Diocesan volunteers serve poor


By Anne Marie Amacher

A number of volunteers continue to give service to the poor in other countries through the Davenport Diocesan Volunteer Program.

The program dates back to 1961 when Pope John XXIII encouraged missionary volunteer programs around the world. In the late 1970s many dioceses discontinued the program, but the Diocese of Davenport did not, said Msgr. W. Robert Schmidt who has been program director since 1997.

Money from an annual diocesan collection, which will be held this weekend in parishes, helps support volunteers who live in or travel to Central and South American counties.

“These volunteers have devoted months or years to care for the needs of impoverished people,” Msgr. Schmidt said. “The Davenport Diocese continues to support a volunteer program for religious and laity to provide various services to the missions — both at home and abroad.”


Alan Hathaway, a dentist and associate director of the volunteer program for the diocese, has made more than three dozen trips to Medina, Brazil. He, his wife Peg, and Don and Philean Spencer and other volunteers visit Brazil usually twice a year to provide dental care and parish outreach programs.

Other volunteers supported by the diocesan collection include:

• Sister Penelope Wink, CHM, community developer in Chiapas, Mexico.

• Dr. and Mrs. R. Josef Hofmann of Huasco, Mexico.

• Sister Phyllis Morris, OSF, a counselor and parish associate in Chulucanas, Peru and pastoral coordinator in Puira, Peru.

• Sister Frieda Roth, CSC, a missionary in Medina, Brazil.

• Father Edmond Dunn of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, who provides administrative assistance for the El Instituto le Alergria en El Sanor in Lima, Peru.

In addition to the annual collection, the volunteer program receives help from many supporters scattered throughout the diocese and other parts of the United States. A newsletter is sent to hundreds of supporters annually, which includes a letter from Msgr. Schmidt on the status of the program and a letter from Hathaway on his most recent trip. Diocesan staffers print and mail the newsletters.

“We spend very little on administration,” Msgr. Schmidt noted.

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