By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — In early October, a group of 12 from St. Ambrose University toured several Catholic churches in the city, walking from one to the other. “I remember joking that we were 12 altogether with Jesus,” said Father Thom Hennen, the university’s chaplain.
Most of the students participate in campus ministry or regularly attend Mass while a few new students had attended a “Bee Connected” retreat earlier in the school year.
The coronavirus pandemic challenged campus ministry “to be creative about safe, ideally outdoor activities that we could do on the weekends to keep our students engaged,” Father Hennen said.
The “church crawl,” as it was called, began at Christ the King Chapel with prayer. “It was a beautiful day, even on the warm side for October, so we could walk and talk (with masks on) and space ourselves along the route,” he said. The group next walked to St. Paul the Apostle Parish, then to Sacred Heart Cathedral and finally to St. Anthony Parish. Bishop Thomas Zinkula joined the group for lunch at the cathedral.
“At each of the churches, the pastor met us and gave a short history and tour of the church. We had a short time to look around and pray, and then receive a blessing from each pastor on our way to the next ‘station.’ Bishop Zinkula joined us as well as Father Rich (Adam) at the cathedral, and we had a simple pizza lunch there before heading down the hill to St. Anthony’s.”
Student Joseph Stahler said he has been at St. Ambrose for two years. “I haven’t taken the chance to explore too much of the Davenport area. Not only was the church crawl a nice opportunity to get to know the town more, but being able to explore each parish in its own unique design was personally peaceful. Furthermore, it was simply a nice excuse to walk around town with those who you pass by on a weekly basis. This interconnection piece made it even more enjoyable!”