Members of the Missouri House of Representative’s Children, Families and Disabilities Committee listened to testimony on Jan. 22 concerning HB 87 dealing with benevolent tax credits. The legislation, proposed by Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Greene County), would restore some of these tax credits that expired on Aug. 28, 2012.
The theme for the 2013 observance of National Catholic Schools Week is “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.” The annual week-long event starts the last Sunday in January and runs Jan. 27 to Feb. 2 this year. Schools typically celebrate Catholic Schools Week with Masses, open houses, and various other fun-filled activities for students, families, parishioners, and the community at large. All of the diocesan Catholic schools in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau have a host of activities planned. Read more
“The ‘Year of Faith’ presents a unique opportunity that we might open ourselves up to a deeper encounter with the person of Jesus Christ and rediscover the joy and enthusiasm of believing,” Bp. James V. Johnston says in a letter issued to the faithful of the Diocese
October 4, 2012
Feast of St. Francis of Assisi
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This week our diocese, along with Catholic dioceses all over the world, begins a “Year of Faith,” called for by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. This special year for the Church which begins on Oct. 11, will conclude on Nov. 24, 2013, the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King. The Year of Faith coincides with the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Second Vatican Council in 1962 and the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992.
The purpose of my letter to you is threefold: to summarize the purpose of the Year of Faith, to explain some of the opportunities this year presents to each of us, and to suggest some specific ways I would like for us to respond individually, in our parishes, and in the diocese.
“The Year of Faith is intended to contribute to a renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus and to the rediscovery of faith, so that the members of the Church will be credible and joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Lord in the world of today—capable of leading those many people who are seeking it to the ‘door of faith’” (CDF note, 13). This journey of faith begins for each of us when we pass through “the door” of baptism, by which we can call God our Father. This journey lasts a lifetime, concluding when we pass through “the door” of death to eternal life, the fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. In between we encounter Jesus, who teaches us how to live as sons and daughters of God and as citizens of the kingdom of God. In this sense, the Year of Faith is meant to strengthen our faith along the current part of our journey, and to prepare us to help those who will come after us. “The question posed by [Jesus’] listeners is the same that we ask today: ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ (Jn 6:28). We know Jesus’ reply: ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent’ (Jn 6:29). Belief in Jesus Christ, then, is the way to arrive definitively at salvation” (PF, 3). Read more
On Aug. 18, Bp. James V. Johnston and the community of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Cape Girardeau, blessed and dedicated 11 classrooms in St. Vincent de Paul Grade School, a music room, a new cafeteria and kitchen, a large tornado resistant corridor, selected renovation and seismic retrofit of the older areas of the school—including handicapped accessibility, an extra parking area, and entrance canopies. Additionally, air conditioning was added to the DePaul Center gym.
“As we celebrate the joyful dedication of our new facilities, parishioners and friends of St. Vincent de Paul Parish are to be commended for their vision, financial support, and prayers in making our parish expansion a reality,” said Fr. David Hulshof, pastor. “We have been on a five-year journey and I express my sincere gratitude and thanks for the efforts of so many!”
Discussions involving parish expansion started in 2007 and a capital campaign officially began in October 2010 to meet the estimated cost of the $4,150,000 project undertaken by Columbia Construction.
Now that the US Supreme Court has upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) it is urgent that Gov. Nixon protect the religious liberties of Missouri citizens by signing into law SB 749. The Court’s ruling in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius did not consider the constitutionality of the HHS mandate, which requires health plans to cover abortion drugs, contraceptives and sterilizations. For now that mandate remains law even though it likely runs afoul of the religious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.
In response to the HHS mandate, the Missouri General Assembly this year overwhelmingly passed SB 749. This bill declares that people cannot be compelled to buy insurance policies that include coverage for abortion, contraceptives or sterilizations when this violates their moral or religious beliefs. SB 749 will allow the state of Missouri to defend its citizens in federal court from government infringements on religious liberty. As Gov. Nixon ponders the ACA ruling and whether to sign SB 749, the Missouri Catholic Conference offers the following for prayerful consideration:
Reasons Why Governor Nixon Should Sign SB 749:
–The HHS mandate is still in place after the Supreme Court decision.
–Now more than ever religious liberty is in jeopardy. Citizens have a First Amendment right to religious liberty. SB 749 helps Missourians exercise that right.
–The HHS mandate goes into effect on August 1, 2012. SB 749 goes into effect immediately once Gov. Nixon signs it. He must sign the bill now!
–People of faith and all taxpayers can have their day in court and be represented by the Missouri attorney general, once SB 749 becomes the law.
–The federal government has just gone too far. SB 749 will help citizens be protected from future government overreach.
–SB 749 makes sure insurance companies can no longer discriminate against churches and families who want to buy insurance policies that are consistent with their religious beliefs.
–Under SB 749, Missouri workers covered under group health plans can remove abortion from their insurance–even if their bosses purchased such coverage without their knowledge, forcing them to pay for it.
–By signing SB 749, Gov. Nixon can be consistent with his declared position opposing the individual mandate, which forces people to buy health insurance against their will; in this case the governor can ensure that people are not forced to pay for abortion drugs in their health plans when this violates their religious beliefs.
–Other states will look to Missouri and SB 749 as a model of how to protect religious liberty.
It appears that the recent Supreme Court decision changed nothing regarding our primary concerns as Catholics. The Affordable Care Act would allow the use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions and for plans that cover such abortions, contradicting long-standing federal policy. It also fails to provide essential conscience protection for individuals and religious communities. Among the ways the pending legislation allows the government to infringe on religious freedom and individual conscience is the Health and Human Services mandate which forces religious and other employers to cover sterilization and contraception, including abortion-causing drugs. The law purports to define religion and what is to be considered religious activity. Further, it does so in such a narrow way as to exclude many Church entities from the exemption from the mandate.
Gov. Jay Nixon must act now to protect the rights of individuals and Churches by signing the Missouri religious liberty bill, SB 749. It’s important that we contact him at 1-573-751-3222 and urge him to do so. We ask him to sign this bill so that employers and employees are not forced to pay for abortions or contraceptives in their health insurance plans for Missouri.
Bishop James V. Johnston
Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau
Beginning mid-May, a week full of commemorative events helped the people of Joplin and the world remember and honor the events of May 22, 2011. A year after a devastating tornado ripped through the southwest Missouri town citizens continue to rebuild their lives and their community.
A variety of events, ranging from a half-marathon to a presidential address at Joplin High School’s commencement, were planned around the May 22 anniversary of the 2011 Joplin tornado. There were many moments that were specific to the Catholic community in Joplin in honor of the loss of St. Mary Catholic Church and School and all those affected by the storm in the parishes of St. Mary and St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Churches. Read more
Trinity Hills hosted a Mother Daughter Program on April 22, 2012 that explored God’s special gift of human fertility and the beauty and wonder of God’s plan for growing up and becoming a woman. Around 50 people participated in the event which Christine Lund-Molfese organized for mothers and daughters in the area. The event was sponsored by the diocesan Office Of Social Ministry, Evangelization and Formation.
“Delicate topics were discussed in a sensitive manner, putting all at ease,” Lund-Molfese said. “Respect, good manners, and courtesy were discussed. During the tea time, mothers and daughters snacked on delicate appetizers such as mini cheesecakes, chicken salad and crackers, fruit salad, and of course gummi bears and M&Ms.”
Additional Mother and Daughter Teas are slated for Sun., July 29, for 13- to 16-year-old young women and their mothers (or other significant female); another on Sun., Sept. 23, for 10- to 12-year-old girls and their mothers.
For the event, Natural Family Planning teachers as well as others came and spoke to mothers and daughters about the journey to womanhood. Patty Straus, Diocesan NFP coordinator, spoke on the beauty and wonder of God’s plan for growing up, and Shelly Pichler, mother of five and member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Springfield, delivered a talk titled “All in God’s Plan,” the focus of which was physical and emotional changes girls go through on the journey to womanhood. Kate Sisney, a high school student, spoke to “When I Was Your Age,” encouraging the girls from the perspective of a young woman who has been through what many of participants are just beginning. Jill Sisney gave a talk on “Being a Mother,” which encouraged the moms in the audience from a mother’s perspective. Lund-Molfese’s topic was, “It’s Great to Be a Girl!”
Elsa Brandel, parishioner of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, heard about the tea and was interested in bringing her daughters, Eileen, 11 years old, and Ana Marie, 9 years old. She had reservations at first, concerned that the girls were too young and worried about how the information would be presented.
“I was very pleased with the event,” Brandel said. “It was beautifully done; the presenters were very nice and so knowledgeable. It was very easy to understand for everyone. I would take them in the future to another event to refresh them with this information.”
Being interested in pro-life events, Lilith Lund from Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Branson, MO, decided to take her daughter to the tea. She and her daughter, Disa, were “very excited because I had heard of similar programs, sharing God’s plan for growing as a woman, from friends, and how much it had helped those mothers and daughters talk about sensitive or awkward issues.”
Disa said, “I was excited to be with my mom, and nervous at the same time.”
“The talks were reverent, fun, and inspirational, and conveyed with joy and sincerity,” Lund said. “I loved young Kate Sisney’s talk the most, although they were all great. She talked about the chrysalis developing into a butterfly, and opened up the mystery and hopeful expectations we are having as we grow up. There were slide shows, with music, showing mothers and daughters, including our pictures they had taken of us together when we arrived. That made us feel we belonged to the group and closer in our bond to each other.”
“I did enjoy it, and my mom did, too!” Disa said. “It was fun, and I think others should go!”
“Our goal is to foster communication between mothers and daughters during this very important time in their lives,” Lund-Molfese said. “We don’t do ‘sex ed.’ What we do is present appreciation of the gift of being a girl. We also encourage the girls that they are beautiful during a time in their lives when they may not feel so sure about this.”
Sixteen years ago, Lund-Molfese served in the Office of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Rockford, IL. In that capacity, she coordinated several Mother Daughter Teas and gave chastity talks to hundreds of middle school and high school students. The April event was the first one of its kind in the Springfield area, but as mentioned above, they are planning similar teas in July and September. For more information, contact Christine Lund-Molfese at (417) 753-7758, or check out the “Upcoming Events” section of the Trinity Hills Web site: www.thills.org, or local church bulletins.
Most Rev. James V. Johnston, Jr., DD, JCL
Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau
St. Louis Prayer Breakfast
May 24, 2012
Click here for the video
I am honored to have been invited by Abp. Carlson and Legatus to address you this morning. I thank all of you for the love you have for Christ and his Church.
You may know that before I ventured off to seminary, I worked for several years as an engineer. One of my sisters, who works in marketing for Alcoa, sent me this little story several years ago: Read more