Luncheon Honors Bishop, Priests
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 21, 2019
DIXON—The biennial Bishop’s Luncheon hosted by the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women drew 136 women and men to the Brandywine Banquet and Event Center in Dixon on March 13.
 
The event began with time to meet and greet Bishop David Malloy, socialize at tables, sign spiritual bouquet cards and buy tickets for a cash raffle and several raffle items donated by deaneries, individuals and parishes.
 
Deanery presidents thanked and presented spiritual bouquets to the priests who serve as spiritual advisors to the deanery councils, including Father Patrick Gillmeyer, OSB, in Aurora; Msgr. Thomas Dzielak in DeKalb; Father Andrew Mulcahey in Elgin; Father Paul White in McHenry; Father Kenneth Stachyra in Rockford; and Father James Keenan in Sterling. 
 
Msgr. Dzielak was honored also for his long service to the diocesan council, and several other area priests who attended were also recognized.
 
The luncheon and recognitions were followed by a talk from Bishop Malloy.
 
He provided thoughts and updates about the priests’ scandals, encouraging all to remember that such trials do not change the basics of the faith in Christ and His Church. 
 
He then provided a few points about the current push in the state to expand abortion, give it designation as a “fundamental right,” remove protections for the right of conscience for doctors and all others, and do away with parental notification when minor children have abortions. 
 
He said such evil “might be one of those demons that can only be cast out by deep fasting and prayer,” and asked all to write to their legislators in opposition to the bills.
 
Bishop Malloy briefly spoke about the attempt in Rockford to force historic status on the diocese’s old chancery building and St. Peter Cathedral Parish’s school and former convent. 
 
“I could not in conscience ask people (across the diocese for millions of dollars) for renewal of a building that has reached its end,” the bishop said, adding, “My judgment, and that of others, is that it is an issue of religious freedom.” 
 
The process continues, he said, and he asked for letters to be written and sent to the Rockford City Council, particularly by Rockford  residents, but others as well since “it is an issue for the whole diocese.”
 
Bishop Malloy concluded his talk with the upcoming Be Reconciled Day, April 10, expressing his gratitude to the priests for their willingness to hear confessions for up to 12 hours on that day.
 
He noted that the event’s first year brought an estimated 10,000 people to confession and that subsequent years “continue to be very well attended.” 
 
Among reports he has received are of what St. Jean Vianney called “big fish” — people who had not been to confession for many years. 
 
Bishop Malloy asked for everyone’s prayers for the success of this year’s Be Reconciled Day.
 
He concluded by thanking “all of the Catholic women” for all their prayers and the many good works they give to their parishes.