Sacred Heart Cathedral, the mother church of the Davenport Diocese, is finally building a diocesan hall to gather her family together for prayer, education and celebration. Supporters of the Cathedral Capital Campaign broke ground Sept. 11 on the $6 million project that will feature gathering space, hall, kitchen, restrooms, lower-level classrooms, a car port and cathedral renovations. Contributors large and small deserve heartfelt thanks for recognizing the need for a place of hospitality as a vital component of church life.
Every Roman Catholic diocese in the world has a cathedral. It is the chief church of a diocese, the bishop’s church. Attending the canonization Mass for St. Teresa 11 days ago gave me a deeper appreciation of what it means to be church. We are part of something greater than ourselves, greater than our individual faith communities. We are pilgrims on a journey of faith, together.
Sacred Heart Cathedral represents southeast Iowa’s Catholics. This cathedral is where some of the most important diocesan functions take place. The oils used in baptism, confirmation, the anointing of the sick, the ordination of priests and the consecration of a bishop are blessed at the cathedral each year during the Chrism Mass. Priests and deacons are ordained at the cathedral and Holy Week liturgies are celebrated there. What a great opportunity to participate in the life of our diocesan church!
While a diocesan church is defined by its members and not by its buildings, the physical structures that comprise our cathedral leave a lasting impression on members and visitors. More than a few people have commented about the woefully inadequate restrooms at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Individuals with disabilities, meanwhile, struggled mightily (or gave up) attempting to enter the old school building that served as the parish hall. That worn-out building is now slated for demolition.
Nearly two years ago, Bishop Martin Amos established “Cathedral Sunday,” an annual diocesan-wide collection to help fund the vision for Sacred Heart Cathedral. The bishop stressed the importance of having a gathering space attached to the cathedral. “People come to church to be fed at the altar table; they build community over coffee and doughnuts after Mass and then they go out into the world to nurture others and in turn bring others back to the altar table.”
Plans call for Sacred Heart Diocesan Hall to be completed by next year at this time. But the project is about $1 million short of its $6 million price tag. That means some projects, such as the basement, parking lot and car port, won’t be finished until additional donations arrive. Please consider making a donation to complete this project, which helps to convey the “face” of our diocese: a welcoming, hospitable, viable cathedral that is a witness to our faith. That’s the way
Father Rich Adam, the cathedral’s rector and pastor, envisions it.
We owe it to ourselves to support Sacred Heart Cathedral in prayer, in participation at diocesan events as often as possible, and through financial or in-kind support. Fr. Adam encourages people to contact him with questions or to arrange a visit to the cathedral. Call him at (563) 324-3257. To make donations toward the diocesan hall project, mail a check to SHC Foundation, 422 E. 10th St., Davenport, IA, 52803 or donate online via a secure website: shcdavenport.org/capital-campaign.
If you haven’t done so, make a pilgrimage to the cathedral during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, which concludes Nov. 20. Construction equipment and fencing should not create an obstacle to visiting the cathedral for Mass, for private prayer or a tour of the church that we call home.
Barb Arland-Fye, Editor