By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 24 has been chosen for celebration of the annual Red Dinner to benefit Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The Red Dinner began as a fundraiser for the immediate (physical plant) needs of Sacred Heart Cathedral. It is an evening to “celebrate the Mother Church of the diocese,” said Father Thom Hennen, the cathedral’s pastor.
Typically held in February near Valentine’s Day, this year’s dinner was postponed due to a spike in the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The planning committee decided to reschedule during warmer weather. “I suggested June 24,” Father Hennen said.
This year’s speaker is Father George McDaniel, historian, diocesan priest and retired professor of St. Ambrose University in Davenport. Father McDaniel is “well known and often concelebrates at the cathedral. He is a great scholar who loves digging into local history. And he is an engaging speaker. We also felt that many of our own parishioners and patrons did not always know a lot about our history,” Father Hennen said.
Father McDaniel proposed the idea of telling the cathedral’s history based on the people of the parish at its founding, rather than just about bishops, priests, buildings and dates. “So this will be a history of the cathedral from the perspective of the people, specifically some of the early families of the parish, some of whom continue on in the community today,” Father Hennen said.
Bishop Thomas Zinkula will preside at the Mass, which begins at 4 p.m. in the cathedral. Social time before the Red Dinner begins at 5 p.m. and dinner follows at 6:30 p.m. in the Rogalski Center at St. Ambrose University. “I think it is important for us to celebrate with the bishop in his church, this beautiful cathedral that we are celebrating and supporting on this special night,” Father Hennen said.
The pandemic cancelled the dinner in 2021 and postponed it in 2022, so the planning committee will evaluate dates for future Red Dinners. A down side to February is a weather risk and some people’s reluctance to go out in the evening when it is dark, Father Hennen said.
Tickets for the Red Dinner are $65 per person. To make a reservation by June 1, go to the cathedral’s website at www.shcdavenport.org and click on the Red Dinner button. Another option is to write a check to SHC Red Dinner and mail it to Sacred Heart Cathedral, 422 E. 10th St, Davenport, Iowa, 52803. For questions, call the cathedral office at (563) 324-3257.