All men of diocese invited to annual march, Mass on April 26
Photo Caption: Hundreds of Catholic men make their way from the Peoria riverfront to St. Mary’s Cathedral in this image from the 2013 march. The 2014 event is scheduled for Saturday morning, April 26.
Catholic men from throughout the Diocese of Peoria are invited to take a public stand in defense of faith, family and the priesthood during the 11th annual “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith” on Saturday morning, April 26.
The rally organizes at the Gateway Building along the Illinois River at the foot of Hamilton Boulevard in downtown Peoria. The men will then march to St. Mary’s Cathedral for a Mass celebrated by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC.
While the annual event draws large crowds — and unites across generations as grandparents, fathers and sons walk and pray together — organizers hope the major event’s benefits last well beyond the excitement of the morning.
“We hope the men will be inspired to live out and grow in their faith,” said Craig Dyke, director of the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Family Life. If their parish does not have a men’s group or a Bible study, for example, perhaps they can start one.
To plant seeds of continued growth — and to acknowledge that the men are marching on the eve of the canonizations of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II — the diocese will distribute 500 copies of Jason Evert’s new book, “St. John Paul the Great: His Five Loves.”
Participants will also receive medallions commemorating the theme of the day, “The Joy of the Gospel” — the subject of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation and the focus of a presentation at the riverfront by Father James Pankiewicz.
Father Pankiewicz is an assistant chaplain at St. John’s Catholic Newman Center at the University of Illinois in Champaign. This year’s march will feature a significant college student presence, with students from that Newman Center carrying the lead banner in the march and a group from the John Paul II Newman Center in Bloomington carrying a statue.
The day’s schedule begins with the gathering at the riverfront at 8 a.m. Doughnuts will be served by men from Holy Family Parish, Peoria. Confessions will be available prior to the rally, which opens at 9:15.
Following Father Pankiewicz’s talk, the men will walk as a group to St. Mary’s Cathedral for a 10:30 a.m. Mass with Bishop Jenky. A choir of men from Blessed Sacrament Parish in Morton will provide music.
Following Mass food and beverages will be available for purchase at the Spalding Pastoral Center. The St. Jude Knights of Columbus will provide assistance. Meal tickets will be sold for $7.
“A Call to Catholic Men of Faith” is under the patronage of St. Joseph the Worker and is planned near his feast day. There is no cost to attend nor reservations required.