Reconfiguration aims to serve parishes, priests better

The Diocese of Davenport will go from six to five deaneries on July 1.

By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

On July 1, five deaneries, more familiarly known as geographical regions, will encompass the 74 parishes of the Diocese of Dav­enport across 22 counties in southeast Iowa. The change from six deaneries to five takes into consideration “new parish clusters and pastor assignments that in some cases span more than one deanery, Bishop Thomas Zinkula said. In addition, it will “benefit collaboration between parishes within each deanery and better apportion the number of priests amongst deaneries.”

Bishop Zinkula said the decision comes after consultation with the Diocesan Presbyteral Council and the deans, which resulted in the reconfiguration of the deaneries as the Davenport Deanery, Clinton Deanery, Iowa City Deanery, Ottumwa Deanery, and Burlington Deanery. The largest city in each deanery bears its name.

Authorized by the Code of Canon Law, “The purpose of neighboring parishes being joined into a deanery is to foster pastoral care in a particular region through common action. Deaneries also provide an opportunity for priests to gather together for fraternity,” Bishop Zinkula said.


Determining the new number and configuration of deaneries was fairly obvious, the bishop said. “The major consideration was the number of priests in the various parts of the diocese. It can be difficult to have a good discussion in which everyone participates when the number of people is too large. Likewise, it can be problematic when the number is too small and, for instance, a few people can’t attend a meeting.”

The diocesan Parish Handbook notes that the diocesan bishop, who “has responsibility for the entire local Church committed to his care,” needs to “multiply as much as possible his presence with all the members of the local Church.” To assist the bishop, “the Second Vatican Council called for greater collegiality and subsidiarity in the administration of the local Church.”

Fr. Appel

Thus, each of the five deaneries has an appointed dean, who “makes the pastoral role of the Bishop more proximate to all members of the deanery.” The deans, whose appointments take effect July 1, are Father Paul Appel, Clinton Deanery; Father Bruce DeRammelaere, Davenport Deanery; and Father Charles Adam, Iowa City Dean­ery. Two priests, not yet

Fr. Derammelaere
Fr. Adam

named, will serve the Burlington and Ottumwa deaneries, respectively.

“The dean’s role is essentially an extension of the Bishop’s office,” the Parish Handbook states. However, the bishop, as chief shepherd of the diocese, “remains accessible to those who prefer to deal directly with him and will attempt to be as visible as possible to all persons in the Diocese.”

Deans will work closely with the bishop and share with him “the concern for the good of the whole diocese.” A dean’s responsibilities and faculties include coordination of the general pastoral activities in his deanery, conducting parish visitations, developing a close relationship with diocesan officials and being acquainted with the work of diocesan offices. The dean also provides personal counsel to the bishop concerning personnel matters in the deanery and installs new pastors in the deanery when requested, the Parish Handbook states.

Deaneries of the Diocese of Davenport

The following list identifies the communities in each of the Diocese of Davenport’s five deaneries, effective July 1.

 Clinton Deanery (14 parishes, six pastors)

Father Paul Appel, dean and pastor of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish, Clinton.

Communities:  Clinton, Camanche, LeClaire, Charlotte, Delmar, Lost Nation, Petersville, Sugar Creek, DeWitt, Grand Mound, Long Grove, Mechanicsville, Tipton, West Branch.

 Davenport Deanery (12 parishes, nine pastors, two parish life coordinators)

Father Bruce DeRammelaere, dean and pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Davenport.

Communities: Davenport (six parishes), Bettendorf (two parishes), Buffalo, Blue Grass, Muscatine, Wilton.

 Iowa City Deanery (17 parishes, 11 pastors)

Father Charles Adam, dean and pastor of St. Thomas More Parish, Coralville.

Communities: Iowa City (three parishes), Coralville, Columbus Junction, West Liberty, Hills, Lone Tree, Nichols, Solon, Riverside, Washington, Cosgrove, Oxford, Williamsburg, Marengo, Victor.

Burlington Deanery (11 parishes, six pastors)

Dean to be named.

Communities: Burlington, Dodgeville, Mount Pleasant, St. Paul, West Point, Houghton, Farmington, Fort Madison, Montrose, Keokuk, Fairfield.

 Ottumwa Deanery (20 parishes, nine pastors)

Dean to be named.

Communities: Ottumwa (two parishes), Bloomfield, Sigourney, North English, Keota, Richland, Grinnell, Brooklyn, Oskaloosa, Pella, Newton, Colfax, Knoxville, Melcher, Albia, Georgetown, Lovilia, Centerville, Melrose.

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