By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
Forty-four Catholics began their own “Road to Emmaus” journey in the Vision 20/20 process to help the people of the Diocese of Davenport live the joy of the Gospel and share it with others.
The 44 mentors in the making met Nov. 16 at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City. They reflected on Scripture and a video excerpt from this year’s Vision 20/20 Convocation, shared a bit about themselves and explored the role of mentors.
This new ministry arose from the convocation held in June at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. Bishop Thomas Zinkula told the convocation’s 450 delegates that Vision 20/20 has been undertaken because “we love our Catholic faith, because we love all of God’s children, our brothers and sisters.” Quoting Pope Francis, he added, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the Good News!”
Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel” inspired the diocese’s Vision 20/20: From Pentecost to Pentecost process. So did the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America (2017).
Mentors will serve parishes as companions on the journey pursuing the mission of Vision 20/20 “to live the joy of the Gospel as we evangelize the people of the Diocese of Davenport.” A celebration of the parishes’ efforts will take place June 14, 2020 at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City. Mass will begin the event at 2 p.m. Mike Patin, one of three keynote speakers who energized the Vision 20/20 Convocation, will return to inspire people at the celebration. Witness talks, eucharistic adoration and dinner will follow. All are welcome.
No one has a recipe or pat answers on how to foster Vision 20/20 in the parishes. “… Help us to discern what it is you want us to do,” Michael Havercamp, co-chair of the Vision 20/20 Steering Committee, prayed to the Holy Spirit at the mentor meeting. “Fill us with your light and your energy.”
Dan Ebener, moderator of the Vision 20/20 Steering Committee, quoted Pope Pius XII, who spoke in 1952 of raising up a “legion of apostles like the Church knew at her origin.” Ebener added, “We can’t expect just the priests and deacons to do it for us. Lay people need to be some of the legion of apostles to figure this out … to join us in the Vision 20/20 process.”
“I think of our Church as a 21st century Emmaus,” said Tommy Fallon, the youth minister at Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine, after reading and reflecting on the Road to Emmaus Scripture. The two disciples walking to Emmaus were downcast after the crucifixion of Jesus and did not recognize him until later, when they broke bread with him. Then their eyes were opened, which changed everything, Fallon noted.
Kent Ferris, who leads the diocese’s Social Action Office, said the Road to Emmaus reminds him to see Christ in others, daily.
During reflection on what it means to be spirit-filled evangelizers, Francesca To of Divine Mercy Parish in Burlington/West Burlington, said, “Nothing is ever wasted if you put love into what you are doing.” She referred to the “little things” she does in her daily life that might seem insignificant at first.
The mentors received a copy of their responsibilities, which includes coming together as a team regularly for prayer, ongoing formation and discussion of parish needs and progress. They probably will serve in pairs and filled out a questionnaire regarding parishes they may be interested in serving.
“Part of the mentor’s mission will be to go out and listen,” said Father Tony Herold, who serves as diocesan vicar general and pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport. “… To listen to what is going on in their lives. This is not a program. It’s really a way of life,” he said. “We’re on a marathon for Vision 20/20. We’re in it for the long haul.”