2018 year in review for the Diocese of Davenport

Barb Arland-Fye
Bishop Thomas Zinkula, right, and his brother Jerry, celebrate the completion of their RAGBRAI journey last year in Davenport.

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

A diocesan-wide revitalization effort, a bishop’s week-long bicycle ride, a raid and changes to life-affirming institutions topped the news in 2018 in the Diocese of Davenport.

Vision 20/20

On Pentecost, May 20, Bishop Thomas Zinkula kicked off Vision 20/20, an initiative to revitalize the faith of Catholics in the Davenport Diocese and to inspire a fresh encounter with Jesus Christ and his church through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Parish listening sessions took place in the fall in English and Spanish. The parish sessions focused on questions about missionary discipleship and evangelization, and challenges and opportunities in each parish and in the diocesan and universal church. Ideas distilled from upcoming regional conversations will help identify themes to be addressed around the diocese during spring 2019 and at a diocesan convocation June 6-8 at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.



Bishop Thomas Zinkula ordained two men at Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 30 — Father John Lamansky to the priesthood and Deacon Terry Ball to the diaconate. Deacon Scott Foley was ordained to the diaconate Sept. 27 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, presided. God-willing, Deacon Ball and Deacon Foley will be ordained priests in 2019.

Bishop evangelizes on the RAGBRAI trail

Bishop Thomas Zinkula participated in the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa — better known as RAGBRAI, celebrating Mass at each nightly stop. He served as the spiritual leader for the Pedaling to the Peripheries team of 20 bicyclists and support crew organized by retired banker Jim Tiedje of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. The 428-mile ride started July 22 in Onawa and ended July 28 in Davenport.

The Miracle on Happy Joe Drive

After the closure of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bettendorf in December 2017, an anonymous donor purchased the property and sold it to the Life and Family Educational Trust, which operates the pro-life Women’s Choice Center. The closing took place March 29. The figure-eight shaped building that was Planned Parenthood now is home to Life & Family Medical Clinic, a faith-centered primary care clinic, and the Women’s Choice Center, which provides support for pregnant women, new parents and their families. Board members anticipate opening a new, direct primary care medical clinic in early 2019. The previous Women’s Choice Center building is now a Christian daycare.

Raid affects families in Mount Pleasant

On May 9, 32 men were arrested at the Midwest Precast Concrete Facility in Mount Pleasant for alleged immigration violations. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted the raid, which came less than seven months after the agency’s deputy director issued a directive calling for increased worksite enforcement investigations, according to ICE’s website. Since the raid, five of the 32 have been deported and three remain in custody. Twenty-four of the men have been released on bond but are not permitted to work without securing work permits, a lengthy and expensive process. They await court hearings scheduled later this year.

Taking the joy of the Gospel to inmates

Visits to prison is one way Bishop Zinkula chooses to evangelize. His prison visits last year included the Iowa State Penitentiary, Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility, the Newton Correctional Facility and Iowa Medical Classification Center in Coralville.

Humility Homes and Services merges

Humility of Mary Housing and Humility of Mary Shelter in Davenport merged on July 1 to form Humility Homes and Services. The Sisters of the Humility of Mary opened Humility of Mary Housing in 1990 to provide parents and their children housing stability so that they can pursue opportunities for growth and development. Humility of Mary Shelter opened in 2008 to replace an emergency shelter that had shut down. Services offered by both housing programs continue, as well as efforts to coordinate with other community partners to identify gaps in services for persons experiencing a housing crisis.


Father Vitolds Valainis, a priest of the Diocese of Davenport, retired effective June 30. He served parishes in Keokuk, Muscatine, Burlington and Iowa City during his years of active ministry. Since 1986, he had served as chaplain at University Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

Saying goodbye

Catholics in the Diocese of Davenport remember the following priests and religious sisters who passed away in 2018: Father John Hynes; Msgr. James Parizek; Father Robert Shortall; Sister Joanne Di Iulio, CHM; Sister Mary Ellen McDonagh, BVM; Sister Rose Griffin, OSF; Sister Donna Donovan, CHM; Sister Gertrude “Trudy” Tanner, OP;  Sister Mary Charlene Chase, RSM; Sister Rose André Koehler, BVM; Sister Constance Pailliotet, CHM.


The Catholic Messenger received two national awards at the 2018 Catholic Press Association Awards competition. Results were announced  in June during the Catholic Media Conference in Green Bay, Wis. Judges awarded first place for “Best Front Page: Broadsheet” to Messenger staffers Anne Marie Amacher, Barb Arland-Fye and Lindsay Steele. Arland-Fye received a third-place award in the “Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues: Life and Dignity of the Human Person” for her story “Love in the time of memory loss.”

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