Dozens of Father McGivney Catholic High School (Glen Carbon) students traveled to Grand Rapids, Mich., last month with Group Mission Trips to exercise authentic discipleship. Thirty-nine students and eight chaperones were sent in crews to different locations throughout the Grand Rapids area for one week and were assigned tasks such as painting, cleaning, building porches, and making repairs to help families in need.Dozens of Father McGivney Catholic High School (Glen Carbon) students traveled to Grand Rapids, Mich., last month with Group Mission Trips to exercise authentic discipleship. Thirty-nine students and eight chaperones were sent in crews to different locations throughout the Grand Rapids area for one week and were assigned tasks such as painting, cleaning, building porches, and making repairs to help families in need.
“The mission camp provides our students with the opportunity to mix hard work, fun, and working with a diverse team with McGivney’s focus on service to others,” said Joseph Lombardi, principal at Father McGivney. “This is one of the many ways we integrate faith into the McGivney experience, with the ultimate goal of fully developing our students — mind, body and spirit. Our students will be leaders. It’s important they see how compassion and humble service to those in need are necessary when taking on a leadership role.”McGivney experience, with the ultimate goal of fully developing our students — mind, body and spirit. Our students will be leaders. It’s important they see how compassion and humble service to those in need are necessary when taking on a leadership role."
Some crews focused on building porches while other crews painted sheds or sides of homes.
“Every year, the group on the mission camp comes back exhausted, covered in paint, and in need of rest,” said Craig Brummer, Father McGivney High School faith formation director. “Yet, at the same time, they come back having grown in their ability to know and love their neighbors and the Lord. This summer’s mission was no different. Tripling in size since the last mission in 2019, this team was led by fearless adult chaperones who handled this week with grace, humility, and generosity. The kids had fun demoing, building, and painting. The adults of the group saw just how satisfying it is to give of oneself, in order to find oneself. In the hardships of what has been a year for the history books, our kids were troopers.
“When we return from an experience like this, we must remember in humility that we are doing what we were created to do, discovering who we are in the process. No one should be ‘impressed’ by this group for what they did, as though it was something extreme, beyond imagination, impossible for the rest of us. Instead, they should be edified, encouraged, and motivated to do the same. Yes, these kids learned how to build porches and paint siding, but that wasn’t the end goal. The work is not an end in itself, but rather a means to an end in virtue, humility, charity that we are all meant to strive for. We are called to holiness, to love, to serve, and to give. We must learn how to do this. This mission camp is a week of the year where that lesson is very much at the forefront.”
DECATUR — For two weeks, Eric Weatherford worked to turn a forgettable exterior brick wall of Shamrock Hall at St. Patrick School in Decatur into something much more than a beautiful work of art. His richly colorful and detailed exterior mural of St. Patrick, the AMDG shield (Latin for “for the greater glory of God”), the school’s cornerstone, the words “Pray, Serve, Give,” and the background painted to look like stained glass is a message that we are called to live a life of authentic discipleship, go to Mass, and strive for sainthood.
As a 2005 graduate of St. Patrick School, Weatherford credits finding his creative side while he attended school there. “It’s kind of where it all started for me,” Weatherford said. “I remember falling in love with anything that we did creatively in school and realized it wouldn’t be a phase for me — yet something I wanted to take more seriously.”
The mural is about 20 feet tall and 40 feet long. Once Weatherford was chosen for the project, he spoke to the school about ideas he had for the wall. After the design was chosen, he went to work cleaning the wall, priming the wall, tracing out the design by either projecting or using a grid structure, painting the mural, and then applying a clear coat over the finished product.
“I haven’t been to this school since I graduated from eighth grade, so it was definitely humbling to go back and recall all the great memories I made while attending St. Patrick’s,” Weatherford said.
You may have seen other works of art Weatherford has created around Central Illinois. For example, he is the creator behind the Abe Lincoln portrait in downtown Decatur, the abstract/colorful mural on the corner of Eldorado and Water in Decatur, the large wall behind Macon Resources Inc. in Decatur, and the farming related mural in downtown Assumption.
Weatherford started his own company, Oddwall Painting, in 2018 after winning the Decatur Mural Project and realized it could be a viable business venture. Fast forward to today, and he never thought he would one day paint a mural at St. Patrick School.
“Every child is an artist,” Weatherford said. “I just remained an artist as I grew older.”
Bless me Father, for I have sinned, it has been … . How long has it been since your last confession? For most Catholics, their frequency to this sacrament is anything but frequent. Some go often, some go every year, while some have not been in decades. Are you one of them? Do you think, “What is the point? Why can’t I just confess my sins directly to God?” Are you fearful of going? Are you afraid you do not know what to do? Do you just need some inspiration?
Catholic Times received a third-place award and honorable mention from the 2021 Catholic Press Association Awards for two stories featured in Catholic Times in 2020.
JERSEYVILLE — When you are a few miles outside of Jerseyville, you can see the spire of St. Francis Xavier Church. In what has been described as standing “majestically as the focal point for the people entering Jerseyville,” this 140-foot spire, has been a reminder for everyone entering the city that the people in this community are deeply Catholic, something that dates back several generations. On July 4, the parish celebrated 150 years, their sesquicentennial jubilee.
For Nathalie Corbett of Springfield, her connection to the pro-life movement is deep and personal. When she was 18 years old, she was told the story behind her biological mother’s pregnancy for the first time. She learned that her mother fell into all of the stereotypes that encourage women to get an abortion. Her mother was young, beginning her career, and it was a one-night stand that resulted in an unplanned pregnancy with twins. To add to the list, while she was pregnant, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The doctors encouraged her to abort the twins. Instead, she chose life.
What is a typical response from a college student when you ask them, “What do you want to do this summer?” Their answer might be to travel. It might be an internship. Others might say “to chill.” Then, there are college students who say they felt a calling from God to something greater, to help advance the Catholic faith to young people in engaging and fun ways.
On June 6, the feast day of Corpus Christi, priests and the lay faithful in every corner of our diocese showed a public display of our faith that as Catholics, we believe the Eucharist is the true presence of Jesus Christ. Parishes held Eucharist processions around their churches or in their neighborhoods, with people walking and praying behind the monstrance.