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A gift during 2020

We add our voices to the many in this special edition of The Catholic Post welcoming Coadjutor Bishop-elect Louis Tylka — “Bishop Lou” for short or “BLT” as his father has taken to calling him. By any name, this 50-year-old “gentle shepherd” from the Archdiocese of Chicago is a gift from Pope Francis to our […]

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Profiles of the three priests granted senior status after decades of service

The three priests granted senior status early this summer by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, have offered diverse service to the Diocese of Peoria — and beyond — during their combined 134 years of active priesthood. The Catholic Post interviewed Msgr. Steven P. Rohlfs, P.A., Father David Heinz, and Father Michael Pakula for profiles of […]

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Father Pakula is granted senior status; his path followed God’s ‘crooked lines’

Father Michael Pakula poses near a statue of St. Malachy, the patron of the parish in Geneseo where he has served as pastor for 25 years. His 47 years of priestly service also included a long stint on the Diocesan Tribunal and seven years as a part-time hospital chaplain. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

GENESEO — When Father Michael Pakula moves to senior status on July 8 after nearly 47 years of priestly service, including the last 25 years as pastor of St. Malachy Parish here, he could write a book looking back on what he calls his “checkered life.” “But I’m not going to,” claims Father Pakula, 76. […]

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Father Heinz is granted senior status; grateful for the ‘privilege’ or priesthood

Father David Heinz is pictured outside St. Anthony Church in Bartonville. The Kickapoo native has guided the Bartonville faith community since 2002, and formerly served as pastor of St. Thomas, Philo; St. Mary, Westville; St. Bernard, Peoria, and Holy Trinity, Bloomington. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

BARTONVILLE — Father David Heinz has celebrated Mass on a bus crossing the Alps, on a riverboat table in the middle of the Nile, on a large rock in Minnesota, and in hotel rooms around the world. So the fact that his 43-year active priestly career is winding down with Father Heinz celebrating weekend Masses […]

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Msgr. Rohlfs is granted senior status: influenced priests of diocese and beyond

Msgr. Steven P. Rohlfs, P.A., addresses a Seminary Family Weekend at Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, Marlyand. Msgr. Rohlfs, who spent 11 years as rector of the nation's largest Catholic seminary and also held many diocesan leadership roles, has been granted senior status. (Provided photo/Mount St. Mary's Seminary)

ST. PAUL, Minnesota — It’s safe to say that Msgr. Steven Rohlfs, P.A., has played some role in the life of every priest of the Diocese of Peoria for almost four decates. Whether as vocations director, vicar general, teacher, administrator, spiritual director, or as rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Msgr. Rohlfs’ influence has been […]

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Stop the toppling: We Catholics love our statues, saints, and all children of God

A vandalized statue of St. Junipero Serra in San Francisco is seen June 19, 2020. The Spanish Franciscan founded several missions in what is now California. (CNS/David Zandman via Reuters)

We wouldn’t venture a guess at the total number of life-sized statues located on Catholic properties throughout the Diocese of Peoria. It is certainly in the hundreds and likely in the thousands. Most are inside churches and chapels, hospitals, schools, etc., while others are outside in cemeteries or on parish and institution grounds. Made of […]

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Pandemic, other intentions inspire priests’ Galesburg to Peoria “walking pilgrimage”

Father Eric Bolek and Father Joe Baker walk down a country road during their four-day, 62-mile walk from Galesburg to Peoria at the start of June. (Provided photo)

“No pain, no gain.” Father Joe Baker repeated that phrase often as he and Father Eric Bolek hiked 62 miles on a walking spiritual pilgrimage between Galesburg and Peoria from June 1 to 4. The pain from the resulting blisters and muscle aches has proven to be temporary. The gain? Plentiful and likely long lasting. […]

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‘Happy day’ as transitional deacons ordained, Bishop-elect Tylka welcomed

The newly ordained transitional deacons pose for a formal photo in the cathedral sanctuary following the June 14 Mass. From left are Coadjutor Bishop-elect Louis Tylka, Deacon Austin Bosse, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, Deacon Nicolas Wilson, and Msgr. Philip Halfacre, vicar general. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Proclaiming it “a very happy day for our diocese,” Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, ordained seminarians Austin Bosse and Nicolas Wilson as transitional deacons during the first public Sunday liturgy in St. Mary’s Cathedral since the start of coronavirus pandemic restrictions in mid-March. “It’s good to be together,” said the bishop in welcoming remarks as […]

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As churches reopen for Mass, first returnees say it is ‘wonderful’ to be back

Wearing face coverings and in socially distanced pews, members of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Streator take part in the 9 a.m. Mass on Sunday, June 7. Many churches in the Diocese of Peoria reopened for Masses last weekend, welcoming up to 25 percent of their seating capacity. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

STREATOR — “Wonderful” was the adjective of choice after Mass on Sunday when members of St. Michael the Archangel Parish here were asked how it felt to be back inside their church for the first time since coronavirus precautions closed it and others to the public almost three months ago. “To see people and to […]

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