Sportscaster-turned-evangelist Dan Pearson speaks at Peace Soup

By Kate Marlowe

Dan Pearson, best known as sportscaster at KWQC spoke at Peace Soup this past week. The theme for this year’s series is Amazing Graces. It is about turning tragedies and hurdles into graces. For Pearson, that hurdle was his behavior at work. Once he became a Christian he found that through prayer he was able to ask God to help him and eventually he realized his place at the station was an amazing grace.  “TV is just this maddening daily routine of technology that sometimes is a lot of work. The people you deal with and the time – the weather guy goes thirty seconds long so they take it from you…I can remember anger issues and swearing. God took that away. The other thing God took away is my view of people.  Especially teens.” Shortly after a station announcement that sports time would be cut to two minutes, the Highlight Zone emerged, its popularity soared, and sports news was given more time instead of less. Pearson discovered he was seeing teenagers as “fodder” for the sales people but through prayer he began to view the teens as an opportunity “to honor God…on the basketball court or from the football field. I got to be around some of the best kids in the area.”

Kate Marlowe Dan Pearson, center, talks with Bill and Annette Sikkema at Peace Soup in Clinton Feb. 16.
Kate Marlowe
Dan Pearson, center, talks with Bill and Annette Sikkema at Peace Soup in Clinton Feb. 16.

In 2011, when Pearson decided to turn his volunteerism for Illowa Fellowship of Christian Athletes into a full-time job it meant he would leave behind the job he had really enjoyed at KWQC for 24 years. Knowing he would want to make a music piece to say good-bye to the Quad Cities, his news producer told him, “I can’t let you use any church music but you can use look on this website and type in whatever genre you want.” This was difficult for the faith-filled sportscaster but fortunately one of the genres was “Gospel.” Pearson chose Amazing Grace as the music for his video of “important people and amazing moments” from his 24 years at the station. The video was shown on the air in 2011 and again for the crowd at Peace Soup. When the video finished playing at the soup supper, Pearson said, “My news director came up to me after the broadcast and said, ‘See Dan, you didn’t have to use church music.’”

One Clinton couple attending Peace Soup, Annette and Bill Sikkema, had met the speaker through their son who had been interviewed by Pearson while running track at Prince of Peace School in Clinton and through their daughter who had been a part of Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Assumption High School. “Dan Pearson is a great role model for all our student athletes through Fellowship Christian Athletes. He inspires and touches many lives,” remarked Clinton resident Annette Sikkema. Annette and her husband Bill Sikkema attended Peace Soup to hear Pearson speak. “Dan interviewed our son Drew, who was in track at Prince of Peace when he was selected Male Athlete of the Assumption Invitational in 2007,” Bill Sikkema said.  “Our daughter Alyssa met Dan when she joined FCA and attended their camp through Assumption High School. Both really strengthened her relationship with God.”

The Peace Soup series will continue next Tuesday, March 1. The series is free and open to the public and is held at St. Boniface Center, 2520 Pershing Blvd, Clinton, Iowa.  No registration is required. Those attending may contribute to a free-will offering for the Benevolent Society of Clinton.  Paper bowls are provided but attendees are welcome to bring a dish to help reduce waste. Details on the 2016 Peace Soup series are available at www.jcpop.org and at www.clintonfranciscans.com or by calling Prince of Peace Parish at 563-242-3311 or the Sisters of St. Francis, 563-242-7611.

Facebooktwittermail
Posted on

Peace Soup schedule 2016

CLINTON — Pax Christi of Prince of Peace Parish and the Sisters of St. Francis have begun their annual Peace Soup series, which offers a meal of homemade soups and variety of breads at 6 p.m. Tuesdays at St. Boniface Center during Lent, with discussions centering on the topic of peace. The meetings will focus on “Amazing Graces,” perceiving life’s obstacles as opportunities.

On March 1 award-winning counselor and former Mater Dei High School (Clinton) teacher Candy Reed will speak about being a parent and teacher in the Clinton Catholic schools and her present position as counselor at Garfield Elementary School in Davenport.

On March 8, the co-chairs of the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program for Eastern Iowa, Brad and Dawn Knutson, will speak. They lost their 16-year old son to suicide in 1999.

On March 15, Army chaplain and diocesan priest Father William Kneemiller will speak. Fr. Kneemiller will share his unique perspective of amazing grace including his own journey to the priesthood and 15 years as Army Reserve Chaplain deployment in the Middle East.

Details on the series are available at www.jcpop.org and at www.clintonfranciscans.com or by calling Prince of Peace Parish at (563) 242-3311 or the Sisters of St. Francis at (563) 242-7611. The series is free and open to the public.

Those attending are welcome to contribute to an on-going free-will collection for the Benevolent Society of Clinton. Paper bowls will be provided for the various soup selections, but bringing a bowl is encouraged.

Facebooktwittermail
Posted on

Peace Soup schedule 2016

CLINTON — Pax Christi of Prince of Peace Parish and the Sisters of St. Francis have begun their annual Peace Soup series, which offers a meal of homemade soups and variety of breads at 6 p.m. Tuesdays at St. Boniface Center during Lent, with discussions centering on the topic of peace. The meetings will focus on “Amazing Graces,” perceiving life’s obstacles as opportunities.

On Feb. 23, Catholic Messenger Editor Barb Arland-Fye will present a personal view of living with a son with autism and will share how her family has experienced grace as this reality continues to be part of her family’s journey. She has written extensively about life with Colin in her work as a journalist.

On March 1 award-winning counselor and former Mater Dei High School (Clinton) teacher Candy Reed will speak about being a parent and teacher in the Clinton Catholic schools and her present position as counselor at Garfield Elementary School in Davenport.

On March 8, the co-chairs of the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program for Eastern Iowa, Brad and Dawn Knutson, will speak. They lost their 16-year old son to suicide in 1999.

On March 15, Army chaplain and diocesan priest Father William Kneemiller will speak. Fr. Kneemiller will share his unique perspective of amazing grace including his own journey to the priesthood and 15 years as Army Reserve Chaplain deployment in the Middle East.

Details on the series are available at www.jcpop.org and at www.clintonfranciscans.com or by calling Prince of Peace Parish at (563) 242-3311 or the Sisters of St. Francis at (563) 242-7611. The series is free and open to the public.

Those attending are welcome to contribute to an on-going free-will collection for the Benevolent Society of Clinton. Paper bowls will be provided for the various soup selections, but bringing a bowl is encouraged.

Facebooktwittermail
Posted on

Sisters of St. Francis celebrate their ‘birthday

By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

CLINTON — One by one, seven Sisters of St. Francis processed into the sunlit chapel holding above their heads a symbol of their religious community founded 150 years ago. The first symbol, about half the size of the sister carrying it, was a gray cross from the school at Mt. Olivet, Ky., where the community’s founders taught the daughters of poor farmers.

Lindsay Steele Sister Maria Zeimen, OSF, greets associate Marion Johnson with a hug during a 150th anniversary celebration of the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton Jan. 21.
Lindsay Steele
Sister Maria Zeimen, OSF, greets associate Marion Johnson with a hug during a 150th anniversary celebration of the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton Jan. 21.

“It’s our ‘Happy Birthday’ liturgy,” the community’s president, Sister Anne Martin Phelan, OSF, said exuberantly, welcoming 122 guests inside the Canticle Chapel. Msgr. Frank Henricksen, a Clinton native and longtime friend of the Clinton Franciscans, presided at the liturgy. Among the guests were Bishop Martin Amos, Fathers Ken Kuntz and Bob Cloos of Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton, members of other religious communities in Iowa, Clinton Franciscan associates and sojourners and other friends. “This is a hug day,” Sister Maria Zeimen, OSF, said as she warmly greeted guests in The Canticle’s lobby.

“Today, we begin a year of celebration, a year during which we will remember, celebrate and strategize for the future,” Sr. Phelan noted. “Today is about remembering, so I would like to begin with a story.” She took her audience back to Jan. 21, 1866, in rural Kentucky, just after the Civil War ended. The state was in turmoil and the economy in disarray. On that day, in the Abbey of Gethsemane, Ky., three “ordinary but extraordinary women” — Elizabeth Warren, Sally Walker and Lizzie Lillis — received the Franciscan habit and accepted their teaching ministry.

More women joined those first three and another school was opened in St. Francis, Ky. The community grew despite “hard-scrabble times,” opened additional schools and cared for the sick. But after 20 years struggling to make ends meet, the sisters moved to Iowa. When they got off the train in Dubuque where they stayed with the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family, they looked around and asked ‘“Is this Heaven?’ And it was Iowa,” Sr. Phelan quipped.

The sisters spread out to various places in Iowa to teach, including Anamosa, and then to Clinton where Father James Murray was opening a school for the young parish of St. Patrick. He helped the sisters obtain property where they opened a convent and a boarding school. Six year later the sisters purchased another property that would become Mount St. Clare Convent, Academy and College. “And so our ‘motherhouse’ has remained here in Clinton ever since (125 of our 150 years!),” Sr. Phelan noted.

Clinton Franciscans have served in parish schools, The Alverno Health Care Facility, Mercy Hospital and the L’Arche community, all in Clinton. They’ve worked in hospitals, cared for the elderly and engaged in social work. Their ministry spread from Iowa to 22 states and two foreign countries. They collaborate with other organizations as well, striving always “to serve the needs of the people in each time of our country’s history.”

Today, the Clinton Franciscans’ primary mission is “to live and promote active nonviolence and peacemaking; to seek justice for marginalized persons and to care for all creation.” Their inspiration came from the participation of five of their members in civil resistance at a nuclear testing base in Nevada in 1992. “We were arrested, herded onto buses, driven to a remote location and released,” Sr. Phelan said. Recognizing the great need for training in nonviolence, the sisters received guidance from leaders of Pace e Bene, a Franciscan service in active nonviolence.
Later, the Clinton Franciscans developed what Sr. Phelan described as a “Center without Walls” “to express the belief that living and promoting nonviolence is everyone’s task wherever we live and minister. Our Franciscan Peace Center in Clinton and the Franciscan Peace Connection in San Diego are both part of that expression, helping us to continue our mission beyond Clinton and beyond Iowa.”

At Sr. Phelan’s invitation, guests viewed lovingly created photo displays in the hallways that depicted Clinton Franciscans through the years. As they sampled hors d’oeuvres, guests fondly recalled sisters who had taught them or other family members.

Sister Gael Gensler, OSF, a member of the General Leadership Team, said she has a “thankful, grateful heart for those who have gone before us and laid this ground for us to be here today.”

Sister Janet Ryan, OSF, appreciates her predecessors for the sacrifices they made and the vision they created. “It helps me put into perspective what I’ve said ‘yes’ to.”

“It’s a marvelous experience,” said Sister Eileen Golby, OSF, a member of the General Leadership Team. “There have been ups and downs, but 150 years later, we’re still going strong.”

Sister Marcella Narlock, OSF, is grateful for the experiences of the sisters that have “led us where we are now. It’s my prayer that we continue their work.”


Clinton Franciscan membership

Altogether, 55 vowed members, 63 associates and 17 sojourners comprise the Clinton Franciscan community. Associates are individuals who, from within their own lifestyles, share the sisters’ Gospel vision, congregational goals, Franciscan values and concerns. Sojourners embrace a commitment to prayer, study, reflection and conversion of heart. They accept a mentor as they walk a mutually supportive relationship with the Clinton Franciscans.

To learn more, visit their website at www.clintonfranciscans.com.

Facebooktwittermail
Posted on