Bishop lauds work of women’s commission

Members of the Bishop’s Commission on Women in the Church and in Society of the Diocese of Peoria didn’t come empty-handed to their annual meeting with Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, last week. They brought successes, questions and one request.

“You asked us to establish the Christ Child Society in the diocese four years ago and now that’s up and running,” said Joan Weber of Dunlap. “Do you have any other challenges for us?”

Sitting around a long table at the bishop’s residence for nearly two hours, commission members brainstormed with Bishop Jenky, who invited them to continue to “praise, support and volunteer” wherever they can to build up the church in central Illinois.

During the meeting, the bishop also welcomed three new commission members to the table: Bev Bryan of Knoxville, a member of Corpus Christi Parish in Galesburg; Joanne Dorn of Congerville, a member of St. Luke’s Parish in Eureka; and Katie Lowery of Spring Valley, a member of St. Valentine’s Parish in Peru.

Chief among the commission’s successes is the Christ Child Society, which provides layettes of baby clothing and supplies to families in need. There are two provisional chapters in the Diocese of Peoria: the Christ Child Society of Central Illinois and the Christ Child Society of the Quad Cities.

Another success has been the voting forums sponsored by the commission, according to Weber. The first was held Sept. 9 in Bloomington and two more are planned for Monday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. in the McAteer Center at Corpus Christi Church, Galesburg, and Saturday, Oct. 25, at 10 a.m. at Peoria Notre Dame High School. They will feature Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, who will speak about “Voting a Clear Catholic Conscience.”

A continuing effort of the commission is to encourage parishioners across the Diocese of Peoria to “adopt” a priest and pray for them on a regular basis. Weber said eventually they would like to ask people to enroll for this “spiritual motherhood” and Bishop Jenky was quick to respond, “Include your bishop!”

Bishop Jenky said one of his goals is to get parishes and organizations in the diocese — as well as the diocesan offices — to work together, rather than try to do everything by themselves. He mentioned the RCIA process as one parish ministry that could benefit from collaborating regionally.

“The diocese is gifted with lay people and priests who can teach,” he said. “If we pulled together, we would achieve a lot more.”

The purpose of the Bishop’s Commission on Women in the Church and in Society is to act as an advisory group on women’s concerns to the bishop of the Diocese of Peoria; to help women of the Diocese of Peoria become holier and closer to God; and to encourage women of the diocese to teach their families and the community consistent Catholic tradition.

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