Bishop Tylka emphasizes evangelization in meeting with women’s council leaders
Evangelization, support for priests, and eucharistic revival were among the topics discussed by Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka and the board members of the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women during their first meeting in December. He also thanked them for their work and offered his blessing.
The PDCCW board and their longtime spiritual adviser, Msgr. Dale Wellman, told the bishop about their commissions, including evangelization, respect for life, international concerns, and spirituality, and some of the projects they are involved in. He encouraged their evangelization efforts and said one of his priorities is renewing the diocesan Office of Evangelization.
“Evangelization is the key to the church today,” Bishop Tylka said. “If we don’t evangelize, we won’t be around. So evangelization is the top priority we need to work on.”
He asked for patience, however, since the diocese is in a time of transition as Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, prepares to retire. In the meantime, he will continue to listen to the priests, laity, and his “cabinet” of advisers.
PDCCW members were excited to talk about the eucharistic revival announced by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, starting with the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ — also known as Corpus Christi — on June 19, 2022. Bishop Tylka said a steering committee is being formed for the diocesan and parish celebrations leading to the national Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 2024.
An important aspect of that, he said, will be helping people reflect upon the centrality of the Eucharist in their lives. That starts by deepening their appreciation for the Mass.
“Eucharist is an action. We only have adoration and Benediction because we have celebrated the Mass. It has to flow from the Mass,” Bishop Tylka explained. “So we have to have the centrality of the understanding of our participation at Mass as being key to the eucharistic revival.”
Part of the discussion included giving Communion to those who publicly support abortion and the concern that this is confusing to the faithful. Bishop Tylka reminded them of what we say before we receive Communion: “Lord, I am not worthy.”
“Whether you’re the pope, the bishop, the priest, the people of God . . . none of us are worthy, and yet God still invites us,” he said.
Bishop Tylka called the Eucharist the “medicine of mercy” and “gift of God’s love.” People shouldn’t be denied this encounter and the conversion that is possible as a result, he said.
“The Lord came to meet sinners. He ate with sinners. He entered into conversation,” Bishop Tylka said. “Jesus came to save us all and loves us all.”
He acknowledged that these are difficult conversations to have and include all life issues. But dialogue is necessary if conversion is going to take place.
When PDCCW board members asked what they could do to support the diocese, Bishop Tylka asked them to look for ways to encourage their priests.
“I think we have wonderful priests who are giving their all, to the best of their abilities, and I think they’re tired. I think they’re overwhelmed with the responsibilities they have, especially as more and more get multiple parishes,” the bishop said.
He suggested praying for the priests and telling them that you are praying for them. Little notes of encouragement are also welcome.
“None of us does this for a pat on the back, but when we get a pat on the back it makes a huge difference,” Bishop Tylka said.