By Dan Russo
DUBUQUE — After being ordained to the episcopacy and then installed as the head of the Diocese of Davenport recently, Bishop Thomas Zinkula returned to the Archdiocese of Dubuque for a Mass of thanksgiving June 26 at St. Raphael Cathedral.
“The church has called me to go from the land of my kinsfolk, the Archdiocese of Dubuque, to the far away land of Davenport,” he joked in his homily.
His words to the congregation filled with those who had served with him in various ministries over the years were punctuated with humor and strong emotion. He discussed discerning God’s will for one’s life by retreating to a “lonely place” with a “quiet heart,” remembering his youth growing up on a farm.
“Lots of times I felt close to the Lord on the farm, but one time in particular I was doing chores … and I was doing something that was helping the family. The sun was rising as I was out there …” he said. “God can get through to us at times like that.”
Bishop Zinkula, whose motto as a bishop is “God’s will be done,” reflected on the stories of others in Scripture who followed God’s will, including Abraham, who was called to leave his home.
“It may be hard to be the person God calls us to be and to do what God calls us to do,” he said. “It’s definitely been hard for me along the way at different times and in different ways, but God promises us that nonetheless it will be fulfilling and fruitful — not only for us, ourselves, but for others as well; and I’ve found that to be true.”
Bishop Zinkula expressed deep gratitude to the people of the archdiocese.
“It’s been a tremendous blessing to serve you as a priest in the Archdiocese of Dubuque these past 27 years,” he said. “In my heart, it’s been a true joy ministering to the faithful in various assignments and capacities. It’s been a pleasure collaborating with my brother priests and many others over the years. You taught me how to be a priest. You formed and molded me as a priest and as a human being … In my coat of arms, there’s a river in the middle of it. It’s the Mississippi River. I floated down the river from Dubuque to Davenport … This river represents the connection I’ll always have with you. God bless you.”
Bishop Tom Zinkula shares a laugh with the congregation while putting on his miter at the end of the thanksgiving Mass June 26. (Photo by Dan Russo/The Witness)