By Anne Marie Amacher
The year 2013 marked many firsts in the diocesan and universal Church. Pope Benedict XVI was the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years. Pope Francis was the first pope to be elected from the Americas.
Bishop Martin Amos was the first bishop of the Davenport Diocese to travel overseas to present the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award. Another notable first for the diocese: the 12 members of Deacon Class VI were ordained to the permanent diaconate, the first class in 11 years.
Bishop Amos traveled to France to honor Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, an international federation of communities in which people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together. The bishop also presided at a follow-up event in Davenport, at Vanier’s request, to honor L’Arche in the United States. At the request of maximum security prisoners, Bishop Amos presided at Mass and ate lunch afterwards in the 174-year-old Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison. He also visited the new prison, slated to open in March.
The year began with the incardination of Father Ron Hodges into the Diocese of Davenport. Father Jacob Greiner was ordained to the priesthood while Father Tom Parlette, Father Walter Helms, Father William Kaska and Father Michael Phillips retired. Father Paul Appel and Father Corey Close returned to duties in the diocese after finishing advanced studies.
Father Robert Harness was exonerated of an accusation of abuse. Accusations of abuse against Father John Stack remain under investigation. Father Joseph Nguyen received permission in December to leave the Davenport Diocese to pursue ministry elsewhere in the United States. The diocese said goodbye to three retired priests who passed away: Father Joe Rogers, Father Daniel Mannhardt and Father John Whalen.
Twelve permanent deacons and two transitional deacons were ordained July 13 at Sacred Heart Cathedral. This was the first permanent deacon class ordained since 2002. Another deacon class is in the formation process.
Year of Faith
Bishop Amos presided at six deanery-wide Year of Faith celebrations in the diocese. The year began Oct. 11, 2012, and concluded Nov. 24, 2013. The Iowa City Deanery celebrated its event in December 2012, followed by the Grinnell Deanery in June, Keokuk Deanery in July, Davenport Deanery in September, Ottumwa Deanery in October and Clinton Deanery in November. The Catholic Messenger published profiles and produced videos of people from throughout the diocese sharing what the Year of Faith meant to them.
St. Joseph Parish in DeWitt exceeded its “Faith in Our Future” capital campaign goal of $500,000. The money goes toward a variety of repairs, improvements and the rebuilding of a parish emergency fund to cover stabilization of the church subfloor.
Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport dedicated its new east entrance, which is now handicapped accessible. Cost for the project was $700,000.
St. Mary Parish in Grinnell kicked off a five-year, $2.3 million campaign for a larger parish hall and religious education center.
St. Ann Parish in Long Grove kicked off a $1.5 million campus improvement campaign. By Advent the parish dedicated a new columbarium, reconciliation chapel, adoration chapel and many other improvements.
St. Mary Parish in Centerville celebrated 75 years of ministry provided by the Precious Blood priests.
St. James Parish in Washington made improvements that included new flooring, pews, eucharistic reservation area for adoration, baptistery and more. The project’s cost was $400,000.
St. James Parish in St. Paul celebrated 175 years as a parish. It is the second-oldest parish in the diocese.
St. Boniface Parish in Farmington celebrated 150 years as a parish.
A rare celebration of a Byzantine Divine Liturgy in the diocese was held Sept. 7 at St. Joseph Parish in Columbus Junction.
Parishes began participating in the Confirmation Prep Project, a national effort to enhance youths’ confirmation experience.
Representatives of St. Anne Parish in Welton said the parish will close in 2014.
Holy Trinity Catholic Schools in Lee County announced a $5 million “Century Strong” campaign. Money will be used for teacher benefits, tuition assistance, technology and capital improvements.
Seton Catholic School in Ottumwa expanded its preschool program and after-school program.
Notre Dame Middle/High School library underwent an update worth nearly $30,000. The project included new computers and modern furniture.
Keokuk Catholic School celebrated 160 years of Catholic education in Keokuk and announced plans to return the school’s name to St. Vincent’s Elementary during Catholic Schools Week in late January 2014.
St. Ambrose University
Plans to construct a 13,000-square-foot addition to the Health Sciences Center on the Genesis Health Systems campus were announced. The project’s estimated cost is $3.75 million. The existing building was dedicated in 2010.
Ambrose Hall underwent a $5 million exterior renovation. The work included new windows, brick repair or replacement, and efforts to restore the exterior to its appearance in 1885 and to restore each section to the original building.
The 1885 time capsule in Ambrose Hall was opened, but the items inside — mostly newspapers and the 1885 dedication program — had sustained significant water damage. A new time capsule was filled with memorabilia and sealed during homecoming weekend. The capsule was to be placed in the cornerstone with a plaque noting the capsule should be opened in 2082.
McCarthy Hall was dedicated Aug. 14. Formerly known as North Hall, it was named after alumnus Richard McCarthy.
St. Ambrose held its first international conference, on Bible and Justice, with about 100 people attending and speakers from around the world.
The Congregation of the Humility of Mary offered a $100,000 matching grant to support Humility of Mary Shelter.
A new safe environment program for children, titled “Circle of Grace” was introduced.
The diocese hired Don Boucher as the new coordinator of youth/young adult ministry and Miguel Moreno as the coordinator of multicultural ministry.
Work has begun to restart Project Rachel, a post-abortion ministry.