Seminary leader named bishop of Davenport diocese
DAVENPORT — The Vatican has selected the rector of St. Pius X Seminary in Dubuque as the next bishop for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport.
Monsignor Thomas Zinkula will replace Bishop Martin Amos, who is retiring. Amos will continue on as apostolic administrator until the 60-year-old Zinkula is ordained June 22.
“I promise the people of this diocese that I will do my best to care for them,” Zinkula said during a press conference. “I’ve always jumped into every assignment I’ve had and certainly plan to do that here.”
Zinkula, who earned a law degree from University of Iowa in 1983 and worked for several years as a civil lawyer, didn’t become a priest until he was 33 years old. He says that life experience helped his ministry.
“I was an actuary and then a lawyer for three years, so I knew what it was like to do something else,” he said. “It gave me maturity and life experience you can use in ministry. It was the path God put me on. It wasn’t a waste of time.”
Zinkula was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Dubuque in 1990. He was first assigned at St. Columbkille Parish from 1990 to 1993 before working at multiple parishes in the Dubuque area during the last 27 years. He has served as rector at St. Pius X Seminary for the past three years.
Amos said he knows Zinkula will do well and that he’d been praying for a new bishop since announcing his retirement in December on his 75th birthday.
“Today, the Holy Father accepted my resignation and appointed Bishop-elect Thomas Zinkula as the ninth bishop of Davenport,” he said. “Zinkula has been the answer to my prayers.”
Amos has led the Diocese of Davenport since fall 2006. The diocese covers 22 counties in southeast Iowa and has 78 parishes.
Zinkula praised and thanked Amos for his efforts and leadership over the last 11 years.
Zinkula said it will be “bittersweet” leaving friends, colleagues and parishioners in Dubuque, but he’s excited for a new challenge. He joked that the new challenge will include learning the nuances of the job.
“I have a lot to learn,” he said. “I have to learn how to be a bishop. When you put on that big, pointy hat, what do you call that? The crosier or the mitre? When do you put it on and when do you take it off and all that, I don’t have a clue. But I’m starting to pay attention now.”
The Archdiocese of Dubuque shared a statement from Archbishop Emeritus Jerome Hanus, the former archbishop.
It stated: “The announcement that Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Thomas Zinkula as bishop is good news for all in the Diocese of Davenport. The clergy, religious and lay faithful will soon learn what a wonderful Easter gift they have received. We in the Archdiocese of Dubuque have experienced Bishop-elect Zinkula as a very talented and dedicated priest.”