Bishop Tylka to students as schools open: Ask to be guided by the Holy Spirit daily

Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka processes into the Don Morris Gymnasium at Alleman High School in Rock Island as the Mass of the Holy Spirit begins Aug. 27. He also visited the five other Catholic high schools and academies of the Diocese of Peoria for Masses as the new school year began. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

DANVILLE — One of the most important teachers and guides in life is the Holy Spirit and in Masses at Catholic high schools and academies across the Diocese of Peoria, Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka encouraged students to lean on the Spirit for direction as the new school year begins.

As they wait for the bus that will return them to Schlarman Academy’s north campus, eighth-graders (from left) Liam Billilngs, Jaiden Chirayil, Deana Linares, and Vivian Ludwig strike up a conversation with Bishop Louis Tylka outside St. Paul Church, Danville. They were among the students who attended the Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated by Bishop Tylka on Aug. 31. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

In addition to celebrating a Mass of the Holy Spirit at Central Catholic High School in Bloomington, The High School of Saint Thomas More in Champaign, Schlarman Academy in Danville, Marquette Academy in Ottawa, Peoria Notre Dame High School, and Alleman High School in Rock Island, he visited with school administrators and students, posed for photos with altar servers, lectors and gift bearers, and even blessed a new statue of St. Joseph at the Champaign high school. Joining him around the altar were the school chaplains and priests serving in each vicariate.

In his homilies, Bishop Tylka reflected on the road ahead of the students and the various routes available to them.

IS FASTEST ROUTE BEST?

When he was growing up, his family would gather around maps to plan family vacations, Bishop Tylka told them, but today people take out their cellphones and search by using Google Maps.

“The interesting thing is, if you look at Google Maps it gives us options. There’s more than one way to get where we want to go,” he said, noting that the first option is always the quickest route.

“But going there quickly, taking the fastest route, isn’t always the best route, is it? We might miss something by just taking the quickest route,” he said. “We might not experience everything we could or should.”

The second option involves toll roads. They will still take you where you want to go, but there is a cost, he said.

The final option is to take the scenic route.

“If you choose to follow that path, there are many more opportunities to see something along the way,” Bishop Tylka said. “You might encounter things that you wouldn’t encounter if you just choose the fastest route.”

Bishop Tylka celebrates a Mass of the Holy Spirit in Bader Gym for the students of Marquette Academy in Ottawa. (Provided photo)

This is also true with school — and life, he said.

SURER THAN GPS

“Whatever year we’re in, we move on to the next one. But we want to move on in the direction God wants us to move,” the bishop said.

“We might find along the way that we need to change the direction, right? We can try to do things quickly. . . . We might find that there is, obviously, some sacrifice,” he explained. “We have to put in the effort to learn and deepen our relationships with the Lord and our friends in school.”

The great gift that we have been given, one that is greater than Google Maps for traveling through life, is the Holy Spirit, according to Bishop Tylka, who called the Spirit our helper, guide and teacher.

“In the end, we will get to where we ultimately want to be — our ultimate goal — to live with the Lord forever in heaven,” he said. “We must remember every day to ask the Holy Spirit to direct us, to teach us, to guide us on the path to holiness.”

As the Year of St. Joseph continues, Bishop Louis Tylka blesses a new statue of the saint that graces the entrance to The High School of Saint Thomas More in Champaign during his visit to the school for a Mass of the Holy Spirit on Aug. 31. Assisting is (left) Philip Lee, director of the diocese’s Office of Divine Worship, and Father Andru O’Brien, school chaplain. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

An example of that holiness is St. Joseph and on Aug. 31, Bishop Tylka had an opportunity to bless a new statue of the saint that now graces the entrance to The High School of Saint Thomas More in Champaign. Purchased by the school, the statue sits in an area prepared by Calum Beckett (Class of 2021) as his Eagle Scout project.

“After Pope Francis named this year the Year of St. Joseph, it all seemed even more fitting,” said Sister M. Bridget Martin, FSGM, principal, adding that she liked this particular statue of St. Joseph because he is depicted as being very strong. “He was and is the Terror of Demons and the Protector of the Holy Family!”

“In this Year of St. Joseph, we are entrusting ourselves and our school community to St. Joseph, our protector,” Sister M. Bridget said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: More photos from Bishop Tylka’s visits to schools have been posted to The Catholic Post’s site on Facebook. 

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