Unique calendar will help Bishop Tylka pray for each parish by name in 2021

These are among the parishes that Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka has pledged to pray for by name in January 2021. The full January list is found at the end of this story, and The Catholic Post will publish Bishop Tylka's specific parish and religious community prayer intentions and corresponding dates each month.

Prayer is powerful and Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka has found from personal experience that the more specific you can make it the better. That’s why he’ll be praying for each parish of the Diocese of Peoria by name throughout the coming year with the help of a new prayer calendar.

“I think it will help me to get to know the diocese better,” he told The Catholic Post.

“When we’re able to make our prayer personal it often has more meaning to us,” Bishop Tylka explained. “I can offer Mass for the Diocese of Peoria, which I do, but that’s kind of this nebulous entity of 26 counties and parishes. It’s good to pray in general but it’s also, I think, a little more significant and meaningful to put a name and a face to our prayer.”

“I can offer Mass for the Diocese of Peoria, which I do, but that’s kind of this nebulous entity of 26 counties and parishes. It’s good to pray in general but it’s also, I think, a little more significant and meaningful to put a name and a face to our prayer.” — Bishop Tylka

The idea for the prayer calendar grew out of conversations he had with diocesan seminarians during the St. Joseph Days retreat in July. When Bishop Tylka asked what he could do for them, they all asked for prayer and one suggested picking a parish to pray for every day.

“I thought that was a really good idea,” he said, adding that assembling a prayer calendar seemed like an easy task at the time. “As I began to work on that, I realized that it was not an easy task.”

Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka

While it was a cinch to assign St. Monica Parish in East Peoria to Aug. 27, the Feast of St. Monica, or Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Spring Valley to Dec. 25, things became more difficult with 22 parishes named for St. Patrick. If the idea was to pray for one parish each day, not all of them could find a home on March 17.

The same was true with 30 parishes around the diocese entrusted to the patronage of Mary.

Bishop Tylka started to explore the dates on which the parishes were founded, but “each step I took to discern a given day seemed to open it up to more questions.”

Instead of giving up, he called in reinforcements. Told that Sister Linda Burkitt of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception in West Peoria might be just the detail-oriented person he needed, he reached out to Sister Kathleen Ann Mourisse, president of the community.

Not only was Sister Linda happy to help, but she told Sister Kathleen Ann that it would be a good opportunity for a representative of the West Peoria community, also known as the Heading Avenue Franciscans, to work with the new bishop.

“Bishop Lou and I had a very nice conversation, and he just needed another hand in this project to get it going,” she told The Post. “So I said, ‘OK, Bishop. We’ll go for it.’”

RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES ADDED

That was on Sept. 17 and Sister Linda spent the next two months working with Bishop Tylka’s list and calling the pastors to discover more about their parishes and what dates would be appropriate for the faith community to be remembered.

Bishop Tylka and Sister Linda decided to give March 17 to St. Patrick in LaSalle, the oldest parish with that name in the Diocese of Peoria. St. Mary in Canton was listed on Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption, because that is the day they celebrate as their feast day.

Using founder’s day information and exploring specific feast days and other days that were special to the parish, Sister Linda eventually found a spot for each of the 160 faith communities on the prayer calendar.

“Obviously there are more days in a year than we have parishes, so there are days I do not have a parish assigned and there are some months that have more parishes assigned to them than other months,” Bishop Tylka said. To make the calendar more inclusive, he asked Sister Linda to add the religious communities serving in the Diocese of Peoria.

SENSE OF GRATITUDE

As a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Bishop Tylka would be approached often with prayer requests and even then he would ask for the name of the person he was praying for.

“Putting their name in would bring it home a little bit more, make it a little more personal,” he said. “The whole idea behind this (prayer calendar) is being able to make each of the parishes a little more personal, being brought to mind.”

“The whole idea behind this (prayer calendar) is being able to make each of the parishes a little more personal, being brought to mind.”

Bishop Tylka is writing the name of each parish into the liturgical desk calendar he keeps in his home chapel so he can remember the priests and parishioners and their intentions at Mass and while he’s praying his breviary each day.

He said he knows the power of prayer because he has felt it over the last seven months since being named a bishop.

Sister Linda said there is a sense of gratitude among the priests and communities of consecrated women and men for being included in the prayer calendar.

She added that she found joy in the project, too, because it was another way of serving.

“I think the power of prayer brings hope and it can bring joy and it can bring wisdom,” Sister Linda said. “I rely on the power of prayer.”

THE JANUARY LIST

The prayer calendar developed by Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka, with the assistance of Sister Linda Burkitt, OSF, offers a way to lift up specific faith communities throughout each month. Religious communities serving in central Illinois are being added to the list.

In January, the parishes being remembered in prayer are:

  • Jan. 1: Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Mahomet
  • Jan. 3: Epiphany Parish, Normal
  • Jan. 4: St. Bernard Parish, Peoria
  • Jan. 5: St. Joseph Parish, Pekin
  • Jan. 13: St. Patrick Parish, Raritan
  • Jan. 17: St. Mary Parish, Moline
  • Jan. 18: Holy Family Parish, Danville
  • Jan. 19: Sacred Heart Parish, Granville
  • Jan. 20: Sacred Heart Parish, Farmer City
  • Jan. 24: St. Mary Parish, Tiskilwa
  • Jan. 25: St. Paul Parish, Macomb
  • Jan. 28: St. Thomas Aquinas, Mount Pulaski
  • Jan. 31: St. Mary Parish, DePue

The parishes and religious communities being prayed for in February will be included in the Jan. 31 issue of The Catholic Post.

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