Davenport Diocese launches $28M campaign to care for priests

The Catholic Diocese of Davenport is kicking off the public phase of a $28 million capital campaign at 16 area parishes during the weekends of April 23-24 and April 30-May 1.

The “Upon This Rock” campaign is raising money for the retirement and health care costs for its priests, educational costs for seminarians, and for projects determined by each parish. 

As of Thursday, April 14, the campaign had raised just under $7 million, or nearly 25% of the goal, in early gifts and pledges. That includes nearly $1.4 million from the Davenport Diocese priests themselves.

“This campaign is an opportunity for us to come together as a local church, as a diocese, to do something that is positive, lasting and important,” Bishop Thomas Zinkula said in a news release. 

As the diocese prepares for a wave of priest retirements over the next 10-plus years, he added, “We are called at this pivotal time to address the pressing financial costs in providing for our retired and elderly priests, to secure stable funding to form and educate tomorrow’s priests, and to address the many needs our parishes face.”

Of the funds raised, 60% will go toward the retirement and health care needs of the priests, and about 20% will be directed to both the seminarians and the parishes. 

The 16-parish “Pilot Wave” of the campaign will last into July, and it will be followed by two additional waves covering the remaining 58 parishes. The campaign is scheduled to run until the fall of 2023.

The diocese includes 85,000 Catholics and covers 22 counties in southeast Iowa, including Scott, Clinton, Muscatine and Cedar counties. There are more than 90 priests – active and retired – in the diocese.

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