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On her 108th birthday, Camilla Hopper requested the greatest gift: a Mass

Camilla Hopper is flanked by Father Austin Bosse and Deacon Patrick Wille after a special Mass celebrated on July 5 --- her 108th birthday --- at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Leonore. (Provided photo/Eliza Smith)

LEONORE — When you’ve had 108 birthdays, you’re entitled to make your gift requests known. For Camilla Hopper, perhaps the oldest Catholic in the Diocese of Peoria who turned 108 on July 5, that list was short and the same as her request a year ago: a special Mass that she and about 20 members […]

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Bloomington parish, Knights lend hands, funds for Habitat for Humanity house

Bishop Louis Tylka and others place their hands on a wall of the newly built Habitat for Humanity house at 707 W. Locust St. in Bloomington during a prayer of blessing on July 9. The bishop is flanked by Father Dustin Schultz, pastor, and Father Martin Mwongyera, parochial vicar, of St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington, which sponsored the home-building project with the rebate money from the parish’s Annual Diocesan Appeal. At far left is Roger Scott, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of McLean County. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

BLOOMINGTON — Standing in a circle of support in the living room of his family’s new home during blessing ceremonies on July 9, Fidele Makala offered a litany of gratitude. “Our family would like to express how excited we are for this blessing,” said Makala, moments after receiving the keys to a house built by […]

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Amanda Connon is director of diocese’s new Office of Information Management

Amanda Connon, director of the Diocese of Peoria's new Office of Information Management, is pictured in her office on the second floor of the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

“I’m like a super-nerd,” says Amanda Connon. “I love organizing things.” Bishop Louis Tylka saw that skill in Connon as she recently did volunteer work gathering information and creating databases for the Diocese of Peoria. And he recognized the high school music teacher would be a good candidate to help solve some shortcomings in how […]

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Monmouth ecumenical ‘sponsor circle’ ready to welcome Ukrainian refugees

Members of the ecumenical Sponsor Circle in Monmouth preparing to welcome and support a refugee married couple from Ukraine are pictured with a Ukrainian flag on the porch of the parsonage of the First Lutheran Church of Monmouth, where the couple will temporarily reside. From left are Tom Sienkewicz, Teresa Prien, Pam Van Kirk, Tom Prien, and Leslie Freeman. Not pictured is Allison Buccalo. (Provided photo)

MONMOUTH — When a refugee couple from war-ravaged Ukraine arrives in this Warren County community on July 13 with all their belongings tucked in a pair of knapsacks, they will be warmly welcomed into a growing ecumenical circle of support. “They will need a lot of help from us in terms of resources and aid, […]

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A timely observance

As we move closer to Independence Day and the celebration of our freedoms, the U.S. bishops are again asking Catholics to focus on the importance of religious freedom, both in our nation and around the world. And the June 22-29 observance of Religious Freedom Week could not be more timely. This year’s theme is “Life […]

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Conventual Franciscans bid farewell to Holy Family, Peoria, after 43-year presence

Father Paul Joseph Langevin, OFM Conv., gives the final blessing at a Mass of Farewell on June 12 at Holy Family Church in Peoria. The Conventual Franciscans of St. Bonaventure Province are withdrawing from the parish after 43 years of ministry. In the back row are three friars who formerly served at Holy Family --- Father Paul Schneider, OFM Conv., Father Patrick Stoffer, OFM Conv., and Father Robert Cook, OFM. Flanking Father Paul Joseph are Deacon Joseph LaHood and Deacon Bede Thigpen, OFM Conv. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

Holy Family in Peoria is known as the “Parish with a Heart.” On Sunday, there were deeply heartfelt exchanges of gratitude, love and farewell as the Conventual Franciscan Friars of St. Bonaventure Province returned the pastoral administration of Holy Family to the Diocese of Peoria after 43 years of ministry. “We pray that it’s the […]

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OSF Life Flight ‘angels of mercy in the air’ now have a permanent base in Galesburg

Father Deus-Dedit Byabato blesses the hands of Courtney Przybyla, Galesburg base medical supervisor, and other members of the OSF Life Flight team now permanently based at OSF HealthCare St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg. Father Byabato, chaplain of the medical center, later blessed the new helicopter hangar during ceremonies on June 10. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

GALESBURG — The OSF Life Flight “angels of mercy in the air” and two of their medical helicopters now have a permanent base at OSF HealthCare St. Mary Medical Center. Blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremonies took place on June 10 at a newly built, spacious aviation hangar adjacent to the medical center in Galesburg. “This is […]

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To senior status: Father Thomas Taylor — juggler, chess expert, and a gentle priest

Father Thomas Taylor, parochial vicar of St. Vincent de Paul Parish since 2016 and a priest of the Diocese of Peoria for nearly four decades, has been granted senior status effective June 15. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

When Father Thomas Taylor preaches at all the Masses at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Peoria on June 11-12 — his final weekend at the parish before transitioning to senior status the following Wednesday — he will be juggling many emotions. But that’s not all Father Taylor will be juggling. After all, it’s Trinity […]

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To senior status: Fr. Vien Van Do prayed for one Mass, God granted him 16,000

Father Vien Van Do holds a statue of Our Lady of Lavang given to him by the Altar and Rosary Society when he served at St. John the Baptist Parish in Bradford. He says God saved his life through the Blessed Mother’s protection on several occasions. “I carry her in my heart,” he adds. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

METAMORA — In pain from being beaten in a Vietnamese communist concentration camp, seminarian Vien Van Do repeatedly prayed the rosary through the night with one intention. “Lord, heal me,” he prayed, “so I can go home and be ordained a priest in secret even for one day only and say one Mass, uniting all […]

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Hopes, challenges ahead are voiced by speakers at Sanctity of Human Life Rally

Ken Goins, president of Central Illinois Right to Life, speaks at the Sanctity of Human Life Rally on May 24 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Peoria. Members of the pro-life organization regularly hold the sign in the background on overpasses of Interstate 74 in downtown Peoria to share its message with those driving by. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

With anticipation high for an imminent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could overturn the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, speakers at the Sanctity of Human Life Rally in Peoria on May 24 expressed high hopes but emphasized much pro-life work will remain no matter the outcome. “We can almost taste it,” said Monica Cline, […]

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