Building the Kingdom, one house at a time is exactly the goal of Steve and Jodie Koch. In 2019, with their enthusiasm and financial boost, the Springfield Catholic community was able to build a Habitat for Humanity home in partnership with a wonderful, hard-working woman and her son.
From the depths of the night a sound jolted me from my peaceful sleep. I thought, “This is it; someone is breaking in!” I always imagined that when confronted with this situation, my 5-foot-1-inch self would turn into a Ninja Warrior. To my dismay, that did not happen. In fact, the fear shot through my entire body completely paralyzing me. As time seemed to freeze, so did my arms. I was holding my breath for fear I would create an ounce of noise. I could not reach for my phone — paralyzed with fear — even though it was a mere 6 inches away from my head. Eventually, I realized I had to do something and was somehow able to unlock my arms to call for help.
Since I was a kid, I have had a great relationship with chocolate. We just go together. Throughout our relationship there have been very few rocky moments. The chocolate hits my taste buds and it’s like heaven melting in my mouth. Now, do I think heaven is that sweet? No, I think it’s better! However, I do hope there is chocolate in heaven.
Unfortunately, on Jan. 1, chocolate and I decided we needed to take a break. It wasn’t anyone’s fault; it was just one of those decisions that hurts a little but is for the better. Have you ever had a relationship like that?
In addition to chocolate, I took a break from quite a few other foods. Last week when I was in Mass, with my stomach rumbling a little bit and as I was consuming the Eucharist, I thought, “This tastes like heaven.” In that very moment it hit me, it was a piece of heaven!
I took two things away from that moment. One, it’s easy to forget the miraculous event that is occurring at Mass: a glimpse of heaven right there for us to consume every day if we so choose. Christ is coming to us, to the inside of our very core. The second is a reminder that fasting really does allow us an opportunity to bring Christ closer.
For me, I know it is easier to focus on what is not there, the empty stomach or the item being denied from me instead of focusing on what I am gaining. Certainly, not just better health, but in this instance, Christ himself.
I don’t know if chocolate and I will end up back together, although I highly suspect we will. What I do know is that my true soulmate is found in the Eucharist at Mass.
Amber Cerveny is Marketing Communications and Community leader for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
What makes Christmas magical?
What makes Christmas magical? Is it the clever elf that flies around from shelf to shelf? Or is it the big jolly guy squeezing down the narrow chimney with a bag of all the greatest toys?
I am a cradle Catholic. Like many Catholics, I prefer to sit comfortably toward the middle or back of church.
Tuesday of Holy Week, I attended the chrism Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield. In my new role with the curia at the diocese, I was tasked with taking a few photos. Unfamiliar with the best way to do this, while being discreet, I decided to sit in the front pew — the dreaded front pew. As I settled in, it suddenly hit me that people may watch the front pew to know when to sit and stand.
It is January, the season of resolutions. As most people did, I took some time to think about my resolutions and how I wanted to start 2019. After looking at my list, it occurred to me that my resolutions this year, and honestly most years, had a lot to do with me. That may seem obvious; they are in fact my resolutions. However, I started to wonder how many people resolve to help the poor, the marginalized, the hungry or the homeless. If you are reading this and you are someone who did that, I applaud you. If you are like me and your resolution was to drop 20 pounds and helping the poor did not hit your resolution list, here is my challenge to both you and me.
“I am a mother of twins. With winter coming early I do not have the money to cover heat and I will not qualify for assistance for another month. Can Catholic Charities help me?”
In cold and darkness, you were the light.
“My husband lost his job, I work part-time and we have two kids plus my dad living with us. We need food to help stretch our paycheck and pay the bills. Can Catholic Charities help us?”
In hunger and darkness, you were the light.
When grocery shopping, I doubt a can of green beans really calls out to you as a delicious must-have item. If you are like me, most of the calls I hear in the grocery store come from the ice cream aisle.
At Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, a can of green beans is not just another food choice, it is the answer to a much bigger call: to feed the hungry. On Oct. 5, Decatur wrapped up its WSOY Food Drive and Springfield Catholic schools wrapped up their Incredible Food Drive Competition. The results were tremendous.