The Diocese of Des Moines
October 2017

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.


October 4, 2017
Written By: Kelly Collins

Local radio show host and national speaker Jon Leonetti is releasing his newest book: “The Art of Getting Over Yourself: And Why You’ll Be Happier When You Do.” This is Leonetti’s fourth book. A former seminarian for the Diocese of Des Moines, he hosts Iowa Catholic Radio’s “Jon Leonetti in the Morning” show from 7-8 a.m. weekdays and can be found speaking at retreats and gatherings across the country. 

October 3, 2017
Written By: Kelly Collins

Bishop Richard Pates issues statement on shooting massacre in Las Vegas:
"The only adequate response to the tragic events in Las Vegas on Sunday evening is one of prayer for all of the innocent who were killed and the hundreds who were injured. Our prayer also goes out to the families, friends and loved ones who grieve the loss and suffering of those close to them. We in the Diocese of Des Moines stand in solidarity with all affected by again another display of the radical misuse of firearms.
May we move forward in unison to prevent the senseless taking of life and seek to fulfill our sacred responsibility of protecting all life.
I ask that all of our parish communities render a special prayer for the victims and their families on October 6th and 7th in the month of October, Respect Life Month."