Bishop Thomas R. Zinkula of Davenport, Iowa, foreground, leads the Bishop's Bike Ride in Iowa City July 6. The event served as a send-off for the bishop and a team he is leading called "Pedaling to the Peripheries" during the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa July 22-28. Best known as RAGBRAI, the noncompetitive ride is organized by The Des Moines Register daily newspaper. (CNS photo/Barb Arland-Fye, The Catholic Messenger)

Parish hosts Bishop’s Bike Ride as cycling send-off for event across Iowa

137 0

IOWA CITY, Iowa (CNS) — They arrived outside St. Mary Parish rectory practically incognito: 13 smiling clergy and laypeople wearing sun glasses and bike helmets and ready for the Bishop’s Bike Ride.

Their bright T-shirts, jerseys, shorts and some spandex looked perfect for bicycling, but nothing you’d typically see at the chancery or in the parish.

The July 6 ride served as a cycling send-off for Davenport Bishop Thomas R. Zinkula, spiritual director of the “Pedaling to the Peripheries” team for the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Best known as RAGBRAI, the event starts July 22 in Onawa and ends July 28 in Davenport.

Bishop Zinkula sees RAGBRAI as an opportunity to go out to the peripheries, like Pope Francis, to encounter people and to set an example as a joy-filled Catholic. He’ll be dressed like everyone else, but his role as bishop of the Diocese of Davenport probably will come up in conversation. If people have questions, he’ll be glad to provide answers. He’ll also celebrate Mass at a parish in each town that serves as an overnight stop.

The Bishop’s Bike Ride consisted of 16 miles up and down hills between Iowa City and North Liberty with a half-way stop for refreshments. It was all about fun and exercise. As some of his fellow cyclists huffed and puffed up those hills, Bishop Zinkula joked, “These are hills?”

“Isn’t it great to have a bishop who is not only willing but able to be a good example to his priests and to all of his people in regard to working on healthy lifestyles,” said Father Steve Witt, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Iowa City. “I sat next to him at the turnaround, but most of the day all I could see was the back of him as he killed the hills!”

Father Witt, whose parish hosted the event, designated Father Bill Roush to lead the cyclists. Father Roush, pastor of parishes in Riverside, Richmond and Wellman, took the assignment with gusto. One of the cyclists casually asked if he works out on a regular basis. The wiry priest smiled.

Father Jeff Belger, director of the Newman Catholic Student Center in Iowa City, experienced his share of mechanical challenges. He had a flat tire — before the ride started. He repaired the flat in no time, with assistance from Father Dan Dorau, parochial vicar of Divine Mercy Parish in Burlington and St. Mary Parish in Dodgeville. Later on, the chain on Father Belger’s bicycle broke. He managed to coast back to the rectory where a feast awaited the cyclists.

“It certainly was a motley crew! By that I of course mean merely, diverse,” Bishop Zinkula said. “A bunch of priests, a few laypeople, a woman religious, a deacon and a bishop. After some very hot and humid weather early in the week, we were blessed with an absolutely gorgeous day. At the end of the ride, it was a pleasant surprise to be treated to a nice meal of sandwiches and all the fixings prepared by a group of people, including a few Clinton Franciscans.”

Jim Tiedje, who organized the ride with Father Witt, quipped, “I think it is really neat that Bishop Zinkula is able to ‘let his hair down’ along with his fellow priests and clergy.” (The bishop is partially bald.)

“I am looking forward to riding RAGBRAI with team ‘Pedaling to the Peripheries,'” added Tiedje

Related Post

John Patrick Murphy, a cemetery committee member at St. Mary of Sorrows Parish in Fairfax Station, Va., walks toward his grave plot Oct. 18. Dressed in Civil War-era garb, the history buff gives cemetery tours about the Second Battle of Manassas. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

Two Virginia Catholic cemeteries have history on their side

Posted by - October 28, 2017 0
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CNS) — Not only are cemeteries — and Catholic cemeteries in particular — a trove of history about…
A girl snorkels in the Ionian Sea off the coast of Greece in this undated photo. In a message for the Sept. 27 celebration of World Tourism Day, Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said tourism cannot be seen as being part of "sustainable development" unless it includes respect for workers' rights, the local culture and the environment. (CNS photo/George Tzanakis, handout via EPA)

Tourism should benefit both travelers and local communities, Vatican says

Posted by - August 4, 2017 0
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While tourism can broaden travelers’ horizons and improve local economies, it cannot be seen as being…