By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
Inspired by the Holy Spirit and with deep faith in God’s people, Bishop Thomas Zinkula calls the Diocese of Davenport to a revitalization of faith and a renewal of grace in the spirit of Pentecost. He invites us to embark on this journey of discovery on Pentecost Sunday with the understanding that each of us has an opportunity to help shape the future of our diocesan church.
Vision 20/20: Pentecost to Pentecost is the name given to this journey that aims to “fill every heart and life with the joy of the Gospel through a fresh encounter with Jesus Christ,” the bishop said.
“As your new bishop I have been observing, listening, asking questions and reflecting on the present state of affairs in our diocese, our church and our culture. The general theme of Vision 20/20 will be evangelization. Inspired by Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, ‘The Joy of the Gospel,’ we will invite the Holy Spirit to light a fire in our hearts, our parishes and our diocese in order to renew the Church of Davenport.”
The Vision 20/20 Steering Committee, which represents a cross section of our diocese, identified these goals:
• Celebrate our unity in the joy of the Gospel
• Reflect on the call to be “Spirit-filled evangelizers”
• Look to the peripheries of our communities
• Read the signs of the times in our Diocese of Davenport
• Explore practical strategies for the future
• Begin to chart out concrete plans for taking the next steps
• Pray for the grace to move forward
Bishop Zinkula emphasizes that Vision 20/20 is “not top down. There needs to be leadership; we’re listening to many different people. We have a general idea of what we want to do, but the steering committee and its sub-committees are helping us flesh it out.”
Sharon Roling, principal of St. Joseph Catholic School in DeWitt and Michael Havercamp, director of evangelization and mission for St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport, serve as co-chairs of the Vision 20/20 Steering Committee.
“As Catholics, we know that as we bring our own gifts, knowing how limited we are individually, we collectively form the community of communities, the church,” Roling said. “My hope is that all Catholics truly experience the joy of the Gospel at the parish and diocesan levels and share this joy with those they encounter. It is all about relationships. While we don’t want to drown in sorrow, we must listen and evangelize. We need to live and embrace the Gospel’s message with joy, confidence and hope.”
“The Lord is truly present among us. I want to celebrate that,” Havercamp said. “Yes, we’ve weathered some storms here in the diocese but we’re humble recipients of God’s grace and we’ve all been chosen to reveal the merciful radiance of Christ in a world that desperately needs it. Like Pope Francis, I want to gather in a spirit of JOY that reminds us of our higher calling. The Lord is asking much of us but as the Holy Father proclaimed in his recent apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, the Lord ‘offers us true life, the happiness for which we were created.’ Our happiness will be found in our holiness and our willingness to give everything for the love of God and neighbor.”
In September, Vison 20/20 will engage people in listening sessions in every parish of the diocese in order to assess the landscape of our area. Participants will be asked to reflect on Pope Francis’ The Joy of the Gospel and review a set of materials to raise their understanding of the current state of the church here and worldwide. The parish sessions will focus on questions about missionary discipleship and evangelization.
“We want to include every segment of the diocese in this process,” said Father Tony Herold, diocesan vicar general and pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish.
Regional conversations will be conducted in October and November, with three to four representatives from each parish or ministry delivering the message heard at their listening sessions. Ideas distilled from the regional conversations will help identify certain themes to be addressed around the diocese during spring 2019 and at a diocesan convocation June 6-8, 2019, at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. Persons selected to represent their parishes or groups at the convocation “have the opportunity to talk and share ideas, to drink of the energy of the Holy Spirit,” Fr. Herold added.
The fruits of that convocation will result in next steps adapted to the unique situations of parishes, schools and other diocesan entities. A diocesan celebration during Pentecost 2020 won’t signal the journey’s completion. Instead, the celebration will recognize growth in an ongoing journey of faith formation and evangelization. Throughout the journey, we are encouraged to pray the prayer created for Vision 20/20.
“It is the greatest of times to be Catholic in the Davenport Diocese!” Roling said. “Bishop Zinkula is calling us to awaken and join with others as we revitalize our faith and renew the grace in the spirit of Pentecost. I encourage all Catholics in the diocese to continually check The Catholic Messenger to read how the work of Vision 20/20 is being carried out, ask your pastor what is being done at your parish and how you can be part of the celebration, and, most importantly, pray for the Vision’s success.
“We are ALL crucial parts of the body of Christ and we need each other,” Havercamp said. “We want everybody to know that your voice, your energy and your unique gifts are so important. You can make a difference, a real difference in the lives of real people…. Bring your dreams, your passions, and your creativity to the table. The best of the church is yet to come!”
Vision 20/20 Prayer
Send your Spirit, O God
To open our eyes
That we might see clearly your gifts and blessings,
Past and present,
and so be filled with gratitude.
To open our eyes
That we might see clearly where we have failed to proclaim
The Good News and welcome the stranger,
and so be moved to ongoing conversion.
To open our eyes
That we might see clearly the signs of the times
And where your Christ lies hidden at the margins,
And so see where and how we are being called to serve.
To open our eyes
That we might see clearly the vision that you, O God, have for us,
the Diocese of Davenport,
and so answer your summons into a future together.
Yes, O God, send us your Spirit in a new Pentecost:
Renew our hearts
Renew our Church
Renew our world
Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.