Bishop Jenky gives personal, heartfelt message as Annual Diocesan Appeal opens

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, and Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka are seen at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria in this screenshot from the 2021 Annual Diocesan Appeal promotional video to be shown at all parish Masses on Sept. 11-12.

The Annual Diocesan Appeal is vital to many church efforts in central Illinois, but this year’s campaign is especially personal for Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC.

The appeal, to be conducted in most parishes the weekend of Sept. 11-12 on the theme “All in the Name of Jesus,” is likely to be the final one under his guidance as the diocese’s chief shepherd.

“I have honestly loved serving as the diocesan bishop here in Peoria,” said Bishop Jenky, who turns 75 — the age when bishops are required to submit their resignations to the pope — on March 3, 2022.

In a video to be shown at all parish Masses this weekend, Bishop Jenky thanks Catholics of the diocese for their support throughout the two decades of his episcopacy.

Shown with his successor, Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka, Bishop Jenky said “your support, your good will, your humor, have helped me in everything I’ve done. I know you will give even more of your heart and energy to Bishop Tylka as he begins his ministry as the ordinary of the Diocese of Peoria.” The video link is posted below.

PARISHES ALSO BENEFIT

The Annual Diocesan Appeal, the major source of funding for the diocese’s programs and ministries, seeks a goal of $6.12 million in 2021. That’s an increase of 2 percent from last year’s goal, but still well below the goals of years prior to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 campaign was switched from April to September because of the health crisis, and the goal reduced by 11 percent.

A breakdown of ministries supported by the Annual Diocesan Appeal was outlined in a brochure mailed to all registered households in the diocese in late August. Gifts benefit services in categories including pastoral care ministry, Catholic education and faith formation, vocational development, social outreach, diocesan administration, and more.

The appeal is also designed so that parishes benefit, with 100 percent of money received beyond individual goals returned to parishes. And despite the economic concerns of a year ago, the 2020 appeal resulted in the largest total rebate to parishes to date — more than $746,000 returned to 101 parishes.

“I’m pleased with the response we had last year, especially because of COVID and the delay and all the obstacles that the pastors were dealing with,” said Debbie Benz, diocesan director of development. “The people want to help.”

MINDFUL OF TRANSITION

Promotions of the 2021 appeal are mindful of the approaching change in diocesan leadership, with a strong nod to priorities of Bishop Jenky’s tenure including Hispanic ministry, Catholic schools, and faith formation.

The theme of “All in the Name of Jesus” reflects the topic of Bishop Jenky’s 2021 “Festival Letter” to the diocese.

“Jesus must always remain as the very heart and soul of everything we do as Catholic Christians,” said Bishop Jenky in the video. “I am filled with hope and joy in what this diocese has achieved through your generosity in serving God and neighbor.”

Bishop Tylka acknowledged the “legacy of my predecessor bishops” and pledged to, like them, “help others come to know Jesus.”

“I look forward to many years of service as Bishop of Peoria,” said Bishop Tylka. “Together we will go out and make disciples, so others may come to understand the powerful relationship of Jesus in their life.”

Benz said filming the video was “a little emotional this year.” There is a warmth evident between the two shepherds. At one point, Bishop Jenky rests his hand on Bishop Tylka’s shoulder.

“We have one excellent bishop who made his mark and touched a lot of souls,” she said of Bishop Jenky. “And I’m excited to see what Bishop Tylka will do and how God will work through him for the future of the diocese.”

SEVERAL WAYS TO GIVE

Benz said that parishes again have options on how to conduct the appeal. Some may choose the “in-pew” method, with pledge cards filled out or available at church on the campaign weekend. Others may opt for soliciting pledges through a mailed letter from the pastor.

Gifts can be made in one payment or payable over eight months.

This year’s brochure includes a QR code which, when scanned, leads to the website cdop.org/ada2021, where the promotional video may be viewed and donations may be made online. The site also includes a list of frequently asked questions and offers a history of the appeal.

“United in prayer,” the bishops write in a joint letter in the promotional brochure, “we ask that you join us in giving a gift to the Annual Diocesan Appeal. It is through our response of gratitude to God that He will continue to bestow many blessings on the future endeavors of our diocese.”

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