Bishop poses questions at Irish festival

Calling all Catholics to be “students of Christ,” Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, gave an exam of sorts Sunday to hundreds gathered beneath a tent for a Mass on the grounds of Peoria’s “Erin Feis” Irish festival.

The key question he asked the mostly green-clad assembly to consider was the one Jesus posed to his disciples in the day’s Gospel reading: “Who do you say that I am?”

Most of Jesus’ disciples “flunked” that test, said the bishop, by repeating incorrect answers heard elsewhere. But by proclaiming “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” the apostle Peter got an “A” and was made the rock on which the Catholic Church was built, he said in his homily.

But the bishop, who has used his homily at the annual Mass sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians to galvanize the local Catholic community, had other questions to consider as we work toward our “final grade” and “eternal destiny.”

“Is Jesus Christ our Lord, the center of our existence, our moral guide, our savior, our high priest and king?” he asked.

“Do we serve him in the needs of others? Are we faithful to our obligation to worship in his name each and every Sunday?

“Do we share our faith, pass it on to our children, to our children’s children, to our relatives, neighbors and friends, even to the strangers that we might meet?” the bishop asked.

While the annual celebration of Irish heritage is a time to remember and give thanks for family ancestry and the rich tradition of Catholic Ireland, Bishop Jenky urged those gathered to also use it to “renew and to rededicate ourselves to the truths of our faith and the demands of our religion.”

It is the “power and the consolation of the Holy Eucharist,” he said, that “founded and built up the faith of Ireland” and enables Irish Americans today to “give our answers and witness for future generations.”

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