By Barb Arland-Fye
DAVENPORT — Deacon David Montgomery, director of communication and of the diaconate for the Diocese of Davenport, has been appointed to one of the diocese’s top posts: chancellor. The 55-year-old Iowa City native will assume his new duties Jan. 1, while remaining in his current positions and in his diaconal assignments at St. Peter Parish, Cosgrove, and St. Mary Parish, Oxford.
Deacon Montgomery’s previous experience managing diocesan archives for several years and familiarity with diocesan operations made him a good choice for the chancellor’s role, said Bishop Martin Amos who also appreciates the deacon’s attention to detail. “After discussion with him, he seemed comfortable with handling the additional responsibilities.”
While accepting the chancellor’s post is an honor, Deacon Montgomery said he had some reservations, at first. “But if they (Bishop Amos and Vicar General Msgr. John Hyland) felt I could do the job, I’m called to serve in any way I can.”
He succeeds Father George McDaniel, a retired priest of the diocese and professor emeritus of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, who served as chancellor for six years.
Fr. McDaniel’s “sense of history and his work in preserving history and historical documents made him an exemplary chancellor for our diocese,” Bishop Amos said. “His educational background was also an asset as he helped me to draft letters and responses to people.”
The chancellor is the diocese’s record keeper and chief notary who gathers, arranges and safeguards diocesan documents in the archives and records ecclesiastical acts, decrees and dispensations issued by the bishop. As chancellor, Deacon Montgomery will work closely with Bishop Amos and Msgr. Hyland and other chancery staff members.
Other responsibilities will include serving on the Diocesan Corporate Board of Directors, Diocesan Finance Council and The Catholic Messenger Board of Directors, among other boards. Deacon Montgomery will also be responsible for recording in writing what has taken place through the compilation, preparation and distribution of reports for Rome, the Official Catholic Directory, the Ordo, and sacramental records.
“The real function of the chancellor is to make sure that documents are notarized, that the bishop has actually signed the documents and that they’re preserved in the archives,” Bishop Amos said. Deacon Montgomery offers this example: “When a priest or deacon receives a new assignment, the letter of appointment signed by the bishop is notarized by the chancellor.”
Serving others has been the deacon’s lifelong goal. As a child, he wanted to be a firefighter when he grew up; as a young adult, he became a police officer and went on to open a 911 center in Oskaloosa. “I saw law enforcement as a way of serving,” explained Deacon Montgomery, who graduated from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in 1979. He double majored in communications and religion for a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa, where he also earned his master’s degree in communications. A convert to Catholicism, he said he’s been interested in religion “since I was an altar server in the Episcopal Church.” Earlier this year, he earned a Master of Pastoral Theology degree from St. Ambrose University in Davenport.
His interest in religion led him to the director of communications position at the Diocese of Davenport. “When I first came here in 1996 as director of communications, I was asked to manage the archives. I did that for several years … while I was managing the archives, one of the things I did was to digitize all of the sacramental records. That was a big project.” Now he’ll oversee diocesan archives, while the assistant archivist maintains the day-to-day workload.
Asked how his other positions complement his new duties as chancellor, Deacon Montgomery said: “As director of communications, I’m the spokesperson for the bishop, and so is the chancellor. My work with Rob Butterworth (the diocese’s technology director) brings a new perspective to the safekeeping of documents. I think my role as director of the diaconate helps to bring a pastoral perspective to the position, and serving two parishes as a deacon provides a perspective of the Church in local communities. All together, to me it means I have a perspective beyond the ‘office’ job.” In some dioceses, the chancellor might not be involved in local parish work. Deacon Montgomery sees that involvement as beneficial to his vocation. “Can you relate to what’s happening with the people? I think that’s important.”
Profile on Deacon David Montgomery
Title: Chancellor and Director of Communications and of the Diaconate for the Diocese of Davenport; deacon for St. Mary Parish in Oxford and St. Peter Parish in Cosgrove.
Spouse: Michelle (married 25 years)
Children: Lindsay, Sean, Quinn. Grandchildren Kade, Averi.
Parish: St. Mary, Oxford, and St. Peter, Cosgrove
Ordained to the diaconate: June 8, 2002, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport.
On being a deacon: “There is a saying in formation that ordination to the diaconate is recognizing the deacon already in the person who is living a life of service to God.”
What other ministries are you involved in? He has worked in Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and hospital ministries. “My focus now is in social action concerns by leading youth mission trips to David, Ky., and to the National Catholic Youth Conferences with my wife, Michelle, who is a certified youth minister.”
Outside of parish: Serves as one of five liturgical emcees for the bishop and one of two deacons who travel with the bishop for diocesan liturgies.
Favorite Scripture passage: “The centurion said in reply, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.’” — Matthew 8:8 “This passage reminds us of faith in the healing power of Christ that is not dependent on our worthiness or our sight.”