Bishop: Lent invites us to focus on Paschal Mystery, pray for those entering church

Bishop Louis Tylka greets Mary Stech of Mahomet at the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion last March at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria. In his message for this Lent, he commends those who are preparing for the Easter sacraments of baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist to the prayers of all the faithful in the Diocese of Peoria. (The Catholic Post file photo/Jennifer Willems)

Dear Friends,

Each year, the Church invites us to enter into a time of preparation for the celebration of Easter and the Sacraments of Initiation. This holy season of Lent is marked by practices that invite us to participate more fully in the Lord’s Paschal Mystery. We commit ourselves in a more intentional way to focus on prayer, fasting, and works of charity so that our own sacrifices may unite us more closely to the great sacrifice Jesus made for us. In a particular way, we are called as the community of believers to accompany those who are seeking to follow the Lord and who will be united with us through the Easter Sacraments. I commend our sisters and brothers who are on this path — our Catechumens and Candidates — to your prayers.

May this time of spiritual renewal bear fruit in our lives, knowing that our efforts at embracing the Cross of Jesus not only unites us with Our Lord but also enables us to experience the joy of His Resurrection on Easter.


During the season of Lent, all the faithful are called to carry out those ancient practices that powerfully impact our lives and deepen our unity with the Lord. Special attention to prayer, practices of self-denial (fasting), and works of charity and mercy (giving alms) are essential to living out the journey of Lent.

Everyone 14 years or older is to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2023, and on all the Fridays of Lent. Because the Feast of Saint Patrick falls on a Friday of Lent, a dispensation has been granted from abstaining from meat on that day; however, all the faithful are encouraged to choose another day that week to abstain from meat. (See the text that follows.)

Everyone 18 years old and under the age of 59 is bound to fast on Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2023, and on Good Friday, April 7, 2023. On these two days of fast and abstinence, only one full meal is allowed. Two other small meals are permitted (according to one’s legitimate need) to maintain one’s strength. Eating between meals is not permitted these days. In matters of one’s health or ability to function in their work, the law does not oblige an individual to adhere to the day’s requirements.

As our Lenten pilgrimage begins, may this journey truly bring us closer to Christ — both as we share with him in the carrying of the cross and celebrate the new life of His Resurrection.

Peace and Prayers,



+Most Reverend Louis Tylka l Bishop of Peoria

St. Patrick’s Day dispensation granted for 2023

For Catholics, the obligation to abstain from meat on Fridays of Lent is a significant element of the Church’s observance of the penitential nature of this holy season.

This year, however, Friday of the third week of Lent corresponds with St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) which, given the great number of Catholics of Irish descent in our diocese, has traditionally been an occasion for joy-filled celebrations. Having considered our past practices and the current circumstances, inasmuch as it would serve the spiritual good of the faithful, Bishop Louis Tylka has granted to the faithful of the Diocese of Peoria, as well as to any visitors or travelers who may be physically present within the territory of this diocese, a dispensation from the obligation of abstinence from meat on March 17, 2023.

Those taking advantage of the dispensation, however, are exhorted to undertake a work of charity, an exercise of piety, or an act of comparable penance on some other occasion during the third week of Lent.

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