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Saturday 03 December |
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A found treasure: Davenport’s Sacred Heart Cathedral

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 09/20/15

I spent this weekend in western Illinois, preaching at a parish about CNEWA (more on that later), but my colleague Chris Kennedy and I had some time to kill Saturday, so we headed to nearby Iowa to see the sites.

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We didn’t to look far to find them. Bernie Sanders supporters were everywhere.

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Following every steeple we could spot, we eventually found our way to a Catholic church, which turned out to be the Sacred Heart Cathedral in downtown Davenport.

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It’s a gorgeous church, with some wonderful architectural details. They don’t build them like this anymore.

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Iowa is home to a sizable Vietnamese population—refugees who fled to this country in the 1970s.

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The cathedral has a small chapel used for Morning Prayer and Adoration.

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They were getting ready for a wedding, so we didn’t linger long. But this church is a real gem. We’re glad we found it.

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After a quick prayer, we headed out to meet a CNEWA donor for lunch at the venerable Riefe’s Restaurant in Davenport.

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The motif is interesting. They “use antlers in all of their decorating…”

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It’s the first place I’ve encountered that includes on the menu “phosphates.”

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The donor we met for lunch was Father Tom Stratman, 89 years young, and a lifelong Iowan. He’s a wonderful guy and a good priest, with decades of great stories to tell. He came from a family of four boys—and his older brother was also a priest. Fr. Tom was a delightful lunch companion (not insignificantly, he’s a big fan of deacons and counts among his friends the great Deacon Bill Ditewig, who was assigned with Fr. Tom at the cathedral some years back.)

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After lunch, we headed back across the Mississippi River to Geneseo, Illinois, and the real purpose of our trip, to spread the word about CNEWA at a local parish.

We were about to have a memorable visit, meeting people who are really invested in their parish and in their faith. More on that soon!

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