By Celine Klosterman
After consulting with chancery staffers, Bishop Martin Amos has postponed the Davenport Diocese’s plans to visit its partner diocese in Madagascar this June.
Reasons cited included the Davenport Diocese’s lack of a social action director and political unrest on the African island, according to a March 24 letter from Nora Dvorak, member of the Friends of Madagascar Committee.
The Davenport Diocese’s former social action director, John Kiley, died in February. On March 17 the U.S. State Department issued a warning against traveling to Madagascar, which the department said has been in political turmoil since January.
This is the second time the trip, which would be the Davenport Diocese’s second visit since 2005, has been postponed since it was originally scheduled in 2008. Earlier plans were delayed due to cyclones and reorganization of Catholic Relief Services, which is overseeing the dioceses’ partnership.
About a dozen would-be travelers from the Davenport Diocese had hoped to work with the Archdiocese of Antsiranana in Madagascar to develop the concept for a vocational training center there and upgrade a Catholic radio station.
Dvorak said the Friends of Madagascar Committee will explore ways to continue projects such as the radio station.
Meanwhile, Deacon Bill Olson, committee chair, said he’s looking to reschedule the trip for next summer. He acknowledged disappointment at the delay, but said, “I thought it was the right decision.”
Bishop Amos has written Archbishop Michel Malo of the Antsiranana Archdiocese to inform him the trip has been postponed.