TEUTOPOLIS, Ill. — The Sacred Heart Province in the Chicago-St. Louis area celebrated its Jubilee Year recently, honoring the 3,305 men, including four bishops, it has given the Church; the missionaries it has sent to places like China and Russia; the staffing of Quincy University, two high schools and three retreat houses; and much more.
The Province, founded by German settlers, celebrated its 150th anniversary in Teutopolis, the place known as the “cradle” of Sacred Heart. The April 12 kickoff event, observed this German heritage, according to Fr. Jim Lammers, OFM. The German friars landed in New York on Sept. 14, 1858, and quickly made their way to Teutopolis.
Bishop George Lucas Presides
The celebration began with a 5:30 p.m. Mass with Bishop George Lucas, the local ordinary of the Springfield Diocese, presiding and preaching. Concelebrants were Fr. John Doctor, OFM, Provincial Minister of the Sacred Heart Province, and Fr. Austin Albers, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish. Friars came from St. Louis, Springfield/Sherman, Chicago, and Cleveland. The Knights of Columbus were in full regalia as honor guards, according to Lammers.
In his homily, Bishop Lucas said that God sent his personal Son, Jesus, who experienced everything that we did, except sin.
After Mass, parishioners gathered across the street in the Knights of Columbus Hall for a dinner banquet.
On April 16 — the day when Francis of Assisi received oral approval for his rule of life — the friars publicly renewed their Franciscan commitment before members of the Church in regional celebrations.
The final event of the sesquicentennial is an assembly in St. Louis on Sept. 14, 150 years to the day that the U.S. ministry began. On Sept, 15, the Province will celebrate a Eucharist of Thanksgiving.
The Province’s History
In 1858, three Franciscan priests and six brothers came to Teutopolis at the request of the Bishop of Alton, Ill. As the friars grew, they traveled to other parts of the Midwest, including Quincy, Chicago, and St. Louis, Mo.
Since that time, Sacred Heart friars have been preachers, teachers, healers and ministers to the sick and those in need. They have served as missionaries in China, Brazil, Zaire, Morocco, Russia, Singapore and Alaska. They have staffed parishes in Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Friars have also facilitated retreats, parish missions, days of recollection, and workshops through the United States. Houses of formation have been located in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio while houses of contemplative prayer have been in Indiana and Missouri.