Celebrating a half-century of ministry

By Lindsay Steele and
Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

(Three diocesan priests and Bishop Emeritus Martin Amos celebrated their golden jubilees as priests recently.)

Bishop Emeritus Martin Amos

Martin Amos was born Dec. 8, 1941, in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from Borromeo Seminary College in Wickliffe, Ohio, in 1964 and completed his theological studies at St. Mary Seminary in Cleve-land. He also earned a Master of Science in education. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland on May 25, 1968, by Bishop Clarence Issenmann.

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Bishop Amos

Then-Father Amos held several pastoral assignments after ordination and later became academic dean of Borromeo Seminary High School. He was serving as pastor of St. Dominic Church in Shaker Heights, Ohio, when Pope John Paul II named him Titular Bishop of Meta and Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland on April 3, 2001. He was ordained by Bishop Anthony Pilla of Cleveland on June 7, 2001, in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

On Oct. 12, 2006, Bishop Amos was appointed the Eighth Bishop of Davenport by Pope Benedict XVI. Bishop Amos was formally installed by Archbishop Jerome Hanus, OSB, of Dubuque, Iowa, on Nov. 20, 2006, at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Bettendorf.

Bishop Amos submitted his resignation when he turned 75 in December of 2016, as required by the Vatican. His resignation was accepted the following April. He served as apostolic administrator until Bishop Thomas Zinkula was ordained and installed as Bishop of Davenport on June 22, 2017. Bishop Amos currently resides in Ohio.

“Over a journey of 50 years there have been so many wonderful adventures and memories. I always wanted to be a parish priest, so being at St. Dominic Parish for over 18 years (more than one-third of my priesthood) was wonderful. What made it wonderful were the connections with so many families and people; sometimes during joyful events — a wedding, baptism — sometimes sorrowful and even tragic events — sickness and death. But, it was the daily encounters that meant so much. As a bishop for 17 years (more than one-third of my priesthood) it has also been the adventures, but mostly the people.”

A diocesan celebration in Ohio for jubilee priests was held May 22. Bishop Nelson Perez presided at the Mass and Bishop Amos preached. A luncheon followed. On June 16, Bishop Amos celebrated the 5 p.m. Mass to mark his jubilee and a gathering followed.

Father David Hitch

Fr. Hitch

David Hitch was born April 15, 1941, in Fort Madison. He graduated from St. Ambrose College in Davenport and completed his theology studies at Mt. St. Bernard Seminary in Dubuque. On June 1, 1968, he was ordained by Bishop Gerald O’Keefe at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. Fr. Hitch was an associate pastor at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport from 1968-72. He was co-pastor at St. Boniface Parish in Farmington and St. Mary Parish in String Prairie and director of religious education at Cardinal Stritch High School in Keokuk from 1972-74. He served as acting chaplain at University Hospitals in Iowa City from 1974-75. He took advanced studies in clinical pastoral education from 1975-77 and returned to University Hospitals from 1977-86. Fr. Hitch was administrator of St. Bridget Parish in Nolan Settlement and St. Bernadette Parish in West Branch in 1983. He then served as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Hills from 1983-89 and St. Thomas More Parish in Iowa City from 1989-2000. After taking a leave of absence, he served as administrator, then pastor, of St. Joseph Parish in North English and St. Joseph Parish in Parnell from 2001-04. Fr. Hitch served as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Tipton from 2004-2014, also serving as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Mechanicsville from 2012-2014. Fr. Hitch retired from active ministry in 2014.

Msgr. John Hyland

Born in Minneapolis on May 1, 1942, John Hyland graduated from St. Ambrose College in Davenport. He studied theology at Mt. St. Bernard Seminary in Dubuque and received his MA in theology from Aquinas Institute of Theology in Dubuque. He also did graduate work in education administration at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill. On June 1, 1968, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop O’Keefe at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport.

Msgr. John Hyland

Then-Fr. Hyland was associate pastor at St. Mary of the Visitation in Ottumwa and at St. Mary in Fort Madison, both in 1968. He served as principal at St. Joseph Junior High, then coordinating principal for the Catholic school system in Fort Madison from 1969-74. He served as principal of Aquinas High School and executive secretary of the Fort Madison Catholic School System from 1974-90. Fr. Hyland served as pastor of St. Mary in Augusta from 1984-85 and St. Joseph in Fort Madison from 1985-90. He became pastor of St. John the Baptist in Burlington starting in 1990, administrator at St. Patrick in Burlington from 1994-95, pastor of St. Paul in Burlington starting in 1996 and was pastor of the newly merged Ss. John & Paul Parish in Burlington from 1998-2005. In 2002 he received the title of monsignor.

Msgr. Hyland began serving as vicar general of the Diocese of Davenport in 2003. He retired from active status in 2015 but continued to serve as vicar general and Moderator of the Curia (leader of the bishop’s staff) until 2016. He continues to serve the diocese by helping to supervise maintenance and housekeeping staff, accommodating guest stays and assisting student priests from Tanzania and retired priests in residence.
“I believe for me the most rewarding thing about being a priest in my years of ministry as an educator, administrator, pastor and vicar general is being able to serve people in their times of loneliness and sadness as well as in their times of joy and happiness.”

Father Mike Volkmer, C.PP.S.

Michael Volkmer was born Dec. 10, 1939 in Nebraska City, Neb. He studied theology at St. Charles Seminary in Carthagena, Ohio, and was ordained a priest of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood on June 1, 1968, at St. Charles by Auxiliary Bishop Edward McCarthy. After ordination, Fr. Volkmer taught at Precious Blood Seminary in Liberty, Mo., for eight years.

Fr. Volkmer

He then moved into pastoral ministry, serving at St. Mary Parish in Centerville from 1976-82. He served at parishes in Wisconsin and Missouri before returning to the diocese in 2007 to serve as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Albia. When he turned 75 in 2015, he was relieved of this assignment in accord with diocesan policy for priests serving beyond their 75th birthdays. He has since served as administrator of the Albia parish with all the rights and duties of pastor.

“I would say that I love my priesthood and parochial ministry. The best part of my priesthood has been interacting with the people of the five parishes that I have served, celebrating the sacraments, and working with the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults).”


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