Lively question-and-answer sessions with Bishop Tylka at summer’s Emmaus Days

Hands go up as Bishop Louis Tylka fields questions from retreatants at Emmaus Days Session IV at Peoria Notre Dame High School on July 22. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

The questions came at Bishop Louis Tylka in rapid succession — almost one a minute during two half-hour sessions at Emmaus Days this month at Peoria Notre Dame High School.

What’s the hardest decision you’ve made as a bishop so far?

Has Pope Francis told you when Fulton Sheen will be beatified?

Bishop Tylka has many options to call on during a question-and-answer period with participants of Emmaus Days Sessions IV at Peoria Notre Dame. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

How much do you pray daily?

What was your best encounter with God?

Are you happy with what you’re doing?

Bishop Tylka visited all four Emmaus Days sessions this summer. Before celebrating Mass, he took part in question-and-answer sessions with retreatants. The Catholic Post sat in on separate sessions for high school freshmen and sophomores and later seventh- and eighth-graders.

Some questions were fielded quickly. Favorite color? “Purple. Blue and red make purple.” What kind of car do you drive? “A Lincoln Nautilus.” Favorite liturgical season? “Advent.” Favorite prayer? “Come, Holy Spirit.” Do you think you’ll ever be made a cardinal? “God I hope not.”

Others, such as sharing his vocation story or how he became a bishop, took more time.

What about the above questions?

Hardest decision? “I’m not going to give you an exact one,” said Bishop Tylka, listing assignments of priests, hirings and firings, or what can or can’t be done with limited resources as just some of the more challenging decisions that cross his desk.

Fulton Sheen? Pope Francis has not yet told him, but Bishop Tylka intends to raise the topic with the pope when he goes to “new bishop’s school” in Rome and meets with the Congregation for Causes of Saints in early September.

Daily prayer? “I pray a lot,” said Bishop Tylka. “When I first get up I spend an hour in the chapel praying.” He also prays the Divine Office, celebrates daily Mass, pauses in prayer before making decisions, and prays at public and private gatherings. “We are called to pray without ceasing,” he reminded the youth.

Best encounter? “A lot of times we find in life’s most difficult moments an awareness that God is so powerfully present to us,” he said, noting God’s “overwhelming presence and love” at his mother’s death when he was 19 and the passing of his sister two years ago.

Happy? “Yes, I’m very happy because I’m responding to what the Lord has called me to and what the church has given me responsibility for. When I go to bed every night I reflect on my day and I’m grateful God gave me the day to do what was put before me and I pray I did my best.”









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