The Annual St. Mary’s Chicken Dinner is always a great way to launch the summer! Bishop Edward M. Rice and many others joined pastor Fr. Shoby Chettiyath and parishioners as they served up some 1,300 meals and netted some $7,000 for parish needs!
Sunday morning homily
Diocesan Youth Conference, West Plains, MO, March 26, 2017
Awhile back, someone sent me an article about “youth ministry.” It was written by a young woman, now married, who was reflecting back on the experience of her high school youth group. It wasn’t good. Read more
Youth of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau were challenged to pick the “right way” to “travel” toward eternal salvation during the 24th annual Diocesan Youth Conference March 25-26 in West Plains. Tying-in with the theme “Through the Narrow Gate,” based on Matthew 7:13, presenters at the conference provided the attendees with valuable insights and counsel on how to navigate through the journey of life in ways that lead to true sanctity. Read more
Saturday morning presentation
Diocesan Youth Conference, March 25, 2017
As we contemplate the theme of our gathering, “The Narrow Road” I think it is important to sort of define what we are talking about. Now each speaker will do their part to shed light on the theme, but overall, with the different paths people can take, there are consequences. There is the “easy” way, the “whatever” way, the “my” way and the “narrow” way. Read more
‘Driver’s Ed’ for Faith
Saturday, March 25, 2017, Diocesan Youth Conference
The theme for this weekend is “the narrow gate.” It implies that there are a variety of roads that lead to a variety of places. There is the “easy” road, there is “my” road, there is the “whatever” road and there is the “narrow” road. And each of them leads to a different location. Read more
More than 300 high-school youth from across southern Missouri turned out for the 22nd Annual Diocesan Youth Conference held March 27-29 in West Plains, MO. The conference placed emphasis on the diocesan mission of “loving Jesus, serving Jesus, and sharing Jesus” because “He is King of Kings!” Youth and adults from Sacred Heart Parish in Webb City served as the planning team for this year’s conference.
Keynote speaker Cooper Ray, who travels the country entertaining and motivating Catholic youth with stories, humor, and audience participation, gave a passionate testimony on the importance of establishing and fostering an authentic relationship with Jesus. During general sessions on Sat., March 28, Ray urged the youth to not look for ‘completeness’ in a relationship with anyone other than Jesus Christ.
“He is everything that you could ever imagine in a friend,” Ray said. “Once we start beginning to spend just a little more time with Jesus, we will realize how amazing He is, how awesome He is.” Read more
Little did Gerard Dietrich, Ransom Nichols, and Michael Driscoll know that when they left July 30 for a four-day, 32-mile float trip together, that their courage, friendship, and their faith would be put to the test.
Best friends and members of St. Mary Parish, West Plains, three teenage boys met at Camp Re-NEW-All in Fredericktown the summer before they entered 5th grade. Since that time, they have attended camp at Fredericktown and Cassville for several seasons. They also attend the Steubenville Youth Conferences in Springfield and various Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) weekends together. Read more
June 21 wasn’t a typical Saturday night in West Plains. After being awakened around 10 p.m. by sounds in the rectory, associate pastor Fr. Augustine Lourduswami called 911 as he opened the bedroom door and discovered smoke in the hallway. Fortunately, the associate pastor was able to break out a window to escape and only suffered some smoke inhalation and minor cuts and abrasions. A cat in the residence managed to escape unharmed as well.
Relend Paul Littleshield, 21, has been charged with arson, burglary, and stealing in the wake of the fire at St. Mary Parish rectory. He’s being held in Howell County jail. Littleshield told police that he had once attended St. Mary Catholic Church and admitted to using methamphetamine earlier in the day. Read more
Youth encouraged by witness of Tony Melendez
Hundreds of high school-aged youth from across southern Missouri gathered once again in West Plains for the annual Diocesan Youth Conference (DYC) the weekend of March 28-30. The theme of this year’s conference was “Jesus is my Superhero,” with the activities, prayer, and workshops coordinated and hosted by the youth of Holy Trinity Parish in Aurora and SS. Peter and Paul Parish in Pulaskifield.
Mindful of the Scripture verse at Romans 8:31 (“If God is for us, who is against us?”), the conference planning team and speakers emphasized the ‘superpowers’ of Jesus Christ that cannot be overcome or defeated by any earthly power. Christ is the ultimate ‘superhero,’ it was expressed, Who takes away the sins of the world. Keynote speaker Tony Melendez of Branson, MO, witnessed to Christ’s ‘superhero’ role in his own life, as Christ has given him a model to follow as he’s bourn the cross of being born without arms.
Melendez, who has been playing the guitar with his feet for several decades, gave an inspiring witness to the young attendees as he relayed stories of his own youth and overcoming the challenges of his handicap. Melendez’s faith has been his strength, he said, noting that an encounter with soon-to-be-saint Blessed John Paul II in 1987 was a particularly profound confirmation and encouragement of using his talents at the service of Christ.
In addition to hearing Melendez’s story and praying—and occasionally dancing—with Melendez and his band’s accompaniment, the youth had opportunity to attend several workshops facilitated by other adults ministering in the diocese. Workshop topics included the liturgy, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, social justice, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and chastity. Attendees were also given the opportunity for games inside the West Plains Civic Center arena, prayer in a temporary-chapel set up for Eucharistic Adoration, and visits to vendor booths offering Catholic apparel, jewelry, and sacramental & devotional items, and books.
The 285 diocesan youth, DYC youth leaders, and diocesan staff and seminarians at DYC spoke very highly of the annual gathering: Melendez was referred to as a “rockstar,” and one attendee described praying with hundreds of youth as being “the best feeling in the world.”
“DYC was a great experience, as always,” said Ransom Nichols, a youth from St. Mary Parish in West Plains. “Being from a town where Catholics are in the minority, it was amazing to see so many young adults my age with the same faith!”
Conference speaker Cambree Kirchner, who attends St. Charles Community College and is a native of Jackson, MO, commented that she observed that “the youth seemed to really grow in their faith, which is the main goal.”
“DYC is always a great weekend to grow closer with Christ,” Kirchner added. “Hopefully, next year, we can have more people come and experience (DYC).”