Say thank you mother (church)!

Anne Marie Amacher
Father Rich Adam, pastor and rector at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport, welcomes members of the Quad-City community to an event at the cathedral Jan. 21.

Cathedral Sunday campaign is Feb. 9-10

By Barb Arland-Fye and Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — For Catholics living within the 22 counties of the Diocese of Davenport in southeast Iowa, Sacred Heart Cathedral serves as home base. It is the mother church of the diocese, the sacred space where Bishop Thomas Zinkula presides at liturgies large and small; where priests and deacons are ordained. Construction of the new diocesan hall at the cathedral now enhances that space and makes it more welcoming for larger numbers of people to participate in liturgies and other diocesan celebrations.

Approximately $450,000 to $500,000 remains to be paid on that $7 million project. Funding comes from the annual Cathedral Sunday campaign, to be held the weekend of Feb. 9-10 this year in the diocese’s 77 parishes. The Annual Red Dinner, to be held Feb. 7 — with special guest Cardinal Timothy Dolan — provides a huge boost to the campaign as well.


To help answer questions about the Cathedral Sunday campaign, The Catholic Messenger spoke with Father Rich Adam, Sacred Heart Cathedral’s rector; Carol Haines, office manager/ bookkeeper; Barb Kendall, office assistant; and Patty Riefe, parish nurse.

Q: Are Sacred Heart Cathedral and Sacred Heart parish two separate entities?
A: Basically, the answer is no. It is a diocesan church, a church for everybody, but at the same time it sustains parish life.

Q: What do donations for Cathedral Sunday fund, specifically?
A: We still owe around $450,000 to $500,000 for construction of the new diocesan hall, gathering space and parking lot. Cathedral Sunday is a reminder that we did this phenomenal $7 million new construction (which also includes bathrooms, meeting rooms, classrooms and kitchen).

Q: Why should parishioners support the cathedral when they have their own parish to support?
A: That question was the catalyst for Cathedral Sunday. Bishop (Emeritus) Martin Amos had a vision of bringing the cathedral into the 21st century. He asked me (Fr. Adam) when I arrived here to take on a project to add more bathrooms, to make the building more handicapped accessible, and to create a gathering space and a hall for diocesan events.

Q: Where does my money go when I make a donation to the cathedral?
A: All of the Cathedral Sunday Campaign money goes into the cathedral foundation, which has been specifically targeted for the payment of the loan for the project.

Q: What share of donations goes toward the operating budget for the cathedral?
A: Right now, none. Our first commitment is to get this project paid for. Then, funds will go toward maintaining the integrity, the physical structure of this building which is 129 years old. Maintaining the structure demands a perpetual financial commitment.

Q: What does the weekly collection from parishioners at Mass go to at the cathedral?
A: The operating budget, the day-to-day expenses of maintaining the church.

Q: How do the parishioners support the diocesan aspect of the cathedral?
A: What Sacred Heart parishioners have put in toward their pledges on the construction has been phenomenal. Sixty-five percent of the parish has participated in the Cathedral Sunday campaign and an estimated 50 percent of the total campaign was paid by Sacred Heart parishioners.  That is in addition to their contributions for everyday expenses. We are an inner-city parish of 600 families. The people have really stepped up in the parish to make this possible. However, the project could never have been done without the Cathedral Sunday campaign.

Q: Besides raising funds, what other priorities does Cathedral Sunday address?
A: It raises awareness that the cathedral is everyone’s church; the cathedral belongs to the entire diocese. One of our first bishops, Bishop Henry Cosgrove, solicited help from the entire diocese in the building of this church. So ownership belongs to everybody. Another priority is to help bring the cathedral into the 21st century. That was the vision of Bishop Amos.

Q: How many dioceses in the U.S. support their cathedral from outside the parish community?
A: I don’t have exact number on that. I just returned from a conference of rectors of cathedrals in the United States and the vast majority of rectors I spoke with said their cathedrals are subsidized.

Q: How has the diocesan hall been used since its opening?
A: All Saints Catholic School had a spaghetti dinner here. Diocesan school teachers have had a meeting here. We’ve had retreats here, such as one organized by the diocese’s Office of Multicultural Ministry. The hall works beautifully for the vesting of priests for ordinations, funerals, etc.
Q: Do Cathedral Sunday donations help pay for parish ministries such as the food pantry and the clothing center?
A: No. That’s all subsidized by parish tithing.

Q: Any closing thoughts?
A: At the cathedral rectors’ conference in Seattle, we were talking about the mother church and a mother’s prayers for her own children. One of the rectors talked about the mother church praying for each of the parishes of its diocese. That suggestion was well received by the other rectors. That’s something we’ll talk about here, as a staff.

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