Diocesan Administrator Account

05 28 2023 SHG Sr. Katharine retires 5By DIANE SCHLINDWEIN
Managing Editor

After nearly a two-decade career as a leader in Catholic Dominican secondary education, Sister Katherine O’Connor, OP, is stepping down as president of Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield. She announced her retirement earlier this school year and will leave her post this summer. She noted  that her decision came after much prayer, discernment, and discussions with her family, friends, and congregational leadership. 

Sister Katherine took on the school’s presidency in 2005, and before then, as a member of the Dominican Sisters’ Leadership Team, served as council liaison on the SHG advisory board. The role of the president in the president-principal leadership model is crucial when building a future for a school; and Sister Katherine has taken her role very seriously. 

“Sister Katherine has been a steadying and visionary force at Sacred Heart-Griffin for 18 years,” said Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP, prioress general of the Springfield Dominican Sisters.

Sister Katherine has also accomplished much in her tenure. She successfully led SHG through two capital campaign projects that raised millions of dollars for renovation of the school’s west campus and Dominican Hall. To ensure that SHG remains an affordable option for families in the community, Sister Katherine, along with the board of directors, made the decision to freeze tuition and offer more financial assistance to families who are seeking a Catholic Dominican education. During the COVID pandemic, Sister Katherine was a tireless advocate of safe and in-person education. She has always been a positive presence both in the school and at school and sports events.

05 28 2023 SHG Sr. Katharine retires 3Sister Katherine has a lengthy background in education. Before she took her position at SHG, she spent 20 years educating students and serving as principal at a variety of schools. She worked in California before moving back to Illinois, taking on the roles of principal, assistant principal, and interim principal at schools across the state. In 1994, Sister Katherine moved to Springfield to become the principal at St. Agnes School, which was her last job before she became president at SHG. 

“The SHG Board of Directors congratulates Sister Katherine O’Connor on her 18 years as president of SHG,” said board president Chris McDowell, M.D. “We are grateful for her installing the Dominican values of community, service, study, and prayer across the administration, faculty, and student body.” 

“The last 18 years have been filled with many challenges and opportunities,” Sister Katherine said, adding that her heart is filled with love and gratitude. “It has been a privilege to lead SHG during this time. Many changes have taken place but our focus on academic excellence in a community of faith has remained the same.  I will leave Sacred Heart-Griffin feeling extremely blessed.” 

05 28 2023 SHG Sr. Katharine retires 7Dr. Moredock hired as new SHG president

When Sister Katherine O’Connor steps aside as president of Sacred Heart-Griffin, she will hand the leadership of that high school to Dr. Bill Moredock. He was recently named to his new position by the Member Board (the elected leadership of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield) and the Sacred Heart-Griffin Governing Board of Directors. 

Moredock currently serves as the principal of Little Flower School in Springfield, where over his last six years as principal the Catholic grade school’s enrollment increased from 180 students to 305.

He also has a rich history with SHG. A 1972 graduate of Griffin High School, he served as the director of student and family services at SHG from 2002 to 2017. From 1990 to 2002, he served as a guidance counselor at SHG. 

Moredock completed his undergraduate education from the University of Notre Dame and his graduate work was at the University of Dayton and the California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego, where he received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology. 

He and his wife, Susan, have two daughters and one son, all graduates at SHG.  He will begin his work at SHG on July 1.  

My husband and I were both raised as Catholics. He divorced long before I met him and subsequently married him. My question is, have I been excommunicated because of this marriage and if not, can I still receive Communion? This is my first and only marriage as we were both in our 50s when we met and married.
Mary in Springfield

Dear Mary, 

The Code of Canon Law lists excommunication under “Penalties and Other Punishments,” the purpose of which is to help one who has broken communion with the Church to restore communion with the Church. The gravity of excommunication is meant to lead a person to recognize the seriousness of what he or she has done. 

The penalty of excommunication may be given to a member of the Church who completely repudiates the faith, commits heresy, rejects the authority of the Church, who desecrates the Eucharist, physically attacks the pope, attempts to absolve an accomplice, ordains a bishop without a mandate from the pope, or who violates the seal of the confessional. Marrying a divorced person is nowhere listed as a reason for which one might be excommunicated. Unless you have received a decree of excommunication, it is safe to say you have not been excommunicated.

The question of whether or not you may receive holy Communion is difficult to answer, given the information you have provided.

The Church presumes the validity of every marriage — until proven otherwise — and upholds what Jesus says about marriage: “Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18). The opposite, of course, holds true for a woman who divorces her husband or who marries a man who divorced his wife. Divorce itself does not end a marriage; it is death that ends a marriage.

The answer to the question of whether you can receive the Eucharist or not largely depends on whether he entered a valid marriage with the woman he civilly divorced. Catholics are required by the Church to marry a Catholic in the presence of a bishop, priest, or deacon using the Church’s ritual for marriage. Permission may be obtained to marry a non-Catholic and dispensations may be received to marry outside the Church, but a person must request such a permission of dispensation. 

If the woman from whom your husband is divorced was not — or had not been — a Catholic at the time of the wedding and he did not receive permission to marry her, or if the marriage took place outside the Church without the necessary dispensation, that marriage would be invalid, and he would have been free to marry you. This can be proved with a couple of documents, and he can easily receive a Declaration of Nullity of Marriage. 

If he did marry according to the Church’s laws regarding marriage, that marriage is presumed to be valid, and he could not have validly married you. In such case, he would have needed a Declaration of Nullity of Marriage, commonly — and incorrectly — called an “annulment” before attempting another marriage. If he obtained a Declaration of Nullity of Marriage and you married in the Church, I see no reason why you cannot receive holy Communion.

If he has not received a Declaration of Nullity of Marriage, your marriage to him would not be valid, and therefore, you are not able to receive holy Communion at the present time. If this is the case, you should encourage him to speak with your pastor about petitioning for a Declaration of Nullity of Marriage. If one is granted, your civil marriage to him can be validated, and you could receive the Eucharist.

If you have further questions about this, I encourage you to visit

Father Daren Zehnle, J.C.L., K.C.H.S., is pastor at St. Augustine in Ashland and is the director for the Office of Divine Worship and the Catechumenate for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. 

Priests from our diocese reflect on what it was like celebrating their first Mass

FrBerndtFather Berndt is shown at his  Mass of Thanksgiving in June 2020 at Sacred Heart Parish in Effingham.Father Michael Berndt

Our ordination was on a Friday evening, and I wasn't going to wait until Sunday to celebrate my first Mass. So, I celebrated the first Mass where I was the main celebrant at the small chapel at the Villa Maria Conference Center in Springfield where I had stayed the night before. There were probably less than 10 people as I remember it in the little chapel there. One of them was a priest from Rockford, Father Ervin, who was making sure I was doing everything right, and his friend in the congregation who I didn't even know. I think there was another priest concelebrant? I can't even remember! Sort of anticlimactic, but it's not about me! My vocation never was. I remember forgetting the Prayer over the Offerings, and Father Ervin gently finding that place for me in the Missal and pointing to it. 

My first Mass of Thanksgiving where I had family and friends present was at Sacred Heart in Effingham. I cried, giving the "thank-yous" at the end. How do you thank your parents and grandparents for giving you the faith? I remember genuflecting to the tabernacle after one of my first Masses which contained a Sacred Host which I had consecrated, thinking that through my priestly hands I have brought Christ to earth. That was awesome. God is so good. 

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

FrSamplesFather Samples’ first Mass was May 29, 2022, at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Decatur.Father Zach Samples

Awe, splendor, wonder, amazement, beauty, grace, gratitude, peace, joy, mercy, and most of all, love. It is impossible to capture what was going through my head while celebrating my first Mass in a single word, but this list begins to get to the point. I think that last word gets us especially to the point: love. At the end of the day, the Eucharist is about love. It is about the love of God sacrificed, shared, and poured out for His people — poured out so that we might experience joy, peace, mercy, forgiveness, and a foretaste of that heavenly banquet table.

As I celebrated my first Mass, I was so incredibly moved by the love that God has for me and for all of us. Saying those words that Jesus first uttered at His Last Supper, consecrating simple bread and wine into Jesus's Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, and sharing that Real and True Presence with others for the first time was as overwhelming as it was humbling. I thought about the love, mercy, and forgiveness I have received time and time again from our Lord. I remembered all those who had played such an important role in bringing me to an encounter with Jesus, most especially my late mother. Above all, I was overcome by inestimable and unconditional love that Jesus has for you and for me.

Father Zach Samples is parochial vicar at St. Peter Church in Quincy and associate chaplain at Quincy Notre Dame High School. 

FrLesupatiAfter celebrating his first Mass at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Springfield, Father Lesupati went to his native country of Kenya to offer a Mass of Thanksgiving amongst family and friends in June of 2022. Father Paul Lesupati 

It was on May 29, 2022,  that I celebrated my first Mass of Thanksgiving at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Springfield. The experience I felt at this first Mass was some nervousness, overwhelmed by the joy of celebrating my Mass of thanksgiving among the parishioners of Blessed Sacrament. 

I traveled back to my home country of Kenya for a Mass of Thanksgiving at my home parish of St. George Catholic Parish in Laisamis (Marsabit Diocese) in Kenya on June 5, 2022, the feast of Pentecost. It was a great joy to be back in my local church, a church that nurtured my faith. I was baptized when I was an infant, received first holy Communion, the sacrament of confirmation, and served as an altar server there. Now, I was now celebrating a Mass as a priest! 

It was with great joy, humility, and gratitude that I gave thanks to God for the gift of priesthood. The experience I felt was overwhelming, standing in at the altar in persona Christ (in the person of Christ), offering the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, surrounded by my brother priests, members of my own family, relatives, friends, and many parishioners who travelled from different places just to witness and give thanks to God with me and for the gift of my priesthood. I owe a lot of respect to my brother priests and mentors (Father Jeff Grant and Father Dean Probst of our diocese) who travelled all the way from Illinois to accompany and support me. That day was filled with the Holy Spirit as we celebrated the descending of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles (Pentecost Day). 

The experience of my Mass was like seeing God’s grace working in my life, thanking God for those who helped me to reach the Altar of God, and seeing the Holy Spirit guiding me in my vocation journey to the priesthood. I never thought that one day I would be a priest in a foreign country like the U.S., but once we let the Holy Spirit guide us, He will lead us to where He wants (us) to be.  

Another thing I experienced at my first Mass was the decoration and participation of the community. Everyone was singing, dancing, and clapping their hands as they sang a thanksgiving song. I will also never forget this particular experience at my first Mass which touched and stayed with me: Before the final blessing, I walked from the altar over to my mother who was sitting in the front pew, and I placed a white cloth in her hands. I explained to her this white cloth was called a manutergium, and it was used at my ordination to wipe the excess chrism from my hands after being anointed by our Bishop Thomas John Paprocki.  I explained to her that traditionally, this white cloth is given to a mother of a priest, as well as placed in her hands upon her death, so that, at her last judgement, she is to present this cloth to our Lord. It is a symbol of a great honor and sacrifice to have born a son who is a priest. I can still remember tears flowing in my eyes and both my mother’s and sister’s as I passed the manutergium from my hands into hers. The whole congregation was sobbing with tears and after Mass, everyone approached me and told me that it was a touching experience, and that was a precious gift I gave my mother. This was one of the greatest, joyful moments in my life. Tears of joy flowed from me. I thank God for such precious gift, the gift of the priesthood.

Father Paul Lesupati is parochial vicar at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield.  

FrKoskFather Piotr Kosk raises the Body of Christ during his first Mass in 2020 at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit in Mt. Zion.Father Piotr Kosk

My journey to the priesthood began in 2013, beginning with my formation in Poland and culminating with my ordination in May of 2020 in Springfield. On my way to Quincy five days before my ordination, I learned that because of the COVID shutdown, Masses could only be celebrated online. To say that my ordination, which took place on May 2, 2020, differed from the annual ordination ceremony known in our diocese is an understatement as unsent invitations sat in a box and a trip to Poland was canceled. Also, a Cathedral that would normally be filled with a joyful congregation was empty. Those special people in my life I had expected to attend to celebrate this most extraordinary day with me were also missing:  My mom was not there to cry with happiness and my family and friends were not present to bestow their congratulations. The collective joy of the faithful gathered in the Cathedral was also missing. Instead, those present were just me, Bishop Paprocki, a handful of priests, and Jesus Christ, who came to give the world a new priest. And yet, amidst all of this somberness, an unusual, though not unpleasant, silence enveloped my heart.

During the ordination Mass, I cried three times. The crying was a mixture of both sadness and great joy. Sadness, because during the readings, I looked around at the empty building of the Cathedral, and joy, because the bishop gave a beautiful homily in Polish that touched me deeply. The third time I cried with happiness was when the bishop placed the Body and Blood of Christ in my unworthy and unsteady hands. Tears flowed from my eyes, because I experienced the exquisite beauty and love of God, who allowed me to embrace Him and feel Him. Christ entered my life even stronger, giving me His grace, strength, love, gift of forgiveness, and above all, His Spirit, so that I could preach His Good News and be an example of what I believe in. It was the most beautiful moment of my life. The culmination of this was an unexpected surprise as a group of my loved ones were waiting in front of the Cathedral with applause and balloons. 

The next day, Sunday, I was scheduled to celebrate my Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Parish Mt. Zion. I couldn't sleep Saturday night as I was so excited and overwhelmed by all that had happened at my ordination. As in the Cathedral the day before, there were the allowable 10 people at this Mass and several hundred watching online. With a shaky voice and broken English, I celebrated my first Mass. The most beautiful moment was when I said the words of consecration, "This is my Body” and “This is my Blood.” Then I reflected for a few seconds about what God has done for us and is still doing for us, so that we can be holy and gain eternal life. I knew then what a great gift I had received. Today, celebrating the Mass is a great gift for me, being in union with God and adoring Him in His Flesh and Blood. There is no greater joy than to lay down my life, who I am with my joys and my crosses, on the altar with Christ.

While my journey into the religious life began 10 years ago, I have been a priest for less than three years, and a pastor for less than one. It has been an incredible journey thus far, filled with higher highs and lower lows than I could ever imagine, but through it all, God’s grace and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit have guided me. So, it is with all of us. God’s plans are so much greater for us than we can imagine. We need only trust in Him. I cannot wait to see what more God has in store for me and you. We are truly blessed to be called the children of God!

Father Piotr Kosk is pastor of St. Mary in Taylorville, St. Rita in Kincade, and Holy Trinity in Stonington.

Lisa Evan s head‘I love everyone here’
Teacher at St. Francis/Holy Ghost Catholic School in Jerseyville wins 2023 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award 

It was 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 2. The Father Hembrow Center Gymnasium at St. Francis/Holy Ghost Catholic School in Jerseyville was packed with students, faculty, staff, priests, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, and friends and family of Lisa Evans, a fourth-grade teacher at the school.

Those in the gym knew why all these people were together except Evans, at least at first, but that soon changed when she walked in and saw family and friends, and then it was announced that she was the winner of the 2023 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois during a surprise assembly. Everyone erupted in applause as Evans came forward shocked, and Bishop Paprocki presented her with the award.

“I am so humbled and honored with all that I have received today, and I am so thankful that Jesus gives me the strength to give you all the strength to do what we do every day to follow Him,” Evans said during her speech. “I love everyone here.” 

Evans began teaching at St. Francis/Holy Ghost School in 2004 and completed her 19th year as a fourth-grade teacher there. Before that, Evans previously taught at Grafton Elementary School in the Jersey Community Unit School District. Evans is married to Pete and has three children and two grandchildren. They are parishioners of Holy Ghost Catholic Church.

The 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.

The Office for Catholic Schools and Office for Communications for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, organizers of the award, received nearly 100 nominations from across the diocese from principals, teachers, parents, priests, previous students, and current students this year. The Office for Catholic Education then narrowed the list to five finalists (which Catholic Times presented in the April 30 edition) before selecting Evans as the winner. 

One of the most touching moments from the surprise assembly came after Evans was presented the award as each of her 33 current students gave her a hug. 

“I am so close to God, and I just feel closer, and I didn’t think that was possible,” Evans said. 

A common theme throughout the nominations for Evans was that she left a profound impact on students and parents and that she instills the values of our faith into students and authentically lives out the Catholic faith. 

“My son always loved coming to school each day,” said Lynn Goetten, a parent of a student. “Mrs. Evans gave him a sense of belonging and feeling important. I feel that she is a true leader. Her compassion for students and love for learning makes her an excellent candidate for this award.”

“Mrs. Evans continually shows compassion for my son and teaches him how a true Catholic lives every day,” said Jessica Ray, a parent of a student. “She has changed the outlook of school for him this year. He is excited to attend because of Mrs. Evans.”

“Mrs. Evans was a fantastic religion teacher,” said Covelynn Geisler, a previous student. “Everything she taught in religion class I understood and have a clearer relationship with Jesus Christ. She had so many great stories about things she has experienced and turned them into great life lessons I will never forget. She will always be one of my favorite religion teachers ever!” 

“Mrs. Evans is a fantastic example of our Catholic faith to our children, both during the school day where she prays the rosary with them and guides them to be a model of the Father's love, and also when we see her as an active presence in our parish on the weekends and throughout the year at various events,” said Laura McNicholas, a parent of a student. “She is joyful, thoughtful, intentional, and loving in her interactions with students.”

There are 43 Catholic schools in the diocese (36 elementary, seven high schools). Stay tuned in early 2024 as Catholic Times will announce how to submit a teacher for the 2024 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award.

Managing Editor

On Friday, May 26, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki will ordain three men to the transitional diaconate for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. The ordination will take place at 6:30 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. 

A few weeks ago, seminarians Alex McCullough, Daniel McGrath, and Jayke White took time to share their thoughts and feelings about  their ordinations.

McCullough Alex MichaelAlex McCullough

Alex McCullough, who calls Immaculate Conception in Mattoon his home parish, first felt called to the priesthood during his second year at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he was studying microbiology. He says it was his Lenten practice of contemplating the daily readings for Mass that helped him to deepen his faith. 

“While I had never really stopped going to Mass when I was younger, I was pretty apathetic about it. I knew it was good to go to Mass, but that was about it,” he said. “But it was in these moments of reading the word of God that I first experienced conversion. I started feeling a small tug to the priesthood after that, so I eventually mentioned this to my pastor, Father John Titus. Father John quickly became a great mentor to me as I navigated my early days of discernment.” 

McCullough eventually transferred to Eastern Illinois University to study biology so he would be closer to home while he became more serious about discerning the priesthood. In the fall of 2016, he transferred to Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis where he completed a Catholic studies degree  with a focus on philosophy, as well as a biology degree, in 2018. 

“After graduation I took two years off. These two years were really a time for me to work on a few areas of growth and maturation for me,” he said. It was during that time that he first worked at Decatur Memorial Hospital and then spent a year teaching theology at St. Teresa High School. “In the fall of 2020, I came back to seminary formation, and I have been studying theology at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology ever since,” he said.

McCullough, who is the son of Chris McCullough and Angie McCullough, says his family  might have been initially surprised, even “a bit shocked” about his vocation, however they have been very supportive and will be with him for his ordination.  He says several priests have been true examples of the priesthood, especially Father Titus, Father Steven Arisman, and Father Zach Samples. He has asked Father Arisman to vest him and notes that Father Arisman is not only a fine example of a good pastor but was instrumental in guiding him  as he “navigated the two years between times in the seminary.” 

“I also thank Father Brian Alford as the vocation director as well as Bishop Paprocki for their guidance and their openness to discerning my vocation with me,” he said. “Above all, I thank all the people who have prayed for me over the years. I could not do it without their prayers.”

There is a point in the Rite of Ordination that McCullough will kneel in front of Bishop Paprocki and promise respect and obedience to the bishop and to his successors. Then the bishop will say, “May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment.” That prayer can be meaningful in many ways, McCullough says. “I think this prayer best captures the entirety of our lives of faith, but it is especially true for those who seek to hear God’s call. God calls every one of us by name. He calls us personally. It is truly God who does the good work in us, and He brings all of our good work to fulfillment. All we must do is be willing to say ‘yes’ to God.” 

McGrath Daniel GeorgeDaniel McGrath

Daniel McGrath, who calls Sacred Heart in Virden his home parish, describes himself as excited, confident, and grateful to be ordained to the transitional diaconate. “I definitely get the sense that it is the fruit of a long time in prayer and formation, and that it is exactly where God has been leading me all these years,” he said. “I see it as a great gift that He plans to give to me, and I look forward to receiving it from Him.”

Although he began to realize his priestly vocation between his junior and senior years in high school, McGrath said at first his desire for a family and other academic interests made him choose another direction. As God would have it, he started college at Eastern Illinois University and “very quickly found a small group of men who were discerning the priesthood.” Two of those men were now-Father Zach Samples and Alex McCullough, who will be ordained with McGrath. It was Father Samples, who was not a priest yet, who saw something in McGrath. “One evening he asked, ‘Are you discerning priesthood?’ I had been,” he said. 

McGrath studied for just one year at EIU before entering college seminary at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis.  He spent three years in college seminary, then two years at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. “I then spent a year at Our Lady of Lourdes in Decatur, on a pastoral internship,” he said. “Finally, I finished a third year at Kenrick before ordination to the diaconate.” 

He is grateful to so many people, he says. “I would, firstly, like to thank my parents, Mark and Catherine McGrath, for everything they did to raise me and form me into the man I have become,” he said. “I would also like to thank my siblings, grandparents, and extended family, who have been so instrumental in forming me through my childhood. Also, every seminarian knows the great blessing that the Knights of Columbus councils are throughout the years, so a grateful ‘thank you’ to the K. C. councils around the diocese as well.” 

McGrath says he has had many mentors while in the seminary. “I would like to thank Father (Brian) Alford for his service to me and the other seminarians as vocation director. For their service to me very early on in my process at EIU and beyond, I would like to thank Father Steve Arisman and Father John Titus, as well as everyone at the Newman Center at that time.  I would also like to thank Father Jeff Goeckner, Father Michael Friedel, and Father Michael Trummer for their mentorship in my parish assignments,” he said. 

He has picked Father Trummer to vest him at his ordination.  “I am so grateful to have been assigned so often at the same parish Father Michael has been assigned. … I have seen him grow in boldness and a desire to serve God’s people and have personally benefited greatly from the ways he has put these desires into action. I look forward to that moment in the ordination and pray that I may grow in those same virtues.” 

He added that the people at Our Lady of Lourdes in Decatur (where he served a one-year internship) and at St. Boniface Parish in Edwardsville (where he has been ministering with the PSR classes) have all been welcoming. “I am also incredibly grateful for all who taught me and taught with me during the Totus Tuus program … over the three summers I taught in the diocese,” he said.

McGrath concludes that he looks forward to his ordination day and the work he will do beyond that.  “I am so grateful for all the Lord has done in my life to lead me to this day, and I look forward to continuing to serve the diocese with Him afterward.” 

White Jayke AndrewJayke White

A seminarian who now calls St. Mary Parish in Edwardsville his home parish, Jayke White  says looking forward to his diaconate ordination just seems right. “There is a rightness to stepping into this role that is simply natural,” he said. “It’s as though I’ve been holding my breath for so long and will finally be able to sing.”

White’s desire for the priesthood goes back to when he was a very little boy. “When I was 3 years old, I was sitting in Mass at St. Cecilia Parish (Glen Carbon) when I suddenly grabbed my mom’s face and said, ‘I want to do what Father (Steve Pohlman) is doing.’ She was understandably surprised and asked, ‘What is he doing?’ I replied very seriously, ‘He’s talking about Jesus, and everybody is listening.’ I thought there couldn’t be a better job in the world than that, and while my desire has grown and developed over the years, that simple desire to share our Lord has remained at the root of it.” 

White says he entered seminary right out of high school in 2015. “I left for a year from 2017-2018, got a bachelor’s degree in business management, and then re-entered seminary formation in the fall of 2018. He just completed his third year of theology at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Ind.

White says he has been blessed with a family that supports him and loves him. “I’m very grateful first to my parents, Tami and Leon White, for showing me what the Christian life is meant to be through their examples of love and support,” he said. “My grandparents especially have always been some of my biggest fans and I can’t thank them enough.”  He also acknowledges his siblings, Jenna and Mitchell, and a number of very good friends, including Aaron Johnson, Eric Ouellette, Delaney Dodson, and Kate Timmermann, as well as his seminarian friends who are being ordained with him, Alex McCullough and Daniel McGrath. 

White says he considers Father Pohlman, Father Dan Bergbower, Father Dean Probst, Father Bob Jallas, and Father Zach Samples to be mentors, as well as Father Brian Alford, who has assisted him greatly in the seminary formation process. “I’m also extraordinarily grateful for Father Denis Robinson, OSB, rector at St. Meinrad. His compassionate leadership has shown me how to lead as a spiritual father,” he said. “I’d also like to thank our bishop, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, who has not only been my bishop throughout my time in formation, but also confirmed me way back in 2011.” 

White has asked Father Samples to vest him at his ordination. “During his time with me at St. Meinrad Seminary, he showed me what it means to be a deacon through his service to the community and kindness of caring for those who needed care,” he said. White said he admires Father Samples’ wisdom, gentleness, and good humor. 

White says that he fully believes in letting a person know if he would be a good priest or deacon. “If you know someone in your life who might serve well as a priest or deacon, tell him,” he said. “Encourage him. Annoy him with your suggestions. But above all, support him when he does enter. It’s not an easy road, but the people of God make it worth it.” 

Many times in our lives we feel the need to recharge or renew our passions, our health, our life. What does that look like for you? For some, we may make a commitment to renew a passion we once had. For others, it may be making changes to your lifestyle to improve your health by starting an exercise program or eating healthier.

When we embark on making a change, we study the different methods or ways to make changes and find what works best in our lives. We invest the time in learning information, making a plan, and how to implement that plan to make the most impact and bring about the desired results.

What about your spiritual life? Does it need renewal or recharge? How do you achieve that? For many, it’s by attending a Cursillo. Cursillo (pronounced Kur-see-yo) is a Spanish word meaning “short course.” The process of making changes in your life is acquiring information, making a plan, and then implementing that plan for desired results. This is basically what happens on a Cursillo

During a three-day Cursillo, you hear talks by priests and lay persons focusing on growth and knowledge of self, the love of God, and your role in the Church and in your communities. In addition, Cursillistas (participants) pray together, celebrate in the Eucharist, and share in the fellowship of Jesus Christ. Each weekend follows the same format but each is unique because of the different life experiences of the Cursillistas.

Men and women make separate Cursillos as we each face our own challenges and communicate differently. Cursillo is a Catholic experience, but all Christians are welcome to attend. If married, men must attend first followed by their wives.  This allows the focus on men as spiritual leaders in the family and allows couples to grow together in their faith. Single, widowed, and divorced persons are also encouraged to attend and strengthen their faith life as well. Anyone age 21 and older can attend.

Cursillo weekends are held at the Quincy University Franciscan Retreat Center in Quincy, eight times a year — four weekends for men and four weekends for women. The cost is $165. 

The next weekends are June 22-25 for men and July 27-30 for women.

Visit for more information or email: .

What is the procedure if the Eucharist is dropped during the distribution of holy Communion?
Jim in our diocese

Whether through simple inattentiveness or by way of a genuine accident, it sometimes happens that a consecrated Host falls to the ground or that a chalice with the Precious Blood is dropped or spilled. In such a situation, what is one to do? 

Of course, it goes without saying that every effort should be made to ensure that the Eucharist — either the Precious Body or the Precious Blood — never touches the ground. This is why the bishops of the United States remind us that “all ministers of Holy Communion [whether ordinary or extraordinary] should show the greatest reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist by their demeanor, their attire, and the manner in which they handle the consecrated bread and wine” (Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America, no. 29).

While the bishops give this admonition to those who distribute holy Communion, they also remind those who receive holy Communion that “we are to approach the altar for holy Communion with reverence, love, and awe as part of the Eucharistic procession of the faithful. This includes making a reverent bow of the head just before receiving holy Communion, which expresses both our individual and communal adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist as well as acknowledgement of our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in holy Communion” (“Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper”: On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist, Part 5). 

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the text from the Holy See governing the celebration of the holy Mass, provides this brief direction: “If a host or any particle should fall, it is to be picked up reverently and if any of the Precious Blood is spilled, the area where the spill occurred should be washed with water, and this water should then be poured into the sacrarium in the sacristy” (no. 280). The sacrarium is a particular sink that has been set aside only for such a purpose, with pipes leading directly into the ground and not into the sewer system. They are often — unfortunately — absent in churches of more recent construction. 

If a consecrated Host should fall to the floor during the distribution of holy Communion, that Host should be presented to the communicant again, consumed by the minister, or even reserved for dissolution in water which would then be poured into the sacrarium. The preferable option is that the Host be consumed either by the communicant or by the minister.

The most common way to wash the area where the Precious Blood has fallen is to use purificators, the linen cloths used to wipe the chalice after each communicant has consumed the Blood of Christ. If the Precious Blood has been spilled, as many purificators as are needed should be used to gently soak up the Precious Blood. Once the Precious Blood has been absorbed into the purificators, fresh water and a clean cloth should be used to clean the area where the spill occurred, the now dirtied cloth being placed with the purificators to be washed in the usual manner. All of this should be done as soon as possible and with the greatest reverence and devotion.

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

Official Appointments
Effective July 1, 2023
(unless noted otherwise) 

Pastor Emeritus

Reverend R. Dean Probst is appointed Pastor Emeritus of Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish, Newton, Illinois, and Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish, Sainte Marie, Illinois; from Pastor of Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish, Newton, Illinois; and from Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish, Sainte Marie, Illinois, while retaining duties as Judge of the Diocesan Tribunal.


Reverend T. Joseph Havrilka is appointed Pastor of Saint Patrick Parish, Pana, Illinois, and Sacred Heart Parish, Oconee, Illinois; from Pastor of Saint Clare Parish, Altamont, Illinois; from Saint Mary Parish, Saint Elmo, Illinois; and from Saint Anne Parish, Edgewood, Illinois.

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

Reverend Aloysius Okey Ndeanaefo is appointed Pastor of Saint Mary Parish, Paris, Illinois, and Saint Aloysius Parish, North Arm, Illinois, from Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Villa Grove, Illinois, while retaining duties as Pastor of Saint Michael Parish, Hume, Illinois.

Reverend Angel Sierra is appointed Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Villa Grove, Illinois, while retaining duties as Pastor of Forty Martyrs Parish, Tuscola, Illinois, and Saint John the Baptist Parish, Arcola, Illinois.

Reverend Hyland Smith is appointed Pastor of Saint Michael the Archangel Parish, Sigel, Illinois; Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish, Neoga, Illinois; and Sacred Heart Parish, Lillyville, Illinois; from Pastor of Holy Ghost Parish, Jerseyville, Illinois, and from Saint Mary Parish, Fieldon, Illinois. 

Reverend Martin Smith is appointed Pastor of Holy Ghost Parish, Jerseyville, Illinois, and of Saint Mary Parish, Fieldon, Illinois, while retaining duties as Pastor of Saint Francis Xavier Parish, Jerseyville, Illinois, and of Saint Patrick Parish, Grafton, Illinois.  

Reverend Adam Zawadzki is appointed Pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary Parish, New Berlin, Illinois; Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Alexander, Illinois; Sacred Heart Parish, Franklin, Illinois; and Saint Sebastian Parish, Waverly, Illinois; Chaplain and Director of the Office for Deaf Ministry; and Chaplain, Jacksonville State Correctional Facility, Jacksonville, Illinois; from Parochial Vicar of Our Saviour Parish, Jacksonville, Illinois; from Chaplain, Routt Catholic High School, Jacksonville, Illinois; and from Chaplain for the Deaf Apostolate.

Parochial Administrator

Reverend Ron Lorilla is appointed Parochial Administrator of Saint Clare Parish, Altamont, Illinois; Saint Mary Parish, Saint Elmo, Illinois; and Saint Anne Parish, Edgewood, Illinois, from Parochial Administrator of Sacred Heart of Mary Parish, New Berlin, Illinois; from Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Alexander, Illinois; from Sacred Heart Parish, Franklin, Illinois; from Saint Sebastian Parish, Waverly, Illinois; and from Chaplain, Jacksonville State Correctional Facility, Jacksonville, Illinois.  

Parochial Vicar

Reverend Ramesh Babu Matta with permission of his bishop, is appointed Parochial Vicar of Holy Ghost Parish, Jerseyville, Illinois; Saint Mary Parish, Fieldon, Illinois; Saint Francis Xavier Parish, Jerseyville, Illinois; and Saint Patrick Parish, Grafton, Illinois; from Chaplain of HSHS Saint John’s Hospital, Springfield, Illinois. 

Reverend Rodney Schwartz is appointed Parochial Vicar of Saint Paul Parish, Highland, Illinois, from Pastor of Saint Patrick Parish, Pana, Illinois, and from Sacred Heart Parish, Oconee, Illinois. 

Reverend Wayne Stock is appointed Parochial Vicar of Christ the King Parish, Springfield, Illinois, from Medical Leave of Absence, effective May 3, 2023.

Reverend Zachariah Patibandla with permission of his bishop, is appointed Parochial Vicar of Our Saviour Parish, Jacksonville, Illinois, and Associate Chaplain, Routt Catholic High School, Jacksonville, Illinois, from Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish, Effingham, Illinois.


Reverend Samuel Bagyo is appointed Chaplain of HSHS Saint John’s Hospital, Springfield, Illinois, with residence at Little Flower Parish, Springfield, Illinois, from Academic Leave and weekend supply ministry. 

Reverend Aaron Thomas Kuhn is appointed Chaplain of the Western Illinois Correctional Center, Mount Sterling, Illinois, while retaining duties as Pastor of Holy Family Parish, Mount Sterling, Illinois, and Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish, Camp Point, Illinois. 

Reverend Joseph G. Ring is appointed Chaplain of Routt Catholic High School, Jacksonville, Illinois, while retaining duties as Pastor of Our Saviour Parish, Jacksonville, Illinois, and Chaplain of Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois.

Reverend Leland Thorpe, O.M.V., with the consent of his religious superior, is appointed Chaplain of Marquette Catholic High School, Alton, Illinois, while retaining duties as Parochial Vicar of Saint Mary Parish, Alton, Illinois.

Prison Minister 

Deacon Michael P. Ellerman is appointed Prison Minister of the Western Illinois Correctional Center, Mount Sterling, Illinois, while retaining duties as Deacon at Holy Family Parish, Mount Sterling, Illinois, and Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish, Camp Point, Illinois.

Delegate for Legal Professionals

Mr. James A. Bock, Jr. is appointed Bishop’s Delegate for Legal Professionals, while retaining duties as Chancellor and General Counsel for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois .

Appointment Concluded

Reverend Valery Safari Burusu concludes his appointment as Parochial Administrator of Saint Mary Parish, Paris, Illinois, and Saint Aloysius Parish, North Arm, Illinois, to be reassigned by his Bishop of the Diocese of Nyundo, Rwanda. 

Reverend Sunder Ery concludes his appointment as Pastor of Saint Michael the Archangel Parish, Sigel, Illinois; Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish, Neoga, Illinois; and Sacred Heart Parish, Lillyville, Illinois; to be reassigned by his Bishop of the Diocese of Cuddapah, India. 

Reverend Clinton Honkomp, O.P., concludes his appointment as Parochial Vicar of Christ the King Parish, Springfield, Illinois, effective May 2, 2023.  

Reverend Paul Kallal, O.M.V., concludes his appointment as Chaplain and Campus Minister of Marquette Catholic High School, Alton, Illinois, due to his appointment as Vocation Director for the Oblates of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Boston, Massachusetts.

Reverend Jason P. Stone concludes his appointment as Chaplain of the Saint Thomas More Lawyers’ Guild, and Bishop’s Delegate for Legal Professionals; while retaining duties as Pastor, Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Parish, Mount Zion, Illinois, and Saint Isidore Parish, Bethany, Illinois.

Active Outside the Diocese

Reverend Paul Kala is given permission to continue his work with the Missionary Society of Saint Theresa of the Little Flower on loan to the Diocese of Wa (Ghana) for another three years until June 30, 2026.

Page 1 of 23