The Bishop of Peoria, Illinois, took to the skies via a helicopter on Good Friday, 10th April, to offer a blessing to the entire Diocese of Peoria as well as to pray for all affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was happy to do something that may give some comfort to people, especially those folks who, on this Good Friday, are scared about their relatives in the hospital,” said Bishop Daniel R. Jenky moments after landing near the Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport.
“This kind of illness brings an enormous fear for our people and our country,” continued the bishop, who donned a mask before climbing into a medical transport helicopter at about 1pm for a 12-minute flight to downtown Peoria and back. “And prayer, no matter who’s saying it, can move mountains. I really felt blessed to be praying with and for the diocese today, and for everyone else in Illinois, our country and the world.”
The aerial blessing was first proposed midweek by Tomas Wojtowicz, a pilot for OSF Aviation – a branch of OSF HealthCare, a system based in Peoria that is owned and operated by the Sisters of the Third Order of St Francis. When OSF leaders approached the Diocese of Peoria with a suggestion that a priest take a flight to pray for protection against Covid-19, they received a quick response that Bishop Jenky would like to do it.
“OSF is one of our greatest Catholic institutions,” said Bishop Jenky of the system that includes 14 hospitals and employs more than 23,000. “Anything the Sisters ask me, I try to do.”
Picture: Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, Ill., offers a blessing out the window of a medical transport helicopter prior to take off on Good Friday, 10th April, during the coronavirus pandemic. (CNS photo/Tom Dermody, The Catholic Post).