By Elizabeth Starr
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Healing ministry in the Diocese of Davenport is moving from the context of the Mass to a new praise and worship event that is to be spread around to local parishes.
The first event, called “Inflame Our Hearts,” will be celebrated at St. Anthony Parish in Davenport on June 13, the feast day of St. Anthony, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The event will not include a healing Mass but will be composed of praise and worship, eucharistic adoration, opportunities for reconciliation, individual prayer and prayers for healing.
Marcia Moore, a lay person on the ministry’s planning team, said all are welcome to attend. A hospitality team will be outside the church to invite people inside.
Organizers hope this event responds to the mission of Vision 20/20 by sparking new excitement in the diocese; in this case, for healing ministry, and that it serves as a means of bringing people into the church. Moore said the hope is that “Inflame Our Hearts” will offer the opportunity for people from all areas to be blessed. The plan is to move events around to different parishes, eventually spreading the ministry across the entire diocese.
Father Troy Richmond, who serves as pastor of Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine and St. Joseph Parish in Columbus Junction, is spearheading the event. He said the heart of healing ministry is an encounter with Christ, the “divine physician.” He hopes the event will open hearts to the anointing of the Holy Spirit through praise and worship. “The Holy Spirit falling upon us fills us with the presence of Christ,” he said.
Father Bill Kneemiller, chaplain of the Kahl Home in Davenport, is helping with the event. He said prayers of healing can be done for a variety of afflictions, such as addiction, feelings of lack of forgiveness and emotional and physical problems. Praying over someone in the context of healing, he said, allows that person to be filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.
Healing Mass in the diocese began with the late Msgr. Marvin Mottet, who died in 2016. After his retirement, the number of healing Masses in the diocese decreased and were eventually held only in Muscatine.
“Msgr. Mottet was a pioneer for healing ministry in the diocese,” Moore said. “Trying to replicate that cannot be done.”
Fr. Kneemiller said Msgr. Mottet influenced his first experience with healing ministry. Msgr. Mottet “told me I needed it. So I came to be prayed over. It really was a spiritual healing for me.”
Healing Masses continued until last year, when Fr. Richmond put them on hold to discern the future of healing ministry in the diocese. He and a team of four priests, one deacon and three to four lay people felt it was time for a change.
“When something goes on for 20 years, people fall into a routine,” Moore said.
The group gathered about once a month for prayer and discussion. After further prayer and discernment, the group decided to move away from the healing Mass and new ideas for ministry began to emerge, leading to the new event.