Mass, holy hour with Bishop Jenky among prayerful pro-life events planned

The Diocese of Peoria is sponsoring a pilgrimage to March for Life Chicago (shown in a 2015 file photo) on Sunday, Jan. 17. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Activities during the coming week — including the March for Life in Chicago, the National March for Life in Washington, D.C. and a Mass in Peoria celebrated by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC — will keep people around central Illinois busy as they observe the 43rd anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. The Supreme Court decision, handed down on Jan. 22, 1973, legalized abortion throughout pregnancy.

In the Diocese of Peoria, the week of pro-life activities will culminate with a 7:15 Mass celebrated by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at St. Joseph Church in Peoria on Jan. 22.

The Mass will be followed by a holy hour of healing and reparation. The Mass an holy hour are among the ways the diocese is linking its pro-life efforts with the Holy Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis.

Those taking part “will have a place during this Jubilee of Mercy to unite with our bishop for the end to abortion and all forms of attacks on life from the moment of fertilization to natural death,” said Cecilia Sone, associate director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria.

Both the Mass and the holy hour in English and Spanish, with the holy hour including a recitation of the rosary with meditations. An image of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be carried in the opening procession. Father Willliam Miller, IC< chairman of the Diocese of Peoria’s Respect Life Board, will be homilist.

St. Joseph Church is located at 103 Richard Pryor Place in Peoria.


The 2016 March for Life Chicago this Sunday, Jan. 17, is expected to draw more than 7,000 participants from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio and Missouri to the Federal Plaza in Chicago. Among them will be 100 people making a bus pilgrimage sponsored by the Diocese of Peoria.

The pilgrimage — the first to March for Life Chicago — is a joint effort of the diocesan Respect Life Ministry and the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Faith Formation and could easily become an annual event, according to Shirley Plaag.

“The Chicago March for Life has slowly been gaining momentum. In the last two years they’ve been gaining momentum in a huge way,” said Plaag, who staffs the Office of Evangelization and Faith Formation.

“What I thought would be neat would be to support a local event, to show support from the Midwest,” she told The Catholic Post. “I think there will be a lot of people who will be able to go to this that wouldn’t be able to go and show their support for the pro-life movement in D.C.”

Plaag added that it will be a true pilgrimage, with participants attending Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica on Chicago’s West Side before the march. It is one of the churches in the Archdiocese of Chicago that has Holy Doors for the Year of Mercy.

On the way back to central Illinois, the pilgrims will stop at Annunciation of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in Homer Glen to see the icons. Parishioners will provide dinner for them.

“I thought it would be a beautiful gift to make sure prayer is woven into our day,” Plaag said. “We really want to be praying for the unborn and their mothers and their families as we’re at Mass before the Blessed Sacrament, as we’re on the buses saying the rosary. We want to weave prayer into what we’re doing.”

While the Diocese of Peoria isn’t sponsoring a bus pilgrimage to the national March for Life in the nation’s capital, many teens and adults from high schools and parishes throughout central Illinois are planning to participate in that event, which will be held Jan. 22. The theme for the rally and march is “Pro-Life and Pro-Woman Go Hand in Hand.”

Reports and photos from both marches will be published in the Jan. 31 issue of The Catholic Post.


The annual Sanctity of Human Life Rally, sponsored by Central Illinois Right to Life, will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at Riverside Community Church, 207 N.E. Monroe St., in Peoria. It will begin at 7 p.m.

Rev. Walter Hoye II

Rev. Walter Hoye II

Prior to the rally there will be an open house at the Family Resources Center, 415 N.E. Monroe St., from 5 to 6 p.m. A prayer march around the Federal Courthouse at Main and Monroe will follow at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to updates on pro-life efforts in central Illinois, the Sanctity of Human Life Rally will feature remarks by Rev. Walter Hoye II, president and founder of the Issues4Life Foundation. He is also a core member of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition.

In addition, Rev. Hoye sits on the board of The Morning Center, which provides free maternity care to women in urban and underserved areas. While it operates in Memphis, Tennessee, it is based in Peoria.

Married and the father of two adult children, he and his wife Lori live in Union City, California. He credits the premature birth of his son for teaching him that the fetus is a person and has said this continues to influence his approach to pro-life issues.

An ordained Baptist minister, he has done pro-life work full time since 2010. At the rally he will speak about what God is accomplishing through the pro-life movement and the impact of the abortion industry on the community.


BLOOMINGTON — Unborn victims of abortion will be remembered on Friday, Jan. 22, at noon, on the west steps of the old McLean County Courthouse, Center and Jefferson streets. Pastor Bob Smart of Christ Church PCA in Normal will be the speaker.

The memorial service, which will be brief, is being sponsored by the McLean County Right to Life Committee.


CHAMPAIGN — A candlelight prayer vigil and ecumenical pro-life prayer vigil are planned for Friday, Jan. 22.

The annual candlelight vigil for the unborn will begin at 6 p.m. in front of Women’s Health Practice, 2125 S. Neil St. Electric candles will be provided for those who attend, and a rosary will be prayed for all those who have been affected by abortion. More information is available from Myrna Buyno at (217) 352-4549.

“Defend Life” is the theme for the ecumenical pro-life prayer vigil planned for 7:30 p.m. at Holy Cross Church, 405 W. Clark St. Father David Sajdak, SDB, pastor, will speak about “God’s Grace and Mercy” and Tyra Browning will offer a testimony.


GALESBURG — Fields Church, 746 Hawkinson, will host Knox County Right to Life’s annual interdenominational prayer service on Sunday, Jan. 31. It will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The speaker will be Kathy Livingston, a member of Silent No More, who will share her personal testimony. Silent No More is an organization devoted to reaching out to those who have been hurt by abortion and inviting those who are ready to break their silence and talk about the negative consequences of abortion.

A freewill offering to benefit the local Women’s Pregnancy Center will be accepted.

The evening includes refreshments and time for fellowship.


HENRY — The next Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreat offered by the Diocese of Peoria will take place Feb. 26-28 at Nazareth House in Henry. The retreat offers an opportunity for healing to any woman or man who has struggled with the emotional or spiritual pain of an abortion.

Spiritual exercises focus on God’s forgiveness, compassion, and mercy. Psychological exercises help participants work through repressed grief and anger that may exist.

Click here for more information and registration materials.

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