Vision 20/20 update: Reaching out to parents and schools

By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

IOWA CITY — Filling every heart and life with the joy of the Gospel through a fresh encounter with Jesus Christ and his church requires persistent, coordinated efforts, Bishop Thomas Zinkula and the Vision 20/20 Steering Committee say.

One component of that coordinated effort involves the nearly 50 Vision 20/20 trained mentors who will collaborate with parishes throughout the Diocese of Davenport to explore evangelization initiatives tailor-made for a specific parish. The plans call for two mentors per parish who will focus on listening to parishioners and sharing evangelization ideas from the mentor network. The diocese is creating online Google groups to share resources and parishes’ evangelical work.

Mentor training continues in January while diocesan leaders work with parishes to choose mentors.

Efforts are also underway to involve the diocese’s Catholic schools in the Vision 20/20 process. Julie Delaney, principal of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Davenport, shared a video at a principals’ meeting in November that featured a presentation by Katie Prejean McGrady. The young wife, mother, speaker and author spoke at the Vision 20/20 Convocation in June about reaching out to youths, sharing that Christ is alive through relationships.

Sharon Roling, co-chair of the Vision 20/20 Steering Committee and principal of St. Joseph Catholic School in DeWitt, told steering committee members that through the schools and students, “we can help families to evangelize.” “We need to help our kids connect to the larger parish community,” said Father Tony Herold, who serves as vicar general and pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish. Religious education programs and students will also be a part of that effort.

Michael Havercamp, Vision 20/20 co-chair and member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish, identified key questions that all entities in the diocese need to ask. “How are we harmonizing? How are we keeping it all in the key of evangelization? How is my ministry, my staff, my group participating in the role of evangelization?” “We need to frame it up for people,” the bishop said.

Steering committee members further discussed ongoing mentor training and formation. The next session takes place Jan. 18 and will focus on equipping mentors to go out and help parishes to put everything in a “missionary key,” Havercamp said. All who evangelize need to keep in mind the document that inspired Vision 20/20, Pope Francis’ apostolic ex­hortation, “Evan­gelii Gaudium,” (“The Joy of the Gospel”).

A five-step process will guide mentors’ relationship with parishes:
1. Personal encounter.
2. Listen well.
3. Read the signs of the times.
4. Pray, and create an initiative.
5. Implement.

The Steering Committee also is looking for someone to fill a vacancy to represent the voice of youths. “It’s important to have a youth representative on the Steering Committee because the youth community can feel a little isolated,” said Deacon Joe Dvorak, a steering committee member and Parish Life Coordinator for Immaculate Conception Parish in Colfax.

A diocesan-wide celebration of parishes’ evangelization initiatives 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.


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