Parishes step up for health


By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

An 11-week walking and healthy eating challenge has concluded with St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf named overall parish winner. Six Scott County parishes participated in this year’s challenge, which was held May 24 to Aug. 8.

Anne Marie Amacher
Members of six Scott County parishes who participated in a walking and healthy eating challenge met Aug. 10 on the Bettendorf riverfront to celebrate the closing of the challenge. Some of those who attended the Sunday walk were, from left, Ron and Mary Klein and Judy Kleinschmidt, all of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf; Jennifer Hildebrand, parish nurse at Our Lady of the River Parish in LeClaire; and LaNae Ramos, parish nurse at St. Ann Parish in Long Grove.

In addition to St. John Vianney, the other parishes were Our Lady of Lourdes in Bettendorf, Holy Family and Our Lady of Victory in Davenport, Our Lady of the River in LeClaire and St. Ann in Long Grove.

“The program involved counting steps each day as well as converting other activities into steps. Participants could also count their servings of fruits and vegetables each day. It was surprising to many to learn how little they moved or how few servings of fruits and vegetables they ate,” said Cathy Thennes, parish nurse at Our Lady of Lourdes and the event’s coordinator.


Comparing this year’s numbers to last year’s, she saw significant improvement. Everyone “stepped it up,” Thennes said.
The average number of steps per week, with conversions for other activities:

St John Vianney 100,903
Our Lady of Lourdes 87,192
St Ann 76,250
Our Lady of the River 72,708
Holy Family 66,486
Our Lady of Victory 56,244

Mary Wilder from Our Lady of Lourdes logged the most steps of all the parishes for the summer with 2,357,087 over the 11-week period. That averaged out to 214,281 steps per week. Thennes said Our Lady of Victory had a participant who logged 397,000 step equivalents by riding a bicycle during RAGBRI.

Carol Hager from Our Lady of Lourdes logged the most fruit and vegetable servings at 800 for the summer, an average of 73 servings per week.

Walking winners from each parish were: Paul Rafferty from St. John Vianney, Wilder from Our Lady of Lourdes, Don Murphy from St. Ann, Molly Jungk from Our Lady of the River and Richard Bailey from Holy Family. Our Lady of Victory did not post a winner. Fruit and vegetable winners were: Hager from Our Lady of Lourdes, Harvey Henningsen from St. Ann, Jenny Redenius from Our Lady of the River and Robert Hutcheson from Holy Family. St. John Vianney and Our Lady of Victory did not post winners.

“Last year was the first year that Our Lady of the River participated in this challenge,” said Jennifer Hildebrand, a parish nurse for the LeClaire parish. “Serving as volunteer faith community nurse for OLOR, I organized the event for our parish and tallied the numbers each week, compiled packets for participants, advertised in the bulletin, searched for pedometers and prizes for our group, etc.”
“This year I recruited volunteers Marv and Rita McRoberts to help. They actually did a superb job which really took the load off of me. This is the essence of a parish health ministry … making it a congregational ministry,”Hildebrand said.

As coordinator of the Genesis Health Ministry Nurse Program, Hildebrand said she couldn’t be happier with the way the Diocese of Davenport is jumping in with both feet. “I think this is awesome and look forward to working together as a diocese to intentionally bring health and wellness of body, mind and spirit to our parishioners.”

Also because of the challenge, “Many participants lost weight,” Thennes said. This was the most exciting year to date to have six parishes participate from the diocese, she noted.

All parishes are invited to join in the walking challenge or start one in their area. To join next summer or for more information on the program, contact Thennes at (563) 359-0345.


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