‘To serve, not be served:’ ADA supports ministry of diocesan staff

Gricelda Garnica works in the Diocese of Davenport’s immigration program, which helps reunite families split by immigration, assists immigrants in obtaining legal residency and advocates for them. The upcoming Annual Diocesan Appeal funds about 78 percent of the diocese’s budget, which covers ministries including the immigration program, seminarian and deacon education, lay ministry formation, hospital chaplains and more.

For many Diocese of Davenport staffers, furthering the Catholic Church’s ministries in southeast Iowa isn’t just a job. It’s a blessing that allows employees to help fulfill the spiritual and practical needs of their brothers and sisters in Christ. But whether they’re overseeing faith formation, pursuing social justice or nurturing religious vocations, diocesan staffers need financial support from the Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA) to sustain their ministry. This year’s appeal aims to raise $2.9 million, or 78 percent of the diocese’s annual budget of $3.7 million. When the 10-month campaign kicks off in parishes Sept. 28-29, parishioners will have the opportunity to contribute to a mission which, as three diocesan employees explain here, can be life-changing.

Mary Wieser

Name: Mary Wieser
Title: Director of Faith Formation and Safe Enviro­n­ment Coord­ina­t­or
Par­ish: St. Ann, Long Grove
Family: Husband, Arnie, and two adult sons. Our oldest son, Sean, is married to Emily, and their 2-1/2 year old son is Henry. Emily is a teacher and reading specialist for the Des Moines public schools. Sean is an assistant county attorney for Dallas County. Needless to say, our grandson is one of our greatest joys. Our younger son, Paul, works in music and music production and is attending school this fall. He says you are never too old to learn.
How long have you worked for the diocese? I am beginning my 17th year. Arnie worked in the diocese archives for about 15 years.
What are your duties? I am a firm believer in lifelong faith formation. I think the article on Pope Francis in America magazine will give people great hope. We are getting more people actively engaged in their parishes and this really gets to the root of evangelization. We live in challenging times where we have the wonderful possibility of getting our young people and adults more active and engaged in their faith.
Arnie and I have another passion. That is, we keep all of our students, teachers and catechists in a safe environment so all can thrive to the best of their abilities. Arnie and I have conducted over 200 face-to-face sessions for Virtus (Protecting God’s Child­ren). This work was life changing for both of us.
What’s rewarding about working for the diocese? The ability to meet so many of the people of southeast Iowa. These relationships help all of us to be more pastoral and caring. Just as Pope Francis asks us to be the good shepherd, we serve the people.
What can be challenging about your work? To balance being pastoral and following policies and rules (federal, state and diocesan). Above all, we are for and with the people (young and adults).
How are you involved in the Church outside of work? One of the greatest joys I have had over the past three years is being a member of St. Ann Parish and having the opportunity to finally do something with our Special Faith Saturdays. These are always an adventure. The students, parents and caregivers are great, and they share their gifts and talents with us.

Name: Gricelda Garnica
Title: BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) Accredited Representative
Parish: St. Mary’s in Moline, Ill.
How long have you worked for the diocese? Since May of 1996
What are your duties? Help the immigrant community with the process of obtaining legal status, so that they can legally work in the United States. Once they obtain their legal residency, I guide them in the right direction by telling them what they need to do next, such as obtaining a Social Security card, driver’s license or state ID. I also had the opportunity of assisting the homeless in clarifying their legal status or obtaining proper documentation so that they can collect benefits from Social Security.
I let parishes and communities know of the latest changes in the immigration law and guide them in the right direction if needed.
What’s rewarding about working for the diocese? The most rewarding thing about my job is when my clients get their legal situation resolved and are able to get a job to provide for their family, and they no longer have to be afraid of being returned to their country. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work for the diocese.
What can be challenging about your work? Not being able to help a person in desperate need, because there are immigration rules and requirements that we need to follow. Immigration laws sometimes are very unfair, but there is not much that a single person can do.
How are you involved in the Church outside of work? My husband and I try to spend more time with our children and teach them how to pray and attend Mass, and explain to them what you can and can’t do at church.

Msgr. John Hyland

Name: Msgr. John Hyland
Title: Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia
Parish: Family parish is Holy Family, Davenport
Family: Sisters Cecelia (Walt) Fichtner and Diane (Matt) Ketelaar, brother Jeff (Judy) Hyland, four nephews and three nieces
How long have you worked for the diocese? Since Sept. 3, 2003
What are your duties? Every day is as different as the one before: unexpected phone calls or e-mails, as well as problems walking through my office door. I have always had an “open door” policy. Upon the bishop’s request, I sit in on many meetings he has with individual(s) to ensure that all that is said is witnessed by someone other than him. As moderator of the curia (chancery departments), I supervise the superintendent of schools, director of development, director of social action and Catholic Charities, director of stewardship and parish planning, director of faith formation, director of liturgy, director of communication, director of technology and director of maintenance. As vicar general I serve on numerous diocesan boards and commissions.
What’s rewarding about working for the diocese? The most rewarding part of working for the diocese is the chancery staff and bishop. Also rewarding is being of service to the diocesan clergy and parishioners.
What can be challenging about your work? Not being able to satisfy a particular person or people when you have done the utmost to do so.
What religious leader or Scripture passage inspires you? At this particular moment I am very inspired by our new Pope Francis, as well as Jesus’ words: “I have come to serve, not to be served.”
For information about ways to donate money, stock, grain or other gifts to the ADA, visit www.davenportdiocese.org/development or call Sister Laura Goedken, diocesan director of development, at (563) 888-4252.


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