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Tylka Ordained As Bishop-Elect; Jenky Under Quarantine

Central Illinois Catholics have their next leader, but their current leader is under self-imposed quarantine.

The Rev. Louis Tylka was officially ordained and installed as bishop-elect for the Diocese of Peoria on Thursday during an invitation-only Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Peoria.

“I am filled with great joy and gratitude today. The great joy comes from knowing that the Holy Spirit continues to work in the church,” Tylka said at the end of the ceremony. “The profound gratitude I feel in this moment is for so many blessings that God has shown me.”

Tylka will become Peoria’s ninth bishop when Daniel Jenky retires in March 2022 after 20 years as the head of the diocese that includes the Bloomington-Normal area. Jenky was unable to attend the ceremony; Monsignor Philip Halfacre said Jenky, following recommendations of health care advisors during the COVID-19 pandemic, is in quarantine.

“He was unknowingly exposed to the coronavirus on several recent occasions in the course of his episcopal ministry,” Halfacre told the congregation.

Cardinal Blaise Cupich of Chicago officiated the ceremony in Jenky’s absence and said Tylka will take on an important task.

“Jesus’ mission to the whole world, to all the nations, demands that we tear down all barriers of exclusion,” said Cupich. “Surely this means allowing your ministry in this beautiful Diocese of Peoria to reach out to those who are marginalized, forgotten, dismissed by prejudice and judgmentalism.”  

Frequently referred to as “Bishop Lou” during the Mass, Tylka offered thanks to Pope Francis for calling him to serve as bishop, to Cupich for his guidance and encouragement, and to his predecessor.

“I am thankful for Bishop Jenky, our local shepherd for the last 18 years, for his warm and gracious welcome to me, his dedication to this local church which he loves so deeply, and the reassurance he has offered me in this transition,” Tylka said.

Tylka also thanked his father and three sisters who were in attendance and said his late mother and sister were “smiling down upon us.”

“As I have said when I began each of my priestly assignments, you are not getting just me. You are getting my family as well,” he said. “My family means the world to me. They have always given me unconditional love and support.”

Tylka called the joy and gratitude he felt “a treasure I will hold forever.”

“It also is what inspires me to go forward,” he said. “Let us take up anew the mission the Lord has given to us: Let us go and make disciples.”

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