Youths learn about their church during scavenger hunt


By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — A scavenger hunt to search for the spiritual and physical treasures of St. Anthony Parish aimed to help youths learn more about — and to connect with — their community of faith.

“With the merger of St. Anthony and St. Mary parishes, most of the students don’t know one another very well — if at all. The scavenger hunt was intended to get them working together in teams while getting to know each other,” said Pastoral Associate John Cooper of the April 11 event. He leads the youth group with a team of other adult volunteers.

Youths from St. Anthony Parish in Davenport pose near the parish sign during a scavenger hunt April 11.

Cooper first thought about a scavenger hunt several years ago. The idea “reemerged in our planning and it seemed to lend the kind of energy we were looking for.”


The youth group, which had been meeting online via Zoom during the ongoing pandemic, began in-person meetings March 21. The group is open to grades 9-12, as well as persons who have been confirmed.

Four teams participating in the scavenger hunt received a list with these instructions:

• Ring the original church bell in front of the church and take a picture while ringing it.

• At McAnthony Window, write a prayer for the homeless.

• At the Mary statue, recite a Hail Mary.

• At the civil rights marker, summarize the marker’s statement.

• Name things around the perimeter of the church that indicate it is a Catholic Church.

• Summarize the statement on the school building’s historical marker.

• Mark the dates and time when people can go to confession at the parish.

• Make creative pictures as a group around the St. Anthony Catholic Church sign.

• Name the physical thing around the outside of the church that has a connection to Steve Jobs and the Mac computer.

“Even if you’ve attended St. Anthony your whole life, you may not have known that there is a civil rights marker at the entrance to the parking lot that describes the civil rights meetings that originated at St. Anthony’s during the 1960s,” Cooper said. “Having our youths visit the McAnthony Window area and prayer center was meant to connect them to the work we do in serving the homeless and hungry.”

The hardest part of the scavenger hunt was figuring out the connection to Steve Jobs, Cooper said. Brianna Gonzalez, one of the youths, came closest. She guessed the connection to the design of the Mac computer. “That’s as close as we got,” he said. Student judge Luka gave the point to Brianna’s team, which helped them win a Whitey’s gift card.

Cooper supplied the answer to the Steve Jobs/Mac challenge. A monk once took classes taught by the late Father Edward Catich, a renowned artist and calligrapher at St. Ambrose College in Davenport. The monk later taught Steve Jobs calligraphy and font art. Jobs said he used what he learned in the design of typography in the Mac computer. The scavenger hunters discovered that Father Catich did the calligraphy in the St. Anthony sign.

Gonzalez said she thought the scavenger hunt “was really fun and well thought out. I also thought that the questions were super eye opening to think about. I liked seeing new faces and also seeing kids that are usually shy talking and participating in the activity.”

Isabel Martinez “really enjoyed getting to see parts of the church I’d never seen or paid attention to before. I really liked taking pictures as a group, too, and it made it better that my team won.” Ellen Jardine thought the scavenger hunt was “fun and challenging.  We learned things about the church we did not know.  We were with new people from St. Mary’s, too, who we met and made new friends with.”

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