Hitting the road: Bishop Tylka is coming soon to a church or campus near you

St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington (Aug. 1), left, and St. Mary Church in Pontiac (Aug. 2), are among the first to host vicariate Masses with Coadjutor Bishop-elect Louis Tylka.

In the weeks to come, newly ordained Bishop Louis Tylka will have an opportunity to meet and pray with the people of the Diocese of Peoria at Masses of Thanksgiving in each of the 12 vicariates. Receptions are also planned in each location, followed by opportunities to interact with area priests in many cases.

In addition, there will be Masses of Thanksgiving at the St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center at Illinois State University in Normal, the St. Joseph Catholic Newman Center at Bradley University in Peoria, and St. John’s Catholic Newman Center at the University of Illinois in Champaign.

All of these are subject to change, however, depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and the protocols required.

“It’s an honor that he’s coming to the various vicariates to meet the people and bless us. We’re very excited.” Msgr. Mark Merdian, pastor, St. Pius X Parish in Rock Island

“It’s an honor that he’s coming to the various vicariates to meet the people and bless us,” said Msgr. Mark Merdian, pastor of St. Pius X in Rock Island, where a Mass of Thanksgiving and reception will be held on Saturday, Aug. 22.

“With COVID-19 especially we’re not able to come to Peoria, but this is a way that he can come out, while he still has time, to experience the diocese where he will become the ordinary,” Msgr. Merdian told The Catholic Post. “We’re very excited.”

ONE GOAL, MANY APPROACHES

The priests of the Rock Island Vicariate, where Msgr. Merdian is vicar forane, chose St. Pius X for the Mass because it is the largest church in the area. Even with current pandemic protocols restricting attendance to 25 percent of church capacity, St. Pius X can accommodate 250 people.

Coadjutor Bishop-elect Louis Tylka

Every parish and organization in the vicariate has been invited to bring 10 people. Priests, permanent deacons and altar servers are also welcome to participate.

To make it a true experience of the vicariate, Msgr. Merdian said the music will include Spanish-speaking choir members from St. Mary in Moline and African choir members from St. Mary in Rock Island, as well as those from the Myanmar community. A welcome will be offered in Flemish by members of Sacred Heart in Moline.

After the invitation-only Mass at 4 p.m., there will be a reception in the parish’s McCarthy Hall.

To make the liturgy available to more people, it will be livestreamed.

That is also the case at St. Mary’s Church of Saint John Paul II in Kewanee, where the Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 23. A reception will follow in the gym of Visitation Catholic School, said Father S. Stephen Engelbrecht, pastor of St. Anthony in Atkinson and Sacred Heart in Annawan and vicar forane of the Kewanee Vicariate.

“A NICE RECEPTION”

Immaculate Conception in Monmouth will host the Mass of Thanksgiving for the Galesburg Vicariate on Saturday, Aug. 15, at 5 p.m. People will be able to meet Bishop Tylka at a light reception that will be held in the Knights of Columbus Hall and the priests will have an opportunity to get acquainted with Bishop Tylka at a dinner at Immaculate Conception.

“I applaud Bishop Tylka for wanting to get around the diocese. I want him to have a nice reception out here . . . and look forward to showing him the beautiful western part of the diocese.” Msgr. Thomas Mack, pastor in Monmouth, Raritan and Alexis and vicar of the Galesburg Vicariate

No registration is being taken for the Mass, but only 80 people can be accommodated, said Msgr. Thomas Mack, pastor in Monmouth, Raritan and Alexis and vicar forane of the Galesburg Vicariate. Some of the parishes are selecting representatives.

“I’m hoping we can expand it a little bit by then,” he told The Post.

“I applaud Bishop Tylka for wanting to get around the diocese,” Msgr. Mack said. “I want him to have a nice reception out here . . . and look forward to showing him the beautiful western part of the diocese.”

Msgr. Merdian said he also wishes there was a way to include more people in the celebration, “but they’ll have plenty of time to get to know him in the many years he’ll be serving in the Diocese of Peoria.”

A schedule of the Masses of Thanksgiving follows. Receptions will be held in the parish hall unless otherwise noted.

  • Bloomington-Lincoln Vicariate: Saturday, Aug. 1, at 4 p.m., hosted by St. Patrick Church of Merna, 1001 N. Towanda Barnes Road, Bloomington.
  • Pontiac Vicariate: Sunday, Aug. 2, at 9:30 a.m., hosted by St. Mary Church, 119 E. Howard St., Pontiac.
  • Galesburg Vicariate: Saturday, Aug. 15, at 5 p.m., hosted by Immaculate Conception Church, 200 W. Broadway, Monmouth. Reception in the Knights of Columbus Hall.
  • Macomb Vicariate: Sunday, Aug. 16, at 10:30 a.m., hosted by St. Paul Church, 309 W. Jackson St., Macomb. Reception in the St. Paul School gym.
  • Rock Island Vicariate: Saturday, Aug. 22, at 4 p.m., hosted by St. Pius X Church, 2502 29th Ave., Rock Island.
  • Kewanee Vicariate: Sunday, Aug. 23, at 9 a.m., hosted by St. Mary’s Church of Saint John Paul II Parish, 410 W. Central Blvd., Kewanee. Reception in the Visitation Catholic School gym.
  • Champaign Vicariate: Saturday, Sept. 19, at 5:15 p.m., hosted by St. Matthew Church, 1303 Lincolnshire Drive, Champaign.
  • Danville Vicariate: Sunday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m., hosted by Holy Family Church, 444 E. Main St., Danville.
  • Peoria Vicariate: Saturday, Sept. 26, at 4:30 p.m., hosted by St. Vincent de Paul Church, 6001 N. University, Peoria. Details on the reception are still being determined.
  • Pekin Vicariate: Sunday, Sept. 27, at 11 a.m., hosted by St. Joseph Church, 303 S. Seventh St., Pekin. Reception in the St. Joseph School cafeteria.
  • Ottawa Vicariate: Saturday, Oct. 3, at 4 p.m., hosted by St. Columba Church, 122 W. Washington, Ottawa. Reception in the Marquette Academy cafeteria.
  • LaSalle Vicariate: Sunday, Oct. 4, at 11 a.m., hosted by Holy Family Church, 311 N. Woodland Ave., Oglesby. Reception at Holy Family School.
  • St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center: Sunday, Oct. 11, at noon, 501 S. Main St., Normal.
  • St. Joseph Catholic Newman Center: Sunday, Oct. 18, at 9 p.m., at St. Mark Church, 1113 W. Bradley Ave., Peoria.
  • St. John’s Catholic Newman Center: Sunday, Nov. 8, at 10:30 a.m., 604 E. Armory Ave., Champaign.
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