Support the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative

Pax Christi International’s Secretary General spoke to a Clinton audience last month about the importance of active nonviolence in addressing conflict and injustice in the world. Some practitioners of active nonviolence have given their lives, Margaretha (Greet) Vanaerschot noted. Her observation came three weeks before the Oct. 14 canonization of St. Oscar Romero of El Salvador, who exemplified Catholic nonviolence in action and was martyred in 1980 as he celebrated Mass.

Catholic News Service reporter Rhina Guidos wrote that the archbishop “sought no special protection from the daily violence that the majority of the country lived under and chose not to shield himself and his conscience from the country’s struggles. Instead, he fed the poor who picked the coffee crops for miserly wages and strolled through impoverished neighborhoods with a comforting smile while calling on the country’s oppressors to a path of justice, equality and peace (CNS, Oct. 11).”

The archbishop’s lived experience shows us, today, how to apply some of the tools of Catholic nonviolence to respond to conflict and injustice. He encountered people daily who were vulnerable and oppressed, provided sustenance to the hungry, smiled at people, spoke truth to power and celebrated the sacraments. These are not actions reserved to an archbishop or church leader. They apply to each of us who call ourselves Catholic and have the ability to touch the life of another person who is in need spiritually, physically or emotionally. Nonviolence begins in our hearts and in our homes, as Pope Francis said in his World Day of Peace Message for 2017. It begins in the words we choose to exchange with one another. Those words can be tools of peace or lethal weapons.

Vanaerschot used the analogy of toolboxes filled with tools — one to employ nonviolent methods to resolve conflict and injustice and the other to employ military methods. The disparity in funding of the toolboxes needs to be resolved so that nonviolent methods are our first and most effective choice.

The visit to the motherhouses of the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton and the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in Davenport occurred as part of Vanaerschot’s U.S. tour to promote the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (CNI). This initiative, a project of Pax Christi International, “affirms the vision and practice of active nonviolence at the heart of the Catholic Church (”

The CNI was launched at the Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference in Rome in 2016 and co-sponsored by other international bodies as well. The conference’s final statement makes the following appeal:

• Continue developing Catholic social teaching on nonviolence. In particular, we call on Pope Francis to share with the world an encyclical on nonviolence and Just Peace.

• Integrate Gospel nonviolence explicitly into the life, including the sacramental life, and work of the church through dioceses, parishes, agencies, schools, universities, seminaries, religious orders, voluntary associations and others.

• Promote nonviolent practices and strategies (e.g., nonviolent resistance, restorative justice, trauma healing, unarmed civilian protection, conflict transformation, and peace-building strategies).

• Initiate a global conversation on nonviolence within the church, with people of other faiths, and with the larger world to respond to the monumental crises of our time with the vision and strategies of nonviolence and Just Peace.

• No longer use or teach “just war theory;” continue advocating for the abolition of war and nuclear weapons.

• Lift up the prophetic voice of the church to challenge unjust world powers and to support and defend those nonviolent activists whose work for peace and justice put their lives at risk.

On Oct. 27, the Diocese of Davenport will host “Social Action Saturday,” featuring a presentation on the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative. The event begins at 9:30 a.m. at St. Thomas More Parish-Coralville and is open to all. Cost is $10. Register online at or call Esmeralda Guerrero at (563) 888-4210.

“Endorse the appeal (https://nonviolencejust, keep studying/learning about nonviolence, growing in understanding of the nonviolent Jesus and the way he lived,” says Sister Jan Cebula, OSF, who is giving the CNI presentation Oct. 27. “Engage others in the exploration including groups within parishes. Make others aware that this effort is happening. Grow in our understanding that the Gospel IS all about nonviolence. As disciples of Jesus we are called to follow the path of nonviolence.”

Barb Arland-Fye, Editor

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Persons, places and things: Playtime!

By Barb Arland-Fye

A young mom shared her frustration about the lack of playtime at her children’s new school in Iowa. She and her family recently moved from the Iowa Quad Cities to a small community elsewhere in Iowa where she said she was told that the school prided itself on high test scores. Her kindergartener spends the day doing worksheets and returns home having meltdowns because of homework. “What happened to playtime?” she asked during a state-organized listening post on children’s mental health at the Mississippi Bend AEA in Bettendorf. The mom said her first-grader hadn’t brought home one art project yet — and we’re already into October. Where’s the fun if you can’t make art?


I felt this mom’s pain. Years ago, when my older son Colin was in kindergarten, he ran away from school into the cornfields that existed behind the elementary building. No one could figure out why he ran away, but common sense made me think he just wanted to play! Sure, he had recess, but as a child with autism who struggled with social skills, recess became an obstacle to fun. Colin loved to swing, as high as he could soar, and still does, even at age 31.

Colin’s joy of swinging on a swing set as an adult initially embarrassed me. But don’t we all need to play, regardless of age? I remember crossing the monkey bars with my son Patrick when he was about 4 and I was 41. The aches and pains in my middle-aged arms after that playtime signaled the need to engage in play more suitable to my physical condition — running, bicycling and swimming.

When I was in high school, an instructor in psychology class told his students that even adults need time to play. We all laughed at the thought of adults playing, but that instructor was on to something. All of us need time to set aside the worries of the world and play whatever wholesome activity gives us joy.

For me, bicycling, swimming and walking are activities for playtime. They give me great joy. This past Sunday, I took a bicycle ride along the Mississippi River and then into the woods of another recreation trail. It was magical, seeing the leaves on trees just turning to autumn colors and listening to water in the creek splashing against the rocks. Families with young children and older adults strolled along the trail. I felt sheer bliss and reveled in the beauty of God’s creation, even on a moody-looking Sunday.

In the “Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis speaks of “the joy which we experience daily, amid the little things of life, as a response to the loving invitation of God our Father: ‘My child, treat yourself well, according to your means… Do not deprive yourself of the day’s enjoyment’ (Sirach 14:11, 14) …”

My mother reminds me often to make room for enjoyment in the day, to take time to laugh. Whenever we visit my parents, we know we will be playing some game that causes us to laugh almost to tears.

I hope and pray that the mom I met at that listening post will convince educators that playtime is essential to children’s well-being. The educators — and the rest of us — need time for play, too. Maybe that would ease the tension and division in our world, if we made time to laugh with one another.

(Editor Barb Arland-Fye can be reached at

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Cherie faces fatal illness head on

St. Anthony’s is where it all began

By John Cooper
For The Catholic Messenger

A couple weekends ago, I watched as a woman made her way up Main Street with a walker to St. Anthony’s for the Saturday evening Mass. She had a look on her face of awe, joy and profound happiness, as she checked out our church. I had never seen her before and just thought she was a tourist (who liked historical churches). The next day after the 11:30 a.m. Mass, I saw the same woman walking with her walker through church snapping pictures . . . and still with that look of awe, joy and profound happiness. We started to talk and I was so taken with her story, I asked if she would put her experience down in writing so I could share it with you. Here it is…

My name is Cherie. I grew up in the Quad Cities. I graduated from Moline High School (in Illinois) in 1969 and moved to a place called The Lend Hand Club on Main Street when I was 18. Shortly after moving to Davenport, I started attending St. Anthony’s Church and I took Catholic instruction classes with Father James Grubb. I was so happy the day Fr. Grubb presented our class to the parish. I had wanted to convert to the faith for a while and that dream finally had come true. I worked in a nearby nursing home for a few years and attended daily Mass, then I left Davenport to attend college in Iowa City. After that, I moved to South Florida where God gave me the opportunity to work over 30 years in ministry to people with Autism and intellectual disabilities and to make vows as a Consecrated Virgin in 1999.

Cherie Cashen takes a selfie while visiting St. Anthony Church in Davenport during a recent visit.

In 2017, I was diagnosed with an illness called Multiple System Atrophy-C. It’s a rare form of Parkinson’s that progresses rapidly and is fatal. I had to retire. I need a walker and depend on a feeding tube for all nutrition. I get out to daily Mass but I spend the rest of the day at home. This past year, I longed to come home to the Quad Cities and attend Mass at St. Anthony’s, where my walk of faith began. So, feeding tube and all, I packed up and flew to the Quad Cities for the weekend.

I attended the 5 p.m. Mass on 9-22-18. The hotel on 2nd and Main offered to give me a ride, but I said no. I want to walk up Main Street to church, as I had done so many times in the early 70s. Hobbling happily along, I managed the 2 blocks and when I got to 4th Street and saw the church sign for the first time in nearly 50 years, I became so overcome with joy, I had to sit down on my walker for several minutes before I could cross the street and come inside. It was such a blessing to hear the Mass, and receive holy Communion in the place I joined the Catholic community.

I have enjoyed many years of friendship with God and no matter what we go through in this life, I know God is kind, faithful and truly with us. I’m at peace with being ill. I’m grateful to be part of the church, to be a Consecrated Virgin and to call Davenport and the Quad Cities …home. St. Anthony’s Parish is part of my heart and spiritual journey and it’s a comfort to be reconnected again. Blessings on you and your ministries.

Let’s pray for Cherie!

(John Cooper is the pastoral associate at St. Anthony Parish in Davenport.)

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Supporting missionary efforts

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On World Mission Sunday, which we will celebrate this year on the weekend of Oct. 20-21, we are called to participate in the church’s missionary efforts by supporting mission priests, religious sisters and brothers, and lay catechists who share the joy of the Gospel with others around the world. At Mass that weekend, we will recommit ourselves to our common vocation, through baptism, to be missionaries. We will do this by means of prayer, participation in the Eucharist, and giving generously to the collection for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

Bishop Zinkula

This year’s theme is “Through Youth To The World: Voices for Mission.” Pope Francis addresses his message this year to young people, saying, “In speaking to you, I also address all Christians who live out in the church the adventure of their life as children of God.” What a wonderful way to imagine the mission we have received from the Lord! When all the children of God, at every stage of life, are open to the mission that Christ entrusts to us, our Christian faith remains ever young.

At a time when so much divides us, World Mission Sunday rejoices in our unity as children of God. In our catholicity and universal solidarity, Christians around the world recognize their common responsibility with regard to the evangelization of the world. World Mission Sunday provides an opportunity to support the life-giving presence of the church among the poor and marginalized in more than 1,111 mission dioceses.

Grateful for your generosity, I ask you to support the missionary activity of the church on World Mission Sunday and throughout the year, as you are able.

Apoyando los esfuerzos misioneros

Queridos hermanos y hermanas en Cristo:

El Domingo Mundial de las Misiones, que celebraremos este año el fin de semana del 20 al 21 de octubre, estamos llamados a participar en los esfuerzos misioneros de la Iglesia apoyando a los sacerdotes misioneros, a las hermanas y hermanos religiosos y a los catequistas laicos que comparten la alegría del Evangelio con otros alrededor del mundo. En la misa de ese fin de semana, volveremos a comprometernos con nuestra vocación común, a través del bautismo, a ser misioneros. Lo haremos por medio de la oración, la participación en la Eucaristía y dando generosamente a la colecta para la Sociedad para la Propagación de la Fe.

El tema de este año es “A través de Juventud hacia el Mundo: Voces para la Misión”. El Papa Francisco dirige su mensaje este año a los jóvenes y dice: “Al hablar con ustedes, también me dirijo a todos los cristianos que viven en la Iglesia la aventura de su vida como hijos de Dios”. ¡Qué maravillosa manera de imaginar la misión que hemos recibido del Señor! Cuando todos los hijos de Dios, en cada etapa de la vida, están abiertos a la misión que Cristo nos confía, nuestra fe cristiana sigue siendo siempre joven.

En un momento en que tanto nos divide, el Domingo Mundial de las Misiones se regocija en nuestra unidad como hijos de Dios. En nuestra catolicidad y solidaridad universal, los cristianos de todo el mundo reconocen su responsabilidad común con respecto a la evangelización del mundo. El Domingo Mundial de las Misiones brinda la oportunidad de apoyar la presencia vivificante de la Iglesia entre los pobres y marginados en más de 1,111 diócesis misioneras.

Agradecido por su generosidad, le pido que apoye la actividad misionera de la Iglesia en el Domingo Mundial de las Misiones y durante todo el año, en la medida de lo posible.

Sincerely in Christ/Sinceramente en Cristo,

Most Rev. Thomas R. Zinkula/Rev. Mons. Thomas Zinkula
Bishop of Davenport/Obispo de Davenport

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Cinderella’s Cellar open house benefits Kahl Home

Anne Marie Amacher
Mary Walsh of the Catholic Service Board sets up a display for the upcoming Cinderella’s Cellar Christmas open house set for Nov. 3 in Davenport.

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Volunteers of the Catholic Service Board who run Cinderella’s Cellar resale store are busy sorting and pricing items for the annual Christmas open house scheduled Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Carol Harrison, the board’s publicity chairperson, said items are donated year-round but volunteers have picked up the pace during the past few weeks to prepare Christmas items for the open house. The sale is not a one-day event. It will continue through November and December as long as items are available. Items for sale include trees, wreaths, decorations, gift items, clothing, accessories, linens, statues, dishes, tins and artificial flowers.

Cinderella’s Cellar sales benefit the Kahl Home throughout the year. Harrison said about $45,000 a year is donated to the Kahl Home to help fulfill items on its wish list. Additional money is given at times for special projects that the administration identifies. Harrison said $10,000 will be donated this holiday season to 10 other nonprofit organizations in the area.

Cinderella’s Cellar, run entirely by volunteers, accepts donations of a variety of items yearround. Donations should be brought to the back door. The Catholic Service Board has more than 100 members, many of whom help with activities at the Kahl Home such as bingo, luncheons, social events, crafts and a mobile cart with candy and other goods. Catholic Service Board was founded in the 1950s to help orphaned children. Its focus later changed to benefit senior citizens.

Cinderella’s Cellar, 230 W. 35th St., Davenport, is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Visit the website at or the Facebook Page at Cinderellas Cellar Resale Store.

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Passion for Christ Conference

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — What’s so great about being Catholic? Find out; rekindle your faith and learn to share it with others during the Passion for Christ Conference on Oct. 27 at Sacred Heart Cathedral. The event is from 1-5 p.m. in the grand hall with Mass at 4 p.m. in the church.
“This retreat is designed to rekindle your faith and to share it with those you love. Let’s get inspired and ignite passion and excitement into the Christian community, bring cradle Catholics home and bring new Catholics into the faith,” event organizers say.

Two speakers will share their stories. Local TV personality Fran Riley will share his story of returning to the faith. Keith Nester, a former Protestant pastor for 22 years, will answer “What is so great about being Catholic?” He will also explain why he left his career to join the universal church.

The speakers will be joined by three others for a Q&A panel. Kathy Schluter received training at the Theology of the Body Institute and speaks and teaches on femininity, marriage, Theology of the Body and family life. Joe Hebert is a professor of political science and leadership studies and director of pre-law studies at St. Ambrose University in Davenport and president of Una Voce Quad Cities. Maggie Schoonmaker is a natural fertility educator and a homeschooling mother.

The schedule includes time for perpetual adoration and praying the chaplet of Divine Mercy. The mission of Passion for Christ is to equip people to share the good news of Jesus, the church he established and to appreciate the beautiful richness of the Catholic faith, organizers say.

The event is free, but reservations are encouraged by calling or texting (563) 570-2007 or sending an email to by Oct. 20.

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Catholic scouting event

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

Scouts from the Diocese of Davenport and Diocese of Peoria, Ill., are invited to the 2018 scout rendezvous at Camp Loud Thunder in Andalusia, Ill., which will be held Nov. 9-11.

Linda Atherton, chair of the Peoria Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, said the event allows for fun, fellowship and faith with scouts from the two dioceses. The weekend includes cabin and lodge camping, scout competition, rifle range, capture the flag on a giant scale, movies and other activities. Scouts can also fulfill a retreat requirement for the Ad Altare Dei emblem and Pope Pius XII emblem. Mass will be celebrated Saturday evening. All scouts will receive an event patch.

Adults can receive training and be certified as a religious emblem counselor for Ad Altare Dei, Pope Pius XII, Marion Medal and Spirit Alive on Saturday afternoon only.

The event is open to registered Catholic Scouts BSA, Venture Scouts, American Heritage Girls and Girl Scouts (girls must have completed sixth grade to attend). Adults also are invited. Cost is $40 per person and includes meals, activities and materials.

Scouts need to bring sleeping bags, toiletries, Class B weather-appropriate clothing, Class A uniform for Mass, flashlight, pocket knife and stuffed teddy bear. Mess kits are not needed.

For more information or to register, contact Atherton at or (217) 369-0080. Registration is due Oct. 22.

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