By Barb Arland-Fye
To help bishops meet the needs of their dioceses, the Second Vatican Council called for greater collegiality and subsidiarity in the administration of and ministry to the local church. In the Diocese of Davenport, collegial leadership takes place in each of six geographical areas called a “deanery.” The priest leading the deanery is known as a dean. Canon law requires the dean to be a priest.
“The dean’s role is essentially an extension of the bishop’s office. While I can’t be in every deanery every day, the deans represent me to the priests and the people and in turn represents the priests and the people to me,” said Bishop Martin Amos.
With the expiration of existing terms, the bishop is announcing the appointment of new deans for the six deaneries, effective July 1. They are:
• Father Nicholas Adam, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Grinnell — dean of the Grinnell Deanery.
• Father Richard Adam, pastor of Holy Trinity Parish, Richmond; St. Mary Parish, Riverside; and St. Joseph Parish, Wellman — dean of the Iowa City Deanery.
• Father Anthony Herold, future pastor of Ss. John & Paul Parish, Burlington — dean of the Keokuk Deanery.
• Father Patrick Hilgendorf, future pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Ottumwa, and St. Mary Magdalen Parish, Bloomfield — dean of the Ottumwa Deanery.
• Father Kenneth Kuntz, future pastor of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish, Clinton — dean of the Clinton Deanery.
• Msgr. James Parizek, JCL, Tribunal Judge, Delegate of the Bishop; Promoter of Justice; and pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish, Davenport — dean of the Davenport Deanery.
In a letter sent to each dean, Bishop Amos summarized the duties: A dean promotes and coordinates common pastoral action in the deanery. He sees to it that the clerics of the deanery live according to their state in life and discharge their obligations faithfully. He ensures that sacred functions are properly celebrated, that churches are properly maintained, that the parish registers are kept and that the rectory is properly maintained. He should encourage the priests of his deanery to attend clergy conferences, see that spiritual assistance is available to them, and ensure that priests who are seriously ill have spiritual and material help if needed. He assists in arranging funerals of priests, if necessary. He sees to it that after the death of a priest, books, documents, sacred furnishings and other items belonging to the Church are not taken away or lost.
Fr. Herold is finishing his term as dean of the Clinton Deanery, and will become dean of the Keokuk Deanery. “I see the position of dean as one of service to the priests in the deanery and a position of assistance to the bishop,” he said. “The priests of a deanery are called together to discuss topics of mutual concern on a regular basis. They organize opportunities for the sharing of ministry with regards to Communal Penance Services, diocesan events, and we dialogue on issues that affect our ministry in the diocese. Also, it is good to pray with each other and support each other as priests.
“There are certain canonical responsibilities that the dean has in his relationship with the priests of the deanery. Deaneries also work together in other ways to promote the mission of the Church in a geographical area. I am a member of the Diocesan Planning Commission and this fall we will renew the planning process in the diocese and work closely as we look to the future with all of its challenges and opportunities. I was honored that Bishop Amos asked me to serve in this capacity … how do you say ‘no’ to the bishop?”
Father Ken Kuntz, who will serve as dean of the Clinton Deanery, said: “I’ve never been a dean before, but I see it as of way of gathering with the priests of the Clinton Deanery on a monthly basis to talk about how things are going and to discuss issues raised by the bishop or Presbyteral Council which pertain to the priests or the diocese.”
He, too, spoke of the sharing of priests for Communal Penance Services and noted that the deanery meetings also offer “time at every meeting for prayer and (hopefully) a meal together. I’ve always enjoyed deanery meetings and the opportunity to gather with brother priests — and, in the Iowa City Deanery, parish life administrator Carol Kaalberg. I’m looking forward to sharing ministry with the fine priests of the Clinton Deanery!”
Deans serve a three-year term, or for a term designated by a bishop, or until assigned outside his current deanery.