By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
CEDAR FALLS — Newer priests from throughout the state of Iowa gathered for a convocation Sept. 11-13 at the American Martyrs Retreat House.
Seven of the nine most recently ordained priests from the Diocese of Davenport were able to attend: Fathers Kevin Anstey, Robert Cloos and Christopher Young (2014); Father Guillermo Trevino (2015); Father Ross Epping (2016); and Fathers Daniel Dorau and Chris Weber (2017). Unable to attend were Fathers Jacob Greiner (2013) and William Roush (2015), said Father Thom Hennen, director of vocations for the Diocese of Davenport.
Fr. Hennen said each year’s convocation features speakers — sometimes more practical, sometimes more spiritual — Mass, Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Holy Hour (eucharistic adoration) and time for rest, relaxation and recreation. “It’s an opportunity to meet as a diocesan group and ‘check in’ as well,” Fr. Hennen said.
Fr. Dorau, parochial vicar at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport, said he enjoyed the event and liked getting to know other new priests from other dioceses. “I especially enjoyed concelebrating the liturgy and sharing a holy hour with them. I was happily surprised when Archbishop (Michael) Jackels (of the Archdiocese of Dubuque) made an appearance to wish us well.”
Fr. Cloos, parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish in Iowa City, also appreciated the convocation. “It was great to see the other new priests from the other three dioceses. The topic of prayer is a good topic to discuss with new priests. After ordination it takes time to get comfortable in your new priestly role. When you come into a new parish — especially a large parish — it’s like coming in half way through a movie and now you have a lot of catching up to do,” he said. “In addition, as a priest you are pulled into many different directions so finding the time to pray as you would like takes time. Prayer needs to be a priority for all people and Jesus is our role model for this. No matter how busy he was he always found time for prayer. Prayer guided his many steps and it needs to guide ours as well.”