In video message, Bishop Jenky offers encouragement during pandemic

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, speaks words of encouragement during the coronavirus pandemic in a video recorded March 21 in the chapel of the cathedral rectory in Peoria.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Following is the text of a video message from Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, to the Diocese of Peoria released on March 21. It is published, along with updated directives from the Diocese of Peoria during the coronavirus pandemic, on the diocese’s web page,

Dear friends:

I am speaking to you from the chapel in the cathedral rectory. This is the place where I pray. It’s where I celebrate private Masses, especially now when we’re all quarantined. It’s a place where I try to gather for Holy Hours.

It is a beautiful chapel. As in any Catholic chapel and church there is the altar for Mass, the tabernacle where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. There’s a beautiful icon of Our Lady of Peoria on one side and good St. Joseph on the other. I have a statue of St. Andre Bessette here, and his relics. He is the miracle worker and great healer of the sick in Montreal. I have a reliquary with the twelve apostles.

I want to take this opportunity to say a word of encouragement to the People of God in this diocese, to the priests and the deacons and the Religious, and all people of good will.

I want to take this opportunity to say a word of encouragement to the People of God in this diocese, to the priests and the deacons and the Religious, and all people of good will.

In my lifetime, this is an unprecedented moment, where basically illness has changed the whole way our local church lives and relates to one another. We shouldn’t be afraid. We should be careful. We should do all the things the church and our government is asking us to do to break down the chain of contagion.

But always remember that our God is a great God. Jesus is a healer. Our Blessed Lady prays with and for the church. So ultimately, no matter what happens, we have nothing to fear.

I want to say especially to my brother priests, you are ministering in unusual circumstances. It gives you and me a real opportunity to live a more contemplative life. To intercede for the church which we cannot interact with the way we have in the past. To pray for their needs. To be in the presence of God more collectively and with greater recollection. This is really an opportunity for a long retreat, and praying for the flock entrusted to our care is part of our ministry as shepherds and priests.

I especially want to thank all those who are involved in doing streaming services. Any of you who know me, know I am a non-tech guy. So I have great admiration for the priests and deacons and religious who are using the media, using all the technology of today to bring worship, prayer, praise, comfort, to our extended flock in the 26 counties of the Diocese of Peoria.

As our Holy Father, the pope, has reminded the universal church, this is a special time for families to grow closer together, to share the family story, to spend quality time with one another, since there is very little else they can do outside the home. And especially, this is a time for Catholic families to gather in prayer, to share the Scriptures, to pray the rosary, to pray intercessory prayers for the sick and those who tend to them.

The most basic part of the church is always the domestic church, the church in the home. Parents and grandparents have a primary responsibility for passing on the faith and strengthening the faith of young believers.

I hope that we are able to keep all the members of our diocese updated through technology so you know what is scheduled, what we can do, and what resources are available. And I want you to know that in this chapel, and also over in the cathedral, I plan to pray for you, to pray with you, to be united with you in our worship, praise, and thanks to almighty God. And I implore His blessing upon all of you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. God bless you.

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