7/26/20, 8:00 AM

Father Rudy Juarez left a lasting impact on Iowa City

Father Rudy Juarez blesses the Iowa City Catholic Worker House with holy water on July 2, 2016 at our first public ceremony a day after closing on 1414 Sycamore Street.

Iowa City, Iowa --

When Father Rudy Juarez first came to Iowa City's St. Patrick Catholic Church in 2004, he was so popular in his previous parish at St. Mary's in Davenport that 800 of his former parishioners signed a petition to the Diocese of Davenport requesting they cancel his reassignment to Iowa City.

Sixteen years later, Father Rudy returned to Davenport on July 1 to start a new chapter in his service to the Church at St. Anthony's, just in time for the 40th anniversary of his ordination as a priest on July 19. 

"Father Rudy is a humble man whose influence is without public recognition," said Lindell Joseph, a parishioner at St. Patrick Church. "He believed in and supported me to initate the Lay Carmelite's."

Some of Father Rudy's major achievements while in Iowa City include:

  • Shepherding St. Patrick Church through the aftermath of the 2006 tornado, which destroyed the original church foundation downtown, and leading the eucharistic community to rebuild on the far east side. 
  • Helping start the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa and serving on its first board of directors.
  • Serving on the board of Gamaliel, a national faith-based community organizing network.
  • In his role as the head of the Iowa City Deanery, being the first to support and give his blessing to the Iowa City Catholic Worker House, which opened the door for our community to form.
  • And a lot more.

Father Rudy may be in Davenport now, where he will continue the unassuming yet critical role he always has. But his legacy of spiritual nourishment and social justice will remain in Iowa City long after he's gone and for years to come.

Happy 40th anniversary, Father Rudy!