By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — Eleven youths and five adults from Mount Pleasant made a trip to Davenport to visit Sacred Heart Cathedral, attend Mass with Bishop Martin Amos, have lunch with him and then see a movie.
Diane Tone, youth minister for St. Alphonsus Parish in Mount Pleasant, said the July 14 trip had been in the works since March. She said the visit to the cathedral was the idea of Father Joseph Phung, pastor of St. Alphonsus.
Fr. Phung believes it is important for everyone to visit the cathedral — the church of the bishop — at some point in their lives.
Annie Walljasper, youth minister at the cathedral, greeted the group when it arrived. She gave the youths and adults a tour of the cathedral, even showing them an area where bishops previously were buried under the cathedral. Walljasper pointed out that the bishops’ caskets were removed years ago and reburied at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Davenport.
Bishop Martin Amos answered questions from the youths as they finished the tour. One asked about the coat of arms displayed above the bishop’s chair. The bishop took down his coat of arms and explained how the colors, designs and motto were designed prior to his installation in the Diocese of Davenport.
Following the tour, the youths entered the cathedral’s St. Margaret Chapel for Mass. Bishop Amos celebrated the Mass, which was concelebrated by Fr. Phung and Father Marty Goetz, director of vocations for the Diocese of Davenport. Amanda Brooks, an incoming junior at Mount Pleasant High School, read the first reading and responsorial psalm.
In this homily, Bishop Amos talked about Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha because July 14 was her feast day.
He told how she was a Native American whose parents died when she was only 4 as a smallpox epidemic went through the tribe. Her mom was Christian and early in Kateri’s life, she began teaching prayers to young children. Some will say she lived a pious life, the bishop said. Blessed Kateri felt it was what God wanted her to do. She died at the young age of 22.
From age 4 to 22, she knew what was right and taught about it. “I hope you do that now. You may stand out as different,” the bishop cautioned. Kateri was made fun of, but it didn’t stop her from praying. “God is there in every direction (of life).”
After Mass, the group went to the rectory where Fr. Phung told them about his four years serving at the cathedral. They had lunch in the rectory and then went to see an IMAX movie.
Asked about the day, Trent Richards, a seventh-grader at Danville schools, said it was a good experience to witness the bishop presiding at Mass. He enjoyed the tour of the cathedral, which he described as a “big” church.