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Saturday 03 December |
Saint of the Day: St. Francis Xavier
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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.


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


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.


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






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


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


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.


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


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


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


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.)


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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