The Diocese of Des Moines
October 17, 2016
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

If you're volunteering at a food pantry, at a community clothing closet, at a hospital or hospice, helping to make funeral luncheons or in any way extending mercy to others through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, then Bishop Pates invites you to the Mercy Summit this Saturday morning (Oct. 22, 8 a.m. - noon) at St. Peter Church in Council Bluffs to affirm and encourage those who are practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

The morning is primarily about how we connect the Church’s social mission to being a beloved child of God. Keynote presenter Dr. Matt Halbach will have us all reflect on what it means to be a Church of Mercy.  Breakout sessions are designed for further conversation focused more specifically on certain areas of outreach:

  • to those who are sick or imprisoned;
  • to those who are without home or hungry;
  • to those who are most vulnerable in society and
  • to those who are the immigrant and the refugee. 

A few of the questions we will ponder in the breakout includes:

  • How does your relationship with God impact your ministry?  How does your ministry impact your relationship with God?
  • How is God present to you and those you serve?  How has God used you as an instrument of mercy?
  • How can the Diocese of Des Moines support your ministry?

Each breakout session will be facilitated by someone whose ministry outreach is in one of these four core areas. 

We hope you consider joining us at this Mercy Summit as the Jubilee of Mercy year comes to a close. It's a wonderful opportunity  to pause, reflect and energize. If you're planning to come, please register here and let us know if you want to use the free childcare that will be available.  If you'd like to attend the Mercy Summit on Saturday, Oct. 29 at St. Pius X Parish in Urbandale, we encourage you to register here and let us know if you would like the free childcare service that will be available.

October 11, 2016
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

This email is a reminder that operations at the Catholic Pastoral Center are moving to The Ruan Center at 666 Grand Ave., just across the street from the Catholic Pastoral Center, while it undergoes renovation. 

Catholic Charities, the Senior Housing Corporation of the Diocese of Des Moines and the diocesan Finance Office will be located on ½ of the 9th floor.  This is a publicly accessible floor and will house our receptionists for both the diocese and Catholic Charities.  All visitors should come to the 9th floor.

The remainder of the diocesan staff as well as offices for The Catholic Foundation of Southwest Iowa and the Catholic Tuition Organization will be on the 18th floor. 

Our postal address will not change.  Please continue to use the following mailing address for the pastoral center: 601 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309.

We will have a brief time in which pastoral center services will be interrupted.  Our move will begin Thursday, Oct. 13 and will continue through Friday.  Our diocesan network and internet will be down from Friday, Oct. 14-Sunday, Oct. 16.  All individual phone extensions will be inaccessible during this time. The main diocesan and Catholic Charities contact numbers will be re-directed to cell phones on Friday, Oct. 14 for service.  Staff will have access to diocesan email during this time.  I share this so that you might be aware of our schedule and its impact on operations. 

Operations will resume at The Ruan Center Monday morning, Oct. 17.  

September 28, 2016
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

In the midst of planning for the priests' workshop, the upcoming Mercy Summit and a variety of outreach initiatives, the staff of the Diocese of Des Moines based at the Catholic Pastoral Center is packing up and moving across the street to 1 Ruan Center (666 Grand Ave.) for a major rehab project on our building.

Sandy Riesberg, a longest serving diocesan staff member, reminisced about previous moves as staff prepares to shift services to new office space for a year. 

As staff cleans out old material and boxes up needed books and files, Sandy smiled and said, “We can do this. It’s a little more complicated this time, but we can do it.”

When Sandy began as an administrative secretary in 1978, there were no computers, servers or printers. Just typewriters, which were easy to move.

She and other staff shared office space in a small house in the back of 2910 Grand Ave. Sometimes, she’d need to carry her umbrella to go to the main house, where she’d get the mail or make copies. Meeting rooms were in the bishop’s house on 37th Street. Catholic Charities and The Catholic Mirror had other office space in town.

In 1983, Bishop Maurice Dingman wanted diocesan staff, Catholic Charities and The Catholic Mirror to be under one roof. They moved to 818 5th Street in Des Moines.

There was a little stress, she said. To build camaraderie among the staff, the monthly First Friday donuts gathering began and popcorn was made for lunch nearly every day.

The building had no basement and no storage for items we use today, such as containers for Chrism Mass or storing vestments. Catholic Charities offered a clothes closet from the building because St. Mary Family Center hadn’t yet been established.

“Talk about space,” Sandy reminisced. “There was none! But we didn’t have things that we do now and need.    We had typewriters but no printers.”

Ten years later, the staff moved to its current location at the Catholic Pastoral Center, 601 Grand Ave. Staff moved in March, and on July 9, 1993 the city lost water because of a flood.

It was summer and offices were asked not to use air conditioning during the flood crisis.

Sandy worked in a cubicle in the third-floor hallway where a coffee pot now sits outside the bishop’s corner office. She served the Communications and Worship Offices, which were along the wall by the Bishop’s office. The Catholic Mirror was in the St. Pius X room, where the large space could accommodate four staff members.

Today, many diocesan staff members have an office and others have office space a distance from coworkers. Some at Catholic Charities have offices while others work in cubicles.

Beginning Oct. 17, diocesan and Catholic Charities offices in Des Moines will operate out of 1 Ruan Center (666 Grand Ave.) on a temporary basis. Staff will share offices during this temporary move. Major rehabilitation work on the Catholic Pastoral Center can be done more quickly if staff are not in the building. The work is expected to take about a year.    

The Ruan Center will be Sandy’s fourth office building in her 38 years with the diocese.

“I’m flexible. Do whatever you want with me,” she said. “I can work anywhere as long as I have a cubicle and a desk.”