The history of the Association can be traced to the papacy of John XXIII, whose idea it was to “throw open the windows of the Church and let the fresh air of the Spirit blow through.”
In 1968, the organization was established to support the efforts to implement the Second Vatican Council’s changes throughout the Diocese of Belleville. They did not look for these changes to be solely the work of the bishop or the priests. Rather, it was in the parishes and other local ministries that those changes had to be built from the ground up.
The organization moved rapidly into an adult education phase and for a few years with great success. However, they quickly had to apply themselves to be more supportive of one another and the work that priests were doing in the Diocese to bring about social justice, especially in Cairo and E. St. Louis.
The organization began using its annual Parents and Friends Dinner to not only honor those who gave it life and courage to continue, but to also recognize and honor people (other than SIAP members) who stood out as great examples of Diocesan church in the various ministries of the church.
For a number of years, the members had to support one another against efforts to silence their voices. But they also became more and more aware that were in a period of great transition, as members grew older and retired from active ministry.