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Pope Francis accepts retirement of Peoria’s Bishop Jenky on 75th birthday

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Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Daniel Jenky as head of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, on Thursday, the day of Jenky’s 75th birthday.

Diocesan bishops are required by canon law to submit a letter of resignation to the pope when they are turning 75, but it is unusual for their retirement to be accepted the same day.

Jenky, who is a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, is automatically succeeded by Bishop Louis Tylka, who has been coadjutor of the Diocese of Peoria since 2020.

Tylka, a priest of Chicago archdiocese, was consecrated as a bishop on July 23, 2020, by Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop Jerome Listecki, and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Jenky said: “Bishop Tylka has selflessly given himself in service to the people of the Diocese of Peoria since his ordination. I am confident that the faithful will find him to be a loving and dedicated shepherd.”

Jenky led the Peoria diocese for 20 years, during which time he opened the cause for beatification of popular media evangelist Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

The diocese, which serves almost 200,000 Catholics in central Illinois, was Fulton Sheen’s home for more than 30 years, and the place of his planned December 2019 beatification Mass before it was abruptly canceled less than three weeks beforehand.

Sheen was a priest for the Diocese of Peoria, but spent the last 28 years of his life in New York state, where he was first an auxiliary bishop of New York City, and then bishop of Rochester.

Jenky was part of a years-long public tug-of-war with New York’s archbishop, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, over the desired transfer of Sheen’s remains from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York to the Diocese of Peoria, which had overseen the investigation into Sheen’s life since 2002.

After three years of litigation, in June 2019, Sheen’s remains were transferred to the Diocese of Peoria, and his beatification cause was resumed.

Since the cancellation of the beatification Mass in late 2019, however, there has been no update on the status of Sheen’s cause.

Jenky was born in Chicago, Illinois. He attended the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in 1965. A year later, he entered the novitiate of the Holy Cross Fathers in Vermont.

He completed graduate studies in 1973 and the same year made his perpetual profession of vows as a religious.

Jenky was ordained a priest in 1974. He was named an auxiliary bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, in 1997, and in 2002 he was appointed bishop of Peoria.

Tylka, 51, was born in Harvey, a town south of Chicago. He was a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago for 24 years before his appointment as coadjutor bishop of Peoria.

A coadjutor assists the diocesan bishop in the administration of the diocese and succeeds him upon his retirement or death. Tylka will celebrate his first public Mass as diocesan bishop at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria on March 6.

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