The Family Resources Center’s mission continues, adapting to changing times

The Family Resources Center will continue at 415 N.E. Monroe St. in Peoria, where it has been based since 2013. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

“The Family Resources Center is not closing.”

Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka made that assurance in response to concerns recently raised regarding the future of the pro-life outreach, which since 2013 has been based at 415 N.E. Monroe St. in Peoria, across from the Spalding Pastoral Center.

In an interview with The Catholic Post, Bishop Tylka said the diocese is exploring “how we might better utilize that space to engage and encounter people in the mission of the Family Resources Center in 2021.”
“The mission of the Family Resources Center continues. The building is staying, the name is staying on it,” Bishop Tylka said.

“THE WORLD HAS CHANGED”

What is changing is the center’s long-standing emphasis as a library of free-loan books and audiovisuals, numbering in the tens of thousands. Bishop Tylka reported those resources have been “sadly” underutilized as people have turned to readily available technology options for information needs.

“We may not personally like some of the reality of how the world has changed, but the world has changed,” said Bishop Tylka. “We stream movies. We download books on our Kindle or iPad. We don’t encounter a lot of things in the same way we used to. We’re still looking for that information, but we’re doing it with modern technology.”

Even before the pandemic, which has essentially shut down the center for 18 months, the shelves of resources — gathered over decades especially by Jan Smith, founding and longtime director — were “just sitting there,” said Bishop Tylka. The plan is to distribute the resources widely to priests, seminarians, religious communities, schools, and others “to be put to good use in other ways.” That process has already begun.

Once the first-floor space is cleared out, it will be easier to consider “how can we rethink to continue the mission for the future — honoring our past and moving forward so we can be more effective in our support of families and the sanctity of life,” said Bishop Tylka.

GRATITUDE FOR SACRIFICES

He recognized the efforts of Jan and Pete Smith of Morton, Vicki and the late Allan Waldschmidt of rural Henry, and the many other “generous people who have given blood, sweat and tears to make the Family Resources Center what it was and what it is.”

“And there will be many people going forward giving blood, sweat and tears to continue its mission,” he added.

Since its construction in 2013, the building’s lower level has housed a workroom for the Christ Child Society of Central Illinois. That will continue, said Bishop Tylka.

SPALDING PASTORAL CENTER | 419 NE MADISON AVENUE | PEORIA, IL 61603 | PHONE (309) 671-1550 | FAX (309) 671-1595
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