All men and boys of diocese invited to April 29 ‘Call to Catholic Men of Faith’

A scene from the men's march at the 2015 "A Call to Catholic Men of Faith." This year's event is Saturday, April 29. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

Hundreds of Catholic men and boys from throughout the Diocese of Peoria are expected to join Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, in Peoria on Saturday morning, April 29, for the 14th annual “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith.”

Known informally as the Men’s March and Mass, the event begins with a rally on the banks of the Illinois River, followed by a prayerful walk through downtown Peoria to St. Mary’s Cathedral for Mass with the bishop.

The theme of this year’s Men’s March is “Discipleship.”

“This year we march, encouraging each other as disciples of Jesus Christ as we stand in defense of Faith, Freedom, Family, and the Priesthood,” wrote Bishop Jenky in a recent letter inviting all priests, deacons, religious brothers and lay men of the diocese to attend.

“Knowing and loving Jesus, following his call and helping others to do the same is the core of discipleship,” said Bishop Jenky. “In fact, everything we do in this diocese should consciously be designed to evangelize and make new disciples.”

“THE WITNESS OF OUR BROTHERS”

This year’s march comes 19 days after Bishop Jenky marks the 15th anniversary of his installation as Bishop of Peoria. (See related editorial, page 16.) It was a homily that Bishop Jenky gave during his first year here — challenging Catholics to “rise up” and defend the faith when it is mocked in today’s culture — that led to the first “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith” in 2003.

In inviting men to this year’s march, Bishop Jenky noted that his 2017 Festival Letter also speaks about the “trials and moral decay that 21st century disciples of Christ face in our culture.”

“Coming together for this annual event, we are lifted up by the witness of our brothers to continue to ‘fight the good fight of the faith,’” wrote the bishop, quoting the first letter of St. Paul to Timothy. “I would be honored if you and the men of your parish would support and attend this march and Mass.”

ON THE BANKS OF ILLINOIS RIVER

As in past years, the men will first gather at the Gateway Building at the foot of Hamilton Boulevard in downtown Peoria. The sacrament of reconciliation will be offered along the banks of the Illinois River starting at 8:30 a.m.

At about 9 a.m., the rally will begin with welcoming remarks by Deacon Michael Schallmoser of St. Philomena Parish, Peoria.

“Discipleship” will then be the theme of a talk by Father Adam Cesarek, parochial vicar of the parishes of St. Mary, Pontiac; St. Paul, Odell; St. Joseph, Flanagan; and St. John, Cullom. Father Cesarek will have just completed a five-day vocations-themed bicycle ride across the Diocese of Peoria with Father Tom Otto and Father Michael Pica.

Led by the Knights of Columbus and carrying statues including of St. Joseph — the patron of the Men’s March — the men will then process approximately a mile to the cathedral, where the recitation of the rosary will precede the Mass with Bishop Jenky.

Because of a scheduling conflict at the Spalding Pastoral Center, the fellowship lunch gathering that follows Mass will take place on the lawn of the Bishop’s Residence next to the cathedral. Tickets for the lunch, which will feature the traditional “pork on a stick,” may be purchased the morning of the march.

There is no cost to attend the march and reservations are not necessary. Bus transportation will be available for those wishing to park at the cathedral and ride to the riverfront. Further details are available at cdop.org.

SPALDING PASTORAL CENTER | 419 NE MADISON AVENUE | PEORIA, IL 61603 | PHONE (309) 671-1550 | FAX (309) 671-1595
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