Archbishop-elect answers questions on Medjugorje and more

Anne Marie Amacher
Archbishop-elect Thomas Zinkula speaks with Catholics after Solemn Vespers Sept. 17 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. The archbishop-elect answers questions from readers and listeners in this month’s Catholic Messenger Conversations podcast.

The Catholic Messenger

In the latest Catholic Messenger Conversations podcast, Archbishop-elect Thomas Zinkula answered questions from podcast listeners and Catholic Messenger readers.

The archbishop-elect began the podcast by sharing his memories from Newman Catholic Student Center’s recent canoe trip. He paddled alongside 20 University of Iowa students, four FOCUS missionaries and two priests. “We started at Palisades-Kepler State Park, about a mile from our family farm where I grew up,” the archbishop-elect told host Barb Arland-Fye, editor of The Catholic Messenger. The group followed the current and paddled about three hours to the boat ramp at Sutliff. “It was wonderful to hang out with them and hear what they are thinking,” he said.

One reader asked the archbishop-elect for his thoughts on Medjugorje. While the Church has not approved the reported Marian apparitions there, “Our Lady can be venerated everywhere,” he said. “It’s a shrine; whether Mary appeared there or not is a secondary question.” She can give grace regardless.


Another reader asked the bishop about his thoughts regarding  Christians taking issue with Church teaching on Mary. “What would be your approach to help them understand why Mary is such an important person in the Church and our prayer life?” The archbishop-elect said Mary is mentioned in all four Gospels and at the beginning of the book of Acts. “She’s the first Christian disciple at the Annunciation … Luke makes it clear that Mary has been specially favored by God and is blessed among women… She’s pretty important in the Scriptures and in our tradition. She’s there from the very beginning and honored and revered. So, it’s not surprising that the Church would continue that over the centuries.”

When asked about his favorite Marian prayers, the archbishop-elect cited the Hail Mary. “It’s a beautiful prayer and I like to pray that when I’m at somebody’s casket ­— ‘Now and at the hour of our death. Amen.’” Sometimes people are afraid of thinking or speaking about death, “but here it is, every time we pray that prayer it’s the last word.” The saints didn’t shy away from addressing the inevitability of death and neither do we. “It’s not a morbid thing.”

To hear what else Archbishop-elect Zinkula had to say about these and other topics, go to or find Catholic Messenger Conversations on your favorite podcasting app. Catholic Messenger Conversations is recorded at KALA Studios on the St. Ambrose University campus in Davenport.

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