Walking, health eating challenge includes 6 parishes


By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

Parish nurse Cathy Thennes, left, walks with parishioners of four parishes from the Quad-Cities at the conclusion of a walking challenge last year.

Six parishes will be “Walking with Jesus” during a walking and healthy eating challenge this summer.

The ninth annual walk started at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf; Holy Family Parish in Davenport joined the challenge a few years later. Our Lady of the River Parish in LeClaire and St. Ann Parish in Long Grove joined last year. This year the group welcomes the parishes of St. John Vianney in Bettendorf and Our Lady of Victory in Davenport.

Cathy Thennes, parish nurse at Our Lady of Lourdes, said sign-up will be at all Masses the weekend of May 17-18. The walking challenge will take place May 24 to Aug. 8.


Participants wear pedometers from morning until bedtime to count the steps they’ve taken that day. A chart shows how to convert other activities, such as swimming and bicycling, into “steps.”

“We encourage them to increase their activity to at least 10,000 steps a day if they can — as well as promote more fruits and vegetables in their diet,” Thennes said.

Participants log in each week on a wall chart posted at each church. Weekly parish winners and an overall parish winner at the end of the challenge will be recorded.

Thennes said new participants discover how inactive they are sitting at a desk and realize that their only “vegetable” intake at dinner may have been a serving of French fries.

Jennifer Hildebrand of the Health Ministry Cabinet at Our Lady of the River is co-coordinating her parish’s second year in the challenge. “My experience tells me that you can try anything once, but to repeat something has to be based on positive results and/or positive exper­iences. The friendly competition among the various parishes in the diocese has been a great way to become acquainted with those from other parishes. It is a ‘no brainer’ that we do this again.”

Mary Fritch, parish nurse at Holy Family, said, “Many of our parishioners have friends in other area parishes who just joined our walking contest this year, so it will be an added incentive to the challenge.”

Carol Burns of Our Lady of Victory said she “would like to see all of us do better when it comes to health and wellness. As a matter of fact, I just came from my yearly check-up and I need to locate a pedometer and get started now.”

For more information on the walk challenge, contact Thennes at (563) 359-0345 or email ololnurse@ gmail.com or contact the participating parish’s parish nurse or health minister.

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