1997 March – Biographical Information for Fr. Frank Cordaro
Educational Background: Graduated from Dowling High School in Des Moines IA in Spring 1969. B.A in Physical Education & Health from University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls in Spring 1973. Masters of Divinity from Aquinas Institute of Theology in Dubuque IA in Spring 1976. Two years of continued Seminary formation at St. John’s Collegeville MN. 1983 -85.
Fr. Cordaro is forty-six years old. He was born and raised in Des Moines IA.
Fr. Cordaro drooped out of the seminary at Aquinas Institute of Theology in Dubuque IA in the summer of 1976 and helped co-found the Des Moines Catholic Worker Community. He spent seven years with the Des Moines Catholic Worker helping to run three houses of hospitality for homeless women and families. While at the Catholic Worker Fr. Cordaro participated in many pubic protest and acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. He was arrested numerous times and spent a total of ten months in jails and prisons. His protest efforts covered a wide range of issues including nuclear weapons, the arms race, USA foreign policies, nuclear power and issue surround poverty in the USA.
In the Fall of 1983, Fr. Cordaro reentered the Seminary process. He was sent to St. John’s Seminary in Collegeville MN for two years to complete his seminary studies. While at St. John’s Fr. Cordaro continued his resistance ways, leading campus protest and witnesses against the presence of ROTC on St. John’s campus, lead delegations of students to Wash. D.C. during Spring Break to work with the homeless at the Community For Creative Nonviolence and protest at the Pentagon with the folks from the Jonah House resistance community from Baltimore. While at St. John’s Fr. Frank was arrested twice at Honeywell Headquarters in Mpls and at a farm protest in Marshall MN.
To the surprise of many, including Fr. Frank, he was ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Des Moines Ia by Bishop Dingman in June 1985. He was assigned to a Team Ministry in Harrison Co. IA and pastor to St. Anne’s parish in Logan Ia (100 families) and Holy Family parish in Mondamin Ia (40 families)
Fr. Cordaro spent the next seven years in Harrison Co. While there, he continued his resistance Catholic Worker ways. He was arrested over 15 times in non-violent acts of civil disobedience for a wide range of issues, including nuclear weapons, the arms race, USA foreign policies, nuclear power, the farm crisis and abortion. He served three different six month prison terms while in Harrison Co. for Crossing the line at the Strategic Air Command (Now the Strategic Nuclear Command) at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue Ne.
Upon his release from Fed. Prison Camp in Nov. 1992, Fr. Cordaro was assigned to St. Patrick’s Parish in Council Bluffs Ia as an associate pastor. Fr. Cordaro spent the next three years in Council Bluffs. In May of 1994 Fr. Cordaro again ‘crossed the line’ at the Strategic Nuclear Command at Offutt Air Force Base and received another six month prison sentence. While in Council Bluffs, Fr. Cordaro served as an adjunct teacher for the Buena Vista College Center in Council Bluffs.
In June of 1995, Fr. Cordaro appointed the pastor of Holy Trinity of SE Warren Co. Parish, serving the Catholic communities in Milo, Rosemount and Lacona Ia, about 45 miles SE of Des Moines. Fr. Cordaro continues his resistance Catholic Worker ways. Since being assigned to SE Warren Co. Fr. Cordaro has been arrested at the Pentagon in Wash. D.C., in New York City and most recently during Governor Barnstead’s State of the State Address Jan. 14, 1997 at the State Capitol protesting the Governor’s attempt to reinstate the death penalty in Iowa.
Fr. Cordaro sees himself as a second generation ‘Berrigan type’ priest, seeing in Fr. Dan Berrigan SJ and Phil Berrigan, two good role models for what is possible in the ordained priesthood. While in parish ministry, Fr. Cordaro has developed a model of priestly ministry that combines the radical resistance spirit of the Catholic Worker movement with the traditional ministry of a parish priest.
Fr. Cordaro has given many talks to High School, Universities and community groups in the region. Some of his favorite topics are; ‘Jesus the Nonviolent Resister’, ÒA Call for a Resistance Church’ and ‘Why More Christians Should Be In Jail’.
Fr. Frank Cordaro, Pastor
Holy Trinity of SE Warren County
P.O. Box 145, Lacona Ia 50139
ph: (515) 534-4690