The Diocese of Des Moines
November 17, 2017
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

Six receive papal honor on Nov. 26

            Six individuals will receive the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, a high papal honor given to the laity in gratitude for their extraordinary serve to the Catholic Church. Bishop Richard Pates will present the honor on Sunday, Nov. 26 during the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Ambrose Cathedral.

            Receiving the honor are: Frank Harty, Bruce Baker, Dr. Jerry Deegan, Dr. Barbara Quijano Decker, Nancy Galeazzi and Steven Chapman.


            Frank Harty, of Nyemaster Good, PC law firm, has served 30 years as legal counsel for the diocese most often on a “pro bono” basis.  He recently became a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.  He is recognized and respected widely for his professional guidance, always rendered within the framework of Catholic teaching and practice.  He blends Church (Canon) law and civil law into viable legal pathways. He is a member of St. Francis Parish in West Des Moines.

            Bruce Baker, also of Nyemaster Good, PC has served the Diocese of Des Moines as legal counsel for 30-plus years.  Known for his legal skill, Baker has honed a technique for blending civil and canonical requirements into legal documents as they pertain to corporate identity as well as in the provision of contracts for employment and those who perform services for the diocese. He is a member of St. Augustin Parish in Des Moines.

            Dr. Jerry Deegan retired after 17 years of leadership as president of Dowling Catholic High School  Apart from a four year hiatus as principal of St. Thomas High School in Overland Park, Kansas, he has been associated with Dowling Catholic since 1972.  Under Deegan’s leadership, the school has maintained outstanding academic and co-curricular standards.  The physical plant has been refurbished and expanded including the addition of the St. Joseph Chapel.  Deegan inserted “Catholic” in Dowling Catholic High School. He is a member of St. Francis Parish in West Des Moines.

                       Dr. Barbara Quijano Decker has served as president of Mercy College of Health Sciences since April 2006.  She has announced her retirement from this position effective June 30, 2018.  She has led Mercy College of Health Sciences to higher standards for professional health practitioners.  The college is widely respected in this field.  She has also renewed Catholic identity through institutional evolution and the hiring of faculty to implement this vision.  In particular, the health professional is trained to treat the entire person, body and soul, with Christian mercy and love. She is a member of St. Ambrose Cathedral Parish in Des Moines.

                       Nancy Galeazzi, who will retire at the end of 2017, has served Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Des Moines for 30 years.  Her initial 15-year stint was as a counselor.  She guided especially poor individuals, without resources to pay for service, onto a path that brought relief, understanding, and direction to their lives.  For the past 15 years, Galeazzi has been executive director of Catholic Charities. Under her leadership, Catholic Charities has significantly expanded outreach to the poor and those in need of help as well as concentrating on the quality and Christian character of Charities’ service.  She also introduced the Social Justice Consortium as an arm of Catholic Charities attending to advocacy for social justice among those who are mistreated or left behind in our society. She is a member of St. Augustin Parish in Des Moines.

                       Stephen Chapman has been highly successful in the corporate world. In addition, for nine years he served as chairman of the Board of Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.  He invested endless hours of quality time in volunteer service to the largest hospital in Iowa being particularly attentive to its Catholic character.  Chapman is representative of the hundreds in our diocese active on the board/governance level in organizations and institutions assuring both Catholic operating principles and excellent outreach in essential and life-giving programs. He is a member of Sacred Heart Parish in West Des Moines.

                       “The foregoing six individuals typify the quality of lay leadership and service which the Diocese of Des Moines enjoys,” said Bishop Richard Pates in his column in the November edition of The Catholic Mirror. “Each is guided by the foundational reality of their Catholic faith. We thank Pope Francis for giving appropriate recognition to them and in so doing to inspire all the others so generously active in Church ministry.”

                       The honor these six will receive was founded by Pope Leo XIII in 1888 and is given to individuals for their service to the Church and the Holy Father

                       Five individuals of the Diocese of Des Moines were given the papal honor in January of 2013 and seven were honored in August of 2013.

October 30, 2017
Written By: Ken Seeber

On a recent Saturday evening, people streamed toward a quiet family home in Des Moines. Some carried casserole dishes, others bottles of soda or tempting desserts.

Dozens of pairs of shoes were piled in a mountain just inside the front door. Folding chairs filled the living room and dining room, all facing an altar of flowers surrounding a statue of Mary.

Friends who have known each other for decades caught up on the latest goings-on while younger generations ran outside to play in the yard.

It was the weekly meeting of the Reparation Society of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Each Saturday for 30 years, 21 Des Moines-area Vietnamese families have taken turns hosting the gatherings, which include food, fellowship and devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.

“We’re all from different parishes,” said Doc Van Nguyen, host of this evening’s devotional meeting. “I’m from St. Theresa. Some of them are from Holy Trinity, some are from St. Peter, some are from the Basilica of St. John, some Christ the King.”

When Vietnamese refugees first came to Iowa in the mid-1970s, they lived in towns all over the state. Nguyen said there used to be meetings in Perry, Jefferson, Pella and Indianola. Gradually the community gravitated toward Des Moines.

“The first batch of refugees was very spread out because each family was being sponsored by a family,” said the Rev. Paul M. Tai Van Tran of the Congregation of the Mother of the Redeemer, a Vietnamese religious community in Carthage, Mo., 140 miles south of Kansas City. Tran was invited by the Des Moines group to speak at its Oct. 7 meeting.

After visiting with each other for a while, the group settled in to Nguyen’s living room, everyone facing an altar with the statue of Mary, adorned with flowers.

They began to pray the rosary in unison, in Vietnamese.

Tran explained that under the communist regime, Vietnamese Catholics didn’t have catechists and the rosary was the easiest prayer they could learn. “They learned Our Father and Hail Mary from their parents and they repeated that, and that went into their hearts,” he said.

The statue of Mary used by the group was donated to the Iowa Vietnamese community by a family in 1977. It travels to the home of each week’s meeting, and the family prays before it each day until the next get-together.

Nguyen says he feels his family has been blessed by their devotion.

“My children are successful in their educFor ation,” he said. “All have been married and happy, as are my grandchildren. They go to Catholic school, and everybody has jobs and are happy.

“The main thing is, our family prays and stays together.”

Tran said the Vietnamese community is very family-oriented, and the devotion group is a key part of that.

“Our Lady said, ‘You pray the rosary every day and you will find peace,’” Tran said. “And this group has really found that.”

October 27, 2017
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Arturo Cepeda will be in the Des Moines area this weekend as he joins the diocesan Encuentro gathering at St. Francis Parish on Saturday.

A former priest in San Antonio, Texas, he became the youngest bishop in the United States at age 41 when he was named an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2011. 

Bishop Cepeda was born in Mexico and emigrated to the United States with his family when he was 19 years old. He was ordained a priest in 1996 and served as the rector of a seminary, as episcopal vicar and regional moderator for the northwest region of the archdiocese. 

The Encuentro he will be attending is a culmination of many month of discussion and smal-group meetings in parishes across the diocese. The U.S. bishops have asked the Hispanic community two things: How can the Church better serve their community, and how can they serve the Catholic Church?

Feedback will be gathered at the diocesan Encuentro and then carried to a regional Encuentro next year. Eventually, all of the feedback will be taken to the U.S. bishops, who will use the informaiton to formulate a plan for serving the Hispanic community.