2016 news included Year of Mercy, bishop submitting resignation


By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

A milestone birthday, a year of mercy and several high-profile deaths marked 2016 in the Diocese of Davenport. The Catholic Messenger selected these and other happenings for its annual year in review.

A high of 75

Bishop Martin Amos turned 75 in December 2016, and sent his letter of resignation for retirement to the Vatican. He has served as Bishop of the Diocese of Davenport for 10 years. The Holy Father is likely to accept the resignation in 2017. At that time, the process of selecting and transitioning to a new bishop will begin.

Barb Arland-Fye
Catholic Messenger editor Barb Arland-Fye took this photo of Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square Sept. 3, the day before the canonization of St. Teresa of Kolkata.

Mercy, mercy me!

Pope Francis declared Dec. 7, 2015 through Nov. 20, 2016 as the Jubilee Year of Mercy. During that time, 10 churches in the Diocese of Davenport served as pilgrimage sites. Pope Francis designated Father Marty Goetz and Father David Brownfield as Missionaries of Mercy during an Ash Wednesday ceremony in Rome. Catholics throughout the diocese performed corporal and spiritual works of mercy, attended retreats, obtained plenary indulgences and took part in special prayer services.

Altar call

Father Ross Epping was ordained to the priesthood June 4 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. Bishop Amos also ordained Chris Weber and Dan Dorau as transitional deacons. Msgr. John Hyland, Father Robert Busher, Father Patrick Lumsden, Msgr. James Parizek, Father Robert Striegel and Father Joseph Roost retired in 2016. Father John Stack was reinstated to active ministry as a priest after a church trial outside the diocese found that accusations of clergy sexual abuse against Fr. Stack were not proven.

Memorable pilgrimage

The Catholic Messenger hosted a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi Aug. 30-Sept. 6, which coincided with the canonization of St. Teresa of Kolkata. Father Marty Goetz, a veteran traveler to Rome, served as spiritual leader for the 52 pilgrims.

Something to build on

Several parishes in the Diocese of Davenport took steps to improve their facilities in 2016. St. Peter Parish in Cosgrove opened its new parish hall in February, and later embarked on an ongoing campaign to restore the church’s century-old windows. St. Mary Parish in Oxford began a capital campaign for a new parish hall in March. Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton broke ground on a new parish center April 9. Ground was broken for a new diocesan hall at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport on Sept. 11. St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport kicked off a $4.6 million capital campaign the weekend of Sept. 17 in an effort to address continued growth and a desire to preserve and maintain its facilities.

Showing signs of life

The Women’s Choice Center of Bettendorf debuted its mobile medical unit in 2016 in an effort to make pregnancy tests and limited ultrasounds more accessible to women in the Quad-City area. Knights of Columbus councils took advantage of the Supreme Council’s donation-matching Ultrasound Initiative program and donated ultrasound machines to The Pregnancy Center in Clinton and the Women’s Choice Center.

Strike up the band, and then some

St. Ambrose University in Davenport decided to strike up a marching band for the first time in years, starting with the 2016-2017 academic year. The school introduced its peer minister program, an occupational therapy doctoral program, a new English language program and graduated its first cohort of physician assistants, who received the Master of Physician Assistant degree. The university also broke ground on its new wellness/recreation center.

Fields of dreams

The Assumption High School sports complex in Davenport saw action this year as athletes from Assumption and St. Ambrose University took to two multi-purpose fields and a softball diamond. Bishop Amos blessed phase one of the complex, which cost $6.5 million and included the fields, concession stand, restroom and storage building and parking. The fields are utilized for soccer, lacrosse and football practice.

Goodbye, for now

The Diocese of Davenport lost a few of its finest in 2016. Msgr. Marvin Mottet, a long-time social action champion, died Sept. 16 at the age of 86, three months after marking the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Msgr. Michael Morrisey, former vicar general, died Nov. 29 at the age of 77. Father Brian Shepley, 54, died suddenly Dec. 6 at St. Alphonsus Parish in Mount Pleasant where he served as pastor. Deacon William “Bill” Cosgrove, 92, of Keokuk, passed away on Dec. 17, 2016, at his home in Keokuk.

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