With the blessing of then Bishop Wilton Gregory, on Corpus Christi Sunday, June 6, 1999, the Diocese of Belleville began perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Teresa of the Child Jesus Catholic Church in Belleville. For more than 20 years, the practice of perpetual adoration or exposition of the Blessed Sacrament took place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the St. Joseph Chapel at St. Teresa. Then in March of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was discontinued and the exposed Blessed Sacrament was moved to St. Teresa’s tabernacle.
Oct. 2, 2021, marked the 100th anniversary of the first Mass at St. Augustine Colored Mission in East St. Louis. This first African-American parish in southern Illinois was located at 14th and Broadway Ave. The school opened in 1922. Part of the heritage of the St. Augustine Mission is the involvement of a saint. Saint Katharine Drexel was an American heiress, philanthropist, religious sister and educator. She was the second person born in what is now the United States to be canonized as a saint and the first one born a U.S. citizen.
This year, Gibault Catholic High School in Waterloo is “On a Mission.” This is the theme they are embracing school wide. “‘On a Mission’ can take many different forms,” says Scott Ruppel, campus minister and music director at Gibault.
Every student at Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School in East St. Louis learns how to play the violin. Every student. Beginning in kindergarten. Third graders at Blessed Sacrament Catholic School in Belleville learn to play the recorder as part of an arrangement with the St. Louis Symphony. In turn, they are invited to perform with the Symphony. At Mater Dei High School in Breese, various band and vocal classes are offered, along with extracurricular activities, such as marching band. These are just three examples of music education opportunities available at the schools in the Diocese of Belleville.
Picture a big bowl of tri-colored pasta salad with vegetables, brimming with multi-colors, tastes, shapes and textures. Now read this description: “As different as we are, we are ALL called to be disciples of God. We all have special gifts, talents and charisms that blend so beautifully with our neighbor and help build up the Kingdom of God. When you take a big bite of this pasta salad, be reminded of your calling, the value of your neighbor and mission of the Kingdom.”