Pope Francis appoints Rev. Louis Tylka as Coadjutor Bishop of the diocese of Peoria

Welcome Greeting from the Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C.
Bishop J Coat of Arms-transparent

To the Faithful of the Diocese of Peoria,

I know that I speak for all the priests, deacons, consecrated religious, and faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria who join with me in giving heartfelt thanks to Almighty God and to our Holy Father Pope Francis for sending us the Most Reverend Louis Tylka as Coadjutor Bishop-Elect. He has worked in parishes for his entire priesthood, and I know that he will bring enormous talent, zeal, and a warm personality to the service of God and neighbor here in Central Illinois.  I have assured Bishop Tylka that he can expect an enthusiastic welcome in our Local Church, and that we look forward to his pastoral ministry and leadership. Upon my retirement, I will be happy to know that he will become the 9th Bishop of Peoria.

More than a year ago, I began to experience some growing mobility problems due to arthritis and spinal issues.  Through the Papal Nuncio, I therefore petitioned our Holy Father Pope Francis to appoint a Coadjutor Bishop to help me in the administration of our Diocese, which covers 26 counties in Central Illinois.  I am extremely grateful to the Pope for granting my request and sending us this good shepherd.

On May 11, 2020, the Vatican announced that His Holiness, Pope Francis, has appointed the Reverend Louis Tylka, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, as the Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Peoria.

Coadjutor Bishop-Elect Tylka, 49, is currently Pastor of St. Julie Billiart in Tinley Park, Illinois. He has a well-deserved reputation as being a very popular pastor in the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is known as a man of holiness and prayer, generous in service, who knows how to encourage the talents of others in collaborative ministry. The Diocese of Peoria will be enormously blessed by the service and leadership of this gifted and friendly pastor.

Introductory Remarks to the Diocese of Peoria
Coadjutor Bishop-Elect Louis Tylka
May 11, 2020

Greetings to all of you in the Diocese of Peoria,
My name is Fr. Lou Tylka and today Pope Francis named me the Co-adjutor Bishop of Peoria.

Under other circumstances, I would be there in person to meet you and properly introduce myself. However, until we can do that safely, let me offer this video by way of greeting and introduction.

I am both overwhelmed and humbled by the Holy Father’s faith in me and in that spirit accept this calling from the Lord and His Church. In all honesty, I was flabbergasted when the papal nuncio, Archbishop Christopher Pierre, called to inform me of the Holy Father’s appointment. Literally the first phone call I received a week ago, it was a good thing I was sitting down.

Let me express my appreciation to Pope Francis for the opportunity to serve the Church in Peoria. I pledge my loyalty to him as the Successor of Peter and pray for him daily that his inspiring leadership of the Church may continue to bear much fruit. May our Good God continue to sustain him for many years to lead our Church.

My heart is also filled with gratitude to Almighty God for the gift of faith and the gift of the Church. I pray the Holy Spirit will continue to sustain me so that I respond generously to the Lord’s call.

My family has been a source of strength and support in my years of ministry. I am grateful to the Lord for them – I simply would not be here today without their love.

I am the youngest of six children; I have five older sisters. My parents instilled great values in us – the importance of family and of faith, and the freedom to chart our own course in life and the courage to go after those dreams. My mom, Norma, passed away 30 years ago, just as I entered the seminary. I will always be grateful for her encouragement to pursue the priesthood. My dad, Louis, thank God is still with us and is a remarkable man who continues to be a huge support with a lot of humor and wisdom. I ask for your prayers for my youngest sister, Mary Lou who is battling terminal cancer – may Jesus keep her and all those sick and suffering close to His heart.

I am grateful too, for the warm welcome and encouragement of Bishop Daniel Jenky, who has served with dedication since 2002 as our bishop. I look forward to partnering with him and learning from him about our local Church.

We have talked about scheduling my ordination and welcome to the Diocese. However, with the necessary restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, no date has been set, but we hope to select one soon.

To the priests of the Peoria diocese, I ask that you welcome me as a brother. I have been a parish priest and pastor for nearly a quarter century, and I have also served for some years as Chair of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Helping share the voices of my brothers with our bishops has been a great privilege and responsibility.

Brothers, I pledge to listen to you, to respect your lived experiences of pastoring your people, and I look forward to ministering and working alongside you in the coming years. That same commitment goes as well for the women and men religious, the deacons and other ministers of our local Church. I want to know you and the people you serve, as well as learn the circumstances and challenges you encounter as you live out your various ministries.

I so look forward to being with the People of God in Peoria soon. You can teach me about the parishes of the diocese, its cities and towns and the spaces between. To the seminarians and all in formation, please know that I am eager to meet you too in the coming months.

In some ways, taking these first steps as your bishop, reminds me of the great story in the Gospel of Luke, the Emmaus Journey. In a diocese that stretches from Indiana on the East to the Mississippi River on the west, I know that will mean spending some time on the road. As
disciples of Jesus, we all will walk together with the Lord, we will recognize the presence of Jesus in our midst – especially in the Eucharist, and we will have our hearts set on fire as missionary disciples. This is a new journey together and I welcome this opportunity to walk with you.

In the meanwhile let us pray for one another, and in this moment of trial for the entire world, let us call on the intercession of Our Lady, to whom our Cathedral is dedicated, so that the Lord will deliver us from this pandemic, strengthen and preserve all front line workers, give an added portion of wisdom to all of our leaders, comfort those who mourn and bring the dead to eternal life.

May God Bless you!

Coadjutor Bishop-Elect Tylka has served as Pastoral Associate at St. Michael Parish, Orland Park (1996-2003) and at Ss. Faith, Hope and Charity, Winnetka (2003-2004). He served as Pastor of Mater Christi and the Shrine of Mary, Mother of Mothers, North Riverside (2004-2014). Additionally Coadjutor Bishop-Elect Tylka has served on the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Chicago – serving as Chair of the Council from 2015 to present.

He is a native of Harvey, Illinois, born on May 26, 1970, and is the youngest of six children of Louis and the late Norma Tylka. He has five older sisters: Linda Tylka, Brenda Landau (Matthew), Therese Dunning (Steve), Patricia Arvia (James), and Mary Lou Bryant (Gordon). His family settled in Hazel Crest, Illinois and were parishioners of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Homewood.

Coadjutor Bishop-Elect Tylka attended St. Joseph Grammar School, Class of 1984, and Marian Catholic High School, Class of 1988. After a year of studies at Purdue University, he transferred to Niles College Seminary of Loyola University, graduating in 1992. His seminary formation took place at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary and he was ordained a priest of Jesus Christ for the Archdiocese of Chicago by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin on May 18, 1996.

Learn more about Coadjutor Bishop-Elect Tylka in the featured article at The Catholic Post.

Given the strict quarantine now imposed upon the State of Illinois due to the corona virus, plans for Coadjutor Bishop-Elect Tylka’s Episcopal Ordination and Installation that will take place at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Peoria, Illinois may be undecided for some time.