Joseph Kelly ordained to the diaconate

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Deacon Kelly will minister in St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Cape Girardeau

TRANSITIONAL DEACON—Fr. J. Friedel, Director of Vocations/Seminarians; Bp. James V. Johnston, Jr.; Deacon Joe Kelly, fourth-year theology student at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary​, in St. Louis; and Fr. Patrick Nwokoye, Director of Vocation Promotions, posed for a photo after Kelly was ordained to the diaconate in St. Agnes Cathedral June 21. Kelly hopes to be ordained a priest in about a year’s time. (Photo by Phil Labadie)
TRANSITIONAL DEACON—Fr. J. Friedel, Director of Vocations/Seminarians; Bp. James V. Johnston, Jr.; Deacon Joe Kelly, fourth-year theology student at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary​, in St. Louis; and Fr. Patrick Nwokoye, Director of Vocation Promotions, posed for a photo after Kelly was ordained to the diaconate in St. Agnes Cathedral June 21. Kelly hopes to be ordained a priest in about a year’s time. (Photo by Phil Labadie)

A joyful standing-room-only crowd in St. Agnes Cathedral, Springfield, on Saturday morning, June 21, was evidence in itself of the support of family, friends, schoolmates, seminarians, religious, deacons, and priests that has been with and aided Joseph Kelly in his journey toward priesthood. Kelly was ordained to the diaconate by Bp. James V. Johnston on the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga before a congregation of more than 450 faithful.

“I was overwhelmed,” Kelly said, “just by the amount of people who where there.” Read more

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Poplar Bluff parish hosts ​its ​first Marian Conference

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VENDORS—​Devotional items and books were available from several vendors at the Marian Conference ​held May 3 ​in Poplar Bluff ​. D​ozens of rosaries and images of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Divine Mercy, and several saints were available for free to conference attendees. ​Another Marian Conference is slated for Sat., Oct. 4, in St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Ozark. (Photo by J.B. Kelly)
VENDORS—​Devotional items and books were available from several vendors at the Marian Conference ​held May 3 ​in Poplar Bluff ​. D​ozens of rosaries and images of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Divine Mercy, and several saints were available for free to conference attendees. ​Another Marian Conference is slated for Sat., Oct. 4, in St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Ozark. (Photo by J.B. Kelly)

Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Poplar Bluff hosted a Marian Conference on Sat​.​, May 3, the first conference of its kind to be held in southeast Missouri. The Marian Association of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, which has helped conduct two previous Marian Conferences, coordinated the conference in Poplar Bluff that drew dozens of attendees to hear presentations on Marian devotion, how to better evangelize, the Divine Mercy image, and also to pray together throughout the day. Read more

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Conception Seminary College holds weekend discernment event

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FAITH-SHARING AND DISCUSSION—Young men from the dioceses of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and Tulsa  (right) participated in small group discussion over the topics of “risk and conversion” and “joys in discernment” with seminarian Douglas Leikam of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas City, KS, on Sat., April 5, during the Encounter With God’s Call weekend at Conception Seminary College. (Photo by J.B. Kelly)
FAITH-SHARING AND DISCUSSION—Young men from the dioceses of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and Tulsa (right) participated in small group discussion over the topics of “risk and conversion” and “joys in discernment” with seminarian Douglas Leikam of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas City, KS, on Sat., April 5, during the Encounter With God’s Call weekend at Conception Seminary College. (Photo by J.B. Kelly)

Eleven young men from the Dioceses of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and several from the neighboring Diocese of Tulsa recently participated the Encounter With God’s Call weekend held at Conception Seminary College. Held April 5-6, The ‘come-and-see’ event featured presentations on seminary life, including academics and formation, as well as periods for communal and private prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, recreation, and Mass with the seminary students and Benedictine monks of Conception Abbey.

ENCOUNTER WITH GOD’S CALL—Young men from the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, along with several friends from the neighboring Diocese of Tulsa, visited Conception Seminary the first weekend of April for an Encounter With God’s Call (EWGC) weekend. They were: (front row) Frank Patrick Schmidt, Jacob Mezzacapa, John Hawks, Gregory Kelly, John Hilger; (second row) Shiron Fonseka, diocesan seminarian Nicholas Newton, diocesan seminarian Luis Hernandez, diocesan seminarian Nicholas Koeppel, Jacob Wright, Thomas Sisney; (third row) Fr. Joji Vincent, OSB, associate pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Branson, and Our Lady of the Ozarks Parish, Forsyth; diocesan seminarian Andrew Williams, Charles Peirano, Allen Kirchner, diocesan seminarian Josh Carroll; (fourth row) Fr. Patrick Nwokoye, diocesan director of vocations promotion; Fr. Scott Sunnenberg, pastor, Holy Trinity Parish, Marshfield; David Bledsoe, Gideon Barr, Josh Coleman, and Br. Placis Dale, OSB. (Photo by J.B. Kelly)
ENCOUNTER WITH GOD’S CALL—Young men from the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, along with several friends from the neighboring Diocese of Tulsa, visited Conception Seminary the first weekend of April for an Encounter With God’s Call (EWGC) weekend. They were: (front row) Frank Patrick Schmidt, Jacob Mezzacapa, John Hawks, Gregory Kelly, John Hilger; (second row) Shiron Fonseka, diocesan seminarian Nicholas Newton, diocesan seminarian Luis Hernandez, diocesan seminarian Nicholas Koeppel, Jacob Wright, Thomas Sisney; (third row) Fr. Joji Vincent, OSB, associate pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Branson, and Our Lady of the Ozarks Parish, Forsyth; diocesan seminarian Andrew Williams, Charles Peirano, Allen Kirchner, diocesan seminarian Josh Carroll; (fourth row) Fr. Patrick Nwokoye, diocesan director of vocations promotion; Fr. Scott Sunnenberg, pastor, Holy Trinity Parish, Marshfield; David Bledsoe, Gideon Barr, Josh Coleman, and Br. Placis Dale, OSB. (Photo by J.B. Kelly)
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DYC 2014: ‘Jesus is my Superhero’

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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).”

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‘Do whatever he tells you. …’

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Second annual Marian Conference attendees gain insights into growth in holiness through Mary

RELICS--A "relic room" at the Marian Conference offered many relics of various saints for veneration by the conference attendees.  The second annual Marian Conference was held Oct. 26-27 in Holy Trinity Parish, Springfield. (Photo by Emily Kelly)
RELICS–A “relic room” at the Marian Conference offered many relics of various saints for veneration by the conference attendees. The second annual Marian Conference was held Oct. 26-27 in Holy Trinity Parish, Springfield. (Photo by Emily Kelly)

“As we draw near to the conclusion of the Year of Faith, it is fitting that we turn our attention to Mary, the Mother of God and Mother of the Church. Her simple words at the Wedding of Cana, ‘Do whatever he tells you’ (John 2:5), serve us well as we seek to live our faith in Jesus to the fullest.”

Such was the opening message of Bp. James V. Johnston to attendees of the 2013 Marian Conference held the weekend of Oct. 26-27 in Holy Trinity Parish, Springfield. The bishop encouraged those present to imitate Mary’s “response of faith and obedience” and to embrace the opportunity to grow in holiness “coming together as disciples of Jesus.” Bp. Johnston celebrated Mass on Saturday morning of the conference, joined by several concelebrating priests. Read more

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Annual Seminarian Gathering draws summer to an end

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DIOCESAN SEMINARIANS--Diocesan seminarians posed for a photo during the opening liturgy of the diocesan Seminarian Gathering in St. Agnes Cathedral, Springfield, on Sun., Aug. 4. They were (front row) Joseph Kelly, Nicholas Koeppel, Bp. James V. Johnston, Daniel Belken, Colby Elbert; (second row) Francisco Gordillo, Josh Carroll, Brian Straus, Andrew Williams, Joseph Stoverink, Nicholas Newton; (third row) Fr. Patrick Nwokoye, diocesan Director of Vocation Promotions, Charles Dunn, David Baunach, and Fr. J. Friedel, diocesan Director of Vocations/Seminarians. Not pictured were Luis Hernandez and Juan Rosete. (Photo by Dan Williams)
DIOCESAN SEMINARIANS–Diocesan seminarians posed for a photo during the opening liturgy of the diocesan Seminarian Gathering in St. Agnes Cathedral, Springfield, on Sun., Aug. 4. They were (front row) Joseph Kelly, Nicholas Koeppel, Bp. James V. Johnston, Daniel Belken, Colby Elbert; (second row) Francisco Gordillo, Josh Carroll, Brian Straus, Andrew Williams, Joseph Stoverink, Nicholas Newton; (third row) Fr. Patrick Nwokoye, diocesan Director of Vocation Promotions, Charles Dunn, David Baunach, and Fr. J. Friedel, diocesan Director of Vocations/Seminarians. Not pictured were Luis Hernandez and Juan Rosete. (Photo by Dan Williams)

Bp. James V. Johnston recently met with diocesan seminarians for the Seminarian Gathering at Forsyth. The annual event was held Aug. 4-7 and concluded the summer with several days of prayer and fellowship at a lakeside resort. The retreat came as a welcome “pause” for the men after several weeks of summer ministry and formation opportunities around the diocese, many beyond the diocesan borders.

Most of the seminarians had opportunities for ‘ora et labora’ (‘pray and work’) at Trinity Hills, the diocesan center for prayer, formation, and service, and a few took part in the Steubenville Mid-America Youth Conferences in Springfield in July. Several seminarians also volunteered at summer sessions of Camp Re-NEW-All in both Fredericktown and Cassville, as well as spent time in parish ministry.

“Seminarian formation doesn’t just happen in school studying theology,” said Fr. J. Friedel, diocesan Director of Vocations/Seminarians. “Formation also happens when the men are out among the people of the diocese and with each other.” Read more

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Local World Youth Day of the Ozarks ‘connects’ diocesan youth to Rio

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YOUNGEST ATTENDEE--Four-month-old John Francis Kelly was one of the youngest attendees at World Youth Day in the Ozarks in Springfield, held on the campus of St. Agnes Cathedral. (Photo by J.B. Kelly)
YOUNGEST ATTENDEE–Four-month-old John Francis Kelly was one of the youngest attendees at World Youth Day in the Ozarks in Springfield, held on the campus of St. Agnes Cathedral. (Photo by J.B. Kelly)

Dozens of diocesan youth and young adults were on-hand for festivities and service-work during World Youth Day in the Ozarks, held the weekend of July 27-28 on the grounds of St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield. Held as an alternative event for those who could not travel to Rio de Janeiro, host of this year’s international youth gathering, World Youth Day in the Ozarks helped attendees feel “connected” with the estimated 3 million people in Rio by offering Brazilian-themed food, sharing in service-work and prayer, and watching video clips of Pope Francis from actual World Youth Day festivities. The event was organized by the diocesan Office of Family Ministries.

On Sat., July 27, the local “pilgrims” prayed a Rosary along a giant chalk-drawn set of beads on the St. Agnes Cathedral school parking lot, performed service-work at the St. Anne Campus of Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, and participated in various activities and praise-and-worship periods on the St. Agnes School sports fields. Diocesan seminarians and religious men and women serving in southern Missouri spoke on Saturday afternoon about the importance of being open to God’s call to service. Read more

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Camp Re-NEW-All staffer celebrates 100th week of camp service

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100 WEEKS--Celebrating his 100th session of volunteering at Camp Re-N EW-All, a beaming José Tirado displayed a piece of art that, at careful glance, reveals the source of the devotion and energy that he brings to Camp each summer.  (Photo by J.B. Kelly)
100 WEEKS–Celebrating his 100th session of volunteering at Camp Re-N EW-All, a beaming José Tirado displayed a piece of art that, at careful glance, reveals the source of the devotion and energy that he brings to Camp each summer. (Photo by J.B. Kelly)
LET'S EAT CAKE--José Tirado's cake in honor of his 100th week of volunteering at Camp Re-N EW-All, Cassville, MO (Photo by J.B. Kelly)
LET’S EAT CAKE–José Tirado’s cake in honor of his 100th week of volunteering at Camp Re-N EW-All, Cassville, MO (Photo by J.B. Kelly)

During the week of July 14-20, José Tirado laid claim to a milestone that has only been reached by a handful of folks involved in youth ministry in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. With a bit of festive camp ‘fanfare,’ he celebrated his 100th week of volunteer service at Camp Re-NEW-All and was honored for such on the evening of Thu., July 18.

“Praise Jesus!” Tirado exclaimed as he was presented with a cake and recognized by staff and campers in the Camp Smokey dining hall near Cassville on Roaring River. Doing some impromptu ‘jumping jacks,’ Tirado exhibited the spirit-fueled excitement and fervor that is characteristic of this particular camp staffer.

A Secular Franciscan by vocation and a member of St. Agnes Cathedral Parish in Springfield, Tirado began volunteering at Camp Re-NEW-All in 1983 after being recruited by Virginia Sander. Having a presence at the annual camp for the better part of three decades, Tirado gives all credit to God for his good health, so necessary at a youth camp held in the heat of the Ozarks’ summer. Read more

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TEC: Retreat for young Catholics, Aug. 10-12

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Teens Encounter Christ weekend for high-school aged youth

TEENS ENCOUNTER CHRIST (TEC)--For over 40 years,  Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) has been bringing the essentials of the Catholic faith to high school seniors and young adults in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. Designed to deepen one’s relationship with Christ, there is an upcoming TEC opportunity scheduled for Aug. 10-12 in Springfield. (Photo by Katie Newton)
TEENS ENCOUNTER CHRIST (TEC)–For over 40 years, Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) has been bringing the essentials of the Catholic faith to high school seniors and young adults in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. Designed to deepen one’s relationship with Christ, there is an upcoming TEC opportunity scheduled for Aug. 10-12 in Springfield. (Photo by Katie Newton)

A movement began in the Catholic Church in the years following the Second Vatican Council that has proven to produce numerous spiritual fruits in the lives of countless youth and young adults. Inspired by the Church’s “renewed vision” and focus on the Paschal Mystery in the mid-1960s, Fr. Matthew Fedewa of the Diocese of Lansing, MI, helped design a retreat program to share that vision and focus with young Catholics.

Begun in 1965, Fr. Fedewa’s retreat program became Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) and eventually grew into an international program. Hundreds of thousands of people, in dozens of dioceses across several countries, have embraced the TEC experience and walked away with a renewed fervor for life and love for Christ. A TEC retreat will be held Aug. 10-12 in Springfield. Read more

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Thousands attend Steubenville Youth Conferences in Springfield

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DIOCESAN YOUTH PAUSE FOR LUNCH--Diocesan youth Robert Hearnes, Clayton Ohmes, and Addie McGill traveled with a group from St. Francis Xavier Parish in Sikeston, St. Henry Parish in Charleston, and St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Cape Girardeau to attend the first weekend of Steubenville Youth Conferences in Springfield July 12-14.  (The Mirror, J.B. Kelly)
DIOCESAN YOUTH PAUSE FOR LUNCH–Diocesan youth Robert Hearnes, Clayton Ohmes, and Addie McGill traveled with a group from St. Francis Xavier Parish in Sikeston, St. Henry Parish in Charleston, and St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Cape Girardeau to attend the first weekend of Steubenville Youth Conferences in Springfield July 12-14. (The Mirror, J.B. Kelly)

Over 3,000 young Catholics from across the Midwest descended upon the campus of Missouri State University, Springfield,  recently for the first of two Steubenville Youth Conferences taking place this month. Attendees spent the weekend hearing presentations on the theme “Chosen,” based upon 1 John 4:19 (“We love, because he first loved us.”).

A number of youth from parishes in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau made pilgrimage to the July 12-14 conference, one of the largest annual Catholic youth conferences in the nation. Read more

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