Coadjutor Bishop Tylka expresses deep gratitude for the welcome he is receiving

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter from Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka was published in the issue of The Catholic Post dated Aug. 30, 2020.

Dear People of God in the Diocese of Peoria,

It has been just over a month since we celebrated my ordination and installation as the Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Peoria. What a great joy it is to be with you. I am profoundly grateful to the many people who worked generously and seemingly without rest to make the celebration of my ordination such a memorable time and to help me make the transition to my new home.

Bishop Tylka’s coat of arms and episcopal motto, “Go Make Disciples”

In many ways, I still feel as though I’m caught up in a whirlwind of activity, and I find myself pausing from time to time and wondering if this is all real! Indeed, it is; and more than ever, I am learning that to submit myself to God’s will brings peace and provides confidence for the days ahead.

I do wish to offer my sincerest thanks to all of you in our Diocese – and in particular, to our priests and religious – who have been so generous in your prayers, notes, and expressions of kind sentiments. They are very much appreciated, as are the many gifts I have received.

What has meant the most to me has been the prayers offered for my new ministry as a bishop, and the prayers offered for my family during my sister’s final illness. She went home to God shortly before my episcopal ordination, and your prayers and support sustained my family during those days. The power of prayer is amazing. Prayer unites us not only to Our Lord, but it also unites us to one another in a bond of love — a bond that is foundational to our lives as faithful believers in Christ Jesus. I pray for you daily and very much count on your prayers for me.

A FOUNDATION TO BUILD UPON

From my first days in the Diocese, I have experienced in a wonderful way your faith in God, your love for the Church and your genuine desire to live with and for Jesus. As I have begun the “welcome tour,” I have felt the warmth of your hospitality that is rooted not just in “neighborly” kindness, but is rooted more deeply in an active response to Christ’s call to welcome the stranger. I must confess that I still feel something like a stranger who has just arrived in town, but I am increasingly feeling at home with all of you and feel part of the family of this local Church. Again, I say “thank you” for the very gracious and warm welcome.

From my first days in the Diocese, I have experienced in a wonderful way your faith in God, your love for the Church and your genuine desire to live with and for Jesus.

Being a Coadjutor Bishop has its advantages. Bishop Daniel Jenky remains the chief shepherd, and I am honored to serve alongside of him. In God’s time, the day will come when I will succeed Bishop Jenky and become the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Peoria. The time afforded me at present permits me to immerse myself in the Diocese, experience the parishes and their local customs, and enter the fraternity of our presbyterate. I have greatly enjoyed the visits I have made thus far to the parishes – celebrating the Mass, greeting so many of you in our socially-distanced receptions, and conversing with our priests. Their love for the Lord, their service to the Church, and their commitment to be holy priests is inspiring. They make me want to be a better priest and bishop. All of these experiences, which have only just begun, will lay a foundation for us to build upon when I must take up the mantle of chief shepherd.

DISCIPLES TOGETHER

My dear sisters and brothers, I want you to know how much I already love being in the Diocese of Peoria. Amidst the whirlwind of this transition, each day in my prayer I return to the Lord and find courage and strength for my new ministry. I place myself at your service, knowing that by God’s grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit we will bear the fruit of our discipleship together.

I pray that our Blessed Mother Mary, who is the pattern of discipleship, will hold you close to her heart and through her heart bring us all closer to her Son, Jesus.

Peace and Prayers,

+ Louis Tylka

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