Bishops read Christmas stories, offer video blessings to school communities

As “elves” Philip Lee and Ben Wilson look on, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, reads “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” which is better known as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” by Clement Clarke Moore. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

It wasn’t possible for Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, and Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka to visit all of the 42 schools of the Diocese of Peoria to read a Christmas book or two so they did the next best thing — they made videos that were shared with the school communities on Dec. 21.

Sitting next to the Nativity scene at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka reads “One Baby Jesus: A New Twelve Days of Christmas” by Patricia A. Pingry. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Bishop Jenky read “A Visit From St. Nicholas” — more commonly known as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” — by Clement Clarke Moore, while he was sitting by the fireplace in his residence. Looking on were “elves” Philip Lee, director of the diocese’s Office of Divine Worship and the bishop’s master of ceremonies, and Ben Wilson, a pontifical server who has also served as master of ceremonies.

Bishop Tylka was filmed reading “One Baby Jesus: A New Twelve Days of Christmas” by Patricia A. Pingry while sitting next to the Nativity scene at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria.

The video of the bishops reading Christmas stories can be viewed here:


Bishop Jenky and Bishop Tylka also recorded a Christmas greeting for Catholic school communities, which included words of thanks and a blessing.

“So many of you have to do so many unusual things to continue your education and continue to support our schools. I am so grateful for your generosity, your zeal and your efforts,” Bishop Jenky said.

Bishop Jenky and Coadjutor Bishop Tylka offer a blessing at the end of their Christmas message to Catholic school communities (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

“You’ve done a remarkable job,” added Bishop Tylka. “Many thought we wouldn’t even be able to come back into school in person and we were able to do that for several months. Unfortunately we did have to go back to remote learning for a little while and our teachers, our faculty, our principals did an outstanding job in making that transition, helping us to continue your education at home.”

Bishop Tylka said they looked forward to bringing back the students as quickly as possible so they could “continue to learn about our faith and to continue to open our minds to how God acts in our lives, especially leading us to celebrate this wonderful gift of Jesus’ presence.”

Bishop Jenky said Christmas is about God becoming small so we could become great.

“God became little in the Baby Jesus so we could actually share in God’s life,” he said. “I want to assure you that you are in my thoughts and prayers during this holiday season,” he said. “I pray for your safety, your health and for an end to this pandemic.”

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