Incoming Davenport Bishop Asks for Low-Key Installation

Sioux City Journal
November 6, 2006

Davenport, Iowa (AP) -- The incoming bishop of the Davenport diocese is asking the church not to throw him an extravagant celebration at his installation service this month.

Martin Amos' request comes a few weeks after the diocese filed for bankruptcy to protect itself from sexual abuse claims that have cost it $10.5 million since 2004.

"He's considering the financial situation of the diocese," says diocese spokesman David Montgomery.

Montgomery says no money has been set aside for the celebration service because all the diocese's assets are under protection of the bankruptcy court. The diocese is taking donations throughout its 22 counties in eastern Iowa to cover the costs.

The church plans to save money by not offering a dinner at the reception held after the installation. It has also abandoned a plan to show the service live on cable television. Instead, the ceremony will be shown on tape-delay on Mediacom Channel 11, which is owned by St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Montgomery says.

Amos' installation is planned for Nov. 20 at Saint John Vianney Church in Bettendorf. Amos, a bishop in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, will be the eighth bishop in the Davenport diocese's history. The Vatican appointed him to replace Bishop William Franklin, who is retiring.

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, will travel from Washington, D.C., to read a letter from Pope Benedict during the service. Nine other bishops also have been invited to participate, and some of them are paying their own expenses, Montgomery says.

All the priests in the diocese have been asked to contribute toward the installation, and funds are being raised in different ways. In Bettendorf, for example, members of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church will find envelopes in the pews the weekend of Nov. 11-12. A special collection will be taken the weekend of Nov. 18-19, the Rev. Tim Sheedy says.

"I'll encourage each family to give what they can," he says. "We, as parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes, are encouraged to welcome the new bishop and support his installation."

The diocese is not sure of the final costs involved and has no alternative plan if the collection runs short, Montgomery says.

"We just hope we'll have enough money to cover it," he says.


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