‘Welcome Tour’ takes Bishop Tylka to Galesburg, Macomb vicariates Aug. 15-16

After celebrating Mass for the Macomb Vicariate at St. Paul Church in Macomb on Aug. 16, Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka went outside to greet the people who drove by the church doors to receive Communion. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Parish communities in the western part of the Diocese of Peoria got their chance to greet Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka as he continued his “Welcome Tour” over the weekend. Not only did he find faith and friendship, but he was also treated to meals with his priests and parishioners who were happy for the opportunity to get to know him.

On Saturday, Aug. 15, Bishop Tylka was the principal celebrant at a Mass for the Galesburg Vicariate, which includes parishes in Abingdon, Aledo, Alexis, Galesburg, Matherville, Monmouth, Raritan, Viola and Wataga. Immaculate Conception in Monmouth hosted the liturgy and reception.

Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka visited the Galesburg Vicariate on Aug. 15, celebrating Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Monmouth. Concelebrating with him were (from left) Msgr. Thomas Mack, vicar forane; Father Deus-Dedit B. Byabato; and Father Daniel McShane. Also pictured is Deacon William Clark. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Among the concelebrants were Msgr. Thomas Mack, pastor in Monmouth, St. Patrick in Raritan, and St. Theresa in Alexis, and vicar forane; Father Daniel McShane, parochial vicar in Monmouth, Raritan and Alexis; and Father Deus-Dedit B. Byabato, chaplain at OSF HealthCare St. Mary in Galesburg and pastor of St. Aloysius in Wataga. Assisting were Deacons William Clark, Thomas Mann and Joseph McCleary.

On Sunday, Aug. 16, Bishop Tylka traveled to Macomb to celebrate Mass for the Macomb Vicariate at St. Paul Church, Macomb. In addition to St. Paul, the vicariate includes parishes in Bushnell, Canton, Carthage, Dallas City, Hamilton, Lewistown, Nauvoo, Rushville, St. Augustine and Warsaw.

Concelebrating the Mass were Father Adam Stimpson, pastor in Macomb and St. Rose in Rushville, and vicar forane; Father Joseph, parochial vicar there; and Father Tony Trosley, pastor of the five parishes in the Hancock County Catholic Community. Assisting were Deacons Larry Adams and Tony Ensenberger.

A reception featuring smoked pork sandwiches and salads prepared by the Knights of Columbus and St. Paul Women’s Guild followed in the St. Paul School gym. To provide proper social distancing, high top table were also set up outside in the courtyard and by the playground.

When Father Stimpson announced at the end of Mass that people would have the option of getting in line to visit with Bishop Tylka on one side of the gym or picking up lunch on the other side of the gym and greeting him afterward, the bishop said, “I’d go to the food line first.”

Waiting for him in the gym were cards from the school children and such “St. Paul swag” as a t-shirt, “which every bishop needs,” Father Stimpson said.

“IT’S GOOD TO BE TOGETHER”

In welcoming Bishop Tylka to “the gateway to the western part of your diocese,” Msgr. Mack said he would find the same welcoming spirit from all the parishioners in Knox, Mercer, Warren and Henderson counties.

“Our vicariate covers many miles from Galesburg, our biggest city, in the east to Aledo, the county seat of Mercer County, to the north, and the banks of the Mississippi River to the west,” he told “Bishop Lou.”

“We, the Catholic community of the Galesburg Vicariate, pledge our prayers and our full support as you begin your ministry with us here.” — Msgr. Thomas Mack

“Most of our vicariate is rural, with large fields of corn and soybeans, our rolling pastures covered with herds of Angus cows and calves,” added Msgr. Mack, who is also episcopal vicar for rural life of the Diocese of Peoria.

“We, the Catholic community of the Galesburg Vicariate, pledge our prayers and our full support as you begin your ministry with us here,” he said.

For his part, Bishop Tylka replied that “It’s great to see how the church is alive in the various communities that make up the Diocese of Peoria. It’s really a beautiful part of the country that I’m beginning to discover as I travel around.”

At both Masses he acknowledged that these are strange times we’re living through, but we’re not alone.

“The Lord is still with us, giving us strength and courage as we confront our challenges,” Bishop Tylka said. “So it’s good to be together.”

FIRST OF MANY VISITS

Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka visits with Regina Erhardt of St. Rose, Rushville, who celebrated her 82nd birthday the day before the Aug. 16 Macomb Vicariate Mass at St. Paul, Macomb. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

During his homilies, he told his listeners that there is a common thread running through all the readings for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Jesus came to save us all.

“God’s love for us is for everyone, without exception — no matter who we are, no matter where we’re from, no matter the color of our skin, no matter whether we live in the country or the city,” Bishop Tylka explained. “That love, that salvation given to us in Jesus is for everyone.”

Jesus poses that challenge to us in Matthew’s Gospel when the Samaritan woman receives healing for her daughter through the persistence of her faith. We must also be steadfast in our faith, loving like the Lord, being open to what Jesus is asking, and welcoming the stranger.

Admitting that sometimes he can be obstinate and thinking he knows it all, Bishop Tylka said the Gospel challenge serves as “a knock on the head” to remember that it’s God’s plan, not ours.

“When I can give myself over to God’s plan, when I can accept his message of love and mercy, and when I can witness in the situations of life seeing how people receive love, compassion, mercy, kindness, it’s then that the Gospel truly comes to life,” he said. “It’s then that I realize God’s mercy and salvation is for everyone.”

Before Mass ended in Monmouth and Macomb, Bishop Tylka said it was only the first visit to the vicariates.

“I look forward to coming back and being with you as often as I can,” he said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Both Masses were livestreamed. To find the Aug. 15 celebration, visit Immaculate Conception – Monmouth, IL on YouTube. The Aug. 16 Mass is available at facebook.com/fatheradam.stimpson.

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