Bishop Jenky nears 10th anniversary; gala set June 1

Photo Caption: Bishop Jenky is pictured in his office on the fourth floor of the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria. The bishop marks his tenth anniversary as Bishop of Peoria on April 10.

By: By Jennifer Willems

Editor’s Note — The following story appeared in a 36-page special section in the April 1, 2012 issue of The Catholic Post celebrating Bishop Daniel R. Jenky’s decade of leadership in the Diocese of Peoria. Bishop Jenky was installed as Bishop of Peoria on April 10, 2002.

To view the full special section online, click Catholic Post E-Edition. The anniversary section begins on page 29.


While there are a variety of celebrations planned to honor Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, for his 10th anniversary as the spiritual leader of the Diocese of Peoria, he considers all of them opportunities to thank people and advance the mission of the church in central Illinois.

That will be evident at the Chrism Mass on April 3, at a luncheon with members of the diocesan offices and agencies on April 18, and at the Bishop’s Anniversary Gala on June 1, and culminate with the Conferral of Ecclesiastical Honors — more commonly known as the Honors Mass — on Nov. 18.
“It speaks of him as a man and of his own priestly heart that he has a hard time being honored,” said Msgr. Stanley Deptula, director of the diocesan Office of Divine Worship and executive director of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation. “The dynamic is as we honor him, he really wants to honor and support the people of this diocese.”
That will happen in a special way at the Bishop’s Anniversary Gala on Friday, June 1. Bishop Jenky has asked that the proceeds from the event, which will be held at the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria, be used for the renewal of Catholic Charities.
“Rita Kress of Brimfield has graciously served as the honorary chair of the gala, and she has helped us put together what I believe will be a truly special evening,” Msgr. Deptula said. Among those making it special will be members of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, the seminarians of the diocese, and students from Peoria Notre Dame High School.
Msgr. Deptula added that Kress had carefully researched a menu that will be filled with “saintly fare” — dishes with a biblical basis or relationship to the saints. Carla Jockisch, senior development associate for Catholic Charities, noted that each course will also give guests a chance to learn about Bishop Jenky and his role as bishop.
“It won’t be your usual boneless, tasteless chicken breast by any means,” Msgr. Deptula said. “It will be a banquet worthy of our bishop’s 10th anniversary and worthy of support for Catholic Charities.”

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria is in a state of transition as it adapts to operating without state funding. That became necessary when legislation recognizing civil unions in the state of Illinois went into effect last June, requiring child welfare agencies to provide equal services to cohabiting couples, including same-sex couples, as well as those that are married.
“This mandate and its requirements made it impossible for us to continue serving children through adoption and foster care,” according to Sister Ana Pia Cordua, SCTJM, president and director of mission and ministry for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria. She explained the agency’s “new birth in service” in a letter published in the March 4 issue of The Catholic Post.
The Bishop’s Anniversary Gala will assist Catholic Charities in continuing its mission, set out more than 100 years ago, of meeting the needs of the poor and vulnerable across the 26 counties of the Diocese of Peoria, Jockisch told The Catholic Post.
In addition to tickets for the gala, which are $150 per person, corporations and individuals will have the opportunity to provide financial sponsorships for the evening, starting at $1,000. Institutional and personal sponsorship pledges are also welcome from parishes, organizations, clergy and the laity.
“People always want to buy Bishop Jenky a gift, but he’s a man of very few needs, a man of really rather simple tastes,” Msgr. Deptula said. “The best way for someone who wants to give Bishop Jenky a gift for his anniversary is to be a sponsor for this gala, because this gala is all about supporting Catholic Charities.”
The evening will include an auction of some a few select items, entertainment and some “surprises.”
Invitations for the Bishop’s Anniversary Gala are expected to be mailed by April 20. To place your name on the list or for more information about sponsorships, contact Carla Jockisch by phone at (309) 636-8034 or by email at

Another way Bishop Jenky and the faithful of the Diocese of Peoria will celebrate one another is at the Honors Mass on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 3:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. A reception will follow at the nearby Spalding Pastoral Center.
Nominations are now being accepted for:
l The Pere Marquette Award, which is given to lay volunteers, priests and consecrated women and men who “heroically advance” the mission of the parishes and apostolates of the diocese;
l The Archbishop Schlarman Award, which is given to longtime employees of parishes, ministries, agencies and diocese; and
l The St. Isidore Rural Family Life Award, named for the patron of farmers and given to individuals or families who “build up our rural communities and are involved in any aspect of agriculture.”
The deadline for nominations is May 1. Msgr. Deptula said Bishop Jenky has named a small committee to sift through the nominations and make recommendations for his consideration by early August.
“Even as this is the culmination of a year honoring him, he’s honoring all these leaders, the backbone of our local church,” Msgr. Deptula told The Post. “It’s his act of gratitude to the different people of the diocese who have enabled him to be such an effective bishop for these 10 years.”
This is a diocesan celebration and everyone is welcome to come to the Mass and reception — not just those being honored, he said.
To find more information and nomination forms, go to and click on “Events,” “Event Flyers” and “Honors Mass.”

Two more special moments will give the priests and diocesan staff a chance to celebrate with Bishop Jenky.
At the Chrism Mass, which is traditionally celebrated during Holy Week, the bishop and his priests renew their commitment to priestly service. Bishop Jenky also will bless and send home with the priests the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens and the sacred Chrism that will be used for sacramental anointing in the year ahead.
As is tradition, the April 3 liturgy will be followed by a dinner for the clergy and Msgr. Deptula said the presbyterate will use that time to honor the bishop and “celebrate him in a special way as our father.”
A luncheon with members of the diocesan curia is planned for Wednesday, April 18, and will allow Bishop Jenky to thank his “closest collaborators . . . the people who work so hard to advance the central ministry of diocesan work,” Msgr. Deptula said.

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