Diocese’s First Communicants inspire with their devotion

Photo Caption: Bishop Jenky extends his hand in blessing over Stevan Sanchez of St. Hyacinth’s Parish, LaSalle, before they have their photo taken at the diocesan Mass for First Communicants on June 9.

By: By Jennifer Willems

It didn’t take long for the little hands of the children who had made their First Communion this year to raise when Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, asked who liked hamburgers.

Tacos? You bet.

Grandma’s apple pie with ice cream? Yes, please.

Pizza? Yum.

Bishop Jenky joined them in smiling and laughing at the thought of digging into all that food, but said sadly that it would never satisfy their appetites.

“No matter how much we ate . . . the next morning, around breakfast, we’d be hungry again,” he told the little girls in their white dresses and veils and the young gentleman in their suits and ties who filled St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria for Mass on June 9.

“There is an infinite hunger, an endless hunger, a hunger that never ends that only our good God can fulfill,” Bishop Jenky said, explaining that God does that through the Eucharist.

“There is no place on this earth, if you’re alone or tired or in trouble, if you’re happy, if you’re having a great time, if things are going well, with all of the good and the bad you can receive Jesus Christ in your hearts and lives and you are filled with the love of God,” the bishop said, standing on the sanctuary steps to be closer to his listeners.

The challenge, according to Bishop Jenky, is to take that love and share it with one another to make God’s endless love more present.

He emphasized that they have a right to receive the Eucharist each and every week and said, “If by some chance you don’t get to go to Mass you scream, you yell, you cry out because you will need that love of Jesus Christ that never ends every day you live on earth.”

“That you young people receive the sacrament with so much love, so much devotion, so much goodness strengthens us older folks to renew our love for Jesus in our everyday lives and to make the Eucharist the center of our existence,” Bishop Jenky said.

He urged them to make Christ their Lord throughout their lives, “even when you’re as old as your bishop.”

“Make Christ your best friend. Make Jesus and his endless love the story of your life,” the bishop said.

After Mass, Bishop Jenky returned to the sanctuary to bless Bibles, prayer books, rosaries and other sacramentals for the children and pose for pictures. . Medallions bought in Rome and blessed by the Holy Father proved to be treasured keepsakes, as did the worship aids he signed with his name and “God bless you.”

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