On Tuesday the Vatican announced the appointment of Monsignor Thomas Robert Zinkula as the new leader of the Davenport diocese in Iowa, and Father John P. Dolan as a new auxiliary bishop for San Diego.
In an April 19 statement published the same day as the Vatican’s official announcement, outgoing Davenport Bishop Martin J. Amos – who is retiring after having reached the age limit of 75 – said he welcomes the appointment of Zinkula with “joy and great pleasure.”
“I introduce to you the answer to our prayers, Bishop-elect Thomas Robert Zinkula,” he said, after explaining that the appointment is an answer to the prayer the diocese has been reciting for the past four months, requesting “a pastor who will please you by his holiness and will show us your watchful care.”
Born April 19, 1957 in Mount Vernon, Iowa, Zinkula has a hefty and diverse academic background.
After graduating from Mount Vernon High School, he eventually received a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, Economics and Business from Cornell College in 1979. He later graduated from the University of Iowa in 1983 with a degree in Law, working for several years as a civil lawyer.
He then entered seminary, studying at the Theological College of the Catholic University of America in Washington before later obtaining a licentiate in Canon Law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada in 1998.
Zinkula was ordained a priest in May 26, 1990, for the Archdiocese of Dubuque, serving in various capacities including Parochial Vicar of Saint Columbkille Parish from 1990-1993 and Saint Joseph the Worker Parish from 1993-1996.
The bishop-elect then served as pastor of Saint Joseph parish in Rickardsville and administrator of the parishes of Saint Francis of Assisi in Balltown and Saints Peter and Paul in Sherill from 1998-2002.
He was also a judge for the archdiocesan tribunal from 1998-2000, after which he held the position of Judicial Vicar for the diocese until 2010. At the same time, Zinkula also served as pastor of Holy Ghost Parish and Holy Trinity Parish in Dubuque – positions he held until 2011.
The next post he held was Episcopal Vicar for the Region of Cedar Rapids, which he stayed in until being named Rector of the Saint Pius X seminary in Dubuque in 2014. He received the title of “Monsignor” from Benedict XVI in 2012.
Amos will continue to serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese until Zinkula officially takes possession of the diocese June 22 at Saint John Vianney Church in Bettendorf.
As for San Diego’s new auxiliary, bishop-elect John Dolan was born June 8, 1962, in the diocese he will serve.
He completed his studies in philosophy at the Saint Francis seminary and the University of San Diego in 1985. His theological studies, however, were done at the Saint Patrick seminary in Menlo Park, and completed in 1989.
Dolan was ordained a priest for the San Diego diocese July 1, 1989, and afterward served as Parochial Vicar for the parishes of Saint Michael in San Diego and Santa Sophia in Spring Valley.
In 1992, he was named Director of Priestly Vocations, a position he held for two years. In 1996, he was named pastor of Saint Mary Star of the Sea parish in Oceanside.
He then served as pastor for several other parishes around the diocese until his 2016 appointment as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy and pastor of Saint John Parish in San Diego. In addition to English, the new bishop-elect also speaks Spanish.