DECREE Regarding Saint Mary Church, Davenport, Iowa


Thomas R. Zinkula
By the Grace of God and the Favor of the Apostolic See
Bishop of Davenport
Regarding Saint Mary Church, Davenport, Iowa

St. Mary Parish, Davenport, Iowa, was founded in 1867. The cornerstone of St. Mary Church was laid on July 21, 1867, and the newly built church was dedicated on March 17, 1869, by Archbishop John Hennessey. On July 1, 2020, St. Mary Parish merged with St. Anthony Parish, Davenport. Now the pastor of St. Anthony Parish, having consulted the St. Anthony Parish Pastoral Council, Finance Council and lay directors, has requested that St. Mary Church be relegated to profane but not sordid use.

Lindsay Steele
Members of St. Mary Parish in Davenport gather outside the church during the parish’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2017.

Having heard the recommendation of those charged with the administration of St. Mary Church, I sought the advice of the Presbyteral Council on November 3, 2020, in accord with canon 515 §2 of the Code of Canon Law.

The relegation of St. Mary Church to profane use will not impair the good of souls in that it will not make it difficult for the people to hear the word of God, to receive the sacraments, to study the teachings of the Catholic faith, or to engage in the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. In addition, the resources needed to maintain St. Mary Church will be better spent on other parish ministries. Further, given demographic and other changes, the church is not needed as a separate worship site. Finally, another non-profit organization is able to make good use of this property in its ministry to the poor.


Given all of the above, in virtue of my pastoral office and in observance of the prescriptions of canons 1212, 1222 and 50 of the Code of Canon Law, I hereby judge, and hence decree, that the gravity and sum of these circumstances are grave reasons for relegating St. Mary Church to profane but not sordid use. In other words, the church is no longer a sacred place.

This decree takes effect on the 26th day of November 2020.

Promulgation of this decree is to be made in a public fashion as determined by the pastor of St. Anthony Parish, Davenport, Iowa. It also will be published in The Catholic Messenger, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Davenport. Any proposed petition against this decree is to be made in writing to my office not more than ten useful days from the date of promulgation.

Given at Davenport, Iowa, on this 12th day of November, 2020.

Thomas Zinkula Deacon
Bishop of Davenport

David Montgomery

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