Vision 2020 – envisioning the role of mentors

Anne Marie Amacher
Delegates participate in a prayer service during the Vision 20/20 Convocation last June.

By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

IOWA CITY — In his travels around the diocese this summer, Bishop Thomas Zinkula senses confidence in the Vision 20/20 effort to reenergize parishes, ministries and people. The Vision 20/20 Convocation in June was well received and fruitful. “I’m hearing about things parishes and people are doing,” the bishop told the Vision 20/20 Steering Committee on Sept. 12. “It makes me hopeful.”

But he also recognizes a challenge: people want some guidance to help them in the mission Jesus gave his disciples: to proclaim and share the joy of the Gospel. “My take is that we need mentors who can be a kind of bridge, or intermediaries, connecting people with resources and ideas,” Bishop Zinkula said. He also encouraged publishing stories in The Catholic Messen­ger about parishes’ Vision 20/20 initiatives to stimulate the spread of ideas.

A subcommittee has developed a job description for Vision 20/20 mentors and presented it during the Sept. 12 steering committee meeting at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City. The mentors’ role is to be of service to the diocese’s parishes as they pursue the mission of Vision 20/20. Specifically, the mentor would:


• Model what comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
• Inspire the parish to prayerfully reflect on its current reality.
• Challenge the parish leaders to go beyond what they have tried before.
• Listen to the needs and interests of parish leaders.
• Communicate those needs and interests back to other mentors and the Vision 20/20 Steering Committee.
• Search for ways to assist parishes to live out the mission of Vision 20/20.
• Encourage the parish to continue its efforts despite expected setbacks.

The subcommittee also identified mentor qualities: spirituality — demonstrates a vibrant, active and growing personal relationship with Christ; experience — has knowledge, understanding and involvement with the ministry of evangelization; people skills — relational, able to listen, respond and facilitate change; and Catholic — with an obvious love of her/his Catholic faith.

Mentors would commit to ongoing formation and growth and provide ongoing follow-up work with one or two parishes. Steering committee members were asked to send to Bishop Zinkula the names of potential mentors. The bishop said pastors will also be asked for names of potential mentors.

Father Tony Herold, the diocese’s vicar general and pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport, envisions mentor training during the fall and early winter before mentors begin their roles in the new year. Parishes would have the final say on whether a particular mentor or mentors would be a good match for their parishes, the steering committee decided.

Next year’s Vision 20/20 celebration

Mike Patin, who opened the Vision 20/20 general session with his trademark energy, humor and passion for passing on the faith, will give the keynote talk at the June 14, 2020 celebration of the Vision 20/20 effort. The steering committee decided that the event will include an afternoon Mass, Patin’s talk and dinner and networking afterwards.

Vision 20/20 Steering Committee terms

Steering Committee members were asked to submit to Bishop Zinkula their intention to continue serving on the Vision 20/20 Steering Committee for terms ranging from one to three years. They also have the option to end their membership. Dan Ebener, the steering committee’s facilitator, said it’s important for the steering committee to guide the year to year work of Vision 20/20.

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