By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
It all started with a phone call from “the apostolic nuncio.” That’s what Bishop Thomas Zinkula jokingly wanted Father Dan Dorau to think when he placed a phone call to the priest who serves in Des Moines County. “I have him in my caller ID. I knew it was him,” Father Dorau said with a laugh.
Still, Father Dorau was surprised to learn that he won a raffle to dine with the bishop and to bring nine friends as guests. “I was just expecting to donate. I never win anything, so the fact that I won was pretty exciting.”
Miguel Moreno, coordinator of the diocesan Office of Multicultural Ministry, organized the raffle as a fundraiser for an upcoming multicultural youth conference. Father Dorau said he bought two raffle tickets at $25 each because he wanted to support “all the cultures in our parishes and in our diocese.”
Father Dorau had about a week to find nine friends to join him for dinner. He invited some old friends from the Davenport area and new friends from the Burlington area. He serves as parochial vicar of Divine Mercy Parish in Burlington/West Burlington and St. Mary Parish-Dodgeville.
The guests arrived at the St. Vincent Center in Davenport on Nov. 17 at 4:30 p.m. Bishop Zinkula gave a tour of the building that serves as diocesan headquarters and shared its history. Afterwards, he led the guests to the chapel for a prayer service. Father Ross Epping, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Grinnell and priest moderator of Immaculate Conception Parish in Colfax, led music worship, singing and playing guitar. The prayer service ended with the group praying the “Our Father.”
The guests took a short walk to Bishop Zinkula’s modest-sized house behind the chancery and admired some of the building’s structural details — including an iron railing and wooden doorframes adorned with Christian symbol carvings. “It’s just so beautiful,” guest Cliff Tappa said of the house.
Everyone settled into the living room to enjoy bruschetta, charcuterie and drinks. Meanwhile, “Chef” Father Rudolph Juarez put the final changes on the Italian feast. The priest, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City, St. Joseph Parish in West Liberty and St. Bernadette Parish in West Branch, learned to cook Italian cuisine while studying in Rome in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His “assistant chefs” were diocesan Vocations Director Father Joseph Sia and Father Guillermo Trevino, who serves as parochial vicar at the parishes where Father Juarez is pastor.
Once dinner was ready, guests sat down at Bishop Zinkula’s dining room table, which featured a floral centerpiece designed by Hugo Rodriguez, the Office of Multicultural Ministry’s administrative assistant. Guests enjoyed a four-course meal of salad and tortellini soup, lemon chicken, potatoes and asparagus, and cake for dessert.
All of the guests received a DVD of the film “For Greater Glory.” Additionally, Father Dorau received a life-sized image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The bishop, priests and guests visited until about 8 p.m. In response to his guests’ appreciation for his hospitality, Bishop Zinkula said, “It was my pleasure. It was nice to have some company here.”
Moreno expressed appreciation to the bishop and everyone who helped make the dinner a success. “Thanks to all the support, we are going to be able to have this conference for our youth.”