By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Five “proud to be Catholic” fifth-graders, winners of the Diocese of Davenport’s Vision 20/20 video contest, began their celebration April 30 at Mass with Bishop Thomas Zinkula in diocesan headquarters. After Mass, the bishop told the team from All Saints Catholic School in Davenport, “We’ve been fed with spiritual food, now let’s go have some physical food (pizza).”
Gaven Gutierrez, 11; Presley Heiser, 10; Maryann Lai, 11; Mia Guerrero, 11; and Mary Huber, 10, earned the prize of time with the busy bishop by producing a 55-second video to express why they are proud to be Catholic. Students in grades K-12 throughout the diocese were invited to participate by creating a 30- to 90-second video that responded to one of three questions: What makes me proud to be Catholic? What about being Catholic brings me joy? In what ways can I share my Catholic faith with others?
Entries were submitted from around the diocese, with judges from the Vision 20/20 Steering Committee selecting the winning video. Delegates to the Vision 20/20 Convocation will watch the video during the June 6-8 event on the St. Ambrose University campus in Davenport. Vision 20/20, an initiative of Bishop Zinkula, calls the people of the diocese to a “revitalization of our faith and a renewal of grace in the spirit of Pentecost.”
Several All Saints teams submitted entries. The winning entry was selected “because their video was attractive and refreshing, and their answers to the question ‘What makes me proud to be Catholic?’ were clear, concise and reflect the spirit of Vision 20/20,” said Francesca Tatad-To, a Vision 20/20 Steering Committee member. She is a member of Divine Mercy Parish in the Burlington community.
In his homily during Mass with the winning team, Bishop Zinkula tapped into the Holy Spirit-inspired fervor of the early Christians, as described in the day’s Scriptures. “See how they loved one another. That’s the ideal,” the bishop said. “That’s what we strive for; with great power the apostles bore great witness to Jesus Christ.”
Several months ago, two All Saints staffers bore great witness to Christ by sharing their stories of faith with students in Eileen O’Brien’s classes as inspiration for creation of their videos, she said.
One by one, the fifth-graders in the winning video stated why they were proud to be Catholic. Maryann said, “I go to an awesome school. We are all God’s children, we connect by faith. We go to church and we think positive.” Gaven shared: “We get to learn about God and to be closer to him.” Mary’s Catholic pride comes from her family. “They show all of their love to be Catholic. And I love it, too. When we receive the Eucharist, I feel so good. God loves us so much.” Presley said: “We learn more about God. We all get to go to church and we all get to pray.” Mia reflected, “God loves us so much. He gave his life for us, to give us eternal life.”
Mary, whose dad, Deacon Dan Huber serves at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport, said she couldn’t believe it when Bishop Zinkula congratulated her about the video victory. “I didn’t know if he was telling the truth!” she said, while eating pizza with her team at the bishop’s house. The bishop sometimes teases Mary, so she couldn’t be sure until she checked with her principal, Jeanne VonFeldt, at the bishop’s suggestion!
VonFeldt and O’Brien, who accompanied the fifth-graders on their visit with the bishop, said the students would remember this day for the rest of their lives. After lunch, the honorees took a tour of the chancery, led by diocesan archivist Tyla Cole. O’Brien quoted one of the students, Presley, who on the short trip back to school, said: “This is the best day of my life.”