Cornerstone Scripture study thrives during pandemic


For The Catholic Messenger
IOWA CITY — The Ave Maria Branch of The Cornerstone Catholic Scripture Study, which normally meets Monday evenings from October through April at St. Mary Parish, had a successful year meeting entirely on Zoom studying the Gospel of Mark, members said.

Branch facilitator Sue Derdeyn describes Cornerstone as a blend of small group study and heart-felt talks. “This helps members progress on a spiritual journey that can transform their heart and mind by connecting them to God’s word and others who share the journey.”

Initially, the group’s members were unsure how they would meet for the 2020-21 session due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Derdeyn said. They held on to the belief that “All things are possible” with God, and decided to try the online format.

The format change led to the loss of about 20 of the 64 members. However, the group gained 10 new members. Technology made it possible for people to zoom in from anywhere, including Kansas, Florida and Davenport.


Derdeyn said the Cornerstone community, “grounded in God’s love and united in prayer for all the people hurting in the world, became a source of hope and joy for its members during a difficult time.”

Deacon Ward Thompson, who serves St. Mary Parish, participates in the Scripture study alongside his wife, Gwen. Recently, he spoke about the group in a homily. “It will build your faith, give new insight into your relationship with the Good Shepherd, and is most enjoyable … the study is such an important part of my life.”

Ave Maria Branch of The Cornerstone will resume meeting this fall on Monday nights to study the Book of Genesis: Creation and Covenants. Members hope to be able to meet in person.

For more information, go to or call Dan Teets at the St Mary Parish office at (319) 337-4314, ext. 105.

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