By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Bishop Thomas Zinkula presided at Mass in Sacred Heart Cathedral to kick off the annual Red Dinner on June 16, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The event is a fundraiser for the cathedral, the Mother Church of the Diocese of Davenport. Fathers George McDaniel, Rich Adam, Hai Dinh, Thom Hennen, Brian Miclot and Dominic Nguyen concelebrated the Mass.
The image of the Sacred Heart “is a powerful, loving image of Jesus’ burning love for us, his friends, and an invitation to love him in return. The devotion of the Sacred Heart highlights the Eucharist as a means to deeper communion with Jesus and others,” Bishop Zinkula said in his homily. “More frequent encounters with the Eucharist — through reception of Communion and eucharistic adoration — help us to strengthen our friendship with Christ.”
Following Mass, the gathering traveled to the Rogalski Center on the St. Ambrose University campus for a reception and Red Dinner. Father Hennen, the cathedral’s pastor and the diocese’s vicar general, served as the speaker for this year’s Red Dinner, his first as pastor. Last year he was sick with COVID-19 and could not attend. “You are stuck with me,” he joked, noting that he is not as a famous as a cardinal, a bishop or a historian (like some of the previous speakers).
The cathedral, he said, has been the spiritual home for Catholics in the diocese for 132 years. Part of the reason for the Red Dinner is to “try and keep the cathedral looking pristine.” In the past year, cathedral projects have included rebuilding the exterior window of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, construction of a confessional screen in the former baptistery and installation of new candle stands and some new flooring.
This summer, the 10th Street doors are being replaced. “They were hard to lock, kept blowing open and had significant wear. What do you expect for being there more than 130 years?” The new doors will retain the look of the original ones. Funding for this project comes from the parish’s portion of the Upon This Rock diocesan capital campaign.
As for the future, Father Hennen said the cathedral will be retrofitted with LED lights and standard-size bulbs. The new sound system is “working well. Except for during Mass tonight for the bishop. It’s our fault. We gave him a dead mike.”
All of the work demonstrates that the cathedral parish is a “living, breathing and vibrant home for the people of the diocese. We want it to look good for all Catholics — including visitors,” Father Hennen said.
He reminded Catholics that the cathedral is home to the Rite of Election, Chrism Mass, ordinations of priests and deacons and, this summer, the Iowa seminarian convocation. He thanked all who support the cathedral in any way. “This is your church.”