Thank you, Bishop Jenky, for 15 years of faithful leadership of our diocese

Bishop Jenky is applauded as he is seated for the first time in the Bishop's Chair at St. Mary's Cathedral during his Mass of Installation as the eighth Bishop of Peoria on April 10, 2002. (Catholic Post file/Patrick Murphy-Racey)

This is a year of milestones for Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC. On March 3, he observed his 70th birthday. This year is also his golden jubilee of professing first vows with his religious community, the Congregation of Holy Cross. In December, it will be 20 years since he was ordained a bishop, first serving as auxiliary in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

But this Monday of Holy Week, April 10, all of us in the Diocese of Peoria should specially lift up our bishop in prayer, for it will mark 15 years since his Mass of Installation as Bishop of Peoria.

“Bishops come and go,” our new shepherd said in his homily on that spring day in 2002 at St. Mary’s Cathedral. “But Jesus Christ — yesterday, today, and forever — is the Lord of his church,” he said with a now familiar voice that booms with authority when emphasis is needed. “Jesus Christ is our true bishop and head of the whole church and the true shepherd of this diocese.”

Jesus has accomplished much in the Diocese of Peoria over the last 15 years working through his modern apostle Daniel. Bishop Jenky has introduced the cause for canonization of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, worked to increase the resources that support Catholic schools, been an outspoken defender of religious freedom in the United States. Among the many building projects under his leadership were the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria and major expansions of Newman Centers at Illinois State University and the University of Illinois.

Bishop Jenky’s milestones will be the focus of an interview that will appear in the annual Jubilarian section of The Catholic Post next month. Meanwhile, we have a few suggestions for those wishing to make our bishop happy on his anniversary.

  • You might send a card or note to him at his residence, 607 N.E. Madison Ave., Peoria, IL 61603.
  • You might consider joining the bishop and priests from around the diocese for the Chrism Mass at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11, at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
  • Catholic men and boys should make this the year they join the bishop and hundreds of brothers at the annual Men’s March and Mass on Saturday, April 29 — an event Bishop Jenky’s teaching inspired and one especially dear to his heart.
  • Families can make an especially generous pledge to the Annual Diocesan Appeal, now under way, to support ministries carrying out the bishop’s vision.

Most of all, we believe it would make Bishop Jenky happy if we fearlessly, joyfully, and gratefully live our Catholic faith to the fullest, in this Holy Week to come and beyond. — Thomas J. Dermody

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