tackles the key questions of every human heart from a Catholic perspective). The Search completely changed my view of God and helps explain the perceived clash between science and religion. I overheard it while my wife was watching it, and I was drawn in. It changed me, and I joined the Church not long after.  

Also, the story of Jesus became more compelling to me the more I dove into it. There are too many details from multiple witnesses to just be made up. There is something to it! Eternity is a long time, and I don’t want miss out on something great because I was too stubborn, especially if my family goes, and I don’t. How terrible would that be! Nothing bad can come from Christianity. It only brings out the good in us. Imagine a world without it! 

03 20 2022 Nathan and family at St. AgnesSo many falsely think the Church and science are at odds with each other. In your search, how did you conclude that in fact, the two are in unison? 
To me, science and religion were two separate things and at odds with each other. I remember saying that “the clash will always continue because neither could ever prove the other wrong.” Religion tends to rest on faith without hard evidence, and science has no way to test and prove God does or does not exist. However, I started to understand that science is there to explain the “how” but not the “why.” Again, Episode 3 of The Search helped me better understand how the two can coexist. Of course, there is also the fact that many of the greatest scientists who ever lived were also priests and the Church funded most of the science in the past. I still accept the theory of evolution to be true based on the overwhelming evidence and all the other things that science teaches us about our world. Thus, there are things about the Bible, especially the Old Testament, that I don’t take literally. 

Last Easter, you became Catholic, receiving three sacraments. What was that day like?
That was an exciting day. I never thought I would officially join the Church if someone was to ask me a few years ago. That day felt like starting a new journey of trying to reach a deeper understanding of life. I was surrounded by my family and new friends of the Church. Everyone was very welcoming. I also spent time that day thinking about my daughters and feeling better knowing that I was doing what I could to have a chance at seeing them again after I die. That gave me peace.   

When you look back at your journey to Catholicism, what stands out?
What stands out the most to me is the moment I realized I was thinking about God all wrong for most of my adult life. The way I was thinking about it purely as told to me from the Bible stories did not allow my science-based way of thinking to accept it. It was only when my perception of what God is changed that I was able to start to understand and begin a spiritual relationship. I think many people are stuck on this part too, and maybe my story will help them out.   

What do you love most about our faith?
I love that the Catholic Church embraces science and does so many good things in communities. I have always been a philanthropist type and care deeply about other people’s wellbeing, including our planet and all the life that it supports because it is truly amazing, rare, and precious.  I know my purpose in life is to care for our planet and the life that it supports, and the Bible tells us to do the same. There are many similarities between my line of work in conservation and the faith and that gives me further motivation to carry out the difficult work. It helps give me strength and patience in my daily life. I love that about it!            


Make your Lent holier
Join Catholics across our diocese for a Lenten mission to restore our souls with grace in preparation for the Resurrection. Sign up to receive weekly Lenten inspiration, tips, and resources from priests in our diocese in your inbox as we focus on REconciliation to the REsurrection. Go do dio.org/lent to sign up!

IMG 1014 hero crop scaledBy SISTER BETH MURPHY, OP
Special to Catholic Times 

When Sister Maristella Dunlavy retired from her educational ministry in 2006, she concluded 14 years as principal of Cathedral Grade School. As she prepared to move on, the prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield asked whether she would consent to serving as sacristan at Sacred Heart Convent. “Yes, I’d be honored to do that,” she replied. “But there is something else I’d like to do, too.”

That something else was a dream Sister Maristella had harbored for years. She wanted to begin a prayer card ministry, designing, and distributing cards that came with a promise of prayer from the Dominican Sisters.

“I wanted to extend to as many people as possible the powerhouse of prayer we have at the motherhouse,” she said, referring to Sacred Heart Convent on West Monroe Street in Springfield, where she continues to serve as sacristan. “The cards are a tangible reminder to people that we are always praying for them.”

Fifteen years later, Sister Maristella says she can’t possibly count the number of cards she has distributed or measure the impact of the daily prayer our sisters offer for those who send and receive the cards. “It is considerable,” she said matter-of-factly.

card1Her original five designs — sympathy, get well, birthday, anniversary, and thank you cards — continue to be popular. She has also added new designs — 16 blank notecards — now available to order at springfieldop.org/prayer-cards. They include some of her favorite Scripture quotes and inspirational words.

She pairs a line from the book of Daniel — “Ice and snow bless the Lord!” — with an image of the convent bell tower hovering over icy tree branches. Another, with a stunning fire blazing in the dark, includes the words of the Dominican mystic St. Catherine of Siena: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

In addition to meeting the need of that rare breed of people — those who choose to communicate their care and concern through handwritten notes — Sister Maristella sees this ministry as an important way to expand the ministry of prayer of the 90 or so sisters who live at the motherhouse. “As we age, we aren’t as busy as our sisters who are still ministering around the U.S. and in Peru,” she explained. “We have much more time to dedicate to prayer ‘for the life of the world’ as we say. It is meaningful to us to be able to share the life and energy of our relationship with God with so many around the world who count on prayer to sustain them in difficult times.”


In addition to acting as a sacristan at Sacred Heart Convent in Springfield, Sister Maristella Dunlavy, OP, has been running a prayer card ministry for 15 years.


card2Those who request cards are invited to make a donation to help cover costs and sustain the outreach that has given Sister Maristella such life and energy for such a long time. All donations are put right back into the ministry to cover the cost of printing and shipping the cards. 

“Many of those requesting cards are our sisters, associates, family, and friends,” Sister Maristella explained. “I also hear from people I’ve never met. Recently a gentleman from New York made a request for cards.” She speculates that he either found his way on his own to the website or received a card from a friend and decided to order some of his own.

Quincy resident Jo Buckley, who for years worked in the Diocesan Office of Education, is a dear friend of Sister Maristella’s and a frequent card customer. “Sister Maristela is a joy and I love her cards. She is good about getting them in the mail right away. They come in handy,” she said, especially the birthday and sympathy cards. “I send them to my friends, and they love them.” When Buckley’s husband died last fall, she got a taste of what it means to be the recipient of a handwritten expression of care. “It was nice to get so many sympathy cards,” she said. “They meant so much. I am going to read them all again.”

And isn’t that the point? After 15 years, Sister Maristella’s card ministry has surely provided that same kind of care and comfort for countless people. 

If you’d like to join the circle of prayer Sister Maristella began with her prayer ministry 15 years ago, visit springfieldop.org/prayer-cards

Sister Beth Murphy, OP, is communication director for the Dominican Sisters of Springfield Illinois.

Submitted photo 

Your donation also gives you 75 percent tax credit 

A matching gift program for 21 schools in our diocese is happening right now thanks to a generous couple who is offering a 1:1 donation match toward the 2022-2023 tax credit scholarships that help students in need. Gifts made through Empower Illinois for the Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship Program at eligible schools will be doubled up to $10,000.

Illinois’ bipartisan Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship Program provides need-based scholarships to kids from low-income and working-class families to attend their best-fit school. Program donors earn a 75 percent state tax credit on their gift. For example, if an individual donor contributes $1,000, they will receive a state tax credit of $750. Donors can also direct their donations to a school of their choice. Since 2018, the Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship Program has awarded more than 28,000 scholarships totaling more than $250 million. 

Donations must be made before April 15 or when the cap is met at your select school to be eligible for the match. For more information on how to donate visit empowerillinois.org/donate or call (800) 616-7606.

Eligible schools:

  • Blessed Sacrament — Springfield
  • Blessed Sacrament Catholic School — Quincy
  • Christ the King — Springfield
  • Little Flower School — Springfield
  • Our Lady of Lourdes —Decatur
  • Our Saviour School — Jacksonville
  • Quincy Notre Dame High School — Quincy
  • Routt Catholic High School — Jacksonville
  • Sacred Heart-Griffin High School — Springfield
  • St. Agnes School — Springfield
  • St. Aloysius School — Springfield
  • St. Dominic School — Quincy
  • St. Francis/Holy Ghost School — Jerseyville
  • St. Francis Solanus School — Quincy
  • St. John the Evangelist School — Carrollton
  • St. Mary School — Mount Sterling
  • St. Patrick Elementary School — Decatur
  • St. Patrick Grade School —Springfield
  • St. Peter School — Quincy
  • St. Teresa High School — Decatur
  • St. Mary School — Taylorville

The Evermode Institute to offer spiritual and intellectual formation for clergy, religious, and lay Catholics

By Andrew Hansen

2 1

Inside St. Francis ChurchThe Diocese of Springfield in Illinois announced March 3, plans to establish The Evermode Institute, a new center for Catholic spiritual and intellectual formation in Springfield, and that the institute will include priests from the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey, who will establish a new community there. 

In what will be located at the site of the former Chiara Center on the grounds of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis in Springfield, The Evermode Institute will focus on formation for Catholics, offering programming for both ordained and lay teachers of the faith such as catechists, Parish School of Religion teachers (PSR), Catholic school teachers, and other groups who teach the faith. Several priests from the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey, based in Orange, Calif., will move to the property with the necessary preliminary steps being taken this summer. Serving at The Evermode Institute will be their primary apostolate. A date for when The Evermode Institute will open has not been finalized.

Norbertines 2 1“We have developed a strong relationship with the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey over the past several years, and we are thrilled to welcome them to our diocese,” said Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. “The Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey are a vibrant and growing community of holy men, and their presence and apostolic work will be a great blessing to the people of our diocese and to this region.” 

The Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey recently completed construction of a new abbey in Orange County, Calif., and the monastery is already at full capacity, with nearly 50 priests and 40 seminarians. 

“In light of the growth in our community, we had already been discerning the possibility of establishing a new community when Bishop Paprocki approached us,” said Abbot Eugene Hayes, O. Praem. “After prayerful discernment as a community, we have joyfully accepted Bishop Paprocki’s invitation, and we are grateful for the opportunity to establish a presence in the Springfield diocese.”

Norbertines 3 1The Evermode Institute is being established under the patronage of St. Evermode, a Norbertine prelate who died in 1178 and was a close collaborator of St. Norbert. St. Evermode is credited with great and effective works of evangelization and formation in the Catholic faith.

These announcements follow news earlier last year when the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and the Hospital Sisters reached an agreement for the diocese to establish a trust that has now assumed ownership of the sisters’ buildings and grounds effective Jan. 1, 2022. The Hospital Sisters will continue to live in the convent indefinitely as part of that agreement. 

“We welcome the Norbertine Fathers to Springfield and to the holy ground that has been our home since 1917,” said Sister Maureen O’Connor, OSF, Provincial Superior of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis. “This new chapter in the history of the Hospital Sisters and the diocese marks the beginning of what we pray will be a mutually beneficial relationship. Throughout our nearly 150 years in America, the Hospital Sisters have collaborated with others in the work of the Church, and so we view this agreement between the diocese and the Norbertine Fathers as a continuation of that tradition.”

About the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey

Immersed in the 900-year tradition of our order, the Norbertine Fathers live a common life of liturgical prayer and care for souls. Their life at St. Michael’s Abbey 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.”  

For more than 60 years, the Norbertine Fathers have served the Christian faithful in Southern California, “lifting high the Holy Eucharist over the miseries and errors of this world” (St. Pope John Paul II). The community’s apostolic ministries are many and various, but they all find their source in a common life of prayer and fraternal charity. To learn more, visit stmichaelsabbey.com.Norbertines 1

03 06 2022 Deacon Hoefler greetsBy ANDREW HANSEN
Editor  

How many people can say they locked eyes with a saint? The year was 1984, just two years after being ordained to the permanent diaconate. That’s when something happened to Deacon Benedict Hoefler that has stuck with him since. He was serving as a deacon during Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome with now Pope St. John Paul II. As the pope was about to elevate the Body and Blood of Christ, Deacon Hoefler says the pope’s eyes locked with his.

“When Pope John Paul II looked at you, he looked right into your soul,” Deacon Hoefler describes it. “To me, that moment in my mind translated to the pope ‘saying’ that ‘you’re here at the altar with me, but when he elevated the Body and Blood of Christ, you’re here at the altar with Jesus.’ I have never forgotten that.”

Another powerful moment then happened just minutes later. After distributing holy Communion, while purifying the vessels, Deacon Hoefler remembers looking up and seeing now St. Mother Teresa. 

“I thought, ‘I am standing between two saints! Holy cow! What a privilege this is,’” Deacon Hoefler said.

Another powerful story that is engrained in Deacon Hoefler’s memory involves a man who had not been to confession in 50 years. Deacon Hoefler was visiting a nursing home when he met the man. 

“I asked him if he would like to go to confession,” Deacon Hoefler said. “The man replied that he would ‘burn the priest’s ears off.’ I told him I know a priest who has served for more than 55 years who could hear his confession.”

After arranging the confession, the man went, seeking forgiveness from God. Deacon Hoefler later found out that just two days after the man confessed his sins for the first time in 50 years, he died.

“Those are the kinds of things you don’t forget that make a big impression on me,” Deacon Hoefler said. 

While the permanent diaconate has made a “big impression” on Deacon Hoefler, on Feb. 13, Deacon Hoefler realized just how much of a big impression his ministerial work has had on people. At Holy Family Church in Athens, dozens of parishioners, friends, and family — some from hours away — came to Mass to celebrate the anniversary of his 40th year as a permanent deacon. His son, Msgr. David Hoefler, Vicar General for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, was the celebrant. The day was filled with emotion, laughter, and smiles as the first permanent deacon of our diocese looked back over 40 years. 

“I thought about becoming a priest when I was younger as I had three uncles who were priests,” Deacon Hoefler said. “They made a big impression on me.”

But, after marriage and four children (three daughters and one son), priesthood was not going to happen. After moving from Iowa to Rockford in 1972, Deacon Hoefler met a man in their permanent diaconate program. Thinking you needed an advanced degree, but finding out that was not the case, he says he immediately became interested. Then, after talking about it with his family over the next couple of years, Deacon Hoefler remembers his family simply saying, “Go for it.” 

Deacon Hoefler was ordained in 1982 in Rockford. The Hoeflers later moved to Springfield in 1993. Deacon Hoefler has served at St. Aloysius in Springfield, St. John Vianney in Sherman, on the Deacon Formation Team, and presently at Holy Family in Athens. 

“I’d have to say being with the people is my favorite thing about being a deacon,” Deacon Hoefler said. “It’s the people that are in the parish that allow me to be who I am. They give me the privilege of serving them.”

03 06 2022 Conversion of Debra RossBy ANDREW HANSEN 
Editor 

CASEY — When Debra Ross of Casey came to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield in February of 2021, during the Rite of Election, she said she was so nervous, that if you simply tapped her shoulder when she was standing, she would have fallen over. These nerves became most apparent when Bishop Thomas John Paprocki ratified, with his signature, the enrollment of names of the catechumens in the Book of the Elect. Ross was a catechumen at the time, someone who is unbaptized.

A few weeks later at the Easter Vigil at Immaculate Conception Parish in Mattoon, Ross was fully initiated into the Catholic faith, receiving the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and first holy Communion from Father John Titus. 

“To feel finally a true feeling of worth, God’s presence, cleansing, a marriage — whole!” Ross said, describing what she felt that day.

The journey to Catholicism was a long road — 66 years. Raised Pentecostal, Ross had some connection to Catholicism with family on her mother’s side being Catholic. She remembers her family taking her to Mass, but “No one truly explained what the Mass was.” 

Despite feeling drawn to the faith, she says what held her back was that she didn’t want to disappoint her family and not understanding what everything was about. 

Decade after decade went by, but after each year, the nudge to become Catholic became stronger. So, Ross stopped by Immaculate Conception Parish in Mattoon and met their RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) team who answered questions, provided her materials to learn more about the faith, but most importantly, Ross said that the team was always there for her. While going through the RCIA process, Ross thinks back and now laughs because of what surprised her the most.

“How much I felt at home, Ross said. “I guess I also really had a Catholic core and really did not know it!”

As she learned more about the richness and treasures of the faith, Ross says she developed a devotion to Mary and St. Michael the Archangel. “It’s such an honor to talk to her,” Ross said. “I feel safer with St. Michael.”

Today, the retired mother of three girls is enjoying time with her nieces, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, going to Mass, and spending time at her parish. When she looks back over her journey to the Catholic faith, what stands out the most to her is a simple five-word answer.

“Why it took so long.” 

Debra Ross has a conversation with Father John Titus, her pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish in Mattoon. At the Easter Vigil last year, Ross received the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and first holy Communion from Father Titus.

Submitted photo 

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