We’re missing the Men’s March

Students from the St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center at Illinois State University in Normal carry a statue of Jesus near the front of the 2018 men's march through downtown Peoria. (The Catholic Post file/Tom Dermody)

In the litany of events cancelled or postponed because of COVID-19, the Diocese of Peoria’s annual Men’s March may seem like a minor one. It’s not as personal as a high school graduation, nor on a global scale such as the 2020 Olympics. But as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker nears on May 1, we miss — for the second year in a row — the gathering of hundreds of Catholic guys from throughout central Illinois that took place around this time of year each year from 2004 to 2019.

The 2021 “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith” would have had a lot going for it. After all, this year in the church is devoted to St. Joseph, the event’s patron. The march was a grassroots response to a fiery sermon by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, in which he called for Catholics to “rise up and stand with our God” in a society too often living in opposition to the Gospel. As Bishop Jenky nears retirement, the men would have loved to have gathered with him once more and also march for the first time with his eventual successor, Bishop Lou Tylka.

We hope the event will return, bigger and better than ever, in a 2022 world freed from the restrictions and losses of COVID-19. In the meantime, guys, draw nearer to St. Joseph. This special year is filled with opportunities, including a book by local author (and former men’s march speaker) Devin Schadt reviewed on page 8. — Thomas J. Dermody

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