Bishop shares ‘secret’ to a joyful life as Annual Diocesan Appeal opens April 1-2

Sister Salezia Rudyova, FSJB, left, and Mother Vaclava Ballon, FSJB, prepare packets of promotional materials for the 2017 Annual Diocesan Appeal to be sent to parishes around the Diocese of Peoria. Sister Salezia, an assistant in the Office of Stewardship and Development, is in her third year as coordinator of the appeal. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

The invitation to support the 2017 Annual Diocesan Appeal, which will be promoted in all parishes of the Diocese of Peoria the weekend of April 1-2, comes with a bonus — the secret of a happy life.

“It’s simple,” says Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, in an eight-minute video to be shown at Masses next weekend. “We were made by God to know God. Our happiness, our joy, comes in knowing Jesus Christ.”

Serving God and bringing the Lord to all we meet is the reason we have parish churches, Catholic schools, Newman Centers, and the various diocesan and parish ministries, said the bishop in encouraging generous gifts to the 2017 appeal, which seeks to raise $6,403,000 on the theme “A Joyful Church.”

“People who know Christ have a peace and a joy that this world cannot take away,” the bishop says in the video, which opens with the stories of four individuals who have experienced the joy of giving.

“Every member of this diocese is called to be a disciple,” Bishop Jenky adds in concluding remarks, “and the gift of your time and energy, the gift of your prayers, and yes, your financial sacrifices, truly make a difference in the life of this church.”


Among those featured in the video is Evelyn Ribordy, who coordinates volunteers at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry at St. Mary Parish in Pontiac. The pantry, which also offers clothing, serves up to 150 families per week.

“If anyone feels alone and lost,” says Ribordy, “give your time, give of yourself, because you will receive far more. There’s a gift in giving or volunteering, a tremendous gift that you get.”

Others portrayed in the video include:

  • Anthony Stone, a new student at Peoria Notre Dame High School whose inspirational tale of meeting Pope Francis and desiring a Catholic education spurred an outpouring of generosity in the school community;
  • Cathy Roller, a member of St. Mary Parish in Rock Island who is assisting Burmese immigrant families in the region. “It’s amazing the joy we can receive by reaching out to someone who is different from ourselves,” she says, and
  • Deacon Lee Brokaw, a seminarian from St. Patrick Parish in Raritan who will be ordained to the priesthood on May 27 who acknowledges “the sacrifices a lot of people make on a daily basis” for the good of the seminarians. “I’m excited to share my priesthood with the people of this diocese,” said Deacon Brokaw, especially in its farming communities.


“A Joyful Church” is the theme of the 2017 Annual Diocesan Appeal, which seeks $6,403,000 to fund the ministries and services of the Diocese of Peoria.

Planning for the Annual Diocesan Appeal began last September with a gathering of an advisory board of priests chaired by Msgr. Philip Halfacre, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Streator. In addition to raising funds to support the various ministries and apostolates of the diocese, the ADA also offers an opportunity to educate on stewardship, according to Sister Salezia Rudyova, FSJB, an assistant in the Office of Stewardship and Development who is in her third year of coordinating the appeal.

Sister Salezia is pleased with the “uplifting, joyful message” being spread through this year’s ADA.

“There is a joy in giving, and we are happy to be Catholics and happy to be part of a church that is joyful,” Sister Salezia told The Catholic Post as she helped stuff informational packets being sent to parishes and schools around the diocese.

Every parish has an appeal coordinator. Funds received beyond the parish goal are rebated to provide support to the local church.

While most pledges will be collected at parishes, this marks the second year pledges can be made online at the diocesan website, The promotional video will also be posted on the site.

The $6,403,000 goal will be divided as follows:

  • Catholic schools and religious education, 28 percent
  • Pastoral care, 26 percent
  • Vocational development, 17 percent
  • Social outreach, 12 percent
  • Diocesan administration, 8 percent
  • Diocesan and national support, 5 percent
  • Operation of the annual appeal, 3 percent
  • Required assessments, 1 percent


Separate brief videos were also produced to be shown to Catholic school and parish religious education students as well as at Masses for Spanish-speaking Catholics around the diocese.

In the video to young people, Bishop Jenky discusses the joy of sharing. He especially challenges seventh- and eighth-graders to model the faith and tutor younger students “by everything you say and especially everything you do.”

“Grow in the habit of sacrificing for our neighbor,” said the bishop. “I want to assure that God will bless you for it. God will make your lives fuller and happier.”

In addition to showing the video, schools and religious education leaders have been provided resources to teach stewardship. For the second year, students will be invited to make their own pledge to the appeal, and every gift of funds or prayers will be acknowledged with a thank-you letter from Bishop Jenky and a bookmark with a prayer.

The video to be played at the 13 churches offering Masses for Spanish-speaking Catholics notes that this year the diocese is sending two seminarians to Guatemala for immersion in the language. In addition to Bishop Jenky, the video features Father Fredi Gomez Torres, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Moline and St. Mary and St. Anne parishes in East Moline, who thanks Bishop Jenky and the diocese’s priests, deacons, and Sisters for “their love and support to our Spanish-speaking community.”

Bill Engelbrecht, director of advancement for the Diocese of Peoria, said the personal videos provide “one of the biggest connections between the Bishop of Peoria and the entire diocese.” Many young students, he said, may be seeing their bishop for the first time.

He echoed the joyful invitation of this year’s Annual Diocesan Appeal.

“You are supporting the mission of the church which is to bring people to Jesus Christ,” said Engelbrecht. “I don’t know that you can name a greater cause to support than that. You are making gifts that change lives, save marriages, end addictions, help make priests. What greater gift could there be?”



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