Cathedral Mass on Sunday opens local Year of Consecrated Life

Photo Caption: A special feature of the 10:15 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday, Nov. 23, will be the presence of the United Nations International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

The diocesan celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life will begin this Sunday, Nov. 23, with a Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, will be the celebrant of the liturgy, which will begin at 10:15 a.m.

As part of the celebration, Bishop Jenky is expected to announce that his annual Festival Letter will focus on consecrated life and its gifts to both the Diocese of Peoria and the universal church.

A special feature of the Mass will be the presence of the United Nations International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. (See story below.) The wood replica, blessed by Pope Pius XII in 1947, will be accompanied by first-class relics of Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco Marto, siblings who witnessed the Fatima apparitions along with their cousin, Lucia Santos (later known as Sister Maria Lucia de Jesus dos Santos).

In his letter of invitation to the consecrated women and men in central Illinois, Msgr. John Prendergast, episcopal vicar for religious, told them “the bishop so deeply appreciates your daily contribution to building up the people of God of the Diocese of Peoria through your consecrated life of witness, prayer and specific apostolate.”

“Just think about what richness they bring to the diocese today,” he told The Catholic Post. “It simply wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have them. Their charisms make the world a kinder, more charitable, more loving world that is closer to the kingdom of God.”

Msgr. Prendergast pointed to the Poor Clares in Peoria and their constant prayer for the Diocese of Peoria, as well as the prayer of the Contemplative Sisters of St. John in Princeville. He also talked about the ministry of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis and their care for the sick at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, “one of our nation’s leading medical facilities,” and the Benedictine monks at St. Bede Abbey in Peru, who are involved in education and parish ministry.

The diocese also benefits from the pastoral care of priests from other countries, such as the Society of African Mission priests in Ottawa.

Msgr. Prendergast added that there are four consecrated virgins in the Diocese of Peoria, “who go out every day in the work-a-day world.”

“One we often forget about is the contribution of consecrated life given by our bishop, who comes from a religious order,” he said, noting that Bishop Jenky belongs to the Congregation of Holy Cross.

“All of them are like facets of a diamond. They each reflect Christ’s special love for the people of God,” he said. “And like any diamond, without one of the facets it just isn’t as brilliant as it would be or could be.”

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FATIMA STATUE AT CATHEDRAL THIS WEEKEND

The visit of the United Nations International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima and relics of Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco Marto will begin on Friday, Nov. 21, when schoolchildren from around the diocese will come to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria for a Mass with Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC.

On Saturday, Nov. 22, there will be a Holy Hour and rosary at 2 p.m. and recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m., with the sacrament of reconciliation available. The Vigil Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral is at 4 p.m. and will be celebrated in Latin.

The statue and relics will be present for the 10:15 a.m. Mass at the cathedral on Sunday, Nov. 23, opening the Year of Consecrated Life, as well as for the Spanish Mass that follows at 12:15 p.m.

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