By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
An historic ordination, St. Ambrose University’s fiercely debated sports complex proposal and the launch of strategic planning for Catholic schools highlighted 2014 in the Diocese of Davenport. The Catholic Messenger selected these and other highlights for its annual year in review.
• In a first for the diocese, Bishop Martin Amos ordained married, former Episcopal priest Chris Young as a deacon, then priest. A pastoral provision in 1980 allows former Episcopal priests to become Roman Catholic priests. Young’s ordination as a transitional deacon took place at Assumption High School in Davenport, where he teaches religion.
• On June 12, three men were ordained priests for the diocese: Fr. Young, Father Kevin Anstey and Father Bob Cloos. Two men were ordained transitional deacons: Deacon Guillermo Trevino and Deacon Bill Roush, who anticipate ordination to the priesthood this year.
• The Sisters of Humility celebrated 150 years in the United States with a Mass June 28. The Davenport-based Congregation of the Humility of Mary also marked the anniversary with Cokie Roberts, an Emmy-winning journalist and author. Roberts gave a presentation on “Nuns in American History: Women of Conscience and Courage.”
• St. Mary Parish in Oxford fixed and installed a more than 130-year-old stained-glass window in the existing church. The window from the original church was rescued from a shed at the cemetery.
• St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport had its Knights of Columbus charter blessed by Bishop Amos in February.
• The bishop celebrated the final Mass at St. Mary Church in Muscatine in June. The church was closed after city officials determined it was unfit for public use. Masses continue to be celebrated in Muscatine at Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish’s St. Mathias Church. St. Mary’s organ was relocated to a parish constructing a new church in Nebraska.
• Bishop Amos presided at the final Mass at St. Anne Parish in Welton in July. In the following weeks, sacred objects from the parish found new homes within the Diocese of Davenport. The church was taken down in December.
• St. Peter Parish in Cosgrove launched a capital campaign for a $1.3 million parish center in November.
• St. Joseph Parish in Hills completed an $800,000 parish improvement project that included the addition of an elevator last fall.
• The Iowa Knights of Columbus honored Father William Reynolds, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Newton; Father Robert Harness, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Davenport; and Knights of Columbus Council 568, Ss. John & Paul Parish in Burlington in May.
• IlaMae Hanisch retired as diocesan coordinator of Adult & Family Formation/Lay Ministry after 16 years with the diocese and 34 years in faith formation. Marianne Agnoli now fills the position.
• Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, received the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award in September. She is known for her “Nuns on the Bus” tour and is executive director of NETWORK, a nonprofit Catholic social justice lobby group.
• Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York celebrated Mass at St. Mary Parish in Wilton in September. The cardinal was in Iowa for a conference and was invited to Wilton by his former classmate, Father Robert Busher, pastor of the Wilton parish.
• Don Boucher, coordinator of youth and young adult ministry, was honored by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry for distinguished work as a trainer. He received his award in San Antonio, Texas, in December.
St. Ambrose University
• The university’s proposal for a sports complex on its St. Vincent Center property in Davenport dominated local news throughout the spring and summer. St. Ambrose wanted to build a football stadium with track, two soccer/lacrosse fields and parking to share with Assumption High School.
After public hearings, Davenport’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved rezoning the property from R-4 moderate density dwelling to Planned Institutional District. Davenport City Council members ultimately approved the final rezoning needed. But Mayor Bill Gluba used his veto power to overturn the council’s decision. St. Ambrose is looking at its options.
• In March, St. Ambrose created a Middle East Institute for the study and discussion of what the university describes as one of the world’s most geopolitically important regions.
• The physician assistant program and a new, 13,000-square-foot addition to the Center for Health Sciences building were dedicated in August. The new addition cost $3.5 million.
• The bells of Ambrose Hall rang for the first time in 61 years during homecoming weekend. A dedication celebration was held after a $5.6 million exterior renovation of the hall in September.
• The university honored former coach Leo Kilfoy in November by naming the basketball court in Lee Lohman Arena as Kilfoy Court. Kilfoy was a graduate and longtime coach and teacher at the college – then university.
• After surveys and discussions with parents, Davenport Community School District and the city’s private schools reached agreement on busing schedules and school start times for the 2014-15 school year.
• St. Joseph Catholic School celebrated 150 years of its founding this fall.
• Strategic planning for Catholic schools in the diocese got underway in November. At a Nov. 18 meeting, three strategic areas were identified. The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 8.
• Enrollment for the 2014-15 school year was up at diocesan Catholic schools.
• Diocesan Hispanic Catholics were introduced to deacon formation studies during a meeting at diocesan headquarters in July.
• A Faith on Fire event drew more than 500 Hispanics to St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City in October.
• Project Rachel, a program to help women and men deal with the after effects of abortion, was reestablished in the diocese. Its helpline went live Aug. 18.
• Mercy Medical Center — Clinton celebrated its 125th year of service in 2014.
• The Catholic Messenger unveiled its 130 years of digital archives which are accessible for free.
• A fall workshop to re-energize the Sunday liturgy was held at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City. The day of renewal targeted youths and adults and featured theologian Tim O’Malley of Notre Dame University.
• Bishop Amos celebrated the first White Mass for healthcare workers at Christ the King Chapel on the St. Ambrose University campus in October.
• Around 185 individuals attended the first Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference at St. Ambrose University. The event replaces the high school youth rally and will be held every other year in November.
• The Davenport Diocese’s Serra Club marked 50 years of promoting vocations within the diocese in December.