By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
Parishes and schools from all over the diocese donated items to a collective gift basket for the new bishop. Andy Gaertner, diocesan director of development, said the contributions were less about showering the bishop with gifts and more about making the bishop feel welcome. “He’s giving up friends, moving away from family, he has more responsibilities on him. We appreciate the fact that he’s doing that so that he can be our leader.”
Because Bishop Thomas Zinkula already has his daily needs met, Gaertner asked parishes and schools to choose items that would offer the new bishop a sense of the communities he will soon be visiting. “As he travels through the diocese, he has things to do and people to meet; we want to show we’re excited to have him here and we want him to know that we support him,” Gaertner said.
Several schools gave the new bishop T-shirts or sweatshirts with school logos. St. Ambrose University in Davenport offered activity passes so the new bishop can take in the various sporting events and fine arts performances and exhibits. They also gave him a gift card for the bookstore. Catholic restaurant owners donated gift cards so they can share their food with the new bishop. The bishop also received wine from local Catholic winemakers.
Gaertner was inspired by the excitement and hospitality Catholics in the diocese exhibited in contributing to the gift basket. “We just want to show him how much we appreciate him being here,” Gaertner said.