By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — As the Year for Priests continues, the Davenport Diocese, parishes, schools and Serra Club have been honoring priests in a variety of ways.
Tonight (Oct. 29) a diocesan-wide Mass will be held at 5:30 p.m. at St. Mary Church in Iowa City. Bishop Martin Amos will celebrate the Mass.
A special dinner just for priests will be served by the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Daughters following the Mass.
St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Davenport presented the parish priests with cards thanking them for answering the call to the priesthood.
Following Communion during the weekly school Mass Oct. 23, students brought forward their cards and gave them to Father Michael Spiekermeier, pastor of the parish, and Father Hai Dinh, parochial vicar at St. Paul the Apostle and Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport.
Both priests thanked the students for the cards.
Fr. Dinh said at Sacred Heart the previous weekend he was told, “Thank you for choosing the priesthood.” He replied, “No. Thank God.”
Fr. Spiekermeier issued a challenge to the students and the whole parish encouraging young men and women to think of the priesthood or religious life. He would like to see three men and two women from the parish choose the vocations of priesthood or religious life in the future.
Students at John F. Kennedy Catholic School and Our Lady of Victory religious education in Davenport made posters and spiritual bouquets for priests for Priesthood Sunday, Oct. 25. The posters and bouquets were placed in Our Lady of Victory Church.
Following Masses Oct. 25, parishioners were asked to sign a thank you card, write a short note about a favorite experience with a special priest and enjoy refreshments.
Trish Gallagher, pastoral associate for faith formation at Our Lady of Victory, said the parish’s vocation committee has been active in the education effort for vocations.
The group’s yearly goals include:
• Support of all vocations: priest, deacon, consecrated religious life (and associates) and lay ministry.
• Family efforts such as take-home “pray for vocation kits” with a cross and prayer card.
• Asking for prayer support from shut-ins and the active community (vocations prayer before Masses at least once a month), and a well attended holy hour.
• Witnessing that includes cooperating with planned efforts such as sixth and eighth grade vocations days and inviting people into educational programs.
Holy Trinity Parish in Keota held a social after a recent 6 p.m. Mass in honor of their pastor, Father Charles Fladung, as a Priest Day Activity. A card shower for Father also was done.
Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton has done or is going to do a variety of activities for Year for Priests.
Kathy DeMong said during the parish’s ministry fair, people are encouraged to include a prayer for priests. Each Tuesday during October the rosary was being recited and eurcharistic adoration with prayers and meditations for priests were being offered. On Thursdays this month are devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Help that include prayer for vocations.
This coming Advent the parish will provide an opportunity for all parishioners (including all youth) to participate in spiritual bouquets for the priests.
“Beginning in January to the end of the year for priests we will have a traveling chalice. This will allow a family each week to pray in a particular way for priests and vocations.”
DeMong said, “We have many prayerful people who are very much aware of the year for priests. There are extra prayers and intentions by individuals and in small groups/meetings.”
Serra Club is distributing prayer cards to all the Catholic schools in the diocese and to parishes, said Jeanne Wonio, a Serra member.
The cards feature an icon of Jesus on the front and a prayer for priests on the back.
Members of Serra Club added stickers with the names of the priests, seminarians and parish life administrators who serve the Diocese of Davenport.
Individuals are asked to pray for the particular person named on the card and for those who choose the priesthood.