Bishop ordination, new diocesan hall highlighted 2017


By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

From A to Z: a new bishop

The Vatican accepted the resignation of Bishop Martin Amos, 75, in early April. Msgr. Thomas Zinkula, a priest of the Diocese of Dubuque, received a phone call from the Apostolic Nuncio on April 8, asking if he would serve as Ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Davenport. The announcement of a new bishop was made public on April 19. A farewell liturgy for Bishop Amos was celebrated June 11 at St. Mary of the Visitation Parish in Iowa City.

Lindsay Steele
Bishop-emeritus Martin Amos prays for Bishop Thomas Zinkula during Bishop Zinkula’s ordination and installation last year.

Thomas Zinkula was ordained and installed as the Ninth Bishop of Davenport on June 22 at St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf. It was the first time in over 100 years that the Diocese of Davenport had hosted the ordination of its own bishop.
Priests and deacons ordained


Bishop Martin Amos ordained two men to the priesthood in 2017. Deacon Dan Dorau was ordained May 17 at Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton, and Deacon Chris Weber was ordained on June 3 at Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine. John Lamansky was ordained a transitional deacon in Rome on Sept. 28; God-willing, he will be ordained a priest on June 30, 2018.

Dan Freeman, Mike Snyder, Joseph Welter, Chris Kabat, Lowell Van Wyk, Tom Hardie, John Jacobsen, Joe Rohret and Steve Barton were ordained permanent deacons by Bishop Zinkula on July 8 at St. John Vianney Church in Bettendorf.
One door closes, another opens at cathedral

Sacred Heart Cathedral’s former school building in Davenport was demolished on Aug. 7 to make way for a parking lot for the long-awaited parish hall/diocesan center. Construction on the Sears Center Diocesan Hall — named in honor of donors Weir and Pat Sears — concluded in the fall, with a dedication ceremony taking place Nov. 19. The new hall incorporates elements of the cathedral in the design.

Holy scaffolding

Eleven Scott County diocesan entities were surrounded by scaffolding in mid-to-late 2017, including Sacred Heart Cathedral and St. Vincent Center in Davenport, due to storm damage sustained in October of 2016. Total claims for all roof and other repairs was an estimated $11.5 million.

Saying goodbye

Father Joe DeFrancisco, a professor of theology at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, passed away July 20 at the age of 69. Retired diocesan priest, Father William Meyer, 94, passed away on Dec. 9.

Parishes come together

On July 1, Ss. John & Paul Parish in Burlington and Ss. Mary & Patrick Parish in West Burlington officially merged. Pastor Father Marty Goetz announced news of the merger at the end of February. He explained to the faithful, “We feel this is the best course of action for us … to seek and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Higher education
Father Thom Hennen assumed the role of chaplain at his alma mater, St. Ambrose University in Davenport, on July 1. The St. Ambrose community said farewell to Chaplain Father Chuck Adam, who had been involved at St. Ambrose for more than 20 years and now serves as pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville. Father Jeffry Belger assumed the role of director for Newman Catholic Student Center in Iowa City on Sept. 1.

St. Ambrose University in Davenport dedicated its new $21.5 million wellness and recreation center on Sept. 29.


More than 800 teenagers and adults — including Bishop Zinkula — attended the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis in November.

Hispanic ministries grow

More than 125 Spanish-speaking Catholics are currently participating in the Ministry Formation Program as they seek to become lay leaders in their home parishes.

About 1,700 Spanish-speaking Catholics from across the country attended the Catholic Marriage and Family Conference on Aug. 12 at Bridge View Center in Ottumwa, organized by the diocesan Office of Multicultural Ministry.

Fatima 100

To mark the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima’s apparitions, the parishes in the Iowa City Deanery took turns hosting events on the 13th of the month from May through October. Events focused on honoring Mary, such as a May crowning, Stations of the Cross, testimony-sharing, an evening of multicultural Marian songs and dances and a pilgrimage to a LaCrosse, Wis., shrine.

Oh what a Knight!

At the Iowa Knights of Columbus convention in April, Joe Lickteig of Pella won Grand Knight of the year, Bethany Jacoby of Grinnell was named youth of the year, Muscatine Council 1305 received the Outstanding Family Program award for its Thanksgiving program, and Father Ross Epping was named Chaplain of the Year-Davenport Diocese. It was later announced that Davenport would host the 2018 state convention.

In August, the Supreme Council revealed new regalia for Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus. Local Knights reported being caught off-guard by the change. Response to the new regalia was mixed, with some citing lack of local input and concerns that the new regalia resembles a modern military uniform.

Building projects

In January, Holy Trinity Catholic School in West Point kicked off $6 million campaign for new elementary school building; about $5 million has been raised to date and work is set to begin this spring. Church of the Visitation Parish in Camanche installed new, energy-efficient stained glass windows. St. Mary Parish in Grinnell broke ground on its parish center in May. Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton opened its new parish hall in May, just in time to host the ordination reception of Father Dorau and the 40th anniversary of Father Ken Kuntz’s ordination to the priesthood. St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport began work on the first phase of its $4.6 million campaign by upgrading electrical work at the school over the summer. Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City added a new entrance/exit to improve traffic flow, expanded and resurfaced its parking lot, replaced its high school gym roof and updated its high school locker rooms during summer vacation as part of the school’s ongoing capital campaign. St. Mary Parish-Oskaloosa renovated the old rectory over the summer, creating a handicap-accessible gathering space, meeting room and library, while St. Mary-Pella parishioners built a shed for storage and to protect lawn equipment from the elements. Parishes in Brooklyn and Victor received interior makeovers in the fall.

The Catholic Messenger earns awards

The Catholic Messenger won three awards in the 2017 Catholic Press Awards competition: Editor Barb Arland-Fye earned first-place honors in the Best Personality Profile for a Weekly Newspaper, Circulation 25,000 or less category and Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues: Call to Family, Community and Participation category. She received second place in the Editorial on a Local Issue: Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, Circulation 25,000 or less category. The results were announced in June during the Catholic Media Conference in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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