home Archive A Review Of The Year 2013 In The Church In Southern Illinois

A Review Of The Year 2013 In The Church In Southern Illinois

Story by RAFE MIDDEKE
Photos by LIZ QUIRIN
Messenger staff

Several diocesan parishes and institutions marked significant anniversaries and dedications. Cele-
brating anniversaries were: St. Joseph Parish in Elizabethtown (150th); St. Pancratius Parish in Fayetteville (175th); St. Joseph Parish in Lebanon (150th); St. Patrick Parish in Cairo (175th); Sacred Heart Parish in Du Quoin (150th); and Corpus Christi Parish in Shiloh (100th). Diocesan Catholic Scouts commemorated 100 years of Catholic Scouting. Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville celebrated its 50th anniersary. Dedicating new churches were: St. Mary Parish in Mt. Vernon; Immaculate Conception Parish in Columbia. The new Good Samaritan Regional Health Center in Mt. Vernon was dedicated. St. Clare School in O’Fallon dedicated a major addition and renovation. (For photos taken during 2013, please click here.)

Inter-parish committees met to respond to a 40-page document outlining a major restruturing of diocesan parish partnerships and closings. Also introduced in the document were the dioesan Vicariates and requirements for Catholic Elementary Schools.

Bishop Edward K. Braxton, who underwent major surgery in September, published “An Autumn Reflection,” exploring three “significant autumn events.”

January
“This is the biggest week for Catholicism in Jefferson County since the first Jesuit missionary found his way down the Goshen Trail,” St. Mary, Mt. Vernon pastor Father John Iffert said at the Jan. 7 blessing and dedication of the new $247-million Good Samaritan Regional Health Center in Mt. Vernon. On Jan. 13 St. Mary parishioners gathered to participate in the dedication of their parish’s new church and altar by Bishop Edward K. Braxton.

On Jan. 27 Immaculate Conception parishioners in Columbia joined Bishop Braxton to dedicate their new church and altar.

The Belleville diocese closed its 125th anniversary year Jan. 6 with an Ecumenical Prayer Service, with Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, immediate past General Secretary of the National Council of Churches speaking on “The Catholic Church and Ecumenism Since Vatican II.”

A Vocations section in the Jan. 17 issue featured the ministries of Poor Handmaids Sisters Jeanette Schutte and Mary Carolyn Welhoelter, including the opening and operation of the Kitchen Table soup kitchen in Cairo since 1997.
Bishop Braxton welcomed Father Vincent Jekwu Obi and Father Paul Ikechukwu Nwanegbo to the diocese.

Also reported in January:
• Informational meetings for a new dicaconate class to begin in the fall were held.

• Thirteen-year-old Jashira Bolden, a member of St. Augustine of Hippo Parish in East St. Louis, sponsored a fashion show and banquet raising over $1,000 for local charities, including Holy Angels Shelter.

• Holy Trinity, Fairview Heights Faith Formation students, parish school students and families gathered Dec. 16 to make 200 blankets for youngsters suffering with cancer at Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. The project began with fifth-grader Faith Formation student describing the need for the blankets to his classmates. His 5-year-old brother’s battle with cancer ended when he died in October.

• Knights of Columbus from councils in Breese, Cairo and Columbia gathered in Cairo to give coats to needy children in the Knights Coats for Kids program.

• The Southern lllinois Association of Priests’ 2012 Ichthus Award was presented to Cheryl Sommer, director of Adult Education/Social Outreach at St. Clare Parish in O’Fallon.

• Bishop Braxton asked diocesan Catholics to read the U.S. bishops’ statement on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade published in the Jan. 17 issue. Local Catholics participated in the annual anniversary March for Life in Washington D.C. Jan. 25.

• The Jan. 31 issue featured Joe Hubbard’s 40-year history and ministry as Catholic Urban Program’s coordinator. About 500 friends attended a Jan. 26 retirement party.

• January obituaries: Sister M. Doris Poettker, OSF; Walter A. Mauck.
February
The Feb. 14 issue included the annual Catholic Schools Week supplement, highlighting diocesan Catholic schools’ activities during the week. Activities included: the annual cleanup project at St. Teresa School in Belleville; junior high students at All Saints Academy in Breese sent messages to wounded veterans through the Wounded Warrior project; students at St. Clare School in O’Fallon listened to parishioners talk about the parish’s sister parish in Guatemala and to Joe Hubbard about poverty in the diocese; many schools collected food or hygiene items for shelters, pantries and agencies; the annual rummage sale at SS. Peter and Paul School in Waterloo was held to support children’s missions around the world; St. Joseph School in Olney participated in Jump Rope for Heart, donating proceeds to the American Heart Association.

The supplement also featured the baptism of four second-grade students at St. Mary/St. Augustine School in Belleville.

The Feb. 14 issue included an official statement outlining a memorandum sent to parishes updating the Pastoral Plan for Parish Renewal and Restructuring announced by Bishop Braxton in August of 2011.

Also reported in February:
• The Diocesan Finance Statement for the fiscal year ending June, 2012 was published in the Feb. 14 issue.

• Hundreds of people from around the diocese participated in the annual Rite of Election of Catechumens and the Call to Continuing Conversion of Baptized Candidates Feb. 17 at St. Peter Cathedral in Belleville.

• The Feb. 28 issue included a supplement on the diocese’s annual Catholic Service and Ministry Appeal.

• Bishop Braxton published a statement on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in the Feb. 28 issue.
• February obituaries: Sister Benedict Hayden, ASC; Sister Mary Ann Schrage, ASC.
March
The annual Easter Greetings supplement included the traditional welcoming of the diocese’s catechumens and candidates who would join the Catholic church at parishes’ Easter Vigils. At St. Bruno’s Vigil in Pinckneyville David Karns joined the church, accompanied by his sponsor and inspirational mother-in-law, Mary Downen, who suffered a stroke at age 47.

More than 400 diocesan youth and adults gathered for the annual Diocesan Youth Conference March 8-10.

Keynote speakers Renee Bondi and John Foppe personalized the conference’s theme: “Mission Possible: A Future of Hope.”

St. Joseph Parish in Lebanon ended a year-long celebration of its 150th anniversary with a closing liturgy March 10.
The March 14 issue included an update memorandum on the status of The Pastoral Plan for Parish Renewal and Restructuring issued by the plan’s committee members.

Bishop Braxton published a commentary on the election of Pope Francis in the March 28 issue.

Also reported in March:
• The March 14 issue also included the annual “El Mensajero en espanol” supplement with news of the Hispanic presence and ministry in the diocese.

• The annual Scout Religious Award Recognition Ceremony was held at St. Peter Cathedral in Belleville Feb. 24, with Bishop Stanley Schlarman presenting the awards.

• The St. Clair County Serra Club held its annual luncheon March 9 for the religious sisters in the diocese.
• March obituary: Mrs. Margaret Weber.
April
Bishop Braxton responded to the Pastoral Plan for Parish Renewal and Restructuring in a Pastoral Letter published in the April 11 issue, introducing the diocesan Vicariates, the types of parish partnerships and requirements for Catholic Elementary Schools, published independently in a 40-page document.

Focus on youth included a feature on seven Gibault Catholic High School students who spent two weeks at an orphanage in Ecuador on their senior service project. The Messenger launched “Faith: A Fresh Take,” an on-line only page about, for and by young adult Catholics.

Also reported in April:
• Du Quoin Catholic Daughters of the Americas Chapter 795 commemorated their 90th anniversary at a special 5 p.m. April 13 liturgy and reception.

• The Metro-East Interfaith Partnership gathered at 10 a.m., April 27 at St. Luke Parish in Belleville to pray for the homeless.

• The Pregnancy Care Center in Belleville celebrated its 30th anniversary March 16.

• The Korando family near Raddle hosted the annual Spring Blessing of the Farm April 9.

• A new 16,000 square-foot addition and renovation project to St. Clare School in O’Fallon was dedicated and blessed April 21.

• The Spring Senior Living supplement included features on the economics of retiring, the challenges of memory loss for Jim and Rita Saia, and the benefits of STEVE, a robot at Belleville’s St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, in addressing stroke symptoms in time.

• April obituary: Sister Jude Henken, PHJC.
May
The Messenger’s annual Graduation Supplement in the May 23 issue saluted 28 valedictorians and salutatorians and congratulated graduates from the three Catholic high schools and Catholic graduates from public schools throughout the diocese.

Recipients of the Bishop’s Discipleship Award, presented after a May 2 baccalaureate Mass at St. Peter Cathedral were seniors Jeremy Shultz, Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville; Adam Briesacher, Gibault Catholic High School in Waterloo; and Jade Beckmann, Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese.

A Memorial Day feature shared the memories of a mother who lost two sons in the Vietnam War in the 1960s — two of four young men from Germantown who lost their lives in the war — and of a friend of the four who returned from Vietnam.

Also reported in May:
• St. Liborius parishioners in St. Libory continued their celebration of the parish’s 175th anniversary.

• The Prayer Shawl Ministry and parish quilters at St. Augustine Parish in Belleville gathered to celebrate their first and 50th anniversaries, respectively.

• A health and fitness section in the May 9 issue focused on exercise programs, coordinated by Jamie Wagner at the Healthplex at Joseph’s Hospital in Breese and a diet promoted by clinical dietician, Brenda Price at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon.

• Deacon Ron Karcher, principal at Holy Childhood School in Mascoutah announced his retirement. Also announcing their retirement as teachers at Gibault Catholic High School in Waterloo were Sister Elaine Freund and Sister Marcia Kruse, the final two Adorers who had taught at the high school since it opened in 1966.

• May obituaries: Father Richard Daly; Sister Teresa Zuber, ASC.

June
Ordinations past and present highlighted the June issues of The Messenger.

The June 20 issue included the Jubilee supplement featuring the June 3 diocesan celebration for priests observing anniversaries and congratulatory messages.

Diocesan priests celebrating anniversaries were Father Jack Frerker, Father James Long and Msgr. Hyacinth Mazuchowski (50); Father Robert Flannery, Msgr. Daniel Jurek and Msgr. Carl Scherrer (40); Father Mark Stec and Father Ken York (25). Also celebrating his silver anniversary was Father Bernardine Nganzi, administrator of St. Lawrence Parish in Lawrence-ville, Immaculate Conception Parish in Bridgeport and St. Francis Xavier Parish in St. Francisville.

The June 6 issue featured the May 25 ordination of eleven men as permanent deacons for the Belleville diocese by Bishop Braxton.

Ordained were Deacons Stephen Andrews, Stephen AuBuchon, Archie Bowers Jr., Timothy DeRousse, David Fields, John Fridley, Thomas Helfrich, Stephen Lowe, Michael Rowland, Corby Valentine and Wayne Weiler.
Sacred Heart Parish in Du Quoin celebrated its 150th anniversary at a 4 p.m. liturgy June 8, with Bishop Stanley Schlarman as celebrant and homilist.

Also reported in June:
• Scout Mark Schifferdecker from St. Peter Cathedral Troop 11 is continuing a project to expand the use of flags at Green Mount Cemetery. His grandfather, Harold Foster was buried there May 14, 2012.
• Bishop Braxton published a memorial commentary, titled Ecce Sacerdos Magnus, on Father Henry Fischer, who died June 3.

• Official appointments included the Vicars Forane for the diocese’s five Vicariates, a restructuring of the former six deaneries.

• June obituaries: Father Henry Fischer; Father David Becherer, Sister Helena Leach, SSND.
July
July issues of The Messenger described mid-summer parish and diocesan activities.

A July 18 feature focused on year-round behind-the-scenes work preparing for southern Illinois’ parish picnics, famous for their quilt bingos and chicken dinners, and for some, a significant source of parish funds.

The Ministry to the Sick and Aged’s annual picnic for the elderly was held June 12, with traditional assistance from diocesan youth.

About a hundred youth participated in the annual Hispanic Youth Day sponsored by the diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry.
Jon Greenstreet and Chris Norrignton, co-owners of the Bike Surgeon in Shiloh, introduced a “Hike, Bike, Paddle and Climb” adventure camp to the diocesan Camp Ondessonk.

Diocesan clergy participated in the 40th annual Msgr. John T. Fournie tennis tourney.

The July 3 issue included a feature on recycling parish style — not of paper, glass and plastics — but on recycling and reusing materials in parishes’ building and restoration projects.

Also reported in July:
• Father Stephen Rudolphi, pastor of St. Polycarp Parish in Carmi and St. Patrick Parish in Enfield retired June 30 for health reasons.

• Jesuit Father Tom Michel was the featured speaker at a study day at the Ruma Center on “Islam and Islam Spirituality: Encountering the Sacred in Muslim Faith and Culture,” sponsored by the ASC’s Illinois and Missouri area Justice and Peace Committee.

• Couples celebrating wedding anniversaries joined Bishop Braxton at a June 2 liturgy and reception at St. Peter Cathedral.

• A July 18 article on Mt. Carmel Cemetery’s St. Joseph’s Garden highlighted the cemetery’s efforts to insure a final resting place at the end of everyone’s life journey.

• A June 19 full house watched Father Dominic Garramone OSB, well known as the Bread Monk, demonstrate the art of breadmaking June 19 at St. Joseph Parish in Freeburg. The youth fundraiser supported their summer mission trip.

• July obituary: Sister Mary Charles Rydzewski, SCSC.
August
August issues of The Messenger included three traditional supplements: Religious Jubilees, Senior Living and Catholic Education/Back to School.

The Religious Jubilee supplement recognized 65 women and men religious celebrating jubilees in 2013, extending gratitude and congratulations for almost 4,500 years of religious life and ministry. Featured in the supplement were Aviston native Sister Virginia Strubhart, SSND celebrating her 70th anniversary, whose primary ministry was in education, and Oblate Father Clarence Zachman, who at 92 continues to assist at weekend parish liturgies.

The Senior Living supplement included features on retired farmer Martin Mueller from Mascoutah who continues to grow vegetables to feed to poor through diocesan agencies, and on the reality of Alzheimer’s for sisters Gloria Miller and Mary Lou Foran, one a caregiver, the other in the initial stages of the disease. A third feature focused on the camping lifestyle of Ruth and Louis Billhartz in their retirement years.

Five new parish school principals were introduced in the Catholic Education supplement. The supplement also included features on college students’ experiences at a Catholic college and parents’ decisions to send their graduates to a Catholic high school.

Two parishes celebrated anniversary liturgies. St. Liborius Parish in St. Libory celebrated its 175th anniversary July 21; Corpus Christi Parish in Shiloh its centennial anniversary Aug. 4.

Also reported in August:
• Bishop Braxton ordained six priests for the archdiocese of Onitsha, Nigeria July 13. In a commentary the bishop addressed “reasons for growth in vocations (in Nigeria), the sacred canopy and secular age; and vocations in the Diocese of Belleville.

• Catholic Scouts in the Diocese of Belleville hosted a day-long event Aug. 10 to commemorate 100 years of Catholic Scouting. The diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting invited Scouts from the Springfield, Ill., diocese and the St. Louis archdiocese to participate in the activities and liturgy at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville.

• On the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, retired Judge Milton Wharton, a member of St. Augustine Parish in East St. Louis, contrasted the speech to an earlier one by Gov. George Wallace.
•With donations to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Cosgrove’s Kitchen in East St. Louis underwent a much needed remodeling.

• For 27 youth from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Herrin summer break started more than 2,000 miles from Herrin, doing service work in Anchorage, Alaska.

• August obituaries: Sister Julia Lengermann, ASC; Sister Angelita Myerscough, ASC; Sister Dorothy Ann Ax, ASC; Mrs. Dorothy Flannery; Father George Capen, OMI.


September

Faith was the connecting theme of Messenger supplements in September, in environments as differing as the marketplace and the classroom.

Six people were recognized at The Messenger’s annual Faith in the Marketplace dinner, recognizing Catholics for taking their faith into the marketplace. They were: Bob Bytnar, Sacred Heart Parish, Du Quoin; Tony Esker, St. Joseph Parish, Willisville; Kristin Kaufman, St. Mary Parish, Anna; Kim and Jim Sabella, St. Clare Parish, O’Fallon; and Steve Stone, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Herrin.

The Messenger’s Sept. 12 Parish Religious Education supplement included a feature on Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a program that invites youngsters and adults to journey together in prayer and discovery and is in use at all levels at St. Nicholas Parish in O’Fallon.

A Sept. 12 feature focused on participation in 40 days of prayer, fasting and action supporting the U.S. bishops’ call for comprehensive immigration legislation.

Also reported in September:
• Father Ken York, pastor of St. Henry Parish in Belleville, completed 22 years of service in various roles at the diocesan chancery office.

• Freshmen from the diocese’s three Catholic high schools gathered Sept. 8 at the annual freshmen Mass at St. Peter Cathedral, celebrated by Bishop Braxton.

• The Sept. 26 issue included an article on diocesan and parish efforts to raise awareness and promote the work of Catholic Relief Services.

• For students at St. Ann School in Nashville Sept. 19 was Heritage Day, experiencing how things were done before modern technological advances.

• September obituaries: Sister Eric Albrecht, ASC; Sister Dolores Bieser, ASC; Brother Robert Edward Driggins, OMI.


October

Milestone anniversary celebrations of two diocesan parishes were featured in The Messenger’s October issues. Family, friends and former parishioners gathered Sept. 29 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph Parish in Elizabethtown. On Oct. 6 a special liturgy was celebrated at St. Pancratius Parish in Fayetteville marking the parish’s 175th anniversary.

The Oct. 10 issue’s pro-life section included photos of participants in the annual Life Chain highway demonstrations opposing abortions.

The Belleville Diocesan Council of Catholic Women gathered Oct. 9 at St. Michael Parish in Paderborn for their 87th annual convention, with “The Joy of Faith” as the convention’s theme.

The Year of Faith was the theme of the annual Diocesan Education Convention held Oct. 4 at Holy Trinity Parish in Fairview Heights. Among anniversary recognitions were six educators celebrating 40 years in Catholic education: They were: Cheryl Gross, St. Mary Parish, Chester; Karen Vick, Queen of Peace Catholic School in Belleville; Diane Stechmesser, Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Columbia; Sharon Kubiak, St. Ann Catholic School in Nashville; Donna Schaab, St. Mary-St. Augustine Catholic School in Belleville, and Jim Darr, Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese.

Also reported in October:
• Bishop Braxton updated his recovery from emergency abdominal surgery at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville Sept. 13.

•The Oct. 10 issue included the annual High School Open House section.

•As Althoff Catholic High School celebrated its 50th anniversary, the cross that was affixed to the top of the former Cathedral High School was blessed and dedicated on Althoff’s grounds as a reminder of the link between the past and the present.

• The Oct. 24 issue included the annual Priest Appreciation supplement.

•Serra Club members from Region IX USA International gathered at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows for a three-day meeting. Bishop Braxton celebrated the Eucharist and delivered the keynote address at St. Peter Cathedral with the Serrans, who are devoted to promoting and supporting vocations to the priesthood.

•The annual Red Mass was celebrated by Bishop Braxton Oct. 25 at St. Peter Cathedral.

•Next Chapter, the diocese’s ministry for divorced and separated Catholics celebrated its 20th anniversary with a liturgy at Corpus Christi Chapel in Shiloh.

•Robert and Lenore Bechtoldt hosted the diocese’s annual “Blessing of the Harvest” Oct. 7 at their farm near Mascoutah.

•October obituaries: Father Jerome Wirth; Brother Melvin Meyer, SM; Robert Hentzen.
November
The Messenger’s Nov. 21 issue included an introduction to Bishop Braxton’s “An Autumn Reflection,” exploring three “significant autumn events”: 1. the bishop’s recuperation from major surgery; 2. the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; and 3. the first autumn of the Pontificate of Pope Francis.

In this issue the bishop also commented on President Kennedy’s assassination, issued a statement on Illinois’ legalization of same-sex marriage, and published his Thanksgiving “Prayer of Praise for Thanksgiving Day.”

In the Nov. 7 Hope and Healing supplement Lisa McBride Uxa recounted her family’s coping with and healing from loss and death on many levels when her parents were murdered by her paranoid schizophrenic brother. McBride Uxa was a speaker at an annual conference on mental illness at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville. The supplement also included features on Hospice of Southern Illinois and Family Hospice, and on a workshop for deacons and lay leaders of prayer on Catholic funeral rites.

The Nov. 21 issue highlighted this year’s fundraising program organized by Jashira Bolden, a member of St. Augustine of Hippo Parish in East St. Louis. The 14-year-old teenager began raising funds for the poor, the homeless and the marginalized when she was 8 years old.

Also reported in November:
•A number of international priests participated in a Language, Culture and Ministry Workshop at Our Lady of the Snows shrine that was directed by St. Meinrad, Ind.

•A Catholic young adult group meets monthly at the Newman Center in Carbondale to share and discuss their Catholic faith.

• St. Patrick Parish in Cairo marked its 175th anniversary Nov. 10.

• Claire Hatch, principal of Blessed Sacrament Parish school in Belleville, was the 2013 recipient of Southern Illinois Association of Priests’ Ichthus Award given for a commitment to the values of Fidelity, Integrity, Service and Humanity.

• The Nov. 21 issue included an Advent 2013 calendar. Fourteen parishes responded to a survey about participation in area food pantries in communities throughout the diocese.

• The Belleville diocese recognized employees who have worked or ministered for more than five years in the diocese. Five employees who have worked in the diocese for 20 or more years were recognized. They were: Tom Posnanski, currently director of the diocesan Office of Education (35 years); Father Paul Wienhoff, currently Defender of the Bond at the diocesan Tribunal and pastor of Holy Family Parish in Cahokia and Sacred Heart Parish in Dupo (ordained 35 years, at Tribunal 30 years); Mildred Phillips, housekeeper at the diocesan residence (25 years); Jolene Beck, currently manager at the Hincke-Sense Home for Retired Priests (30 years); and Doll Williams, currently director of the Griffin Center’s Weathers-Owens site (20 years).

• November obituaries: Sister Mary Edith Donze, ASC; Father John Louis, OMI; Fred Rakers.
December
Advent’s journey to the celebration of the birth of Jesus in history and in parishioners’ faith journeys was evidenced in the December 5 issue. Parishes prepared for Christmas with special events and outreach to the needy in a number of ways.

Christmas reflections and greetings, including Bishop Braxton’s annual reflection, filled the pages of the Dec. 19 Christmas Greetings supplement.

The Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe was celebrated with traditional liturgies and celebrations, especially by Catholics of Mexican heritage. Father Uriel Salamanca celebrated a 10:30 p.m. liturgy and Las Mañanitas at St. Francis Xavier in Carbondale with Msgr. Vincent Haselhorst concelebrating. People from St. Francis and St. Joseph in Cobden attended the liturgy and then sang songs to Our Lady and presented her with flowers and lighted candles.

Included in the supplement were the winners of the Knights of Columbus “Keep Christ in Christmas” poster contest. Winners from first to fifth were: Paige Brueggemann, St. Cecilia PSR, Bartelso; Malina Langenhorst, St. Rose PSR, St. Rose; Julia Korte, St. Damian PSR, Damiansville; Rebecca Cowgill, All Saints Academy, Breese; Lauren Daugherty, St. Cecilia PSR, Bartelso. Also included in the supplement were the winners of The Messenger’s “Christmas Writing Contest: They were: Kaitlyn Steinkamp, St. Mary PSR, Carlyle; Kyla Norton, Cathedral Grade School, Belleville; and Morgan Cowell, St. John the Baptist School, Red Bud.

Also reported in December:
• Five diocesan parishes participated in the Diocesan Hymn Fest Nov. 17 at St. Peter Cathedral

• Favorite family recipes were included in the Dec. 9 issue.

• Volunteers prepared, served and distributed thousands of Thanksgiving dinners at diocesan institutions and parishes.

• The diocesan Knights of Columbus chapter donated $1,700 for an alarm system at the Hincke-Sense home for retired priests.

•Spearheaded by Donita Wightman, whose children attend SS. Peter and Paul School in Waterloo, families and students collected hundreds of quilts, afghans and blankets for victims of the Washington, Ill., area tornadoes. Wightman grew up in Pekin and attended college in Washington.

• The famous Way of Lights Christmas Display with its more than 1,000,000 lights and other attractions was scheduled to continue until Jan. 3, 2014 at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville.
• December obituaries: Msgr. Jerome Hartlein; Deacon Don Deitz.