Diocesan year in review 2019

Barb Arland-Fye
Bishop Thomas Zinkula presents the Dalai Lama with the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award March 4 at the Dalai Lama’s residence in northern India.

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

Catholics in the Diocese of Davenport worked to spread the joy of the Gospel in 2019, a year highlighted by the Vision 20/20 Convocation and other initiatives aimed at spreading the good news of God’s love beyond church walls.

Vision 20/20

The Diocese of Davenport hosted the Vision 20/20 Convocation June 6-8 at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. Bishop Thomas Zinkula introduced the initiative, Vision 20/20: from Pentecost to Pentecost, in 2018, inspired by Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel” and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America (2017). The three major themes for the 450 delegates gathered on a mission to lead the way to revitalization of the Catholic Church in southeast Iowa: 1.) Go; get out of your comfort zone. 2.) Build authentic relationships. 3.) Proclaim the Gospel in a fresh and winsome way. On June 14, the diocese will host a celebration at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City to keep the momentum going.


Bishop meets with the Dalai Lama

Bishop Thomas Zinkula presented two Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom awards in 2019. In March, Bishop Zinkula traveled to India with Barb Arland-Fye, editor of The Catholic Messenger, to present the 48th award to the Dalai Lama. The journey culminated a years-long dream of the interfaith Pacem in Terris Coalition of the Quad Cities to honor one of the world’s most respected peacemakers. “I was willing to travel halfway across the world to present the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award to him because he is the Dalai Lama. He has been promoting inner peace and world peace his entire life,” Bishop Zinkula said. In September, Bishop Zinkula presented the 49th award to Bishop Emeritus Munib Younan, a Lutheran church leader from the Middle East committed to cultivating peace by building bridges among religions. Bishop Younan accepted the award at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.

Reaching the margins

Bishop Thomas Zinkula continued his outreach to persons on the peripheries this year. As in past years, he celebrated Mass and visited with inmates at prisons and penitentiaries in the Davenport Diocese, including in Coralville, Fort Madison, Mount Pleasant and Newton. Over the summer, he participated in two days of RAGBRAI and later canoed with members of the Iowa City-based Newman Catholic Student Center. In November, he accompanied a man seeking refugee status to a check-in with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in Cedar Rapids.


Hun­dreds of people packed Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport to witness the ordinations of Father Terry Ball, Father Scott Foley and Deacon James Flattery on June 1. Each of the newly ordained men engaged in secular careers before discerning a religious vocation. God willing, Bishop Zinkula will ordain Deacon Flattery to the priesthood in 2020.

New platforms

To help reach more people, The Catholic Messenger, with the support of Bishop Zinkula, expanded into new platforms in 2019. Arland-Fye recorded the first Catholic Messenger Conversations podcast in August at St. Ambrose University’s KALA Radio in Davenport. Bishop Thomas Zinkula served as the first guest, speaking about his RAGBRAI experience. The monthly podcasts are accessible online at www.catholicmessenger.net/podcasting and broadcast the first Sunday of the month at 5 p.m. on KALA. Since September, The Catholic Messenger has produced Catholic Messenger Express, an e-newsletter sent to students at St. Ambrose University and Newman Catholic Student Center.

A beautiful friendship

Retired diocesan priest Father Bob Busher reunited with his best friend since seminary, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, for Sacred Heart Cathedral’s Mass and Red Dinner on Feb. 7. The annual event celebrates the cathedral as the mother church of the diocese and has become an important fundraiser for the cathedral’s day-to-day maintenance. A cathedral is a “living, breathing reminder that God is with us,” the cardinal said. Tears filled the eyes of the faithful during the Mass as the cardinal walked up to Father Busher in the front row and offered him Communion. Father Busher, who was battling illness at the time, reached up to wipe the sweat off the cardinal’s brow.

Multicultural Ministry

Sixty-five Hispanic Catholics graduated from the Hispanic Ministry Formation Program in May and commissioned as lay ecclesial ministers at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Iowa City. Bishop Zinkula commissioned the graduates and presided at Mass. On Aug.10, the diocesan Office of Multicultural Ministry hosted its biennial theological conference for Spanish-speaking Catholics at Bridge View Center in Ottumwa. The conference focused on Mary’s grace. In December, the Multicultural Ministry office hosted a concert by Mexican singer Priscila Angel at the Iowa City parish.


Father Edmond Dunn retired from active ministry effective April 4. Father Robert Harness and Father Timothy Sheedy retired from active ministry effective June 30. Father Mark Spring retired from active ministry effective Aug. 31 and died the following month.

In memory

The following clergy and religious sisters died in 2019: Msgr. Robert Walter; Father Mark Spring; Sister Audrey Cleary, O.S.B.; Sister Patricia Rehm, D.C.; Sister Lynne Therese Elwinger, O.C.D.; Sister Kathleen Tomlonovic, CHM; Sister Marilyn Kraus, C.H.M.; Sister JoAnne Talarico, C.H.M.; Sister Donna Schmitt, C.H.M.; Sister Cecelia Vandeberg, C.H.M.; Sister Celeste Hanigan, O.S.F.; Sister Irene Krogmeier, O.S.B; and Deacon Bob Snavely.

Catholic Messenger recognized

The Catholic Messenger received four awards in the 2019 Catholic Press Awards competition. Results were announced June 21 during the Catholic Media Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. Judges awarded first place for “Best Front Page: Broadsheet” to Messenger staffers Arland-Fye, Anne Marie Amacher and Lindsay Steele. Arland-Fye won Best Editorial on a Local Issue – Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, circulation 25,000 or less, for an editorial titled “Support the Families.” Steele was runner up in the category for Best Reporting on the Celebration of a Sacrament – Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, circulation of 25,000 or less, for a story titled “Corpus Christi, Sugar Creek’s Path of Memories.” Arland-Fye and Amacher received honorable mention in the Best Coverage of Pro-Life Issues category.

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