FATHER KEVIN'S "CORNER": a weblog

Easter Triduum livestreamed to Facebook:

2020 Apr 9 Thu: Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper at 7:00 pm
2020 Apr 10 Fri: Good Friday Celebration of the Lord's Passion at 3:00 pm
2020 Apr 11 Sat: Easter Vigil Mass at 8:30 pm
2020 Apr 12 SUN: Easter Mass at 8:30 am

CONFESSIONS will be heard Wednesday, April 8, 4:00 to 8:00 pm, in the former Blessed Sacrament chapel off the narthex of St. Jerome. If people are waiting, please observe necessary social distance (wearing a mask is recommended). The room is set up for distance, so please speak in a normal conversational voice.

Fr. Kevin's chronological entries are found after Stable Links for Ongoing Reference.

OFFICIAL FROM BISHOP PAPROCKI

Fr. Kevin's summary:

Until further notice, no public Masses. I will offer private Masses at home, fulfilling scheduled Mass intentions. Bishop Paprocki is characterizing this as fasting from the Holy Eucharist. Anointing of the sick: Anointing is to be administered primarily in case of danger of death. My parishioners may call upon me to administer anointing: 217.494.2555.

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STABLE LINKS FOR ONGOING REFERENCE:

Our live stream of Mass || Daily Mass Readings || New York Times Free Coverage || Johns Hopkins Covid-19 Map || An Act of Spiritual Communion || Diocese || Prayer from USCCB || Illinois Department of Public Health || Pope Francis's Masses || Holy See Press Office || Video Scripture Reflections of Father Scott Snider, Vandalia || Live Streams of Mass Around the Diocese || My Sunday Homilies since 2005

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THE CHRONOLOGY

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

This Roman dish was my favorite when I lived there. Carbonara is indeed a delightful thing to cook and eat. Can somebody tell me how your attempt at this recipe turns out? Maybe in Easter week, I will share my own recipe (it's in my head).

Monday, April 6, 2020

Click and scroll down to see Queen Elizabeth II's very classy address to her nation. The four-minute address includes clips of the UK's National Health Service carrying out their duties. My history does not go back to 1940, when she and Princess Margaret (also featured, in a photo) addressed the UK. But in the summer of 1982, my deacon summer, I walked the corridors and the wards of two London hospitals as a chaplain. When I revisited London in 2006, the University College Hospital had moved to a new, more advanced building. The Middlesex Hospital stood empty and I assume it was later demolished.

I have read about the British resolve in World War II, and the present crisis calls for similar global resolve.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

On Scams

Saturday, April 4, 2020

PALMS. Drive to either church tomorrow between 10:00 and 11:30 am. (UPPER parking lot at St. Jerome.) You will find friendly people wearing Smurf-blue gloves and giving you palms as you remain in the comfort of your vehicle.

Friday, April 3, 2020 EXTRA 12:30 pm

Pope Francis has appointed Father Michael McGovern of Chicago to be the next Bishop of Belleville, with ordination and installation date indefinite. He succeeds Bishop Edward Braxton.

I salute the Tri-Township Public Library District for letting the community know, by means of their electric sign, that their Wi-Fi is available from their parking lot, should anyone see fit to get online from there.

This might be a good time to take a look at the Library of America. Their Reader's Almanac might be a good place to start.

I thank Janet Doyle for a dispatch on coronavirus in Vietnam. Mainly, it's on their success.

Friday, April 3, 2020

You may find the links in this article on virtual religious tourism to be diverting and enriching.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Mass intentions for the coming week:
2020 Apr 6 Mon: Ceal Hubert
2020 Apr 7 Tue: Larry Schlaefer
2020 Apr 8 Wed: John Astrauskas
2020 Apr 9 Thurs: Eugene Blink
2020 Apr 10 Fri: Good Friday: no Mass
2020 Apr 11 Sat: Deceased Members of the Sorrells Family
2020 Apr 12 Sun: Pro Populo

Wednesday, April 1, 2020: Fool-free zone

Here is a marvelous statement from the World Council of Churches.

I have just learned of an international Orthodox Christian document on a social ethos. I have read some of it. I am grateful for this lengthy and comprehensive statement, which I would compare with some of the documents of Vatican II. I particularly liked the document's denunciations of racism and nationalism.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

We have received word that the worldwide Holy Land collection, usually taken up at the Good Friday Celebration of the Lord's Passion, is being moved to Sunday, September 13. This date is just one day before the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which commemorates the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem.

Here's some encouraging news: Social Distancing Appears to Be Working

Monday, March 30, 2020

Here is the latest from Shelly Sands of Missions International:

Hello everyone,

I hope and pray you and your families are well. I realize that this trip is probably the furthest thing from your mind right now, but I wanted to inform you what the travel agent and I worked out this week. We will wait until April 15 and see what the climate is of our country and that of Guatemala. (Bishop Cabrera has informed me that the number of those infected with Covid-19 has not increased in Guatemala. Thank God!) [KML: Latest Johns Hopkins figures on Guatemala: Confirmed cases 34; recovered 10; death 1.] On April 15 we will decide if we should release the seats that are being held on AA so we do not get a fee.

I hope you are all doing well and would like to share a message from Bishop Cabrera. Please share his message with your parish.

Por favor cuando pueda, dígales a los hermanos de las parroquias hermanas que estamos rezando mucho por todos. Nos preocupa la situación de Estados Unidos: Nueva York, Chicago e Illinois.

Reciba mis cordiales y fraternos saludos.

+ Julio Cabrera Ovalle.

Please when you can, tell the brothers in the sister parishes that we are praying a lot for everyone.

We are concerned about the situation in the United States: New York, Chicago and Illinois.

Receive my cordial and fraternal greetings.

+ Julio Cabrera Ovalle.

Sunday, March 29, 2020 EXTRA 2:30 pm

At Saturday's Mass, I mentioned Casey Stengel, famous for saying "You could look it up." It appears that he got that expression from a James Thurber story with the same title as the expression. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 29, 2020 EXTRA 12:30 pm

I just went to the Johns Hopkins tally of COVID-19 cases and did a little math re China. Total confirmed cases: 82,122. Total recovered: 75,582. Total deaths: 3,304. Subtracting those who have recovered and those who have died, there are now 3,236 people in China currently suffering from the virus, which is a mere 4% of total cases. Total recovered is 92%. Total deceased is 4%. We keep in mind that a great part of those who have died in China were older men who smoked.

It will take a while before U.S. statistics look this way.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Please heed the request of the Metro East Interfaith Partnership:

The Metro East Interfaith Partnership steering committee in cooperation with religious leaders from all faith traditions is committed (wherever we may find ourselves at any time during the day tomorrow (Sunday, March 29, 2020) to pray for all affected by the Coronavirus be it victims or those essential personnel fighting the virus and supporting the rest of us.

Although we can’t be in the same sacred space together tomorrow, we ask that everyone's prayer focus be on healing and protection for those sick and gravely ill, and comfort for those persons and their families who have lost their battle to this deadly virus. Our prayers tomorrow are an important sign of our solidarity with those around the world as we all seek healing in prayer and continually practicing safe distancing, sheltering in place, and safe hygiene practices.

We urge you to join us in spending time tomorrow inviting divine intervention and wisdom in our hour of need.

O Creator: Heal us, heal our bodies, heal our world! May it be so! AMEN

Friday, March 27, 2020

To clarify the times for the live stream of Mass: Sunday will be at 8:30 am, reflecting the normal early Mass time, and Monday through Saturday will be at 8:00 am.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

I have changed the link to Mass for St. Jerome and St. James. See if this one works!

OK, live-streaming Mass appears to be a hit! We are going to stick with 8:00 am to keep it simple. If the live-stream time is not convenient for you, you can always view the recording.

It turns out that the funeral home for Charles Spicuzza is Kurrus, not Curtis.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

8:00 am Daily Mass at St. Jerome -- you may need to scroll down a bit

I have received word of the death of Carl Strom, a St. Jerome parishioner who moved to Mission, Texas, some time ago. Arrangements are pending.

Meanwhile, St. Jerome parishioner Charlie Spicuzza has died. A service will be held for him at the Curtis funeral home, 1773 Frank Scott Parkway, Belleville, on Friday at 12 noon; some family members will be present from 11 am. Burial at Mt. Carmel Cemetery.

The USCCB is asking all Christians to pray the Our Father together at 12 noon on Wednesday, March 25.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 EXTRA 12:45 pm

As promised, I am posting here the Mass intentions I am fulfilling at home:

2020 Mar 26 Thu: Special request
2020 Mar 27 Fri: Deceased members of the Bosen Family
2020 Mar 28 Sat: Evelyn Hoyle
2020 Mar 29 SUN: Pro Populo
2020 Mar 30 Mon: Richard Buecker
2020 Mar 31 Tue: Selda Reiss
2020 Apr 1 Wed: Ralph Vesci
2020 Apr 2 Thurs: Deceased members of the Reese Family
2020 Apr 3 Fri: Art Gremaud
2020 Apr 4 Sat: Pat and Joan Davis
2020 Apr 5 Sun: Pro Populo

I have taken a look at Pope Francis's Masses. At first I was startled by an image of the chapel in the Casa Santa Marta filled with people! Looking at today's Mass, I see that in fact there are congregants, widely dispersed, and responding to the normal Mass parts. There is an English voiceover/ interpreter as well.

The Diocese has provided an online hub which includes a number of live-streamed daily Masses around the Diocese.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 EXTRA 12:00 noon

We have the following from the Diocese:

To: All Priests
From: Very Reverend Christopher House, Chancellor
Date: March 23, 2020
Re: Masses and Confessions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Over the weekend, some questions were asked regarding the offering of Masses at this time and concerning the celebration of the sacrament of Reconciliation. As Bishop Paprocki has previously indicated, for the time being Masses are to be celebrated without a congregation present. Such Masses should be celebrated according to the Roman Missal, Third Typical Edition, using the section, “Order of Mass with the Participation of a Single Minister.” The General Instruction on the Roman Missal (nos. 252- 254) provides that the “single minister” may be a deacon or one of the faithful.

When offering a vigil Mass, as is normative, the Mass may not begin before 4:00PM. This norm applies to all livestreamed Vigil Masses.

Concerning the sacrament of Reconciliation, as mentioned in previous communication from Bishop Paprocki, you are asked to maintain individual opportunities for the celebration of Reconciliation if you are able to do so safely according to the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while also protecting privacy and the sacramental seal. Considering the concerns for privacy and the sacramental seal, priests are asked not to engage in the recent social phenomenon of “drive-thru confessions” at this time.

Due to concerns for proper health precautions and anxiety among some of the faithful, individual celebrations of Reconciliation may not be possible at this time. In light of this, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have provided pastoral guidance from the Apostolic Penitentiary at the Holy See.

First, “where the individual faithful find themselves in the painful impossibility of receiving sacramental absolution, it should be remembered that perfect contrition, coming from the love of God, beloved above all things, expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (that which the penitent is at present able to express) and accompanied by votum confessionis, that is, by the firm resolution to have recourse, as soon as possible, to sacramental confession, obtains forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones (cf. CCC, no. 1452).”

Second, “the gift of special Indulgences is granted to the faithful suffering from COVID-19 disease, commonly known as Coronavirus, as well as to health care workers, family members and all those who in any capacity, including through prayer, care for them.

• This is a time of suffering, especially for those who have contracted COVID-19. As such, it may be a time for us to ‘rediscover ‘the same redemptive suffering of Christ’ (Salvifici doloris, 30).’

• A Plenary indulgence is ‘granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father's intentions), as soon as possible.

• Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ (Jn 15: 13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.”

Please do not hesitate to email or call with any further questions concerning situations or needs in this extraordinary time. May the Lord richly bless you as you strive to bring God’s grace to the people under your pastoral care.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

I believe that it's far from polite to try to force one's personal tastes onto others, but now is a very good time to try classical music. Many people suppose that you have to "know" something about classical music in order to appreciate it, but in fact it's enjoyable in itself, without any need to "know" anything. There is a 24/7 classical service, Classical 24, which you can access through this link, or, if you have an HD radio, you can hear it on St. Louis Public Radio, HD3. FM 90.7, channel 3.

Monday, March 23, 2020

OK, so, what is an indulgence?

We cannot understand the concept of an "indulgence" without understanding the concept of "temporal punishment due to sin."

My first-grade teacher explained "temporal punishment" this way: Say you drive a nail into a wall -- not because you are going to hang a picture, but just because you like to drive nails into walls. (As a first-grader, I would have been driving nails too low for the hanging of pictures.) Driving the nail is the sin. So the removal of the nail is the forgiveness of the sin. BUT ... there's a hole in the wall, and the sinner must repair the damage caused by the sin. Hence all sinners have a built-in stock of "temporal punishment due to sin."

How do we "work off" this temporal punishment due to sin?

In the earliest days of the Church, the sins which could lead you to be excommunicated were sins which had become apparent to the Church community and which in fact disrupted the life of the community. These would be things like denying the Christian faith (apostasy), holding to an interpretation of Christian faith, which is peculiarly your own (heresy), or adultery. The sinner could expect to be expelled from the community to do penance, with fasting and demeaning oneself through the wearing of sackcloth and smearing with ashes. This time of penance could last several years before the Church readmitted the sinner to Holy Communion.

With time, and particularly with the Church becoming indistinguishable from civil society as a whole, we began to develop "indulgences." In other words, the Church was "indulging" sinners by reducing the sackcloth-and-ashes to specific pious acts.

European history was profoundly marked by controversy over indulgences. Some people took it upon themselves to sell indulgences for the construction of the current St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. In 1517, a German Augustinian monk named Martin Luther objected to this practice, by which people believed they were paroling their dead relatives from purgatory. There followed the Protestant Reformation.

In my view, living an authentic human life is quite sufficient for addressing "temporal punishment due to sin." In fact, following the formula of absolution when I am celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation with someone, there is the formula: "May the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and all the saints, whatever good you do and suffering you endure, heal your sins, help you to grow in holiness, and reward you with eternal life. Go in peace." So it seems to me that, in addition to doing the penance prescribed in the sacrament, "whatever good you do and suffering you endure" quite definitively addresses the matter of "temporal punishment due to sin."

To come back to the images of expulsion from the community and driving a nail into a wall, there is in fact much damage done to the human family by the sinfulness of all of us. We make reparation, not because of our fear of purgatory (which I will write about at another time), but because we want to be united with our Savior in truly repairing our world and all human relationships.

See some remarks of the great 20th-century theologian Karl Rahner on these matters.

Sunday, March 22, 2020 EXTRA 3:30 pm

I highly recommend this piece by Father James Martin S.J., editor of America magazine.

Also, Father Scott Snider of Vandalia is sharing video reflections on each day's Mass Scriptures.

Sunday, March 22, 2020 EXTRA 1:45 pm

OK, I actually preached to myself, and the result is here. For the readings, go here and click on the calendar.

And here is some advice on isolation from an International Space Station astronaut.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

By way of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, we have the Vatican Directive on Easter Celebrations.

It's Sunday! Is there a bulletin?

I work for a publisher in Quincy and the typesetter told me Thursday that many of their client parishes were stopping their bulletins. But not in our parishes! We are planning to make hard copies of the Sunday bulletin available to those who want to pick them up -- say, outside the office of the parishes. Otherwise, there is always the online PDF of our bulletin.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Thank you for stopping by. I want my parishioners to know, first of all, that, in accord with Bishop Paprocki's directive, I am celebrating Mass privately at home. In fact, I am fulfilling the intentions already published, as follows:

2020 Mar 19 Thu: Leon Hubert
2020 Mar 20 Fri: Sanctity of Human Life
2020 Mar 21 Sat: Valentine Buchmiller
2020 Mar 22 SUN: Pro Populo
2020 Mar 23 Mon: Marlene Krotz
2020 Mar 24 Tue: Kathy Gremaud
2020 Mar 25 Wed: Laureen Jennex

"Pro Populo" is Latin for "for the people"; it is the Mass for the people of the parishes which every pastor is obliged to celebrate on every Sunday and holy day.

Jodi will compile for me a schedule of Mass intentions going beyond those listed above, and I will post the Mass intentions here.

The Apostolic Penitentiary has issued a decree on plenary indulgences during this time of pandemic. Some of you may ask: "What's a plenary indulgence?" I'll answer that question shortly.

Friday, March 20, 2020, 12:45 pm

I am told that Illinois will soon be under a "shelter-in-place" order. I will not have confession hours. Liturgy Training Publications of the Archdiocese of Chicago offers a Daily Prayer which keeps us in sync with the liturgy.

Yesterday I celebrated my first private Mass. The intention was the one listed in the bulletin for that day: Leon Hubert. I intend to fulfill Mass intentions as I celebrate these private Masses. Sunday's intention is always "the people of the parishes."

You may find this information to be of interest. It's from yesterday's New York Times.

I see that the federal tax filing deadline has been bumped to July 15.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

As you are absorbing all of this stunning information about how we are to be church for a while, I invite you to ask yourself: How will prayer and worship remain in my daily routine? It's possible that we might offer streaming of my private Masses. In the meantime, I'd like to remind you that I podcast my Sunday homilies, and I may be podcasting some intermittent thoughts as well. Video of Masses at the St. Louis University St. Francis Xavier "College Church" are here on YouTube.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 EXTRA 10:15 am

I am rethinking the restrictions I published yesterday, believing that we must exercise more restrictions. My current model is the Diocese of Wichita. More directions will be coming soon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

We all need to chill. Please see this CDC page on managing stress and anxiety.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 EXTRA 1:30 pm

OFFICIAL FROM FR. KEVIN

Effective immediately, no weekday Masses.

[Editor's note: The following, in italics, never took effect.]

Weekend:

Sat. 11:00 am - 1:00 pm Confessions at St. Jerome
Sat. 1:30 - 3:30 pm Confessions at St. James
Sat. 4:00 pm Mass at St. James
Sat. 5:00 - 6:30 pm Fr. Kevin will distribute Communion to those who come to church

Sun. 8:30 am Mass at St. Jerome
Sun. 9:30 - 11:00 am Fr. Kevin will distribute Communion to those who come to church

Tue. (Beginning today!) 6:00 - 8:00 pm Confessions at St. Jerome [Editor's note: This evening confession opportunity occurred only once: Tuesday, March 17.

EVERYTHING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 EXTRA 11:00 am

The Madison County Health Department is recommending the CDC website.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

On Monday I attended a meeting of the Presbyteral Council. Today I will hold a staff meeting. After that, I will have quite a bit to tell you.

Monday, March 16, 2020

There is a Wikipedia page, Coronavirus pandemic in Illinois.

Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Map | The Curve (New York Times) | Spiritual Communion

Sunday, March 15, 2020 EXTRA 12 noon

Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Map | The Curve (New York Times) | Spiritual Communion

We have cancelled the 50-Plus potluck scheduled for tomorrow. Tonight's 8 pm holy hour is on. PFF is cancelled. We are still planning to hold the Lenten Speaker Series. [Editor's note: It was in fact cancelled.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Map

Official from the diocese:

Update for March 14

Dispensations:

Bishop Paprocki has announced, effective today, March 14, 2020, that all Catholics within the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois are dispensed from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further notice.

Bishop Paprocki and the parishes of the diocese remain committed to making Masses and the sacraments available and safe, with precautions previously announced. Catholic faithful who are well are encouraged, but not obligated, during this time to continue to attend Mass.

Those who do not attend Mass are strongly encouraged to replace that time with prayer and devotion, study the scripture readings which can be found here, watch the mass on EWTN or online, and make a spiritual communion in lieu of reception of the Blessed Sacrament, pray the rosary, and to pray this particular prayer for the Coronavirus situation in our country.

These actions are taken as reasonable and responsible measures to help prevent the Coronavirus from becoming a threat in our communities while continuing to offer the sacraments to the faithful. During this time, we trust in the loving providence of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the intercession of our Blessed Mother.

Saturday, March 14, 2020 EXTRA

Official from the diocese:

Update for March 13

The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois issued the following updates regarding Masses, parishes, and schools under its jurisdiction in regard to the Coronavirus:

Schools:

Following Governor Pritzker's directive to the entire state of Illinois to close all schools in light of coronavirus concerns, all Catholic schools under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois will be closed beginning Monday, March 16, through Monday, March 30. This includes the cancelation of all extra-curricular activities, social events, and other school-related gatherings. Teachers will work on plans for remote learning opportunities. Schools will also use the opportunity while closed to disinfect their buildings.

Confirmations:

Confirmations are still on but check with your parish for updates.

Parish Activities:

Anything associated with a school or children’s faith formation is cancelled. Adult formation is at the discretion of the pastor at this point, as long as those activities do not have over 250 people at the event.

Masses:

We will continue to offer Masses and the sacraments throughout our diocese, because it is the Church’s duty and mission to make God’s grace available through the sacraments for the faithful.

In addition to the preventative measures for which the diocese has already given guidance, everyone is encouraged to assess their health status. Those who are sick or feel their health is compromised are not obliged to attend Mass and should remain home.

In keeping with the Governor's request, we have communicated to our pastors to add an additional Mass if they expect a Mass having more than 250 people in attendance. Parishes are following similar guidance as it relates to other parish activities with larger crowds. Given the relatively smaller size of the parishes in our diocese, our Mass congregations are typically under 250 people.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

This page from the Illinois Department of Public Health is helpful.

To summarize what I know about church-related matters: I will have confessions and Mass this weekend. The St. James trivia night has been cancelled. The Archdiocese of Chicago (Cook and Lake Counties, Illinois) has cancelled all Masses, schools and other activities until further notice; churches there are open for private prayer. The Diocese of Wichita has given a dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation. As yet, we do not have such a dispensation, although I urge my parishioners to make their own decisions in this regard. Each of us has a conscience and if it is not right to put oneself at risk, one must not come to Mass.

Friday, March 13, 2020 EXTRA:

I recommend this interactive chart which demonstrates that aggressive measures now will allow for a manageable near future.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Yesterday I informed the St. Jerome staff: "After some consultation and weighing of various factors, I have decided to suspend Communion from the common chalice for the weekends of March 14-15 and March 21-22. After that time, with evaluation of the local situation, I will decide how to proceed.

"I watch the statistics on a Johns Hopkins web page, and apparently the spread of the virus here is slow. But I am also considering two factors: 1) the lag in testing of individuals, with the resultant effect on statistics; 2) the fact that one can be a symptom-free carrier and spread the virus for a number of days. I recognize that communicating the virus through the common chalice is 'unlikely,' but at this point, 'unlikely' is insufficient odds, in my estimation.

"For what it's worth: the models of the coronavirus which we see on TV are kind of pretty. We should make those models into pinatas, so as to 'beat' the virus!"

We have also received further direction from the Diocese (Msgr. Dave Hoefler, Vicar General):

"In keeping with the Governor's request to limit events of over 250 people, we are asking pastors to add an additional Mass if they expect a Mass having more than 250 people. We understand this may be a hardship and remind you that it may be a simple Mass without music and with an abbreviated homily. It appears that we should plan on this until May 1, 2020. Also, if you are in a position to have to do this, please feel free to reach out to me for help with logistics or possible coverage.

"Please also remind your faithful that if they are sick or if their health is compromised in a way that makes them more vulnerable to a virus they are not obligated to attend Mass and they should stay home.

"If you are outside the diocese you are to return home. We are asking all of you, during this time, to remain in the diocese. This is partly due to the potential for a domestic flight ban."

Also, some further directives:

"Since the beginning of 2020, the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has been monitoring developments regarding the Coronavirus, including guidance and information from the Centers for Disease Control, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and other government agencies. We have and will continue to evaluate the practices of our shared faith life across the diocese. Following up on the determinations regarding 'Liturgical Celebrations and Public Health Concerns' that were sent to all priests and deacons of our diocese on February 28, 2020, we have decided to provide the following additional clarifications and guidance regarding precautionary efforts to contain the spread of the virus in parishes, schools, and other institutions:

"• People should not hold hands while praying the 'Our Father' at Mass.

"• The Sign of Peace should be exchanged without any physical contact, for example, by turning to those who are nearest and saying, 'Peace be with you,' with a bow of the head towards them.

"• Regarding the distribution and reception of Holy Communion:

"o For the time being, it is recommended that distribution of the Precious Blood via the chalice be suspended. Offering the Precious Blood to all the faithful at every Mass is not required. It is up to the local Pastor or Parochial Administrator to determine whether or not to offer the chalice with the Precious Blood at any given celebration of the Mass in that parish. Reception via the chalice is optional at all Masses, as our Lord is fully present in both species. It is advisable to remind the faithful of this at Masses.

"o Those who wish to receive on the tongue, which is very sanitary when done properly, should stand still and stick out their tongue and the minster will place the host properly without coming into contact.

"o Likewise, those who receive in the hand, should make sure that the hands are open flat so that the host may be placed in the hand without making contact.

"• The clergy may consider refraining from shaking hands in greeting crowds after masses and other settings in which it is not possible to practice proper hand-washing and hygienic prevention.

"• Those presenting themselves in the communion line and not receiving the Blessed Sacrament should be invited to make a spiritual communion without any physical contact by the minister.

"• Maintenance staff in parishes, schools, and other church buildings will be taking extra precautions to clean and sanitize surfaces, door handles, etc.

"• Catholic Hospitals and Catholic nursing homes with private chapels will be responsible for deciding whether to continue offering public masses.

"• All ministers and employees of the church as well as all the lay faithful are encouraged to follow the basic precautionary guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control to avoid the spread of illness.

"• Meetings, classes, gatherings, and events may continue as scheduled for now, at the discretion of local leadership and with careful application of the CDC guidelines noted above.

"• Further, and with the essential mission and ministry of the Church in mind, the Diocese is calling for the faithful to devote the remaining Lenten Friday fasts for the special intention of healing for those affected by the Coronavirus and for the cease of its spread.

"The Diocese will continue to monitor developments and provide further guidance as needed."

Thursday, March 12, 2020

At the priests' overnight which I just attended, I heard the announcement that we as a diocese are going to transition from ACSA to the tithe over a three-year period. Soon I will have details about interactions between diocesan personnel and parish leadership as we work on our spirituality of discipleship and stewardship.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

OK, so we're officially experiencing a global pandemic. The parish staff keeps discussing the risks and the precautions we can take. Again, we ask all to refrain from handshaking at Mass. No one is required to receive Communion from the chalice. You might think twice about receiving Communion on the tongue. We can gain some perspective from this resource which I provided below, March 3. We do have to consider that it is possible to be a symptom-free carrier for a number of days.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

What's this comic strip I keep talking about? It's Mafalda, from Argentina, which ran from 1963 to 1974. I got to know it in translated reruns in the Rome newspaper Il Messaggero. It exists in English as Mafalda and Friends, but I have only one volume out of perhaps twelve. I do have the entire run of the strip in Spanish and Italian.

Monday, March 9, 2020

A show of paintings and drawings by Raffaello Sanzio, 1483-1520, is opening in Rome. Not that this is the best time to visit Italy. Details here.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

FASCINATING story on youth who do not have Wi-Fi because they live near a radiotelescope.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

For that matter, there are also First Saturday devotions to be explained.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Why do Catholics do special things on the first Friday of the month? Here is a resource explaining the First Friday Devotion.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Don't forget the Metro East Interfaith Partnership. I am in a steering committee meeting right now and there are events being planned for April, June, and August.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Here is a report on the shaping of customs in places of worship as the coronavirus threat looms.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

If you are interested in monitoring the spread of the coronavirus, here are some suggestions from Fast Company:

"Johns Hopkins CSSE: We highlighted this online dashboard and interactive map back in January, but it’s still one of the best out there, including regularly updated data on new cases, death counts, and recoveries. Find it here.

"Esri: The team at Esri’s StoryMaps (with support from Johns Hopkins) put together a series of maps and data that put the virus in perspective, including animated maps showing the early spread of the virus and how it progressed. The data is updated daily. Find it here.

"Kaiser Family Foundation: This group put together a 'COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker,' which includes a map and interactive infographics that let you see new cases in each country. The tracking tool is regularly updated and uses data from the World Health Organization. Find it here.

"CDC: The maps and graphics on the CDC’s dedicated COVID-19 section are not as dynamic as some of the others above, but the section includes a wealth of information about affected countries, virus protection, symptoms, travel risks, and regularly updated case counts. Find it here."

Monday, March 2, 2020

If you wish to stay current on what is happening, and what ought to happen, in the Catholic Church, an excellent starting point is to familiarize yourself with Massimo Faggioli, a prolific theologian who is especially well versed in the Second Vatican Council.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Wondering about the new revelations regarding the late Jean Vanier? I recommend a piece by Michael Higgins in Commonweal.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The talk I gave Thursday evening on the Second Vatican Council has been uploaded and appears on the top of my Sunday Homilies page.

How are you observing leap day? Are you inclined to brush up on your understanding for the need of such "intercalary" days? As is so often the case, Wikipedia comes in handy.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Again, my apologies for not attending to this page on a daily basis.

If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you will find links to various Catholic news sources which I recommend.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

What do you know about St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-74), whose memorial was January 28 (sorry)? You may know that he wrote and wrote, and we cannot overlook the fact that he lived to be only 49 years old. His Summa Theologica has been considered the apex of Catholic theological thought, but, in fact, his "scholastic method" is far from satisfactory, and he must be considered as one great voice in ongoing theological history. He was comprehensive, and therefore this work of his maintains an attraction as a great example of attempting to address all theological questions.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

I trust that you are looking forward to the St. Jerome & St. James "Lenten Speaker Series." I will be leading off with "Vatican II: The Positive Council" at 6:45 pm on Thursday, February 27 (the day after Ash Wednesday) at St. James, 305 Washington Street, St. Jacob. Here is an online resource which you may find helpful in coming to understand Vatican II: Vatican II Voice, a British site dedicated to continuous study of the Council and its call for renewal.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Wikipedia now has six million articles in English! For years now, I have found Wikipedia to be an invaluable resource, and a lot of fun. Wikipedia is determined never to accept advertising. It is worth supporting financially, as I do monthly with an automatic transfer from my checking account. The management of Wikipedia says that 98% of users do not contribute. I like to think that contributions to Wikipedia are helping bright kids in isolated places where books are scarce.

Friday, January 24, 2020

I'm sorry to be so lax in presenting resources here. Recently someone was discussing with me the electronic option for receiving Catholic Times -- my own preferred way of getting it. All you have to do is visit Catholic Times Go Green.

Friday, Dec 13, 2019

My next Catholic Times column will be on the theologian Johann Baptist Metz, who died on December 2. See his New York Times obituary.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Is intelligence overrated? Emotional Intelligence is in fact what we want more of! Daniel Goleman's 1995 book answers many questions nagging at us, as we ask, "Why can't people collaborate successfully -- or just get along?"

Friday, October 11, 2019

Today is the memorial of St. John XXIII, who on this day in 1962 opened the Second Vatican Council. See the my 1992 speech on Pope John and the Council.

U.S. Bishops' 2019 Labor Day Statement

Monday, September 9, 2019

I'd like to share a secret. This link takes you to an online archive of Catholic Times issues from 2015. Unfortunately, approximately the first 44 issues in the collection are, on their individual links, undated.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Here is a discussion, from Psychology Today, on misconceptions about clergy sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

END-OF-LIFE ISSUES. The Illinois Conference of Churches has created a resource on what we all have to work through when we ourselves, or people close to us, approach death. Go to the Illinois Conference of Churches, hover over "End-of-Life Issues," and find the menu of resources.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Sister Helen Prejean has a new memoir, River of Fire. I have not read it yet, but it appears to be a must-read. She is forthright about the numerous conversions she has experienced. Read about it here.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Here is a report on a priest in El Paso and what he has experienced in attending to grieving families.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Read the biography of Father Augustus Tolton written by the late Father Roy Bauer of our diocese.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, quoted in The New York Times:

“In the last several months, the borderlands have shown the world that generosity, compassion and human dignity are more powerful than the forces of division. The great sickness of our time is that we have forgotten how to be compassionate, generous and humane. Everything is competition. Everything is greed. Everything is cold. Tenderness and the love that knows no borders are crucified in a whirlwind of deadly self-seeking, fear and vindictiveness.”

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

We all must be aware of the International Catholic Migration Commission, based in Geneva, with a U.S. office in Boston.

Monday, July 29, 2019

It was on this day in 1853 that our diocese, the first suffragan of Chicago, was established by Blessed Pius IX, as the southernmost 56 counties in Illinois, and designated the Diocese of Quincy. In 1857 the see was transferred to Alton. In 1887 the southernmost 28 counties were designated as the Diocese of Belleville. In 1923 the see was transferred to Springfield, and the diocese became known as the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois (Dioecesis Campifontis in Illinois), because a Diocese of Springfield -- in Massachusetts -- already existed.

Monday, July 22, 2019

We remember that Pope Francis recently upgraded St. Mary Magdalene's celebration on this date from a memorial to a feast. In fact, there is a writing on the Vatican site about Mary Magdalene's role as "apostle of the apostles" in witnessing Jesus' resurrection.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

I guess I still have not written anything about my "Sunday Homilies" podcasts. Podcasting was invented in 2004, and in 2005, my dear lifelong friend Brian Noe got me set up in podcasting. My Sunday homilies reside on a site with recordings dating back to 2005. You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes. I generally wait until I have about four weeks' worth of homilies before I upload them. I usually record the homily at my Sunday 8:30 am Mass, since that is the third of four times I give the homily and I trust that by then I really know what I want to say.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

On this 50th anniversary of the first moon walk, you may find interesting this account of the religious ceremony conducted by Buzz Aldrin within the lunar module Eagle at Tranquility Base: Joanna Moorhead in The Tablet: Communion on the Moon.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Another Catholic news source: La Croix International, which began publishing in English a couple of years ago. For $3.90 per month, I get a daily email with links to the latest stories. La Croix is based in France and gives an international perspective on the Church.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

In the August 4 bulletin, you will find a column on the Vatican's efforts to "go green." That column refers to Laudato Si', the 2015 encyclical of Pope Francis on care for our common home, the earth.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Our diocesan site has changed numerous times, and I don't feel especially well qualified to give anybody a tour. Perhaps the most helpful thing you can access is the Diocesan Directory.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

You can find many, many Bibles online. What I would call our "official" Bible site is at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The USCCB holds the copyright on The New American Bible, Revised Edition, the translation used at Mass. You can look up Lectionary readings day by day, peruse the Bible proper, and get podcasts of each day's readings.

Monday, July 15, 2019

I'd like to bring to your attention some helpful materials on basic emotional health. I call them my essays on feelings and the Dr. Margarett Schlientz Notes. When you look at my essays on feelings, be sure to follow the links to anger, fear, and love!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Back to the topic of good things I do not read: Everyone should be familiar with The National Catholic Reporter of Kansas City. I am not a regular reader because some years ago, I found that reading it just got me depressed. It is an excellent source for news of the Church in the United States.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Do you want to explore the worldwide structure of the Catholic Church? One good source is GCatholic.org, with its list of national conferences of bishops. You can drill down from national conferences to individual dioceses and then to individual parishes. You will also find catholic-hierarchy.org to be quite helpful. There is also an extensive discussion of national conferences of bishops at Wikipedia.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Religion, Politics, Culture. You have been hearing a lot about the magazine Commonweal lately. This venerable Catholic magazine, published in New York by lay Catholics, is approaching its 100th anniversary. We have a Commonweal Local Community (discussion group) which tackles tough topics with the help of Commonweal's very thoughtful articles. This publication has been appearing 20 times a year. Beginning in September, the magazine will begin an 11-issues-a-year schedule. Click here to take advantage of a special offer: one year of Commonweal for $9.95.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

I have just read a gem of an article in The Atlantic. Entitled "Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think," this piece by Arthur C. Brooks is essential reading for all of us as we seek to negotiate the inevitable changes coming with aging. We must learn how to understand the meaning of our lives in light of hard-won wisdom and new opportunities for service. Read it here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Our parishes need someone who can serve as an advocate for people presenting petitions to our diocesan tribunal for possible declarations of nullity of past marriages and establishment of freedom to enter a new marriage in the Catholic Church. You can learn the broad strokes of this Church judicial process by consulting the FAQs, the description of the defective-consent process, and a Catholic Times story from 2007 on the Church's tribunal processes. All of these are on our diocesan site. Or just contact me.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

On this day in 1897, Father Augustus Tolton died in Chicago of heat stroke at age 43. Earlier, I posted a link to Fr. Tolton's Wikipedia page. You might also enjoy the material found on the Archdiocese of Chicago site. Fr. Tolton's cause for canonization began in Chicago, where he died. Fr. Tolton served for eight years in Chicago, after three years in Quincy.

Monday, July 8, 2019

In 1992 I gave a speech, before an interfaith audience, about the Second Vatican Council. I find that this speech has held up well as the years and decades have passed. You can read it here: Father Kevin Laughery on Vatican II.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Christian unity is a mandate for all Christians. There is only one Jesus; therefore there can be only one Christianity, and all of us must strive to see to it that the Christian people enjoy the unity which Jesus intends for his people. The World Council of Churches is the international focus for seeking this unity. You may find it interesting to review the Council's efforts to establish a common Easter Day for Christians of the East and West.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

For nearly 40 years, I have been reading The Tablet, the international Catholic weekly published in London. Take a peek at the site and see how this publication embraces the entire world of Catholicism.

Friday, July 5, 2019

The Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, have a rich history, and they continue to make history. They remind us to care for the earth and to practice justice. Dominicans are the "Order of Preachers."

Thursday, July 4, 2019

On this Independence Day, we might want to look into the history of the Catholic Church in the United States. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops provides a timeline of their organization from 1917 to 2017, as well as a general history of Catholics in the U.S. We must consider the life of the Venerable Augustus Tolton, priest of our diocese, to be a microcosm of the struggles of our Church and nation.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

It is important that we know our way around the Vatican website. Resources in English are gradually being added. People who read and speak English can go to the link at the end of this paragraph. What will we find? First, all things relating to Pope Francis. Second, the entire series of "Supreme Pontiffs" -- the links being the round mosaic portraits of each pope as they appear in the interior of the Roman Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Third, "Liturgical Celebrations, Roman Curia, Other Offices, Resource Library" -- of which the Resource Library is of particular importance. Fourth, a variety of Vatican-related things, including "Abuse of Minors: The Church's Response." Start exploring!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

John Henry Newman will be canonized on October 13! This is not St. John Neumann, for whom the school is named. Regular visitors will pick up on the fact that I am a Wikipedia fan. You can read up on both saints: St. John Neumann; Blessed John Henry Newman.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Back to Scripture: You may be interested in a resource which I started working on even before I ever got online. Back in 1993, it occurred to me that text files of the readings assigned for Mass each day would be very helpful to me and others, year after year. So I recommend to you my own web pages of liturgical calendars, which are easily copied and can be kept in the Bible you are reading.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

We may wonder how we Catholic Christians are to keep up with all the news of the Church throughout the world. I have recommendations. In keeping with the idea that this daily entry will focus on one online source at a time, I will give you a variety of good news sources, but spread across the days and weeks.

It seems to make sense to me to ask my parishioners to read things I do not necessarily read. And I may as well start with the magazine America. I have not read this publication in many years, but I do recommend it, not least because of the leadership of Father James Martin, S.J., an outstanding voice for the Catholic Church both in the U.S. and worldwide.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The first thing which you and I need to immerse ourselves in is THE WORD OF GOD -- that is to say, the Bible, Sacred Scripture. It is important for us to prepare for Sunday Mass by reflecting in advance upon the upcoming Sunday Scriptures. One great help to us is the daily lectionary feature on the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Friday, June 28, 2019

You have been told about the event being held at the Highland K of C on Tuesday, July 16, 10:30 am to 2:30 pm, regarding the experiences of people of the Springfield and Belleville Dioceses who have traveled to sister parishes in Guatemala. Lunch is free but you need to RSVP. There will also be information on a projected Guatemala trip in 2020. More info. I have been to Guatemala three times myself.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

I am glad you are back here, and I am glad to be able now to provide you, on a quite frequent basis, with online resources which will help us all as we live our Catholic Christian faith in Jesus.

We can never forget our responsibility to establish justice within our human family. We rightly question whether justice is being done in many spheres of human activity. If you are wondering about the southern border of the United States, I recommend this compilation of ways to help. It may well be that contacts at our national bishops' conference will be useful.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

It has taken me some time to get myself oriented toward updating this page myself. I am happy to be back in this "corner," which in fact is expansive and allows us to explore our "big small world" of faith.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Dear parishioners and all who are interested,

I want to address “all who are interested.” Traditionally in Catholic documents, we have spoken of “people of good will” — that is to say, people who, though not officially Catholic Christians, are united with Catholic Christians in seeking what is good and true and incorporating this goodness and truth in their lives.

We Catholic Christians are called to promote and celebrate what people of various points of view have in common. We believe that, when we establish and rejoice in what diverse people have in common, we can be a gift to one another and can promote deeper justice and peace in the lives of all of us.

So I am stretching my imagination now. When I started a personal website in 1996, I imagined the web to be, in a sense, the ultimate “bulletin board.” Anyone in the world could, potentially, look at a given website and receive direction from it. Of course, if we think that we are “giving” direction, we must also have the humility to “receive” direction.

It is necessary that we be aware of the efforts of diverse people coming together to seek the true and the good. I have been fortunate, over the last thirty-plus years, to be involved in organizations promoting harmony among people of differing religious heritages. Within the household of Christianity, the Illinois Conference of Churches is the official ecumenical body in our state; I currently serve on its Leadership Team. When I lived in the Springfield area, I greatly enjoyed activity in the Greater Springfield Interfaith Association. Currently I am on the steering committee of the Metro East Interfaith Partnership.

Christians profess a personal bond with Jesus of Nazareth. The word personal is extremely important to appreciate, as it helps to explain our devotion to the Son of God who lovingly saw fit to unite himself with humanity by becoming human himself.

Fr. Kevin