Two to be ordained priests next weekend

Ordination of Deacon Dane Dickinson & Mike Snyder to the Priesthood, June 1, 2024 at Sacred Heart Cathedral

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Two men with diverse life experiences are now preparing for ordination to the priesthood for the Diocese of Davenport on June 1 at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Archbishop Thomas Zinkula, the diocese’s former bishop, will ordain Deacons Dane Dickinson and Mike Snyder during the Mass that begins at 10 a.m. The livestream will be available on the cathedral’s YouTube page

Deacon Dickinson

Deacon Dickinson graduated from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in business education. He worked for eight years in the automotive industry starting as a mechanic and working his way into sales. He also worked two years as a high school teacher.


He said he first felt a “tug” to the priesthood in elementary school. “I felt it many more times before I acknowledged the Lord’s invitation for my life.” While attending the National Catholic Youth Conference in 2017, Dickinson felt “God made it abundantly clear that he was inviting me to follow his plan for my life. My life hasn’t been the same ever since.”

After his acceptance into the seminary, he began studies at the University of St. Mary of the Lake: Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. “The past six years have been an incredible opportunity to intentionally grow in my relationship with a good and loving God who wants nothing more than to be in relationship with me,” he said. “I feel extraordinarily blessed that I was able to take this time, stepping away from many worldly concerns, so that I might learn so much more about what we believe. It has only been in this context that I have become fully convinced of God’s desire for my life and that I have become completely committed to living it out.”

Deacon Dickinson will be ordained to the priesthood one year after his ordination to the diaconate. “I am so excited to begin the mission that God has created for me. To begin loving and serving the Diocese of Davenport in a new way,” said Deacon Dickinson, whose home parish is St. Mary-Fairfield.

Deacon Snyder

Deacon Snyder grew up in a Protestant family and graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He worked for Deere & Co. for 37 years in Ankeny, Iowa and Moline, Illinois as an engineering, manufacturing manager and engineering manager.

“Marriage was my first vocation,” he said. He and his wife Patty thought God chose them for each other and brought them together. “Patty was Catholic and we cooperated well with our different faiths for many years. The Eucharist attracted me to join the Catholic Church, and I joined in 1996 through RCIA at St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf.”

He believes the Holy Spirit guided his journey to the diaconate. He and Patty were on pilgrimage in Medjugorje when someone suggested the diaconate to him. Several others mentioned it in the following months. The ministries of a deacon intimidated him; however, he eventually decided to talk with Deacon Bob McCoy, diocesan director of the diaconate then, and Deacon Frank Agnoli, director of deacon formation. They suggested enrolling in lay Ministry Formation Program classes. The classes fascinated him and opened him up to discerning a vocation to the diaconate. “God is persistent and I agreed to apply for the upcoming deacon formation class. The diaconate was my second vocation.”

He was a member of Deacon Class VII and graduated with his Master of Pastoral Theology degree from St. Ambrose University before ordination to the diaconate July 8, 2017. “Soon after my diaconate ordination, we learned that Patty had a terminal disease and we talked about the future. Patty asked me if I would be a priest, and my answer was that if God wants me to and makes it clear that it is his will for me, I couldn’t say no. I knew from my experience with the diaconate that God’s will for us is better than anything that we could plan for ourselves.”

Deacon Snyder served as his wife’s caregiver while she lived with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). “I worked 16-hour days, happily, in order to do all that she needed; I literally gave my life to Patty for whatever she needed and for as long as she needed. This is what a priest does; gives his life to the Church. I’m not sure I could have done this, if God hadn’t already showed me that I could.”

After Patty died in 2018, Deacon Snyder set aside the priesthood as he grieved. “In the next couple years, a few people told me they thought I would be a good priest or just assumed that I would become a priest.”

A few months after Patty died, “I lamented to my spiritual director, Father Ed O’Melia, about God not answering our prayers for Patty.  This led to a good discussion about the ultimate purpose of prayer, to align our will with God’s will. I started praying then to know God’s will for me.”

One night after Mass during his travels around the diocese as director of the diaconate and promoting the new deacon formation class, he said he heard a voice in his heart say, “‘Mike, do you believe what you are telling these people?’ My reply: ‘absolutely.’  Week after week, I would hear this same question and it would turn into a conversation with myself. I knew this was the Holy Spirit but I had just figured out what life was going to be like without Patty,” he said. “I wasn’t embracing the call and applying my own advice to my situation. The thought of being a priest was very intimidating!”

“One week the voice said ‘Mike, it’s time to step up.’ I was overcome with emotion. I finally had to admit to myself that God had answered my prayers and this was God’s will for me; to be a priest. It took a few weeks even to talk to my pastor, Father Jason Crossen (of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf), and then a few more weeks to work up the courage to talk to Bishop Zinkula.” He also spoke with his family, which includes daughters Allison and Brynn and four grandchildren ages 10 to 14.

During his studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Wisconsin, which began in 2022, Deacon Synder said, “It just felt right and I never seriously doubted that it was God’s call.”

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