‘Beer summit’ with bishop gets personal

Two days before last week’s much publicized “beer summit” in the White House Rose Garden, about 125 young adults met informally over beverages of choice with Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC.

The participants came away from a “Stump the Bishop” night — part of the Theology on Tap summer series taking place at Kelleher’s Irish Pub in downtown Peoria — with a clearer understanding of the Catholic faith and several glimpses into the life of their diocesan bishop.

During a free flowing, 90-minute exchange of questions and answers, the bishop addressed topics ranging from “Can we change God’s mind?” through prayer to the only question that stumped him: “Whatever happened to Lazarus?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea,” said Bishop Jenky of the eventual fate of the man Jesus raised from the dead. “We may have to wait and ask the Lord.”

The bishop also spoke personally on subjects including how he deals with criticism, what he enjoys reading, and how he “met” Jesus.

“It’s impossible to be a bishop, a pastor, a principal of a school, a parent, a cop, a judge, etc., without having some people mad at you,” Bishop Jenky acknowledged after the question on criticism. Saying most treat his office with respect, the bishop admitted that sometimes he takes criticism personally, and that worries of the day can keep him awake at night.

A better way to deal with stress, he said, is “after we’ve done what we can do in a day, including mistakes, to put it on the Lord.” He takes comfort in knowing that “Jesus is Lord of the Church,” adding that on his best days “it’s Christ’s work, and not mine.”

The bishop told the crowd that among the especially difficult decisions he sometimes must make are the closings of churches and other institutions.

“Every church is beloved,” said Bishop Jenky. But demographics change and “we need churches where we don’t have them. Will my decisions sometimes hurt people? Yes. Will I do it perfectly? No. Do I have to keep making them? Yes.”

For more information on Theology on Tap, including plans for series this fall throughout the diocese, contact Brad Colvis at (309) 671-1550, or by e-mail at bcolvis@cdop.org.

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