The Catholic Messenger lists the retired priests of
the diocese so that friends may remember them
with greetings for Christmas. All retired priests
were invited to be included in this list. Several live
at St. Vincent Center, which has the address at the
end of the list.
Father Thomas Doyle
St. Vincent Center
Father Stephen Ebel
1522 W. Garfield St.
Davenport, IA 52804‐1745
Father Ed Fitzpatrick
15 Montgomery Pl.
Iowa City, IA 52240‐3092
Bishop William Franklin
St. Vincent Center
Father John Gallagher
104 E. Gleneagles Rd., Apt. B
Ocala, FL 34472‐8476
Father Walter Helms
202 Village Dr., Apt. 4
Tiffin, IA 52340‐9301
Msgr. Francis Henricksen
1113 First – Cedar Bluff St.
Tipton, IA 52772‐9289
Father David Hitch
Prairie Hills Senior Living
219 S. Cedar St.
Tipton, IA 52772‐1764
Msgr. John Hyland
St. Vincent Center
Father William Kaska
Newman Catholic Student Center
104 E Jefferson St.
Iowa City, IA 52245‐1717
Father Patrick Lumsden
480 Madison Ave. N, Unit 2
North Liberty, IA 52317
Father Dennis Martin
114 E. Maxson Ave.
West Liberty, IA 52776‐1053
Father Robert McAleer
5370 Kilt Ct.
Bettendorf, IA 52722‐1161
Father Tom Spiegel
2021 Edumundson Dr.
Oskaloosa, IA 52577‐4311
St. Vincent Center
780 W. Central Park Ave.
Davenport, IA 52804‐1901
The time came for Mary to give birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. What a tender Christmas image. Jesus the Christ entered our world in the same way each of us did — as a fragile, vulnerable infant requiring care and nurturing in order to survive and thrive. In the divine plan for our salvation, what message are we to take away from that reality this Christmas season?
At times, we are fragile and vulnerable throughout our lives, especially when we are hungry or thirsty, ill, wounded, lonely, lost or isolated. We reach out, sometimes reluctantly, to others for guidance, sustenance, comfort, a shoulder to lean on. Thank God for companions on the journey! Perhaps that is the message we are to take away as we give birth to a renewal of our faith. We cradle the baby Jesus in our daily lives as a reminder to give of ourselves to others who are vulnerable and to receive from others when we are in need of care and support.
How do we cradle the baby Jesus? In the way a husband serves as caregiver for a wife who, because of serious illness, requires help with such basic needs as eating, bathing and dressing. In the way a friend takes time to listen to another friend, struggling with mental health issues. In the way a mentor assists a mentee with job-searching and self-sufficiency skills. In the way a teacher responds to a child struggling to understand a math problem or how to read. In the way a family prays together, at home and before a meal in the restaurant. In the way a parishioner takes the Eucharist to residents in a nursing home.
We cradle the baby Jesus when we respond to the needs of our neighbors. In the way that two diocesan staffers accompanied an immigrant father and son to Chicago to process paperwork and to assist with translation. In the way a parish priest reached out to a young man struggling with depression, making time to listen and to offer spiritual support. In the way a diocesan director continues to advocate for pro-life policies from womb to tomb, just wages for Iowans and fair and compassionate immigration laws.
A smile toward everyone who crosses our paths — in the gym, the supermarket, the coffee shop, the job site — is another way to cradle the baby Jesus this Christmas season. We cradle the baby Jesus in the way we interact with guests in soup kitchens, food pantries and homeless shelters. In the way a diocesan volunteer shops for Christmas gifts for families who would otherwise go without this year. In the way that parishioners around our diocese purchase Christmas gifts for children they will never meet.
When we respond to family members at home at the end of a long day by asking, “How was your day? What can I do for you?” we cradle the baby Jesus. When we wash dishes at home or restock paper products so others aren’t left scrambling at an inconvenient moment, we cradle the baby Jesus.
Accepting help for ourselves is one more way we cradle the baby Jesus, and it is perhaps the most challenging way of all. A gifted artist who conveys a positive attitude even as she deals with the effects of medication is cradling the baby Jesus. A wife who has lost her mobility, but smiles lovingly toward her caregiver husband — both of them cradle the baby Jesus.
Like Mary, who wrapped Jesus in swaddling clothes, a symbol of a mother’s tender love for her fragile, vulnerable infant, let us wrap each other in love this Christmas season. Let us cradle the baby Jesus in our interactions with one another.
Two weeks before Christmas my son Colin found a hidden gift that tops his wish list. “Guess what Mom and Dad,” he told us excitedly. “Santa brought me a 2019 Michelin Road Atlas!” Why would Santa drop off a Christmas gift early, we asked Colin. “I don’t know,” he said. The question didn’t need an answer. His belief in the goodness of Santa Claus is all that matters.
The bigger questions: Why does a 31-year-old man with autism believe so fervently in Santa Claus? Does Colin understand and appreciate the meaning of Christmas? My husband Steve and I may never know the answer to the first question, this side of heaven.
But we can answer the second question here and now. Colin believes in and loves Jesus Christ and understands that we celebrate the memory of his human birth each Christmas. Colin told us that his favorite part of Christmas is attending Mass on Christmas Eve and singing the hymns. His favorite Christmas season songs: “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Away in a Manger, “The First Nowell” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
Steve thinks that Colin loves the rituals of the religious and the secular holiday because of the happiness he has come to associate with Christmas. In a commentary about the Scripture from Luke’s Gospel that will be proclaimed during the Christmas Mass at Dawn, the author reflects on the role of the shepherds in discovering God’s light in the infant Christ.
“The shepherds, one of the lowest classes of people, are akin to transient migrants who live on the periphery of society…. Was it that bunch of itinerants who attended the premiere of salvation in Bethlehem? What about the less stable parts of our own lives? Might the unsteady, insecure part of humanity in us be more sensitive and open, less resistant, ready to receive a change in life, the good news of salvation that comes from outside the well-established, protected self?” (“Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers, and Proclaimers of the Word” 2019)
I see my first-born son as one of the shepherds, a simple man so receptive to the good news, the joy of the Gospel. His faith is something I can only hope to emulate. This joy-filled embrace of faith has been years in the making through family and parish. It takes an understanding, patient village to raise a child in the faith.
In early childhood, Colin’s autism prevented him from appreciating Christmas. The change in routine, the crowds at church and at family gatherings, the opening of gifts, overwhelmed him. He began taking medication in his elementary school years to help with concentration. The first medication made him lifeless; he experienced Christmas that year like a zombie. But the following Christmas we celebrated a gift that brought us all great joy: a new member of our family, baby Patrick.
For Colin, his brother Patrick continues to be a gift that keeps on giving, in good times and in bad. Because of work, Patrick probably won’t be able to join us at our Christmas celebration with family in Minnesota this year. But we’ve assured Colin we will celebrate as the “Four Fyes” when we return home to Iowa. We have a roadmap for Christmas, far greater than any atlas.
(Editor Barb Arland-Fye can be reached at email@example.com.)
For this article in my series on Family Prayer, I visited the home of Kevin and Bridget Murphy (the principal at Assumption High School in Davenport) and their nine kids. I have a sense there is never a dull moment here with most of the kids being under age 12.
I ask Kevin how he and Bridget squeeze in family prayer with so much going on with school and other activities. Kevin says that “Prayer can be a quick offering, such as giving thanks to God for your blessings or for guidance and patience in a stressful situation.”
Bridget adds that they fit in a rosary while taking a walk or trip in a car. She’ll ask one of her older kids to introduce the rosary mystery by posing a simple question: “What does that mean when we say the first Joyful Mystery?” As the older kids explain something about the faith to their younger siblings, it makes it alive and real for both of them!
I ask the kids about family prayer. Madeline, 15, says, “When praying, I feel serene and there’s a peace and worries go away.” Michael, 12, says, “Prayer is a time to spend with God; sometimes I feel he responds to me — and something will often happen in the day after I pray about it.” Daniel, 9, says, “In prayer I feel like I am protected by the angels, Jesus being in me.” Leo, 7, says, “In prayer, I feel safe and happy.”
Bridget says that prayer before meals is also very important because it is often the only time they are all together. Along with praying grace before meals, the family will pray the St. Michael the Archangel prayer and end with a Hail Mary. Bridget adds, “For a time we did not pray publicly at a restaurant when the kids were small, but then one day something clicked and we started praying publicly.”
I tell my story of a waitress who saw me pray with a family before our meal in a restaurant. She said, “You are the third family that prayed before the meal tonight; I think God is telling me that I need to get back to church!”
Bridget adds, “There is no greater prayer than the Mass.” She gives her whole-hearted support for families to attend Sunday Mass. She also attends daily Mass, even with a busy schedule. “As I’ve grown in my experiences and faith, I recognized that I can truly do nothing in the absence of the Eucharist! There’s no better way for me to connect with Christ himself than making daily Mass a priority. … Once you’ve experienced the joy and peace that comes with the consistency of God in our life and accepted that, then everything seems so simple!”
I call this family the Murphites, like a tribe in the Old Testament, as they need a 15-passenger van just to drive around town. Kevin and Bridget are an inspiration to families of all sizes. Children are our future; faith is our foundation and prayer is the core element that brings the love of Jesus Christ and his holy church alive in our lives.
Please join me for a Pizza and Psalms Party on this final Thursday in Advent (Dec. 20) at Wise Guys Pizza (back banquet room), 2408 53rd St., Davenport. Sessions are 4:30-7:30 p.m., starting on each half-hour. I have free Night Prayer handouts. Come, even, if you can stay for 30 minutes. The buffet is from 5-8 p.m. and kids get a discount.
(Fr. Bill Kneemiller is chaplain at The Kahl Home in Davenport.)
“Que tu vida no sea una vida estéril. —Sé útil. —Deja poso. —Ilumina, con la luminaria de tu fe y de tu amor”. Este pensamiento de San José María Escrivá, siempre ha resonado en mi corazón, y en mi mente en mi vida diaria. San José María siempre habló de la santificación en la vida ordinaria.
El papa Francisco también nos alienta a vivir en estos tiempos nuestra fe diciendo: “ ¿Estás casado? Sé santo amando y ocupándote de tu esposo o de tu esposa, como Cristo lo hizo con la Iglesia. ¿Eres un trabajador? Sé santo cumpliendo con honradez y competencia tu trabajo al servicio de los hermanos ¿Eres padre, madre, abuela o abuelo? Sé santo enseñando con paciencia a los niños a seguir a Jesús. ¿Tienes autoridad? Sé santo luchando por el bien común y renunciando a tus intereses personales”.
El Adviento nos presenta muchas formas en que hoy podemos prácticar nuestra fe. Tal como nuestro Salvador lo hizo, nosotros fortalecemos nuestra fe en el servicio a los demás, nutriéndonos con las Escrituras y compartiendo nuestro credo con los demás.
En esta preparación a la venida de Jesús, nuestra fe la podemos expresar con detalles de amor. El Adviento nos prepara para la Navidad, invitándonos a poner como centro de la celebración a Jesús.
El Adviento es la oportunidad para pensar en los pastores, en los reyes magos, y todos aquellos que estuvieron en el humilde establo, donde nuestro Señor Jesucristo, nació. El mejor regalo que nos podemos dar en este tiempo, es participar de la Santa Misa, para experimentar la alegría de la Salvación que llega en la tierna sonrisa de un niño, nacido en el pequeño pueblo de Belén.
Otra oportunidad que también nos ofrece el Adviento es contemplar el rostro de Jesús en nuestros hermanos y hermanas. Desde muy pequeños aprendemos las obras de Misericordia y es importante que constantemente las recordemos. Ver el rostro de Jesús en los enfermos, en los hambrientos, en los sedientos, en los que no tienen hogar o vestimenta, en los presos, en los que no saben, en los que necesitan de un consejo, en los que viven en la obscuridad y en los que perdono de todo corazón, en los que se encuentran triste, en los que necesitan consuelo y por los vivos y los muertos a quienes ofrezco mi oración diaria.
Otra bella forma de prepararnos para la navidad es invitando a Jesús a ser centro de nuestros hogares, invitándolo a nuestra mesa, a nuestra oración mediante la Corona de Adviento, la Novena de Navidad, el Santo Rosario y median-te el perdón. En ocasiones llevamos resentimientos con familiares, con amigos y es tiempo para perdonarlos, abriendo nuestros corazones a ese maravillo encuentro con Jesús… ¡Será un tremendo regalo!
Vivir nuestra en fe en estos tiempos de esperanza es un regalo de Dios, Él nos pide que encendamos los caminos de la tierra con el fuego de Cristo, a quien llevamos en el corazón. Y tú, ¿cómo vives tu fe en esta época de Adviento?
DAVENPORT — For professionals seeking a second career in nursing or a faster pathway to a BSN degree, St. Ambrose University now offers an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
Registration is open for fall 2019 courses in the BSN accelerated degree program. This pathway allows professionals who already have earned a bachelor’s degree in another field to earn their nursing degree in as few as 16 months.
This program works well for professionals who have other obligations while earning a degree because the courses are held after 3 p.m., including the required clinicals.
Courses are offered “in the evening hours and tailored for students with demonstrated academic success,” said department of nursing chair Kathy Andresen, DNP. “This shortened time to complete also allows students to sit for national boards and launch their nursing career in an abbreviated time frame.”
Nursing students will take classes in SAU’s state-of-the-art Center for Health Sciences Education at Genesis with simulation labs for hands-on learning.
Admission requirements for this program are the same as the traditional BSN degree, including prerequisites. To learn more visit www.sau.edu/nursing.
Christmas Day is here, or will be in a few days. What happens next? Children may find a few lovely days with more hours for play, days of not having to rise so early and be ready for school. Adults may experience a sense of accomplishment or relief at having made it through the rush and crush of Christmas preparation. Some people may feel a certain let-down. Rooms feel almost bare as Christmas trees with their ornaments and lights are taken down.
Our liturgical and theological tradition calls us to see the celebration of Christmas day not as an ending but as a new beginning. With the birth of Jesus, God has entered the world in a new way. Now comes the time of seeking, recognizing and exploring the meaning of that Advent. The feasts and Gospel accounts, rather than offering us biographical data, it seems to me call us to pay attention to ways in which Christ is to be sought and found in our own lives.
We celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, the idea that Jesus grew up (“In wisdom, age, and grace,” the Gospel says) within an ordinary-looking family of his time and culture. We often romanticize the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph; and surely there was the extraordinary presence of the Incarnate Son of God. And yet, since that son had become also fully human, the ordinary tasks of maintaining a household and caring for a child would have marked their days. How did all of that fit together? Was every act marked by an awareness of Jesus’ divinity? When I read the story about Jesus in the temple, I think of Mary and Joseph experiencing rather normal parental anxieties. Most theologians propose that even Jesus himself, having entered fully into everything it means to be human, would have gone through the experience of self-discovery. In our own lives, are we open to finding the presence of God in the everyday? Are we convinced that who we are is God’s gift and a call from God to be a gift to others? Do we give thanks for the ordinary relationships with family and friends as signs of the love of God?
We celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Marian title that marks the day was decreed to be truthful at a fifth-century council during debates over the divinity and humanity of Jesus. The conciliar decree affirms what we call the doctrine of the Incarnation: that the one whom Mary bore in her womb, the one who took humanity through her, was the Son of God. God came to earth, miraculously conceived but born in the normal way, through a woman, taking flesh from her. St. Athanasius is among the many theologians and church leaders who exhort us to view Mary’s role as a sign of our own calling to bear Christ to others. Do we believe that? Do we make it a personal mission? Or do we consider our bodies and other things of this world such as water, bread and wine, to be unworthy of God?
We celebrate Epiphany, which receives much more attention in some cultures than it does in the U.S. The story tells of three wise ones — usually portrayed as kings — coming “from afar.” Not of the Jewish faith, they have nonetheless in their search for wisdom and goodness come to look for one in whom truth is found. The story is certainly symbolic and our inclusion of the kings in our manger scenes confuses even the biblical account. But as gentiles coming to Christ, the Magi represent the fulfillment of the promise made by the angels that the good news of Jesus Christ is for all. Reflecting on their story, we might think of the diverse paths that lead people to faith. We might be reminded not to believe that our own story represents the way things must be for all people. We might be open to inspiration from unexpected sources.
The first week of “Ordinary Time” begins with the celebration of Jesus’ baptism, the beginning of his public ministry. Again we hear announcements about who Jesus is and an exhortation to listen to him. And that listening should be the source of our lives, lives given by God whose incarnation reveals and makes possible our ultimate destiny. May this Christmas season call us to deeper appreciation of the many ways in which God comes into our lives always.
(Corinne Winter is a professor-emeritus of St. Ambrose University, Davenport.)