By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Gloria Mancilla could not believe she won a raffle for dinner for six with Bishop Thomas Zinkula through the Diocese of Davenport’s Multicultural Ministry Office. Her parents, Evodio Mancilla and Reyna Sanchez, and her daughter, Mia, were her guests for the May 22 dinner.
They enjoyed listening to Father Ross Epping play the guitar before dinner, which featured salad, chicken, asparagus and mashed potatoes. Gloria made the dessert, a churro cake. Fathers Joseph Sia, Rudolph Juarez and Guillermo Trevino prepared dinner, but Father Juarez did all the cooking. Ana Maria Shambaugh, administrative assistant in the Multicultural Ministry Office, also helped.
The family was delighted to receive a life-size wall hanging of Our Lady of Guadalupe as part of the raffle. They posed for a photo with the artwork of Mary’s image, which Bishop Zinkula blessed along with Reyna’s rosary and the family.
Miguel Moreno, director of the Multicultural Ministry office, said the dinner provided an opportunity for a small group of people to get to know and have time with the bishop and for the people of the diocese to support the office’s mission. The raffle generated $6,000.
At the start of their visit, Bishop Zinkula gave his guests a tour of the apartment where he lives next door to the Chancery. Reyna presented him with a gift of mole, a traditional sauce and marinade used in Mexican cuisine, and rice, which he accepted with gratitude. Gloria interpreted for her parents, who speak Spanish.
As the priests prepared dinner, Gloria asked Bishop Zinkula questions about being a bishop, why he chose not to have a TV in his home, his movie preferences and how long he plans to live in the apartment. The bishop said he loved being a priest serving parishes. “I miss that a lot, being in a parish.” As a bishop, he has more administrative responsibilities and does not have the opportunity to get to know people as well as he did in parish ministry.
He has not had a TV since his seminary days and receives news from online and print publications. He occasionally goes to a movie theater, most recently with Father Trevino! The apartment in the building where the bishop lives in is “our house,” he told his guests, members of St. Anthony Parish in Davenport. “This is the diocese’s house. I just live here while I’m bishop.”
Bishop Zinkula asked Mia if her mom is a good cook. Mia smiled but shook her head no. “I do the desserts,” said Gloria, who works as a cardiology sonographer. Mia’s grandmother makes the meals. Two of the three priests serving the family dinner that night could relate to Gloria’s meal-making skills. “Father Rudy did all the cooking; I mashed the potatoes,” Father Sia said. Father Trevino jokingly claimed to have brought the dessert, but could not identify it. All of the priests volunteered because they support the mission of the Multicultural Ministry Office.
After dinner, Mia told The Catholic Messenger she enjoyed Father Juarez’s cooking and the informal atmosphere of the evening with Bishop Zinkula. “I thought it would be serious, but it was fun,” she said. Reyna said it was a blessing to enjoy dinner with the bishop and to receive the wall hanging of the Blessed Mother. “It’s a blessing having you here,” Bishop Zinkula said. “It’s nice to share a meal with some of the faithful. We get to know each other and share life, food and love.”
Evodio said he appreciated being able to share cultures and traditions with the bishop, and “to make community. This is what community needs to be like.”